Diarrhea is never fun, and it’s always a symptom of something that’s not quite right with the intestinal tract. Your pup may or may not be bothered by it – many times, a dog will have diarrhea but act fine, as if nothing is abnormal. But when your dog has a bout of diarrhea, your antenna should go up and you should watch him closely to see if it’s a one-off or something that continues for days.
Is Your Dog Suffering From Chronic or Acute Diarrhea?
Chronic diarrhea is a condition that occurs regularly. If your dog experiences frequent bouts of diarrhea – even though you’ve tried various remedies – he may have an underlying medical problem that will need a veterinarian’s expertise to diagnose.
Acute diarrhea happens “out of the blue.” It’s a fairly common occurrence, usually caused by something introduced into your dog’s intestinal tract. Just think about how often your pooch eats or tastes something he finds outside – it’s not unusual for him to ingest something that will cause a gastrointestinal upset. Most of the time, the symptoms will go away on their own and the stool will return to normal without you having to do anything. But sometimes it’s necessary to get a vet’s input.
Dog Diarrhea Symptoms
Well, you THINK you know what diarrhea is, but it’s not always as obvious as you imagine:
Explosive, frequent, loose, watery stools are the most common signs for your dog.
Straining can be a sign, too. It’s not constipation, though it may look like it as he continues to try to defecate after the initial flow of diarrhea. Diarrhea disrupts your dog’s gastrointestinal system, so he may feel like he needs to constantly go, even when there’s nothing left in the system to eliminate. And straining is the result.
Other symptoms that can accompany diarrhea include fever, loss of appetite, dehydration and lethargy.
Dog Diarrhea Causes
Here are some of the possible culprits:
Your dog eats something she shouldn’t and it upsets her small or large intestines.
Parasites can easily get into your dog’s intestinal tract
Food allergies can cause stomach aches and other problems for your dog, even developing into inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
A bad reaction to a particular food item – especially a new food that has been introduced suddenly into his diet
Accidental poisoning can occur when your dog gets into chemicals or foods that are poisonous to canines.
Bacterial or viral infections can invade your dog’s system and keep him from absorbing nutrients properly
A blockage can happen if your dog eats something that gets lodged in her intestinal tract and causes diarrhea
Chronic illness, such as issues with the kidneys or liver, stomach or intestinal ulcers, colitis or hormonal imbalance
Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
Drug side effects from some canine medications
Stress. Just think about what happens to YOU when you have to speak in front of an audience! ‘Nuff said.
When To Start Worrying About Your Dog’s Diarrhea
In most cases, a healthy dog that has diarrhea will have one “event” and then be done with it. If your dog seems fine afterward, simply keep a close watch to make sure the diarrhea goes away without any issues.
But if it goes on for longer, your dog may start showing other signs that things are not right. If your dog is small in size, old or a puppy, he is more at risk of becoming dehydrated after several bouts of diarrhea. If your dog acts fine but the diarrhea continues in recurrent bouts, see the vet about it. Take along a fecal sample so the vet doesn’t have to extract it; the sample is needed in order to determine if there is a bacterial or viral infection involved.
Even if he acts normally and doesn’t seem bothered by it, he may have an underlying condition that you should get checked out by your veterinarian.
And if your dog is passing blood in the stool, the stool is yellow or green, or if you notice weakness or lethargy along with the diarrhea, it’s time to go to the vet immediately.
What Can I Give My Dog For Diarrhea?
There are a few things you can do help your dog get back to normal. Make sure you consult with your vet before making major changes to your dog’s diet, and if your dog has a medical condition that’s causing the diarrhea, he/she may have some specific treatments to recommend.
Fast for 12-24 hours. If your dog got diarrhea from something she ate, this treatment gives your dog’s stomach a chance to rest and eliminate whatever bad stuff she ingested. Make sure you provide plenty of fresh water to prevent dehydration.
Bland diet. After that brief fasting period, feed your dog foods that don’t have any upsetting ingredients, such as commercially available bland dog foods, or your own concoction of boiled chicken, beef or turkey with white or brown rice. (Note that a change in diet can sometimes make the diarrhea come back, especially if a food allergy caused it in the first place). Offer the food slowly – divide the meal into four parts and feed your dog every 4-6 hours to avoid stomach upsets. If your dog’s stool improves, you can feed him two meals a day; keep that up until the stools are back to normal, then transition back to normal food.
Introduce probiotics and fiber. Talk to your vet about supplements that help generate healthy bacteria in your dog’s gut to promote good digestion. And there are good high-fiber supplements that can help regulate your dog’s system.
To conclude, diarrhea is a common problem but not one that you should ignore. If it doesn’t go away quickly by itself and persists more than a few days – even if your dog “acts fine’ – get to the vet. And don’t wait around to go to the doc if you start to notice other symptoms, such as loss of appetite, energy or other “sick” behavior. Your dog’s health and life could be at stake!
Pink eye, or “conjunctivitis,” as it is medically referred to, is an eye condition that affects the conjunctiva and can be quite painful. The condition is a result of the conjunctiva becoming inflamed. The conjunctiva is the thin and transparent tissue that lines the inside part of the eyelid and lies over the white part of the eye. A lot of people, especially dog owners, wonder if canines can get pink eye. The answer is YES; they can!
There are several reasons why a dog’s eye(s) can become infected, and some of them include allergies, parasites, a foreign body entering the eye, bacteria, or even a virus. Since there are so many ways your dog’s eye(s) can become infected, there are several options when it comes to treating pink eye in dogs.
Dog Pink Eye Signs
As mentioned earlier, conjunctivitis, in both canines and humans, is when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed or irritated. The most common indicator of the condition is redness in one or both eyes, which is why it is called pinkeye. However, a canine’s eye is different from that of a human, in that the conjunctiva in dogs is a bit hidden. As a result, the telltale sign, which is redness of the eye, can easily be missed despite spending hours staring into your pup’s eyes. Nevertheless, several symptoms will let you know that your dog is suffering from conjunctivitis.
Dog Conjunctivitis Symptoms
Apart from bloodshot eyes or redness, other symptoms to look out for include:
Unusual discharge from the eye (it can either be clear or might contain pus or mucous)
Squinting or excessive blinking
Swelling around the eye
Eyelids sticking together
If you see your pup consistently fussing with his eye(s), then consider taking him or her to the vet for a quick checkup. If you think that your dog has pinkeye but aren’t sure, make a point of taking him or her to a vet for a complete eye exam. That way, it will be easier to tell if he has conjunctivitis or any other eye disease. As a dog owner, there is one symptom that should always warrant a visit to the vet – and that is any behavior that is unusual of your dog, especially when it comes to his eyes. You know how your pup behaves when he is healthy and in good moods, so any strange behavior should not be ignored. It is a sign that something is not right with him.
What Causes Conjunctivitis in Dogs?
Conjunctivitis in dogs can be as a result of many things including:
Injury to the eye
Bacteria like Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Haemophilus influenzae, or Staphylococcus aureus
KCS (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca), commonly referred to as canine dry eye. Just like our eyes, this problem impairs a pup’s natural ability to make tears, which are needed to keep the eyes lubricated.
Is Dog Pink Eye Contagious?
One of the most commonly asked questions concerning pink eye and dogs is if the condition is contagious and if a human can contract it from their canine friends and vice versa. After all, the condition is known for being extremely infectious. While there’s a lot of debate concerning these queries, like with most diseases, prevention is better than cure.
Dog conjunctivitis can either be non-contagious or contagious. The contagious kind is typically caused by a virus, parasite, or bacteria, while eye injury or allergies cause the non-contagious type. It is worth noting the infectious version of conjunctivitis is quite rare in dogs. Nevertheless, it is still highly contagious and can be spread through contact with an infected eye or discharge from an infected eye. Even less clear is if the disease is specific to certain dog species.
Can You Get Pink Eye From A Dog?
Can dogs contract pinkeye from humans? According to some veterinarians, humans can transmit pinkeye to dogs. As such, if you are currently suffering from conjunctivitis, make sure you keep your infected eye or its discharge away from your pet and wash your hands regularly! However, they aren’t that sure if humans can contract the condition from dogs, which means that they do not see “eye to eye” on this matter. When it comes to the transfer of pink eye from dog to dog, it is believed that the condition (especially if it caused by viruses, bacteria, and such) is highly contagious. Dogs, just like humans, spread the disease when they come into contact with eye secretions containing the pinkeye-causing virus or bacteria.
Routine Grooming and Care Can Help Keep Eye Infections at Bay
Proper grooming and care will lessen the possibility of your canine friend contracting conjunctivitis and other canine diseases. Proper care includes exercise, regular grooming, a good diet, and routine vaccinations. Also, neutering or spaying your pup will present him or her with plenty of benefits. As a pet owner, taking up routine care coverage provided by pet insurance will help keep the costs of regular checkups low. Another habit you should consider taking up is washing your pup’s face regularly to remove things that might lead to infections. Always make sure that you wash your hands after coming into contact with your pup’s food, water bowl, toys, and face.
Bacterial Versus Vital Pink Eye
Just like human conjunctivitis, bacterial pink eye in dogs can be hard to prevent, considering that bacteria are everywhere, and our eyes are bacteria magnets. Always make sure that the area around your pup’s eyes is clean. Also, make sure that you always remove any crusting around or discharge from his or her eyes. Most canines will have some crusting or discharge, so pay close attention to how your pup’s body works and be on the lookout for any unusual discharge. You should also check to see if the color of your dog’s discharge has a different color from the normal discharge or if the discharge is more than usual.
If your pup’s conjunctivitis is as a result of a bacterial infection, treatment will most likely include an antibiotic ointment or eye drops prescribed by his or her veterinarian. Administering your dog any type of medication, especially eye drops, can be quite challenging. To have an easier time administering eye drops to your dog, seek advice and tips from your vet. Also, remember to discuss treatment options since your vet can identify the best medication for your pup. Most antibiotic medicines can be administered in various forms, including pills, eye drops, and ointments.
Just like bacterial conjunctivitis, viral pink eye can be hard to prevent and could be the result of a respiratory infection or cold. The best protection against eye infections caused by viruses is ensuring that your pup stays healthy. Exercise and a proper diet will ensure that your pup’s natural immune, which is essential to their wellbeing, remains strong. However, if your pet is diagnosed with the condition, treatment will most likely involve the use of steroid eye drops and, in some cases, artificial tears to help keep his or her eyes clear of crusting or discharge. These medications will also go a long way in easing his or her discomfort as they kick in.
Dog Conjunctivitis Treatment
Your dog’s conjunctivitis is determined by how he or she developed the problem. If your vet prescribes eye drops, there are a couple of ways you can administer the medicine correctly and safely.
Start by cleaning the area around your pup’s eyes.
With a firm grip, hold your dog close to your body to restrict movement. You might need some help restraining him. Someone familiar, like a friend or family member, is ideal. Proper restraint shouldn’t harm your pup; in fact, it’ll help keep your dog from getting injured.
Once you have restrained your dog, wrap an arm around the shoulder and use the other arm to lift his chin up so his eyes look upwards. With that hand, gently open the infected eye by pulling the lower eyelid downwards. This will create a pouch or “shelf” below his eyeball.
Put the prescribed number of drops into the pouch while being careful not to touch the pup’s eye with the tip of the bottle.
Once you are done administering the drops, let your pup go. His natural blinking and eye movement will spread the medication evenly over his eye(s.) Do not forget to wash your hands before and after you have administered the drug. Stay calm throughout the entire process. Canines are known to react to their owner’s moods. So, remember to approach the task with the right frame of mind, and your pup will automatically follow your lead.
Well, this might require a bit of practice as both you and your dog become used to the process. Remember to ask your vet for advice and always consider your dog’s size, age, overall demeanor, and health when administering medication. Do not let the challenges administering eye medication or drops present get in the way of you providing your dog the treatment he needs. Always make sure that you are administering the right dosage, so be attentive!
Allergy-Induced Conjunctivitis in Dogs
Some dogs will develop conjunctivitis due to an allergy. Ensure that you’re taking the right steps to keep your home free of pollen, dander, mold, dust, and any other thing that can trigger allergies. As a pet owner, identify things that trigger allergic reactions in your dog, such as smoke, plants, grass, foods, and perfumes. Also, do your best to keep your pup’s eyes free of dirt, dust, or any other thing that could irritate his eyes. If your dog’s pink eye is a result of an allergy, your vet will likely prescribe an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine drug plus artificial tears and steroid drops. A cold compress could also help relieve the irritation, especially if your dog’s pink eye caused by an allergy.
If your dog’s pink eye is the result of an injury, debris, or a foreign object affecting the eye, make sure you take him to a vet for examination to ensure that there’s no damage to his cornea. Cornea injuries are quite severe and can be cured with medication; however, if the case is quite severe, surgery might be required. It’s worth noting that pink eye medication could worsen corneal injuries and could lead to blindness. It is, therefore, essential that you consult your vet before administering any eye medication.
You should never diagnose and treat your pup unless you are qualified. It is also worth noting that human medication, and that includes eye drops, is not the same as medication for canines. Never treat your pup with medicine intended for humans without consulting your vet first. Using the wrong medication could cause significant damage, pain, and even blindness.
After the problem has been diagnosed and a treatment plan has been laid out, make sure that you follow the instructions provided by your vet to the letter. Also, do your best to make sure your dog does not scratch, paw, or rub the affected eye. Since your dog will naturally want to do this, consider using a cone to keep him from injuring himself. Chronic conjunctivitis will, in some cases, require additional diagnosis by a vet, especially if there’s no apparent cause for the flare-up. In order to determine what is causing the problem, a bit of investigation will be required on your part – this may include recording day-to-day information and trying to find out what could have caused the infection. This information can help your vet identify the right treatment plan. Chronic conjunctivitis can lead to more severe problems as deeper layers of your dog’s eyes are affected. Recurring chronic pinkeye could also damage other parts of your dog’s eye(s), not to mention the discomfort your dog experiences every time a bout of pink eye sets in.
How Long Does Pink Eye Last For Dogs?
Regrettably, conjunctivitis in dogs is quite common. Furthermore, your pup might be suffering from conjunctivitis in one or both eyes; so, do not be fooled if the symptoms only appear in one eye. In most of the cases where the condition affects both of your dog’s eyes, the cause is often a viral infection. When the problem only affects one eye, the cause is most likely a dry eye, an infected tear duct, or an irritation. In most cases, once treatment commences, improvements will be seen within a matter of days; however, for some cases, it could take up to three weeks for your pup to recover fully. The good thing, though, is that your dog will experience some relief almost immediately after the medication has been administered.
Vulnerable Dog Breeds
It is worth noting that some dog breeds are more susceptible to contracting pink eye than others due to their physicality or hereditary factors. Cocker Spaniels and Poodles are congenitally predisposed to pink eye and should, therefore, be tested for the condition early, even before the symptoms start to appear. Other breeds such as Pekingese and Pugs are susceptible to contracting pink eye due to how their faces are structured. Their facial features leave their eyes vulnerable to irritants and foreign bodies in the air. Such breeds require closer and specialized attention just to keep them from contracting conjunctivitis and other eye diseases.
Fortunately, most breeds will completely recover as long as they are diagnosed and treated before the disease advances. In severe cases, affected dogs might be left with scars, permanent eye damage, and may even lose their eye(s.) Like with all pet diseases, early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential. As a pet owner, do not let an easily treatable condition go unchecked, or your pup will, soon, be saying “eye told you so.”
When a dog continues to scratch at its ears for extended periods, it is quite possibly because your pet has an ear infection. Different infections can occur inside the ears, causing discomfort for dogs. Some of these infections are caused by ear mites, while others are caused by bacteria or fungus. Dogs with large, floppy ears have a diminished airflow as compared with their short-eared counterparts that can lead to excess moisture in their ears. If there is a lot of moisture present, fungus may begin growing and, this may lead to an ear yeast infection.
If your dog does have a yeast infection in its ears, you could take your pet to the veterinarian to get a prescription cream.Alternatively, or you could use Banixx, which is readily available at most local feed stores.If you cannot find Banixx locally, it is readily available via online retailers such as Chewy, Amazon, Jeffers Pet or Valley Vet. While we feel these types of treatments are the best solution, there are a lot of people online that wonder if you can also use Monistat for treating the yeast infection in your dog’s ears. Monistat is a product that is commonly used by women with yeast infections, but is it a product that you can safely use on your dog?
What You Need to Know About Dog Ear Yeast Infections
Dogs can get yeast infections in their ears as well as other parts of their bodies, including their paws and toes. Yeast can develop here because these spots on a dog’s body provide the perfect amount of warmth and moisture. Some yeast infections in dogs are more evident than others. Your dog’s skin could start to look slightly pinkish. Your dog might even have an odor that resembles the smell of a tortilla chip. If the yeast is present inside the ears, you will usually notice your dog scratching at the ears and rubbing the ears against objects inside your home to obtain relief. Although it is uncomfortable for your dog, a yeast infection is generally pretty easy to treat in the early stages.
Using Monistat as a Dog Ear Yeast Infection Treatment
Monistat is an over the counter (OTC) product that you can easily find at most drugstores. The product is known for being a yeast infection cream that you can purchase without a prescription. It effectively eliminates yeast infections because of its active ingredient, miconazole. Women can buy this product when they have a yeast infection to clear it up in several days. Although it is commonly used by women, the active ingredient in Monistat is also safe for dogs. When used correctly, you can often clear the yeast infection from your dog’s ears by using this topical cream.
Before using Monistat, contact your veterinarian to ask questions about using this product to treat the yeast infection. If you decide that you are unable to visit the veterinarian for treatment, you can follow these simple directions to treat your dog with the Monistat cream safely. Make sure you are mixing the cream with hydrocortisone cream. You should use the same amount of both creams. The reason you want to add hydrocortisone cream to the Monistat cream is that it will help relieve your dog’s excessive itchiness.
After combining the two creams, you will notice it has a thick consistency. Add several drops of water to the blend of these two creams to make it slightly thinner, add it to a dropper, and then carefully squirt the mixture into your dog’s ears. Use this home remedy treatment for a week to get rid of the yeast infection for good. If the problem does not subside despite the constant use of both the Monistat and hydrocortisone cream, you will need to bring your dog to the veterinarian’s office.
Make sure you are using Monistat when selecting an over-the-counter cream to treat your dog’s yeast infection. Do not mistake this product for another product on the market, such as Vagisil. While Vagisil can relieve itching, it is not formulated to eliminate fungus (yeast is a fungus), so it’s not useful for your dog’s yeast infection.
Is There Anything Better Than Monistat For a Dog Ear Yeast Infection?
If you are trying to avoid a visit to your veterinarian, there is an over-the-counter treatment that we highly recommend.It may be time for you to give Banixx Pet Care a try. Banixx is available from most local pet stores or on-line and can be used to treat much more than ear infections. Banixx is an effective treatment for dog ear infections, hotspots, ringworm, yeast infections, wounds, itchy skin, and more because it’s not only anti-fungal (think..Yeast) but also anti-bacterial.
Banixx is a topical solution that works by controlling the pH level of the infection; its presence creates an environment that is totally hostile to the growth of bacteria or fungus. Unlike other medicinal products available, Banixx has absolutely no smell.Your dog will significantly appreciate this factor, considering their nose is 1,000 times more sensitive than our own.
Banixx also doesn’t burn or sting your dog when you apply it, so they don’t fear the application. This is so important when one considers that a dog will do anything they can to avoid a medicine that stings and burns when you put it on him.
If you go on the internet and search for home remedies to take care of your dog’s ear infection, you’ll find all kinds of advice and recommendations – some good and some bad. We have seen everything from hydrogen peroxide, and apple cider vinegar to lemon juice and oatmeal proposed. Some suggestions can be beneficial – but you need to go slow before trying any of these remedies. The following are our Top 6 Tips for determining if you should try a home remedy or not.
6 Dog Ear Infection Home Remedy Tips
Not all websites are alike. Many people who are proponents of homeopathic medicine are not really qualified to talk about the medical benefits of a remedy – they’re just enthusiastic “believers.” Go with websites like Pet MD, Banixx or Vet Info, who have the expertise and/or clinical backgrounds or contributors. Beware of websites whose main purpose is to sell homeopathic remedies for your pets.
While many products found in the home are benign, some may actually cause harm. For instance, did you know that the Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve you give your dog for pain can cause kidney or liver failure in your dog? (see here). Or that hydrogen peroxide is caustic and destroys the very cells (fibroblasts) that are needed to heal a wound (find out more here)? Make sure you do your research to find out about side effects in case of overdose or improper application.
Don’t try it just because it’s “cheaper.” It’s natural to want to use something that’s already in your kitchen or medicine cabinet – but if it doesn’t work or it hurts your dog, you’ll be spending money on veterinary bills eventually. If you can’t afford a vet, here are some tips that should help.
Many home remedies don’t work as well as proven drugs or pet products. There are very few clinical studies on homeopathic solutions in pets, and little scientific evidence of their efficacy. If you have a friend who tried something, and it worked for their dog’s ear infection, it might or might not work for your dog. Our recommendation is to temper your expectations.
How messy do you want to get? Your dog might hate the smell/sting of a home remedy application (like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide); or she might LIKE it too much – like coconut oil, and lick it off immediately. With some remedies, the application might include drenching your pet in the stuff, enduring a shower as your dog shakes it off, or dealing with greasy ointments that collect dirt and rub off on furniture.
ALWAYS be prepared to take your dog to the vet if the home remedy doesn’t work. And don’t wait too long to see if it works – if it hasn’t had a positive impact in a couple of days, it’s not working.
In other words, be CAUTIOUS and SMART when trying a home remedy on your dog’s ear infection.
Best Home Remedy For a Dog Ear Infection
And if you haven’t tried Banixx yet, we highly recommend you give it a go. You can buy it online or in local pet stores and use it at home whenever you need it. There are lots of uses for Banixx, but we feel its hands down the best dog ear infection treatment on the market.
Other Home Remedies For Dog Ear Infections
We’ve done a little of the work for you in researching certain home remedies for ear infections, hot spots, pain, and more. Visit our blog to learn more about the following home remedies for dog ear infections:
If you mow your pasture and leave behind grass clippings that dry in small, airy amounts, generally speaking, that is probably not a problem for your horse. But, gathering the clippings into piles, and feeding them to your horse in larger amounts will cause problems.
Why Lawn Mower Grass Clippings Are Bad For Horses
As we explained in a previous blog post on horse colic, your horse’s digestive system is sensitive. His stomach is relatively small, so he needs to eat small amounts over an extended period of time in order to digest properly. Your horse doesn’t know this, of course, so if he’s presented with a tempting pile of grass clippings, he will dig in and eat them quickly – clogging up his system and possibly resulting in a dangerous case of colic.
Also stated in our blog on colic, adding grass clippings to your horse’s diet can upset the delicate balance of microbes in your horse’s gut. Again, colic might rear its ugly head.
If you stick your hand in a pile of lawn clippings, you’ll notice how warm they are. That’s because they’re fermenting! Because the lawnmower has already chopped them up, your horse doesn’t need to chew them before swallowing them. This by-passes the important step where saliva gets mixed in with food. Saliva helps dilute acids created by the fermenting process. When a horse eats grass clippings, the grass arrives in the stomach already fermenting, and the gases that are given off can expand to the point where they result in a bad case of colic, or, even rupture the stomach.
A pile of mounded grass clippings can encourage mold to form – this is not good for your horse, it can lead to colic, and/or diarrhea.
Horses are very sensitive to poisonous plants. When they are eating in a pasture situation, they naturally avoid the plants and any garden waste that are toxic. But lawn mowers have no such instincts – all the clippings get mixed in together. So your horse, in his haste to eat something that has already been chopped for him, is not able to discern whether there are any toxic weeds mixed in. Since horses do not have a mechanism for vomiting contents from their stomachs, he has no way to remove the toxins once they have been ingested. This can end up as a huge vet bill for you and/or the possible loss of your horse
In addition to all facts previously mentioned, there’s little air inside the warm piles of grass clippings; this potentially leads to botulism forming– and THAT can be deadly for your horse. Botulism is difficult to treat, and it can cost in excess of $3,000 per horse. This particular antitoxin is really most beneficial if you use it when your animals first start showing symptoms. The clinical signs of botulism are similar to other causes of central nervous infections (loss of coordination, tremors, inability to eat). Accordingly, the diagnosis is not clear-cut. With the right amount of care, a horse can recover from this but, if they happen to get exposed to a large amount of this toxin, there is a good chance that most will die despite treatment.
Lawn grass is not the same as pasture grass. It generally receives more chemical treatments such as fertilizers and weed killers. And, if you have other pets, there may be urine and feces intermingled. None of this is beneficial to your horse.
A horse that’s presented with a “treat” of grass clippings may gulp it down too quickly – and it may stick in his throat, causing “choke,” a condition that will require veterinarian care.
Are those enough reasons to persuade you from feeding grass and lawn clippings to your horse? Better safe (with a treat of carrot or apple) than sorry!
Your beloved horse may be big, strong, and proud – but her digestive system is sensitive and requires tender loving care. A case of equine colic – or severe abdominal discomfort – could be just around the corner, as every horse is susceptible. Its effects range from merely passing gas to experiencing extreme pain and threatening her life. In fact…
Horse Colic Is the Number One Horse Killer
Equine colic takes many forms, but generally, you can tell if your horse might be on the road to colic if you observe any of these symptoms:
Frequently looking at, and/or biting or kicking her flank or belly
Pawing at the ground
Rolling or wanting to lie down continuously
Little or no evidence of manure having passed
Manure appears dry or mucous-covered
Lack of appetite
Change in drinking behavior
Frequent attempts to urinate
High pulse rate (over 50 beats per minute)
Off-color mucous membranes (evidenced by examining gum tissue)
If you suspect your horse has colic, get immediate help from a veterinarian. This is not something you want to fool around with – even if the signs are vague, call in the expert for diagnosis and treatment. Too many times, an owner decides to wait for more concrete proof of colic and loses valuable time. Your chances of saving your horse from death increase exponentially the quicker you are able to get a vet on site to treat her.
Prevention Is The Best Answer
Not all colic can be prevented – but you can take steps to decrease the chance your horse will have to suffer from it. Here are nine proven tips for keeping your horse healthy:
1. Let Him Forage
The stomach of the horse is small in relation to his size; it only takes up 10% of the capacity of the digestive system. Because of this relatively small stomach, a horse naturally eats small amounts of roughage – continuously. Just watch your horse out in the field – he seems to eat without stopping, but if you watch long enough, he will take breaks where he stands like a statue. Domestication has changed this for many horses, particularly if they are stall-kept.
Your horse is designed to eat grass and hay as part of a high-fiber, low-starch diet. Try to make this type of natural roughage the bulk of his diet, limiting the grains and energy-dense supplements that can upset the gut’s delicate bacterial balance. For every pound of grain or corn, the colic risk increases by 70%. Think about that one!
Of course, some horses are expected to eat large amounts of grain and are fed once or twice a day to suit our lifestyle along with some hay. This can cause “traffic jams” in his digestive system due to the lower roughage content that may lead to upset and then, potentially, colic. If you do need to enhance his diet with concentrates, feed them to him in small amounts and more frequently. This allows slow and steady digestive action and helps prevent overloading your horse’s digestive system.
Foraging behavior is also important for the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract. The chewing process itself produces large amounts of saliva that help to buffer the acid that is produced in the horse’s stomach. Excess stomach acid can lead to stomach ulcers that produce pain and discomfort. This discomfort/pain may lead to a sub-standard performance on his part and/or a hostile attitude from him to his owner.
2. Don’t change your feeding program frequently or quickly
As we noted, your horse’s stomach is sensitive. Not all horses are affected equally, but a sudden change in what you feed him could upset the microbes in his intestine – and result in colic. If a change is needed, convert him gradually to a different diet over 7-10 days. For example, if he is exposed to a new type of hay, try to mix it in gradually, over several days, with the hay he is used to eating. A consistent feeding program is very beneficial in avoiding equine colic.
3. Make sure your horse has access to fresh, clean water
Horses that don’t have access to water for 1-2 hours increase their risk of colic. In winter, horses naturally drink less (they don’t like ice cold water, or the water in the trough is frozen) – so we recommend that you make sure automatic waterers and other water sources have free flowing water. If possible, in colder climates, install heaters especially designed for horse water tanks/troughs, so that your horse has access to tepid temperature water. This will help to ensure he drinks adequately.
4. In areas with sandy soil, avoid putting hay on the ground
In geographic areas where the soil is very sandy, it’s easy for horses to ingest sand along with hay. This can cause a problem since it does not move easily through the digestive tract and may end up ”sitting” in the horse’s large intestine. Large amounts of sand can cause impaction or blockage and lead to colic.
If putting hay on sandy soil is unavoidable, institute a good sand-elimination program. Discuss this with your vet and do your own research. It’s not difficult or expensive to administer, but the alternative – a trip to an equine hospital for sand colic surgery – is certainly expensive. Although many horses recover well, there are no guarantees with surgery and no guarantees that your horse will return to his active life for quite a while after surgery.
5. Make sure your horse gets exercise every day
Moving around helps stimulate the digestive system; it’s how nature has designed the horse. Horses that stand in stalls run a higher risk of colic due to inactivity. It doesn’t have to be a lot of exercise – just a regular turn out for her out into the pasture, for as long as you are able, is often enough to keep things going in the digestive area. In addition, a longer warm up and cool down before and after work are beneficial. If your horse is stall-kept, try to get her out for some sort of exercise every day.
6. Control parasites
Horses that are on a regular de-worming program are less likely to colic. Worms attach themselves into the lining of your horse’s stomach or intestines and wreak havoc with your horse’s health. They may “steal” the food that your horse needs (for their own survival) and even attach to your horse’s blood flow, disturbing it and robbing your horse of essential nutrients that are carried by the blood system.
Consult your vet with help in this area; there are many factors that may put your horse at even more risk. Many owners maintain a program of removing manure from fields several times a week, as horses graze near the piles and may ingest worms in the process. This is particularly important in restricted grazing areas. In general, horses are thought not to graze in heavy manure areas, but there are exceptions, and in small paddocks it’s impossible to avoid.
7. Provide routine dental care
Your horse should have regular dental check-ups and have his teeth “floated” (filing down any sharp points) to ensure he can grind his food properly along with making sure that he has no bad or infected teeth that may require removal. A horse with sharp points on his teeth (and this happens to every horse at one time or another!) will not forage or eat well due to the associated pain. Be sure to obtain the services of a highly recommended professional. Some horses need higher maintenance than others; some can be seen successfully just once a year. As your horse ages, the dental maintenance becomes particularly important, because if your horse has lost weight due to her inability to eat or chew well, it’s difficult to get the weight back on.
8. Reduce your horse’s stress
If your horse has to deal with changes to her environment or workload, it can cause intestinal disturbances. This really comes into play if a lot of traveling is involved, as is the case with race or show horses. Stress varies from horse to horse or breed to breed. Keep your horse’s forage level high and check with your veterinarian regarding either supplements and/or medication that help with a high stress routine or life change.
9. Monitor your horse yourself as much as possible
Schedules and situations don’t always allow it – but the more you’re around your horse, the more you’ll be able to ensure these preventive tips are being followed. Let’s be honest: No one knows your horse like you do, and no one has a vested interest as deep as you do, so the better you know your horse, the quicker you’ll be able to recognize subtle differences in behavior and signs of impending colic.
And now there’s one additional tip:
10. No matter how well you follow Tips 1-9, your horse may still get colic – every horse owner’s nightmare!
It is the experience and opinion of many veterinarians and horse professionals (who have all been there!): Get Help NOW!
The longer you wait, the less likely it is your horse will have a good outcome. Veterinary medicine has come a long way in treating colic, but once your horse has passed a certain point, it doesn’t matter if you have the best vet in the world – there just may be no good answer for you or your horse.
So if you see any symptoms or the thought “colic” crosses your mind when you observe your horse – bring in the vet immediately.
Dehydration is the result of excessive loss of water in your horse’s body. It is one of the most common challenges a horse will face in its lifetime, so it is essential to be able to recognize and treat the symptoms of dehydration quickly – your horse’s life may depend on it!
Horse Dehydration Prevention
Did you know that your horse’s bones are made up of about 30% water, his muscles about 75%, and his brain a whopping 85%? Water makes up about 60% of your horse! Water is an essential nutrient that is needed for almost every bodily function. It’s little wonder that dehydration and loss of vital electrolytes (salts) will not only negatively affect a horse’s performance, but it can lead to systemic (internal) and neuromuscular imbalances that can lead to severe and even life-threatening health issues for your horse, if left unchecked.
Electrolytes are responsible for the transfer of water through the cell membranes, which keeps the horse’s system balanced and working correctly. The loss of too much water and essential electrolytes will cause the horse’s body to become stressed. This can quickly lead to a variety of physiological problems, including fatigue, kidney impairment or failure, muscle spasms and reduced muscle function, inadequate respiratory responses, gastrointestinal stasis, and heart arrhythmias to name just a few.
Horses sweat in much the same manner as humans do to rid their bodies of excess heat. But dehydration from excessive activity, coupled with sweating, can cause the loss of essential fluid reserves and electrolytes needed, not only for continued activity but for the continuation of life. For example, just to fulfill their basic physiological needs, most adult horses that weigh around 1,000 pounds (which is NOT a big horse!) require at least 10 to 12 gallons of water each day! Under moderate conditions, a trotting horse will lose slightly over 3 gallons of sweat per hour, so it’s easy to see how quickly your horse may become dehydrated to the point of irreparable harm. And equine sweat contains more salts than body fluid (hypertonic), which means that a sweating horse loses more electrolytes than water.
Common Causes of Horse Dehydration
Vigorous exercise, long rides, or racing, especially on hot, humid days
Increased respiration rate
Long bouts of diarrhea
Fever or abnormally high body temperature (hyperthermia)
Anaphylactic shock (triggered by an allergic reaction)
Colitis-X (a disease which causes watery diarrhea and hypovolemic shock)
Dehydration can also be a problem during cold, winter weather, as well. In cold weather, a horse’s thirst may be significantly reduced. Instead of losing excessive amounts of water through sweating, as they do in hot weather, horses lose water even on the coldest days through such functions such as the saliva they use to soften their food, through urine and feces, and also the moisture in their breath. With a diminished thirst trigger, dehydration is a danger – even in the dead of winter. And remember – snow is NOT an acceptable substitute for plenty of good, clean water for your horses. Just as humans often enjoy hot beverages during winter months, warming the drinking water for horses (to a temperature of around 90 degrees), during the winter, will result in the horse consuming more water.
How Can I Tell If My Horse Is Hydrated?
Remember – It’s essential to act quickly to intervene in cases of dehydration, and the way to do that is to be able to recognize the symptoms before severe damage is done. The most reliable way to diagnose dehydration is to take a blood sample to determine the level of proteins in the plasma, along with the proportion of red blood cells in the blood compared with the plasma. Your veterinarian may also order a urine test. However, there are other means by which you may be able to detect the effects of dehydration in your horse. Although these not as specific as blood or urine tests, they are generally reliable as diagnostic indicators that your horse may be in a state of dehydration and imminent need of intervention.
The Pinch Test
Probably the most straightforward test to check for signs of dehydration in your horse, is the pinch test. As with humans, a horse’s skin loses its elasticity when it’s in a state of dehydration. S0 pinch up a fold of skin anywhere along the horse’s back, or, near the base of the horse’s neck, or on his lower chest. Hold it for 2 seconds, then release it. If the skin is NOT dehydrated, it should immediately spring back to normal. If the horse is dehydrated, the skin will stay up in a ridge, and the longer the ridge remains is an indicator of the severity of the dehydration. If the skin remains in a ridge for 10 to 15 seconds, seek veterinary assistance immediately, as your horse may be dangerously dehydrated.
This is an excellent quick check for your horse’s health. A typical breathing rate for an average horse is between 8 and 12 breaths per minute. If a horse is dehydrated, he will take more frequent, shallow breaths, as his body tries to move its vital resources from one system to another to maintain a sense of normalcy.
A horse’s resting heart averages about 36 – 42 beats per minute. For best results, try to count his pulse for 60 seconds. A resting heart rate higher than 60 beats per minute may be an indication of dehydration. (Avoid 10 seconds of pulse multiplied by 6, if possible – the results may be inaccurate.)
Check Eyes and Gums
The mucous membranes should appear moist and shiny. Excessively red gums and/or dry-appearing eyes may indicate that your horse is moving fluid from those regions to more core body functions to compensate for dehydration. Another easy test is to press gently on the gum near your horse’s upper teeth, with your fingertips, and release. As you press, the skin will turn white, or pink. When you release, the color should return quickly. This will determine how long it takes the capillaries to refill. More prolonged refill means a higher chance of dehydration. Anything longer than 2 seconds, for the color to return to his gums, may indicate dehydration.
A horse that produces dark urine or has not passed urine for an extended time may be dehydrated.
Other Symptoms of Horse Dehydration
Loss of glossy coat/dry skin
Signs of pain/Muscle spasms
Thick and sticky saliva
Decreased feed intake due to lack of saliva
What Can I Do If My Horse Is Dehydrated?
First and foremost, the administration of fluids and electrolyte solutions is vital in the treatment of dehydration for horses. Contact your veterinarian, as the dosages are essential and require medical expertise. One easy remedy while you are waiting for the vet to give advice or to arrive, is to give your horse a nice bath – this depends of course on the time of year etc….you don’t want to bath your horse in the middle of winter…depending on where you live!! It is possible that excess rehydration can lead to a condition called water intoxication. In this condition, excessive water intake can cause stress on the kidneys and dilute the electrolytes in the horse’s body, which hampers their ability to regulate body temperature. Research has shown, however, that healthy horses generally do not drink beyond their body’s normal capacity based on body weight or weather conditions. Be aware that there are medical conditions and even diet imbalances (such as high levels of fiber/hay, salt, potassium, and protein in the diet) that may cause your horse to over-hydrate, in this case; you should seek the advice of your veterinarian as soon as possible.
For less severe dehydration, be aware that offering water alone does not always sufficiently rehydrate a dehydrated horse. The water may simply dilute the body fluids surrounding the tissues – effectively turning off the thirst mechanism. Some effective rehydration therapies that may stimulate drinking include the administration of electrolyte preparations in feed or water, which are commercially available in rations specifically formulated toward activity levels. Increased hydration can also be stimulated by adding extra water to your horse’s mash and letting it sit for 10 minutes to allow for expansion of the grain, as well as increasing your horse’s salt intake – keeping in mind that the recommended daily intake of salt for a 1,000 pound horse should be about two ounces.
How To Prevent Horse Dehydration
Unlike many conditions over which horse owners have no control, dehydration is often totally and easily preventable. GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO DRINK AND THE AVAILABILITY OF FRESH, CLEAN WATER, MOST HORSES WILL NOT SUFFER FROM DEHYDRATION!
Here are some simple steps that owners can easily practice to prevent horses from suffering the effects of dehydration, especially during stressful or strenuous events.
Make sure that your horse has plenty of fresh, clean, palatable water to drink and access to salt at all times. If you’re feeling thirsty or dehydrated, the chances are that your horse is feeling the same.
Be sure to frequently check water troughs and buckets, scrubbing and refilling as necessary.
Pay attention to each horse’s unique level of activity and weather conditions.
Make sure that electrolytes and fluids are balanced and at appropriate levels for the activity level of the horse and the weather.
Never ride or exercise a horse to the point of exhaustion. One way to practically guarantee dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in your horse is to force him/her to be active during hot, humid weather.
Do not restrict your horse’s access to water at competitions.
Check for signs of dehydration regularly.
Don’t wait until a horse looks dehydrated to administer electrolytes. If your horse doesn’t seem to like the taste of water when you travel, bring some from home. You can also add a masking flavor such as apple juice, mint, or a commercial product designed to help horses drink.
Consider the higher moisture content of well-soaked beet pulp for a horse that isn’t drinking well. It will provide the horse with water and fiber, reducing the risk of colic.
On a hot day, cool your horse off thoroughly, as soon as possible after exercising. Try to keep your horse in the shade whenever and wherever possible, especially at competitions. And remember to administer electrolytes to help replace the salts in the body lost through sweat.
When traveling with your horses, consider stopping every two to three hours to offer your horse water. This will keep him hydrated and better able to tolerate traveling over long periods. Also, consider giving them some well-soaked beet pulp the day before and if possible the day of the journey.
Finally, if there is any doubt as to the severity of the situation, seek expert veterinarian care immediately!
The following steps have been designed to help you reduce the chances of a possible tragedy.
On a warm summer night, several years ago, an old barn located near my home lit up the evening sky in flames. Two horses inside the barn managed to escape, while a third perished in the fire. Although I was a child, at the time, I can still vividly remember the sights and sounds of that night including the poignant sadness that permeated our entire community. I never learned the cause of the fire, but I did learn an important lesson, which is that all your dreams can be reduced to a pile of ashes, and lost forever, within a matter of minutes.
It’s a sad but true fact that even if you are close by when a fire breaks out in a barn, it may already be too late to save any of the animals that are inside the barn. A barn fire can reduce the entire building and its contents to ashes in less than fifteen minutes, but asphyxiation from smoke and toxic fumes will likely kill any occupants, within the barn, before the flames reach them. That’s why it is essential to PREVENT barn fires! While many of us understand the basics of fire safety, now is the time to inspect your barn for any potential fire hazards and eliminate them.
The first thing to remember is that fire is an event rather than an object. Fire doesn’t just exist. It needs three main elements (ingredients) to ignite and then continue to burn.
Heat – is needed to ignite a fire. It is also needed to maintain the fire and enables the fire to spread.
Fuel – is any combustible material such as bedding, feed, hay, etc. Heat “feeds” the fire.
Oxygen – Without oxygen, you can’t have a fire. It’s essential for the chemical processes that occurs during any type of fire. The oxygen reacts with the burning “fuel” in the surrounding air that, in turn, generates combustion products such as gases, smoke, embers, etc. Air contains about 21% oxygen, but most fires require only about 16% oxygen in order to burn.
So, while a well-provisioned, well-ventilated barn is a positive environment for your animals, it can also be the perfect recipe for an unstoppable fire, providing enough amounts of fuel and airflow to develop into a raging, deadly inferno within minutes.
Your primary goal is to PREVENT a fire from starting by eliminating the risks associated with ignition and combustion. But if a fire should happen to start, your goal is to stop it from spreading and quickly get it extinguished. The actions you take today can provide you with the potential to not only save property, but lives as well.
Eliminate Potential Barn Fire Ignition Sources
A single ember from a cigarette is enough to ignite a tiny piece of hay or straw, which is all that is needed to start a fire. Barns and other out-buildings should have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to smoking anywhere in or around them – and that pertains to family, friends, and workers. NO EXCEPTIONS! For added safety, prominently post no smoking signs in and around all areas of your property to be covered. This applies to any sources of open flames such as candles, lanterns, etc.
Remember that “fuel” can take on many forms.
Common contents in any barn such as hay, dust on the floor, and cobwebs climbing up the walls can create pathways that allow fire to travel quickly throughout the barn. While it is neither essential nor practical to have a spotless barn, the cleaner your barn is, the safer it will be. Remove cobwebs and sweep out dust on a regular basis. When you think of dust, think of it as a combustible fuel that will allow fire to quickly spread. Finally, pay special attention when dusting to fluorescent light bulbs, electrical outlets, and incandescent bulbs. Electrical outlets made for outdoor use with covers are a good option you may want to consider in helping to keep dirt and dust out of your outlets.
Flammable liquids such as gasoline, motor oil, and propane should never be stored in a barn, even on a temporary basis. Also remember that some alcohol-based medications and hoof paints may become flammable in certain situations. Take the time to investigate the products that are in your barn, read all labels, and be sure you follow specific manufacturer instructions before storing. In addition, you may want to examine the expiration dates on each item and dispose of anything that has expired. Something as simple as an ointment that has been laying around for a few years has the ability for its chemicals to change and become much more dangerous. When dealing with chemicals, remember that anything can become a hazardous material.
Clutter is another form of “fuel” for a barn fire. Worn out blankets, broken equipment, and random pieces of junk can all create the opportunity for a perfect firestorm. If your barn is full of clutter, it is time to reorganize or trash. Equipment and items that are good, but no longer in use, can be donated to local rescue shelters. If you don’t use it, and no one else needs it, or wants it – trash it. And consider using a different building in which to store miscellaneous household goods or tools, especially anything flammable.
Piles of towels or rags that have been soaked in oil-based liquids and tossed in a pile, can easily self-ignite if the temperature is high enough. Linseed oil, which is commonly used as a leather conditioner or varnish, is one of the main culprits found in barns, but not the only culprit. If you use a rag with a flammable liquid near your barn, it’s a good idea to first hang it out to dry. Once dry, place the rag into a sealed metal container, and remove it to the outside, far away from any structures.
Hay should be stored away from the main barn. When hay is not properly dried before it is baled and stored, there is a good chance for spontaneous combustion to occur. The reaction occurs in the center of the bale, where heat and moisture are under constant pressure. Once the temperature in the center of the hay bale exceeds 130°F, chemical reactions will occur in which gases are produced that become flammable upon contact with the air. Predictably, the risk is much greater during hot, humid weather and generally occurs within one or two months after the hay has been harvested.
Spontaneous combustion is not as rare as you might think, leading some to justify building a separate structure adequately away from your main barn where horses or other livestock are kept. Condensation on the ceiling, walls and/or windows, as well as a musty odor may be signs that the hay is overheating.
But what should you do if you suspect your hay is overheating? REMEMBER that oxygen is one of the three key elements that fire needs to ignite and grow. The sudden introduction of air could trigger the ignition of any hot gases that may exist deep inside the hay. Therefore, don’t attempt to remove any bales of hay at this point in time. Likewise, we don’t recommend you attempt to walk on the top of the hay, which may unintentionally disrupt any spots that may already be smoldering. While it is possible to determine the temperature of the hay with the use of a proper temperature probe, or other “home-made” methods, if you suspect that your hay may be overheating, contact a professional for advice who is independent of your hay source, such as a trusted veterinarian, or your fire department.
Inspect Electrical Wiring
While having all new wiring installed inside your existing barn can be expensive, it is well worth it, as many building fires are due to faulty or frayed wiring, especially in older buildings.Any new electrical wiring should be enclosed in corrosion-free, industrial conduits to protect from chewing rodents, and securely fastened to prevent livestock from tearing them loose.
If you’re unable to upgrade the wiring in your barn, be sure that it is inspected periodically, by a licensed electrician, for any signs of wear and tear or damage.If you haven’t already done so, it is also a good idea to have a master switch fitted in your home or another building that allows for complete shutdown of all power to the barn in the case of an emergency.And while you’re at it, make sure that there are protective cages fitted over all light bulbs.
Unplug Unused Appliances
Don’t leave electrical appliances or devices unattended in your barn or out-buildings and unplug them when they are not in use. Likewise, extension cords should be rolled up and stored when not being used. Devices that are often left on for long periods such as heat lamps or portable heating units can quickly cause a fire. If you must use such devices, use them sparingly and keep an eye on them.
Clear Aisles and Doorways
Unencumbered movement/travel is essential for the evacuation of people and animals out of a burning barn, as well as providing access to the fire for firefighters and needed emergency personnel and equipment. Be sure that all buckets, tools, wheel barrels, and other items are not blocking aisles, doorways, or exits – EVER! Once a fire starts, you will NOT have time to clear a path for you or your animals. Regardless of the flames, choking smoke will fill a burning barn within minutes, making evacuation or entry to the barn impossible without breathing apparatus. Keep any unused tools and equipment in proper storage and park any vehicles well away from the barn doors to ensure that emergency vehicles have close and easy access to the fire.
Create a Ready Water Supply
One of the most ideal solutions for firefighters is a fire hydrant that is linked to the municipal supply line. Unfortunately, responding fire trucks in many rural locations will need an alternative source of water since most rural homesteads will not be linked to city water lines.
If you have any natural body of water on the property, consider installing a dry hydrant-pipe. This will be a massive help to the fire department, allowing them to pull water directly from the water source through a connection installed nearer to your structures.
If there is not a natural water source on the farm property, make sure that you have at least two ordinary garden hoses installed along the barn – one on each side – in case one is unavailable due to the fire. If both are operable and able to hit the fire from both sides of the barn, the potential for knocking down the fire in time to really make a difference is greatly enhanced. This simple precaution may be your first line of defense in saving your horses and your barn. In some cases, it may be your only line of defense.
For the ultimate in fire protection, although not yet common in most barns, you might want to consider making an investment in the installation of an automatic sprinkler system. Unlike smoke detectors that only sound an alarm, a sprinkler system can activate an automatic spray of water at the first sign of a fire, perhaps extinguishing it well before any serious damage is done. It is definitely a long-term investment and there are currently no codes or laws requiring sprinkler systems in barns, but it could be an excellent “insurance policy” for your peace of mind, property, and livestock.
But fire protection isn’t limited to just the contents of your barn. Here are a few suggestions for making the exterior of your barn just as safe as its interior.
Installation of a Lightning Rod
Lightning rods are metal structures placed on the top of your barn for the purpose of intercepting and diverting the electricity, from a lightning strike, away from your flammable barn; redirecting it into the ground through a system of cables and wires, where it will safely dissipate. Regardless of what you may have heard, lightning rods do not attract lightning, but they can be invaluable weapons in helping to prevent fires and structural damage caused by lightning strikes.
Use Fire Resistant or Retardant Paints and Varnishes
There is a wide variety of products available such as interior and exterior paints, varnishes, and other additives that may not prevent a fire from starting, but should retard or slow the spread of fire to provide additional escape time. These flame resistant/retardant products are generally available in a variety of colors and finishes for an eye-pleasing experience, but they will also do an incredible job at helping to slow down the spread of fire. But take your time and special care to choose the correct product for the surface (i.e. metal, wood, concrete, etc.) and always provide proper application.
The Use of Non-Flammable Materials While Building or Remodeling
If you are considering building a new barn or remodeling an existing structure, there are a wide variety of materials that can be used today that are considerably less flammable than wood and equally acceptable for any type of climate and budget. If you do build or remodel with wood, it is best to consider using lumber that has been treated with a fire retardant chemical. As a reminder, fire retardant materials will burn, but at a much slower rate than conventional, non-treated lumber. For some extra peace of mind, prior to any new build or remodeling project, consult with experts such as the National Fire Protection Association for a full listing of codes and guidelines for safe animal housing.
Handheld fire extinguishers are an excellent tool to prevent a small fire from becoming a large one, but it’s IMPORTANT to remember that even if you have more than enough of the best and most expensive extinguishers, on the market, in your barn – they won’t matter one bit if they are inoperable, for whatever reason, the second you need them.
When choosing a fire extinguisher:
Consider those that are rated type ABC, which can be used on liquid, wood, and electrical fires.
They should be mounted in the tack room, as well as next to each door.
All fire extinguishers should be checked at least once or twice a year to ensure that they are fully operable and have not expired.
Make sure that anyone in and around your barn, including workers, have been thoroughly trained in the use of each fire extinguisher.
Flame Resistant Landscaping
So far, we’ve been discussing fires that may originate in your barn or from lightning, but what about fire that is threatening your barn from an external source such as a wildfire or a nearby existing structure fire? There are additional measures that can be taken to help reduce the risk of fire reaching your barn from an external source other than keeping your grass short around the barn and keeping all shrubs and trees neatly pruned.
For instance, did you know that although there are no known plants that are 100 percent fireproof, there are flame-resistant varieties of plants and other vegetation? Begin by examining surrounding plants/vegetation and replacing any that are flammable with flame resistant varieties, such as succulents and many deciduous trees and shrubs that will not burn as quickly as others.
Fire resistant plants maintain a high quantity of water within the leaves, have watery, free-flowing sap, and typically do not accumulate dead branches, needles, or leaves. On the other hand, highly flammable plants tend to retain their foliage, needles, or dead twigs. They may also contain rather volatile oils within the bark or leaves and have sticky sap. With so many varieties of plants, shrubs, and trees from which to choose, it might be a good idea to first consult with local landscaping experts and/or your local fire safety agency for your best options in fire-resistant landscaping projects.
Another safety measure is to create three separate landscaping zones, each one about 30 to 50 feet wide, and each being kept well-watered and free of any dead leaves or debris.
Zone 1 (inner) – the ground immediately surrounding the barn should be covered with gravel or stone pavers and perhaps just a few ground-cover plants.
Zone 2 (middle) – might include rock walls or fire resistant plants that don’t grow very high and remain rather green throughout most of the four seasons.
Zone 3 (outer) – might include tall shrubs or small trees, making sure that lower limbs are trimmed in order to prevent any fire from crawling up the tree trunks.
But you’re not done yet. Once you’ve assessed your fire prevention status and made any and all necessary changes or updates, give your local fire department a call and ask them to inspect your barn and property. They should be able to identify any hazards that you may have overlooked, offer evacuation plans for humans and animals alike, or simply provide suggestions to further enhance your fire safety situation. Finally, fire personnel will be able to help you create a pre-fire plan that will offer details of the property and any structures on the property that will allow them to be better prepared in the event of an emergency.
Should you ever see a fire in your barn:
Call 9-1-1 immediately!
Evacuate horses and other livestock, but ONLY if you can do so safely.
If it’s a small fire, and ONLY if you can do so safely, get some water on the fire, or attempt to otherwise contain or extinguish the fire.
Open all gates to the property.
Move any vehicles away from the barn to provide closer access for emergency personnel and vehicles.
Banixx For Horses
We hope you have enjoyed this article on how to prevent barn fires. If you would like to learn more about Banixx and it’s many uses for horses, please click here.
Your dog lets you know when he has an ear infection. The two most obvious giveaways are constant head shaking or pawing at the ear or face, and a bad smell coming from the ear.
You can also watch out for any dark discharge from your dog’s ear, redness in the ear canal, swollen/hot ear flaps and sensitivity or pain in the ears.
But just because you see some signs that indicate an ear infection, it doesn’t mean you should immediately make assumptions about the diagnosis. There are many types of ear infections, and it’s important to know the cause of your dog’s infection in order to treat it and cure it.
What A Veterinarian Does For Ear Infections
Ear infections are one of the top reasons people take their dogs to the vet. If you suspect your dog has one, a visit to the vet will result in your vet taking a swab of your dog’s middle ear fluid and looking at it under the microscope.
In some cases, he/she will send a sample to the lab to be cultured for bacteria. Only then can he/she tell if it’s due to yeast, fungus or wax, whether it’s a bacteria that’s sensitive to penicillin, or, if the ear infection is caused by allergies…well, you get the picture!
What If You Can’t Afford a Vet?
Because it’s always wise to take your sick dog to the vet, it’s really worth making the effort even if you think you can’t afford the visit. If you’re short of funds, call your vet and explain the situation. Some veterinary practices have an emergency fund for animals that need immediate help or are willing to work out a payment plan. Some vets may even be able to give you some free telephone advice.
Alternatively, you can try these ideas:
Contact your local humane society or animal shelter. While some states don’t allow these agencies to provide private care, in other states, they may be able to offer lower veterinary costs to help you out.
Check out animal aid organizations like the ones listed here, who offer help to those who need emergency help with vet bills.
Check out the local veterinary school; if there is one, they may have ideas or resources.
Your vet may also have ideas on local resources you can tap for a short-term loan.
What Can You Do To Help Your Dog?
If your dog does indeed have an ear infection caused by bacteria or fungus, one way to treat it at home is to use Banixx Pet Care, a soothing spray that gently and painlessly remedies the infection. It’s commonly referred to as an effective dog ear infection home remedy as its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties create an environment in the ear that makes it impossible for the infection to continue.
Banixx can be bought at most pet stores and online, and it is not expensive.
To apply it, all you need to do is moisten a cotton ball with Banixx 2-3 times a day, and then coat the inside of the ear liberally with the remedy. Some dogs are okay with you spraying Banixx directly into their ear but just make certain that the Banixx is room temperature or warmer. Dogs tolerate Banixx really well, but just imagine how you would feel if some-one unexpectedly doused your ears with cold water!
And note, it can safely be used around your dog’s eyes, nose, mouth, and ears, and, the great part….you cannot overdose.
Most dog owners report that Banixx provides immediate topical relief and helps to get rid of the infection within a couple of days. For more information about Banixx and its efficacy in treating dog ear infections, check this out.
Prevention Is The Best Option
The cheapest vet is the one you don’t have to visit! We recommend that you check your dog’s ears frequently (especially if she’s prone to ear infections), and make it a habit to clean them regularly. Many veterinarians recommend that your dog have his or her ears cleaned no more than once a week, but also at least once every month. If your pup happens to have floppy ears, or swims regularly, or has really heavy fur around his or her ears, or suffers from pesky skin allergies or just gets frequent ear infections, you ought to clean his or her ears more often.
Banixx For Dog Ear Infections
Again, Banixx can be used regularly as a dog ear cleaner and is easy on ear tissue (and, on the wallet) but potent against infection. And the good news is, with regular ear cleaning and staying vigilant, you may be able to avoid vet visits for ear infections in the future!