We hear a lot about autism and children but dogs and autism is most likely more rare. Because of this lack of awareness on this subject I wanted to write this post.
A friend of mine has a dog whom we believe has autism. This wasn’t a diagnose that any vet gave this dog but one that we both determined after much time and research. She took her dog to trainers and vets complaining of her dog’s dysfunctional habits and all the vet suggested was to take her to an animal behaviorist.
This dog was a completely normal dog when they adopted her. I can attest to this fact because as her pet sitter I have many videos of her playing to prove this fact. Her only real issue then was she didn’t want to walk on a leash.
Then it seemed overnight she changed. When she came over she would want to go directly to the furthest point in my house and lay down and stay there all day. She would seek seclusion where ever she was. I tried to put up a gate to force her with other dogs and me. She would try to climb behind the tv and wanted no part of socializing.
She would always be looking up at the ceiling as if something was there.
When she went outside she would do the same thing that she did inside. She would find the furthest point in my yard from back door and stay there. It could be 10 degrees and she would not come back in the house. She apparently would rather freeze than be around any dogs or people. I would always have to go outside find her pick her up and carry her back into my house.
It’s not like there was anyone bothering her my dogs are low-keyed all in their own little world. After a lot of research and her owner mentioning that she noticed her changes after some vaccinations we both thought maybe she has autism. There is a lot of data that says children are diagnosed with autism after many vaccinations so why isn’t it possible for the same to be true of dogs.
Symptoms of Dogs With Autism
Dogs with autism may not display any symptoms or the symptoms are very subtle and may not be recognized.
However, some dogs with autism may show some symptoms. The main symptoms of dog autism include:
- Dysfunctional interaction with other dogs or owner
- Restricted behavior, as autistic dogs may only limit themselves to performing only a few moves avoiding new moves and games
- Repetitive actions. Dogs with autism tend to have a routine they like to stick to.
- Apathy and inability to communicate joy, fear or other feelings
- Lack of activity, even if the breed is a high energy dog
Luckily my dogs have not had many eye infections that I can remember. The only time I recall was when my Pomeranian Precious developed one because of the extreme case of demodectic mange that she had. It seems dogs with severe mange loose their hair around their eyes. It guess the mites are drawn to that area. It’s common for secondary infections to occur with mange.
While there are many other causes of eye infections in dogs a common reason with dogs who do not shed is the hair is continually growing and when not kept trimmed can irritate the dog’s eye which can then lead to infection.
As a pet sitter I’ve cared for many of these breeds and know their hair grows out quickly. Living in Ohio with cold winter you don’t really want to cut their hair when it’s 15 degrees outside. The important thing is that you keep the hair around the eyes trimmed so it won’t irritate them otherwise it could be the cause of any eye infections they develop.
Recently I had the pleasure of pet sitting for a really cute dog. Her favorite game was for me to throw her toy and she would chase it. I was throwing her toy and she would run after it but end up looking around like she was having trouble seeing it.
Since she was a Schnitzu who was obviously overdue for a haircut, my first thought was help her see and proceeded to find my scissors to give her a little trim. It was then I noticed an extreme amount of grey discharge. I know that some breeds of dogs like Maltese, Pekingese, Pug and Schnitzu are all prone to eye infections because their hair sometimes acts like an irritant to the eyes.
I proceeded to trim he hair around her eyes with a small set of scissors…….no skill required unless you have a wiggly dog then its best to have someone help you. I then cleaned out her eyes with a warm wet cotton ball and her owners seemed pleased when they came to get her.
I mentioned they might want to check with their vet to see if she needs some medication for her eye discharge and they told me they had eye medication at home so it must have been a problem the dog had experienced before.
So if you notice a heavy discharge in your dog’s eyes it’s always best to see your veterinarian right away because if it is not treated promptly and correctly, a dog’s eye infection could cause permanent eye damage.
Isn’t she cute!
Do you have a dog that is always hungry and begging for food? Have you asked your vet more than once to test her for low thyroid? Do you keep getting the same answer from him? “Her blood work is normal.” Do you measure her food and she is still overweight? Have you spent hours online searching for a possible answer to why your dog is so hungry all the time? If this sounds like you and your dog welcome to my club.
I have three Pomeranians, two of them are about 6 or 7 pounds. Bria my third Pomeranian was close to 23 pounds. I like to think she is bigger boned but that was just a fantasy of mine. I know sometimes hereditary is involved but I don’t think she should weigh more than 15 pounds. The problem is she eats her food and usually two hours later she starts begging for more. She barks and won’t stop until I give her something. Many people including my regular vet just told me to ignore her when she begs for food, but he does not understand how persistent she can be.
Things I’ve Tried To Help My Dog To Lose Weight That Didn’t Work.
I’ve tried giving her raw carrots in between meals, I’ve also tried to break her feeding down to four small meals instead of two. I’ve tried switching her to a grain free diet because I was told that rice is converting to sugar too fast in her system.
I read that if my dog was having poor absorption of nutrients from her digestive system that her body would send out messages that say she is still hungry. So I tried giving her vitamins and digestive enzymes.
I read many articles proposing the science between probiotics and weight loss. Acidophilus seems to have an effect on leptin the hormone that controls your hunger, metabolism and long-term body weight. I started giving my dog probiotics.
When that didn’t work I tried switching her to canned food because it has more meat protein and fewer carbohydrates than dry kibble. While this seemed to fill her up longer this was not the answer either.
All or even a few of these changes may help your dog but it didn’t help my overweight constantly hungry Pomeranian Bria. I decided to look for a holistic vet and see if we could get to the bottom of her problem.
How I Finally Got My Dog To Lose Weight.
Since I had recently started cooking for my dogs he told me to put her on an Atkins diet. He gave me a slip of paper that contained feeding guidelines for overweight dogs. Her food would contain 50% protein, 40% vegetables and 10% fats.
I started fixing her this diet and still would give her carrots in between meals. I would try to save a tablespoon of her measured food to give her a few hours later when she started begging for food again.
Luckily the weather was cooler and we tried to walk every day. When I went back to the vet a few weeks later for something else I don’t remember, I couldn’t believe that she actually lost weight.
She continued to lose weight over the next month. When the scale read 19.9 lbs. I can’t tell you how happy I was. I don’t remember her weighing less than 20 pounds since she was two years old.
She continues to lose weight and currently weighs 18.5 lbs. I hope that she can get down to 15 lbs. and then I will decide if she needs to lose more or she can just start eating an adult maintenance diet that my holistic vet recommended.
For those of you who would like to know the proportions of an adult dog maintenance diet it is 30% protein foods, 30% vegetables, 20% carbohydrates and 20% fats.
I hope this gives any overweight dogs and their owners some renewed hope for a healthier weight. I’ve included some more information on the protein, vegetables, carbohydrates and fats to help clarify this diet.
Preparing Home Food For Dogs
Protein sources may be beef, chicken, turkey, lamb fish, pork cottage cheese eggs, soy foods or liver.
Vegetables may be celery, broccoli squash, kale, brussel sprouts, peas, green beans, lima beans. Fruits like berries and melon can be added in season. Avoid fruits if dog is overweight.
Carbohydrates include sweet potato, pasta, rice quinoa, and barley.
Fats can be olive oil, sunflower oil, flax oil or coconut oil which I prefer. One teaspoon of oil per 2o lbs. of pet’s body weight daily.
I hope this helps with anyone who had an overweight dog and I just want to mention that I used beef or turkey that was 96 % fat-free as her protein source. Yes it was more expensive than the 85% fat-free ground chuck me and my husband ate but what the heck she is worth it.
The following is Bria’s before picture, I think I’ll wait until she gets down to 15 lbs. to add her after picture. But trust me all my friends have noticed a big change in her. She plays more than she did before also.
As an added note puppies and dogs with cancer or kidney failure also have a different feeding guidline which I will be happy to share with anyone who would like more information.