Halloween Safety Tips

Keep your dog safe this Halloween by keeping these tips in mind!

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1. Trick or Treat candy is not for your pets.
All forms of chocolate are dangerous for your pet, especially baking chocolate and dark chocolate. Many Halloween candies contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which is poisonous to your pup. Xylitol is also found in sugar-free gum and some peanut butters, please be aware of your peanut butter’s ingredients before you give it to your pup.

2. Don’t give your pet a chance to escape!
Keep anxious pets confined or away from the door and trick or treaters. Strangers dressed in costumes may frighten your dog, causing them to dart outside. Halloween is not a night to be looking for a lost family pet.

3. Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets.
Everyone loves a jack-o-lantern, but dogs and fire do not mix. Keep lit pumpkins out of reach of your dog, your pet may get too close and burn themselves or knock it over causing a fire.

4. Don’t dress you pet in a costume they don’t love!
If you decide your pup will make the perfect Robin to your Batman, make sure the costume fits correctly and is not annoying to your dog. The costume should not constrain movement, vision, hearing or breathing. Testing the costume a day or two before to see how they do is always a good idea. A bandana covered in bats or pumpkins is always a festive alternative.

5. Identification, Please!
Always make sure your pet is wearing identification. A dog tag with contact information or a microchip could save your puppies life, and increase the odds they will be returned safely to you.


Potty Train Your Puppy With 6 Simple Steps

The key to potty training is consistency. Follow the 6 simple steps below to quickly potty train your pup:

  1. Your puppy will need to go out frequently.  During training, puppies should be taken out every hour, also shortly after meals, playtime, naps, first thing in the morning and last thing before they go to bed at night.  In between these times, watch for signs your puppy may need to go to the bathroom, such as pacing, whining, sniffing, circling, etc.
  2. Choose a keyword or phrase you will use to encourage your puppy to go to the bathroom.  This can be any phrase, “outside,” “go potty,” “get busy” and so on.  Use a keyword you will not say frequently around your puppy at times when you do not want him/her going to the bathroom.
  3. Accompany your puppy outside.  Be sure to give your dog enough time, 5 to 10 minutes, to go to the bathroom.  During these outdoor potty sessions, do not let your dog play, instead walk around the yard with your puppy.
  4. Repeat your chosen keyword (command) as your puppy begins to show signs they are going to go to the bathroom.  Depending on your dog, you may not want to say the command word while they are in the act, it may distract them.
  5. Immediately reward your puppy with praise (“Good outside!”), attention and even a treat.  If your puppy does not go potty, do not give them a treat, take them back inside to keep an eye on them and try again later.
  6. If you catch your puppy in the act while inside, clap sharply two or three times, enough to startle your puppy and get their attention.  When startled, your puppy will stop going to the bathroom, immediately run them outside.  Let them finish going to the bathroom and reward your puppy.

You will learn the individual needs of your puppy quickly and can accommodate the frequency with which he/she will need to be taken outside.  Even once your dog has a handle on going to the bathroom outside, use of the keyword will encourage your dog to go to the bathroom on command.  You will appreciate this when you don’t want your dog, or yourself, spending too much time out in the snow during the winter!


What Foods Are Harmful to Dogs

It is always tempting especially during holidays when there is lots of chocolate and rich food around the house to share some with the dog, especially as most dogs will eye up anything that is edible! However, feeding dogs food such as chocolate is highly harmful to their bodies. Chocolate is toxic to dogs as it contains a chemical called theobromine, this is a stimulant that effects your dog’s nervous system and heart muscle. Dogs can’t metabolize theobromine as effectively as humans, although different chocolates contain different amounts of theobromine and different sized dogs can tolerate different amounts before it affects their health, it is best to avoid giving your dog chocolate altogether to be safe. There are lots of doggie treats that are safe to give your dog and will taste just as good.

The warning signs that your dog has eaten chocolate may include vomiting, diarrhoea or hyperactivity. As the chemical is absorbed into their system their heart rate may increase which can cause arrhythmia, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination or excessive panting. This can lead to hyperthermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death. If you suspect that your dog has eaten harmful amounts of chocolate take them to your vet immediately.

Other harmful foods that are dangerous to your dog include sweets, raw salmon, onions and garlic in large quantities, grapes, raisins, mushrooms, caffeine and mistletoe berries. Of course there are lots of things that are harmful to dogs that we wouldn’t think twice about eating, as well as the usual things to be wary of such as household cleaning chemicals, anti-freeze, rat poison etc. To keep your dog safe, treat them as you would a small child, put dangerous chemicals in a high cupboard out of reach, to avoid the risk of them eating things they shouldn’t!


Veterinary Visits Made Easy

There is something about the smell of a vet surgery that absolutely terrifies some dogs, with their claws gripped into the ground and all their weight shifted to one side you are not moving them, and if you try to move them and succeed their final and back up technique of collapsing to the floor, shifts into action. The reason for this is that vet visits for some dogs can be quite terrifying and a daunting experience, so making vet visits more enjoyable will ensure a better experience for both your dog and yourself.

Here is how to make vet visits more enjoyable:

Before the visit ensure that your dog has been to the toilet, so that there are no unexpected surprises while in the vet. This also helps your dog become as comfortable as possible.

Walking your dog beforehand is best, so that your dog does not have too much surplus energy and so that he will be more patient and less restless while in their care.

Take some treats to the vet with you and try to make the vet visit a fun trip for your dog by stroking him often and giving him these treats. You could even ask the veterinary staff to also treat your dog.

Comfort your dog and keep him calm throughout the whole experience. If he senses that you are calm, it will rub off on your dog and he will see that there is nothing to worry about after all.

Try to get your dog used to being examined and handled by veterinary staff. You can do this by regularly touching and examining your dog in all different areas such as; his paws, ears, mouth and tail. These are all highly sensitive areas that you dog could dislike being touched.

Lastly, if you feel your dog is still nervous make sure that the veterinary staff put a muzzle on him, just as a precaution.

This will make the whole experience less stressful and will enable the staff to carry out examinations or treatments quickly and at ease.

If you follow the above advice, you are doing all you can to ensuring that your dog has an enjoyable vet visit…..well as enjoyable as they can be anyway!


Safe In the Sun

As the warmer weather is approaching, it is the perfect opportunity to spend more time outdoors with your faithful friend, slowly strolling, appreciating nature and breathing fresh air, while your excited pooch explores the surroundings – nothing is better.

Sometimes the weather can get very hot, often hotter than predicted and if there is a breeze it can trick you into thinking it’s not that hot, whereas really it is. Due to their fur coats dogs can heat up very quickly. It is therefore important to observe your dog and to look out for the vital first signs of heatstroke, or most importantly prevent heatstroke from occurring in your dog.

To prevent heatstroke from occurring in your dog follow this advice:

Ensure that you are not out walking in the hottest part of the day (Between 12.00 and 15.00).

Keep your dog hydrated with plenty of water on standby.

Come out of the direct sun and find some cool places in the shade regularly.

If you follow these simple steps above, you are ensuring that your dog is keeping cool and safe in the sun at the same time.

A dog’s body temperature should be around the 102°F mark; this is the safe and normal temperature of a dog.

If you think that your dog may be suffering with heatstroke, look for the vital first signs which include:

Excessive panting.

Drooling saliva.

A dark or red tongue.

A dazed look in eyes.

Appearing dizzy or unstable.

More advanced symptoms include:

Diarrhoea.

Sickness.

Coma.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, act quickly to halt heatstroke from occurring.

There are several ways to cool a dog suffering with heatstroke and these are:

Cooling your dog down with cool but not ice cold water.

Giving your dog small quantities of water to drink.

If possible, put on a fan or an air conditioning system to cool your dog.

Sponge your dog gently on the head and under his tummy with cool water.

Dogs are more at risk of getting heatstroke than us humans; it is not just because of their fur coats, but also because dogs cool themselves by panting and not by sweating like we do. Panting is not such an effective method of cooling the body temperature down as sweating is.

Also if you take your dogs out in the car for trips or days out, ensure that they are not left in the car alone, as on hot days the temperature in the car can quickly heat up, sometimes up to as much as double the outside temperature. This is obviously very dangerous for your dog, even if you previously had the air conditioning on in the car, or have left a bowl of water for your dog, it will still not sufficient enough to stop them from overheating in a short space of time.

It is possible for us to enjoy the long awaited sun and keep our pooches safe at the same time, its just about maintaining a balance to keep everyone healthy.


Piggy or Healthy Dog?

How to stop your dog from becoming overweight

It is always the big question how much should I feed my dog, especially when they can’t tell you when they are hungry or full. Feed them too much, they may get fat and are at a higher risk of developing serious health problems; feed them too little and they become scavengers and eat anything that looks like it might have a taste.

There is no right or wrong answer and every dog is different, it is sometimes just trial and error what suits your dog best, however these factors will heavily influence how much food a day your dog needs:

Breed and size
Current life-stage (Age)
Exercise levels
Climate(Time of year)

Some dogs will never turn down food even when they’re not hungry some dogs just love to eat and others will pick at their food and take their time, each dog has their own individual eating habits. Follow these top tips when deciding on the portion size of your dog’s meals:

Provide a Nutritionally Balanced Diet

It may be a recipe based on the vet’s advice or a commercial recommended formula; whatever diet you choose for your dog make sure it is nutritionally balanced and keep it consistent. Veterinary nutritionist’s advice will be tailored to your dog’s needs and what they think is best. If you are going with commercial recommendations it will say in the ingredients on the pack what the food contains, enabling you to provide your dog with a balanced diet. If it doesn’t agree with your dog’s body it will soon become apparent, change the dog’s food or seek a vet’s advice if you are unsure what is best.

Measure, Measure, Measure!

This is essential when you are trying to work out how much to feed your dog. Use a measuring tool or something in the kitchen that will ensure you are feeding your dog exactly the same amount each meal.

Learn the Right Amount

The right amount of food is determined through trial and error. You may have to increase and decrease food amounts over time until you achieve the right daily portion. For example you may start off feeding one can of food a day and see that your dog is getting overweight, your vet can determine a healthy weight for the particular breed. You may then start to reduce the amount by a spoonful a day until the dog reaches a healthy weight. Vice versa if the dog is looking underweight for the breed you may gradually start increasing the amount you feed per day by a spoonful until the dog reaches a healthy weight and you can continue feeding the dog the correct amount.

Don’t Forget That Treats Count

Treats are food too, and they’re usually more calorically dense, so take into consideration how many treats you are feeding your dog per day when calculating how much food they have.

Amount of Exercise

The amount of food intake should take into account the amount of regular exercise (or lack of) your dog gets each day. If your dog is very active, running everywhere they go you may want to increase the amount of food to avoid them becoming underweight. However if your dog is not walked at least once every day the food they consume will not be burnt off and therefore you may need to decrease the amount they eat daily to avoid obesity.

Age-Related Changes

You can expect the age of your dog to affect their metabolism (like our own) slows down, along with their reduced activity means they can be prone to becoming overweight, this can put an unnecessary strain on their body. Therefore give elderly dogs a little less food every year or try switching to dog food which is designed for senior dogs which have a lower fat content.

Use these tips as a guide when feeding your dog and remember your vet can always give you advice on how much specifically your dog requires on a daily basis.


Don’t Leave Me!

Separation anxiety in dogs is when a dog cannot cope with its owner leaving the house and with having to be left to his own devices.

It’s important to prevent separation anxiety from occurring in dogs as it can lead to concerning behavior in your dog. If you feel your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety or you would like to prevent your dog from suffering from it, this article will be of interest to you.

Separation anxiety in dogs relates back to a dogs natural instinct, which is wanting to hunt in packs and not wanting to be left to fend for himself. Being left by himself can be seen as a threat to him, as he has no pack to hunt for food with and he has no pack to help protect him from dangers or threats and that is when separation anxiety can occur.

Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

If your dog is:

Barking, howling or crying when left alone.

Destructing or damaging things.

Following you around, everywhere you go.

Scratching or whining at a closed door which you are behind.

Nervous or pacing when you are about to leave.

Overly excited when you return, even just from collecting milk from outside the front door.

Going to the toilet in your home.

Not eating any treats or chews that you leave for him.

Trying to come out the front door with you.

Laying down and staring at the front door.

If you have notice a few of these above behaviors in your dog, your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety and you should follow the below tips and hints which will help you to treat separation anxiety in dogs.

Ways to Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Be confident when you are leaving the house and do not show any signs of concern, as your dog will sense this.

Ignore any hyperactive or anxious behavior.

Reward good or calm behavior.

Ensure your dog gets enough exercise, so he can release some of his energy.

Get your dog used to the sounds you make when you are leaving and repeat these sounds at various intervals of the day, whether it is opening the coat cupboard or picking up your house keys.

Try to relax your dog by leaving the radio on while you are out.

Do not fuss over an anxious dog, as it only makes them think that there was a reason to be anxious.

If you want to prevent separation anxiety in your dog, you should follow the same tips as you would if you were treating it.

Additional things you can do to prevent separation anxiety in dogs are; not fussing over your dog too much, not taking him everywhere with you, not carrying him around too much, not picking your dog up if he is attention seeking, creating boundaries so that your dog gets used to you going some places that he can’t go and also letting him get used to being with other people, by asking a friend to take care of him for a couple of hours every now and then.

If you follow all the advice mentioned, you should be well on your way to becoming the proud owner of a happy, confident and independent dog rather than an upset, anxious and nervous dog that is always fretting.
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Dog + Baby?

Whether it is a new baby or another pet, introducing a permanent addition to the family can be a stressful anxious time for your dog, it is important to keep this transition as easy as possible on yourself and your family as well as the dog. Here are some helpful training tips to make sure you have full control over your dog:

Gradual Changes– adding a new family member can be a big shock to your dog, be sure to ease the transition. If you know you are expecting a baby or planning to buy another dog then gradually reduce the time and attention you are giving your dog over time. This will ensure that when the time comes the dog will notice less of a change in the household dynamics when the new member is introduced.
Leadership– As part of your family your dog will see himself as part of a pack, is it important that you smooth our any issues you might be having with your dog before you introduce a new arrival to the family. Reinforce your status as the leader of the pack so your dog will know they are at the bottom of the pack and therefore will not misbehave towards the new member of the family, or show any signs or aggression.
Keeping your dog calm– Some dogs may become over excited, jumping up and being very vocal around new situations and this can put an extra strain on you and the new pet or baby. Dog spaying or neutering is often a recommended procedure, as dogs that have had these operations tend to be a lot are calmer than those that have not.
Familiarize your dog with a similar situation- If you have friends that have small children, encourage them to come by the house, this will allow your dog to see that small children and infants are of no threat to them. If you are introducing a new baby then bring used baby clothes, blankets or even use some talk on your arm or baby oil so that your dog will get used to the baby’s scent. If you are introducing a family pet introduce your dog to a pet of the same species as the new one you are getting. This will improve your dog’s socialization skills with the animal. Always carefully assess these situations carefully and know your dog’s warning signs just in case they become aggressive at all. It may take a few greetings for your dog to adjust, but as much preparation as possible is always best.
First meeting- The first time your dog meets the new member of the family, this being a new pet or baby, the dog may see it as a threat to their territory, this can often result in aggression, barking, jumping up. In order to counter act this you should introduce the two in an environment that is neutral, an unfamiliar park if it is a new pet maybe or a friends or family members house of you are introducing a new baby. Use positive reinforcement for both pets if you are introducing a new pet to the family to avoid aggression.
Maintain a routine– Once you have introduced the new arrival don’t forget the dog, they do not need special attention you just need to simplify their day by providing them with a routine. Regular walks around the same time every day, the time they spend in the house and their sleeping areas to be similar each day. This will make your dog feel secure in their new family environment and relaxed.

Follow these tips when introducing your dog to a new member of the family to make the transition as stress free and easy as possible on both yourself and your dog.
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Coughing Doggie?

Coughing in Dogs

Dogs can develop coughs for many different reasons and there are many types of coughs. It is the type of cough and any other present symptoms that help us to make a judgement of what exactly may be causing the cough in our dog. Some causes are relatively easy to treat, whereas other causes are more serious and will require prompt treatment or medication to solve the problem.

Types of Coughs in Dogs:

Dry
Hacking
Moist
Deep
Gagging
Honking

Coughing in dogs can sometimes occur every so often, for long periods at a time or can come and go in bouts.

Causes of Coughing in Dogs:

Kennel Cough – your dog will have a dry, powerful and hacking cough with possible sneezing, eye discharge and a runny nose present.
Bronchitis – your dog will have a nagging dry cough that is aggravated by exercise or movement, they may also retch and foamy saliva can be present.
Distemper – your dog will have a dry cough with thick eye and nasal discharge.
Parasites – your dog may develop a cough as the parasites work their way into the respiratory tract.
Fungal Infection – your dog may sometimes develop a cough with a fungal infection too.
Heart Disease and Heart Failure – your dog develops a prolonged cough that occurs after exercise and worsens at night.
Heartworm – your dog develops a cough as an advanced stage of heartworm.
Collapsing Trachea – your dog will have a cough that sounds like a honk due to inflammation in the respiratory tract.
Allergies – your dog may have inhaled an irritant that he has an allergy to and this can cause a moist cough.
Auto Immune Disease – your dog may express the same cough as a dog would do with an allergy cough, a moist cough, due to the increased production of mucus.
Pneumonia – your dog will have a cough and possibly nasal discharge.
Collar is too tight – your dog may need his collar loosening as it could be putting pressure on his respiratory tract.

So it is also important to look out for the vital signs that accompany coughing as well as symptoms not to be ignored such as; fever, sickness, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties and lethargy. If your dog has just started coughing or if you have noticed they have been coughing for a few days, the best thing is to take them to the vet for a check-up, better to be safe than sorry, as coughing in dogs should never be left. A lot of the coughing symptoms are similar for non serious and serious conditions so it is hard to make a firm diagnosis without seeing a vet.


Chewing Everything!

Dogs and puppies chew objects around the house at different ages for many different reasons. This blog will give you reasons behind your dog’s mischievous behavior and give you tips on how to combat it.

Normal Behavior

It is perfectly normal for a puppy to want to chew things around the house. Chewing is how they explore the world around them and can also be a sign of teething. Similar to when teething babies seem to want to put everything in their mouths! Teething occurs between the ages 14-28 weeks. Puppies tend to grow out of this behavior; chew toys will help soothe and loosen the gums around teeth. Allowing baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to grow through. Exploratory chewing occurs between the ages of 28-52 weeks. (However every dog is different so if your dog doesn’t chew between these times or chews for a bit longer this is perfectly normal). In the meantime giving your pup a chew toy will give them the same satisfaction of chewing without damaging your house!

However for some unlucky owners this destructive chewing continues into adolescence.

Reasons for continued chewing:

Attention Seeking-If you are constantly telling your puppy off for chewing and being naughty but good behavior is not rewarded with attention, then your puppy will start to associate chewing with getting your attention. They will chew things knowing it will get you to chase them round the room. Some dogs crave attention whether this is good or bad.

Boredom-if your puppy is left on their own for long periods of time thought the day, dogs are similar to people and can get lonely. Give your puppy toys that are different sizes, tastes, textures that make different noises and rotate them so they won’t get bored of the same ones. We offer a day care service which is available to you 5 days a week so if leaving your puppy alone is a regular thing then booking them into day care would be a healthy solution to this problem also allowing the dog to be exercised and socialized during the day.