Log on to our live and interactive web TV show to for tips and advice on how to make sure your dog stays healthy and happy this autumn
Show date: Tuesday 23rd September Show time: 13.00
Keeping our precious pooches healthy is the number one priority for responsible pet owners, yet how many of us only take our dogs to the vet when they get sick, or they are in pain?
Preventative health care is a key aspect of responsible dog ownership, and moving from the summer months into autumn and eventually winter can be a challenging time.
On the back of long, dry summer and mild autumn, we can expect to see a much higher prevalence of ticks.
And as we move into the cooler winter months and turn on our central heating, we need to be aware of the potential for fleas to multiply in our warm homes. So what do we need to look out for, to ensure our pets are not subjected to unwanted passengers and the diseases they can bring.
Log on to our web TV show where Chris Packham and leading vet, Paul Sands, will talk through what you can do to ensure your dogs remain parasite and disease free.
The doggie advent calendars have been created to educate the general public on the best ways to avoid the pitfalls when looking for a new pet, spreading awareness of Pup Aid and to fundraise for animal rescues across the country. The biscuits and chews within the advent calendar are all made with human-grade ingredients and are fit for human consumption. They contain no salt, no sugar, no additives and no preservatives to ensure they are the healthy choice. Order your advent calendar today and we’ll deliver it to your door in the last 10 days of November.
At least 50p from each sale goes to Pup Aid to help them lobby the government to change the welfare laws surrounding the sale of puppies and kittens. Another 50p from each sale will go to the UK animal rescue of choice of the purchaser. Details about the biscuits and chews, including manufacturer, ingredients, analytical content are listed on the calendar, so owners that have a dog with allergies can check before giving their pet the daily treats.
Your dog spends, on average, ten hours a day sleeping. As he dreams of chasing the postman, fetching you the world’s best stick and finally catching up with that rabbit, is he doing it comfortably? When buying your best friend a new bed, you can’t exactly climb inside and curl up to check how comfortable it is. So what should you be looking for? There are all kinds of different designs and styles when it comes to dog beds. Read on to find the best match for your little companion.
For smaller, less independent breeds
If you have a small, companion or lap dog breed, they can get quite prone to separation anxiety. This doesn’t mean that they should be allowed to sleep in your bed all the time! Instead, buy them their own, snuggly little nest bed that they can feel safe and protected in. Whether it’s a more open, basket style boudoir or a more enclosed den, a high sided bed is great for any anxious little hound that just needs to burrow under the covers.
For the older customer
As a wise old hound once remarked, every dog has its day. All dogs can suffer from the joint pain and arthritis associated with getting on in years. If your dog shifts around uncomfortably in bed, rearranging limbs and struggling to settle, it’s probably time to invest in an orthopaedic dog bed for him. Look for one enhanced with a memory foam layer; it will take the pressure off joints, and can even help prevent nasty, expensive problems like hip dysplasia from developing.
For chilly households
Since heat rises, the area your dog occupies in the house — i.e. floor height — is likely the coldest. You can move his bed into a warm corner, like by the fire, or place it by a radiator, but in winter this might not be enough. Heated dog beds are a great solution for cooler homes, and designed to radiate your dog’s body heat back to him! Alternatively, there are always plug in bed mats that work just like electric blankets!
Even if you do occasionally let Misty or Boris snuggle at the bottom of your own bed, a dog bed is essential. Remember, from time to time we all need our own personal space in which to lie down and escape from it all. Let your dog have theirs.
Is your dog expecting a litter of puppies? If so, you might want to prepare yourself to ease this experience for your pooch and her puppies. Dogs usually stay pregnant for approximately nine weeks. Generally, your dog’s pregnancy symptoms will be virtually unnoticeable until they reach three weeks of gestation. Some of the early signs include appetite loss and nausea, which is the equivalent to morning sickness for humans. Around five weeks, her waist and rib cage will appear wider, and her nipples will be much darker in color.
The absolute best way to confirm your dog’s pregnancy is with an ultrasound, which can be performed around day 21. When she reaches 45 days, a radiograph can be taken to determine how many puppies she is carrying. Once you have confirmed their pregnancy, this is what you should expect when your dog is expecting.
The Pregnant Dog: Your dog will be undergoing a lot of physical and mental changes during pregnancy. As previously mentioned, the first two-thirds of their pregnancy will feature little to no change in their activity level, appearance and appetite. It isn’t until three to four weeks of pregnancy that they begin to gain weight and mammary glands begin to develop. This is the time where puppies are rapidly developing, and clear vaginal discharge can be seen and will likely continue until birth.
Diet: The diet that you feed future mom is crucial to her health as well as the developing puppies. They require an extremely high-quality diet, but no major changes should be made during the first five weeks of gestation. At four weeks of pregnancy, you should begin increasing the amount of food that she consumes on a daily basis by at least 25 percent. This is the time where puppies begin to demand more nutrition, and satisfying the demand will ensure that all of them stay healthy and strong.
Contrary to popular belief, you should not incorporate any vitamins or supplements into their diet, especially calcium. Feeding them extra amounts of calcium increases their risk of eclampsia, also known as milk fever, which is a dangerous health issue that is often fatal. Furthermore, many supplements have the potential to cause a variety of birth defects. Try to keep your pooch away from them during pregnancy unless recommended by veterinarian.
How Long Do Dogs Stay Pregnant
Featured photo of an adorable puppy by Simson Petrol via Flickr.com
Exercise: A pregnant female dog needs daily activity to keep the muscles exercised, especially her uterine muscles. Short daily walks are the best option; do not overexert her as it will stress out the puppies. Exercise is important because it prepares her for the physical aspect of birth, and will prevent her from becoming obese from additional food intake. During the last three weeks of pregnancy, no more walking is needed.
Prepping for puppies: When the time comes, you will need to set up a private, warm and clean whelping box where your dog can deliver and rear all of her puppies. Large cardboard boxes and children’s playpens are excellent options, but if not sufficient in size, use hard plastic panels or wood to block off a section of your home that is far from drafts. Determine the height of the walls by the breed of the dog that will be giving birth. They should be short enough so the mother can easily enter and exit the area but tall enough to prevent the newborn puppies from escaping. Fill it with plenty of blankets or towels to ensure that she remains comfortable and warm. Her whelping box should be set up several weeks before she is expected to give birth. This gives your canine enough time to nest and get comfortable within the area. Keep her food and water close by for convenience.
Pre-birth: 6 to 24 hours before going into labor, you may notice excessive panting, vomiting, restlessness and a decrease in the dog’s appetite. If she does not eat for more than a day without delivering, contact your veterinarian immediately. It is important to keep your home quiet during the moment before birth and to keep her inside away from other dogs as added protection from disease and stress. Her normal temperature will be 100 to 102 degrees, but will drop to 99 degrees 12 to 24 hours before labor.
Labor: You don’t need a veterinarian for your dog to deliver her puppies; most of the time, she will know exactly what to do. Once the mom begins to give birth to her puppies, hard labor should not last longer than an hour. If it does last longer than this, then it might be good to contact your vet over the phone and follow their directions. Once they are done whelping it is best to take her as well as the puppies in for any exam to rule out any problems and to make sure that everyone is healthy. Do so either on the same day or the day after that, but don’t wait longer than 48 hours.
This Tuesday 26th August is International Dog Day and to celebrate, Dogs Unite, a Guide Dogs initiative, is calling on all dogs to become heroes for the day, by taking part in a sponsored dog walk to raise vital funds for Guide Dogs.
By signing up to their own ‘My Dogs Unite’ sponsored walk, K9 crusaders will be sent special superdog capes, to help turn the ordinary dog walk into an extraordinary one – changing the lives of those living with sight loss by raising vital funds for guide dogs and as they walk.
My Dogs Unite walks can take place either on International Dog Day or at any time this summer, and those signing up can also nominate their friends to do the same. Dogs and their owners taking part will be helping Guide Dogs to support more people who are visually impaired to lead confident, independent and active lives.
To help mark International Dog Day, Dogs Unite has also been asking the nation to name their ultimate doggy heroes. Researchers found that legendary Lassie topped the charts of the poll (40%), followed by World Trade Centre hero, Trakr (16%), with Buddy, the very first guide dog, in third place (14%).
The top 5 famous dog heroes are:
1. Lassie – The well-loved TV character Dog made famous for always saving the day
2. Trakr – The dog made famous when, together with police officer James Symington, he helped dig through 30 feet of unstable debris at the World Trade Center “ground zero” site and located the last human survivor of the attack
3. Buddy – Thought to be the first ever guide dog, Buddy was trained after WW1 to help blind veterans
4. Vidar – The army dog due to be put down due to PTSD but was rescued by the Soldier whose life she saved in Afghanistan
5. Gelert – The legendary dog wrongly thought to have killed a baby – whose life he in fact had saved by protecting the baby from an attacking wolf
If you’re heading to Europe, travel by Eurotunnel is safest, as your pets stays with you all the time, whereas on cross channel ferries your dog will have to stay in the car without you, and without any supervision.
There are several diseases in Europe that aren’t found in the UK, often spread by ticks and biting insects.
Effective tick control is essential for travelling dogs, and in some areas you will need to protect against diseases carried by biting insects such as heartworm and leishmaniasis.
Ask your vet about specific treatment before travelling abroad.
Don’t forget to check if your pet insurance is valid overseas.
If your pet is on medication take a plentiful supply. Be vigilant for hazards like roads and rivers and careful with pets around unfamiliar dogs.
Make sure your dog’s tag has your mobile on it so they can be returned to you quickly if they get lost. It goes without saying that your dog should be microchipped and your contact details should be up to date (see below for more on ID).
It’s worth checking out local legislation before you travel too, as different countries have different laws on dogs.
In Italy, for example, dog owners are required to carry a muzzle and should put it on their pet when asked. In this case, it’s a good idea to get your dog muzzle trained before you head off so they are used to it if they have to put it on.
Some countries have breed-specific legislation and the list of which breeds and types of dogs are banned may differ from the UK. Laws banning some types of dog might not be the same in all part of a country, so check you know what the rules are in the part you are visiting.
Wherever you’re going, home or abroad – your pet will appreciate some familiar things such as their own bed and favourite toys, so don’t forget to pack these.
Staycation Check the hotel, cottage or campsite you want to visit allows dogs at the time of booking. Some holiday accommodation may charge a small fee for a dog, but this is usually cheaper than leaving them in boarding kennels at home.
Most pet friendly accommodation will have details of the nearest vet for emergencies, but it’s worth checking before you travel just in case.
Make a note of your insurance details to take with you should the worst happen.
Travelling in the car Make sure your dog is secured by a harness or barrier and that there is plenty of ventilation. You can keep the temperature inside the car as cool as possible by using sun screens on the windows to protect from direct sunlight, and by avoiding the midday heat.
To keep your dog cool you can use a misting spray, but avoid his face.
Make sure your dog has plenty of access to clean water. Never leave your dog alone in the car – even with the windows open. Dogs can’t sweat in the same way we do and can suffer from heatstroke within minutes.
Identification Make sure your dog is microchipped and your contact details on the chip are up to date. This means if your dog does go missing, he can be returned to you when his microchip is scanned.
It is a legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar with a tag displaying the owner’s name and address.
It’s a good idea to have a separate tag made with the name and location of the accommodation you are staying at so a finder knows how to contact you if your dog gets lost while on holiday.
How do you and your dog like to get your exercise? With one in three dogs being overweight, it is so important to keep your dog healthy. Sainsbury’s Bank have put together an infographic to showcase the weird and wonderful types of exercises for dogs. The activities range from canicross, disc dog, dog diving and even skijoring! Take a look at the infographic to see what you and your dog could get up to today.
The UK is a nation of pet-owners, and this rather sweeping statement is supported by statistics produced by the PFMA. Dogs are a particular favourite among British residents, as an estimated 25% of all UK households include a canine as a member of their family. While there are a large number of dog owners throughout the nation, however, it is fair to say that there remains concerns about welfare and whether or not every individual takes full responsibility for the well-being of their pet. Owning and caring for a dog should represent a learning process, however, and one which drives constant improvement and dedication.
The Importance of Keeping your Dogs cool during the summer
One of the most important things to note is that there are many breeds of dog, each of which have various subtleties in terms of their behaviour and genetic make-up. There are some universal traits which all dogs share, however, with a tendency to overheat during the summer been one of the most prominent. You must take steps to avoid this, including the following…
Ensure That Your Dog Drinks Plenty of Water
As a human, one of the key issues caused by extreme heat is dehydration. This can be negated by the consumption of water and fluids, and the same principle can loosely be applied to canines during the heat of summer. While a dog’s genetic make-up differs wildly from humans, enabling them to have regular access to water will help them to remain cool and keep the heat at bay. To assist this process, you may even want to add ice cubes so that the water remains below the existing room temperature.
Use Wet and Damp Towels Where Necessary
During the summer, dogs enjoy nothing more than basking beneath the glare of the sun. While this enables them to benefit from any available breeze, however, it may not prevent them from panting excessively and struggling to stay cool. You can help them to feel more comfortable by covering them in a towel that has been soaked in cold water, as this will help to reduce their body temperature. While your dog may become restless and resist this initially, they will soon welcome it once they feel the benefits.
Create Shade and Shadows Within The Home
You can invest a fortune in pet and dog ownership, from the procurement of bedding to a high quality collar from a reputable supplier such as Collars and Tag. Although these purchases represent a key part of caring for an animal, sometimes all you really require is an eye for detail and an ability to think creatively when dealing with issues. In terms of cooling your dog down when they are inside during the summer, for example, you should strive to move furniture and create a space that is well protected by shade and shadows. This will give them plenty of space to rest, play and escape the heat of the sun when required!
There are many ways to find a good dog; friends, breeders guides and local press adverts are just a few. One method which can sometimes be forgotten is the option of looking at a rehoming kennel. Sainsbury’s Bank has produced a comprehensive Guide to dog rehoming for those looking to rehome their own dog or provide a home for one. The guide gives step by step advice around the whole rehoming process. Who knows, it might just inspire you to give a dog a home.