The Truth About Puppies – They Steal Your Heart And Drive You Mad

Having a new puppy, particularly if you’re a first-time fur parent is so exciting.  Your puppy is the cutest little fluff ball on the planet and there is nothing you wouldn’t do and nothing you wouldn’t buy for your little bundle of delight. And boy are there plenty of things to buy; the best fluffy beds, top of the range food and drink bowls, toys, chews, some people even like to dress their pets in little outfits, and now this little bundle of fluff has stolen your heart It’s all fun fun fun – isn’t it?

Puppies

Or do you feel that it might have been easier if your puppy had come with a warning  “will chew your shoes, rip your belongings, wail loudly all night long or screech for hours every time you go out”.

And why did no one tell you that you would soon be wondering how something so small could make so much noise and mess, behave like its being murdered each time you try to take it out to toilet, and then produce enough poo and pee to sink a battleship when after what felt like hours in the freezing cold, defeated and deflated, you bring it back indoors, or how it can wriggle backwards at the speed of light when you try to attach collar and leash to go for a walk.

And what happened to all those who promised to always walk the pup forever and ever if only you would let them have him/her?  The family who said they would take turns to feed and walk the pup?  

Well you are not alone ….

I remember when one of my pup first arrived, I soon learned that initial excitement can quickly give way to frustration, I can clearly remember being so delighted that my boy Beau had learned to get upstairs all by himself that I squealed with delight – I squealed again some days later when I went upstairs and found the huge brown pool of diarrhoea that spread all across my beautiful mint green carpet.

And believe me when I tell you that there is not an alarm clock on the planet that gets you out of bed faster than being woken from a deep sleep by the sound of a retching puppy, only for you to step into a pool of slimy frothy vomit – how did all of that come out of something so small?

So whether it’s your first or your fifth, each pup is as different and individual as we are, so the chances are that the new puppy journey you have just embarked upon will have much to teach you.

To begin with think of your pup as a toddler who has no concept of right or wrong and you are the parent who has to teach them everything from potty training, walking on a leash, socialising and being well mannered – seems daunting at first doesn’t it?  

As puppyhood is the most important time for learning, I’d like to share a few tips that helped me with my pups and may help you in those first few months together.

IN GENERAL

Always try to have a calm but assertive approach when you’re when dealing with your pup, the aim is to provide positive, gentle and reward-based training.  Don’t get upset if your pup doesn’t “get it” straight away or if he/she does something wrong or has a little accident now and then.

Though there will be times when you may feel convinced that he/she is doing it deliberately to get on your nerves – believe me, they really don’t know any better at this stage so be patient as it takes time. 

A crate can be an invaluable tool particularly when potty training as it provides your pup with a secure area whilst you are busy.  If your pup is reluctant to go in at first,  persuade him/her by using a Kong with some natural peanut butter, (but make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol as this is a sweetener that is dangerous to dogs). Always praise your pup when it gets something right or does something you asked it to do. Don’t, however, leave your pup in the crate for too long as this can cause other issues.

A baby gate will also help to keep your pup out of areas that may be dangerous or simply “off-limits”, this will teach your pup what areas he/she is allowed to go into or not, and will help provide a safe area for your pup to play in.

If your pup cries all night – I won’t lie, I never had this problem because I always took my babies upstairs and they slept in my room until they decided to go elsewhere to sleep.  I know this is not an option for everyone and I’ve heard of lots of different things to try, old fashioned alarm clocks have a soothing ticking sound that is said to help the puppy sleep.  An old piece of your unwashed clothing to snuggle into or a teddy bear to cuddle with – it really is all trial and error.  Your pup will sleep when it feels safe, warm and protected – its for you to find that place so that you can all get some sleep.

Teach your pup the command “eyes on me” this is a great way of getting your dogs attention during training especially if they are easily distracted by other things around them in the big outside world.

Also teaching your pup to “go to your mat” is a good way to prevent them from running and barking in a frenzy every time someone arrives at the front door and will save you from receiving those embarrassing postcards from the post office telling you that your dogs behaviour is upsetting the postman – yes I’ve had them!

Do avoid giving in to things now that will lead to problem behaviour later on, no matter how cute that little face is. For example, don’t let your pup jump up at people when they visit. Though this seems so cute now, once the dog is grown it may not be so acceptable – I have lost count of the times I have been knocked into someone’s flower bed by an overexcited dog running out and jumping up to greet me.

Always make sure to distract your dog with something acceptable like a toy or a treat when you want to change their behaviour instead of just telling them off when they get it wrong.

Enrolling into a puppy training or obedience group is a great idea,  but make sure to attend a proper class where all the other dogs are up to date with their vaccinations.  It’s never too early to start training as it provides both mental and physical stimulation. It will not only help them to learn some manners but also help them to socialise with other dogs and help prevent difficult or dangerous situations from developing in the future. 

Training with your pup will help you develop a firm bond and provide you with a better understanding of what motivates him/her so that you can continue training accordingly.  Puppies just want to please you so this is a golden opportunity for you to show them how. Always be consistent and always be gentle, there is no place or excuse for any negative behaviour towards your pup.  They will take time to learn, they will make mistakes, and if they are anything like my boy Beau, they will embarrass you further by cocking a leg and peeing over the pup next to them.

CHEWING 

I get asked a lot about unwanted behaviours such as chewing and barking, and I’ve had a lot of personal experience of both behaviours with my girl Lola. In just one day she chewed my handbag to pieces, chewed the door frame and ate my husband’s library book so I know how frustrating it can be.  

There are lots of reasons why dogs chew but if a pup or very young dog is into this, its a strong indication that they are teething.  

Dog chewing

A good way of coping with this is to use a Kong or something similar and place some frozen peanut butter or other goodies into it and give that to the dog or simply buy toys and ropes of various textures so that your pup can chew on these – a word of warning, don’t buy shoe-shaped chews, you know where it will lead to.  

If it has happened and you are quick enough to intercept your pup as it makes off with one of your best shoes, then simply offer an alternative or a treat, once the pup drops the shoe say “good boy/girl” in a very excited voice (or at least a relieved voice), your pup will soon get the idea but you must be consistent. 

If your handbag or best shoe does fall casualty to your babies toofy pegs then you will have to write it off and learn your lesson that nothing is off-limits to a teething pup unless you make it so.

On the subject of teeth, a good habit to start at this stage is that of cleaning your babies teeth, do ask your vet for advice and use the smallest brush (not a human toothbrush) to begin with.  Tooth decay can cause a lot of medical problems particularly if you have a pup with a heart murmur as the decaying matter can make its way into the bloodstream and cause serious issues. A yearly check-up saves a lot of problems including a massive vet bill for a tooth removal.

BARKING

Is there anything worse than a dog that won’t stop barking?  Well yes I can think of a few, but constant barking can drive the most loving pet owner up the wall.

Again, there are any number of reasons why dogs bark and not all of them are negative, remember this is also the sound of the dogs own language.  It’s the way the dog communicates with others of its species or tells you when it wants something.  It can also be an indication of fear, frustration or excitement as well as aggression or warning. 

Dog barking

How to deal with it?

Pups usually bark because they want something, are excited or simply because they have just found their voice and quite like the sound of it – after all its new to them.  

At this point, it’s a good idea to try some distraction tactics by engaging the pup with something else or by taking them for a short walk provided they are fully inoculated.

 If the pup is barking because someone or something new has arrived in front of them, it could be an indication of fear. The pup will look to you for security so stay calm and tell them that it’s okay and provide them with comfort.  

Always seek to reassure the pup until you can ascertain what has caused the barking – remember how you deal with this now sets the scene for the future.  Never ever shout at the pup because this will only make matters worse and could create issues that prove difficult to deal with in the future.

Socialisation and training are key here, introduce your pup to many different situations, places and people as possible.  People with glasses, hats, beards, tall people, short people and loud people, children and other dogs – though always supervise the latter two carefully and never leave a tiny pup alone with small children until they have learned to handle the pup with respect and gentleness.  Always have treats on hand to reward your pup in new circumstances and never be afraid to tell other dog owners to back off if their dog gets a bit rough or overexcited with your pup.

POTTY TRAINING

This is a biggie for a lot of new puppy owners, here are a few tips that helped me stay sane not only with pups but also with adult rescue dogs I’ve adopted who weren’t potty trained.

Firstly, be prepared for accidents, your pup will get it wrong and so will you.  

The pup is not out to make your life a misery but do try to see things from their point of view some of the time – would you really like to go pee-pee in the freezing cold dark night or when it’s lashing down with rain?  You will get stressed, the pup will get stressed and the moment you step back indoors the pup will pee !!

Choose a particular area where you want your pup to toilet and take the pup out on a regular basis, particularly after meals and before bedtime. 

In the first few months, and if your pup is small enough, carry it to the designated area so that it gets the message that this is where you want it to toilet, reinforce this by saying something like “wee wee” so that your pup associates the place and the words with the action.

Use positive reinforcement, so that each time your pup does a pee or poo say “good boy/girl” in an excited tone of voice and provide a treat.  The pup will soon learn that it will be rewarded each time it goes to that place to pee or poo.

If your pup has an accident  – and it will – ignore this, clean it up and say nothing. Use a disinfectant that removes the smell as well as cleans or your pup will keep going to toilet there. Pets at Home have several good brands that will remove the odour and disinfect the floor. 

Never hit, shout or rub the pup’s nose in the mess – this is abuse and serves no purpose other than to terrify the pup and delay or prevent the training.

Remember it really is on you if your pup keeps going to toilet in the house and you need to increase your pups trips outside, never scold the pup for your mistakes.

If your pup is very slow to toilet train or continually relapses, seek advice from your vet and get your pup examined in case there is an underlying infection or problem.  

In the meantime, you can get (human) adult-sized disposable incontinence sheets from Amazon, that you can put down on the floor – they saved my sanity during some difficult times with my rescue dogs.

When out walking in public areas, always pick up after your dog, it is an offence not to do so and you can be fined.

MORE GENERAL INFORMATION

Puppies need lots of naps, it’s essential for them to grow so don’t be surprised at how much they nap.

Exercise your pup, but not too much too soon and only take them outside once they are fully inoculated, seek guidance from your vet if you are unsure.

Initially avoid taking your little pup into big shops or places where lots of other dogs go, parvovirus, other diseases and parasites can last a long time in areas that are not properly cleaned or where people have not picked up after their adult dogs.

Try to get your pup used to being handled, particularly around their face, feet, legs etc as this will help the pup cope with being handled on future visits to the vet and the groomer.  Always handle with care and gentleness and never allow children to “play” with your pup – remember they are only babies.

Get your pup used to travelling by car as soon as you can, this will help them with any travel sickness issues.

Ensure that everything your pup needs, such as beds and feeding bowls are in low traffic or quieter areas of the home so that they are not disturbed by lots of noise or people coming in and out.

SEPARATION ANXIETY

Does your pup cry, whine or bark excessively when you leave the room or the house for any length of time, or destroy and chew things up when you are not there?

This could well be separation anxiety.  

Before your pup came to you it lived with its mum and siblings and there was always someone to go to for comfort, food or whatever.

Now this beautiful pup has left its family behind and lives with you and your family, your pup doesn’t understand everything in this strange new environment.

You can’t be with your pup all of the time, you have to go out for whatever reason and the pup can’t always go with you. Now for some pups, this is no issue as they will use this time to catch up on much-needed sleep. However, for others, this will become a time of distress and worry that, if not addressed, can escalate to the point where the young dog damages its home or itself.

Separation anxiety is a complex situation that can require the advice and help of a suitably qualified person and in extreme situations may never be fully resolved.  Unfortunately, many dogs who suffer from this often find themselves put up for adoption or simply abandoned. 

The treatment of separation anxiety requires a consistent approach and can initially feel distressing. 

You may need to start with placing distance between you and the pup or young dog in order to reduce its dependency upon you.  

By simply ignoring your pup just prior to departure and again on return some cases can correct themselves without further intervention.   

However, some cases are more difficult to deal with because the pup is very needy and its relationship with you creates real distress when you are not there and the pup is left alone. 

In such cases you may need to lessen the bond with the pup by cooling the overall relationship, stroking less or getting someone else to feed  or take on things like walking and visits to the vet so that the pup gets used to other people in its life. 

Crating the pup may help to a certain extent but this should always be a short term solution. 

Providing sufficient exercise throughout the day coupled with obedience training and mock departures to help desensitise or diffuse the situation may also help to calm the pup. 

Providing an alternative stimulus such as leaving the television on or providing an acceptable object to chew can also help the pup to remain calm when you are out if all else fails the dog may require medical intervention, but that should always be a last resort.

Doggie daycare in an environment with a limited amount of other dogs is another way of dealing with long term issues as the pup or young dog gets one to one attention but also has the opportunity to enjoy the company and comfort of others – always ensure all the dogs get on with each other before making this a permanent thing.  

Large dog daycare facilities should be avoided until the pup is old enough to cope with it otherwise you could be swapping one type of anxiety for another.

ONE LAST THING

The answer to most things is time, love and patience by the bucket load so enjoy every minute of your adventure with your pup.

WHERE WE COME IN

Scamps and Champs Cardiff provide a whole range of individually tailored pet care services.  

We can step in when you need to step out – providing support, company, feeding and cleaning, dog walking, puppy visits or visits to the vet and groomers – in fact, anything your pup needs.

We can also provide daycare for your pup or young dog in carefully selected environments where they can continue both their training and daily routine.

Here in Cardiff we are open seven days a week and cover bank holidays so why not give us a call?

Ring: 0333 200 5827

Or Email us at: cardiff@scampsandchamps.co.uk

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Top 10 Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

Having a pet is one of the most wonderful things in the world. That wagging tail when you come back to your home and enters the door, not only makes you feel good but also takes the anxiety and stress of your whole day away. For many pet owners, pets become their furry family members. They share almost everything with their canine pal, from their hearts and houses to their beds.

But is it okay to share your food with your pup? According to the new University of Guelph research, around 35% of pet owners, especially those who are vegan, love to have a vegan dog; they are interested in feeding their pets a plant-based diet. Unfortunately, they don’t know that dogs have a different digestive system than humans. The food items that are safe for humans can wreak havoc on your pooch’s body. However, it doesn’t mean that a dog can’t eat human food.

In fact, there are many human food items that are safe and healthy for your pup and can be added to his/her meals to add a bit of variety to the food bowl. However, make sure the addition of human food items should not be in excess. Check out this article to know which human food items are safe to feed your pup if you want to give your four-legged friend a treat from your table.

Eggs

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, riboflavin, and selenium. Eggs are safe for dogs as long as they are fully cooked. There is evidence that eggs help in relieving nausea and upset stomach in dogs. However, before you feed eggs to your dog, make sure it is fully cooked as eating raw eggs can cause biotin deficiency in dogs, which is harmful to their skin and coat.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are packed with antioxidants, protein, Selenium, iron, and several vitamins, including Vitamin-D, C, and B. Dogs can eat mushrooms, but only a certain variant of mushrooms like plain mushrooms (usually available on local stores). Eating mushrooms help your pet with better immunity and overall well-being.

Dairy products

Dairy products: Though many dogs have a low level of lactase, some dogs can consume dairy products, including milk, cheese, and plain yogurt, in moderate quantity. Dairy items may affect their gastrointestinal system and cause diarrhea or vomiting. If you want to feed cheese or yogurt to your dog, it is best to introduce its small amount in your dog’s regular diet gradually.

Pumpkins

Pumpkin: Pumpkin is a major source of fiber and beta carotene. Canned pumpkin or freshly cooked pumpkin without spices and sugar is an ideal choice for dogs, especially when they are troubling executing successful bowel movements. Adding a tablespoon full of pureed pumpkin to a dog’s regular food helps in relieving both diarrhea and constipation.

Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a whole grain and safe for dogs to eat. Being a great source of fiber, it is the best alternative for the dogs that are allergic to wheat and have trouble in maintaining bowel regularity. Since flavored oatmeal has ingredients that are not good for your dog’s health, make sure you feed plain oatmeal in moderation to prevent obesity.

Vegetables

Vegetables: Vegetables give your pup vitamins, fiber, and canine crunch. Hence, it is okay to serve raw veggies such as cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers, corn, and celery. You can also serve them green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, but make sure you steam them completely to prevent any digestive issues. Skip avocado; it can upset your dog’s stomach.

White Rice: Dogs can eat plain and cooked brown or white rice. It helps in relieving an upset stomach and binds stool because rice can be easily digested. Serving plain white rice with some boiled chicken can make your pup feel better, especially if he/she has any issue related to digestion or stomach. However, white rice can enhance the blood sugar level. So, diabetic dogs should avoid it.

Apples: Apples give your pooch an appropriate amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help in boosting your dog’s immunity. Also, apples are high in fiber, which is beneficial for their digestive system. However, make sure you remove the apple seeds before giving it to your pup. The reason behind it is that they contain cyanide, which can be poisonous for your dog.

Carrots: Carrots are low in calories and a major source of Vitamin A and fiber. They are beneficial for a dog’s immune system, skin, and coat. Not only chewing on carrots helps them to remove plaque from their teeth but also beneficial for their dental health. Hence, dogs can eat both raw and cooked carrots. However, make sure you feed carrots in moderation as a large amount of Vitamin A can be toxic.

Dog with fish

Fish: Like humans, dogs can produce half of the amino acid on their own. There are some amino acids that are essential for your dog, but they can only be obtained from a proper diet. Fish contains good fats and amino acids and safe for a dog to eat. It keeps the immune system strong. Apart from this, fish like salmon and tuna are one of the major sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which is beneficial for a dog’s skin and coat. However, before you feed fish to your dog, make sure it is cooked well.

Final words
While these are the food items that you can give to your dog, there are many more, such as peanut butter, popcorn, pork, blueberries, bananas, watermelon, etc. However, you should generally feed human food item in moderate quantity to your dog. Otherwise, you will dog end up while having some serious health issues. Since some human foods that can kill your dog, it is always recommended to consult a vet before giving human food to a dog, especially if he/she is suffering from health issues like diabetes, weight issues, liver or kidney disease, food allergies, etc.
We hope that this article has helped you to know about everything you can feed to your dog. If you have any queries, feel free to ask; we are always here to help you. Do share your comments and thoughts with us.

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Most Common Dog Health Problems And Their Solution

Dogs are the most faithful human friend, and owning a dog is a blessing in itself. When it is about dogs, only a dog parent knows that having a dog is not all about relishing happy and fun times with them. They also bring along a significant amount of responsibility, and one needs to take good care of them.

Just like humans, dogs too can suffer from a variety of health issues ranging from skin problems, ear infections, intestinal worms, to eye problems and dental disease. Most of the health issues can cause a lot of uncomfortable symptoms in your four-legged ball of fur, and they might end up feeling devastated.

Thus, to help your canine companion live a happy and healthy life, you must know some of the most common health issues they face, their signs, and a solution to treat the same.

So, let’s move forward and discuss some of the most common health problems your pooch face and what you can do about it.

1. Worms

Heartworms, Hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, etc., are some of the most common internal parasites and chronic problems in dogs. Well, when it comes to worms, any of these can make your dog feel uncomfortable, but some like hookworms can prove to be fatal for them.

Signs that indicate that your dog has worms include:

Diarrhea
Vomiting
Weight loss
Rough and dry coat
An overall low appearance

If you find any of these symptoms in your dog, then there are chances of intestinal worms living inside them.

The best solution to get rid of the problem is to see a vet as soon as you confront the issue. Also, the treatment will depend on the type of worm your dog has and make sure you don’t try treating the worms yourself because a medication that kills roundworms might not kill tapeworms.

Prefer reading: Dog Heartworm: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

2. Flea Infestation

No human wants to see their dog in pain. Be it any problem; a dog parent wants to free their cuddly kid from it as soon as possible. But when it comes to the blood-sucking parasites, the parent may also become victim to these.

These dark brown colored insects take only around three weeks to turn from one into thousands. Also, these are very common and easy to pick up in dogs, but their treatment is also easy.

Signs that your dog may have fleas include:

Hair loss
Reddish spots on the skin
Persistent scratching and biting
Flea dirt on your dog’s skin

The best way to confirm the presence of fleas on your dog is by testing flea dirt on a damp paper towel. If the dirt turns red, then sadly, your dog has fleas.

Once you know that your dog has fleas, the best you can do is see a vet and find the right medication. But, you may also try various home remedies to treat your dog and help him get rid of these insidious parasites.

3. Hot Spots

Hot spots usually develop as a result of contact allergies, flea bites, or food allergies. These are a bacterial skin infection that irritates your dog’s skin, and they can’t help but scratch or chew the affected area persistently, which may further lead to pain. Also, if left untreated, the problem may grow even larger.

Signs that your dog is suffering from hot spots include:

Consistent scratching or chewing
Visible red spots on the skin of your dog

Treating hot spots may include cleaning and shaving the affected area, anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, and steroids. Well, the treatment usually depends on the condition of the spots and the intensity of pain your pooch is going through.

Read more about understanding hot spots on dogs.

4. Vomiting

With so many possible causes, vomiting is another common health problem in dogs. Some of the reasons behind this problem are heatstroke, kidney failure, food poisoning, and intestinal worms.

Signs that your dog is suffering from this problem include:

Of course vomiting
Abdominal drooling
Lethargic behavior
Inability to hold fluids

Once you notice that your dog is suffering from this life-threating problem, contact your vet. The treatment may include fluid therapy and drugs to control the vomiting.

5. Ear Infection

Ear infections are widespread in dogs and can be caused by bacteria, yeast, ear mites, allergies, hair growth in the ear canal, and many other factors.

Symptoms that your dog may have ear infection include:

Ear odor
Lack of balance
Redness of ear canal
Head tilting or shaking
Vigorous scratching by your dog
Swelling on the outer portion of the ear
Discharge from the ear (usually bloody, yellow, or brown)

If your dog exhibits any of the signs mentioned above, take him to the vet as soon as possible. In most of the cases, clearing and medicating ear canal will clear the infection. However, a chronic infection might call for surgery.
Wrapping it Up
Dogs bring along happiness, but they also come with a lot of responsibilities, which their human parent must fulfill. One such huge responsibility and of course, on top of the list is taking care of their health.

One must always stay alert about the common health issues which a dog might face and their behavior. If they do any unusual activity, one must consult a vet to look into the matter.

Also, the health issues, along with their signs and probable solution mentioned above, might have helped you gain an insight into the most common health problems in dogs.

So, the next time you see any of these signs occurring in your loving pet, do not ignore and take the right steps to help them get rid of the same.

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5 Tips To Train Your Dog With Treats

When you bring home a new dog, one of the first things to do is to train it. For me and my family, it was necessary for our new pet to understand simple instructions. It is common knowledge that the secret to training your dog is to use treats because food is such a huge motivator for them.

In our experience, it was really effective when we were doing obedience training. Getting them to perform a task might seem easy for us humans, but dogs do not just understand the way people do. They need something very basic and primal, like food, to learn a task.
 
Training your dog depends on various factors, like the age of the dog and its temperament. For us, using treats to train our new dog was possible, especially if you follow these simple tips.  

  1. Use Small Treats
     
    While using some treats is good because our dog got fed at the same time, but it was important for us not to overdo it. Some dog breeds are prone to obesity and giving too many treats can be dangerous for its health.
     
    Another trick that worked for us was to use different kinds of treats to mix it up and keep it exciting for our pet. Choosing healthy ones was also important for our dog’s diet.
     
  2. Reward Your Dog When It Is Calm And Submissive
     
    The idea of rewarding with treats is to encourage the right behavior, which is why we had to be careful when we give the dog the treats. If you give your pooch a little treat while it is hyperactive or doing something destructive, then you are teaching your pet to act this way. We simply had to wait until the dog is calm and submissive before giving treats.
     
  3. Do Not Use Treats To Bribe The Dog
     
    While using treats is a great way for your pet to learn new tricks, you should definitely avoid using it for the wrong purpose. We did not want our pet to mistake the treat for a bribe. If you notice your dog waiting expectantly for the treat, then this is a bad sign. Ideally, you teach it to follow a command using a treat, but you should rely on this less and less. Our secret is to use reinforcement and praise to make it follow our commands.
     
  4. Reward Each Step
     
    Most tasks actually involve a few steps, like throwing a stick and having the dog get it and bring it back. One huge mistake we made is to only reward after it has done the entire task, which can be quite frustrating for everyone. Instead, we changed our technique, breaking down the task into smaller ones and get the dog to perform them first.
     
    To do this, whenever your pet does each step correctly, remember to give it a treat. Once all the steps have been done correctly, then you can teach it to do them all together. Even if your pet is not able to do everything perfectly, any progress in the right direction should still be rewarded. In our experience, this kept our dog motivated the entire time.
     
  5. Learn “fade the lure”
     
    Fade the lure is an important technique to avoid the treat turning into a bribe. Simply put, you will use the treat the first few times to make it do the task you want it to do and then once it has mastered it, do the same gesture but with an empty hand. Our trick was to replace the treat with verbal encouragement. At times, we still continued to randomly use the treat, but eventually we reduced it until we stopped giving treats completely.
     
    Even without training or experience, teaching our dog new tricks was not complicated, because we used the right techniques. Giving it treats is one of the most successful ways to do it, and it was great for making sure our new dog was obeying our commands and settling in the family well.

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The perfect solution to all your dog friendly needs

Head on the keyboard, I’ve had enough.  I’m tired of looking for the perfect solution to my needs.  I grab my coffee and head over to the back door where I stick my head out for some fresh air, oh I wish I could have a holiday somewhere quiet away from it all.  I know that’s not possible because of Lula my mix breed dog, she’s an absolute nightmare on the lead, in the house, in the car, you name it I hide from it!  So here I am stuck at home with my barking, lead pulling (that’s why we don’t get out much) dog.  I do love her and want to have a special bond with her but I can’t find what I’m looking for, I don’t even know what I’m looking for.

I pick up a tennis ball and throw it into the garden, Lula loves to play a game of fetch, it brings her alive and she brings it back and runs to fetch it, this could go on for hours how come it doesn’t make her tired?  I bring her in and try to wipe her paws, yes you guessed it she doesn’t like that either and we end up in a wrestling match with me flat on my face in the middle of the kitchen floor.

That’s it, I’ve had enough! I slam the back door and head out of the kitchen back to the computer.  I know what I’m looking for!  Dog Trainer in King’s Lynn is added to the web browser.  Dog Trainers, Behaviourists and Clubs/King’s Lynn/Norfolk wow that’s the one! I click and get a bright dog friendly page full of dog trainers in King’s Lynn.  I look though a few of the premium pages and it catches my eye Game Based Trainer.  Lula it is meant to be young lady, today is day one of our new journey.

The website was bright, light and full of fun, showing how games created learning through choice – I was hooked and clicked on the Make an Enquiry button on The Good Dog Website.  Excited I jumped up and made another coffee returning quickly to The Good Dog Guide website and where it said click to choose a category I chose Self Catering and in lovely Norfolk.  I booked our holiday for September which gives us four months of intensive game based training sessions to have the best holiday ever!

Thank you The Good Dog Guide you have it all covered!

Article supplied by to Julie Carter at MyLuka Dog Training Solutions

Dog Heartworm: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

The heartworm is a dangerous and potentially deadly parasite that is transmitted to dogs by mosquitoes. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions on this prevalent canine medical condition.

What are the symptoms?

The severity of the symptoms determines its classification. Dogs can have Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 heartworm disease.

Class 1
It its earliest stages, dogs that have heartworm disease may not present any symptoms at all, making the condition especially difficult to detect and treat.

Class 2
Dogs with Class 2 heartworm disease may suffer from chronic bouts of coughing and become increasingly reluctant to engage in physical activity.

Class 3
Class 3 is the most severe form of the disease. At this stage, symptoms may include fainting, intolerance to exercise, diarrhea, vomiting, fainting and anemia. The veterinarian may also find that the dog has an abnormal heart rate and high blood pressure.


Is heartworm dangerous?
Heartworm may lead to high blood pressure and lethargy, and eventually cause heart failure. It is imperative that you have your dog examined as soon as possible if you suspect that it’s infected.

The veterinarian may perform an electrocardiograph scan to look for any abnormalities of the heart. Diagnosing and treating heartworm disease can save your dog’s life.

How is heartworm treated?
Young heartworms can be killed with a medication called prophylaxis. Dogs that have adult heartworms will need to be hospitalized and will also need a medication that will need to be professionally administered. This medication is often referred to as an adulticide.

Some dogs will be released after a short period of time. Others will need to stay longer. Dogs that have blood clots or other complications may need to be hospitalized extended periods of time.

Your pet’s activity will need to be restricted after they are given the adulticide. During recovery, veterinarians also recommend that dogs follow a low-sodium diet.

The success rate of adulticide is quite high, with close to 98% of dogs showing no signs of heartworm disease once the treatment has been completed.

Can heartworm disease be prevented?
There are many things that can be done to prevent heartworm disease. Firstly, dogs that are at risk will need to be given prophylaxis on a regular basis and undergo blood tests. Protecting your dog from mosquitoes by making sure that it wears repellent can also help minimize the risk.

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Give your dog up to 8 months of protection

We all want to protect our four-legged friends from the threat of fleas and ticks and it’s not always easy to know the best way to do this with the myriad of products available. From shampoos to spot-ons to collars to tablets; the options seem endless. Here we will look at the benefits of a vet recommended collar, trusted by experts, which is now available without the need for a prescription – Seresto Flea and Tick Control collar.

Fleas and ticks

Fleas and ticks – more than just a bite
Fleas and ticks are both blood feeding parasites that will happily use your pet (and even you!) for a free meal. However, the impact of fleas and ticks on your dog can be greater than ‘just a bite’…

Fleas:
Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) – this condition is an allergic reaction to flea saliva that irritates the skin and can cause intense itching for your dog.

Tapeworm – if your dog ingests an infected flea they can become infected with tapeworm.

Diseases – infected fleas can pass on diseases to dogs when they bite. One study found that half of fleas carried at least one bacterial disease

Anaemia – multiple flea bites can lead to loss of blood, resulting in anaemia, which is particularly dangerous for flea-infested puppies, small breeds, elderly dogs and pregnant bitches, who may also be more vulnerable to heavy infestation.

Fleas are also prolific breeders, with females laying up to 2,000 eggs in their lifetime. The majority of the flea life cycle doesn’t actually occur on your furry friend – the eggs drop off around your home, developing into larvae, pupae and then juvenile fleas. In fact, only 5% of the flea population is found on your pet in an infestation, the other 95% is in the environment – lurking in carpets and soft furnishings! This can make treating a flea infestation tricky, as you not only need to think about treating your pets, but also your home. Ensuring your dog is protected from fleas can help to protect you and your home from an infestation.

Ticks:
Ticks can carry a range of diseases, which can be transmitted to your dog when they bite and feed. These include Lyme disease and canine babesiosis, both of which are serious conditions and require veterinary treatment. Using a product on your dog that repels and kills ticks before they get a chance to bite helps to prevent them passing on any nasty diseases.

Prevention is better than treatment:
Seresto Flea and Tick Control collar kills fleas and repels & kills ticks without the need for them to bite your pet * The collar’s slow-release dosing allows the active ingredients to spread across your pet’s skin and coat at a controlled and steady rate, for all-over protection. It lasts for up to eight months in a single application – the longest lasting flea and tick protection available.

The vet-recommended collar is easy to use – just pop it on your dog for up to eight months of protection and up to #8months of love. No mess, no grease, no smell – and no need to remember monthly flea and tick applications. For the adventurers out there, the collar is water-resistant, † and the ratchet-release system allows it to loosen if your pet gets snagged on their travels!

Fleas and ticks are a year-round problem so it is important to use preventatives throughout the year to keep your pet protected. Seresto Flea and Tick Control collar is now available without a prescription from your vet, online and at pet stores, making it easier than ever to keep your pet protected year-round.

For more information about Seresto Flea and Tick Control collar visit: http://bit.ly/2VuJYjr

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Dogs and Portion Control – How much should you be feeding your Dog?

dog food

How much and how often you should be feeding your canine friend is a topic of frequent contention among dog owners, particularly as there is a lot of conflicting information available out there. With so many different brands and types of feed available on the market, it can be tricky knowing what the correct portions should be, based on your dog’s breed, size and activity levels.

Obesity in dogs continues to be a problem, and with over 60% of vets stating that the biggest health and welfare concern for pets in the UK is them being overweight, it is important to ensure your dog is eating the right amount of food.

Here, we discuss the key factors to take into consideration when determining how much food to give your dog.

Age
From the very moment you bring your beautiful new puppy home, you are in control of how their diet and lifestyle will affect their growth and health. As such, ensuring that they are eating the correct number of meals per day for each stage of their life is essential.

Generally speaking, puppies between 8-12 weeks old should be eating around four meals per day. Then, from 12 weeks to six months, this can be reduced to three meals, and dropping down to two meals as they continue to grow. When a dog enters their adult life, just one meal per day is sufficient to provide them with the energy and nutrition they need.

It is important to stick to one type of food and refrain from feeding them too many doggie treats, since this can lead to excessive calorie intake, which can, of course, make them overweight or lead to an upset stomach. If you are noticing your dog looking larger than before, or if they are going to the toilet more than usual, this may be a sign that they are eating more than they should be.

Bear in mind that the age at which you should switch from puppy/junior dog food to adult food will vary from breed to breed. In general, small dog breeds normally make the transition between 8-10 months old, and larger breeds between 12-18 months. Check with your vet for specific advice and information regarding your dog.

Lifestyle and activity
Once your dog hits adulthood, one major factor which will determine their daily food allowance will be their lifestyle, especially how active they are. Again, observation and judgement should be exercised, particularly since not all breeds conform to their stereotypes. Infamous speed-merchants like Greyhounds can, in fact, turn out to be total couch-potatoes. Likewise, tiny Chihuahuas can be highly-active racers!

As such, understanding the behaviour and characteristics of your pet in particular is key, since too little or too much food can greatly affect their health and growth. If you notice changes to your dog, be sure to adjust their portions in order to keep a good Body Condition Score (BCS).

You can easily tell if your dog isn’t eating the right amount, simply by their appearance and behaviour. Take a look at your pet from above – he/she should have a slight waist. You should also be able to feel their ribs, but they should not be visible. Your dog’s coat should also be glossy and dandruff-free. If their energy levels are strange for their breed (e.g. too lethargic or too hyper-active), this may also be a sign that they are not eating the right amount or type of dog food. In this case, food allergies should not be ruled out, and your vet might recommend switching to a hypoallergenic dog food.

Dog size and breed
The breed and size of your dog are crucial factors to consider when determining their diet and portion sizes. For instance, different dog breeds of the same size may have different energy levels and thus, require more or less food. Similarly, large dog breeds can greatly benefit from feeds which support and protect growing joints.

When purchasing dog food, always check the label, which will outline a general food/weight guide, but these should only be used as a reference, rather than an absolute.

The best way to determine if your best friend is eating the right amount of food is to simply practice good judgement, keep an eye or their portions, and observe them regularly for changes. This way, your dog will continue to live a long, happy and healthy life!

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Dog Food Allergies

So, your beloved pet is itching like crazy, biting himself all over, constantly shaking his head, and you even notice patches of fur missing. At first you think he might have fleas, but you’re always diligent with your monthly flea & tick treatment. So you rush him to the vet, and hear something new: you dog might have food allergies.

What is a Dog Food Allergy?
What does this mean exactly, and how in the world do you treat it? Well, allergies in both humans and dogs, in short, begin close to the same way. An allergic reaction happens when a dog’s (or human’s) immune system misinterprets a protein coming from a certain ingredient (n the case of food allergies) as a harmful foreign invader, and either attacks it or mounts some other kind of immune response.

Thankfully, dog food allergies are rarely life threatening, but can cause a wealth of irritating symptoms. Dog food allergies are actually caused by a genetic problem, and is triggered by initial exposure to the allergen. The most common dog food allergens are:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Egg
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Soy
  • Pork
  • Rabbit
  • Fish

About 10% of all allergy cases in dogs are food related.

Dogs usually react to food allergens differently than a human might. With humans, we often hear of horrible cases where a person’s airway closes, and they might need extreme drugs like Epinephrine to stay alive. In dogs, on the other hand, an allergic reaction often appears in the form of irritated, itchy or inflamed skin, or sometimes produces gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea.

In some very rare cases, food allergies can send a dog into anaphylaxis (severe, life threatening allergic reaction), similar to a human suffering from a severe reaction to a bee sting, although that is very uncommon.

Common Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies:

  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy ears

There are several food allergy symptoms listed here, but the most common sign you will see is non-seasonal itching, usually focused on either the entire body or limited to the ears and feet. You might see chronic or recurrent skin infections. It does take time for food allergies to develop, and they usually aren’t immediate; your dog could have been eating the same food for a while without any reactions.

‘Novel’ Protein
A ‘food trial’ with a hypoallergenic dog food, like the ones listed below, is the best and most common way to diagnose a food allergy. These trials use a ‘novel’ protein source, which is hopefully something completely new to your dog or different from what he has had before. This reduces the chance of an immune response, hopefully eliminating the specific protein causing the allergic reaction.

Hydrolyzed diets, in addition, are created when animal proteins are broken down into much smaller molecules, making it difficult for the immune system to recognize harmful allergens and drastically reducing the chances of an allergic reaction.

How are Dog Food Allergies Treated?
So, your dog is allergic to a certain ingredient in his food. You certainly don’t want to keep feeding him that food! The first step, and only one needed really, is eliminating that particular ingredient from his food. Since most dog foods are composed of many ingredients, the easiest way to do this is narrowing down those ingredients from many to a few.

Limited Ingredient Dog Food
In order to offer a wide range of nutrients, manufacturers often use many ingredients in their foods. In this case, it can actually be harmful to offer so many- at least until we figure out what the ‘culprit’ is, so you veterinarian might prescribe a ‘Limited Ingredient Dog Food’. These are exactly how they sound, foods with fewer ingredients meant to help treat a dog’s sensitive stomach.

First, your veterinarian will prescribe a certain limited ingredient food. If that doesn’t do the trick, they will switch to an alternate food made from different ingredients, and so on.

There are many limited ingredient foods out there, but most of them are lower quality and cheaply manufactured. Below, we’ve listed five quality names, known for producing good, nutritional dog foods.

Some Limited Ingredient Dog Foods:
Canidae Grain-Free Pure Limited Ingredient Diet
Earthborn Holistic Venture Turkey Meal and Butternut Squash Limited Ingredient Diet
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Salmon & Sweet Potato
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Puppy and Adult Dog Food
Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet

Food Intolerance vs. Food Allergy
When most people think their dog is having an allergic reaction to food, the culprit is actually food intolerance. A food intolerance doesn’t involve an immune response, and doesn’t stimulate histamines. For example, some dogs might be ‘lactose intolerant’, meaning a dog’s body won’t process the lactose found in milk well. Many humans are lactose intolerant also. These intolerances can lead to GI issues.

A study done in 2017 estimated that out of all dogs seeing a veterinarian for any issue, only about 1-2% actually had a food allergy or intolerance. That being said, it isn’t very common. Even then, true food allergies are less common than intolerances.

Meat, dairy and eggs are probably the most common allergens in dog food. It’s usually a protein in these foods that is the problem, not the food itself. In the wild, animal meat makes up most of a dog or wolve’s diet, so you can assume how rare an allergy to it would be.

Conclusion: What to Do?
You see your dog itching constantly, acting strange; his behavior is actually starting to change. What should you do if you think your pup might have a dog food allergy? Bring your pooch in for an exam, and talk this over with your veterinarian! Your vet has the knowledge and experience needed to develop the absolute best plain of attack for your pet’s ‘itchy issue’!

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Why You Should Buy A Dog Stroller

Having a dog stroller sounded quite weird some years back. Nowadays, dog strollers have gained popularity thanks to the numerous benefits they offer. There are various occasions and situation that make it necessary to use a stroller. They are very effective, convenient and comfortable to your dog. Here are a few reasons to get a stroller.

1, Easier for vet visit
Transporting dogs in a stroller when taking them to the vet, especially small puppies, is convenient and eliminates worries of the puppies escaping. A stroller also protects your dog from picking up germs from the floor or other animals in the waiting room. It’s also comfortable in case your dog is convalescing.

2, Ideal for outings
If you’re going out with friends or family, using a stroller can be convenient. You won’t need to worry about your dog as you have your lunch, go to a concert, or indulge in other fun activities. In such crowded places, you don’t have to worry about your dog getting stepped on or picking dangerous stuff. You can also be able to carry your dog once in a while to the office as the stroller provides a confined place for the dog.

3, Ideal for injured and old dogs
A stroller provides a comfortable ride for old, sick and injured dogs that are too weak to walk. Getting such dogs some fresh air and change of scenery may be refreshing, and that’s where the stroller comes handy. A dog that has undergone surgery may need mental stimulation and physical exercise to recuperate.

4, Protection
There is always the danger of your dog, especially the small ones, being attacked by aggressive dogs. A stroller will also protect your precious pet paws from rough sidewalks and pavements. Some dogs are also susceptible to extreme weather conditions. A stroller will protect your dog from excess heat and snow. It also ideal in urban areas where there is a lot of traffic which can be overwhelming for the dog.

5, Better Exercise
It’s fun when you take your dog along for runs and walks. However, it might be hard for the dog to keep up. Therefore, you can bring along a stroller for the dog to ride in. This way, you still get the most out of your workout without tiring your dog. It’s also a great opportunity to have more quality time with your best friend.

6, Ideal for elderly people
A walk is a great way for elderly people to refresh and exercise. However, for the elderly pet lovers who love to tag their pets along, it might be difficult because the dog that can easily stray. A stroller will help keep the dog restrained.

7, Great or multiple dogs
Walking more than one dog can turn out to be a nightmare. It can be tough to control them as they keep running in every direction during walks. Keeping one or more of the dogs in a stroller can save you from all this trouble and keep your pets safe.

A stroller is a great item for pet owners to invest in. It brings convenience and greater mobility to both you and your buddy. However, with the many options available in the market, you may find it hard determining the best one for your dog. Not sure which one to choose? Check out 8 Best Dog Strollers for 2019 | iPetCompanion.

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