Recognise And Help Relieve The Pain Of Your Dog’s Arthritis

As we approach World Arthritis Day on October 12, solutions-led pet product manufacturer, Peak Pet Products, is reminding pet owners that arthritis is not just suffered by humans and that their dog could also be suffering from the pain this disease brings.

A recent study by pet insurer, Animal Friends, has shown that the number of dogs suffering from arthritis has more than trebled since 2015. Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Greyhounds, Boxers and Rottweilers are breeds with the highest likelihood of developing the disease.

The new research, based on a study of 20,000 pet health records, predicts the number of dogs suffering arthritis is only set to rise.  It has also drawn a link between obesity levels in dogs and the onset of arthritis.

Luckily, there are pet products that can assist by delivering enhanced pet care for pets suffering from the disease, including a revolutionary new dog bowl – PetWeighter™.

PetWeighter™ is a two-part product comprising feeding bowl plus weighted base.  Thanks to its design, the bowl is elevated to a handy height of 21cm that prevents dogs having to stoop – something of great help to dogs suffering from arthritis, as it reduces strain on their joints and alleviates discomfort in the neck, chest and elbows.

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Although it is a brand new product, PetWeighter™ has already attracted praise from dog behaviour specialists and high profile vets.

Inspired by product developer Charlie the Schnauzer, who needed constant access to drinking water, the high-strength plastic product features a removable bowl on top of a base that can be filled with sand, water, a combination of both or ice, to make it a bowl that cannot move, no matter how hard a dog tries.  Whilst the base stays put, the bowl is detached from the base at feed time and when it needs cleaning.

The elevated height of the bowl also helps to ensure that pups are unable to soil mum’s food or tip the bowl over.

PetWeighter™, from Peak Pet Products, comes in three colours – red, pink and turquoise blue – each with a dark grey base. The bowl is suitable for cats as well as dogs and is designed to last for years.

With a design focused on hygiene, the bowl is simple to clean and has no dirt-attracting cracks or crevices.  It costs £24.99 and can be bought from good pet shops and online from www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GAM16H2  More information about the product can be found at www.petweighter.com

1Tell-tale signs that a dog may be suffering from arthritis are an obvious stiffness in the joints, which prevents exercise that the dog was previously capable of enjoying, and difficulties in activities such as walking up stairs or jumping.  Sometimes, a dog may also continuously lick at a painful joint.

A PetWeighter spokesperson says; “Arthritis in humans is a common and well-known problem, but there is less awareness of the issue in pets. World Arthritis Day, on October 12, provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about the disease in both humans and pets alike.”

Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis seen in dogs and is a very common cause of chronic pain, particularly in older dogs.  OA is a slowly progressing disease, where the cartilage in the dog’s joints breaks down and causes friction between the bones.  This results in the formation of outgrowths of new bone, known as osteophytes.  The cost of veterinary treatment for arthritis can run to thousands of pounds.

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How Daisy The Dog Saved The Doctor And Her Dream

Dogs have been our heroes and protectors dating back to almost the beginning of time. From pre-historic cave drawings to some of the first recorded examples of canine companions, these ancient tales have shared some shining examples of our beloved four-legged friends.

For example, during ancient days around 300 BC, there was a tale of the mighty King Pyrrhus of Epirus that used dogs to identify killers by using their advanced sense of smell. Fast forward to the middle ages and in the fourteenth century, King Louis the XI, used his dogs as a tool for recognizing potential threats to his empire that would notify him of “stranger danger” well in advance of their approach.

Dogs sniffing out cancer

But much has changed over the many hundreds of years since the days of those kings and their dogs. Now canines being used to enhance the lives of disabled people, aid our military and police forces, even save lives by spotting potential health risks in humans. While dogs themselves are susceptible to many different types of cancer, they are using their advanced and unique sense of smell to detect this deadly disease.

Meet The Doctor & Her Dog Daisy
Dr. Claire Guest had a dream of working with dogs and training them to sniff out different types of cancer either through skin, urine or other bodily fluids. Although her research and results seemed promising, she had hit an impasse with the rest of the medical community who dismissed her beliefs as poppycock.

One cloudy evening in February of 2009, Claire took her pet Daisy out for a ride in the car and when she opened the boot to let her dog out, the animal wouldn’t budge. While two other dogs along for the ride happily exited the vehicle and headed for the park to play, Daisy stood her ground in the back of the automobile.

Acting Unusual
“Daisy seemed to be pawing at my chest,” recalled Dr. Guest in an interview with The Daily Mall. “She bumped against my body repeatedly – I pushed her away, but she nuzzled against me again [she was] clearly upset.” Apparently her usually docile dog had pushed so hard against her it left a bruise and Claire couldn’t help feeling something was either wrong with her dog or there could be a problem inside of her own chest.

Feeling the area where Daisy had repeatedly struck her, Dr. Guest found the tiniest lump and had it examined by a fellow physician. “The bump was a perfectly harmless cyst,” shared Claire, “But further in the breast tissue was a deep-seated cancer.”

dogs help the fight against cancer

Daisy Saves The Day
Since it was caught early, she had a simple lumpectomy, some of her lymph nodes removed and following six months of radiotherapy, Dr. Guest is now cancer free. “I was 46, and the specialist told me that by the time a lump had become noticeable, this cancer would already have spread and my prognosis could have been very different.”

Just as Claire began to doubt her own research and dash her dreams of dogs that could detect cancer, her own labrador not only saved her life, but also reignited her passion. Seven years later, Daisy has sniffed around 6,000 urine samples, detecting over 550 cases of cancer and has a 93% accuracy rate.

Dr. Guest continues her work through her charitable organization, Medical Detection Dogs, where she’s working with over a dozen other dogs to perform the same type of miracles that Daisy does.

Learn how to protect your dog from ticks with Chris Packham

Watch our show live from the New Forest to learn how to check and protect your dogs against ticks

Show date: Thursday 23rd April
Show time: 2:45pm

Vets across the UK are set to take part in the Big Tick Project, launching on Thursday 23rd April. This will see dog owners collecting ticks from their pets throughout the UK in a bid to help scientists track what is feared to be a growing threat to dogs and people from tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease is caused by a bite from an infected tick. Dogs can be bitten while walking through wooded areas or parkland in both towns and the countryside. Symptoms include lameness, lethargy and fever.  If left untreated they can lead to more serious conditions such as kidney disease and heart failure.  Many cases of tick infestation are likely to go unnoticed by owners as they are only detected by a thorough examination.

The Big Tick Project is being supported by TV presenter, naturalist and dog lover Chris Packham, and aims to raise awareness of the risks and symptoms associated with tick-borne disease, and to educate owners how they can reduce their dog’s exposure to ticks and the diseases they carry.

Ticks on dogs

Throughout spring and early summer when ticks are most active, vets taking part in the Big Tick Project will be giving dogs visiting their practice a thorough tick check.

Tune into our live programme to learn how you can identify and remove ticks correctly from your dogs, as well as highlighting how vets can offer the best ways to prevent and control ticks and fleas, tailored to individual pets needs.

Chris Packham joins veterinary dermatologist Paul Sands MRCVS and dog owners for MyPetonline’s latest web vet clinic on ticks as part of the Big Tick Project and Big Flea Guarantee campaigns.

Beakthrough Red Light Therapy Device for Animals – up to 60% Faster Healing

Exciting news for all Dog, Pet, Horse Owners/Carers, Trainers and Breeders seeking ways to heal their animals quicker or provide drug-free pain relief for their beloved pet.

An affordable new Light Therapy Device that speeds up healing and provides natural pain relief is now available in the UK, Photizo® Vetcare. Owners have experienced incredible recoveries through the use of LED light therapy in animal rehabilitation across the world in recent years.

dogLight therapy treatments are normally only available through highly trained professionals using complex laser/light therapy devices. Red Light therapy is scientifically proven, non-invasive and speeds up healing (up to 60% faster). Photizo® Vetcare provides natural pain relief for long term degenerative conditions such as arthritis. Treatable conditions include all types of wounds and superficial and deep musculoskeletal injuries.

Photizo® Vetcare delivers a simple, one-touch, 31 second pre-programmed evidence-based dose of red and infrared light and brings this highly effective therapy into the hands of horse & pet owners/carers, breeders, trainers etc. Best results are achieved when light therapy is applied as soon as possible after an injury occurs and then as part of a professional treatment plan.

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Photizo® Vetcare is used and recommended by professional animal therapists and veterinarians across the world because it is a low-cost, easy to use, tool for anyone who wants fast results when treating their animal.
For more information contact Ruth Milner, Danetre Health Products on 01327 310909
info@danetrehealthproducts.com www.danetrehealthproducts.com

Socialising Your Puppy

Behaviourist

Hi All, many (not all) dog on dog, dog on people problems and other fears and phobias are caused by or significantly affected by lack of socialisation of the dog when young and throughout their life. Where you get your dog from whether a pup or a juvenile/adult will already be having a lasting effect on the future behaviour of your dog. The process of socialisation really starts as soon as a pup starts to interact with the environment around it. By the end of week two the eyes and ears are open, sounds are being made and reflex actions with some locomotion is taking place. By the end of week three the eyes have responses to light and moving stimuli and the ears (and pup) are responsive to loud noise. So really from end of week three onwards the pup is open to stimuli be they good or indeed bad (scary) and the later, especially noise related can have lifelong bad effect.

Breeders/Owners.

Where you get your dog from will have a major effect on your future dogs behaviour and so care must be taken. A good breeder or private owner will hopefully have already put your new best friend on the right road by raising them in a calm, safe and neutering environment. Mum and other litter mates want to be there as much is learnt from interaction between them, this time is of the utmost importance, more can be read about this on my website. Good breeders/owners should already have exposed your prospective pup to some of the novel non scary stimulus found in the following list. If they have not then the work you do on it will be paramount, but take it steady and calmly. You will be taking your new pup at weeks 8-9, definitely not earlier as they will lose out on learning from mum and litter mates. Once you get them home it’s up to you.

Dont Scare Them!

Throughout the socialisation process this should be top of your list. What we need to be doing is exposing your pup to some novel non scary stimulus in a safe and neutering environment. If you scare a pup badly not only may they become scared of what actually scared them in the first place they may also associate the same feelings to something in the environment in which it happened.

For instance, a pup is walking along the street and a car backfires right next to them, as it happened they were looking at a man in a hat, from that day on that dog is scared of not only bangs but also people with hats on, obviously this is only an example but it shows how pups/dogs can develop fear/nervous issues to something not connected to the initial scary stimulus through association.

ocialising Your Puppy

Exposing your pup to novel non scary stimulus does not involve firing a starting pistol next to them (obviously), what it does involve is exposure to:-

Friendly calm people both adults and children.

Other friendly dogs both male and female of different ages (family and friends dogs and other well known dogs, after their inoculations though).

Exposure to other friendly animals like cats.

Feeding your pup on different surfaces like carpet, wood, vinyl, concrete etc (will help them deal with new things later in life).

Taking them to different safe environments after their inoculations (places like the pet shop, family and friends houses, the vets for a jolly etc.)

Take them to some well run puppy socialisation classes, by well run I mean run by a person knowledgeable in canine behaviour with no huge older pups/juveniles that will give a bad association to the whole affair, these classes can be attended after your pups second inoculation. Classes carried out at the vets to give a good association to the vets would be advantageous. Book them well in advance (speak to your chosen vet).

Exposure to different looking things like people with hats on, disabled people if appropriate, large animals like cows and horses, vehicles etc.

Exposure to daily household noises and practices. If possible try to expose them to things at a lower level to start with, like the vacuum on a low level and at the other side of the room. Try not to expose your pup to full on close up scary noises for fear of issues developing.

The more non scary stimulus a pup is exposed to the more sound adult dog you should end up with but do not make it an all consuming mission on your part, do it gradually over several weeks and calmly.

If something does scare your pup the first thing they will probably do is look to you the owner for your reaction. Personally I think it is OK to very quickly reassure them with say a calming stroke to the head but do not go over the top with lots of reassurance as this may well tell them that what just happened was indeed very scary and something to be very worried about and may well sow the seeds for future problems.

Throughout the socialisation process always have a calm slightly jolly mood about yourself and do not push your pup into doing something that is obviously worrying them.

I hope this has given you an insight into the socialisation of your pup and the encouragement to find out more. Much more detailed information and advice about this and other subjects can be found on my website, please take a look, it’s free.

Blog by dogways.info

dogways to help with dog behavioural problems

Raw Food for Dogs – A “Complete & Balanced” Opinion

Correct Nutrition
While everybody agrees that correct nutrition is hugely important for our dog’s health, not everybody can agree on just what is “correct”. One of the most controversial differences of opinion is whether dogs should
be fed a commercial pet food or a home-made diet based on raw meaty bones, commonly known as the “BARF” diet (Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) or the slightly different RMB
(Raw Meaty Bones). There are countless books, articles and websites on this subject and advocates of each type of feeding are often equally evangelical about their method, making it very difficult for the pet owner to
form their own balanced opinion. The aim of this article is not to convince the reader about any particular method, but simply to offer the facts about raw feeding in such a way that the reader can form their own
opinion and decide which method is best for them and their dog.What is a “complete” food?
The term “complete” is a legal definition. If this term is used to describe a dog food, it means that the food contains all the nutrients that your dog needs to support its daily life. The essential nutrients a dog needs are
water, protein, fat, carbohydrate and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Requirements for each nutrient vary, but any excess or deficiency over a period of time will lead to problems for the dog. By feeding a “complete”
food, we can be assured that we are giving our pet all the nutrients that he needs.

Or can we? In Dr Ian Billingshurst’s book The Barf Diet, he writes a whole chapter on “complete and
balanced”. In summary, Dr Billingshurst believes that the legal term of “complete and balanced” is based onthe pet food industry’s current thinking. He believes that it is impossible to claim that any food is complete
and balanced and instead claims that a feeding plan shou ld be “nutritionally sound and nutritionally adequate”. He also claims that the legal definition of complete and balanced can mean that a food contains certain
nutrients which may not actually be available to the animal (for example, cooking can make some nutrients indigestible).

So, is a BARF diet the best way to provide all the nutrients a dog needs? Maybe… Feeding meat and bones as a “whole” food may very well mean that the dog can take certain nutrients from the food that may not be
available in a cooked processed food, as cooking destroys the quality of some enzymes. (Incidentally, freezing also degrades and destroys some enzymes, so technically, a raw diet should be fed fresh, not frozen).
However, as a pet owner choosing to feed with this method, we must take responsibility for providing enough variety in this diet to ensure that our dog gets all the nutrients he requires. “The Barf Diet” is a useful guide to
feeding a raw diet, but it is also an indicator of just how difficult it can be. In various sections of the book, Dr Billingshurst recommends vitamin supplements, kelp, alfalfa, salmon oil, cod liver oil, flaxseed oil, slippery
elm bark powder and more. By feeding a commercial food, we hope that the pet food manufacturer takes care of this for us. On the Pet Food Manufacturers Association website, there is a link to the FEDIAF (European
Pet Food Industry Federation) Nutrition Guidelines. It is heavy reading, but it is a good indication of the amount of research which goes in to pet food manufacture, and also of just how complicated it can be to
provide a complete diet for our dogs, however we define it.

“The Evolutionary Diet”
Raw food advocates believe that their feeding methods work because they replicate the dog’s wild, evolution- ary diet, but this is not as straightforward as it seems. While some still believe that dogs and wolves evolved
separately from a common ancestor, most scientific evidence now confirms that dogs are a direct descendant of the Grey Wolf. Physiologically, dogs are certainly similar to wolves and are “built” to eat predominantly
meat. Dogs have teeth which are designed for shredding meat and do not have the large, flat molars which true plant eaters have. Dogs have powerful jaw and neck muscles and their jaws move up and down in a chopping
motion, unlike animals which chew vegetable matter, such as cows whose jaws move from side to side. They also have a relatively short digestive system and an acidic stomach, both designed to cope with raw meat.

However, dogs are not wolves. Most modern dog training methods are no longer based on the “alpha/pack leader” idea and perhaps we should also consider domestic dogs different to wolves in terms of their nutrition
as well. The domestic dog’s lifestyle and requirements are very different to their wild cousins. Most domestic dogs live in heated homes, and while enjoying exercise, do not need to travel miles in search of food. As dog’s
energy requirements have changed, so too have their nutritional needs.

When dogs originally evolved from the wolf, it is believed that certain individuals would have hung around human settlements, where both the dogs and the humans began to use each other to their advantage, until over
many generations, dogs were “domesticated”. It is likely that these early domesticated dogs would have scavenged scraps of leftover food from the humans. This may have been raw bones, but it may also have
included scraps from burnt out fires, which would have been effectively cooked. Indeed, it may have been the cooking of the meat which attracted the dogs to the human settlement in the first place. (It is thought by some
scientists that it was the aroma of animal carcasses being accidentally “cooked” on a fire that first encouraged humans to begin cooking our food). Domestic dogs continued to exist on scraps until quite recently when dog
food as we know it began being produced in the 19th century. However, meat, even leftover meat, would have been very valuable to humans, so it is possible that a large part of the early domestic dog’s diet was in fact
things like stale bread – cooked grain, which we shall discuss later!

As domestic dogs have continued to evolve, they are moving further and further from their wild cousin. Selective breeding by humans has produced dogs of all shapes and sizes, and in some cases, it is clear to see
how these changes could affect their ability to eat certain types of food. Some dog food manufacturers now produce food designed for different breeds such as specially shaped kibbles for dogs like bulldogs with shorter
jaws. Of course, how much humans have selectively modified the shape of certain breeds is a matter of much debate, but it is clear that some breeds are very different to their wild ancestor. There is also evidence of
internal changes as well. Some of the enzymes required to digest raw meat are no longer present in some modern domesticated dogs, or they have been “switched off”. It is likely that as dogs continue to have no raw
meat in their diet, they will lose some of these enzymes altogether. Is this because we are depriving them of their natural diet, or is it simply a case of evolution in action…?

The Raw Food Diet
Raw food diets are based essentially on raw, meaty bones, with some added supplements. The inclusion of carbohydrates is something of debate even among raw feeders, but most would agree that the percentage of
carbohydrates in most commercial foods is too high. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose which the body uses as energy. Dogs can produce glucose themselves, so carbohydrates are considered a non-essential
nutrient, however by providing it, we can give them a little helping hand, freeing up the enzymes in their body to do other things. This is one view. Another view is that they are totally unnecessary. Dog’s saliva does not
contain an enzyme called amylase which in other animals begins the process of breaking down carbohydrates. In dogs, this process does not begin until further in the digestive system, which indicates that dogs require
little, if any carbohydrate in their diet. If they do consume carbohydrates in the wild, most of it would come via the vegetable matter in their prey’s stomach. Some BARF’ers include up to a third of the diet as vegetables,
heavily liquidised to replicate the stomach content of the prey. However, other raw feeders do not include any vegetables at all.

As a dog’s saliva cannot break down carbohydrates, inevitably some of these sugars will build up between the dog’s teeth and turn in to plaque and eventually tartar, leading to some possibly serious dental problems. This
is one reason why if feeding a commercial diet, it is important to choose a good quality one, as any poor ingredients, additives etc will also accumulate between the teeth. One of the main benefits of a raw food diet
is the dog’s dental health, partly because the raw food diet contains little or no carbohydrates, but also because the gnawing and grinding action of eating raw bones helps to keep the gaps around the teeth clean and free of
debris. However, there are other natural products available which can have the same effect on the teeth, without the possible concerns of feeding raw bones. It should be noted here that raw feeders would never
suggest feeding cooked bones, and are also clear that the size of any raw bones should be carefully considered and suitable for the particular dog.

Many people are discouraged from feeding raw food to their dog because of concerns regarding parasites and bacteria. This is actually more likely to be a problem for us than our dogs, whose stomachs are much more
acidic and better equipped to deal with nasty bacteria than ours. Of course, we should use appropriate precautions when dealing with any raw meat products. So, assuming we can feed raw meat safely, there are
actually strong arguments for and against cooking. Cooking destroys some enzymes so feeding raw food provides our dog with more naturally accessible nutrients, however cooking also makes other ingredient
more digestible. Of course, if we have to cook an ingredient for it to become digestible, should we really be feeding it at all? It is often stated that wild dogs are not seen running through cornfields eating the crop. But,
neither are humans! We cook the grain to make it more digestible to us, and some scientists believe the ability to grow and cook grain was hugely influential in the advance of the human race. (However, an internet search
will quickly reveal that there are many people around the world who believe that humans should eat a raw-food only diet!)

Commercial Dog Food
If we are going to compare raw feeding methods with commercial dog food fairly, we must ensure that we compare the raw food diet with a good quality dog food. By feeding a raw meaty bones diet, we know exactly
what we are feeding our dog (a very important point, particularly if our dog develops any allergies or intolerances) and it is often claimed that we do not really know what is in our processed dog food. This is
certainly the case with some products, but, thankfully, not all. The term “meat and animal derivatives” can cover a wide variety of meat, from a range of different sources. Even if it is labelled as “beef” flavour, it need
only contain 4% beef in the ingredients. By using this term on their packaging, some manufacturers can vary the ingredients from one batch to another. We could buy the same dog food a month apart, and it could actually
have different meat in it, which is a scary thought, when we consider dogs with dietary intolerances. So, it is absolutely right that we should look for a dog food which states exactly what meat is in it, and the meat (as
well as other ingredients) should be of a high quality and quantity. One of the benefits often seen when changing to a raw diet is the absence of symptoms related to allergies. When feeding a good quality
commercial food with one protein source and no artificial additives, we can achieve the same effect.

Taking a look at the website of a good quality brand of dog food reveals that the meat that goes in to their dog food is actually of really good quality, and not the “heads, feet, and feathers” of the scaremongers. The same
is true of the carbohydrate source. While wheat is often used in lower quality products as it is cheaper, most reputable companies now realise that it can contribute to dietary sensitivities and so use better quality sources,
such as rice or potato. Equally, any additives or preservatives should be stated (cranberry extract, and rosemary extract are common natural ingredients) and not listed as “EEC permitted additives”, which again
can cover a whole range of, sometimes, unpleasant things.

It is in the pet food manufacturer’s interest to produce food which keeps dogs happy and healthy for many years, with their owners continuing to buy the product and recommending it to others. Some raw food
enthusiasts claim that all sorts of “modern” diseases are caused by commercial dog food, and this may be partly the case for some poor quality brands. But, the fact that so many more diseases are being diagnosed
could equally be a result of advances in scientific knowledge, and because our dogs are living longer, due to better nutrition and general care.

It is often suggested that the opinion of vets regarding nutrition is swayed by their allegiance to certain pet food providers. It is true that many vets make money from selling dog food, and it is also true that much of
the nutrition training offered to vets and their staff is provided for by pet food manufacturers. However, any vet offering anything less than sound nutritional advice will quickly lose customers and their reputation, so it
is in their interest to offer the best advice they can. Unfortunately for pet owners trying to make decisions, vets cannot agree on the right type of diet either! The letters pages in some of the veterinary press frequently have
correspondence from vets with differing opinions on raw food diets. Whichever method a pet owner decides, it is useful to find a good vet who has similar ideas or is open-minded and knowledgeable enough to offer
suitable, unbiased advice.

The purpose of this article was not to convince one way or the other, but to offer a balanced opinion of raw food diets and commercially produced dog food to hopefully enable the dog owner to decide which is best for
them and their pet. The conclusion is that feeding a diet based on raw meaty bones, with appropriate supplements can eliminate many health problems and can offer a completely natural, healthy alternative to
a commercial brand of dog food. However, if the dog owner does not have the time, knowledge and confidence to provide everything a dog needs in it’s diet, there are reputable pet food companies which spend
time and money researching and producing high quality products containing everything that the dog needs for a long, and healthy life.

Further Reading
Typing “raw food for dogs” in to an internet search engine reveals over five million results, but here are a few websites which I have found to be particularly useful;
www.ukbarfclub.co.uk
www.rawfed.com
www.barfworld.com
www.ukrmb.co.uk
www.rawmeatybones.com

The following dog food manufacturers all have informative websites;
Burns www.burnspet.co.uk
Arden Grange www.ardengrange.com
James Wellbeloved www.wellbeloved.com
Nature Diet www.naturediet.co.uk
Natures Menu www.naturesmenu.co.uk

The Pet Food Manufacturers Association website also has some useful information regarding the ingredientsand production of commercial dog food. www.pfma.org.uk
There are many books on the subject of animal nutrition. These are a few which I referred to while writing this
article;
Small Animal Nutrition Sandie Agar
The Holistic Dog Holly Mash
The Barf Diet Dr Ian Billingshurst
Fat Dog Thin David Alderton
Philip Webb
April 2012
www.webbsnaturalpetcare.co.uk

Dog chews and the feel good factor

Now we know why our dogs look so happy and excited when given a chew toy. Not only do they assist in maintaining healthy teeth, allow the animal to work out anxiety and boredom, they also, according to the experts, help the dog to feel good. This is because when a dog chews, feel good chemicals called endorphins are released from the brain. We also get this feel good factor from vigorous exercise such as running or jogging. Chews are an excellent way to keep a dog happy and occupied when you are busy or need some quiet time. Puppies soon get bored and up to mischief but give them a chew and they will be content for a long time also high energy dogs can expand excessive energy when chewing.

There are many different chews on the market. Rawhide chews are readily available in pet shops and supermarkets in the form as twists and rawhide bones. Rawhide as the name suggests is made from animal skin. Rawhide chews should not be given to large breeds of dogs because they are able to bite off large pieces when the hide becomes dry and brittle and when ingested they can cause problems. Leather chew toys have health risks too as they cannot be properly digested in the stomach and may cause blockage in the intestines.


Rubber
is a good chew toy for dogs. The rubber is moulded into all sorts of shapes and sizes, some with a hollow which contain treats. Your dog will spend as long as it takes to extract the treat and have lots of fun and enjoyment during the process.

Relatively new chew on the market are Stag’s Antlers. These chew are gaining in popularity as they have many advantages. They are totally natural, long lasting; contain a fantastic amount of minerals. And don’t have an unpleasant smell (dogs find the smell delicious) and because they last for months your dog can go back to them time and time again. They are also great for cleaning the dog’s teeth. They don’t break up or splinter but instead they wear down slowly as the dog grinds them with his teeth breaking off tiny pieces, which means they don’t bung the dog up as do some chews. They are free from chemicals, preservatives, colouring and additives.

There should never be a shortage of antler chews as every year deer grow a new pair of antlers which they shed in winter. Antlers are composed of a bone like material which is why they last so long. Another reason why dogs love antler chews is because after much chewing the outside of the antler wears away and a lovely treat of dry marrow is exposed.

You can buy antler chews in different sizes small ones for toy dogs and very large one for big dogs, with many sizes in between. They are suitable for puppies who are teething.

With Antler chews, like any dog chew you must be watchful while the dog is chewing. It’s particularly that little bit at the end which the dog could choke on. It can be difficult to get that last bit off him but offering a nice treat can work. Remember Antler chews are very hard, so you don’t want your dog to chew so hard he damages his teeth.

Anyone caring for a dog in a home will find giving the dog a chew at that crucial time when the owner has just left their pet, might be helpful in getting the dog to feel at home and content.

Posted by: Cornwall Home Dog Boarding

Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Pet Behaviourist – how to find a dog or cat behaviourist

With so many people offering dog training or cat behaviour services and with seemingly every other pet owner who has an opinion, it can be a really daunting place to be when looking for help with a pet behaviour problem. That’s why Animal Behaviour Specialist Jez Rose has put together this Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Behaviourist:

1: Choose someone you like. Pick up the ‘phone and call them because the person you choose for you and your pet are likely to be spending some time with you, so it’s important that you trust and get on with them. You’re likely to be welcoming them into your home and will need to talk to them and ask questions through the rough and the smooth.
2: Check out their testimonials. Other peoples’ experiences are important so do your research to find out what other people thought. Ring around and get some word of mouth recommendations about them.
3: Professionalism is key. The quality of the information the produce and their website is important because it is likely to reflect the professionalism of the individual overall. First impressions count for a reason and attention to detail is everything.
4: Qualifications aren’t everything. The old addage that “credentials on a wall don’t make you a decent human being” is true in every walk of life, so consider experience, knowledge, mentoring and professionalism, as well as qualifications. I know plenty of great Doctors but I’ve also met a few who I was less than impressed with.
5: Guarantees. Guarantees are everything when embarking on correcting your pet’s problem behaviour. It’s important to ask how long it is likely to take and what guarantees the behaviourist offers. Ask if they will guarantee to keep working with you to ensure improvement in your pet’s problem behaviour. Ask if the plan they offer, their service and improving the problem is guaranteed.
6: Speak to your vet. All good behaviourists will come recommended by veterinary professionals and work closely with them, so if in doubt, ask your vet or someone you know for a word of mouth recommendation.
7: Support and back up. All too often I hear of pet owners paying their money and the never hearing from the behaviourist again, unable to get replies to questions or further support. In many cases problem behaviours don’t correct themselves overnight so it is important that the behaviourist you choose to work with you provides a support service.
8: Insurance. Check that they are insured to work with animals (and children if applicable to you) and have adequate public liability and indemnity cover, just in case. If you do have children, we would suggest that a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) clearance is important, too.
9: You are just as important. Although the behaviourist’s job is to work primarily with your pet, they should also be working closely with you, so consider their customer service and how long it takes to reply to your enquiry, for example. If they aren’t bothered before they’ve been paid, it’s not looking good for after!
10: Don’t get confused by clubs. There are a daunting number of memberships clubs for animal trainers and behaviourists, but membership of them doesn’t guarantee efficacy or success. Look instead for results-led recommendations and choose someone who uses positive behaviour modification techniques, avoiding those that mention or use any of the following:
– Shaking a can/bottle/container of stones
– Spraying water
– Shouting
– Rolling over or pinning
– Check or choke chains
– Physical or verbal punishment

The Behaviour Company offers a range of solutions for pet behaviour problems. For more information and for free resources and tips, visit www.thebehaviourcompany.com

My four-legged therapist

Feeling blue? Suffering from a creative block or need some direction in your life? Before you start to dole out large sums of money to a life coach or counsellor – wait. I can recommend a therapist who is gentle, undemanding and never has a waiting list. Her unique sessions consist of some daily exercise, preferably in beautiful countryside, an invitation to give and accept love, and a requirement that you have a sense of humour. Who is this wonder-worker, I hear you ask? None other than your dog, of course! Whether you are susceptible to bouts of depression, are lonely, bereaved or simply exhausted the Canine Cure can remedy your unhappiness within hours, sometimes even minutes – and all for free! Your dog can become your counsellor, gym instructor, tourist guide, creative muse and social secretary all rolled into one lovable package!

 According to Helpguide.org, a website designed to help readers resolve health challenges, studies have shown that dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression, that they have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and that heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without. Owning a dog, says Helpguide.org, fulfils the basic human need to touch. My own experience bears this out. Stroking and cuddling my dogs has enabled me to realise that dark days do pass. In addition, they’ve taught me that a brisk walk will cure a multitude of ills and that being able to laugh is a benefit in itself.

 Not so long ago when I was living in South Africa and working as a teacher in an international school, I suffered a series of health problems. Within a few weeks, I was burnt out. My resources were entirely depleted and I was unable to cope with even the most mundane of tasks. I lost my

 sense of humour and my way in life and was forced to resign from my job. With time on my hands, the only thing I was capable of doing was to take our two dogs on long walks. I would drive a little way from the small town in which we lived to an expanse of what the South Africans call the ‘veld’ – a grassy hillside surrounded by sandstone ‘kopjies’, which are small, flat-topped hills. As soon as I opened the boot, Scout and Sukie would leap out of my old Ford estate and bound off up the hillside with enthusiasm. Their sheer joy in being able to run freely in the countryside was enough to lift my spirits immediately. The sky was always a cloudless blue and the russet-gold of the sandstone cliffs against it was little short of awe-inspiring. There on that hillside, with only the high-pitched hum of cicadas and the distant sound of someone chipping away at the sandstone high above me, my recovery began. Blonde Sukie would bound fearlessly ahead, seeking out interesting smells and pushing her snout into rabbits’ holes, whilst jet-black Scout limped along behind her in his rather ungainly fashion, thoroughly enjoying his own exploration of the landscape around him.

 Heartbreakingly, we were unable to take our beloved Labradors with us when we left Africa for our next destination, so we had to find them another home. We found a lovely family, but I was devastated. Just before we left, I once more walked the route that I had trodden with them each day. Never had I felt so alone. However, although that walk was full of despair, it was mixed with the poignant sense of being humbled, if that doesn’t sound too gushing, that I once had the privilege of my dogs’ company. That hillside will now always be a precious place of special memories. In my mind’s eye, I still see my dogs leaping from the car and zooming off on an exploratory mission. Their phantom counterparts return to me every so often with wide, doggy grins of pure bliss.

 Vanessa Engles recently produced and directed a moving and quirky documentary for BBC2 called ‘Walking with Dogs’, about people who walk their dogs on Hampstead Heath in North London. It

 was fascinating to eavesdrop on little snippets of the lives of dogs and their owners as their paths criss-crossed the Heath. As Engles discovered, many dogs had helped to turn their owners’ lives around. Sometimes a dog had been acquired with this very intention, as in the case of a bereaved couple who bought a dog as a distraction after the tragic death of their son in a paragliding accident. Others, such as an ex-con recently released from prison after serving time for GBH, had come by their dogs unexpectedly and had been astounded by the extent to which their lives had improved. Without exception, these owners were to be found walking their dogs every day on the Heath, whatever the weather.

 Back in the UK, I decided after a while that I needed to counteract the ache I still felt for Scout and Sukie. Zara, a five year old brown Labrador bitch, hitherto used for breeding purposes, came to me in 2008. She had had a litter every year for four years and as she frolicked like a puppy on the beach near our new home in Northumberland, it was as if she was saying “Yes! I’ve got my life back! Now all we have to do is to see to you!’’ Little by little, with Zara’s help, the daily walks on our beautiful deserted beaches have enabled me to come to terms with leaving my two previous dogs. I love the fact that walking Zara simultaneously stimulates my creativity and tones up my muscles. Being naturally lazy, it wouldn’t take much for me to opt out of a daily walk – driving rain or cold wind, for instance. However, the minute my daughter has disappeared off to school at around 8.30 a.m., I sense Zara’s gently pleading eyes turning my way and hear the soft thump of her tail as she tells me that it’s time. I cannot disappoint her. And so we go – always. It is a satisfyingly grounding feeling to know that there is no option. As a result, I have marched along windswept, hail-blasted and snow-fringed beaches here in Northumberland, swaddled in kagoul, waterproof trousers and hood. And I have never been happier. Mere ‘fair-weather’

walkers don’t stand a chance of experiencing the high that comes with such a hike. It is delightful to meet other dog-walkers, too. There is an immediate bond generated by our dogs’ social rituals which means that conversations with strangers are begun with ease. OK, so your exchange may start with something along the lines of “Down, Lulu! Oh, I am sorry – all over your white trousers,” or “Max, WILL you give her ball back? So sorry, but he thinks every ball on the beach is his,” but will no doubt progress in time to more. Zara is responsible for at least two good friendships which originally started with ‘doggy chat’. In addition, these walks have also enabled me to enjoy much-needed reflective time and promoted a new sense of physical and spiritual well-being. All the while, my chocolate-coloured companion has trotted by my side, looking up occasionally to check that she has my approval before racing away to submerge herself in the foamy shallows of the waves or to chase seagulls far out to sea. Admittedly, this particular therapist has her drawbacks; a penchant for wallowing in the muddiest, foul-smelling puddles or eating unspeakably disgusting things being two of them. But, hey, nobody’s perfect and you just have to laugh. Laughter is a great healer and dogs definitely encourage us to giggle in their therapeutic sessions!

So, whatever your particular ailment, free therapy is available – at the end of a lead!

However, I’m aware that I’m probably preaching to the converted. If you’re reading this article then you almost certainly own a dog. But how about spreading the good news?

by Sally Pumford