|Posted on 24 June, 2019 at 6:10||comments (0)|
You have reached the age of retirement and you have happy times ahead to enjoy with family, friends, and your dogs, who may very well be in their golden years also. It may be daunting to think that your canine companions may be coming to the end of their lives, and what do you do when that devastating sad time arrives?
You are still agile and don’t feel aged in any way but you may have to revise your checklist of desirable adoption-dog characteristics if you wish to add another dog to your family. You may very well have had Great Danes most of your life, but perhaps a smaller and maybe older dog would be a better fit at this moment in time when you are a sprite 70-year-old.
Older dogs have a harder time in finding a forever home so it is a win win for both of you. We are told use it or lose it, and walking is essential for our health and well- being all dogs need exercise also, but a large dog pulling on their lead pulling you down the street is not a good choice. However, a zippy and active young dog may also be a tripping hazard for an adult with mobility challenges so perhaps it is very wise to opt for a mature trained dog.
Ageing with dogs is very positive. There are lots of good things about being a senior dog owner. When you reach retirement, you have more time to spend with them. Having an animal companion helps to ease loneliness and stress. They keep you more active and social and if you want to move into a retirement home, many these days welcome companion animals, recognizing that the physical and mental health of their residents is enhanced by their animal companion.
You may want to travel and holiday with your animal companion and there are lots of pet friendly hotels. Motor homes are very popular these days and you can even visit friends without imposing your furry companion on them with their home from home motor home.
raining for you and excellent for your dog, or hire a dog trainer to come to your home.
So, are there any down sides to being an ageing pet owner. Perhaps it is a matter of finances. Can you afford to take care of one or more animal companion? Can you afford food, bedding and any emergencies that crop up? If your animal companion is elderly medical needs can be expensive.
Dog equipment to make fastening easier is available. Front clip harnesses ease the pain of leash pulling. A waist belt is extremely helpful for people with arthritic hands, that can clip your dog’s lead to your belt. This transfers the dog’s pulling pressure to your hips and allows you to be hands free. Of, course you have to be stable enough and that your dog isn’t too big and able to pull you over. Bungee leads give some stretch and can reduce impact if your dog runs to the end of the lead. Ezy Dog shock lead works very well. Ruffwell sells a waist belt that comes with a stretchy lead. Dog ramps can be useful if you cannot pick your dog up to get into the car or jump on your bed. You can also give treats on sticks, as simple as peanut butter on a long-handled wooden spoon can make it easier.
Hiring a professional dog walker for a few days can also be beneficial to you both if you are not feeling up to walking on any particular day. Family can help with visits to the vet, groomer, and training classes. You can also find mobile groomers to come to your home that will collect your dog. There are many online companies that will deliver pet supplies to your home.
The most important and difficult discussion with your family is about planning for their dog’s future. Family can make these decisions easier by putting their minds at rest that their companions will be cared for in the event of their death. This is what puts many elderly people off having a canine companion but do not want their canine companion to outlive them. However, there are several solutions to ensure your dog is cared for after you are gone.
Ask family and friends before you designate them to care for your dog’s care in a will. And leave instructions as to what food they eat, medical issues and any medication, your veterinarians name and contact number and your companions favourite toys and sleeping places and general routine.
You can sign up for a canine care card with the Dog’s Trust. The service is free of charge whereby your dog will be cared for by people who love dogs. They promise that they never destroy a healthy dog and that your dog will be kept safe, warm, given medical care, looked after and loved until they find a forever home. Please note that, especially in the case of an older dog, they may never find a forever home again.
|Posted on 19 May, 2019 at 7:30||comments (0)|
Exercise is a key part of our dog’s health, happiness and wellbeing. Exercise maintains a healthy weight, muscle mass, and keeps joints mobile, it is part of your dogs’ natural instincts to be active and is a key part of your dog’s health.
Exercise avoids health problems and natural light has many benefits on mental and physical health for both you and your dog. Dog’s need exercise to prevent negative behaviour so if you don’t tire them out, they will soon be up to mischief chewing your furniture when they are frustrated and bored.
There is a danger of weight gain if your dog does not get enough exercise and there can be a tendency towards increased aggression towards other pets or people due to lack of exercise resulting in mental stress. However, if any destructive behaviour does not stop once they are getting enough exercise you should consult your veterinary surgeon
When choosing your dog, you will have to consider your own life style, as not all dogs are the same and some need considerably more exercise than others. Consistency and building up endurance is the key especially as puppies and young dogs. The UK Kennel Club recommend five minutes for each month of their age up to twice a day, plus playful exercise.
Avoid being a couch potato on week days, and an athlete at the week end, as this will only lead to fatigue and muscle soreness. Dogs will slow down with age like ourselves, so more leisurely slower paced walks will be kinder on their muscles and joints.
Over exercise is as bad as no exercise, always check your dogs’ paws for wear and tear, cuts or grazes, irritated skin or swelling. Joint injury can cause difficulty in moving, and tiredness or irritability and limping through muscle pain or stiffness after too much exercise. Heat stroke is also something to be very careful to avoid. Check for excessive panting or drooling, uncoordinated movements or vomiting. Younger and older breeds can have difficulty, and dogs like pugs can’t cool as efficiently as other breeds. An hour either side of walking is best for feeding to avoid stomach upset or bloating.
Canicross has become very popular with many dog owners, some breeds are much better suited to running than others for example sighthounds and lurchers, are speedy across very short distances, but will tire over longer distances and such breeds as Labradors will be happy to run alongside you. Huskies or Border Collies may be happy to go the distance but may need their attention held during the run, and small nosed breeds can have difficulty breathing and are more susceptible to heat stroke. If you intend to go running with your canine mate, build, up endurance slowly, be prepared for stops for sniffing and peeing and don’t forget water for your dog as you want to avoid dehydration
You know your dog and their capabilities and limitations, and it is up to you to stop play and exercise if they get over excited as they can often ignore pain. This especially is important if your dog has had any joint surgery, or joint problems, for example hip dysplasia. Always consult your veterinary surgeon for advice regarding exercise.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding your dog’s health.
|Posted on 4 May, 2019 at 8:05||comments (0)|
Alabama dog rot was first identified amongst greyhounds in the state of Alabama in the 1980s. After the first flare up, the number of reported cases dwindled and as no clinical research was carried out, the disease was almost relegated to history. Because no one has been able to determine what causes the disease, it is now only recognisable by its collection of clinical symptoms. The Environment Agency has ruled out any chemical contamination in water supplies and the source of the disease is unknown. However, Experts believe the disease is very similar to Alabama Rot, thought to be related to a toxin produced by E Coli bacteria. However, no evidence of this has been found after no signs were shown on the infected dogs. Alabama dog rot is a disease that causes damage to a dog's blood vessels and the kidney. It is a mysterious disease which is hard to identify, early detection is vital and sadly, very difficult to treat. Since the disease was first detected in 2012 in the UK the number of cases of Alabama dog rot in dogs has risen. The most serious outbreak was in the New Forest region of Hampshire but there have also been reported cases in several other counties, with the most recent cases reported Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, Devon, Dorset, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Greater Manchester and Worcestershire. In 2018 there were 46 confirmed cases of Alabama dog rot, following 40 cases in 2017 and 19 in 2016. There has been some speculation that walking dogs in particular areas of the countryside may be a contributing factor, but the Forestry Commission has yet to warn of any specific sites being dangerous, reassuring dog owners by saying. Many thousands of dogs are walked in the countryside every day and it is important to remember only a very small number of dogs have been affected. This is not what a devastated owner wants to hear after their dog has been affected and tragically died. Knowing that it is on the rise again in the UK and dogs have been affected in Ireland it is time to take preventative precautions for your dog. However, there is no specific steps to take to prevent your dog from contracting the disease, there is some evidence of seasonal fluctuation, with most cases appearing between November and June. New advice suggests keeping your dog away from very muddy areas, as it is suspected that the disease spreads from muddy and woody areas. General advice given is to monitor where your dog goes on your walks and to wash off any mud as soon as possible after your walk After your walk especially in muddy woody areas, rinse off the worst of the mud with a hose, bathe your dog and dry thoroughly. It may seem over the top but if the dog is not very muddy it is a precaution to wash and dry paws. The first sign of Alabama Rot is skin sores that have not been caused by physical injury. These sores can present as lesions, swelling, a patch of red skin, or may be open and ulcer-like. The sores are most commonly found below the knee or elbow or occasionally on the stomach or face. Usually, this will cause localised hair loss and the dog will begin licking the wound. These lesions will be followed between two and seven days later with outward symptoms of kidney failure: reduced appetite fatigue, and vomiting. Affected dogs will also develop signs of severe depression.
|Posted on 16 June, 2018 at 3:45||comments (0)|
Not sure if you're a dog or cat person but researching your first pet? Great! Taking a look at your current living situation may help you to determine whether to welcome a feline or canine or perhaps a different critter entirely!
These loyal fur-faces require more time, attention, and money than most other critters. Because they're pack animals by nature, they're often more social than cats. Consider how much time they'll need for exercise and playtime. If you travel a lot or have a job that requires long hours away from home, a dog might not be the best pet. Plan to spend at least $20 monthly on food, and remember to factor in grooming costs, too. On the other hand, dogs make great watch animals and companions. You'll have a buddy who can't wait to accompany you on adventures and gives unconditional love.
Feisty felines are more independent than dogs, but they still enjoy spending time with their people. Generally, they're neater and cost less to maintain; you don't have to walk them in all weather, but there is the litter box. Most cats don't require grooming assistance, and their natural independence complements a lifestyle that includes long days away from home. When you do finally crash on the couch, your lap will quickly attract furry company. Cat or a Dog? These questions are worth considering if you can't decide.
1. Do you enjoy spending time outside? If so, a dog makes the perfect companion and playmate. Few cats enjoy the constraints of a leash.
2. Do you like to go for walks? Dogs need regular, daily exercise, and many dogs need walking at least twice a day, regardless of the weather. If you discover you're short on time to walk your dog, consider hiring a dog walker to help out.
3. How old are your kids? Some experts recommend waiting until they're between 7 and 9 to get a dog, but the answer varies from family to family.
4. How do you feel about fur? If you're obsessive about a clean house, carefully consider the breed of dog or cat. Some breeds shed much less than others; other breeds require regular brushing and professional grooming.
5. Does anyone in your household have allergies? If so, you'll want to research breeds less likely to induce allergic reactions.
6. How do you feel about 'needy' critters? Dogs love to hang with their people; you'll rarely be alone. They'll greet you with excitement whenever they see you and want to spend most (if not all) of their waking time in your presence. Most cats seek affection on their own terms, not yours.
7. Do you have time for obedience school and reinforcement you'll need to provide that training for your dog initially and then continue to reinforce desired behaviors; dogs look to you for leadership since they want to please you. Cats don't require that level of training, although you may need to take measures to keep a curious feline off kitchen counters or from other spaces where you'd prefer she not venture.
Once you've made your choice, prepare your home for a smooth transition. Here's a list of items you might need, depending on the critter: food/water bowls, bedding, litter box, collar, leash, toys, carrier, crate, grooming tools, and nail clippers.
Also, double-check your home for poisonous plants, cords, and other potential pet health hazards. Set aside a room or space where your new pet can seek a safe space to relax away from the main traffic flow.
Bonding and Adjusting
Set routines right away, cats and dogs both thrive on routine: feeding time, playtime, sleep, and exercise. Be patient. Some animals will blend in and bond immediately like they've been members of the family for years. Others take a bit more time to warm up to a new situation. Encourage everyone to give new pets their space, but spend time playing, petting, and cuddling the new critters, too, take your cues from their behavior.
What matters most is that you've welcomed a fur-face, who'll love you and your family unconditionally, into your home. Have fun and enjoy the snuggles!
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
|Posted on 13 March, 2017 at 13:25||comments (2)|
Crystals are a non-invasive, gentle holistic way to heal animals by shifting their energy, emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually Historically, crystals have been used in healing as far back as 25,000 BC. and In the last quarter century, there has been a resurging interest in crystal healing. How it works ???The crystal is a neutral object whose inner structure exhibits a state of perfection and balance. How does crystal heal both us and our animals? All living beings are made up of energy and possess electromagnetic fields. Each crystal, gemstone and mineral resonates at a specific vibrational frequency and amplitude that in turn attracts the energies of particular qualities and traits and as I am talking about using crystals to heal animals those energies mix with the animal's own energy field. Crystal healing is non-evasive and one which our animal companions resonate well with since they could be said to be closer to nature than we are. There are a number of different ways of using crystals to help heal animals. One of the best is to place them somewhere within the animals energy field. Be careful and make sure that they cannot eat them. You can attach them to collars, I have a vast array of crystal collars on my website. You can also sew them into their bedding, but if you think they will chew through the bedding to get to the crystal you could make a crystal grid around their crate or around a stationary animal or simply massage with them. Crystals can be programmed for specific uses; for example a healing intention. Know the crystals that you are using as some crystals, including malachite, cinnabar and peacock ore, are toxic. Prevent your dog or cat from licking or mouthing the stones.
|Posted on 12 March, 2017 at 9:45||comments (0)|
All the Astrology signs pass through five Elements. These Elements are Fire, Wood, Water, Earth and Metal. Everyone and everything must interact with these Elements. Each element is associated with one of the planets in our solar system. Fire is paired with Mars; Wood is paired with Jupiter; Water is paired with Mercury; Earth is paired with Saturn and Metal is paired with Venus.There are relationships between each of these Chinese Elements. They each have a beneficial relationship, a destructive relationship and a hostile relationship to the other Elements. The beneficial relationships are as follows: Water generates Wood; Wood generates Fire; Fire generates Earth; Earth generates Metal; Metal generates Water. The destructive relationships are Water puts out Fire; Fire melts Metal; Metal cuts Wood; Wood breaks Earth and Earth swallows Water. The hostile relationships are Water hates Fire; Fire hates Metal; Metal hates Wood; Wood hates Earth and Earth hates Water.Each of these Elements has their own set of characteristics that affect the animal signs. The concept of Yin and Yang also affect the Five Chinese Elements.
Those born in the Earth Element are patient and reliable.
The Element of Earth may be considered stubborn or rigid. Earth's colour is yellow, and it is associated with the digestive system, especially the stomach and spleen.
Those born with the Fire Element love adventure and excitement; The Fire Element is the South and represents the season of summer. Fire's o colour is red. It is associated with the circulatory system and the heart.
Those born with the Metal Element are tenacious and self-reliant. Metal is the West. It is associated with the season of autumn. Metal's colour is white. In the body, Metal is associated with the respiratory system and the lungs in particular.
Those born with the Wood Element are generous. The Element of Wood is the East. It is associated with the season of spring. it is the colour green, and it is associated with the liver and gall bladder.
Those born with the Element of Water can be charming and sensitive and compassionate. Water Element is the North. It is associated with the season of winter. Water's colour is black and it is associated with the lungs, skeleton and excretory system.
|Posted on 12 March, 2017 at 6:20||comments (0)|
Kittens usually start eating solid food at around 4 weeks of age but still suckle on their mother. Cat food can be bought in cans, rolls, packets etc. I feel that tinned is much better than dry for cats and if possible choose a premium brand and always check the ingredients and check the packaging for wording such as 'Total nutritional requirements for cats and kittens'. Supplement your kitten's diet with chopped or minced fresh meat, fish or chicken but remember fresh meat or fish alone does not supply your kitten with all the nutrients it needs. Give you kitten a variety of foods changing what you give him regularly. Kittens can become very bored with same food day in day out and they may refuse to eat. It also helps guard against raising a fussy eater! Throw away uneaten food. Don't put it back in the fridge to give the kitten later as it could be contaminated by bacteria. Don't feed your kitten dog food as the nutritional requirements of dogs and cats are very different. Your kitten needs fresh water available at all times. Try not to use plastic bowls as they tip over easily. A heavy china, pottery or porcelain dish is preferable. Do not give cats or kittens cow's milk as many kittens are lactose intolerant and it can cause tummy upsets and severe diarrhoea. Specially formulated milk for cats and kittens is available from your vet. Young kittens are like babies, they need to be fed several times a day. Kittens younger than 6 weeks ideally should still be with their mother. As a rule of thumb kittens aged between 6 weeks and 12 weeks need four or more meals a day. Their stomachs are very small and they can't eat a lot at a time. At about 12 weeks they should be fed three times a day and by the time they reach 6 months they can then go on to twice daily feeding. You must provide your kitten with warmth. This is especially important in cold climates. Your kitten is used to snuggling up to his mother and litter mates for comfort and warmth. There are many different cat beds available in all forms and sizes and in a huge range of prices. You don't have to spend a lot of money on a bed as your kitten will be perfectly happy in a cardboard box lined with a blanket, baby quilt or lambs wool cover. The important thing is that he has a warm place to sleep and cuddle up in. If the weather is really cold put a hot water bottle under his blanket. Try to make your kitten's bed snug. Cats and kittens love to curl up in snug areas. Kittens are heat seekers and you are a good source of heat for them. That is why they love to curl up on your lap and they will seek you out in your bed not only for company but for warmth. If you don't want your cat sleeping in your bed for the rest of it's life it is best to let your kitten know what you expect from him from the beginning. Put his bed in a quiet place away from busy areas and encourage him to sleep there and close your bedroom door when you go to bed On the other hand you may like your kitten to sleep with you and that's OK as long as you realise that he will probably share your bed for life. Cats are well known for their bed hogging abilities. .
|Posted on 17 March, 2016 at 9:15||comments (0)|
If you watched Crufts recently there is a lot of controversy concerning the health of the dogs and the ethics of many breeders totally disregarding nature and the process of natural selection, particularly in breeding dogs for show. I am not saying that all breeders do this, and selective breeding is required when preventing hip dysplasia and other debilitating conditions, I am concerned with the negative results based purely on the aesthetics of the dogs in this type of practice. I have recently seen some articles on the problems of the wrinkle dogs, known as Shar Pei, needing corrective surgery to raise the folds over their eyes in order for them to see properly.
Nature determines traits that are beneficial e.g. body shape, eye colour etc. to be passed on in a survival of the fittest natural selection. However, inbreeding is used in order to produce puppies with a desired trait especially in appearance which increases the chances of genetic defect, for example deafness and heart problems and many more genetic defects. When choosing a puppy from a breeder always ask to see the parents and papers and veterinary certificates given to say that the parents have been checked for common hereditary defects.
Never go to a puppy mill as they are commercial dog-breeding facilities that are only interested in profit and not the health and welfare of the dogs.
So we have ticked all the boxes, think again, how are the puppies being socialized during their eight-week period at the breeders? Have I researched the breed and am I a good fit for my puppy? All puppies are cute little bundles but what happens if it grows into a large energetic dog, or has to be groomed frequently. If you cannot meet your puppy and adult dog’s needs, you may encounter some behavioural problems. For example, most gun dogs are couch potatoes in the home but have boundless energy outside and need plenty of exercise, can you meet their needs? This is why so many dogs end up in shelters when their owners cannot cope or are just not liking a huge dog trying to receive his emotional needs from his owner. Dogs feel emotions and give endless love so think before you choose that cute little puppy that could grow to be a giant, or is destructive because you cannot meet his essential requirements.
In 1965 Professor Brambell was asked to investigate how animals are farmed. This was the most comprehensive study in defining the basic needs of animals and as a result of his investigation brambell made recommendations on how farm animals should be kept. He recommended “Five Freedoms “and although made initially for farm animals can apply to all animals and can help us assess if we are meeting the fundamental needs of our animals.
Brambells Five Freedoms
1. Freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition
2. Freedom from discomfort due to environment
3. Freedom from pain, injury, or disease
4. Freedom to express normal behaviour for the species
5. Freedom from fear and distress
|Posted on 15 March, 2016 at 4:30||comments (0)|
All dog owners know how dogs are in tune with our inner emotions and in essence our perfect soul mates. For those non-believers out there, Researchers from the U.K. and Brazil have carried out a study and published the latest paper on a dog’s ability to relate to humans. The paper concluded that dogs can understand human emotions and that it is not a learned behaviour, that dogs understand our positive and negative emotional states, knowing how we are feeling by responding to expressions.
I watched a program some time ago about dog behaviour and they did an experiment which showed a woman crying on a park bench. This woman was a stranger to the dog but when the dog’s owner sat beside the woman, the dog responded to the woman’s emotional state and tried to comfort her.
It has been proved that dogs have the ability to combine information from a number of senses, a skill that has never been seen before in any other creatures apart from humans and they really understand how the other individual is feeling.
The researchers showed dogs pairings of images and sounds each of which conveyed different combinations of positive happy or playful and negative angry or aggressive emotional expressions in human’s and also used controls with positive and negative images linked with white noise i.e. neither positive nor negative emotions. This showed that the dogs spent longer looking at the facial expressions that matched the emotional state of the sound for both human and canine subjects. So if the sound and image did not match they did not engage with the image. This cognitive ability until now has only been evidenced in primates and the capacity to do this across species only seen in humans.
Dogs have been selected and bred for thousands of years and have evolved to be different to any other type of animal on this planet. For example, chimpanzees can recognise emotional states in their own species but they cannot do this in other species.
Dogs can in fact teach us a few tricks they are natural experts at mindfulness something that many of us strive to achieve. In fact, most of the dog’s brain is similar to a human brain, we share the primitive parts of the brain that process emotions, the major difference is the large forebrain of humans which allows us to think, worry and calculate and this forebrain stops us from living in the moment.
Dogs are amazing companions, they emphasise and respond to us and we enjoy that loving friendship, they give love and comfort and respond happily to our happiness. They do not judge and want to give us emotional support and they also know within a few seconds whether they have come across a friend or foe knowing whether to be friendly or not.
|Posted on 1 March, 2016 at 6:00||comments (0)|
Food for thought
Dogs are social animals so it is important to learn how your dog interacts with everyone he comes into contact with. Your dog’s world and behaviour within it is not complicated but how he perceives his environment and responds to it is very intricate and the emotional state of your dog is what drives their behaviour. One of the fundamental needs of your dog is safety how safe and secure do they feel in their world. There are a wide range of factors in dealing with dog behavioural issues for example, genetics, parentage, personality, diet, disease, trauma and the environment, and who the dog co-exists with. Before we treat we must always find the root of the problem if we do not we are treating with temporary band aid which will not be a permanent solution.
Dogs are a subspecies of the wolf, there are some differences as a result of domestication but there are so many similarities just as wolves’ dogs have carnivore requirements both choose to eat plant material for both nutritional and medicinal purposes. So dogs are supposed to eat meat and bones in the diet and fresh food is very important for their well-being. However, there are differences in opinions between vets as to their views on feeding raw bones and raw v fresh cooked food for dogs. The jury on this is still out.
Ideally, dogs should eat quality human grade meat as meat used in low grade kibble by factory farms is so poor, such as road kill and another more holistic example would be the negative emotion fed to a dog given food from a factory slaughtered cow that had years of neglect, we should be thinking of not just the well-being of our beloved dogs but also on the well-being of the animals they eat.
This is just an introduction to a series of articles which I am writing on food and well-being.https://dawggonegood.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/pet_recipes.jpg