Prolong Your Pooches Life With These Proven Methods

Dog waiting to play puppy games

There’s a reason why dogs are hailed as ‘man’s best friend.’ They’re incredibly loyal, sweet and silly- they make us laugh, keep us company and fulfill our lives in the most special way. The sad thing is, our dogs don’t live for all that long and when they pass it can be truly devastating. However, there are things you can do to help prolong your dog’s life, so they stay happy and healthy well into old age.

Don’t Smoke In The Room With Them

Just like humans, our animals can be affected by passive smoking. There have been many cases of dogs and cats developing lung cancer where their owners constantly smoke with them in the room. This can be a massive source of guilt, as it’s something that most people don’t give a second thought to. Now that you know be sure to leave the room when you smoke, so your pets aren’t breathing in the harmful fumes. You get to decide what you do with your body, and it’s your choice. Just don’t allow them to be affected by it.

Feed Them a Good Quality Dog Food

A good quality dog food will be higher in protein and nutrients that dogs need. Cheaper brands often bulk out their food with wheat which a lot of dogs are intolerant too, causing digestive issues and yeast overgrowths. These present themselves as itchy, smelly skin with a musty odor and infected ears. Better brands will use things like sweet potatoes instead of grains which are much kinder to your pooches system. You will pay extra for good quality dog food, but it’s so worth it to keep your best friend happy and healthy. You can find out more about the right foods to pick here.

Go For Regular Vet Visits

It’s recommended that dogs between the ages of one and ten years visit the vet annually. This allows them to take their weight and check things like their eyes, joints, and teeth to make sure everything is as it should be. It means any problems are picked up early, saving trouble later down the line. Even if your dog is healthy, make sure he’s scheduled in for a yearly appointment.

Make Sure They Get The Right Amount of Exercise

There’s no set amount of time that dogs need to be walked each day. It will vary depending on size, age, breed, and personality- some dogs are naturally more energetic and will need longer and brisker walks. Maybe they are prone to chewing or destructive behavior if they’re not drained of their energy. Other dogs are lazier or just more placid and require less so work out what’s best for your pooch. As your dog gets older they will naturally slow down a little, don’t push them too far as this can be bad for their joints. Your dog should be tired after a walk, but not so exhausted they can barely move or in any kind of discomfort.

Leave a comment with your own ideas on how do you make sure your dog stays happy and healthy?

Give Your Pets the Creature Comforts They Deserve

Dog snoozing in his basket

Us humans, we like to be comfortable, don’t we? We like being able to fall into a comfy bed after a long, hard day at work; we like to have the comfiest cushions squashed behind our backs as we sit on the sofa; and we like to dry our faces with towels made of the most luxurious cotton known to man after stepping out of the shower. So if we like such comforts, why wouldn’t our pets like them too?

Over half of pet owners consider their four-legged friends to be a member of the family, so it’s only natural that to feel a sense of guilt when you see them sleeping in a wicker basket with a few old blankets thrown in. You wouldn’t let your children sleep in those conditions, would you? You wouldn’t let your spouse, would you? Well, maybe you would on that last one, especially after an argument. The point is, it’s okay to feel bad about providing your pet with a makeshift sleeping area, and not silly at all to want to make them comfier.

But now it’s time to stop worrying about it, and doing something about it! Now, we could allow for our pets to share our beds, of course, but this isn’t recommended. So what’s the comfiest alternative? A few options to consider are a memory foam dog lounger for dogs (or spouses), or a jolly moggy cat radiator bed, for, yep, you guessed it, cats: more to the point, for cats that love to be cosy and next to a radiator at all times.

Another point of worry for pet owners across the land is that dreaded separation: that moment when you have to say goodbye to your four legged friend and go to work in the morning. And when this is combined with a fear that your pet isn’t cosy enough, it can be sometimes unbearable for the owner. Sometimes it even forces them to up and leave right in the middle of an important conference call in order to go home and tend to their pet’s every need (although there are yet to be any actual reports of such a thing happening). To the point, it’s okay to feel guilty when leaving your pooch or moggie locked inside all day with nobody or nothing to entertain them but their tails. A tip to help keep your pet as content and comfortable as they can be in your absence is to leave lights on for them. Their heartache at being abandoned will only be made worse by darkness, so when the evening starts drawing in and the day slowly turns to night a light would be comforting for them. There are obvious pitfalls with this idea: your electricity bill being one. However, with advances in technology, such as Samsung SmartThings, you have the power to remotely switch on the lights in your house, even when you’re not there.

So, there you have it. A comfortable pet is a happy pet; a happy pet makes a happy house; and a happy house most importantly means you’re happy. But don’t let your pet steal all the cosiness, humans need to be cosy too!

Is length the most important thing? (Day -160)

Quality vs Quantity of life in dogs

I’ve recently spent some time within some of the top oncology (cancer) referral vets within the UK and been in consults with people who have to be told that the biopsy says it is cancer. One of the most difficult questions that pet guardians will then ask is how long a loved pet has left – this is an awful question that has to be answered so carefully because we just do not know.

We try to use evidence based studies looking at different treatments when discussing the options – however these studies over use statistics to give averages. Unfortunately within veterinary research many studies only have a small amount of patients which is caused by the way the veterinary industry works. This means that when looking at a study with average life duration from start of treatment of 3 months that some dogs may have died at 1 week whilst others lived until 9 months or a year. I am personally starting to believe that statistics should be limited to use only in sample sizes over a defined minimum limit to improve reliability (I wrote about statistics here).

However what is missing from most of these studies is perhaps even more important and is the second question that most pet guardians ask. That is what the quality of life is like. It is something that may sound strange however it is much easier to quantify quantity of life (i.e. days) than it is quality (i.e. happiness) of a pet.

This is still something in it’s infancy within veterinary medicine – with humans we can explain that it will hurt now but it will mean that they are good later. The first time I saw this discussed was within surgery decision making in the AWSELVA journal in 2014 (J. Yeates & S. Corr) to evaluate treatment options based on the amount of painful time vs the amount of pain free time.

This is something that is difficult though as we need to define how we recognise the quality of life. For example if we consider movement as an indicator as recently there have been studies using accelerometers (step counters) to monitor the activity of an animal. A study just published used this to measure the physical activity in dogs receiving chemotherapy as an oncology treatment which may be acceptable.

However if we look at dogs with neurological problems that may have abnormal circling or pedalling movements then activity may not be the best quality of life. Here is where other techniques may come into play with things such as a seizure diary being kept to record frequency and duration of seizures to allow comparison of good time vs bad time.

Hopefully soon we will have better measures for the quality of life – and be able to apply these when making decisions that may impact animal welfare.

Don’t Make A Dog’s Dinner Out Of Your Puppy’s Upbringing

Training your puppy

Teaching your new puppy certain rules can be the most challenging thing any owner will face when it comes to their dog. Actually, training your dog to be obedient could be the most challenging thing any owner will ever face when it comes to life. It can be such a tedious process and one that you didn’t account for until you came home to find a fully chewed sofa and your best chews being used a dog toy. Somehow your puppy had even found a way to make your shoes squeak. As such, we have come up with a list of ways to help you in your search for obedience and manners, whatever the task at hand (or paw) may consist of.

Straight Off The Bat

The most crucial piece of advice we can give any puppy-owner is this: remember that a dog is a loyal companion. They love being with you, they love spending time with you and socialising with you. As such, any extended periods of confinement, including ignoring them, can have a negative effect on what you are trying to achieve. In fact, these type of ‘training’ will probably just lead to more destructive behaviour, louder barking and increased hyperactivity. In short, it will see them become a nuisance.

Basic Tips

Certain pieces of training advice are universal when it comes to training your puppy, or dog. The most universal is consistency. Always be consistent with your commands, and your rewards. What we mean is, don’t change up the word for sit, or heel, or anything like that. It will be confusing.

Another great tip to remember is that dogs love hearing their name, as such you should try using it a lot and often. However, don’t use their name whenever you are trying to reprimand your beloved pooch; only use it alongside actions that will grand a positive result, like rolling-over, albeit sitting is much more achievable.

When we say reward, be aware that this doesn’t necessarily mean a treat, or a doggy biscuit. It means attention and love and affection. Dogs will often crave this more than a little nibble on something tasty. Trust us. On this note, try and avoid giving your dog lots of attention whenever it misbehaves because, well, it will see this as a positive result to something naughty.

Do not reprimand your dog for urinating when it gets excited. This is a common trait in most dogs and it is involuntary. They’re simply recognising ou as their owner, and they love you so much they can’t contain themselves; so reprimanding them will only have a negative effect.

Try A Professional

If you’re having real problems housebreaking your pup, there are alternatives to stressing out and losing your mind. A great way to do this is to look out for any professional services that may be able to help you in your quest for good behavior, services such as a puppy daycare. Professionals have trained dogs before, lots of dogs, and so they will be able to communicate with your pup and inform you of what tricks seem to be most effective.

Training your dog professionally

Simple Tips To Keep Your Dog Healthy

Keeping a dog healthy

Our loveable canine companions will always find ways to get themselves into a spot of bother all on their own. There’s not much we can do if a dog is determined to have fun and explore without doing a thorough safety check first. Dealing with a slightly dusty and beaten up dog is part and parcel of being a dog owner.

If their exuberance is out of our control, then take heart in the fact that we can control another aspect of their well-being: their health. Your dog doesn’t have the capacity to make sure their insides are kept in tip-top condition, but you do – and that’s why they adore you so! Here’s a few of the simple steps you can take to ensure yours feels great inside and out.

Eating Well

Every person is different, and consequently needs different quantities and types of food in order to have a balanced diet. Dogs are no different. It’s really important that your furry best friend gets the gets the right levels of nutrients through their foods. As dogfoodaid.com says, failing to provide the correct food for your pet can result in a number of serious conditions, such as obesity, arthritis, skin allergies, and congestive heart failure. All of these can be preventable if you take the time to learn just what foods your dog needs, so make sure you take the time to learn!

Brushing Their Teeth

Can you imagine what might to your teeth and all-round health if you didn’t brush your teeth? We’re sure you rather wouldn’t think about it, so we’ll just tell you – it would not be good. Your dog might not need to have fresh breath for an important meeting or get together, but they still need to have their teeth well taken care of. If they don’t, they’re liable to suffer from gum disease, which can cause massive complications in dogs, including missing teeth and eroded gums. What’s particularly evil about this condition is that it’s often difficult to detect until it’s too late.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be “too late” without a bit of preventative care. Brushing your dog’s teeth might not sound like the easiest or more enjoyable task of the day, but you’ll be doing him or her a great service.

Protection from the heat

Protection from the Heat

If you’re in the UK, you’ll know how much time we put into making sure we’re protected from the sunshine (at least on those rare few days a year when it shines). If we need to be lapped in suntan lotion and have access to a sun umbrella and water, then it’s fairly reasonable to assume your dog will too –  especially as sunshine can play havoc with your dog’s health. So before you take your dog along with you to the beach, make sure they have plenty of access to water (though not too much!) and a place to sit in the shade. In hotter weather, it’s advisable to coat your dog in canine friendly suntan lotion – they do exist! Just make sure it doesn’t contain Zinc Oxide, as that can be toxic to dogs.

What You Should Know Before You Get A Horse

Horses in paddock

For many countryside homeowners, adopting a horse is a dream come true. The natural elegance of a horse attracts many animal lovers who research an animal that is both a way of making a statement as well as a fitness friend. After all, riding remains one of the most elegant and freeing activities that one can think of: Is there anything more attractive than riding through the countryside and jumping above obstacles like the hero of a Victorian novel? But, before you start choosing who should be your next equine friend, you should first consider what it really means to own a horse.

Foals Versus Adult Horses

The opinion is divided about what the best age is to adopt a horse. Indeed, older horses would have been pre-trained and will be easy to work with. They often come from riding clubs where they would have been used to work with children and adults of all riding levels. While this can make your life a lot easier, this also means that you will not be able to develop a bond as strong as those who choose to adopt a foal and train it themselves. However, adopting a foal can be a difficult experience at first, as youngsters tend to be unaware of the dangers around them and are more likely to get injured, and specifically to hurt their legs in the fence.

You will need to make sure that the place you keep your foal will be completely foal-proofed until the training is over.

Horse in its stable

You Need To Have The Right Gear And Stables

A horse requires regular care and maintenance and is much more demanding than other pets such as cats or dogs. As you plan to adopt a horse, you need to make sure that you have all you need to take care of it: Start with feeding equipment such as a feed tub and water trough! Then you also need to think about grooming and handling your horse with the purchase of a body brush, a mane comb, a halter-leather with a lead rope, and a hoof pick. Finally, unless you live in a place that has kept horses, you will need to find a way to build a stable: You can find beautiful stables that can be completely tailored to your terrain and your space, or you can even consider renting a box in an existing livery that is local to you.

Remember One Thing: This Is A Costly Pet

Adopting a horse is not like adopting a house pet: This is a costly investment, that will naturally be a rewarding experience as you start training and riding your horse, but you need to carefully plan it in your budget. Indeed, the cost of hay, straw and shavings to feed your horse throughout the cold months where there is no grass has to be planned alongside the cost of additional feeding requirements. You will also need to take an equine and livery insurance to protect your horse and the place where it lives at all times. Finally, further maintenance costs for the services of a farrier, dentist and a worming expert (who can be your vet) also need to be taken into consideration in your equine budget.