How Not To Make A Dog’s Dinner Out Of Your Pooch’s Diet

Every pet owner wants to take good care of their pet. Whether it is a cold or fleas, it is essential to fix the problem so that your dog isn’t in pain. However, there is one area where dog owners are not up to scratch: their pooch’s diet. Pets are like humans and need a balanced and tailored diet. With that in mind, the following tips are here to help. This is how not to make a dog’s dinner out of their diet.

Take Them To The Vet If There Are Problems Like Itchy Skin

Yes, going to the vet is expensive and a lot of hassle, but it is the only way you will find out about allergies and deficiencies. Like people, dogs are allergic to certain foods, or their stomachs can’t digest them as well as others. Obviously, you need to avoid these foods, but it isn’t possible if you don’t know what they are in the first place. By visiting the vet and asking for a food trial, intradermal skin test or a blood test, they will be able to tell which items in foods are good and which are bad.

Go Au Naturel

If in doubt, opting for organic food is always a good option. Natural dog food doesn’t contain any chemicals or unnecessary additives. Therefore, it shouldn’t be hard to digest or cause them to be sick. Plus, the natural ingredients will boost everything from their mood to their stamina. The key is to find truly natural food because there are suppliers who fudge the facts. A good tip is to take the label test. This means forget about the packaging, reputation, and PR and focus on the ingredients. What you are looking for is a high percentage of meat as well as soy protein and corn.

Introduce Human Meats

If your dog has ever been sick bets are a vet has recommended chicken and rice. This bland diet is good to help “reset” the digestive tract when they are ill. To get the most nutrients out of their diet, a dog needs a balanced diet which can be commercially made however treats can be given. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to introduce meat you would eat, such as beef. Of course, the protein in meat is an essential nutrient. But always do your research first and avoid chocolate as it is poisonous to most dogs.

But Don’t Cook It

Every time you have a piece of red meat it will go in the frying pan or the oven. Humans have evolved to need cooked meat as a part of their diet, yet dogs aren’t the same. Pretty much every other animal species on the planet requires meat, and they should have it raw. When you cook it, the meat loses its nutritional value and your dog won’t get the same benefits. Also, chewing raw meat is good for their teeth. However, stick to beef because poultry and pork can cause salmonella.

Ultimately, your dog’s diet is down to you, so please take the responsibility seriously.

Sorry Chow Chow Owners, Your Pooch Just Isn’t The Best For Training

Are some dogs harder to train than others? Unsurprisingly, the answer is “yes.” Despite the fact that all dogs are descended from the same species, the breeding process has made some of them a nightmare to live with. While poodles might be relatively easy to train, chow chows and pugs certainly aren’t.

Here are some of the breeds of dog that are hard to train.

Beagles

Do you own a beagle? They can be loving dogs. Too loving perhaps. The problem with beagles is that their strong sense of affection can sometimes get the better of them. Often all their training goes out of the window, once their emotions start racing.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Beagles need authoritative owners. They need people who are willing to be consistent in their instruction, even if their dog might seem adorable sometimes. That mean no feeding at the table, relatively few snacks and treat, and a strict doggie timetable.

Mastiffs

Mastiffs are impressive dogs. Perhaps that’s why they always seem to feature in films. But these giants hounds are certainly a handful to keep under control around the home. There’s no doubt that Mastiffs are gentle giants. But their gentleness doesn’t mean that they’re particularly interested in training: far from it.

To really communicate with a mastiff, you need to have a firm hand. Mastiffs will respond to their owners, but their owners must put themselves in the dominant position. Submissive owners or owners who break the rules around feeding time will soon have an unruly mutt on their hands.

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If you can get mastiff training right, they can make great companions. But they need to respect you first.

Pugs

Pugs are among the strangest dog breeds out there. Owners of pugs are often approached by people who’ve never seen a pug before asking “what is it?” Even pug owners have to admit their dogs look strange.

Pugs, however, can be a problem dog, according to training specialists Royvon. It’s no so much that pugs are unruly or aggressive, it’s just that they’ve got more important things to do, it seems than obey their owners. Pugs just want to be left to their own devices to do their own thing, it seems, and that can make them particularly different to train. Unlike most dogs, they’re independent spirits.

It’s not impossible to train a pug. It just takes a combination of consistent training and confident instruction. Pugs can become bored quickly, so great discipline from the start is essential.

Afghan Hound

Afghan hounds are a beautiful breed, thanks to their fur and ears. They’re also surprisingly intelligent: almost in sheepdog territory. But unlike sheepdogs, Afghan hounds are not particularly easy to train. They have almost cat-like personalities according to some experts, meaning that they’re more interested in what they can get out of you, rather than actually doing anything you tell them to do.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Even if you do manage to train an Afghan hound, getting that training to stick is a big challenge. Afghan hounds have a tendency to forget the lessons they learn, which is why they need to be regularly refreshed. There’s nothing worse than an unruly dog!

Dalmatian

Dalmatians are incredibly cute: everybody agrees with that. But their cuteness has also made them cheeky and unruly. In fact, Dalmatians are extremely highly strung compared to more laid-back breeds like spaniels. Because of this, they’re almost impossible to control without vigorous, active training.

To keep a Dalmatian successfully, owners need to be constantly vigilant and engaged with their dogs. Dalmatians need regular walks in the park, perhaps twice a day. And they need a daily training ritual to let them know who the boss is. Without these, things can quickly get out of hand and Dalmatians can become disruptive in the home. Over time, a lack of owner interaction can cause them to disobey your instructions, even if they are trained.

Chow Chow

The Chow Chow likes to be the master of its own destiny. As a result, many owners find it difficult to control, especially around feeding times. To get the upper hand in your relationship with your chow chow, you need to establish a clear pecking order early on. It should be entirely clear who is the leader of the pack.

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In practice, this means being consistent. Just a small thing, like feeding your Chow Chow from the dinner table rather than out of its bowl can lead to disruptive behaviours, especially around meal time. Sometimes, Chow Chows can display aggressive behaviours. If this is the case, then you may want to consult with a specialist.

Ticks and Fleas spread diseases…

Ticks like this carry disease

I spent years learning about diseases, medicine and surgery to become a vet so I could help make animals better. Yet sadly there have been many times where I’ve either seen a dog die or be euthanised because of diseases that are preventable. For me it is heart-breaking to see a dog die like this, yet even worse are the owners crying because they did not know any better. I hope by writing this I can help prevent suffering to another dog and their owners.

Most people with a dog will probably have seen a tick or flea at some time or other. Whilst it is common to believe they may just be an annoyance to your pet, in some cases they can carry diseases which may be spread to your pet or in some cases even you.

Actually calling fleas an annoyance may not even be accurate as the itchiness that they cause can be extremely painful and lead to a dog destroying its own skin trying to get it to stop. However today I want to rather focus on ticks. In April this year I saw 23 dead dogs due to a disease carried by ticks. It is one that is relatively new to the UK; however it is very common where I studied as a vet in Slovakia.

This disease is caused by another parasite called Babesia which exists inside blood cells and is transmitted by ticks when they feed. When it enters a new animal the parasite spreads in the blood entering the red blood cells and then replicating inside it causes the cell to rupture and die. This process repeats until there are very few red blood cells left, it is treated, or the dog dies.

The symptoms vary, when the dogs I have seen suffering from this have arrived they have often been lethargic, the worse ones have been yellow with icterus and collapsed. The common symptoms are blood in the urine, lack of appetite, weight loss, pale gums and tongue, lack of energy and collapse. In fact the symptoms can be so non-specific that one of my teachers here actually once told me that if I cannot explain the symptoms by any other means then I should check for Babesia.

Checking for Babesia is generally easy with a blood test where a smear is examined under the microscope – if it is positive for Babesia then they will be seen within the red blood cells as in the dog below…

Babesia parasite inside a red blood cell
The dark puple “butterfly” in the middle circle is typically what Babesia looks like under a microscope © Chris Allen 2017

So we have the diagnosis, now for the treatment. Unfortunately this is where it gets complicated as although there is medication to kill the Babesia parasite, it can often be a battle to keep the dog alive long enough for the medication to work. Without enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body the organs cannot work, the heart starts working faster to try and move the few good cells it has around faster, and the waste is filtered into the urine. The regeneration of red blood cells takes a few days to really start, so one potential lifesaving treatment is a blood transfusion – however this often just buys more time as these red blood cells may then also be infected and destroyed by the Babesia parasite.

The next problem then comes with the cost of treatment as well; often these dogs need hospitalisation and intensive therapy which for some is unaffordable. It really can be a gamble as to whether or not they survive at all, even if treatment is attempted, potentially leaving a big bill and a dead dog vs the happy pet parent taking their dog home.

The main question though is why it is even necessary.  Although tick products are generally not licensed against tick borne diseases, to help prevent Babesia you should help protect your dog against ticks with a vet recommended treatment, remove any ticks you find as soon as possible, and especially make sure you do this if you travel into mainland Europe.

I fully support the Pet Parasite Action campaign – such a little thing as regular prevention could help save your dog’s life even though you may not know it. You don’t go out and leave your front door unlocked to avoid theft, why would you leave your pet unprotected against diseases such as this?

Click Below to Check You Are Protecting Your Pet…

Pet Parasite Action Protect your pet

Great Ways To Integrate A New Dog Into The Home

bringing-a-puppy-home

Getting a new dog is an amazing experience, but it isn’t without its pitfalls. Sadly, not all pooches take to their new surroundings like a duck to water. In fact, some lash out like a hormone engorged, moody teenager. Of course, this is the last thing you want, especially if you have just been shopping or decorated. So, it’s important that you try and make the process as easy and simple as possible. To do that, you have to integrate the dog so that it feels like it is part of the family. If you don’t know how these tricks will come in handy.

Don’t Overwhelm It

Obviously, everyone will be excited at the prospect of adding a new member to the family. But, you can’t let the excitement boil over as it will overwhelm the dog. Instead, you have to act as if it is just another day in the household so as to smoothen out the process. With this in mind, there should be no welcome home parties or any functions of any kind. Also, refrain from crowding around and smothering the animal. Dogs, especially rescues, like their space and will bite back if strangers get too close.

Give It A Hearty Meal

Like men, the way to a dog’s heart is through food. Seriously, a good meal can do wonders because it shows your new pooch that you care. It is also a sign that this is its home. After all, not too many people feed pets that they don’t own. Snacks like chicken dog treats are also good for developing a bond. Indeed, you can use treats to for training purposes. If it does something good, reward it with a snack as positive reinforcement. There is a reason a dog is man’s best friend!

Walk It Around The House

There are lots of people that like to let a new canine wander around the house of its own volition. Although this is a smart move, so is introducing it the rest of property ASAP. That way, nothing will surprise the dog when it leaves the comfort of the living room or kitchen. Anyway, it has to go upstairs or outside at some time, and it may as well be sooner rather than later. If you are scared this will overwhelm it, don’t be as it only has to be a fleeting tour. After that, you can let leave it alone.

Establish A Routine

Dogs like to have a routine. Even though they don’t have cognitive reasoning, they do have instinct. As such, they know when something should happen, such as a daily walk. The quicker you establish a routine, the better for the animal. Then, there will be fewer surprises and less free time. As soon as it has something to do, it will take its mind off the move. And, when it does have some free time, it should be tired and go to sleep.

The process is never easy, but it isn’t as difficult when you follow the guidelines above.

Common Pooch Problems Vets Spot Instantly

We all want our pets to be healthy and happy. When it comes to dogs, there are some health problems that are very easy to spot. In fact, sometimes a vet may be able to diagnose them without any invasive tests. Want to know what they are? Then read on

Dehydration

Water is very important for all living beings, and it’s no different when it comes to the canine species. When a dog’s fluid levels drop below a certain level, they will begin to suffer from dehydration. Ideally, a dog’s hydration should always be above 80%, much in the same way that it should be this high for us humans. There are some very visible symptoms that giveaway dehydration. Firstly, take a look at the dog’s eyes. If they are sunken, then there is a good chance that the pup is dehydrated. Lethargy, a dry mouth, and loss of appetite are also indicators that the dog hasn’t been getting enough water too. This can be confirmed by a very easy skin-tent test to check the elasticity of the skin.

Obesity

Sadly, there is a high number of dogs out there that suffer from obesity and other weight problems. Owners find it too tempting to spoil their pups with lots of treats and tidbits! Even though a pooch may not be self-conscious about all the extra weight that they are carrying, it is important that the dog is treated and put on a diet to prevent any serious illnesses developing. It’s easy to tell if a dog is overweight. If you can’t feel its backbone when you stroke it, then it needs to lose a few pounds. Similarly, you should be able to feel its ribs without pressing at all.

soldier-and-dog

Canine Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure in dogs may not be so easy to spot just by looking at a dog, but there are some classic tell-tale signs that give it away. You should ask if the dog has been sleeping and exercising as normal. If they have been sleeping excessively or have been reluctant to exercise, then they could be suffering. A lack of appetite and persistent cough are also common symptoms however this does need to confirmed by further tests including xray and echocardiogram.

Dental Diseases

Taking a look at a dog’s teeth can tell you a lot about their dental hygiene. One of the most common dental diseases is periodontal disease which affects around 80% of all dogs at one point in their life. If a dog suffers from this illness for a long time, it can sometimes lead to heart problems and diabetes. This is very easy for vets to spot as most dogs that have the disease will have a smelly breath and some visible swelling on the gums. They might also lose interest in eating because of the pain.

Thankfully, you won’t always be flummoxed by a dog’s health condition. Some are very easy to spot. Plus, it helps speeds up the whole treatment process!

Planning to Travel? Why Not Take Your Dog With You?

Travelling is a wonderful thing. We get to explore the world, relax and spend some quality time with friends and family. Sadly, if we’re invested in our dog, then it can be fairly stressful trying to find the right care for them and we can’t sleep properly at night knowing that our dog is lonely and probably misses us. However, there’s a simple solution that not enough people think about when they want to travel: take your dog with you!

Plan ahead if you want to take your dog

Much like any holiday, it’s important that you plan ahead before you take your dog abroad or on a trip with you. You can’t exactly book a trip and then leash your dog and bring them on the plane with you. There are rules for taking pets with you depending on the country you’re visiting, so it’s a good idea to do a quick Google search on animal rules when entering a country.

Prepare the right equipment

Planning ahead also means preparing the right equipment and even vaccines. For instance, if you don’t see yourself leashing your dog everywhere because there might be large crowds, then find the best backpack carrier for your dog and carry them on your back instead. This obviously doesn’t work if you have a larger dog, but there may be rules that forbid you to take large dogs as well.

Vaccinations

Then you need to think about vaccinations. All dogs have to be vaccinated against rabies before travelling to certain countries. There are rules and regulations to this but you have to take this step very seriously. They may even need a blood sample before the vaccination and there can be lengthy waits. Another step you’ll need to think about is getting a microchip installed. This is usually used for identification purposes and should be done before the vaccination step.

dog-on-a-paddle-board

Consider a carrier

Many people prefer to let their dogs travel in a carrier in the cargo area. This requires a bit of planning too because not every carrier is suited for air travel. All carriers that are suitable for cargo will be labelled as being airline approved, but always consult the seller before you invest in one. This may also add some additional costs to your travel fees, so ensure you can afford it financially.

Food and drink

While travelling, ensure that your dog has constant access to food and drink. You want to try and feed them as early as possible on the day of travel so that they’re less likely to get hungry or thirsty throughout the day. While on holiday, you might not find your dog’s preferred food, so make sure to carry some extra in your luggage and ensure that you have enough supply for the entire duration of your trip. Water usually isn’t an issue, but ensure that your dog has a water bowl to drink from while they are travelling as well, especially if it’s in the cargo of a plane.

Which Pets Best

Best Pet Guide

If you have decided to get a pet, for companionship, for the kids, or just because you’d like to have one, then there are certain things you need to consider otherwise you could end up with the wrong pet for you and your circumstances. Don’t jump into anything just because you feel something at the local pet store looks cute.You might just bite off more than you can chew. Be considerate, because it isn’t just you that will be affected but the innocent animal too. These tips can help you make the appropriate decisions, you may have already considered some of them which is great but check the other ones over and just in case you have missed anything, they can jog your memory and help you think of things you may have forgotten.

In the first instance you need to realise that having a pet is more than just giving it food. They are like people. Things go wrong, they need to be checked up on by professionals and you may need certain medications that cost money. Dogs are a prime example, they will likely need Advecta II for Dogs, as well as a whole glut of vaccinations and yearly check ups. Do you have the finances to check for this? Cats are the same. Needing vaccinations and checkups to ensure they stay healthy. Bear in mind these considerations before you commit to owning an animal.

You also need to check out your accommodation and whether it is right for the animals you want to keep there. For example, an apartment is likely not good for a cat. They like to be able to go out and range the local area on their own. They can’t do this from a few floors up. The space also provides problems for the bigger dogs. If you own a husky or German shepherd then it is going to be hard to find space for them in an apartment. Consider a smaller dog instead and ensure there is enough room for a bed or something similar for them to have their own space.

The most important thing to consider is whether you have the time to dedicate to the animal. If you are really busy all the time then a cat may be the right answer as they tend to need less company than dogs. Even so, they need some. So you could think about getting something else entirely like a lizard or snake, something small and easy to care for. A dog is a big no because some need two walks a day. If you don’t have the time to do this they will grow restless and irritable, and it will be your own fault. Be considerate and chose an animal that you can care for properly. It can be easier if your partner is willing to help, or your have kids who want a specific pet and can help with the walking of the dogs or sharing of affection. It can be easy to buy an animal without thinking, but remember the old saying, pets are for life not for christmas.

It’s Pup-Time! Do You Have Enough Time For A Dog?

Puppy running

Dogs are serious commitments. Not only will you be stuck with their beautiful, fluffy little faces for the next decade or so, but you’re giving a serious chunk of your time to them on a daily basis. If you’re living a seriously busy life, it can be harder to find the time to give your pup the attention and quality of life they deserve. If you think is a dog on the horizon, keep these time constraints in mind before you commit.

Healthcare
Regular checkups with the vet are essential to check your pup is running like a well-oiled machine, so you have to be at least able to commit to those trips. Then, be sure to add in the odd emergency trip for the time they accidentally-on-purpose decide to snack on a bee, or find their way into the secret chocolate stash. And then there is always the possibility that they might develop a health problem with requires even more regular treatment, which you would need to be able to find time for.

Training
A dog doesn’t come ready trained, and it’s only with time and patience that you can help to mould your dog into the perfect companion. While they’re young, a couple of sessions at around 15 minutes each everyday is essential. And this needs keeping up even as they get older so they don’t get bored or start pushing boundaries.

Grooming
Unlike cats, dog’s can’t self-groom. You’ll need to brush them anywhere between daily or weekly, depending on the breed, and they’ll need baths, hair trims, nail trims, and ear and eye cleaning. They’ll need de-worming, and to have the best flea and tick treatment administered to keep them healthy and safe. This can take a few hours every week, unless you’re willing to spend the money to outsource it to a professional groomer.

Walking
At the very least, dogs need two walks a day of at least 15 to 20 minutes each, although some breeds need far more. If you’re not at home most of the day, finding time to ensure your dog gets an appropriate amount of exercise can be tricky. When they’re under-exercised they get bored and destructive, frustrated and potentially aggressive, and it puts them at increased risk of obesity.

Chihuahua puppy playing

Playing
Dogs learn and socialise by playing. While it’s great for them to see other pups at the dog park, they also need to play with their humans – it’s even a great way to train them to respect you while you play. If you don’t have time to play, they’ll become bored and destructive, and your home will bear the brunt.

Cuddling
A dog needs love and affection. When you’re not around they can get seriously lonely – they are pack animals after all. So if you plan on leaving them crated for eight or nine hours while you’re at work, you should probably reconsider. They need company and cuddles in order to be happy.

Dogs aren’t just for cuddling in the evening when you get home from work, they need care day in, day out, and there’s a lot to do. If you don’t think you currently have time to give them the love they deserve, why not leave it a few years, and volunteer with a shelter in the meantime to get your cuddle fix?

A Quick Guide To Choosing Your First Family Pet

Brown Horse

One of the most wonderful things you can do for your child is to give them a pet to care for. Learning responsibility and empathy for living creatures is an essential life skill they need. Sadly, vets and animal care professionals continue to be called upon to intervene in neglect cases. Many of these animals are pets that the owners simply couldn’t manage. There are many reasons for this. It’s not always about cruelty.

So how can you be sure your family doesn’t take on too much when it comes to taking on a pet? Start by considering your budget. All pets cost money to care for. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pet ownership with a small income. But it may mean you need to choose an animal that won’t break the bank in veterinary, food, or care costs.

The next thing you need to consider is your accommodation. If you want to own a horse, do you live close enough to the stables for an emergency or to regularly tend to them? If you live in a small apartment, do you really want a juvenile Alsatian? Even if you have a large house and a good sized garden, you might prefer a pet that doesn’t run around a lot.

Allergies and lifestyle choices will also have some bearing on the suitability of different pets. Dogs must be walked twice a day. Cats can be quite active at night. Lizards aren’t keen on the cold, and tortoises might choose to hibernate.

Pets also need a lot of accessories. It’s not just food bowls and collars you need to worry about. You might need extra bedding or things like a horse fleece rug to ensure they are comfortable if it gets cold. There are also accessories to curb unwanted behaviour. For example, a bell on a cat collar can reduce their chance of catching unsuspecting wildlife. Chew toys for dogs will give your pup an alternative to your favourite shoes.

You might be considering a particular breed of cat, dog or pony. However, please bear in mind that there are thousands of rescued and homeless animals out there. They could offer you just as much love as a pedigree breed. Charitable organisations are not funded by the Government. Maybe you could consider purchasing your pet accessories from their fund-raising stores? Why not offer a donation of pet food from time to time?

One of the most important considerations for your first family pet is the age and future size of your human family. While it is very rare for any pet to deliberately harm a baby, it is important you never leave your pet unsupervised around small children. Equally, your toddler may not fully understand that the cat’s tail is attached and painful when pulled. Managing their interactions can reduce the risk of unwanted behaviour. Don’t forget to keep pet food and medicines out of sight of children (and vice versa!)

Pet ownership is wonderfully rewarding. With a few careful considerations and a little planning, you can enjoy a lifetime with your new family pet.

Keep Your Dogs Healthy With These Basics

Keeping dogs healthy

All loving owners of dogs know that you need to go out of your way to keep them as healthy as possible, and the more loving the owner, the healthier the dog tends to be. If you have dogs of your own, then you might well be wondering about some of the things you can do to keep them healthy. The truth is, it is a fact of achieving a few basic things which ensures that your dogs will remain as healthy as possible. As long as you are bearing these essentials in mind, your dogs should live long and healthy lives. Let’s take a look at what those things might be, so that we can better understand how to achieve great doggy health.

Balanced Diet

Many of the things you need to consider for your pooch are exactly those which are just as important for you, and this first one is a great example. You need to ensure you are feeding your dogs a decent, well-balanced diet in order to keep them as healthy as they can be. This means that along with feeding them dried biscuits, you should also ensure that they get plenty of actual meat, as this is the sustenance which keeps them going for real. With a decent diet, your dogs are much more likely to be healthier – and you will notice the difference in how happy they will suddenly look as well.

The Coat

Looking after the coat is not just an aesthetic concern – it is actually relevant to their overall health too. One of the major things that you need to do is to keep the coat trimmed and brushed, as not doing this can lead to a variety of issues. You should also make sure to use a flea treatment for dogs, so that any fleas they might have are dealt with in no time at all. When you use this treatment, be careful not to get it in their eyes or anywhere else, as this could cause some severe irritations which could then lead to further problems. Keeping an eye on their coat for future fleas is always a good idea, too, so make sure that you do just that.

Regular Walks

This is one of those absolutely vital aspects of dog care. You simply can’t have a dog and not take it for walks, as this is exercise which they absolutely need in order to thrive physically. There is a lot of debate about how much exercise is ideal, but as a rule it is tempting to say that more is better. You would be hard pushed to exercise a dog more than they can handle, so don’t worry about overdoing it. Do, however, be concerned with a lower amount of exercise, as this could easily result in several serious health conditions if you are not careful. As long as you are taking your dog for regular walks, you are taking care of their most basic needs, and you can be sure that they will live long and healthy lives.