Wednesday, 27 February 2008

My Dogs Slept Through The Earthquake

Hi, quite an earth tremor last night wasn't it!
We live in the East Midlands and it was quite strong. The house and contents had a good rattle at about 1am.
I went down to check on the dogs and they were fast asleep! So much for animals sensing earthquakes - at least as far as my two are concerned. Mind you, greyhounds can be pretty laid back.

Dogs do seem to have a 'sixth sense'. Have a look at these examples.

- My parents GSD always knew when I was paying a surprise visit. He would get up and look out of the window half-an-hour before I arrived, and would refuse to move away from his lookout.

- When a fox visits our garden in the early hours the dogs always know.

- There are dogs who have saved their owners lives by sniffing out cancers in the early stages of development. The dog persists in sniffing at the same place.

- A poodle who was trained as a hearing dog saved its new owner's life by waking her when a fire had just started in the house.

I'm sure that many of you will have examples of dogs sixth sense. Why not share them with us.
Dogs never cease to surprise and delight me. They really are mans best friend.

Cheers, Ti

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Help, My Dog Won't Eat !

I've just been feeding my two greyhounds.
One of them is on tablets, which I hide in a lump of Chappie. It works a treat.

This got me to thinking about dogs who are finnicky or have a poor appetite. (Lab owners will probably be puzzled at this point!)

Adding something tasty to a dog's dinner can work wonders.

Things you can try are:
- Tinned Chappie (the fish one)
- Tins of sardines in tomato juice
- Tinned tuna
Are you getting the idea that fish-based food is attractive to dogs? Too right!

Adding any kind of meat to a dry food can help a dog with appetite problems.
Remember not to overdo it. You are just adding flavour and smell.

Brown bread is a good appetite stimulant. I think it's due to vitamin B6.

One of the old greyhound trainers tricks is to feed cornflakes with full-cream milk. I've heard enough anecdotal evidence to believe it really works. This is only used to get the dog eating again. It isn't a proper diet.
The drawback is that it can make your dog loose.

Another thing to try is feeding at a set time. Leave the food down for half-an-hour then remove it. Your dog soon gets the idea and eats straight away.

Try feeding at a completely different time than when you eat. And no tit-bits off your plate either!

What we are trying to do is to establish a feeding pattern which hopefully will get our dogs eating correctly.

Please let me know any of your own tips.


Monday, 25 February 2008

Have Dog, Will Travel

Want to take your dog on holiday.....then read on....this is important.

Thinking of taking your dog abroad this year? Then you need to act now!

Unless you are only going to the Irish Republic, your dog will need a pet passport. This takes a long time to set up. In particular, the rabies jab and blood tests take the most time.

Your dog must have valid vaccinations,microchip, and paperwork. If not, then quarantine is compulsory.

Read my earlier post on pet passports. Check out the Defra website for the latest information and regulations. Make an appointment with your vet. Do it today.

Holiday in the UK?

It's now easier to find places to stay that are pet friendly, in particular that are dog friendly!

We stay at decent hotels as well as nice bed & breakfasts with our two greyhounds. No problems.

No longer do we hear " just one small quiet bitch is allowed" from supposedly dog friendly accomodation.

There are some very useful accomodation guides available.

Three I use are:
(1) Dog Friendly Pubs,Hotels and B&Bs published by Ebury Press
(2) Pets Welcome! published by FHG Guides
(3) Bed & Breakfast Nationwide - The Little Green Book
The last one we picked up at a B&B we stayed at. Not a specifically dog friendly publication, but lots in the book are, and they are good quality accomodation.

Hotel groups may state 'no dogs' in their brochures. (Check out the small print). But it's always worth asking a specific hotel in a group. You find that it is sometimes the decision of the manager rather than group policy that matters.

There are also some places that are totally dog friendly...having a dog with you is almost compulsory!

But start booking now to avoid disappointment.

Having to leave your dog in kennels?

Check vaccination requirements with your kennels.

They will need a current vaccination and may also need to be vaccinated against kennel cough. No proof of current vaccination, no kennels I'm afraid.

When choosing a kennels ask other people about their experience. Also ask the kennel owner if you can have a look around. If you aren't allowed a good look then go elsewhere. A good kennels doesn't have anything to hide.

Please book kennel accomodation for your dog early. It soon disappears.

When I worked in rescue,I was amazed at the number of dog owners who book their holiday well in advance, but leave their dog's needs until the last minute, only to find that there was nothing available.
Sadly some owners abandoned their dogs while they went on holiday. I still can't get my head around that.

So when planning your holiday think dog! Give yourself plenty of time to get everything sorted.
Do it now, today ,at once, immediately, tout de suite. Please!

End of lecture!

Cheers, Ti

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Zoonoses - You Can Catch Them From Your Dog - A Cautionary Tale!

So what are zoonoses?

Also called zoonotic diseases, they are animal diseases which also affect people.
Here I will only be considering dog diseases.

A Cautionary Tale

Let's kick off with a true story.
One day while I was cleaning the kennels, I had a terrible itch near my left armpit. So I put my hand under my shirt and had a good ol' scratch.
A few days later I awoke to find what looked like red fingermarks near my left armpit.I assumed that they came from sleeping on my hand.
They didn't go away and then they started to appear on the other side. After I took a long hot bath I noticed faint red marks on my chest and stomach. Time to see my GP!
I found myself topless in a semi-darkened room, under an ultra-violet light, with no less than three doctors seeing if I would glow in the dark!
The UV light came from a special lamp with a magnifying glass called a Wood's Lamp.
Some skin diseases such as ringworm fluoresce under UV light. (Ringworm glows green).
I didn't glow and nobody was sure quite what sort of fungal infection I had - it would have required laboratory analysis.
So I was prescribed a special cream to apply. It didn't work and the infection continued its march South!
Then I had a long course of tablets (several weeks) which eventually cleared up the problem.
In the meantime I had to be scrupulously hygienic. I kept my towel away from others, slept in old shirts which were then destroyed. (They would have needed to be washed at very high temperatures). It also meant I had to be careful when giving my wife a hug!

Scratching your bare skin is an ideal way of introducing something nasty. With my knowledge and experience, I should have known better than doing that whilst I was cleaning kennels.
I used to drum into trainees the need to wash their hands thoroughly before eating, drinking or smoking. Add to that scratching!

Over to the technical stuff.

Zoonoses / Zoonotic Diseases

There are a few canine diseases which also affect people. These are known as "zoonoses".
The most important are:

- Rabies. A killer. It is a viral disease transmitted by saliva from an infected dog.No known cure, but both dogs and people can be vaccinated against it. If you visit a country with rabies obviously be wary of stray dogs. If somebody's pet dog licks you then wash thoroughly a.s.a.p. And if you get bitten (even a tiny nip) ,thoroughly wash the area and seek medical help at once. If caught in time (before it spreads to the brain) you can be treated.

- Ringworm. An infectious fungus which grows on the skin and within the dog's coat. Can be treated with special shampoos, creams, and oral drugs. Highly contagious.

- Fleas. Do prefer their own host but a human will do in an emergency. Dog fleas can act as intermediate hosts for other parasites. Difficult to physically kill - try squeezing them between your fingernails.

- Roundworm. The most important ones belong to the Ascarid family. Toxocara canis and Toxoscaris leonina live in the small intestine. Others infest the large intestine. Dog worms can infect people, and sometimes cause disease. Rarely, they cause a cyst in childrens eyes, which may require an infected eye to be removed. Good hygiene and common sense where children and dogs (especially puppies) are concerned should prevent problems. Puppies with worms have a 'garlic' breath.

I hope you don't have nightmares!
Simple precautions such as thoroughly washing and drying your hands (please don't underrate how effective this is) ,and being observant about your dog's condition are all that's really needed.

Well that's 'Z' is for... dealt with! I told you a couple of weeks ago that I had an article sorted out.
And, no ,I'm not cheating by jumping around. It's more interesting for me to post something which is in my mind, than to systematically plough through the alphabet.
Talk to you again soon,

Saturday, 23 February 2008


I've just come across this post about poodles.Thought you might be interested.

Confessions of a former Poodle ridiculer
Be careful what you make fun of. It could someday rule your life.
Probably no one ridiculed Poodles more than I did before Misty the alpha Poodle entered my life through a series of unlikely circumstances and put a spell on me.
Nothing has been the same since.
I realized quickly that she understood everything I said…and thought. She can do inductive and deductive reasoning. She’s so smart, it’s scary. She is a good teacher and intelligent enough to be an incredibly charming, eager to please companion.
In my pre-Poodle years, I thought I had a lot of reasons to ridicule them. First is the name. Poodle is just a funny sounding name. Other dogs get to have distinguished place names like Yorkshire Terrier, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Maltese, but the Poodle is named after a pudel, the German word for puddle, something you might find on a sidewalk after a shower.
Several years ago they were officially called French Poodles, with all the courage and valor associated with that particular country. (Sorry Carol) French was dropped when it was established that Poodles originated in Germany and France dropped out of favor.
The word Poodle is associated with lap dog, wimp, someone who carries out the wishes of a more powerful person.
We can’t overlook the “no bad, silly or yappy dogs, only bad, silly or yappy owners” truism that sometimes applies to Poodles. At one time they were the trendy dogs of the day, the spoiled Darlings of the Silly Set.
And of course the Poodle haircut. At first, I considered having her trimmed like a terrier, but I soon understood the historic and totally logical reason that the Poodle clip has been around for thousands of years. I even wrote a post explaining my theory on the origin of the Poodle clip.
However, I still wasn’t a fan of the show clip. There are so many cute and practical pet clips. The show clip seemed to be over the top.
Partly it is the hours and hours of grooming, the sacrifice of puppy hood that the show dog endures while they stand still for endless grooming. What a boring way for human and dog to spend time together.
BUT, to be perfectly honest here, whenever I see a dog show, I fall under the spell of the Show Poodle Presence. In their centuries-old-clip, Poodles are the dogs people notice, the beauty queens, the fairy tale princesses, the Prince Charmings. No other dog can match their unique Poodle-ness, their striking bearing and prancing paws.
That’s when I wonder how much it would cost to have a pet groomer come to my house for a few hours every day…
Then Misty the alpha Poodle smiles at me and says, “Don’t even think about it.”

I've added a comment to their blog about a poodle who saved its owner's life. Ti

Pet Travel

Hi, I came across this which you might find interesting.

February 20, 2008
Pet Travel is increasing - what do you think?
Here's the last "bonus" item in my Pet Industry Trends for 2008 article.
More people traveling with their pets From day trips with the dogs in the back of the car, to trips abroad with your pets, more and more people are including their cats and dogs in their travels. As a result, more hotels, such as the Comfort Inn all the way up to the Westin are accommodating pets beyond just allowing them on the premises. This gives small businesses the opportunity to provide services to local hotels for pets or for accessories to make traveling even easier.
Recently someone asked me about my pet travel assertion and how I determined this trend.
In answer to that questions, there’s no magic stat that I’ve seen; I use the mosaiic theory - put a number of other stats and observations together and draw a conclusion.
From Michael Dillon’s report Pet Industry 2007 Strategic Report, he comments on the baby boomers retiring and their pet spending:
55-64 year-olds represent a very compelling demographic due to 4% projected growth through 2010, according to the Census Bureau. 55-64 year-olds are the fastest-growing age demographic in the pet industry, spending $7.75 billion in 2005, up 127% from 2000. With the active boomer generation set to spend more time with their pets, whether at home or on the road, we expect to see more travel products for pets over the next two years.
Boomers travel more than most (trends from the TIA Domestic Travel Market Report)
Proliferation of pet friendly hotels (intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Wyndham Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Radisson, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Days Inn, Comfort Inn, Red Roof Inn, La Quinta, etc.)
Appearance of numerous specialty travel services either for pets or involving pets (Bailey Knows Travel, Pets Welcome, Puppy Travel )
And so on…

Don't forget to look at my article on Pet Passports


Friday, 22 February 2008

A few thoughts on Dog Collectibles

I've just seen the Royal Mail special stamps with a working dog theme. They are to celebrate Year of the Assistance Dog, which is this year.
The dogs have been photographed by Tim Flach, the man behind the Andrex puppy adverts.
As you can imagine the quality of the stamps is outstanding.
So a very nice set for you stamp collectors out there.

Stamps not your thing?

There's lots of things with a dog theme that you can collect.

Postcards, cigarette cards, old dog books, dog bronzes, pottery, figurines, old dog prints, original art (old or new), jewellery, ephemera. And probably others!

I think there are a few basic rules for a collection.

- have a coherent collection of a specific dog breed, or just collect postcards, for example,of any dog related subject.
- buy the best you can afford
- condition is everything
- talk to other collectors and specialist dealers. They have knowledge and enthusiasm for their subject.
- try not to get carried away!
- stick to your budget, especially if bidding at auction.

As I said, just a few thoughts. Speak to you all again soon. Ti

Sunday, 17 February 2008

'M'is for Microchipping

Hello again,

Today's post is about having your dog microchipped.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It has a unique number coded into it. This can be read with a specialised scanning device.

The chip is pre-loaded into a special hypodermic needle. This has an attachment which is inserted into a microchip 'gun'. The gun is a hand held trigger which drives the chip out of the needle.

Each chip and needle is made and sealed in its own packet within a sterile environment.

They are for one-off use and the used needles are disposed of in a sharps box.

What is the procedure?

The chip (or implant as it also known) is injected just under the skin. The favoured location in the UK is between the shoulder blades. This prevents it in moving out of that area. It also stops your dog from scratching or biting that area.

Some countries I think still implant the chip at the top of the leg.
Unfortunately they can travel before fixing in place. I have found one just above the paw and another under the chin!

Firstly the chip assembly is scanned to make sure that it is functioning.

Your dog's skin is then cleaned with surgical spirit and then the chip is implanted.
There can be a small amount of blood. Pressure is applied to stop blood flow.

Your dog is scanned to make sure that the chip is actually in place.

It is very important that you do not rub the area for 24 hours. This allows the chip to fix in place. Otherwise it may come out.

All your dog feels is a short sharp prick in its skin, exactly the same as when thre vet gives a vaccination.
Have a nice treat ready as a reward!

Then the paperwork is done. This has your contact details as owner and description of your dog, such as sex, age, breed , colour, distingushing marks, and name.

If you move or change phone numbers it is vital to inform the registration company A.S.A.P.

Any vet or qualified microchipper can implant a chip into your dog.

Many rescue centres have qualified staff who will carry out the procedure.

Why have it done?

- If you apply for a pet passport having your dog microchipped is compulsory.

- It uniquely identifies your dog as being yours.

- If your dog becomes lost it can be scanned and re-united with you. Vets, animal rescues, dog wardens all have scanners.

- It can protect against theft or disputes over ownership. You will be given a special tag to attach to your dog's collar. Once closed it cannot be undone. It is also a good idea to have something like 'Please Scan my Chip' engraved on your dog's identity disc.

One last point. The microchips are passive. That is they have nothing keeping them active.
When your dog is scanned the chip becomes active. It is a good idea to ask your vet to scan your dog when you take it in for its annual health check. Or at any other time!

Bye for now, Ti

Saturday, 16 February 2008

'N' is for Dog Names

Hi, just a short post on the subject of dog names.

When I worked in dog rescue, the biggest area of disagreement was the subject of dog names!

It's a very subjective area and everyone has their own ideas and likes and dislikes.

I always think it's a good idea to start by looking at a dog's physical characteristics. 'Spot' being an obvious example.

My local postmaster called his rather short-legged boxer 'Lofty' !

The other thing to do is to get to know your dog's personality. Something will stand out.

If you are stuck for names ,you will find it worthwhile to look at books of baby names. There are quite a few on the market.

To a dog, its name is a call sign.
If you decide to change your dog's name it will soon learn a new one. Try calling it to you by the new name and reward your dog with a nice treat. They soon learn!

I think that it is important to use your dogs's name for nice things.
Please don't call your dog by its name and then tell it off. Next time it will understandably think "last time you used that name I got told off. I'm not coming".

See you again soon, Ti

Monday, 11 February 2008

'P' is for Dog Parasites

Hi there, today I am going to talk about some dog parasites. In particular dog fleas, worms, and ticks.

Dog Fleas

So how do you know if your dog has fleas?

The obvious signs are your dog scratching and biting at its skin.
In severe infestations you will probably see the fleas. There may also be signs of flea allergy, which is an inflammation of the skin.
Dog fleas are very good at hiding themselves in your dog's fur even when it is short.

If you suspect that your dog has fleas it is easily checked.
Stand your dog on sheets of newspaper and comb through the hair close to the skin with a flea comb. This is a very fine-toothed comb that you can buy in a pet shop.

You probably won't see any fleas.
What you are looking for is flea dirt - little black specks.
These will appear on the comb and will also fall onto the newspaper.
You may also see specks of blood from the flea bites.

So what can you do?

Dog fleas are very easy to treat. You can buy flea treatments from pet shops, but a better option is to get something more effective from your vet, especially if there is a bad infestation.
Frontline Spot On is often recommended. It is applied directly to the skin between the shoulder blades, where your dog can't get at it.
There is a different form of Frontline according to age and weight of your dog.
Remember to wear gloves. You are applying a pesticide which can be absorbed through our skin.

If you have a pregnant female or she is feeding puppies do not use any kind of flea treatment without consulting your vet first.

I only ever treat my dogs for fleas if I see signs, or if they have been in a high-risk area.
Because you are introducing a poison into your dog, I don't believe in using flea treatments as a routine preventative measure.

Dog Worms

There are a variety of intestinal worms.
The 2 you are likely to come across in the UK are roundworm and tapeworm.

If you take your dog abroad it may come into contact with heartworm.
The pet passport scheme requires that your dog is wormed.

If your dog has worms you will see them in the dog's faeces.

They are easily treated with wormer. The most effective forms can be obtained from your vet.
Dog wormers are in either tablet or liquid form. They can be added to food.

Puppies need to be wormed. Your vet will have leaflets on the most recent advice.


Nasty little blighters! They attach themselves to your dog' skin and also to yours!
They suck blood. You do not feel anything. A close visual check is needed.
Ticks can be very small and barely visible. As they take up blood they have a sac which swells up. This can be as large as your fingernail.

Your dog is most likely to pick up ticks in long grass and bracken.

They can be removed safely and easily with a special tool.
There are two different types which I use.

One is a clamp. You attach it to the head of the tick close to your dog's skin. Then slowly rotate it anti-clockwise. Be very careful not to leave anything in the skin. Infection can set in.
Ticks have circular jaws, which is why you 'unscrew' them.

The other type of tick remover which I use resembles a bent crowbar. You slide the slot around the tick's head and twist. Again be careful to completely remove the tick.

After removal it is a good idea to bathe the area with salt-water.

It is important to monitor the area for a week. If there is any sign of infection or redness go straight to a vet. (If it was on you go straight to your doctor.)

I need to mention Lyme's Disease. This comes from deer ticks and not from sheep ticks.
If the area you are in has deer herds be extra vigilant.
Lyme's disease is a very serious debilitating condition which can be permanent. It is easily treated with anti-biotics if caught in time.

You will probably hear of other ways of removing ticks, such as smearing them with vaseline, or touching them with a lit cigarette. I do not recommend any of these methods, because they can traumatise the tick and cause it to release toxins into the blood stream.

The tools that I talked about are small and inexpensive. You can buy them from a pet shop or from your vet.

Here follows a cautionary tale !
My male greyhound had a tick very close to his private parts. I used the clamp and twisted very gently without result. Then I gave a slight tug. Not good. I had caught some of my dog's delicate skin in the clamp. Gentlemen will perfectly understand when I say that I had a very irate dog on my hands!

To see what products are available and to get an idea about prices visit this link.

That's all for now, Ti

Sunday, 10 February 2008

'P'is for Pet Passport

If you are thinking of taking your dog abroad this year you need to act now!

It takes at least 6 months to get everything in order.

The following things have to be done :

- Get your dog microchipped. Before anything else can be done, your dog must be fitted with a microchip so that it can be correctly identified.

- You must have your dog vaccinated. Once the microchip is implanted your dog must be vaccinated against rabies. There are no exceptions to this requirement, even if you dog has a current rabies vaccination.

- A blood test has to be carried out. After vaccination , your dog must be blood tested to make sure that the vaccine has given it a sufficient level of protection against rabies.

- Get PETS documentation.

If you already have a pet passport, make sure that the required paperwork is in order and that the microchip can still be read.

Before you come back to the UK you must make sure that :

- your dog is treated against ticks and tapeworms not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before it is checked in with an approved transport company for its journey into the UK.

- Arrange for your dog to travel with an approved transport company via an authorised route.
Your dog must enter the UK from a listed country.

Failure to comply with regulations will mean your dog will have to go into quarantine on return to the UK.

Attempting to smuggle your dog in is illegal.

There are no requirements for travel to and from the Irish Republic.

What I have written is just a brief guide, so please talk to your vet as soon as possible and consult the DEFRA website for the latest information. Rules do change!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Tales of Rescue Dogs

Douglas was an amiable lunatic ! He was also very strong.

He was a large black & white cross-breed with a wiry coat. His size and the shape of his head suggested that he was part otter-hound.

The behaviour problems he had weren' t too much of a problem. They were following a similar pattern to other unusual cross-breeds we had coming into rescue. Guess what ,they were all coming from the same area, which was close to an appalling puppy farm. I can't go into details.

Douglas had a treatable ear problem. Every time I took him to medicate his ears he had the trick of springing straight up onto the counter where the medication was !

His other favourite trick was to do a full backward somersault, which was quite spectacular.

He also liked to put his front paws on your shoulders , touch noses with you, and look long & deep into your eyes. He loved people.

We re-homed him with a vet who was on temporary assignment in our area, and he is now living happily in Scotland.

Another dog I have fond memories of is Rafe. He is a large lurcher, who is now happily living on a lot of acres somewhere in the East Midlands.

When you opened up the kennels in the morning, his favourite trick was to head butt you, and while you gasped he would thrust his nose into your mouth. Quite disgusting!
If he didn't manage it the first time he would do it again.

I'll add a few more rescue tales now and again. Ti.

'C' is for Complementary Therapies

Continuing with the medication theme we'll take a look at complementary therapies.

IMPORTANT. I am not recommending any particular type of treatment for any animal or person. Any products or therapies I mention are not a recommendation for you to use on your dog or any other living thing. If anything suggests itself to you, you must consult your vet first. Remember I have never seen your pet, or know what is wrong with it, so how could I possibly recommend a suitable treatment.

Complementary therapies are also known as alternative therapies. That isn't a name I like, it suggests an either or situation. These therapies are best used in conjunction with conventional medicine.


A proper examination and assessment of your dog's condition is absolutely necessary before any kind of treatment can be undertaken.

I will give you some examples.

- If your dog has bloat (twisted gut) or your female dog has a pymetra (an extremely serious infection of the womb) ,then your dog needs immediate surgery. If not then they will die a very painful death in a matter of hours! There is no alternative to surgery. However, complementary therapies can be used to help with healing.

- Some herbal products do not mix with prescribed drugs, e.g. St.John's Wort, used by people. You need to discuss things with your vet.

- You can ask for a referral to a homeopathic vet, who will need to consult your vet anyway.

Do not under-estimate the powerful effect of top quality nursing care on a sick dog.

I never cease to be amazed at the recovery powers of a dog. They can be at 'death's door' one moment and a day later eating and wanting fun.

Sometimes there is no adequate scientific explanation of how a therapy works.
Some people then talk about 'mumbo-jumbo'. Well complementary therapies is where mumbo-jumbo meets science!

If you are ill you just want to feel better. If something works, are you really going to care about a scientific explanation?
There will be talk of the placebo effect. Try to get a proper explanation of how that works!

Sick dogs don't imagine they are getting better. We can see that for ourselves.

A few 'alternatives' which are accepted are :
- Milk Thistle. This herb is widely recognised as being able to support liver function.
- Arnica. Recognised as able to reduce bruising.
- Devil's Claw Root. A herb which has anti-imflammatory properties, useful in the relief of arthritis.Do not use as well as other anti-imflammatories.
- Severe skin problems, e.g. such as Westies can suffer. A change of diet!

That isn't a complete list, by the way.

Specific types of complementary therapy include:
- Homeopathy. And don't the arguments just rage about it! But I've seen it work. Please do not buy into the idea that it can do everything. Nothing can.
- Herbal remedies. I've mentioned a couple already. Add in nettle to condition the coat. Chudleys Mobility herb mix is reported to help with less severe arthritis and stiff joints.
- Flower remedies. Probably the most well-known is Rescue Remedy for use in shock. But do not give it to an unconcious or seriously injured dog. It can be useful if your dog is fearful of fireworks.
- Swimming. Well accepted because of the weight support of water while exercicing.
- Osteopathy
- Magnets. I've heard good reports from people who use magnetic bracelets,etc on themselves. Dog owners have also spoken of improvements.
- Tellington Touch. A sort of massage. You do need to be taught properly. Reported to help relax a dog, and help with behaviour problems.
- Healing Hands. No explanation at all for this! Definitely at the edge of things.

If I've missed anything please forgive me.

To repeat myself, because it is very important : Talk to your vet before carrying out any complementary therapies on you dog or any other animal.

Do use a registered practioner with a good track record.

I hope that I've given some food for thought.
See you again soon,

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

'M' is for Dog Medication

Hello, just a few comments on dog medicines.

They can be bought over-the-counter, or they may be prescription drugs, which your vet usually provides.

You can ask for a written prescription and buy them elsewhere. This can save you a lot of money, especially if you buy your on-line.

Try this link to see what sort of dog medication is available and at what price. You will also see what you can buy without a prescription.

Prescription drugs are marked with the letters POM in a little box. (That stands for 'prescription only medicine')

When your dog has to have medication (this includes wormers and flea treatments) please take time to carefully read the information leaflet. After all it is your dog's health which is at stake!

The leaflet has important information on it :-

- dosage
- how to administer
- how often
- what to do if you miss a dosage
- what to do if you over-dose your dog
- side affects and what to do
- ingredients (important- your dog may be allergic)
- contra-indications : when you should not give your dog the medication

If your dog's medication was prescribed by your vet, then there will a label with dosage instructions on it. It is obviously important to do as the label says!
Don't be afraid to ask your vet questions.

Even if your dog seems better, please finish the course of medication as instructed, especially if it's anti-biotics.

With some drugs it may be necessary for you to wear gloves. Drugs can be absorbed through the skin of our hands - liquids more easily than solid ones of course.
If your dog is on chemo-therapy it is vital to observe safety precautions. These drugs are highly toxic.

One last thing. Make sure your dog's medication is stored safely out of reach of your dogs and of any children.

End of lecture!!!

Finally, good luck to you and your dogs if they are ill. Speedy recovery.

Cheers, Ti

Monday, 4 February 2008

Dog Blog, Dog Tales, Dog Tails !!!

.... Dog sagas .... dog stories .... dog tales .... dog tails .... doggy tails

..... shaggy dog tails ...... shaggy dog stories ...... shaggy dog ......

..... Shaggy ....... Scooby-Doo ......... mmm! ...... Dog Days .....

..... dog daze ...... dog daydream ...... Hmmm ......

Oh, Hello! I'm sorry I didn't see you standing there. Welcome back and nice to see you again.

What's that all about? I was just playing with words .....

Well I don't want my dog blog to be just a collection of factual articles. It needs to be informative, but also have real dog stories, humour, sadness too. The occasional rant will be good (and like most of you, I've got plenty I want to say!)

I think I will add some quizzes and puzzles. Hey, that's my 'Q is for....' decided.

What I would like is for all you good people to post some comments. If you have a topic you would like me to write about or any questions , please say. Thanks.

Also if you see anything of interest on another blog please tell me and we can all share it.


Yesterday I started an article on books .
I will add a few more , but I have now created a resource blog which I can easily add too.
This means there will be a dog bibliography in one place, rather than scattered around.
I've added a link, which is called Dog Book Bibliography under the heading Resources at the side of the page.
I will add a few reviews as well.

'C is for...' Crufts.

Whatever your views on dog shows and 'canine beauty contests' and inbreeding, Crufts is a fantastic show to visit. I love going and usually go on Terrier & Hound day. Maybe I will buy a ticket for all 4 days, but one is exhausting enough.

It's an easy run down the motorway for us. Quite expensive to get in, and to have to pay another £8 for a parking ticket hurts.

The car parking people do a good job in dealing with so many cars. The signposting and routes to and from the NEC are well set out. Just a little patience is are going to be there all day so a few minutes is unimportant.

There are frequent and regular buses to take you from the car parking areas to the show. These are free. If it's a nice day it is a pleasant longish walk.

There are plenty of food outlets and there is some really nice food available which won't cost you an arm and a leg!

Go well armed with cash and plastic. There are lots of excellent trade stands.

My favourite at Crufts is the Discover Dogs area. You get a chance to meet dogs and owners of breeds that you rarely, if ever ,see in daily life.
If you are interested in a particular breed now is your chance to find out about it. Also talk to some of the competitors, but not when they are about to go into the ring!

There are plenty of dog rescue organisations there, so go and talk to them, and please consider taking on a rescue dog. There are thousands of unwanted dogs destroyed every year and rescues are overwhelmed with the scale of the problem.

In fact, be a big hit with me and take on a greyhound. They make good family pets. Thousands of greyhounds are destroyed at the age of 4 or less because they can't race anymore.

Crufts is at the NEC near Birmingham just off the M42.
It runs for four days from 6th to 9th March this year. That's from Thursday until Sunday.

- Day 1 is Toy & Utility Group
- Day 2 is Gundogs
- Day 3 is Working & Pastoral Group
- Day 4 is Terrier & Hound Group

The last day is when 'Best in Show' is judged. You need to get tickets to sit in the main arena.

Please do NOT take your dog with you. You can't take them in, and it does mean they will be shut in your vehicle all day. If it is sunny there isn't any shade.

For more info visit the Crufts website

Well see you again soon, Ti

Sunday, 3 February 2008

'B' is for : Dog Books and Magazines

Hello again and thanks for calling!

I love books and collect dog books, especially ones on greyhounds (what a surprise!)

Anyway it doesn't hurt to have one or two books on dog ailments and training.

The dog press produce some good magazines which make easy reading and I always find something of interest.

Dog Magazines

Two newspapers : Our Dogs and Dog World contain show reports and breeders adverts

Monthly magazines : Your Dog, Dogs Monthly, Dogs Today, K9 (a lifestyle magazine)

Dog Books

Dog Health :
- Doglopedia : a complete guide to dog care J.M. Evans & Kay White
- The BVA Guide to Dog Care David Taylor B.V.M.S.,F.R.C.V.S.
- The Dog Owner's Veterinary Handbook John Bower & David Youngs

Dog Behaviour :
- The Dog's Mind Bruce Fogle
- Dog Behaviour Explained Peter Neville

I've got to finish for now but will return again tomorrow with more stuff on dog books.

Bye, Ti

'B' is for: Dog Blood Donors

Did you know :

- that there is a shortage of blood for life-saving dog operations?

- that there is no national dog blood service?

- that your dog could be a canine hero and life saver?

At the animal rescue we had several of our young and healthy dogs, usually greyhounds, registered with our vets as potential blood donors.

We would sometimes get an urgent call for a blood donor within the next hour. Of course we would help if at all possible.

Vets have to source blood and make there own arrangements. Not good if things are urgent.

Please talk to your vet about your dog becoming a blood donor. A health check will be carried out and a small blood sample will be taken for blood typing.

Your dog gets a free health check!

Olive, my female greyhound, has given life-saving blood. They don't need a lot to make a difference.

Now some blood facts.
- 13 blood type groups have been identified in dogs.
- Dogs can have more than one blood type
- Unlike people, dogs rarely have isoantibodies against other blood types, so it is possible to give a blood transfusion without blood typing or crossmatching before the transfusion.
- Greyhounds are regarded as universal blood donors. They have a high red cell count and a good temperament.

What is required of a dog blood donor?
- be in good health
- have no history of metabolic or heart disease or seizures
- Be between 1-7 years old (possibly 8 years max)
- should not be on medication
- should not be under or over weight (over 25 kgs is required)
- have a good temperament
There may be other requirements.

Donated blood can be separated into plasma and red cells, with one donation helping up to four dogs.

Since October 2005 a change in the law allowed vets to store pet blood for future use.

A charity, Pet Blood Bank UK, has been set up to help address the dog blood shortage issue.
They have a website

A nice story to end with.
We had a very urgent request for blood. A young dog was on the operating table and would die if blood wasn't available. We were able to help straight away.
The operation was a success.
When I went to collect our canine hero he was in a holding pen right next door to the dog he had just saved. A very grateful owner was there as well waiting to give us all a big thank you.

As I said earlier please consider making your dog a blood donor. It can be the difference between life and death.

Thanks for visiting, Ti

Product Review - Cortaflex

Yesterday I wrote about arthritis and mentioned joint lubricants such as Cortaflex.

So I've decided to add a short review.

Cortaflex is made for dogs (canine cortaflex), cats (feline cortaflex), horses (equine cortaflex), and people!

It contains glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin, and MSM.

These 3 compounds mixed together in the optimum way have a positive effect on arthritic joints.
They not only lubricate the joint, but can help in rebuilding damaged cartilage (the stuff in our joints which give them smooth movement).

Cortaflex has this optimum mix.

I used canine cortaflex on many arthritic dogs in rescue.(Probably over 100 dogs). They all showed improvement.

I also use it on my own dogs.

Cortaflex is not cheap and animal charities wouldn't spend money on a product which doesn't work. Neither would I!

All the vets I have dealt with have rated Cortaflex in the good management of arthritis.

People who I know that use the human form of Cortaflex have reported positive results.

Costs : it comes in two sizes . The smaller one (236 ml) is about £25 and the large (946 ml) is about £70 - £75.

Buying the large size does give a significant saving. Also on the internet you pay about £55 -£60.

It lasts a long time. The dosage is very small. For a 30Kg dog (my female greyhound) a big bottle lasts about 4 to 5 months. Dosage is by weight, so for a small dog your money will go a long way.

For the first week you have to give a double dose to load the system.

On a personal note, I used Cortaflex for 2 years on my lass before things got bad. That was costing me just £10 - £12 a month. Now I am spending £45 a month on prescription drugs.

I am still giving her Cortaflex as it is safe to do so. (But always tell your vet).

I hope that you found this useful.

For those of you who have a dog which suffers from arthritis may I say that you have my support and sympathy. I know just how it feels to have a much-loved dog who is pain.

For more information on canine cortaflex click below :

Saturday, 2 February 2008

A is for Arthritis

Hello, today I am writing about an important dog health and welfare issue.

Arthritis can range from the odd twinge and some joint stiffness to severe pain and disability.

It can affect young dogs as well as old dogs.

So what causes arthritis?

It is inflammation of a joint which may be caused by infection, an old injury, or hereditary joint deformity (e.g. hip dysplasia).

It is incurable. So proper management is required.

Dogs are very good at masking pain. (Rottweillers are very stoical, if a rottie shows pain then it is very severe). So what do we look for?

- excessive panting

- crying

- staring

- constant licking of or chewing at a painful area

- limping

- stiffness

- not wanting to play or go for a walk

- refusing food

What can we do? Firstly consult your vet, who will be able to assess your dog's condition, and suggest treatment.

There are non-drug treatments :

- swimming

- joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. These can be found in products such as Cortaflex and Seraquin.

- herbal remedies like Chudleys Mobility

- natural anti- imflammatories like devil's claw root. If you give your dog this you MUST tell the vet in case drugs are prescribed. Your dog could get too much anti-imflammatory.

- a good balanced diet

- keep your dog's weight under control

- sensible exercise

- magnetic collars e.g. Bioflow

Prescription drugs may become necessary. These could be anti-inflammatory pain-killers such as Metacam or Rimadyl. Steroids may be needed.

On a personal note, Olive, my 11 year old female greyhound, has had arthritis for 2-3 years. I've kept it under control for 2 years without resorting to prescription drugs. I used Cortaflex and Mobility. Later on devil claw's root. All with great success.

Six months ago she worsened. She has it in all four limbs and there is a suspect area in her back.

Metacam makes her sick. Rimadyl didn't work well enough, so sadly she is now on PLTs (prednoleucotropin). This is an older drug which is a pain-killer with some steroid.

She recently had a blood test to check her organs are still functioning as they should. Thankfully it was a good result.

We all love our dogs and want the best for them. It is easy to think that a treatment isn't working, but without it your dog could be in real pain and/or immobile.

Please weigh your dog. You can do this free at your vet. If your dog is overweight it is important that it loses weight. Less dog treats I'm afraid.

Dog walking. Your dog won't want to go as far as usual. Little and often is far better than a big walk, even if your dog wants to do it. They can suffer for several days if they do too much.

I've worked out a series of circular walks of different lengths which suit Olive. (You do have to come back!).

You do have to consider a dog's enjoyment of life. That is part of dog welfare.

Olive likes to roll on her back and twist and wriggle (this is to make sure that we have enough white hair in the carpet!). Not good for her arthritis but she loves doing it. And if she is going well and enjoying her walk then we go a bit further.

It comes down to knowing your dog and careful observation of how they are doing.

Your dog will get worse after resting, but gentle movement and exercise will get them up and (not quite) running.

In cold and wet conditions it is a good idea if they wear a dog coat.

Make sure the dog bed is well padded and not in a draught.

Swimming in a dog hydrotherapy pool is a good idea. They can get good exercise without putting strain on the joints.

Losing weight also reduces strain on the joints.

Muscle wastage will happen due to the decrease in exercise. This will cause some weight loss - muscle is heavier than fat.
It is important to keep as much muscle tone as possible and to stengthen the tendons and ligaments connecting the joints.
This will help support affected joints and increase mobility, and improve your dog's quality of life and welfare.

Well I am running out of steam, so I will say goodbye for now.

Please post a message and do call again.

Tomorrow I think I will write about dog blood donors and also dog books.

Bye, Ti

Friday, 1 February 2008

Hi again.

Just a quick note to say that I've included a link to Amazon. Why?.....because I love books and I collect anything to do with greyhounds, and also the works of my favourite author, J.B.Priestley (nothing to do with dogs).

Also because knowledge and understanding is a good thing. Add in patience and observation and it will help you with handling dogs.
Besides when it comes to dog health problems proper knowledge is a must!

Cheers, Ti
Today it is 'A' for Animal Welfare.

Animal welfare is a big area and covers many things from basic pet care, through cruelty, neglect, abandonment, rescue dogs, working dogs, veterinary care, to vivisection.(This isn't a full list!)

There are a lot of legal, moral, ethical and emotional issues to consider.

Today I am going to talk about just 2 things, but I will return to this subject in future.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

This act was enacted in 2007.

A duty of care is placed on owners.

Owners are now responsible for ensuring that their animal’s welfare needs are met.

These include :
Somewhere suitable to live
A proper diet
Must be able to behave normally
Must be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
Nobody under 16 years can buy an animal
Animals cannot be given as prizes to unaccompanied children
Anybody who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs,
can be banned from owning animals, fined up to £20,000 and/or sent to prison.

At one time all that was required was that an animal have access to food and water, so bad owners were getting away with cruelty to their animals.

Hopefully the new act will make a positive change.

It is still important that we report abuse. This could be to the RSPCA, the dog warden, an animal welfare organisation, or the police.

Stray Dogs

Stray and abandoned dogs are a huge problem.
Thousands of dogs are humanely destroyed every year because there is nowhere for them to go. When I worked in rescue, I could get 50 dogs a month from my local area of which only half would be claimed back. (The rescue charity I worked for was also a sanctuary, so dogs were only destoyed if the law required ,or on veterinary advice.)

At the moment strays are dealt with by the local authority dog wardens during office hours Mon-Fri, and by 24-hour manned police stations outside of these hours.

But things are going to get worse.

As from 6th April this year the police will no longer have a duty to accept stray dogs. So what happens in the evening, night and all of the weekend?

Your local rescue may be able to do something, but they have no legal powers and cannot enter private property. If they do not work within the law they could be closed down.
They do not receive any goverment money.(The RSPCA are in a different position, but they still have limited powers).
They are probably overstretched with little money. You will find that staff at rescues are dedicated, caring and hard-working, but they do have families and homes to go to.

The relevant act is Section 68 of the Clean Neighborhoods and Environment Act 2005.
Local authorities are the only bodies with a duty to deal with strays.

You can find more information on either topic by visiting the DEFRA website.

If you have time it's worth writing to your local MP or your local council. They will reply.
I've written many letters when I've been in campaigning mood, and have always had a response.

I'm in danger of going into 'rant' mode, so I am going to finish now.

Next time I will write on a dog health issue : Arthritis. My female greyhound suffers from it....she's the white dog in my picture.

Buy for now and talk to you again soon. Ti

Talk to you all again soon.