Don’t Let the Kissing Bug Steal Your Dog’s Heart!

Valentine’s Day brings out the romantic side in many people or just simply reminds us that the ones we love are the most important part of our life. And for many of us, that undoubtedly includes our furry friends. 

It did, however, also remind me that the ‘Kissing Bug season’ will soon be upon us. It begins mid-spring and continues on until the end of the summer. There is sometimes a second peak season, which occurs during mid-September. This is also the time in which they often invade homes. 

    This is no Love Bug! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kissing bug is one deadly bloodsucker you need to be especially aware of – it doesn’t kiss it bites!  

It gets its name because it often bites mucous membranes, such as the lips. They’re also called cone-nosed bugs, bloodsuckers, cinches, and triatomine bugs. 

Like mosquitoes and ticks, they need blood to live, from either animals or humans. HOWEVER, Kissing Bugs sometimes have a parasite (Trypanosoma cruzi) in their feces that can cause Chagas Disease, which can lead to serious heart problems or disease in the intestines for your beloved pet. 

Your pooch can come into contact with this in the following ways: 

1. The kissing bug bites your dog then leaves infected feces in the wound 

2. Your dog ingests a kissing bug, or the faces from a kissing bug  

3. The parasite is passed on from the dog’s mother 

4. Your dog eats an infected prey animal (e.g. rodent, opossum) 

Sadly, there is no known cure for Chagas disease in dogs, nor is there any vaccine available for its prevention. Although several drugs have resulted in somewhat limited improvement, there is still a lot to learn about this disease and the prognosis is not good for any dog. 

Veterinarians have discovered that infected dogs, less than six months of age, may experience clinical signs such as pale gums, anorexia, diarrhea, and sudden death. 

In contrast, older dogs infected by Chagas, are often asymptomatic for long periods. However, once symptoms emerge, veterinarians have noticed that older dogs are more at risk of developing heart diseases. In addition, geriatric dogs may also develop problems with their nervous and respiratory systems. 

Preventative Precautions:   

Never touch kissing bugs with bare hands and thoroughly clean all surfaces they may have come into contact with.
Clean and disinfect their dog house on a regular basis.
Check all beds regularly – and not just the dog’s bed! These bugs often seek refuge between mattresses, daybeds, futons, and other tight spaces where potential prey frequent.
Switch lights off – Kissing Bugs typically fly out for feeding and traveling after dusk and are attracted to the brilliance of porch and window lights.
Include a daily dose of probiotics with prebiotic in their food, to strengthen their immune system and resilience to viruses/infections.
(N.B. FidoActive Advanced Probiotics for Dogs also includes the added benefit of D.Earth (Diatomaceous Earth), which is a natural parasite and worm remover. It causes a healthy elimination of parasites and worms without chemicals.) 

 

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

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HOLISTIC DOG HEALTH

When it comes to the health of our pets, more and more people are adopting a holistic approach. But what does that actually mean? 

A simple definition of “holistic health” is an overall wellness approach, that involves the whole animal, both physically and mentally. This includes adopting a preventative approach when it comes managing disease and illness. 

Here are some simple ways you can improve the quality of life for your canine companions: 

Nutrition 

The most important aspect to holistic health involves feeding your furry friend a proper and appropriate diet – “They are what they eat”! 

A balanced, natural, minimally processed diet is best – preferably homemade.  But, if you do need to use a commercial dog food, then try to stick to low carb, low grain product. A dog’s digestive system is simply not designed to process all the chemicals, artificial preservatives and flavorings commonly found in commercial dog foods. 

That’s why, supplementing their diet with health-supporting supplements, such as probioticsfatty acids and antioxidants are also helpful for whole-body health, promoting good health from the inside out. 

It’s also been proven, for both humans and our furry best friends, that many natural substances, either produced by the body or found in the earth, can give a beneficial boost to the immune system, which is the cornerstone for fighting intestinal conditions, allergies and disease prevention.  

Don’t forget the importance of plentiful FRESH, CLEAN water in your dog’s diet too. Water contaminated with chlorine, fluoride or other chemicals, or simply dirty water is too easily the transmitter for water-borne parasites, causing tummy bugs and sickness. Keep it safe by using filtered water wherever possible and regularly cleaned water bowls. 

Exercise 

It’s no surprise that one of the best ways to keep your hound healthy is through fresh air and exercise.  

As well as keeping them physically fit and mobile, it deceases the risk of heart disease and food-related diseases like obesity and diabetes. What’s more, it helps with their sociability skills and helps reduce anxiety.  

In fact, us humans can reap the exact same benefits from exercise, so double the incentive to walk the dog! 

The holistic lifestyle also extends to taking good care of your dog’s skin and coat too. Only use natural grooming products, sun screen and flea/tick preventatives.  

Supplements containing Lecithin are particularly beneficial, as this ingredient helps restore and maintain the overall well-being of your dog, assists the healing process and revives skin and coat condition. 
 

Mental Stimulation 

A healthy, active brain is just as important as a healthy, active body.  

Mental stimulation is vital for a happy, healthy dog. It keeps boredom at bay and prevents related bad behaviors, such as house trashing and shoe chewing. 

This is so easy to do with numerous toys available that are designed to challenge your dog to solve a puzzle to get to a treat. Alternatively, you can just play “hide and seek” by hiding treats around your home, for them to sniff out and enjoy! 

Interaction with other dogs is as enjoyable and stimulating for them as us having a chat with our best buddies. It also helps new pups with socializing skills or older, maybe rescue, dogs to correct behavioral problems by learning from other dogs.  

Vary your walks, both routes and times of day, so you both benefit from new sights, sounds and smells. 

At the end of the day, your dog is totally dependent on you for their health and wellbeing – you dictate what they eat and the amount of exercise and mental stimulation they get. 

If you can implement just a few of the small changes above, you will make a huge difference in helping your faithful friend have a healthier, happier life.  

…and like most other dog-lovers, if my dog’s happy then I’m happy! 

 

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – always! 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

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Get a Pep in Your Step with your Couch Potato Canine!

I can’t believe we’re already nearly half way through the first month of the new year and you may be sticking to your resolutions but, I have to be honest and say that I don’t really do ‘New Year resolutions’; I just aim to make the new year the best it can be, for both me and my family – furry members included! 

Many of us will have unashamedly indulged in all the wonderful food and drink over the holidays and, whilst the celebrations are fast becoming a distant memory, some of us may have picked up a bit more baggage around our tummies along the way! Our canine companions will have had their fair share of extra treats too, so they are probably in the same boat!   

No worries – the shared problem can also be the shared solution!  

During the winter months, we’re often a bit lethargic and guilty of staying indoors more, but the solution is simple – we just need to get ourselves and the pooch off the couch and go to the park – whatever the weather!  

The exercise will do you both the world of good, but unlike running around, your furry friend is totally dependent on you to get their diet right too and their requirements will change with age. 

If your dog suffers from stiff joints or arthritis , then carrying an extra few pounds will simply increase the pressure on the joints and no-one likes to see their beloved pet in pain, especially when there is something we can do to help them. 

Keep their fatty treats to a minimum or, better still, why not replace their usual treats with tasty supplement treats that will not make them pile on the weight, help with pain relief and put the pep back in their step! 

 

… and what if you can’t have a Dog of your own? 

That’s no problem either!  

How about becoming a shelter volunteer?  

Dog shelters and animal rescue centers need volunteers all of the time, but especially at this time of year. It’s a sad fact, but many animals are surrendered simply because they were unwanted Christmas gifts, so DON’T DELAY – they need your help NOW!  

Believe me, once you’ve started this great work, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner! 

It’s so rewarding, plus you will meet other like-minded people and form new friendships. These people will love dogs the same as you and you are bound to get on well with them. 

You could be doing any number of things, like checking in new arrivals, grooming, walking, training an old dog new tricks or simply comforting a terrified animal that doesn’t understand why they’ve been dumped. 

Shelters want to find new homes for pooches, and with your help the dogs are prepared faster for this. Each new animal will be different and will need different kinds of help. There is nothing more rewarding than nursing a neglected hound back to health, or helping turn one who had no skills at all into a house-trained pet, ready for their forever home. 

Being a volunteer at the local shelter will keep you active. You will have no time to get bored, as there will always be something that needs your attention. Don’t waste your life sitting in front of the TV – do something meaningful and become a dog rescue volunteer. 

Whatever you decide to do, we wish you and your canine companions a happy and healthy 2020! 

 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

Don’t Let Furry Festive Antics Turn into a Trauma!

Christmas Trees 

❆ The fragrance of a real pine/spruce tree is lovely but just be aware that they can actually cause your dog mouth and stomach irritation because they contain mildly toxic oils, so be sure they are not chewing the branches or trunk. 

 Do regular clean ups when the tree starts sheds its needles, to avoid them getting stuck in your pet’s paws, throat or intestines. 

 Trees are often treated with preservatives to limit needle loss, insecticides or flame retardants and many have a sweet taste to dogs, so particularly tempting but toxic if ingested. Consider putting a tree skirt around the base of the tree, especially if there is a water base, to prevent them from drinking the liquid. 

 Stabilize the tree in a sturdy stand to be sure it can’t be knocked over and potentially hurt a child or pet playing or laying under the tree. You can make it extra foolproof by also securing with string to a wall or window, but high enough up so out of chewing range. 

Decorations 

Let’s face it, dogs love to chew and there are lots more enticing things to get their teeth into at Christmas, so here are a few tips to keep them out of harm’s way: 

 Avoid edible decorations. Even if you think you’ve placed them high enough to be out of temptation’s way, your dog’s super-human sense of smell will sniff them out and will encourage them to jump or climb to get to the tasty treat, by whatever means possible! 

 Chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs and affects the nervous and urinary systems, causing symptoms ranging from diarrhea to seizures and death. 

❆ Popcorn, raisin and cranberry garlands have added dangers: raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney damage plus the thread can cause an obstruction in the intestine. 

And remember, many sweet treats contain xylitol (artificial sweetener) which is toxic to dogs. So, better to be safe than sorry and just keep these dangerous temptations off the decorations list altogether – they’re just not worth the risk! 

 Although salt dough sounds edible it definitely is NOT. It is a baking material that is used for making ornaments (often of a new-born child’s foot/handprint or pet’s pawprint) and it contains an extremely high salt level, which can be fatal if your pet ingests it. Making salt dough tree decorations or parcel tags is a popular activity this time of year and especially fun to do with the kids, but just ensure that the end product is out of reach of your pooch.  

 Keep electrical cords and electrical light wiring out of your dog’s reach. They can get tangled in wiring and pull the tree down or items on shelves. If they chew the cord, they could suffer from mouth burns an electric shock or even death by electrocution. 

 The glistening tinsel and ribbons are tantalizing playthings but if your pup gets their teeth into it, then swallows it, this can cause a blockage in their gastrointestinal tract, which requires surgical removal. 

 Other potential hazards include scented oils and candles, which can cause spills, burns and a serious fire hazard, so again place in a safe position and always extinguish candles when you go out. 

Floral Arrangements 

Festive arrangements are beautiful but the most popular plants can be dangerous to your dog. These include:  

Holly leaves and berries cause severe stomach upset, seizures and can be potentially fatal to dogs. 

 ❆ Mistletoe  contains several substances that are toxic to dogs, causing severe upsets stomachs, breathing problems, sudden & severe drop in blood pressure and potential heart collapse. 

 Poinsettia contains a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth and esophagus. If the leaves are ingested, this will often cause nausea and vomiting. 

 Amaryllis, Lilies and Daffodils are toxic, especially the bulbs. Even a small amount of plant ingested can cause severe gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, decreased appetite, convulsions and arrhythmia.   

 Hibiscus may cause diarrhea 

 ❆ Yew treehas toxicity in ALL parts of the plant. When ingested, it causes drooling, vomiting, weakness, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures, life-threatening changes in heart rate and blood pressure, coma and death may be seen. 

You may think that popping out for a short while will be fine, because your pooch is well fed and sleeping soundly, but they can be easily awoken by noises outside…and then their curiosity gets the better of them and the games begin! 

Please keep them safe and don’t take the chance of leaving them alone in the decked-out areas.   

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of festive fun and health! 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

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Could You Open Your Heart & Home to a Senior Furry Friend?

As we head into the holiday season, many people look for ways to be charitable but sadly it’s also one of the busiest ‘dog dumping’ times for dog shelters and rescue organisations.   

One person can’t save every dog but every person CAN save one dog from having to spend their remaining time in a rescue shelter.  

In an ideal world, every shelter dog would find a loving forever home but sadly it’s the older ones that are usually the last to find homes and the first to be euthanized.   

It’s easy to understand why people are immediately drawn to the younger, cuter, more energetic dogs, but, if you’re planning on getting a new furry addition to your family, I hope you will consider opening your heart and your home to a senior shelter dog 

The one thing I tend to see is that the older dogs are often just sitting quietly at the back of the kennel, not drawing attention to themselves, so people simply pass them by. What they often fail to realize is that poor dog has lived for years in a loving family home, so is feeling scared, abandoned and confused in their caged surroundings and they are just waiting patiently to be taken ‘home’ again.    

…AND HERE ARE 10 GREAT REASONS WHY A SENIOR FURRY FRIEND COULD BE YOUR NEXT PERFECT COMPANION!

10 Reasons Why a Senior Furry Friend Could Be YOUR Next Perfect Companion 

#1 Senior dogs have better manners  
Having spent years living with a family, they have been socialized with humans and may even have been trained to at least respond to basic commands such as sit, stay and down. Many will also be house trained, so it won’t take long for them to pick up the potty rules in their new home.   

#2 What you see is what you get
A senior dog holds no surprises as to how big they may grow, whether their coloring may change, or whether they will develop a genetic or breed-specific condition. Having knowledge of their past and present helps you better manage future expectations.   

#3 Senior pets are less destructive
An older dog has grown out of the seek and destroy puppy phase, they’ve gone through their infant teething, so don’t chew on anything and everything and their mischief mayhem is replaced with calmer curiosity.  

#4 You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
Adult dogs are less easily distracted than younger pups, so they can focus better on the task. Many will already know the basic commands, so it can be fun for both of you to learn new tricks and increase the bond between you.  

#5 A dog to match your own energy levels
As an older dog has less excess energy to burn off, they will be happier to go at a slower speed. So, if you prefer to play frisbee in the yard or a walk in the park, rather than a mountain hike then an older dog may be the best fit for you.  

Oh, and it goes without saying that senior dogs make great snuggle buddies when you just want to kick back and relax at the end of a hard day!  

#6 Senior dogs and senior citizens make the perfect companions
Many elderly people crave companionship and can talk to their furry friend all day, every day, without judgement or criticism. Stroking an animal also has a proven soothing influence, that improves a human’s mood and well being. 

#7 Adopting a senior dog is a relatively short-term commitment
Many people deny themselves the pleasure of a dog because their circumstances are likely to change in the next 8-15 years. Elderly people think their pet will outlive them and are worried about what would happen to them. A senior dog is the perfect solution for both scenarios and satisfies the mutual need for companionship.   

#8 Adopted seniors are more devoted
Dogs are always thought to have a sixth sense but, from my own personal experience, I truly believe that my senior adoptees really know they have been rescued and saved from years spent in a cage or an even worse fate.  They show true devotion and are really eager to please, as if they are showing gratitude for me rescuing them.   

#9 You Can Pick Your Perfect Pooch
Whether you want a certain size dog, or a non-shedding breed, one that’s cat-friendly or one that likes travelling in cars, you can cater for YOUR specific requirements.   
  
Many rescue centers have photos and details of dogs available for adoptions on their websites, so you can make your initial shortlist before arranging a visit in person. There are also some rescue organizations that specialize in specific breeds, which will not only match you up with the dog of your dreams but also provide specialist ongoing advice and support.  

BUT don’t be surprized if you end up going home with a totally different dog than you went for – you’ll only know which is the right one for you once you get there!  

To see their true character, it’s important to interact with the dog outside the cage, to get to know them better and see if you have that special connection.  

#10 It is in the giving that we receive. 
This is undeniably illustrated when you give a rescue dog a home, for you will receive unconditional love and loyalty that money just can’t buy!  What’s more, I think they know they’ve been ‘rescued’ and love you all the more for it! 

Yes, it may take a little time and patience from both of you at the start, but it’s sure worth it and bound to put a new spring in both of your steps!  

 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

 

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