Honoring our Brave Military this Memorial Day – We Salute You!

MEMORIAL DAY – 25th May 2020 

Whilst Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, it is also a time to remember the brave men, women and animals that gave their lives for their country, so that we can enjoy the freedom to enjoy this ‘holiday’.   

The American Pit Bull was used by the U.S. military during the Seminole and Civil wars and became the poster dog for the World War I propaganda and recruitment posters, but over the years the breeds enlisted for service became as diverse as the roles they perform.  

Their super-human eyesight, hearing and sense of smell, make these canine compatriots an invaluable member of any team and they work tirelessly 60 hours a week, with on-call shifts 24/7 –  and all without a paycheck to go towards their retirement or pay for meds to ease the pain of health issues resulting from their intense and physical work demands!  

BUT they were not trained to kill, they were trained to save lives, with roles including: transporting medical supplies, search & recue (on land & sea!), sentries, messengers, clearing buildings, explosives detection, tracking, tunnelling, narcotics inspections, customs and border protection and even pulling telephone wires under airfields and mined tunnels – to name just a few! 

Dogs Have No Choice!

These courageous canines don’t volunteer, they are simply drafted, yet their loyalty and bravery have no bounds, and they gladly put their lives on the line to protect their human service buddies.  

Of course dogs are ‘man’s best friend’ and more recently they have been an integral part of the recovery process as companions for wounded heroes or those suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). 

Many of these special service dogs were originally taken from rescue shelters and trained for active duties all over the world, but it is heart-breaking to think that many of them returned to shelters or euthanized at the end of their useful service.  

It seems therefore very fitting that two big problems can become one mutual magical mission:

Help every American hero and save every shelter or rescue animal from euthanasia.

Companions for Heroes (C4H) provides companion dogs, and on a case-by-case basis, service dogs, obtained from shelters, rescues and humane societies, who might otherwise be euthanized, free of charge to active duty military personnel, military veterans, first responders, military spouses and children, and Gold Star Families recovering from the psychological challenges they suffered during service to our country. C4H increases public awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other challenges confronting our country’s heroes; and rally’s support for animal welfare and the adoption of shelter and/or rescue animals. 

C4H is a non-clinical and non-facility based organization that places special emphasis on creating mutually beneficial opportunities for shelter and rescue animals, some who might otherwise be euthanized, and our nation’s service men and women by accessing the expertise of medical care professionals and animal welfare organizations. C4H is an Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) program that recognizes the incredible power of the human-animal relationship and seeks to support those suffering from psychological stress as they pursue recovery with the unconditional love of a dog. 

You can learn more about them at: www.companionsforheroes.org 

Also, sadly even today, a service dog often finds that their handler is simply unable to take their service buddy home with them, once they retire from active duty.  We can only imagine the desolation and confusion those loyal dogs suffer, being separated from their devoted handlers. 

The good news is that many of these special animals are eligible for adoption and are placed into appropriate and loving homes. But, as you can appreciate, these are not your usual dog and in many cases these dogs are not recommended for families with small children or other pets.  

Because of their unique temperaments and training, the military does not surrender de-commissioned military working dogs to shelters, rescues or sanctuaries for placement. All military working dog (MWD) adoptions are managed through the 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio. This is the home of the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Adoption Program. 

So, if you think you could provide a happy retirement home for one of these loyal 4-legged patriots, you can learn more about the program here: 

Note: Pets for Patriots is not involved in actual MWD adoptions, nor is any other private organization or non-profit. You must contact Joint Base San Antonio directly. 

Memorial Day weekend is a time when many of us would usually commemorate and celebrate with our families in various ways such as backyard BBQs and parades. Sadly, due to Covid-19 restrictions, our celebrations may be curtailed somewhat this year, but we can still all do something! 

Please celebrate and keep each other safe! 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

How Well Can You Speak Canine?

 

Canine Companionship 

The usual woofs and gruffs are one thing, but if you have a good understanding of YOUR dog’s body language, through their individual actions and mannerisms, you can truly understand their emotions and support them as much as they do us.

Always remember that certain breeds will act slightly differently but, over time, you will get to know your dog better than anyone, what makes them tick and what ticks them off!   

All too often dog owners interpret their pet’s body language incorrectly. They think that an action means their pooch is telling them one thing but in reality, they are trying to communicate something totally different. For instance, a panting dog doesn’t always mean a thirsty dog and a wagging tail doesn’t always mean a happy dog! 

So, we thought we’d provide a guide to your dog’s body language, so that you can better understand what they are trying to tell you and help you create a special unbreakable bond, that you will both enjoy.

Start by really knowing your Dog 

Before you can start to understand the body language of your furry friend you need to really know them. For example different breeds will adopt different postures and this will have an impact on what they are trying to communicate. 

Here are a couple of examples: A Shih Tzu has the tendency to hold up their tail and you can interpret this as their neutral position. If they deviate from this then the chances are they are trying to communicate something. With a German Shepherd, it’s the opposite; their neutral position is holding their tail down. 

You need to look carefully at your dog’s entire posture. It is important that you take any actions with their body parts into context with their posture. There can be subtleties here. If your pooch has floppy ears then it might be difficult for you to spot when they move their ears back just a little bit. 

It is entirely possible that your furry friend will change their postures in time. They may begin to display a body posture that communicates fear, but when they discover that this posture is effective this can change to a more confident posture despite the fact that they are still experiencing fear. 

Dog Body Language 

We felt that the best way for you to learn about the body language of your furry friend was to provide lists of behaviors and actions that demonstrate particular emotions. So, this is what you need to look out for when assessing what they are trying to communicate to you: 

How to tell if your dog is feeling Happy 

If the body language of your pooch is relaxed then this is probably a sign that they are happy. This is what you need to look out for as signs of happiness:

 Mouth partially open with a soft look and possibly a gentle pant (some dogs even smile!)
 Relaxed ears that are not taut or pulled back
 Posture is relaxed overall with head raised, a confident stance and tail relaxed
 Wagging of the tail which includes wiggles from the whole body. Tail wagging with a relaxed body also suggests happiness.
 Showing you their belly by rolling over
 Bowing down ready to play with their bottom in the air and chest pressed against the ground 

p.s. Fast tail wagging with other ‘happy’ signals means they are really happy and excited! 

Results will vary by breed but, in general, if your furry friend is exhibiting these signs then you can confidently assume that they are happy. At the end of the day it is all about your pooch appearing to be at ease and comfortable. Oh, and when it comes to dog-to-dog communication, researchers found that when they are looking at each other with a “right tail wag”, they become relaxed in each other’s company.

How to tell if your dog is feeling Angry or Uncomfortable 

Of course you don’t want your furry friend to be angry, but sometimes this is going to happen just as it does with us. These are the tell-tale body language signs:

 A threatening stance standing as big as possible
 Body upright and stiff with fur standing on end
 Ears flattened and eyes not blinking
 Open mouth and drawn back lips with the baring of their teeth
 In an attack position ready to lunge
 Low growling that is threatening
 A wagging tail with this erect, rigid stance often means they’re feeling territorial or uncomfortable with something that is going on around them. If the tail wag is high and moving back and forth, narrowly but rapidly, this sign of discomfort can be a precursor to aggression.

If you see these signs in your pooch then don’t do anything to make the situation worse. Do not stare at them or try to provoke them in any way. Be careful with sudden movements and keep your distance. Your furry friend may just need a little time to cool off but, if this behavior continues, it may be because they are actually injured and they are simply displaying their natural self-protection mechanism.  

How to tell if your dog is experiencing Fear or Stress 

If your furry friend is feeling stressed out or fearful, the following actions are the most common ways they can communicate this to you: 

  They will move their ears back
  They will move their ears back
  Their tail will be down or even tucked between their legs (please be aware that certain breeds have their tail down in a neutral posture e.g. greyhounds).  

Also, when it comes to dog-to-dog communication, research has shown that dogs watching each other with a “left tail wag” are exhibiting signs of nervousness, stress, or anxiety.

 They will start to back away
  They will look away
  They will have their head down
  They will start to cower or crouch down
  They will wrinkle their eyebrows

In addition, they may also display the following characteristics:

  Trembling (when not cold)
  Panting (when not hot or thirsty)
  Refuse to eat
  Freeze in one position
  Hide away
  Pacing around or increasing another activity
  Lick their muzzle
  Lift a paw
  Begin to salivate (when no food around)
  Yawning (when not tired)
  Bear their teeth
  Go to the toilet inappropriately
  Express their anal glands which normally produces a nasty fish like smell
  Widen their eyes which enlarges their pupils 

How to tell if your dog is feeling Confident 

You obviously want your furry friend to feel confident rather than fearful or stressed. Here are the typical signs of confidence:

  They have their ears forward
  Their tail is up (remember than in some breeds this is the neutral position)
  When they stand they are straight up
  Their eye contact is direct
  Their head is held high
  Their mouth is open a little and they expose their tongue

These are all signs that your dog does not feel threatened by anything or anybody around them. You can usually approach a pooch displaying these characteristics without any concern, but you should always ask permission of the owner first, before you cooch their dog. 

How to tell if your dog is Alert/Curious 

Dogs are curious creatures and they will usually want to check things out that they have not encountered before. So, if your furry friend has discovered something that interests them, they are likely to display some or all of the characteristics below. It’s their way of telling you that they are paying attention and making an assessment of a certain situation.

  Ears are forward and may be twitching if they are trying to detect a specific sound
  Mouth is closed
  Wide eyes
  Forehead and nose are smooth
  Tail is horizontal but not bristled or stiff. However, as they get closer to the subject of their curiosity, their tail may become lower and wagging slowly, usually because they are hesitant about something.

How to tell if your dog is feeling Sad/Lonely 

Your pooch is not going to cry when they are sad. But they can exhibit other signs of sadness or loneliness. Check for this body language to see if your furry friend is feeling sad or lonely:

  They make a whimpering or whining sound
  Generally moping around not enjoying things that they normally do
  Energy levels down
  No interest in treats or other food
  Smaller eyes that may look squinty
  Patterns of sleep are different from normal

Of course, this kind of behavior can also be a sign that your pooch is unwell. Try to make your furry friend happier by going for a walk, playing with a toy that they love, giving them their favorite treat and letting them play with another dog that they like. If they are still sad then consult your vet. 

Dogs provide unconditional love, a fact that is often hard for us humans to comprehend. They are always pleased to see us, no matter what our mood is, a welcoming hug after a bad day at work, a sounding board for our problems, a body guard, a home security officer, a shoulder to cry on…basically the best friend anyone could wish for! 

So, we hope you find this guide helpful and are able to take advantage of this golden opportunity to spend more time getting to know your furry friends better and do the same for them.  

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

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

 

Dog Treats That Won’t Pile On The Pounds!

During this lockdown period, I’ve been getting back into the family tradition of baking my own cakes, which I normally don’t have time to do.  However, to avoid adding inches to my own waistline, I made some “figure-conscious” treats for my furry best friend too!  Just like my cakes, they are much cheaper than shop-bought (and probably tastier!), plus you know exactly what’s gone into them! 

What better way to thank them for their special companionship during these strange times (and quite honestly keeping me sane!)?  

DIABETIC DOG TREATS 

If you have a diabetic dog, then you know it is hard to find a treat that will do no harm. This is one of those treats, that Barb Maxwell created for her own dog. It is super- easy to fix (ready in only 20 minutes!), and even dogs without diabetes will enjoy them! 

5 mins. prep & 15 mins. cook.  

Ingredients: 

• ½ Cup whole wheat flour
• 2 eggs
• 1 ½ Pounds beef liver, cut into pieces 

 

Directions: 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 10×15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper. 

2. Place the liver into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. If you have room, add the flour and eggs, and process until smooth. Otherwise, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the flour and eggs using a wooden spoon. Spread evenly in the prepared pan. 

3. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center is firm.  

4. Cool, and cut into squares (a pizza cutter is ideal for this). The treats will have a consistency similar to a sponge. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. 

 

HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA DOG TREATS 

If your dog prefers a sweeter tasting treat, these are perfect because they are sweet BUT low in sugar and sodium, as well as dairy/gluten/wheat free, so you won’t end up with a podgy pooch! 

Makes approx. 24 treats but you can adjust the size of the treats to accommodate very small or very large dogs, baking them a few minutes less or a few minutes more, as needed. They are also suitable for freezing, so easy to ration! 

Ingredients: 

  1 banana, peeled
 • 1 cup oat flour
• 
 2/3 cup rolled oats 
• 
1/2 cup dried parsley (or substitute dried mint for half the parsley)
 • 3 tablespoons peanut butter (Care: MUST NOT contain xylitol – it is toxic to dogs)
• 1 egg, beaten 

 

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.  

2. Put banana in a large bowl and use a spoon or potato masher to mash it thoroughly.  

3. Add oat flour, oats, parsley, peanut butter and egg and stir well to combine.  

4. Set aside for 5 minutes. 

5. Roll mixture between palm of your hands into balls (using about 1 tablespoon dough for each) 

6. Transfer to a large lined baking sheet as done. Use the back of a spoon or the heel of your hand to press each ball into a (1 1/2-to 2-inch) coin.  

7. Bake 40-45 minutes or until firm and deep golden brown on the bottom.  

8. Set aside to let cool completely.  

Storage note: It’s best to store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Or, freeze them to give to your pal later; just be sure to thaw the treats before handing them out. 

 

I hope your pooch loves these as much as mine does and please feel free to share some pics on our facebook page. 

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

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

 

 

Do You Dread Getting Up Close & Personal With Your Pooch?

During these uncertain times, you can be sure there is someone that is happy to have us locked-in at home…and that’s our dog! And let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than snuggling up in front of the TV with our furry friends.

However, whilst it’s lovely to spend some extra quality time with our canine companions, you do get to be a bit more “up close and personal” and get a regular “whiff” of their breath or back-end gases, which could, quite frankly, clear a room! But, unfortunately, that might not even be an option at the moment!

But you’ll be glad to know, there is a simple solution so neither you, or your dog, have to suffer in silence any more… 

Both of these “odour issues” are often simply a sign of a digestive problem, from gas that is produced by bacteria that feed on undigested food sitting in the intestines. 

The longer the food takes to digest, the more gas is produced. There are many different types/strains of bacteria that reside there, and they can vary between dogs. 

Probiotics are essentially strains of “good” bacteria to help break down the undigested food more quickly, regulate bowel movements and relieve the pain caused by pressure in your dog’s gut. 

Of course, once your pooch has the right probiotics in their gut, it’s important to keep them constant, in order for them to have a positive and ongoing effect.

Please note that for maximum efficacy any probiotic supplement must contain a prebiotic too. 

Why is that? 

Put simply, the prebiotic acts as a carrier and anchor for probiotics to make it to the gut, so increase helpful bacteria in the colon. Because it has this effect, the ingredient “Inulin” is called a prebiotic and also provides food and fuel for the probiotics to grow and survive in the gut.

And that’s not all! 

Prebiotics have other health benefits; they help increase the amount of calcium and other minerals your dog can absorb from their food, support a healthy immune system and relieve intestinal problems. Inulin also lowers levels of triglycerides, a type of blood fat.

FidoActive’s Advanced Probiotics supplement (with Prebiotic) is in powder form, odorless and tasteless, so super easy to introduce into your dog’s daily regime – easily mixed into their regular dry or wet food and suitable for even the pickiest of pooches!

  

However, please remember, while probiotics can restore digestive health and more, they are not a replacement for poor diet – they go hand in hand (or should that be paw in paw) with a healthy balanced diet. They can take a little while to start working though, so be patient, but they will do your pooch the power of good in the long run.

In the meantime, try to introduce your pooch some crunchy healthy treats, like carrots and apples (but make sure no seeds!). The act of chewing these, like a bone, help to break up tartar and bacteria on teeth that can make a bad breath problem even worse!

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

 

 

 

Helen Broadley

& The FidoActive Team

 

 

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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