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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TERRORIFIC DOG TREATS FOR HALLOWEEN

Pumpkins come but once a year, so don’t forget to include your furry friends in the seasonal fun and festivities. For many pooches, the ‘trick or treat’ circuit with the kids may be a bit overwhelming, but not many would need to be tricked into gobbling up these doggielicious treats! 

So, when you’re preparing your pumpkin pie for the family, why not set aside some pumpkin puree and try one of these recipes for your canine companions too. They’re so easy even the kids could make them! (Just click the link below or the image for recipes)

NOTE: You can, of course, use canned pumpkin instead but please remember to only use plain canned pumpkin. It should not be pumpkin pie filling, and there should not be any added ingredients. You just want pure pumpkin puree in a can. 

Easy Frozen Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats 

Ingredients 

• 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 
½ cup natural peanut butter
• 
1¼ cup pumpkin puree
• 
Small Milk Bones 

Instructions 

1. Place ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
2. Pour mixture into ice cube trays, dixie cups or molds of your choice.
3. Place a small Milk Bone in the center of each and freeze for 5 hours.
4. Once frozen, pop out and share with your pup!
5. I placed them in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn for safe keeping up to 3 months. 

 

Frozen Pumpkin Dog Treat Recipe 

Makes 40 small-sized treats 

Ingredients: 

• 1 cup plain yogurt
• 
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
• 
1 teaspoon honey 
• 1 banana 

Directions:
1. In a blender, add banana and puree until smooth.
2. In a large bowl, add yogurt, pumpkin puree, mushed banana and honey. Stir until well combined.

3. Spoon mixture into ice cube trays. Once each mold is full, wrap in plastic wrap or place in Ziploc bag to avoid mess. 
4. Place in freezer and let freeze completely, overnight. 

Note: When using canned pumpkin, only use plain canned pumpkin. It should not be pumpkin pie filling, and there should not be any added ingredients. You just want pure pumpkin puree in a can. 

 

Pumpkin Pupper Treats 

Ingredients 

• 1 egg
• 2/3 cup pure canned pumpkin
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour  

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Combine the egg, pumpkin and cinnamon. 
Slowly add in flour until the dough is nice and stiff. 
Put whole wheat flour on the counter and roll the dough out to ¼ inch on top of it. 
Use cookie cutters to cut out your favorite shapes. 
Place cookies on a no stick or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 
Bake cookies for 40 minutes. 
They should be nice and crisp before you take them out. 

Drool, while you let them cool, and serve.  

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins for Dogs | Halloween Dog Treats 

Ingredients for Pumpkin Spice Muffins 

• 1 Cup of Gluten Free Cake Flour
• 1 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 Egg
• 1 cup Water
• 1/2 cup coconut cooking oil
• 1 cup Pure Pumpkin 

Directions 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves and ginger. Make a well in the center of the bowl, and add all remaining ingredients.  Mix together until well blended. 

Spray your pumpkin pan with a non-stick cooking spray (we use bakers joy).  Fill the cavities 2/3rds full.  Bake for 15 minutes.  And that’s it, you are done!  You can also frost these if you like.  I choose not to this time, but I would have used whipped cream cheese just for fun. 

 

Wishing you and your canine companions safe and happy celebrations! 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

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Preventing Bloat Could Be Your Dog’s Life-Saver

It is vital that you do everything you can to prevent bloat in your canine companions. It isn’t just a “bit of wind” that will exit their body through flatulence!  

Bloat is the commonly-used term for a life-threatening condition in dogs called gastric dilatation volvulus, or canine GDV. The word gastric means ‘of the stomach’, dilatation refers to the abnormal enlargement of a part of the body, while volvulus means a twisting of the intestine causing an obstruction. Put simply, bloating involves excessive amounts of solids, liquids or gas in the digestive system and GDV occurs when the stomach fills with gas (bloat) and twists around on itself. 

If this happens to your furry friend then there is no relief for them. There is no chance of defecation, belching or flatulence. The only answer to this problem is to rush your pet to the veterinary immediately!  

Wherever possible, we prefer to look at prevention rather than cure, so in this article we will help you to reduce, even eliminate, dog bloating and hopefully avoid you ever having to deal with the worst-case scenario. 

How is Bloat in Dogs Caused? 

Let’s face it, most of our furry friends have no ‘full’ control when it comes to eating and will happily devour what you put in front of them. The most common reasons for bloating are overeating, eating too fast or drinking water too quickly.  

Another thing that can create bloating is a lot of activity right after a meal. Most of us learned when we were kids to let our food settle down before we went out to play. This was very good advice and the same applies to your furry friend.  

Which Dogs are Most at Risk of GDV? 

A bloated stomach can be a problem for any dog, both male and female. Studies have shown the risk of GDV increases with age and is five times more likely in pure-bred dogs than in crossbreeds. Body weight is also strongly associated with increased odds of GDV. Dogs weighing more than 40kg are significantly more likely to suffer from the condition than those weighing less than 10kg. Also, the most severe forms of bloating and GDV usually occur in adult dogs and senior dogs. It does not normally happen to puppies. 

Some breeds are more susceptible to this than others, especially large, deep-chested breeds. Here are some of the breeds that are most at risk: 

• Boxer
• Saint Bernard
• Rottweiler
• Great Dane
• Doberman
• Bernese Mountain Dog
• German Shepherd
• German Wirehaired Pointer
• Poodle
• Cane Corso
• Great Dane
• Mastiff
• Greyhound
• Labrador Retriever
• Bassett Hound
• Weimaraners
• Setters 

What Physically Happens When a Dog has Bloat? 

The distended stomach presses on the diaphragm and other internal organs, causing problems with the circulation and respiratory system.  This makes it difficult for your dog to breathe and for their heart to get blood and oxygen around the body, as it should.  Your dog will very rapidly go into shock.  While the stomach is twisted, the blood supply to the stomach and also sometimes the spleen is affected meaning that the stomach wall and spleen can start to die. 

What are the Symptoms of Dog Bloating? 

The most obvious symptom of bloating is where your dog’s tummy goes hard or swells up like a balloon. A dog with GDV is likely to feel pain when you press on their belly. But there are signs that are not obvious, such as them trying to vomit or defecate but unable to. Also watch out for your dog walking around aimlessly on a continual basis. 

Sometimes a pooch with a bloated stomach problem hardly moves at all. They can also start breathing heavily. If the bloating is really getting severe then their gums turn pale, they may froth at the mouth and their heart starts to race.  

What Treatment is Available for Dog Bloating? 

GDV is one of the most serious of all pet emergencies.  

To remove a twist in their stomach, a vet needs to perform surgery so that entrance and exit points are cleared and the stomach functions normally again.  

After receiving treatment for a twisted stomach a number of dogs end up going back to the vet again because the problem returns. If this happens a vet can perform a gastropexy where they pin the stomach to the abdomen wall so that it cannot twist in the future.  

If left untreated, dogs with GDV will almost certainly die. However, the survival rate of dogs who undergo surgery after being diagnosed with GDV is as high as 80%, which is why it’s vital you contact your vet if you suspect your dog has bloat. 

What Can You Do to Prevent Dog Bloat? 

Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to protect your pooch from stomach bloating. It is often simply the result of poor feeding habits so AVOID the following: 

• Using a raised bowl to feed your pooch
• Giving your furry friend too much food or water at a time
• Only feeding once a day
• Giving your dog dry foods that are high in oil or fat (slower to digest & exit the body) 

10 Easy Steps to Prevent Dog Bloating 

Research at Purdue University attempted to identify the causes of dog bloating. They recommended that dog owners take the following steps to prevent bloating: 

1. Give your pooch a number of smaller servings throughout the day
2. Place the feeding bowl on the ground
3. Avoid foods where fat is one of the top four ingredients
4. Don’t just give your furry friend dry food
5. Avoid moistening dry food
6. Wait at least one hour after exercise before feeding your pooch
7. Wait at least two hours to exercise your dog after eating
8. If your pooch is a fast eater purchase a special dish that slows the eating down
9. Never give more than one cup of dry food per 30 pounds of body weight at each meal
10. Introduce probiotics (Note: must contain prebiotic) into your dog’s diet 

How Can Probiotics Help Prevent Bloating? 

A major source of abdominal bloating comes 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.  

Please note that for maximum efficacy any probiotic supplement must contain a prebiotic too – prebiotics are nondigestive carbohydrates which feed the probiotics.  

Once they have the right probiotics in their gut, it’s important to keep them strong in order for them to have a positive effect. FidoActive’s Advanced Probiotics supplement (with Probiotic) 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!   

Probiotics with prebiotic supplements can have numerous other benefits, so they are definitely worth trying out. They can take a while to start working though, so be patient, but they will do your pooch the power of good in the long run. 

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.  

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

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

Beware: Doggie Dangers Lurking in the Leaves

When the colourful leaves first fall from the trees it is a sight to behold and the leaf piles are simply an open invitation for dogs to hide and play in. BUT as these dog-magnets become a wet, soggy mess and start to decompose, they can pose a real threat to our furry best friends. 

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t dream of suggesting we deprive them of such fun! But please just be mindful of the potential dangers highlighted below and be sure to take the usual simple precautions. 

Common Dangers Lurking in the Leaves 

1. Bacteria and mould-can develop in piles of leaves. If your dog ingests these it can lead to gastrointestinal upsets. 

2. Mushrooms and Toadstools– We all know toadstools are poisonous but some mushrooms are also toxic to dogs. Even mycologists (the fungi experts) find it difficult to differentiate, so best to steer fido well clear of them all. 

3. Insects and more – Ticks and fleas become more active at certain temperatures and they particularly thrive in woodland and grassland areas at this time of year – particularly piles of leaves that create a little hub of warmth 

They’re not the only creatures who love that environment – sow bugs/pill bugs, worms and spiders will all be sharing the leaf piles. Other residents may also include, snakes, frogs, toads and rodents. There are number of diseases that can be transmitted by rodent droppings and Leptospirosis is on the rise in the wildlife population. 

Don’t let the Kissing bug steal your dog’s heart!  

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

4. Acorns– The oak tree is majestic to look at but the acorns are potentially tragic for your dog. The acorns contain a toxic ingredient, tannic acid, which can cause damage to their liver and kidneys. Ingested acorns and nuts or seeds from other trees can also cause an intestinal blockage. Signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and lethargy.  If your dog displays any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

5. Animal Eliminations– If your dog is tempted by the leaf pile, you can bet your bottom dollar there will have been other dogs before them, potentially even foxes, who will have all left their pee/poop “calling cards”. These are transmitters for a variety of diseases at worst or a foul- smelling pooch at best! 

 Preventative Precautions:  

• Check them over thoroughly once playtime is over, including inside their ears, nose and between their paw pads.  

• Maintain their shower/bath time regimen, although you may need to move it indoors (for both you and your dog’s comfort!) and always ensure they get dried thoroughly in a warm area. 

• Clean and disinfect their dog house on a regular basis. 

• Year-round flea preventative treatment is a must. 

• 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 

Canine Joint Supplements Are Just That – SUPPLEMENTS!

Just like humans, as our dogs get older, they get to the point where the mind is willing but the body isn’t quite as able!  

Not surprisingly it’s the joints that take the brunt of it, as they have to support the body 24/7, whether at work, play or relaxing. I know that our glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM based supplement for dogs helps alleviate the pain and increases the flexibility in damaged or arthritic joints. 

Unfortunately, many people think they are being kind to their ageing, aching pooch by curbing their exercise and giving them a supplement to help ease the pain, without realizing that they could actually be making things worse for the pet they love so much. Joint supplements MUST go hand in hand (or paw in paw!) with exercise, which is so important to break the vicious circle of joint decay. 

In addition, there are other things you can do to help take the strain off your old faithful’s joints and prevent painful accidents that could worsen their condition. 

So, if you’ve got an ageing pooch suffering with stiffness or arthritis, or one that has previously undergone surgery for broken bones or torn ligaments, please check out the top tips below and see if you can help stop your furry best friend suffering in silence. 

Top Tips to Help Ease Your Dog’s Painful Joints 

⋅ Exercise for shorter periods but at regular intervals
Exercise is so important to break the vicious circle of joint decay.  
Pain reduces mobility, which leads to muscle wastage and weakening of the surrounding ligaments and tendons; the joints then become less stable, leading to more wear & tear, more joint decay and more pain. 
Exercise is therefore essential to keep the muscle tone necessary to support the joints, prevent the decay from worsening and lessen their pain. 
Keep your fido active but take care not to over exert – your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the length and frequency of exercise based on your furry friend’s condition. 

⋅ Provide a cushioned bed and position away from drafts

Most dogs sleep 12 hours a day.  Ease your pet’s pain by adding extra fleece or blankets to their bed, and be sure to keep their bed away from windows and other drafty locations.

⋅ Apply a warm water bottle for 15 minutes twice a day

This relaxes the muscles and also promotes blood circulation for faster healing. You can easily tuck one under their blanket when they go to rest after exercise and believe me, dogs love this comfort just as much as us humans!

⋅ Help them with obstacles and heights  

So they can continue to enjoy their exercise and woodland walks, why not treat them to a harness coat with a strong handle, so you can help them out of water, lift them over obstacles like fallen trees, in and out of vehicles and up steps, without putting pressure on painful joints. Also, attaching the leash to the harness provides more control, helps to stop them pulling and relieves strain on their neck. Another great bonus is the harness will help keep them dry, warm and promote good blood circulation at the same time!  

Jumping up onto porches or even into the car trunk can be even more difficult and painful, as they put more weight on their hind legs. For larger dogs, lifting them up may not be an option if they are too heavy for you (or you may be suffering from aching joints yourself!) In this case a ramp is an ideal solution to provide a gradient they can manage and help you at the same time. 

⋅ Provide traction on slippery floors

Dogs, especially those with hip dysplasia, often have a hard time on slippery floors, such as vinyl, polished wood, tile or laminate, so lay carpet down or put a pet gate to keep them out of the area.
If your dog doesn’t travel in a crate, then you can install carpet or a non-slip liner on the back seat or cargo area of larger vehicles, SUVs, station wagons and vans, to provide better stability for your 4-legged friend and prevent them from being thrown around when you’re on the move.  

⋅  Hydrotherapy

Swimming allows the natural movement of muscles and joints in a buoyant environment and helps to build muscle around diseased joints, which in turn relieves the pressure on them when walking or running. The water’s warmer too so blood vessels can do their job properly, supplying healing nutrients to muscles and skin. It certainly helped my dog’srecovery from a cruciate ligament operation and it’s also a fun way to help a slightly porky pooch lose weight!  

Important: Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s suitability for hydrotherapy, just in case there’s a valid reason why they should not swim. 

 ⋅ Massage

Massagethe muscles around your dog’s hip joints, gently rubbing in a circular motion with your fingertips for ten minutes at the most. BUT pay attention to your companion’s response – If massage seems to irritate your dog’s hip, don’t continue. 

⋅ Healthy Balanced Diet

Weight control is very important as extra weight puts more stress on the joints. A FidoActive supplement nugget can be given as a healthy treat instead of their normal titbits, so your best friend won’t think they’re in the ‘dog house’!

⋅  Positioning of feeding stations

Dog arthritis can be prevalent in any major joint; if your dog has shoulder or neck pain, raise up their water and food dishes so they don’t have to bend over. 

⋅ Keep your dog out of damp, chilly weather

It’s not actually the cold and wet that causes the problem but fluid pressure within the joint. It’s the drop in atmospheric pressure that allows the joint tissues to swell, causing stiffness and discomfort. It’s not always possible to walk your dog at the most favorable times of the day, so just make sure they are kept warm or maybe consider indoor alternatives.

⋅ Regular Check-ups

Remember to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian – not all conditions are visible to the eye in the early stages and you could save your best friend a lot of unnecessary pain.

I hope you find some of these tips help you to manage your dog’s pain and also help them enjoy a more active and happier life. 

 

 

 

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