Keep the Holidays Festive AND Safe for Your Furry Best Friend

Our family tradition has always been to put up the Christmas tree and decorations the weekend before Christmas Day but, every year, it seems that the stores start seasonal promotions earlier than the last. It obviously starts to get people in the festive mood, as homes seem to be lit up with Christmas tree lights much sooner too!

So, I thought it would be useful to get these helpful tips out now, just as a quick reminder of potential hazards for your pooch and ensure your holiday doesn’t include an emergency trip to the veterinarian!

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:

 Place glass or breakable tree ornaments on the higher branches. If they fell and got broken or your pet accidentally bit them, they could cut themselves or even swallow the pieces, which could cause internal bleeding and organ damage.

 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 newborn 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 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.

○ The Poinsettia plant 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 tree has toxicityin ALL parts of the plant. Wheningested, 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.

I know our furry friends’ antics provide an endless source of amusement and in all the holiday hurly burly, it’s easy to forget the simplest safety precautions, but innocent play can just as easily turn into a medical trauma for your beloved pet at this time of year.

So please, just take a few minutes to check your Christmas tree and decorations and never leave your dog unattended in the decked-out areas, so you can all enjoy a safe and happy holiday!

 

Wishing you and your furry friends the best of festive fun and health!

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

A Yappy Present Isn’t Always a Happy Present for Everyone!

Are you looking forward to the Christmas holidays? Some puppies and full grown dogs won’t be. Why? Because they will end up as gifts in the festive season and it will not end well for them. You might be wondering why this would be the case – surely a gorgeous puppy would make the ideal Christmas gift?

There is an old saying – “A dog is for life and not just for Christmas”. While it is true to say that a lot of dogs that are given as gifts (not just Christmas time but for birthdays and other occasions) are treated well and are loved by their owners, it is not always the case. What seems like a good idea can turn into a disaster for the dog.

There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing so many beautiful dogs turn up at dog rescue centers, which were basically unwanted gifts. One particular story sticks in my mind, about an older lady given a bulldog puppy for a gift by her family. She loved animals and really wanted a small dog. Unfortunately, the bulldog was really hard work for her, as she is not in the best of health and the tiny puppy grew bigger and bigger!

The boisterous bulldog literally dragged her up the street when it was time for walks. She had difficulty catching her breath because the dog was so strong and pulled her so fiercely. Sadly, it proved just too much for her, so she ended up bringing it to a dog shelter. Who gives a bulldog as a gift to an old lady that can hardly walk? What were they thinking?!

A Dog is a Life Commitment

Before you even think about giving a puppy to a person as a gift, you need to know if they will be committed to loving and taking care of the dog for the next 15 to 20 years. A dog needs a lot of special attention, especially in the early training period, and of course plenty of exercise. Is the new owner going to be the right kind of person for this? Does their lifestyle suit having a puppy or would they be better with an olderdog that is already house/crate trained and has mastered basic commands such as sit, stay and down?

The last thing that you want to do is to give a dog as a Christmas gift to someone (or a family) that doesn’t want it. Not all people have the same loving and caring attitude towards dogs that we do. Yes the kid will be delighted with the new puppy, but will the mom and dad?

So, if you are thinking about giving a dog as a Christmas gift, we suggest that you take these 4 key factors into consideration:

#1. Make sure that it is not a Surprise

There is nothing wrong with giving a dog as a gift if they go to the right people. A puppy can literally light up a person’s life, and they can be delighted to receive one. But not everybody is going to feel that way, so you need to find out first.

But what about the surprise element? Look the welfare of the dog is far more important than a surprise package – any welcome recipient will get even more joy from the first walk or snuggle they have with their new furry friend.

But, if you really don’t want to ask the intended recipient if they would like a dog as a gift first, give them something else to unwrap on the actual day. Maybe a photo of the proposed pooch in a picture frame with an ‘I Owe You’ note written on the back. Or give them a box of doggie essentials, such as food and water bowls, a leash, toys or a dog blanket.

The recipient then has the opportunity to meet the dog first and ensure they are a good match for each other or select a more suitable canine companion. This is definitely best for both the receiver and the dog in the long run.

#2. Be Prepared for Anything – Pay the Adoption fees

OK, so you have asked the recipient if they want a dog for Christmas and they tell you that they do. The thing is that you can never be 100% sure even if you know the person well.

So, it is a good idea for you to pay the adoption fees to the shelter first. If the recipient changes their mind (it happens) then there is no harm done and you have made a great donation to the shelter.

#3. Only give Dogs as Gifts to Family

You might not agree with this point as you may have friends that go back many years. The trouble is that even those friends that you grew up with will sometimes find it tough to say no to you. This can be a disaster for a dog, so just stick to giving a dog to your immediate family.

#4. Avoid Acting on Impulse

It can be very hard to walk past someone that has a box of cute puppies for sale. You start thinking about who would love one of these puppies for Christmas, and before you know it you buy one. Avoid this at all costs as you will miss out on choosing the dog that you believe is perfect for your recipient.

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

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

The Doggone Facts About Canine Diabetes (made simple!)

We all love our dogs don’t we? And as responsible dog owners we want to ensure that our dogs are as healthy as possible. Well sometimes, your dog can seem fine, but can actually be experiencing health problems when you don’t even know it!

Unfortunately, diabetes in dogs is becoming a growing epidemic. So we want to raise awareness among our readers and inform them about what to look out for,so that you can take the necessary action quickly.

What is Canine Diabetes?

The insulin and glucose combination in your dog’s body is not working properly and leads to two major problems:

       (a) Deficiency in Insulin Diabetes

Here your dog is just not producing enough insulin for optimum health. This is usually a problem with your dog’s pancreas. The pancreas may not be working properly or even damaged. If this is the case with your dog then you will need you to give them insulin shots every day. Insulin deficient diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in dogs.

      (b) Resistance to Insulin Diabetes

In this situation your dog’s pancreas will produce some insulin but their body does not use it in the right way. The cells in your dog’s body do not respond properly (if at all) to the message that the generated insulin produces. When this happens there is no “pull out” of glucose from the blood to the cells.

If your dog is obese or older in years then they can suffer from this type of diabetes. Also if you have a female dog then they can have temporary diabetes problems during the time that they are pregnant or in heat.

Understanding Dog Diabetes

Now that you know about the two types of diabetes that can affect your dog it will help you if you understand exactly what is going on in your dog’s body. Sugar diabetes or its medical name “diabetes mellitus” is the most common type of diabetes that dogs suffer from.

Sugar diabetes affects the way in which your dog’s body converts the food they have eaten into energy. In other words it is a problem with your dog’s metabolism. This is where the connection between insulin and glucose is so important.

Your dog’s cells need glucose to provide that essential energy to them. After they have eaten, their body breaks down the digested food and glucose generates from some of the nutrients. This glucose is critical for your dog’s energy levels and for their organs and body cells. The glucose produced gets absorbed in the intestines and then into the bloodstream where it will circulate around your dog’s body.

Now insulin has to do its job which is to regulate the delivery of fuel into the right places. The production of insulin is by your dog’s pancreas, and it performs the role of a gatekeeper. It will instruct cells to take a certain level of glucose as well as other nutrients from the blood so that this converts into energy.

Does that make sense? OK great, let’s move on to how you can spot whether your dog has diabetes.

Symptoms of Dog Diabetes

The main reason that you may not be aware that your dog has diabetes is that the symptoms often develop over time. Here are the most common and identifiable symptoms of diabetes in dogs that you need to look out for:

1. Is Your Dog Urinating More?

When a dog has diabetes, there will be high levels of blood sugar in their bodies that are outside of the cells where it should be. This excess often turns into urine, and it will mean that your dog will need to urinate more often.

Have you noticed an increase in the number of times that your dog urinates in a day? Perhaps there have been a few “urine accidents” lately and you have been unable to figure out why this is happening.

2. Is Your Dog Drinking More?

If you haven’t really noticed that your dog is urinating more often then you may have seen that they are drinking a lot more water. Are you having to re-fill their water dish more often than usual?

An increased level of urinating and drinking are something that you must look out for as they are the two most common signs of canine diabetes. If your dog is getting on in years then make sure that you check for both of these activities.

These symptoms can also be indicative of other health problems too, so if your dog is experiencing these symptoms then get them to your veterinarian as soon as possible

3. Is Your Dog Eating More?

When dog diabetes takes hold, one of the outcomes is that the amino acids that the cells in your dog’s body needs are not making it. Sometimes the amino acids get to the cells but then there isn’t proper utilization. This will make your dog hungrier than usual.

Amino acids play an essential role in metabolism. If amino acids are lacking or not utilized properly due to diabetes then this can lead the brain to believe that the body does not have enough protein. This will make your dog want to eat more.

4. Is Your Dog Losing Weight?

This might seem a strange one if your dog is eating more! But the problem is that with diabetes in dogs, their bodies do not receive the critical nutrients that they require, because the energy from the food they eat isn’t getting around their body. So, this can actually lead your pooch to lose weight even though they are eating more.

5. Is Your Dog Constantly Tired or Lacking in Energy?

Diabetes in dogs can cause your dog to be lacking in energy or tire more quickly. They may not want to run any more, or even be too tired to go on those walks with you that they used to love.

This will all be because your dog’s cells are not getting that all important glucose. If your dog is not as active as they used to be and spends more time sleeping than normal then this could be a sign that they have diabetes.

6. How is Your Dog’s Vision?

One of the most devastating effects of diabetes in dogs is that it can make them blind. Are you noticing any issues with your dog’s vision? Are they starting to bump into things or behave in a strange way related to impaired vision? Maybe your dog is gets startled more easily, becoming more apprehensive, not wanting to go out at night and not being as playful as usual.

Your dog may start to develop cataracts, which is sadly the case for 75% of dogs within 9 months of their diabetes diagnosis. So, if your best friend’s eye lenses become cloudy…. ACT FAST!

An early referral to an ophthalmologist could allow surgical removal of the cataracts and save your beloved pet’s sight!

7. Has Your Dog Been Suffering from Urinary Tract Infections?

With dogs and diabetes, it is fairly common that urinary tract infections (UTI) will develop. The reason for this is that their urine has more sugar in it than it should have, and this increases the risk of unwanted bacteria growing in your dog’s bladder.

Here are some symptoms to look for to see if your dog has a UTI:

  • Increase in urination
  • Urinating in the home
  • Your dog’s urine contains blood
  • Your dog strains when urinating
  • Your dog cries out when urinating
  • Your dog licks their genital area a lot more than usual

8. Other Possible Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

  • Your dog may seem to be a bit depressed.
  • Your dog may also start to vomit.
  • Is your dog experiencing any seizures?

As your dog ages, it’s even more important to check them regularly for these symptoms, so that you can catch the disease early.

If you are in any doubt, then please take a trip to your veterinarian and have them do blood and urine tests for excessive levels of glucose in urine and blood.It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our beloved pets’ health!

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

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

The Easiest Way To Include Your Furry Friends In Thankgiving!

 

Not long now and I’m sure your Thanksgiving preparations are well underway!
As this is a special time to spend with our family and friends, why not treat your furry friends by giving them their own Thanksgiving meal? It’s super simple – no extra work and an ideal way to include them in the holiday festivities!

Here’s a list of favorite Thanksgiving foods that are safe to share with your canine companions.

But please note, it’s very important that you exercise constraint on behalf of your pooch. Thanksgiving food is very rich and dogs don’t do portion control – given the chance they would easily gobble up their own meal then all the leftovers too! Unfortunately, that could easily end up with a visit to the doggie ER – not where you want to spend your holiday!

I always serve my dogs these meals on a ‘human’ plate (specially reserved for their use), so they know it’s a special occasion and makes it easy to get food proportions correct.The basic rule of thumb for a dog’s meal is: 10% carbs, 50% vegetables and 40% protein (about 1oz of protein per 10 pounds of dog).

10 THANKSGIVING FOODS THAT FIDO CAN EAT

No salt or seasoning to be added

1. TurkeyWhite turkey is one of the best protein-packed foods for dogs to eat and they love it!

CARE: Please be aware that other parts of the turkey are not so safe. Avoid the brown meat as that is richer and definitely don’t feed them turkey skin – too much rich fatty food can cause gastrointestinal issues and can lead to pancreatitis, an inflammatory disease of your dog’s pancreas.
Another big no-no is turkey bones; these can easily splinter and get stuck, causing an obstruction in their throat or intestines, or tear their stomach, causing internal bleeding.

 2. Mashed Potatoes Plain mashed potatoes are absolutely fine for your dog, as long as you hold the butter, sour cream, garlic and onion. So, set aside a pooch portion before you load up on the flavor additions for the humans.

3. Sweet Potatoes This sweet orange-colored root vegetable (often mis-labeled as the sweeter, nutritionally inferior yam) is a Thanksgiving staple, but typically served baked with marshmallows which are an absolute no-no for your dog. That’s because they contain large amounts of sugar and very likely the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. However, you won’t want them to miss out on this superfood, as it’s packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber, so, instead, serve them a plain sweet potato mash (not the canned mix!), or small raw cubes.

4. Carrots– These are also loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Raw carrots are a real favorite with dogs and great for their teeth, but cooked (unseasoned) carrots are also a tasty treat.

 5. Green Beans Green beans are high in fiber and vitamins C and K, but your dog should only have the steamed or raw versions. Definitely keep them away from the creamy casserole version with mushrooms and onions added, which are toxic to dogs.

6. Corn Give your pooch a few kernels of corn if you want to give them an energy boost to keep them from snoozing through the festivities!

7. Cranberries These provide a tasty dose of vitamin C and antioxidants, but some dogs may turn their nose up at plain cranberries. Just be cautious and serve your dog the smallest amount, if yours is the jellied or sauce version, due to the sugar content. NEVER give them types that contain alcohol or xylitol (the artificial sweetener), which are BOTH TOXIC to dogs.

8. Stuffing There are so many normal ingredients included in this traditional tasty accompaniment, that are simply bad for your dog’s health (or even toxic!), that it’s probably best just to leave it out altogether on your pooch’s plate. The ingredients you’d have to exclude from the recipe are onions, garlic, strong herbs such as sage, raisins/sultanas and dripping.

9. Bread and Rolls These are another staple on theThanksgiving table but probably not required!  These are packed with carbs, so no nutritional benefit to feeding your dog bread or rolls.

If you’re making your own, please keep your pooch away from the raw dough (or any yeast related food), as this can be deadly for dog.

10. ApplesApple Pie is a legendary part of any Thanksgiving menu but too sugar-laden for your pooch. Instead, set aside some raw apple slices or mix cubed apples with plain yogurt then freeze in ice cube trays – both healthy treats to serve as doggie dessert!

I hope you and your furry friends enjoy sharing this special meal together as much as we do. It’s always great to see your dog happy and we’d love to see them too!

Don’t forget to share a photo of your fido tucking into their Thanksgiving food on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FidoActive/  and put a smile on all our faces!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

How To Sniff Out If Your Dog Has Lungworm

What is Lungworm?

Lungworms are a parasitic worm that causes severe respiratory infections in dogs. The larvae can be found in slugs, snails, frogs, birds, rodents and even water.Dogs can also accidentally eat infected tiny slugs if they are on a toy or their fur.

How do dogs get lungworm?

Dogs thatspend a lot of time in the woods, love foraging in the undergrowth, or playing in piles of leaves have a higher risk of contracting this disease.

After your dog ingests the lungworm larvae in the infected host (e.g. slug, snail), the larvae move through their liver, blood vessels and heart, into the lung, where they mature into adults.After about 28 days the worms start to produce their own larvae in the bronchiole (lung airways), which are coughed upor swallowed by the dog.
Due to this movement through vital organs, the health consequences can be far-reaching; it can cause heart problems, breathing problems, bronchitis and pneumonia, hemorrhages in the lungs, liver, intestine, eyes and spinal cord. In mild cases, infection can remain unnoticed for some time but if left untreated, it can be fatal in severe cases.

Symptoms of lungworm in dogs 

Diagnosing lungworm can be difficult because the symptoms are not severe unless there are large numbers of larvae living in the dog’s system. The most apparent signs to look out for are:

  • coughing
  • breathing problems
  • gagging or vomiting
  • reluctance to exercise or labored breathing after short period
  • loss of appetite
  • if your dog gets a minor injury, like a small cut, it might bleed for longer

If you have any concerns, you should consult your veterinarian. They can examine a sample of the dog’s feces under the microscope to help diagnose lungworm, although this isn’t 100 per cent reliable as there aren’t always lungworms present in every sample.For a correct diagnosis, they may therefore also need to take chest X-rays, a complete blood count or an examination of fluid from the lungs.

Preventing lungworm in dogs 

  • Lungworm is nota contagious disease. However, dogs pass the larvae in their feces, which is then eaten by slugs and snails, which are then eaten by other dogs. That’s the reason why the disease can become so prevalent within dog communities very quickly.
  • Puppies may also become infected by their mother, when they are licked by or ingest feces from an infected mother.
  • If you spot slugs and snails on the trail, local parks or the yard, then be extra vigilant when out with your dog and always consult your veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog becomes unwell.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about lungworm prevention treatments at their regular check-up.
  • Dogs that have been previously infected with lungworms have a degree of immunity and may be able to fight off a re-infection if the load is not too great.However, a daily dose of probiotics (with prebiotic) will boost their immune system and help them fight off infections.

 

Clearly, if your furry friend loves the outdoors, they are potentially at higher risk but this doesn’t mean you have to curtail their (and your!) fun. Maybe sharpen them up on their recall command, so that you can stop them from getting into too much trouble in unchartered territory and just keep a watchful eye on their health, with regular check-ups.

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health!

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team                                                         

You can find out more about FidoActive and our all-natural products on our website: www.fidoactive.com