Don’t Turn a Blind Eye to a Seeing Dog

September has been designated as “National Guide Dogs Month” so what better time to help highlight the benefits these “seeing” dogs bring to their matched human, the dangers they face in their everyday duties and how we can ALL help them…

Why are Seeing Dogs so Special?

There are several advantages a “seeing dog” brings for a blind or visually impaired person. One of the major benefits is that it builds confidence in the blind person as they feel more secure with the guide dog at their side. They also become more independent as they can increase their mobility with a guide dog.

Through this partnership, a visually impaired or blind person will be able to live their lives more productively with the help of their trusted furry guide. This can range from being able to commute to a place of work, attend school/college or improve their well being by simply being able to go for a walk – things that most of us can take for granted.

Then there is the devoted companionship that a guide dog will offer them. This not only cuts through the boredom that many blind people suffer but it’s proven to make them less stressed and anxious. There are many occasions I can recall when the dogs in my life have helped me through tough times, from teenage heartache to periods of ill health and personal loss; I’m sure all dog owners have similar stories. I can therefore only imagine what an invaluable support they must be for a blind person. 

 

Guide Dog Demand in the United States 

Sadly, there is a desperate shortage of these amazing dogs operating in the USA.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a non-profit organization that provides superbly bred and trained dogs to people who are blind and visually impaired. They create around 160 guide dog teams every year, but this number seems like just a drop in the ocean when you consider there are around 23.7 million people in the USA who could potentially change their lives, with the help of one of these remarkable creatures.

It typically costs $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one guide dog and most organizations that supply them rely totally on public support and donations. The average “working life” of a guide dog is 8 years, so it is impossible to match continual supply and demand.

 

Impact of Attacks on Guide Dogs by other Dogs

One of the biggest concerns for guide dog teams is the threat of attack or unwanted attention from other dogs. Even for any of us lucky enough to have good vision, an attack on our dog can be frightening but usually relatively straightforward to deal with. This is clearly not the case for a visually impaired or blind person.

For a guide dog team to be safe and efficient it is vital that the guide dog be able to concentrate fully on their work. If other canines distract the guide dog, then the owner and the guide dog are immediately at risk of harm. The owner cannot protect themselves and their guide dog because they don’t have the visual capabilities to do this.

The impact of an attack on a guide dog team can be far reaching, for example:

  • It can affect the guide dog’s performance and behavior, even if there is no physical injury
  • If the guide dog is affected to the point that it cannot work, then the owner will suffer loss of mobility and potentially their own ability to earn a living
  • With a physical attack the owner could face medical and veterinary bills for themselves and the guide dog
  • Replacement guide dogs are very expensive and not readily available

 

Guide dog attacks are a serious issue. A Seeing Eye survey of 744 respondents showed:

  • 44% of the respondents had been the victims of at least a single attack
  • Of this 44%, there were 58% who reported more than one attack
  • 83% of the respondents experienced aggressive canine interference
  • Sidewalks and roadways were the location for the majority of attacks (80%)
  • The number of incidents occurring within 30 minutes walk from home was 74%
  • In the severest of cases 3% of guide dogs had to retire and 16% could not work for a while

37% of guide dog handlers reported being disorientated temporarily after an attack

 

Preventing Guide Dog Attacks and Dangerous Distractions

There are a number of things that dog owners can do to help on this front:

  • Ensure that your dog is leashed and keep them away from guide dogs at all times
  • Tell a blind or visually impaired person that you are approaching and have a dog
  • Keep your pooch close to you when near to a guide dog team. Your dog may be really sociable but even saying “hello” to a guide dog will distract them from their very important job.
  • Don’t be tempted to pet a guide dog in a harness. Even if the dog is resting without their harness, ask the owner before you pet the dog and don’t get upset if they say “no” – there will undoubtedly be a very good reason!
  • Take control of your canine and train them in obedience
  • Ensure that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date
  • Help out a guide dog and their handler if there is an attack or interference.
  • If you see loose dogs in the street try to identify and return them to their owner (if it is safe to do so). Otherwise contact a local shelter to see if they can help out – this will also get any strays into safe hands too.

One of the most disturbing facts revealed in the Seeing Eye survey was the number of dog owners or handlers who had simply walked away after their dog had attacked or interfered with a guide dog, without offering any assistance to the blind person. How could anyone be so callous?

At the end of the day accidents can happen, but we must ALL take responsibility for our pets or canine charges. The best dog owners do the right thing all the time – not just when they know someone can see them!

 

 

 

 

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 diseases 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 probiotics,fatty 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 decreases 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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Is Your Dog House Up To Scratch?

We’re not advocates of keeping pets outside 24/7; to us our pets are part of the family and, as such,spend as much time with us as possible – and that includes sleeping inside!

However, like many families, there are times when it makes sense to let fido have the run of the yard, with a place to shelter from the sun and keep the elements at bay during the colder months.

Whether your dog house is indoors or outdoors always make it the best that it can be. Your furry friend needs a place to escape to just like we do sometimes. Some dogs suffer from bouts of anxiety and it is good for them to escape to their special place when things get a bit too stressful for them.

If your pooch likes their second home outside, then you need to do everything that you can to make sure that it will protect them from the weather, come rain or shine!

Over time it will need some repairs or upgrading, so now is the ideal time to do a maintenance check to make sure it’s up to scratch. It’s also a perfect opportunity to spend some time with your furry best friend, who will no doubt love supervising the work….and testing it out!

 

Your Essential Dog House Checklist

#1. Is your Dog House the right size?

If you purchased your dog house a while ago when your furry friend was a puppy then you need to check that it is still large enough now that they have grown. They must have enough room to be able to turn themselves around and allow them to lay flat in their house without part of their body protruding outside.

However, you do not want your dog house to be too big for your pooch either. They will take a lot of comfort from being able to snugly curl up and warm their “den” from their body heat. The best term to use here is “cozy”. Yes, they must be able to stand up and let the air flow in, but the house should not be too big so that there is a continual draft.

#2. Is the floor of your Dog’s House Elevated?

If there is no elevation of your dog’s house then air circulation can be a problem and so can water ingress. In the hotter months your dog may want to retreat to their house to cool down and if there is elevation then air circulation improves. In the colder months your dog’s house will be warmer if it is elevated as the floor will keep dry.

#3. What kind of Walls does your Dog’s House have?

These days you can purchase dog houses with walls made from metal, fiberglass and plastic and we recommend that you avoid these as they can get really hot in the summer. The best material for the walls is wood butbe sure NOT to treatthe wood with harmful chemicals.

 

Common Dog House Repair Tasks

Every summer (at least!) we recommend that you check the following aspects of your dog’s house:

The Roof–you need to examine the roof for leaks. If shingles need replacing then make sure you do that. Be careful with nails and avoid them going through the roof. In some locations it is actually against the law for a dog house to have a roof that is not waterproof. The inside of your furry friends retreat should be dry all year round.

The Structure – wooden structures are prone to rotting so examine the walls and other elements carefully and replace any wood that is rotten or close to rotting. If there are chipped or faded areas of the structure then repaint them.

The Interior – OK this is not strictly a dog house repair but you will want to check regularly that the bedding that you have provided for your pooch is warm and dry. You want your dog to be snug and comfortable in their retreat don’t you?

The Entrance – If your furry friend uses their house all year long then consider the installation of a vinyl flap to the entrance so that it is easy for your dog to go in and out but you will keep the elements out so they will be warm.

Insulation and Waterproofing – To make your dog’s house even warmer you can install insulation. We also recommend waterproofing if your area experiences a lot of rainfall or snowfall.

Area Around the Dog House – How is it looking around your dog’s house? Are there a lot of weeds or the grass too high? If this is the case then get busy getting rid of those weeds and cutting the grass, which can attract annoying and harmful insects.

Clean Regularly – This is not just a summer activity. Be sure to empty out your furry friend’s home often and vacuum or sweep it to remove dirt, spider’s webs and hair.

If you are looking for some inspiration, then check out these 25 easy DIY dog houses you can totally make!

https://www.crystalandcomp.com/diy-dog-houses/

OR how about one of these 15 unconventional dog houses as a Summer project?!…

https://www.buzzfeed.com/stacylambe/15-unconventional-dog-houses?utm_term=.baG1b44lO0#.pqQEBvvqdQ

 

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – and hope you have as much fun with these projects as we are!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

Get Your Pooch Looking Pawsitively Perfect!


Getting ourselves ready for a swimsuit reveal, or just ensuring that we look good when we step out the door, also applies to our furry friends – a little grooming goes a long way to making them feel great!

However, just like us humans, increased time in the salt or chlorine water, or just soaking in the sun, can cause havoc with their skin and coat.  So, if your dog is suffering from flaky, dry skin, a dull coat or they have that inexplicable odor that follows them around, they could benefit from a boost of probiotics.

Summer Grooming Tips

It’s hot enough without fido wearing the equivalent of a woolly jumper, so regular grooming is essential in the hotter months to help keep your canine companions cool.

Here’s a few tips as a useful reminder to keep them in tip-top condition:

1. Brushing is important to stimulate the skin and allow natural oils to circulate both their skin and coat. It also prevents insects and vegetation getting tangled in matted fur, that can often lead to skin irritations and infections.

2. Regular brushing enables you to establish a baseline for what’s normal and more easily recognize any changes, such as bumps, growths, hotspots or discolorations that need to be referred to your veterinarian.

3. Rinse them off after they’ve had a dip in the sea or pool, to clean off the salt, sand or chlorine.

4. Remember to clean inside their ears as well, to prevent bacterial infections from rivers, lakes or the sea . If they’ve been in chlorinated water, the chlorine can also dry out the delicate skin of their inner ear. The moisture and natural oils can be replenished by ensuring their diet contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids; these can also be provided though supplements that they may need to take for other conditions, such as arthritis/hip dysplasia.

5. DON’T shampoo them every time, as this can strip them of the essential oils they need. Also, a dull smelly coat is more often a sign of a digestive issue rather than dirty fur.

6. If you adopt a dog that isn’t used to being groomed, then take it slow, as getting rid of tangled mats can be quite painful. Keep it to short sessions of about 10 minutes with plenty of positive reinforcement by giving them a treat after each knot removed. It may take a few days to complete the task at first but you’ll soon get into a shorter maintenance routine and your dog will begin to see it as a positive and enjoyable activity.

7. When they have their summer fur trim, never clip too close to the skin. Dark coats absorb the heat easily, but fur is their natural sun barrier, so don’t shave them too close to the skin.

Dogs with light colored coats or pink skin are usually more sensitive to the sun and prone to sunburn. To keep them safe, apply doggy UV sun-block creams to fur and skin, before you go out, especially their ears and nose and ensure any paw ointment still allows pads to sweat.

CARE: NEVER use insecticides or sun protection products not approved for dogs. Many of these products contain ingredients, such as DEET in mosquito spray, which can cause serious problems when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

One of our customers, Elizabeth, provides wellness education for people, so it was great when she wrote to tell us how FidoActive Advanced Probiotics for Dogs had helped her “very picky German Shepherd”. Here’s what she said:

“He is weird about his food and usually can tell if we have mixed any medication or anything else in with it. I was very surprised that he ate his food so well with this product mixed in. It didn’t seem to even faze him. Our dog has a lot of skin issues. He’s had them since he was a puppy. They are so much better when he is on probiotics. I do wellness education for people and in my research have found that many outward issues are related to the health of the gut. Same is true for dogs. Having good probiotics goes a long way to help with skin issues and it also seems to make his coat shine more. We are pleased with the performance of this product and the taste must be good since my dog doesn’t turn up his nose. Thank you for helping us keep our dog healthy!!

We’d love to help you and your furry family in the same way. You can find out more about FidoActive and our all-naturaladvanced dog supplements on our website: www.fidoactive.com
Also, check out our special summer savings on Amazon.com

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

Are 4th July Celebrations Your Dog’s Worst Nightmare?

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

This annual patriotic celebration should be enjoyable for all but what makes humans happy has the totally opposite effect on many of our beloved pets. For them it can be a period of total fear and panic.  It’s probably one of the times that our senior furry friends are actually grateful for age-related hearing loss!

If your dog is unhappy, you are unhappy so the following tips may help them cope:

Go for a ride in the car

This seems to help insulate dogs from the noise. Drive to an area away from the fireworks if possible. Alternatively, put on the radio or simply talk to your furry best friend, which will help distract them.

Keep pets indoors.

Provide a comfortable hiding place to get your furry friend away from the mayhem. Either place their bed or crate in a room with no windows, or with the windows/blinds/curtains closed. You can also cover the cage with a blanket to muffle the loud bangs and blank out the glare of bright fireworks.

Dogs seem to have a sixth sense and flee to their favorite (often peculiar!) hideaway before the fireworks even start. Mine squeezes into the leg space of my desk so, I just ensure that I put his favorite blanket there well in advance, and he’s as snug as a bug with his treat-filled kong to keep him distracted.

Many dogs just love to escape to their crate because it’s basically their equivalent of a “man cave” – an enclosed, snug and private hideaway, surrounded by their favorite toy and chew.

Safety First

The noise of firework displays is akin to a war zone for your pooch! It’s loud for us, so just think what it’s like for them with; they can hear two times better than us and sounds at distances about four times farther away!

The normal reaction to fear is “fight or flight”. You certainly don’t want them anywhere near fireworks (even burned out ones!) and you don’t want them running away in a frenzied attempt to escape the noise. 

Please be super careful and ensure your dog is wearing identification AT ALL TIMES. Even if your dog is inside or in the yard, a loud bang can make them bolt. A micro-chip is very helpful but if they also have a tag on a collar with your contact number on, then this will ensure the speediest safe return to you AND help reduce the burden on animal rescue centers at one of their busiest times of the year.

Calming Medication

Fearful dogs may benefit from a synthetic pheromone called Adaptil, which mimics the sebaceous gland secretions given off by mother dogs as they nurse. It’s thought to have a calming effect.

Consult your veterinarian if your have an extremely fearful dog who harm themselves or become destructive, to advise on the suitability of any calming medication.

Wishing you and your canine companions safe and happy celebrations!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team