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 

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 but be sure NOT to treat the 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/ 

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 

 

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Keep Your Pooch Looking Pawsitively Perfect all Summer!

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, lying on the sand, or simply soaking up the sun, can cause havoc with their skin, coat and digestive system.  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 (WITH prebiotic).

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, toclean off the salt, sand or chlorine.

4. Remember to clean inside their ears aswell, 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 oilscan 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.

 

8. 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-natural advanced dog supplements on our website: www.fidoactive.com

Also, check out our special summer savings on Amazon.com

Wishing you and your canine companions a super Summer and the best of health!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team  

 

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Take the Stress Out of Visits to the Vet!

For the majority of dog owners, visiting the veterinarian is a fact of life, and while some of our furry friends may not enjoy it (understatement of the year when it comes to my 10-year-old collie-cross!), it certainly doesn’t have to be such a traumatic trip.  

Here are a few tips on how to help your dog have a less stressful vet visit and the younger your pet is when you start this the better, although it’s worth the effort for dogs of ANY age: 

 

1. Impromptu Visits 

Make impromptu visits to the vet when your dog doesn’t NEED their assistance – perhaps drop in as part of your walk once a week. Let the practice staff know you are trying to train your pooch and get them to make a fuss of them – only if your dog likes it of course!  

Also, as with any positive reinforcement training, remember to give them some tasty treats. 

This will help your dog build up positive feelings about visiting the vet, so that when they do actually need to be seen for treatment, they will be more relaxed.  

 

2. Handling 

One of the things many dogs dislike about visiting the vet is being handled, especially in places they are not used to being touched. 

This is another thing you can help your dog get used to at home, long before they need to visit the vet. Start at home by touching them on a part of their body you know they enjoy – often the chest or behind the ears are favorite places.  Leave your hand there for no more than three seconds, then give them a treat, and let them relax.   

Gradually move your hand to a new area, perhaps the front leg, for a maximum of three seconds, and give a treat each time.  If your dog looks uncomfortable at any point, stop what you are doing.  Remember to take this ‘touch and treat’ approach super slowly.  The ultimate aim is to be able to eventually touch your dog on their paws, lift up their tail, look in their mouth – basically, all of the things a vet may need to do during an examination. 

Gradually increase the time you leave your hand on them up to 10 seconds. As with so many aspects of dog training, the ‘little and often’ approach tends to work best, so set aside some time each week and make this part of your play time.  

 

3. Waiting Room   

There’s more often than not a period in the waiting room, so help your pooch relax by bringing their favorite toy and blanket and talk to them in a calm voice to keep their focus on you. This will help reassure them and know that their best friend is right by their side.   

If possible, be sure to sit as far away from the door and the busy reception desk as you can. Also, try and create space between other visitors and position your dog so that they are facing away from other animals. This will help lessen their anxiety and keep them more settled.  

 

4. Examination Room 

When it’s time to go into the examination room, remember that you are your dog’s best friend, and they are relying on you to speak up for them.  You know better than anyone how your dog shows they are stressed and growling is the common way dogs vocalize that they are not comfortable. The vet will be totally absorbed in actual examination or procedure, so may be unable to see your pet’s face or hear them. It’s up to you to pay close attention to how your furry friend is reacting to the procedure and if they get stressed or begin to growl, please do not hold back from politely, but firmly, asking the vet to stop what they are doing. Both your dog and your vet will thank you for speaking up! 

NEVER tell your dog off for growling – they are only trying to tell you they are in distress. 

Bites can occur during vet examinations because the owner and the vet ignored a growl and the dog felt they had no other way to show how uncomfortable they felt in that situation.  Being aware of the different ways your furry friend communicates is the best way to ensure every visit to the vets has a happy ending.        

While regular vet visits are necessary to help ensure our furry best friends are kept in tip-top health, we hope that you do not have cause for more frequent visits due to accident or illness. 

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

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team  

 

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