Dog Adoption – Paws Down the Best Option!

If you are considering a new furry 4-pawed addition to your family then you need to think carefully about how you will obtain your next best friend. Many people will think that a trip to the pet store is in order, but there is a much better alternative! Here are some reasons as to why we think adoption is paws down the preferred choice and how it could be a WIN:WIN situation for both you and your new pet.

 

Adopt one dog and you save two lives!

Are you aware that in the United States there are 2 million shelter dogs euthanized every year? How heart-breaking is that? At the same time puppy mills are producing 2 million pooches that they supply to pet stores and elsewhere across the country.

There are just not enough dog adopters for the number of animals found in shelters. One of the main reasons for this is that people do not think about adopting from a shelter when they are looking for a new furry friend.

If you immediately think about a pet store then I really hope you will consider the alternative. Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue center will mean that, not only will you save a loving pooch by adding them to your family, you will also create a much-needed space for some other poor animal, giving them a lifeline too.

Surrendered due to circumstances not bad behavior

Each year in the US around 3.3 million dogs enter shelters, but sadly only 1.6 of these canine companions are adopted. There is no logical reason for this, as animal shelters are full to the brim with healthy and happy pooches that just want to go home with you and lead a normal life as part of a loving family.

The dogs in shelters are mainly there because of human problems such as moving, divorce, financial difficulties or death of their owner. They were happy with their families and did not do anything wrong. Most of the dogs are already housetrained and well-socialized with people and other dogs because they were part of a loving family before.

 An adopted pooch will cost you less

If you go to a pet store for your new furry friend then you can easily spend from $500 to $1,000 and even more. The average cost of a dog adoption will be between $50 and $200. Also, you are likely to find that when you adopt a pooch their first vaccinations and neutering or spaying costs are included in the price.

Plus, because many shelter dogs will have housetraining already and some will also have been discipline trained, so this will save you money as well. Why pay over the odds for your new companion when you don’t have to?

Adopting your new friend will make you proud

You should be very proud if you have saved a pooch from an animal shelter. Tell the world about it! I always love it when I’m out walking and people stop to admire and pet my dog; I love it even more when I watch their jaws drop when I tell them I got him from the local rescue.

Oh, and remember to take selfies of you and your new best friend and get them out on social media. People will just love your pictures, and it will help to get the message across about adopting rather than buying.

Adopting puts pressure on the puppy mills

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) recently published statistics reporting that 34% of new dogs come from breeders while only 23% are adopted from a shelter. The term “breeders” is an interesting one. These numbers will contain animals purchased online, from a pet store or even a market.

The problem is that most of these pooches come from factory style puppy mills. They are profit driven businesses and the welfare of the animals comes a distant second. There are usually very inadequate living conditions in these puppy mills, and there is very little medical attention.

There are literally mom dogs held in cages just for breeding the next batch. These animals have very little human contact, and if the dogs don’t sell quickly then they end up euthanized, abandoned or sent to an auction.

There are very shady practices going on in some of these puppy mills. The only way to put them out of business is to stop buying dogs online, through classifieds and in pet stores. Adopting your next pet is the best way to make a stand against these dreadful places.

You can choose the dog that you want to adopt

A lot of people believe that if they adopt from a shelter then they will not have much of a choice and they won’t get a pure-bred dog. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You can visit the Shelter Pet Projectwebsite and find puppies or adult dogs of every breed, color, size and temperament in shelters near you. 

Around 17 million people a year decide to add a pet to their family. If you are one of these then please adopt don’t buy. You will have saved your new best friend from a pitiful existence and you will also have changed their whole world.

As individuals, adopting one dog seems a drop in the ocean when there are at least 10000 shelter dogs euthanized EVERY DAY, but if 17 million people adopted, just think what a difference that would make!

Finally, please believe me when I say that there is no love than the love of a rescued dog – it’s as if they know what you have done for them and they will reward you with unconditional love, loyalty and devotion for life.

A person is the best thing that could happen to a shelter dog – please be that person!

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health,

 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

 

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Are You Killing Your Dog With “Kindness”?

It seems like it’s not just us two-legged animals who have been waging a battle against obesity – turns out our pets are fighting the same war… and losing!

According to CBS affiliate KCNC, a study conducted in part by vets at the University of Georgia shows that more than half of pets in the U.S. are overweight and 55% of dogs qualify as obese.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a nutritional disease which is defined by an excess of body fat. Dogs that are over-fed, lack exercise/the ability to exercise, or that tend to retain weight (especially house dogs), are the most at risk for becoming obese.

Multiple areas of the body are affected by excess body fat, including the bones and joints, the digestive organs, and the organs responsible for breathing capacity.

Obesity is common in dogs of all ages, but it usually occurs in middle-aged dogs, and generally in those between the ages of 5 and 10.

Obesity is not only a weight-bearing issue for your canine companions; It can also lead to secondary health complications, ranging from malnourishment to arthritis and can significantly reduce their lifespan.

Health Risks in Overweight & Obese Dogs

Just like humans, dogs carrying extra pounds of weight place extra demands on virtually all the organs of their bodies, as well as their digestive systems. When we overload these organs, disease and sometimes death are the consequences. The health risks to overweight dogs are serious and every dog owner should be aware of them.

The most common consequence in overweight dogs is the development of serious joint issues. The bones, joints, muscles, and associated tendons and ligaments all work together to give the dog smooth and efficient movement. If they are required to carry excess weight, they lose the ease of flow & flexibility, increase wear & tear and become damaged.

Arthritis can develop as your dog gets older and the pain and joint changes associated with this and Hip Dysplasia can become markedly more severe with excess weight. Suitable supplements may be used in conjunction with a weight loss program, to help ease the pain and enable them to enjoy playtime again – an ideal way to burn off some extra canine calories!

The Most Common Obesity-Related Conditions for Dogs

  1. Arthritis & Poor Joint Health
  2. Diabetes
  3. Torn Knee Ligaments
  4. Heart & Respiratory Disease
  5. Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
  7. Low Thyroid Hormone Production
  8. Liver Disease
  9. Diseased Disc in the Spine
  10. Cancer

“There’s just more of my dog to love!”

Well, there’s no arguing with that BUT wouldn’t you prefer your furry best friend to have a longer, healthier and happier life?

Now, let’s be honest, even ultra-smart canines can’t get the lid off the cookie jar themselves and most dogs love food so much they never know when to stop eating. So, aside from the few dogs suffering specific diseases that can cause weight gain, we, as responsible dog-owners, have total control over what they eat. We see them every day, know what and how often they eat and what exercise they do. So, there is no-one better placed to notice if your pooch is getting a bit podgy!

Other simple steps to help keep a pet’s weight in check include:

  • Don’t feed your pet table scraps
  • Serve the correct food measure recommended for your pet, not just what’s written on the dog food label
  • Understand when to switch from puppy to adult food
  • Limit treats and ensure they are healthy treats. Normally, they should not be more than 10% of your dog’s daily nutrition, but if you are using more treats for reinforcement training, then just reduce one of their meals
  • Establish a realistic exercise regimen. Ideally, dogs should have at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. However, if your dog is overweight and under-exercised, DO NOT throw your pooch into vigorous activities such as chase & retrieve ball or frisbee. If their weight issue has rendered them couch potatoes, you may do more harm than good, so consult your veterinarian first to agree a specific weight management and exercise program.
  • You should be able to see your dogs waistline or run your fingers across their rib cage and feel the bones with out pushing down on your dog.As a basic guideline, you should be able You should be able to see your dogs waistline or run your fingers across their rib cage and feel the bones with out pushing down on your dog.to see their waistline or run your hands over their ribcage and feel the bones without having to press down on your dog.

“Are table scraps really so bad for my dog?”

I know it’s so hard to resist! You hear a whine from under the dinner table and there’s your dog, looking at you with those soulful eyes, longing for you to give them a piece of whatever it is you’re eating. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a carrot or a banana, but sometimes you may have less healthy things on your plate, like pizza or cookies. Unfortunately, once you’ve set such a precedent for doggie table manners,I’m afraid you’ve made a rod for your own back!

“What harm can a little cookie do?” I hear you cry.

The problem is that, given the size difference between humans and our canine companions, a small portion of something for us can almost constitute a meal for your dog in terms of calories. To put this into perspective, let’s look at a common example of a human snack and the caloric equivalent if fed to a 20lb dog. (So, the smaller the dog, the bigger the equivalent!) …

1 small oatmeal cookie to a 20lb dog is the same as a human eating a hamburger or a large bar of chocolate!

A little of what you fancy does you good!

I don’t think for one minute that any responsible dog owner would overfeed their beloved pet with table scraps, if they knew it would have life-threatening health issues. The fact is that people get joy from sharing their food with their furry best friends and dogs love receiving ‘treats’ from their owner.

So, I’m not suggesting we deny ourselves this mutual pleasure, it’s just a case of moderation and only giving them suitable low-fat scraps. Or replace table scraps with healthy low-calorie dog treats instead, such as carrots (great for teeth too!) or sliced apple (great source of Vitamins A & C BUT no core or seeds please!).

Definitely DO NOT throw them cooked bones, as these can break and leave a jagged edge that can scratch or puncture a dog’s esophagus or gastrointestinal system.

What do veterinarians have to say on the matter?

Many veterinarians dislike the idea of feeding table scraps to dogs for 3 main reasons:

  1. If scraps are all you feed your dog, or they have so many it puts them off their normal food, then they won’t get the nutritional balanced diet required to maintain good health and wellbeing.
  2. Vets often see dogs with pancreatitis, which can occur when a dog eats rich food they’re not used to, such as table scraps that contain lots of fat. Needless to say, the number of pancreatitis cases soar after Thanksgiving and other “special occasion” meals, when your pooch may be receiving additional “foodie scraps” from your additional house guests too!
  3. Many people could accidentally feed them something that is toxic to dogs, such as chocolate or grapes – or dangerous, such as cooked bones. Click here tosee list of toxic foods

I hope this article helps anybody that is concerned about their furry best friend’s weight, but if you have any concerns, please consult with your veterinarian.

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

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

 

 

 

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Why Deafness in Dogs Shouldn’t be a Death Sentence!

Ok, so deafness is labeled as a “disability” but that does not mean deaf dogs can’t be amazing, loving pets!

Sadly, many breeders and rescue organizations don’t want the “hassle”, or it de-values the pup concerned, or it’s too hard to find someone willing to adopt such a “disadvantaged” dog. Consequently, putting them to sleep seems the easiest option.  

The truth is that, apart from the obvious problem of being deaf, you can expect these furry friends to act in a similar way to any other hearing dog.

The biggest misconceptions about deaf dogs is that they are(1) more likely to be aggressive than a hearing dog because they’re easily startled and (2) they are “hard to train”. However, they are, in reality, 20% less likely to be aggressive and they are a dream to train because they are not distracted by other dogs or noises and therefore more focused on their trainer.

Having said that, adopting a deaf dog is not for everyone. However much a person loves dogs, it takes a huge personal daily commitment to train, socialize and gain the trust of your deaf canine companion. On top of that, extra safety measures are required to keep them safe, both in and outside the home.

There are clearly a few challenges that you will need to overcome, which we will discuss in this article…but suffice to say it’s well worth wthe effort.

Level of Deafness

If your furry friend has a hearing problem then it does not mean that they are totally deaf. Just like us humans, hearing can deteriorate with age. Or, it could be that they are only ableto hear specific frequencies.

Not all dog deafness is permanent and untreatable. It may be possible to resolve the problem to a certain extent or the problem could be a temporary one. The first step will be to identify an underlying cause for the deafness, then the possibility of treatment is considered.

A pooch can suffer from a number of different temporary hearing problems. A lot of dogs get infections in their ears which cause temporary loss or degradation of hearing. Others can suffer from mechanical blockages due to wax in the ear canal.

On a more serious note, a dog experiencing extreme constant noise levels can sometimes suffer from permanent hearing loss. In cases like this there is permanent damage to the middle and inner ear nerve impulses.

Several breeds of dog can suffer from congenital defects which cause hearing loss. When this happens there is nothing that you can do to prevent it. However, if a dog is born deaf then they can’t miss what they’ve never had, so training is often easier than with an older dog that has to change their training method.

Simple Ways to Detect Dog Deafness

If you suspect that your furry friend may be experiencing a hearing loss problem (e.g. they don’t react to the doorbell or dash into the kitchen when they hear food being put in their bowl) then there are some simple things that you can do as an initial test.

With all of these techniques you must be certain that your pooch is unable to see what you are doing so that there are no visual clues. Just sound is what you want to achieve.

Stand behind your pooch and then whistle or clap your hands and note the reaction. When you are doing this be sure that you are not too close to your furry friend as they may be able to detect air movement.
Conduct an easy sound test such as rattling a can with coins in it or jingling your keys.
Go to another room and make noise using a drum or barrel and see if your dog reacts to this.
It is possible that your pooch has a hearing loss problem in just one ear so if you suspect this then you will need to wait for your dog to be in the right position to run the tests.

Be careful to monitor your pooch for the slightest change in ear position or facial expression to signify that they have heard you.

Keep your Veterinarian in the Loop

If you suspect a hearing loss problem then please take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible for an assessment. They will probably run a BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) test to confirm everything. A BAER test monitors electrical activity in the brain auditory pathways and the inner ear. Getting it checked out early could prevent a more serious ear infection and un-reversable hearing loss.

How to Teach an old/deaf Pooch New Tricks

If your dog is deaf then there is no reason why they will not be (or continue to be) a wonderful and loving companion for you. But you will need to accept that modifying behavior and training are going to be quite a challenge as auditory cues normally play a large part in this.

You now need to shift away from auditory commands and focus on visual commands. Instead of saying “good boy” or “good girl” when your pooch behaves as you want them to you can give them a “thumbs up” instead. If your furry friend does something that you don’t like then shake your head rather than saying “no”.

Use a heavy stomp of the foot on the floor when you need to get your dog’s attention – they can often feel the vibration in the floor.

To avoid startling your dog, gently tap or pet him to announce your entrance or exit from the room.

This will take time and you need to be consistent. If you are going to use a “thumbs up” to confirm good behavior then always use this. The same goes for all of the other signals that you use instead of saying “no”, “down”, “come” and so on.

Protecting Your Deaf Dog

It would be devastating if your furry best friend was knocked down by a vehicle, simply because they couldn’t hear the engine or warning horn, so keep an eye on them and do not let them roam unsupervised. Keep them within the confines of a fenced off area and only let them go outside of this boundary if they are on a leash.

If your pooch is able to hear some frequencies then a dog whistle could work well. You can try using a shrill whistle and then rewarding them if they respond to it. Get a microchip implant for your dog and add a tag that clearly identifies them as being deaf on ALL their collars.

You could also consider adding a bell to their collar so you can quickly establish where they are in the house, especially if you need to leave in an emergency, or if they manage to escape.

It’s clear that deaf dogs require a lot of patience, support, love and understanding and as this is ‘Deaf Dog Awareness Week’, we just wanted to recognize all the dedicated deaf-dog owners, who by-the-way seem to agree that their effort is repaid 10-fold by the devotion they receive from their canine companions.

For more deaf dog training ideas, check out the top tips provided by experienced deaf dog owners at https://deafdogsrock.com/category/training-tips

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

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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Show Some Love For A Shelter Senior Dog

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. 

There are a number of reasons why senior dogs are surrendered to shelters, such as a specific illness that requires medication, mobility issues or simply gastro-intestinal issues that make their dog “smelly”. Sometimes, the dog’s owner passes away and the family can’t or don’t want to care for the pet that is left behind. 

It is heartbreaking that, after years of unconditional love and devotion, when a dog needs care, comfort and companionship the most, its owner is prepared to discard them, like an old pair of shoes. 

Reasons why potential adopters may overlook these older dogs 

  • They may have, or may soon develop, health problems that require expensive medication 
  • They may have recently lost a pet and can’t bear the prospect of going through the same hurt again within a few years. 
  • Younger adopters may not find them as cute or energetic playmates as puppies  

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.  

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 Reasons Why a Senior Furry Soulmate Could Be YOUR 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 wellbeing. 

#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. 

 

#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! 

 

#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! 

 

As we head into the holiday season, many people look for ways to be charitable. One person can’t save every dog but every person can save one dog from having to spend their remaining time in a shelter.  

So, 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. It’s sure to put a new spring in both of your steps! 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team