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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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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WILL YOUR FURRY FRIEND BE HOME ALONE THIS 4th JULY?

If so, please make sure they are safe and sound during the celebrations. Facing all of those sudden noises and firework flashes is likely to spook ANY dog, especially when they haven’t got their best friend to lean on! 

 Take them for a walk before it’s dark (cue for start of fireworks!), so they are dog tired. They are less likely to be startled when fast asleep. 

  Ensure they have their ID on at ALL times – even at home! If they get spooked and bolt, they will often just continue running in a bid to escape the noise, which means they could end up a very long way from home, distressed and disorientated. Their ID is essential to help secure a safe and speedy return of your beloved pet. 

  Close the drapes/blinds to dampen sound and mask flashing lights. 

 Switch on radio or TV to mask sound. 

 Ensure they’re comfy in their favorite spot with a blanket and favorite toy to snuggle up to. 

 Keep them occupied with their favorite chew or treat-filled kong. 

#happydogs #happyholidays #doglovers #ilovedogs #petID #lostandfounddog #fidoactive

Wishing you and your canine companions safe and happy celebrations! 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

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How Well Can You Speak Canine?

Dog Body Language

We all want to communicate as much as possible with our furry friends and understanding dog body language is one of the best ways to do this. Your pooch cannot tell you how they are feeling through words so it is vital that you have a good understanding of what their actions and mannerisms mean.

All too often dog owners interpret their pet’s body language incorrectly. They think that an action means their pooch is telling them one thing but in reality they are trying to communicate something else. So we have a comprehensive guide to your dog’s body language for you so that you can better understand what they are trying to tell you.

Start by really knowing your Dog

Before you can start to understand the body language of your furry friend you need to really know them. For example different breeds will adopt different postures and this will have an impact on what they are trying to communicate.

Here are a good couple of examples. A Shih Tzu has the tendency to hold up their tail and you can interpret this as their neutral position. If they deviate from this then the chances are they are trying to communicate something. With a German Shepherd their neutral position is holding their tail down.

You need to look carefully at your dog’s entire posture. It is important that you take any actions with their body parts into context with their posture. There can be subtleties here. If your pooch has floppy ears then it might be difficult for you to spot when they move their ears back just a little bit.

It is entirely possible that your furry friend will change their postures in time. They may begin to display a body posture that communicates fear, but when they discover that this posture is effective this can change to a more confident posture despite the fact that they are still experiencing fear.

Dog Body Language

We felt that the best way for you to learn about the body language of your furry friend was to provide lists of behaviors and actions that demonstrate particular emotions. So this is what you need to look out for when assessing what they are trying to communicate to you:

How to tell if your dog is experiencing Fear or Stress

If your furry friend is feeling stressed out or fearful, the following actions are the most common ways they can communicate this to you:

  • They will move their ears back
  • Their tail will be down or even tucked between their legs (please be aware that certain breeds have their tail down in a neutral posture e.g. greyhounds)
  • They will start to back away
  • They will look away
  • They will have their head down
  • They will start to cower or crouch down
  • They will wrinkle their eyebrows

In addition, they may also display the following characteristics:

  • Trembling (when not cold)
  • Panting (when not hot or thirsty)
  • Refuse to eat
  • Freeze in one position
  • Hide away
  • Pacing around or increasing another activity
  • Lick their muzzle
  • Lift a paw
  • Begin to salivate (when no food around)
  • Yawning (when not tired)
  • Bear their teeth
  • Go to the toilet inappropriately
  • Express their anal glands which normally produces a nasty fish like smell
  • Widen their eyes which enlarges their pupils

How to tell if your dog is feeling Confident

You obviously want your furry friend to feel confident rather than fearful or stressed. Here are the typical signs of confidence:

  • They have their ears forward
  • Their tail is up (remember than in some breeds this is the neutral position)
  • When they stand they are straight up
  • Their eye contact is direct
  • Their head is held high
  • Their mouth is open a little and they expose their tongue

These are all signs that your dog does not feel threatened by anything or anybody around them. You can usually approach a pooch displaying these characteristics without any concern.

How to tell if your dog is Alert/Curious

Dogs are curious creatures and they will usually want to check things out that they have not encountered before. So, if your furry friend has discovered something that interests them, they are likely to display some or all of the characteristics below. It’s their way of telling you that they are paying attention and making an assessment of a certain situation.

  • Ears are forward and may be twitching if they are trying to detect a specific sound
  • Mouth is closed
  • Wide eyes
  • Forehead and nose are smooth
  • Tail is horizontal but not bristled or stiff

How to tell if your dog is feeling Happy

If the body language of your pooch is relaxed then this is probably a sign that they are happy. This is what you need to look out for as signs of happiness:

  • Mouth partially open with a soft look
  • Relaxed ears that are not taut or pulled back
  • Posture is relaxed overall with head raised, a confident stance and tail relaxed
  • Wagging of the tail which includes wiggles from the whole body. Tail wagging with a relaxed body also suggests happiness
  • Showing you their belly by rolling over
  • Bowing down ready to play with their bottom in the air and chest pressed against the ground

Results will vary by breed but in general if your furry friend is exhibiting these signs then you can confidently assume that they are happy. At the end of the day it is all about your pooch appearing to be at ease and comfortable.

How to tell if your dog is feeling Sad/Lonely

Your pooch is not going to cry when they are sad. But they can exhibit other signs of sadness or loneliness. Check for this body language to see if your furry friend is feeling sad or lonely:

  • They make a whimpering or whining sound
  • Generally moping around not enjoying things that they normally do
  • Energy levels down
  • No interest in treats or other food
  • Smaller eyes that may look squinty
  • Patterns of sleep are different from normal

Of course, this kind of behavior can be a sign that your pooch is unwell. Try to make your furry friend happier by going for a walk, playing with a toy that they love, giving them their favorite treat and letting them play with another dog that they like. If they are still sad then consult your vet.

How to tell if your dog is feeling Angry

Of course you don’t want your furry friend to be angry but sometimes this is going to happen just as it does with us. These are the tell-tale body language signs:

  • A threatening stance standing as big as possible
  • Body upright and stiff with fur standing on end
  • Ears flattened and eyes not blinking
  • Open mouth and drawn back lips with the baring of their teeth
  • In an attack position ready to lunge
  • Low growling that is threatening

If you see these signs in your pooch then don’t do anything to make the situation worse. Do not stare at them or try to provoke them in any way. Be careful with sudden movements and keep your distance. Your furry friend may just need a little time to cool off but, if this behavior continues, it may be because they are actually injured and they are simply displaying their natural self-protection mechanism.

We hope that this guide will help you to better understand your dog’s body language. Always remember that certain breeds will act slightly differently but, over time, you will get to know your dog better than anyone, what makes them tick and what ticks them off!

It’s amazing how our furry best friend can sense and willingly provide emotional support whenever we need it, so it’s only fair we do the same for them. That’s what makes the special unbreakable bond between you.

It’s amazing how our furry best friend can sense and provide emotional support whenever we need it, so it’s only fair we do the same for them

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team

 

 

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Take the Strain out of Traveling with your Furry Friend!

Whether it be by train, plane or automobile, traveling with our furry friends can be a fun experience but it can also be stressful and dangerous!So here are some top travel tips to help make holidaying with your hound easier and safer for you both!

Expect the Unexpected

You may be one of the lucky people that have never had a car accident but please still read on, as most people will have a couple of scrapes at some point in their lives. No matter how good a driver you are, you can’t always foresee hazards on the road, whether that be flood water, an animal or person running out in front of you or other irresponsible drivers on the road.

Even stopping suddenly at 10 M.P.H. your beloved pet is at risk of injury-but this doesn’t have to be the case. There are a number of easy and inexpensive precautions to significantly reduce the risks and help keep both you and your furry traveling companion safe.

Top 10 Tips for Safe & Happy Canine Car Journeys  

#1 Don’t let your dog roam around the inside of the car. They can impede your driving and distract you – just like kids! If you have to stop or swerve suddenly, they can immediately become a high velocity projectile (just like a bullet from a gun!) and thrown into the dashboard, windshield, the back of a seat or the head of the person in front. At the very least your pet will suffer emotional distress, worsened by cuts, bruises and broken bones from blunt force trauma. 

#2 Never let them sit in your lap or on the edge of your set next to an open window. Not only does this impede your driving, if you stop short or have a head-on impact, they can be crushed between you and the steering wheel, injured by airbags or ejected from the car into moving traffic. 

#3 Don’t let your dog roam unsecured in the back of a truck. Secure a crate to the bed of the truck and keep your dog inside of it. The risks posed to those furry friends are 100 times greater than those loose inside of a vehicle. 

#4 Dogs should stay restrained in the backseat or cargo area of your vehicle.  A metal separator is not enough to keep your pet safe; that really only prevents them from jumping into the seat in front and hitting the dashboard in a sudden stop or accident. It won’t prevent injury if your vehicle rolls or is impacted and if the window is open in their space, they can still be ejected. 

There are many good safety harnesses and crates available today which prevent this kind of injury to your pets. 

Safety Harnesses – These come in a range of price and quality but try to invest in one that is sturdy, padded for comfort and designed for automobile use. And remember to use it on even the shortest of journeys as, sadly, most accidents occur close to home. The harness should be on a short enough tether to anchor them in the event of an accident or sudden stop, but long enough to allow your dog room to stand up, turn around, move a bit from side to side and lay down when they want. 

Crates  Many dogs, especially nervous or new travelers are often more at ease in crates. Buy the sturdiest crate you can, preferably crash-tested and approved. Place it in the car with the long side against the seat back, to avoid extreme impact on one part- possibly the head- of the animal in case of a crash. Then secure it not only with the seatbelt but also with a couple of wide, heavy-duty luggage straps. You might have a mechanic install anchors for these.

In the case of small dogs, placing the crate behind the front seats on the floor is reasonably safe but somehow anchoring it there is even better. This may require having bolts put in the car specifically for this purpose, like you would in the back of a truck.

Finally, fit it with their favorite blanket and favorite toy, so it feels more like home.

#5 Opening car windows is great for ventilation and feeling the wind through their fur but make sure your pooch can’t jump out if they see something they’d like to chase. 

Avoid letting your dog stick their head or paws out of the car. Just like humans on a motorcycle, their    head and eyes exposed to high speeds and wind without protection are at risk to dangerous highway debris or obstacles. Remind yourself of a time when a stone was kicked up from the road and hit your windscreen, when a bush or tree branch scratched the side of your car, when you’ve had to pass a wide truck and only had a hair’s breadth between your wing mirrors, or when a motorcyclist has come speeding up between you and the other lane… then imagine your beloved pet’s face sticking out and being hit by one of those things… Seriously, I know it makes for a great photo but your beloved pet doesn’t know the dangers. They rely on you to keep them safe and it’s just not worth the risk! 

So, keep the air conditioning on, or just crack the windows, to let the air flow instead and let your dog get some fresh air on your regular pit stops – store up the fun for your vacation together!

#6 Keep their collar and tags on. It might seem more comfortable for your pup to have his collar off in the car, but if you crash and your dog panics, he may run away. Not everyone checks for microchips, so that little tag is still the best way to ensure their safe return. 

#7 For longer car rides, remember your pup needs food, water and breaks too. Feed your dog a small meal a few hours before your trip, then make regular stops for water/food every hour or two, or when Fido gets overly restless; this will give you both a chance to stretch your legs. When travelling in high temperatures, you’ll need to stop more often, about every 30 minutes to offer your pooch water. These breaks are especially important if it’s your pet’s first car trip, or they don’t like cars because a stressed and nervous dog runs a higher risk of dehydration than a calm pet.

#8 Not all dogs like the car; some associate it with trips to the vet or groomer and others are simply of a nervous disposition. Newly adopted pets may become car sick or nervous due to a previous unknown trauma. Exercise them prior to the journey, so they get rid of excess energy and are ready for a rest. 

Have a batch of specific treats your pooch really loves and use them ONLY for car journeys, so that it builds a positive association with the car. 

Weather permitting, rolling down the window a little closest to your dog will help distract them by smelling the air around them and also assists with limiting nausea. Better still, for their first journey, get another person to hold and comfort them, especially if they’re not in a secured crate. 

Nervous dogs often prefer being enclosed in a crate as it feels like a den and covering it with a dark blanket reduces the motion they can see through the windows and makes them feel more snug, safe & secure.

#9 If you can’t afford a safety harness or crate, you can always loop a strong, thick leash through the seatbelt to restrict your dog from moving around and while it may not be 100% effective, it lessens the risk significantly and something is better than nothing! 

#10 Put down a towel or sheet on your back seat, to protect it from muddy paws, hair and toenail snagging. Also, if your dog is prone to car sickness, you won’t be distracted or worried if they vomit and you can just pull over at your earliest opportunity.

Flying With Your Furry Friend? 

 Learn the airline’s pet policy. There are often fees associated with flying your pup and certain breeds are almost never allowed to fly or only allowed to fly seasonally. Some airlines have a strict ‘No canine passengers’ policy. 

 The ideal is to travel with your pet in the cabin but if your furry friend won’t fit under your seat, a crate is be the best option. But make sure you select a specially approved travel carrier to ensure your best friend’s safety and comfort. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around comfortably.

 Prepare your dog for hours alone in a crate. Practice with your dog and the crate several weeks before the flight date, so that they associate their crate with positive experiences and seem happy to spend some time in their crate alone with you nearby.  Leave the crate out in your home with the door open and with their usual comfortable bedding and favorite toy in it. Feed your dog with the crate door open and work your way up to feeding with the door closed. Keep the same blanket & toy in the crate, to provide warmth and comfort for the duration of the flight. 

• If your pooch has to be checked into the belly of the plane, consider freezing a bowl of water. This way, it won’t spill when you’re transporting it, but will have melted by the time the dog gets thirsty. It’s also worth taping a small pouch, preferably made of cloth, of dried food outside the crate, so that airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case he gets hungry on long-distance flights or a layover.

Camping 

• Camping is one of the most popular vacation activities for furry families but don’t let your pooch run loose unsupervised. With so many new smells to explore in the great outdoors, it can be exciting for a dog, but there are also dangers to be aware of, from wild animals, to steep drops, to poisonous plants. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so keep your dog on a leash during a camping trip. 

• Stay close at night. Though it may not be appealing to have a dirty pup that’s been playing in the woods all day asleep beside you, a dog tied up outside risks weather and wild animal hazards (for you both!), so keep them in the tent, cabin or RV with you. 

Hotels /Lodgings 

• Check the hotel/motel policy on pets before booking. If you are bringing your dog to a hotel, do some planning. Nothing is worse than trying to check into a hotel after an exhausting journey, only to discover that your extra-large pooch does not meet their size or breed restrictions. 

• Bring your dog’s crate or a dog bed from home if it’s practical, as it will be familiar to your dog and will help make them feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. By having a crate, your dog has a piece of home, and a place to stay when you aren’t in the room. Make sure to train your dog before the trip, so it will be used to the crate. 

• If your dog is allowed to stay at a hotel, respect other guests, staff and the property. I know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone loves dogs!

• Keep your dog as quiet as possible and do not leave them unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place. 

• Ask the management where you should walk your dog and ensure you pick up their poop. 

• Remember that one bad experience with a dog guest may result in the hotel management asking them to leave and potentially refuse to allow any dogs in the future. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds as you found them. 

Health and Safety 

• Arrange a check-up with your veterinarian before going on an extended trip. Make sure all their vaccinations are up to date and bring the shot records with you. Health certifications are required for airline travel. 

• To keep your dog healthy as you travel and help get them settled in to unfamiliar surroundings, bring along a supply of their regular food and treats. Be sure to bring any medications they need and usual supplements to keep them in tip top condition. 

Identification 

In the event that your dog gets away from you on your trip, you can increase the chances of a safe and swift recovery by making sure they can be properly identified: 

• Be sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, and your telephone number, as well as proof of rabies shots. Remember to attach a temporary tag with details of your vacation address and contact number too.

• Consider a permanent form of identification, such as a microchip.

• Bring a recent picture of your dog along with you.

Additional Things to Pack 

• Paper towels, stain and odor remover and anything else you need to clean up after any accidents. 

• Plenty of poop bags. 

• A bowl, plenty of water, and some treats. 

• Seat covers (an old towel or blanket with plastic bags underneath works) if you want to protect your car from stains, hair and toenail scratches. 

• Make sure you have at least 3 days’ worth of food and any medication your pet needs, a warm blanket, towels, a pet first-aid kit and toys, in case you get stuck on the road due to adverse weather, major traffic incidents or if your vehicle breaks down.  

 

Wishing you and your canine companions happy travels!

Helen & The FidoActive Team
About the Author:

Helen Broadley is co-founder of FidoActive, a small business of life-long dog owners and dog lovers who have been motivated, by their own experiences, to create superior, all-natural products that promote good health in all canine companions. Helen has been surrounded by dogs since her childhood and been a dog parent all her adult life – from pedigrees to mutts – but she loves them all the same! 

She regularly volunteers at animal shelters, often having that as her main vacation activity. FidoActive also supports the amazing work of many community rescue shelters across the USA through product donations, to help get their furry residents in tip-top condition whilst waiting for their forever home.  

The FidoActive team believe wholeheartedly that the best way to reward their best friends’ unconditional love and loyalty is by helping them to have a healthy, happy and active life. 

Fidomeans faithful & loyal– a quality that your dog gives unconditionally 

Activeis what we want every dog to be! 

 

 

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