Get a Pep in Your Step with your Couch Potato Canine!

I can’t believe we’re already nearly half way through the first month of the new year and you may be sticking to your resolutions but, I have to be honest and say that I don’t really do ‘New Year resolutions’; I just aim to make the new year the best it can be, for both me and my family – furry members included! 

Many of us will have unashamedly indulged in all the wonderful food and drink over the holidays and, whilst the celebrations are fast becoming a distant memory, some of us may have picked up a bit more baggage around our tummies along the way! Our canine companions will have had their fair share of extra treats too, so they are probably in the same boat!   

No worries – the shared problem can also be the shared solution!  

During the winter months, we’re often a bit lethargic and guilty of staying indoors more, but the solution is simple – we just need to get ourselves and the pooch off the couch and go to the park – whatever the weather!  

The exercise will do you both the world of good, but unlike running around, your furry friend is totally dependent on you to get their diet right too and their requirements will change with age. 

If your dog suffers from stiff joints or arthritis , then carrying an extra few pounds will simply increase the pressure on the joints and no-one likes to see their beloved pet in pain, especially when there is something we can do to help them. 

Keep their fatty treats to a minimum or, better still, why not replace their usual treats with tasty supplement treats that will not make them pile on the weight, help with pain relief and put the pep back in their step! 

 

… and what if you can’t have a Dog of your own? 

That’s no problem either!  

How about becoming a shelter volunteer?  

Dog shelters and animal rescue centers need volunteers all of the time, but especially at this time of year. It’s a sad fact, but many animals are surrendered simply because they were unwanted Christmas gifts, so DON’T DELAY – they need your help NOW!  

Believe me, once you’ve started this great work, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner! 

It’s so rewarding, plus you will meet other like-minded people and form new friendships. These people will love dogs the same as you and you are bound to get on well with them. 

You could be doing any number of things, like checking in new arrivals, grooming, walking, training an old dog new tricks or simply comforting a terrified animal that doesn’t understand why they’ve been dumped. 

Shelters want to find new homes for pooches, and with your help the dogs are prepared faster for this. Each new animal will be different and will need different kinds of help. There is nothing more rewarding than nursing a neglected hound back to health, or helping turn one who had no skills at all into a house-trained pet, ready for their forever home. 

Being a volunteer at the local shelter will keep you active. You will have no time to get bored, as there will always be something that needs your attention. Don’t waste your life sitting in front of the TV – do something meaningful and become a dog rescue volunteer. 

Whatever you decide to do, we wish you and your canine companions a happy and healthy 2020! 

 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

Don’t Let Furry Festive Antics Turn into a Trauma!

Christmas Trees 

❆ The fragrance of a real pine/spruce tree is lovely but just be aware that they can actually cause your dog mouth and stomach irritation because they contain mildly toxic oils, so be sure they are not chewing the branches or trunk. 

 Do regular clean ups when the tree starts sheds its needles, to avoid them getting stuck in your pet’s paws, throat or intestines. 

 Trees are often treated with preservatives to limit needle loss, insecticides or flame retardants and many have a sweet taste to dogs, so particularly tempting but toxic if ingested. Consider putting a tree skirt around the base of the tree, especially if there is a water base, to prevent them from drinking the liquid. 

 Stabilize the tree in a sturdy stand to be sure it can’t be knocked over and potentially hurt a child or pet playing or laying under the tree. You can make it extra foolproof by also securing with string to a wall or window, but high enough up so out of chewing range. 

Decorations 

Let’s face it, dogs love to chew and there are lots more enticing things to get their teeth into at Christmas, so here are a few tips to keep them out of harm’s way: 

 Avoid edible decorations. Even if you think you’ve placed them high enough to be out of temptation’s way, your dog’s super-human sense of smell will sniff them out and will encourage them to jump or climb to get to the tasty treat, by whatever means possible! 

 Chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs and affects the nervous and urinary systems, causing symptoms ranging from diarrhea to seizures and death. 

❆ Popcorn, raisin and cranberry garlands have added dangers: raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney damage plus the thread can cause an obstruction in the intestine. 

And remember, many sweet treats contain xylitol (artificial sweetener) which is toxic to dogs. So, better to be safe than sorry and just keep these dangerous temptations off the decorations list altogether – they’re just not worth the risk! 

 Although salt dough sounds edible it definitely is NOT. It is a baking material that is used for making ornaments (often of a new-born child’s foot/handprint or pet’s pawprint) and it contains an extremely high salt level, which can be fatal if your pet ingests it. Making salt dough tree decorations or parcel tags is a popular activity this time of year and especially fun to do with the kids, but just ensure that the end product is out of reach of your pooch.  

 Keep electrical cords and electrical light wiring out of your dog’s reach. They can get tangled in wiring and pull the tree down or items on shelves. If they chew the cord, they could suffer from mouth burns an electric shock or even death by electrocution. 

 The glistening tinsel and ribbons are tantalizing playthings but if your pup gets their teeth into it, then swallows it, this can cause a blockage in their gastrointestinal tract, which requires surgical removal. 

 Other potential hazards include scented oils and candles, which can cause spills, burns and a serious fire hazard, so again place in a safe position and always extinguish candles when you go out. 

Floral Arrangements 

Festive arrangements are beautiful but the most popular plants can be dangerous to your dog. These include:  

Holly leaves and berries cause severe stomach upset, seizures and can be potentially fatal to dogs. 

 ❆ Mistletoe  contains several substances that are toxic to dogs, causing severe upsets stomachs, breathing problems, sudden & severe drop in blood pressure and potential heart collapse. 

 Poinsettia contains a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth and esophagus. If the leaves are ingested, this will often cause nausea and vomiting. 

 Amaryllis, Lilies and Daffodils are toxic, especially the bulbs. Even a small amount of plant ingested can cause severe gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, decreased appetite, convulsions and arrhythmia.   

 Hibiscus may cause diarrhea 

 ❆ Yew treehas toxicity in ALL parts of the plant. When ingested, it causes drooling, vomiting, weakness, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures, life-threatening changes in heart rate and blood pressure, coma and death may be seen. 

You may think that popping out for a short while will be fine, because your pooch is well fed and sleeping soundly, but they can be easily awoken by noises outside…and then their curiosity gets the better of them and the games begin! 

Please keep them safe and don’t take the chance of leaving them alone in the decked-out areas.   

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of festive fun and health! 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

Follow Us on: 

 

Canine Joint Supplements Are Just That – SUPPLEMENTS!

Just like humans, as our dogs get older, they get to the point where the mind is willing but the body isn’t quite as able!  

Not surprisingly it’s the joints that take the brunt of it, as they have to support the body 24/7, whether at work, play or relaxing. I know that our glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM based supplement for dogs helps alleviate the pain and increases the flexibility in damaged or arthritic joints. 

Unfortunately, many people think they are being kind to their ageing, aching pooch by curbing their exercise and giving them a supplement to help ease the pain, without realizing that they could actually be making things worse for the pet they love so much. Joint supplements MUST go hand in hand (or paw in paw!) with exercise, which is so important to break the vicious circle of joint decay. 

In addition, there are other things you can do to help take the strain off your old faithful’s joints and prevent painful accidents that could worsen their condition. 

So, if you’ve got an ageing pooch suffering with stiffness or arthritis, or one that has previously undergone surgery for broken bones or torn ligaments, please check out the top tips below and see if you can help stop your furry best friend suffering in silence. 

Top Tips to Help Ease Your Dog’s Painful Joints 

⋅ Exercise for shorter periods but at regular intervals
Exercise is so important to break the vicious circle of joint decay.  
Pain reduces mobility, which leads to muscle wastage and weakening of the surrounding ligaments and tendons; the joints then become less stable, leading to more wear & tear, more joint decay and more pain. 
Exercise is therefore essential to keep the muscle tone necessary to support the joints, prevent the decay from worsening and lessen their pain. 
Keep your fido active but take care not to over exert – your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the length and frequency of exercise based on your furry friend’s condition. 

⋅ Provide a cushioned bed and position away from drafts

Most dogs sleep 12 hours a day.  Ease your pet’s pain by adding extra fleece or blankets to their bed, and be sure to keep their bed away from windows and other drafty locations.

⋅ Apply a warm water bottle for 15 minutes twice a day

This relaxes the muscles and also promotes blood circulation for faster healing. You can easily tuck one under their blanket when they go to rest after exercise and believe me, dogs love this comfort just as much as us humans!

⋅ Help them with obstacles and heights  

So they can continue to enjoy their exercise and woodland walks, why not treat them to a harness coat with a strong handle, so you can help them out of water, lift them over obstacles like fallen trees, in and out of vehicles and up steps, without putting pressure on painful joints. Also, attaching the leash to the harness provides more control, helps to stop them pulling and relieves strain on their neck. Another great bonus is the harness will help keep them dry, warm and promote good blood circulation at the same time!  

Jumping up onto porches or even into the car trunk can be even more difficult and painful, as they put more weight on their hind legs. For larger dogs, lifting them up may not be an option if they are too heavy for you (or you may be suffering from aching joints yourself!) In this case a ramp is an ideal solution to provide a gradient they can manage and help you at the same time. 

⋅ Provide traction on slippery floors

Dogs, especially those with hip dysplasia, often have a hard time on slippery floors, such as vinyl, polished wood, tile or laminate, so lay carpet down or put a pet gate to keep them out of the area.
If your dog doesn’t travel in a crate, then you can install carpet or a non-slip liner on the back seat or cargo area of larger vehicles, SUVs, station wagons and vans, to provide better stability for your 4-legged friend and prevent them from being thrown around when you’re on the move.  

⋅  Hydrotherapy

Swimming allows the natural movement of muscles and joints in a buoyant environment and helps to build muscle around diseased joints, which in turn relieves the pressure on them when walking or running. The water’s warmer too so blood vessels can do their job properly, supplying healing nutrients to muscles and skin. It certainly helped my dog’srecovery from a cruciate ligament operation and it’s also a fun way to help a slightly porky pooch lose weight!  

Important: Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s suitability for hydrotherapy, just in case there’s a valid reason why they should not swim. 

 ⋅ Massage

Massagethe muscles around your dog’s hip joints, gently rubbing in a circular motion with your fingertips for ten minutes at the most. BUT pay attention to your companion’s response – If massage seems to irritate your dog’s hip, don’t continue. 

⋅ Healthy Balanced Diet

Weight control is very important as extra weight puts more stress on the joints. A FidoActive supplement nugget can be given as a healthy treat instead of their normal titbits, so your best friend won’t think they’re in the ‘dog house’!

⋅  Positioning of feeding stations

Dog arthritis can be prevalent in any major joint; if your dog has shoulder or neck pain, raise up their water and food dishes so they don’t have to bend over. 

⋅ Keep your dog out of damp, chilly weather

It’s not actually the cold and wet that causes the problem but fluid pressure within the joint. It’s the drop in atmospheric pressure that allows the joint tissues to swell, causing stiffness and discomfort. It’s not always possible to walk your dog at the most favorable times of the day, so just make sure they are kept warm or maybe consider indoor alternatives.

⋅ Regular Check-ups

Remember to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian – not all conditions are visible to the eye in the early stages and you could save your best friend a lot of unnecessary pain.

I hope you find some of these tips help you to manage your dog’s pain and also help them enjoy a more active and happier life. 

 

 

 

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

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 

 

Follow Us on:

 

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 

Follow Us on: