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 

 

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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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Is Your Dog Flea Control Up To Scratch?

All You Need To Know About Fleas

You need to do everything that you can to protect your dog from fleas. Your furry friend can get flea allergy dermatitis which affects the skin and can cause excessive itching, scratching and hair loss. This is a very common problem.

If your pooch has fleas they can also suffer from anemia. This can result in pale skin, a shortness of breath, a lack of energy and chills. There are over 300 types of fleas found in the United States and around 2,000 across the world. Fleas are particularly active in the warm summer months.

So What are Fleas?

Fleas are parasitic insects known as “ectoparasites”. They have been around for over 100 million years and are very hardy. This is due to their exoskeleton that is shock resistant and able to withstand high pressures. It takes a lot to kill a flea.

You probably already know that fleas are very good jumpers. They can jump as high as seven inches and as far as thirteen inches. This is the equivalent of a human being able to jump 1,000 feet in the air.

Fleas do not have wings and have three sets of legs. An adult flea is around 1/8 of an inch long (about 3 millimeters). They bite with their mouths and are usually a reddish brown color. It’s not as easy as you would think to see fleas on your pet because of the speed they move at – to be honest, sometimes it’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack!

What problems can Fleas cause?

If your pooch has a flea infestation then they can be susceptible to some severe health problems. Here are some of the problems that fleas can cause:

1. Flea Allergy Dermatitis is a serious skin problem, can cause excessive itching, scratching and hair loss. This is a very common problem.

2. Anemia – this can result in pale skin, a shortness of breath, a lack of energy and chills.

3. If your dog ingests fleas they can get Tapeworms. A tapeworm is a parasite of the intestines and if this is not treated your furry friend can suffer from malnutrition.

4. Fleas will be a constant source of annoyance for your dog making them want to scratch excessively, which lead to Body Sores.

5. Your furry friend could also contract the Bubonic Plague from fleas as they can transmit Yersina pestis.

How do you know if your Dog has Fleas?

There are a number of signs that you can look for which indicate that your furry friend has fleas. These include:

Scratching a lot more than normal. Watch out for your dog scratching behind their ears, belly or biting their legs, feet or their backsides

Check their skin by parting their fur, to see if there are any pepper like specks. These tend to be black in color. These specks could be flea dirt which is either digested blood or flea excrement. To be sure that the specs are flea dirt you can use a wet cotton tip and to touch the specs. If the tip turns a red color then it’s flea dirt.

 There may not be any obvious signs that your pooch has fleas. Not all dogs are going to bite and scratch if they have fleas. So you will need to inspect the skin of your furry friend near their tail, rump and belly. Try using a flea comb as the really fine teeth will help to expose fleas. You can find flea dirt using a flea comb as well.

How to Treat Dog Fleas

If you find that your pooch has fleas then don’t worry, you will find a number of safe and effective flea treatments readily available. If you need help then ask your vet to recommend a treatment.

CARE: Be sure to follow the instructions on the flea treatment product precisely. A lot of flea treatments contain toxic elements and if you use too much you can harm your furry friend and could potentially even kill them.

How to Prevent your Pooch Getting Fleas

Just like night follows day, no matter how clean your home is, EVERY dog will come into contact with fleas at some point in their lives, but there are a number of things that you can do to help prevent your furry friend from getting any serious infestations or flea related health issues:

 Protect your home from other animals such as rodents as these can carry fleas.

 Check your dog’s coat and skin after any trip outside or if they’ve had any interaction with other dogs.

 Bathe your dog regularly using specialized shampoo.

 Wash soft toys, collars and your pooch’s bedding materials regularly.

If fleas get into your home they can reproduce rapidly and create an infestation in no time. Contact an experienced pest control professional to take care of the fleas as it is unlikely that you will be able to do this effectively yourself.

If you’re anything like me, reading about fleas automatically makes you itch, but there’s no better prompt to go and check your pooch NOW!

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

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

 

 

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