The Easiest Way To Include Your Furry Friends In Thankgiving!

 

Not long now and I’m sure your Thanksgiving preparations are well underway!
As this is a special time to spend with our family and friends, why not treat your furry friends by giving them their own Thanksgiving meal? It’s super simple – no extra work and an ideal way to include them in the holiday festivities!

Here’s a list of favorite Thanksgiving foods that are safe to share with your canine companions.

But please note, it’s very important that you exercise constraint on behalf of your pooch. Thanksgiving food is very rich and dogs don’t do portion control – given the chance they would easily gobble up their own meal then all the leftovers too! Unfortunately, that could easily end up with a visit to the doggie ER – not where you want to spend your holiday!

I always serve my dogs these meals on a ‘human’ plate (specially reserved for their use), so they know it’s a special occasion and makes it easy to get food proportions correct.The basic rule of thumb for a dog’s meal is: 10% carbs, 50% vegetables and 40% protein (about 1oz of protein per 10 pounds of dog).

10 THANKSGIVING FOODS THAT FIDO CAN EAT

No salt or seasoning to be added

1. TurkeyWhite turkey is one of the best protein-packed foods for dogs to eat and they love it!

CARE: Please be aware that other parts of the turkey are not so safe. Avoid the brown meat as that is richer and definitely don’t feed them turkey skin – too much rich fatty food can cause gastrointestinal issues and can lead to pancreatitis, an inflammatory disease of your dog’s pancreas.
Another big no-no is turkey bones; these can easily splinter and get stuck, causing an obstruction in their throat or intestines, or tear their stomach, causing internal bleeding.

 2. Mashed Potatoes Plain mashed potatoes are absolutely fine for your dog, as long as you hold the butter, sour cream, garlic and onion. So, set aside a pooch portion before you load up on the flavor additions for the humans.

3. Sweet Potatoes This sweet orange-colored root vegetable (often mis-labeled as the sweeter, nutritionally inferior yam) is a Thanksgiving staple, but typically served baked with marshmallows which are an absolute no-no for your dog. That’s because they contain large amounts of sugar and very likely the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. However, you won’t want them to miss out on this superfood, as it’s packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber, so, instead, serve them a plain sweet potato mash (not the canned mix!), or small raw cubes.

4. Carrots– These are also loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Raw carrots are a real favorite with dogs and great for their teeth, but cooked (unseasoned) carrots are also a tasty treat.

 5. Green Beans Green beans are high in fiber and vitamins C and K, but your dog should only have the steamed or raw versions. Definitely keep them away from the creamy casserole version with mushrooms and onions added, which are toxic to dogs.

6. Corn Give your pooch a few kernels of corn if you want to give them an energy boost to keep them from snoozing through the festivities!

7. Cranberries These provide a tasty dose of vitamin C and antioxidants, but some dogs may turn their nose up at plain cranberries. Just be cautious and serve your dog the smallest amount, if yours is the jellied or sauce version, due to the sugar content. NEVER give them types that contain alcohol or xylitol (the artificial sweetener), which are BOTH TOXIC to dogs.

8. Stuffing There are so many normal ingredients included in this traditional tasty accompaniment, that are simply bad for your dog’s health (or even toxic!), that it’s probably best just to leave it out altogether on your pooch’s plate. The ingredients you’d have to exclude from the recipe are onions, garlic, strong herbs such as sage, raisins/sultanas and dripping.

9. Bread and Rolls These are another staple on theThanksgiving table but probably not required!  These are packed with carbs, so no nutritional benefit to feeding your dog bread or rolls.

If you’re making your own, please keep your pooch away from the raw dough (or any yeast related food), as this can be deadly for dog.

10. ApplesApple Pie is a legendary part of any Thanksgiving menu but too sugar-laden for your pooch. Instead, set aside some raw apple slices or mix cubed apples with plain yogurt then freeze in ice cube trays – both healthy treats to serve as doggie dessert!

I hope you and your furry friends enjoy sharing this special meal together as much as we do. It’s always great to see your dog happy and we’d love to see them too!

Don’t forget to share a photo of your fido tucking into their Thanksgiving food on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FidoActive/  and put a smile on all our faces!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

How To Sniff Out If Your Dog Has Lungworm

What is Lungworm?

Lungworms are a parasitic worm that causes severe respiratory infections in dogs. The larvae can be found in slugs, snails, frogs, birds, rodents and even water.Dogs can also accidentally eat infected tiny slugs if they are on a toy or their fur.

How do dogs get lungworm?

Dogs thatspend a lot of time in the woods, love foraging in the undergrowth, or playing in piles of leaves have a higher risk of contracting this disease.

After your dog ingests the lungworm larvae in the infected host (e.g. slug, snail), the larvae move through their liver, blood vessels and heart, into the lung, where they mature into adults.After about 28 days the worms start to produce their own larvae in the bronchiole (lung airways), which are coughed upor swallowed by the dog.
Due to this movement through vital organs, the health consequences can be far-reaching; it can cause heart problems, breathing problems, bronchitis and pneumonia, hemorrhages in the lungs, liver, intestine, eyes and spinal cord. In mild cases, infection can remain unnoticed for some time but if left untreated, it can be fatal in severe cases.

Symptoms of lungworm in dogs 

Diagnosing lungworm can be difficult because the symptoms are not severe unless there are large numbers of larvae living in the dog’s system. The most apparent signs to look out for are:

  • coughing
  • breathing problems
  • gagging or vomiting
  • reluctance to exercise or labored breathing after short period
  • loss of appetite
  • if your dog gets a minor injury, like a small cut, it might bleed for longer

If you have any concerns, you should consult your veterinarian. They can examine a sample of the dog’s feces under the microscope to help diagnose lungworm, although this isn’t 100 per cent reliable as there aren’t always lungworms present in every sample.For a correct diagnosis, they may therefore also need to take chest X-rays, a complete blood count or an examination of fluid from the lungs.

Preventing lungworm in dogs 

  • Lungworm is nota contagious disease. However, dogs pass the larvae in their feces, which is then eaten by slugs and snails, which are then eaten by other dogs. That’s the reason why the disease can become so prevalent within dog communities very quickly.
  • Puppies may also become infected by their mother, when they are licked by or ingest feces from an infected mother.
  • If you spot slugs and snails on the trail, local parks or the yard, then be extra vigilant when out with your dog and always consult your veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog becomes unwell.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about lungworm prevention treatments at their regular check-up.
  • Dogs that have been previously infected with lungworms have a degree of immunity and may be able to fight off a re-infection if the load is not too great.However, a daily dose of probiotics (with prebiotic) will boost their immune system and help them fight off infections.

 

Clearly, if your furry friend loves the outdoors, they are potentially at higher risk but this doesn’t mean you have to curtail their (and your!) fun. Maybe sharpen them up on their recall command, so that you can stop them from getting into too much trouble in unchartered territory and just keep a watchful eye on their health, with regular check-ups.

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health!

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team                                                         

You can find out more about FidoActive and our all-natural products on our website: www.fidoactive.com 

The Food of Love for Your Furry Friends

Healthy, happy dogs are at the heart of what we do here at FidoActive, but just like it’s said about us humans, the way to a dog’s heart can also be through food!

Have you ever stopped to think what it would be like to eat the same food every day? How boring!

I’m sure our furry friends are trying to tell us something, when they look with longing eyes and slobbering jowls, while we cook up a juicy beef or salmon steak next to a bowl of dried or tinned dog food.

2017-11-01_2240

National Cook for Your Pets Day is always observed on November 1. It originated with the aim for us to use this day to reflect on what we feed our pets and specifically, to ensure they enjoy a varied, well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you stop feeding your dog their regular food overnight. Any changes should be brought in gradually, so they can get used to it. But what I am suggesting, is that, say, once every month or fortnight, you cook something that is tasty and nutritious that BOTH YOU AND YOUR CANINE COMPANIONS CAN ENJOY AT THE SAME TIME.

The first time I did it was a revelation and NO EXTRA WORK! But, the best bit was, without doubt, the simple enjoyment of spending some special time with my beloved dog Brillo (whose gaze was transfixed all the time I was cooking!), sharing a meal sitting next to each other and watching his enjoyment as he woofed up the ‘human’ food (on a ‘human’ plate specially reserved for him!) with relish. Absolutely priceless!

The basic rule of thumb for a dog’s meal is: 10% carbs, 50% vegetables and 40% protein and about 1oz of protein per 10 pounds of dog.

I started with this SUPER SIMPLE salmon meal but, to Brillo, it was like food of the Gods. Here are the instructions to give it a go yourself. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of recipes available on line, on sites such as cookforyourpets.com, amongst many others, to give you a helpful guide.

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Heat oven grill to full heat

-Drizzle olive or vegetable oil over both sides of the salmon. Place on cooking tray with skin facing up. (Care: DO NOT use coconut oil. DO NOT add salt, spices, seasoning)

– Grill for 14 minutes, then remove tray from oven. Using a knife and your fingers, carefully peel the skin off the flesh and flip the skin over, so crispy side is next to flesh. Return to grill for 5 minutes, or until skin is nice and crispy. Then flip the skin over once again and cook for a further 5 minutes.

– Serve with a selection of vegetables (e.g. carrots, broccoli, green beans, potatoes) OR rice mixed with vegetables.

N.B. You can set aside the crispy skin to break into pieces and use as treats!

However, PLEASE REMEMBER these 3 ESSENTIAL SAFETY POINTS:2017-11-01_2242

1. DO NOT add salt or spices to the food – dogs don’t need seasoning and may actually upset their stomach. Salt is especially harmful to dogs. You can season your own meal when it’s served on your plate.

2. If your pet suffers from any sort of health condition, please consult your veterinarian before feeding them any new type of food.

3. Dogs are much more sensitive to certain types of food, and some ‘human’ foods are actually toxic to them. Please see the list below of the most common everyday foods you should NEVER feed your dog. (source: ASPCA website: aspca.org:80/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.html

CARE: If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Avocados
Onions/Chives/Garlic
Chocolate (in any form)
Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate-covered espresso beans)
Tea
Yeast dough
Salt
Grapes and Raisins
Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
Rhubarb leaves
Macadamia nuts
Moldy or spoiled foods
Other Nuts
Alcohol

Also, be careful with milk and other milk-based products, as they can cause diarrhea or other digestive upset.

Cooking and sharing a meal with your dog is truly one of the easiest and fun ways to show how much you love them. You will also create some magical memories at the same time, that I’m sure you will treasure for years to come.

If you want to celebrate a special occasion, such as their birthday or adoption day, there are plenty of dog-friendly places to eat too! Some restaurants, such as the Bistro restaurant in Cannon Beach, Oregon even take it to the next level, by offering meals for canine companions. Now that’s what I call really dog-friendly!

2017-11-01_2243
Photo by Gary Hayes

So, go on, reward their unconditional love and loyalty, by cooking up a feast for the special furry friends in your life today!

Happy NCFYP Day!

2017-04-07_22342017-04-07_2235

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

 

Don’t Turn Halloween into a ‘Howl’oween for Your Dog!

Well the countdown to Halloween has begun and it is undoubtedly one of the most popular holidays for the family to share.

Unfortunately, we also have to mindful that this fun and treat-filled time, also brings potential harm and danger to our furry friends, especially if they are included in trick or treating.

Don’t forget that a dog’s hearing is much better than ours, so the noises are even more magnified and can make them stressed and scared.

Here are four ‘fangtastic’ tips to help keep your dog safe and sound while still having some fun!

2017-10-27_0050

 

#1       Is your dog Trick or Treating with you?

Unless your dog is extremely calm around loud noises, including fireworks, then the safest bet is probably to leave them at home.

However, if you feel they can cope with being part of the Trick or Treat crew, please just be mindful of a few pointers below, to make this an enjoyable event for all:

  • IMPORTANT: Do NOT allow your dog to eat ANY candy or treats collected. These may contain Xylitol (artificial sweetener), chocolate or other ingredients that are poisonous to your dog and could be life-threatening. Bring some of their favorite doggie treats with you instead, so they don’t feel excluded. (You could even try out the recipe for Halloween doggie treats posted on Facebook this Tuesday).
  • Do NOT encourage or allow strangers to pet your dog – especially if they are in scary costumes!
  • Keep your dog on a leash AT ALL TIMES – there are all manner of things that could easily spook your pooch and the ‘fight or flight’ reaction kicks in. Remember that your dog is your guardian (in their eyes) and protecting you is their No.1 job, so it is easy for them to misinterpret playful Halloween antics as a threat towards you that they need to defend.
  • Keep your dog’s inquisitive snout and costume away from lit candles or pumpkins.
  • Bring along a poop-bag in case your dog needs to relieve themselves.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing their ID tag. It’s also an ideal time to check that the microchip company have your up to date details, so you can be quickly reunited with your runaway pet, if they get spooked.

#2       Have a dress rehearsal

Costumes on dogs can bring a smile to 2017-10-27_0051anyone’s face, but this should not be at the expense of your pet’s comfort. If you are planning on dressing up your dog, have a dress rehearsal at least a couple of times before the event. This will give you an opportunity to see how your dog reacts and give them a chance to get used to it.

The costume should NEVER impede their movement, breathing, hearing or vision, as this may cause your pet unnecessary stress. Also, keep checking to make sure there are no wardrobe malfunctions as you do the Trick or Treat circuit.

Please note that if your dog licks their lips, yawns, shows a half moon of white in their eyes, turns away from you, tries to escape, growls or puts his teeth on you or the costume, these are sure fire clues that they are not comfortable. Try to scale the costume down or perhaps just revert to a jaunty coat or neckerchief/bandana.

The rest of the family also need to take part in the dress rehearsal, as your pooch may not even recognize you in your costumes, may be startled/scared by them, or become over-excited by dangling accessories or flowing fabric that they constantly want to chase or chew!

2017-10-27_0051_001

#3       Will your hound be home alone?

Here are a few top tips to help reduce your best friend’s stress levels:

  • If your furry friend isn’t up to Trick or Treating, make sure they are snuggled up with their favorite blanket and toy in a quiet room in the house, away from the front door. They may actual prefer being in their covered over crate, where they feel safe and secure.
  • Give them a kong filled with treats or a long-lasting chew to keep them occupied.
  • Turn on the radio or TV to help drown out the scary noises.
  • If your dog usually barks when the doorbell rings or when someone passes by the window, then disconnect the bell and close the dra
  • NEVER leave your dog in the yard around Halloween (even if you are at home!). It’s a sad fact that many pets are subjected to vicious pranks, injured, stolen or even killed on Halloween, so make sure they are kept safe and secure indoors.
  • Keep electric and battery-powered Halloween decorations out of reach. While these are safer than candles, you don’t want an anxious or mischievous pooch chewing wires or batteries, that could potentially lead to a life-threatening electric shock , chemical burns or intestinal damage.

#4       Greeting Trick or Treaters at home?

Staying indoors with your furry friends at Halloween is probably their favorite option (and perhaps yours!), but you may still be prepared to welcome Trick or Treaters to your home.

However, please remember that your dog’s inbred duty is to protect both you (their family) and their territory (your home). A constant flow of strangers and screaming children dressed in scary costumes can cause a normally placid dog to become agitated and even aggressive, because they think their family is being threatened.

A loud barking dog can also be very scary and intimidating, especially to young children, so keeping the dog away from all the excitement may be the best option for all. Also, the last thing you want is for your spooked pooch to bolt out the door into the night and an even more dangerous and scary environment.

 

Wishing you and your canine companions a safe and happy Halloween!

2017-04-07_2234

 

2017-04-07_2235

 

Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team

Are You Killing Your Pet With “Kindness”?

blog1

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 new 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 the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency 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 best friend; 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 Healthblog2
  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!”

There’s no arguing with that –  But wouldn’t you prefer your furry best friend to have a long, healthy and happy life?

Now, let’s be honest, our furry friends can’t get the lid off the cookie jar themselves and most love food so much they never know when to stop eating. So, aside from the few 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?

blog3

I know it’s so hard to resist! You hear a whine from under the dinner table and there sits your dog, looking at you with those soulful eyes, longing for you to toss them a piece of whatever it is you’re eating. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a carrot or a broccoli spear, but the precedent for doggie table manners is set and other times, you may have less healthy things on your plate, like pizza or cookies. “What harm can a “little” cookie do?” I hear you cry.

The problem is that, given the size difference between humans and pets, 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 oblog4atmeal cookie to a 20lb dog is the   same as a human eating a hamburger or a 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.
  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 to see 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!

2017-04-07_2234

2017-04-07_2235

 

 

Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team

Learn How to Read Your Dog’s Fear Via Body Language

Aside from barking, dogs communicate even more using body language. Common gestures are bared teeth or a wagging tail, which can often be misconstrued; bared teeth do not always mean a nasty vicious dog and a wagging tail does not always mean a happy dog! 2017-09-20_0001

There are many contributing factors as to why a dog may be fearful, so identifying the root cause and managing the fearful behavior reduces the stress levels for both the dog and their owner and, above all, keep everyone safe.

Dogs go through a critical period of development when they are between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks. The more different environments they are exposed to during that period the better equipped they are to handle new things later in life, such as traffic, meeting strangers, riding elevators or climbing steps.

Genetics can also be a reason for fearful behavior. As well as eye and coat color, dogs can inherit personality traits a from their parents. Certain breeds are known to be more skittish and it is quite likely that a shy timid mom will produce shy timid offspring. It is certainly harder to determine an inherited fear but a general clue is that a dog whose fear stems from genetics tends to be fearful of a variety of things, rather than having a single specific phobia.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a fearful dog can help you to help them address their fears and phobias – before they escalate. Sometimes it’s obvious, for example, when thunder and lightning or fireworks send your pooch diving for cover in the nightstand or cowering under your bed. But it’s important to also be aware of the following, much subtler, signs of fear in your dog, so you can understand when your furry friend is anxious and stressed aboutsomething in that particular environment.

 

Body Language

  • Flattened ears
  • Tail tucked between the hind legs
  • Cowering
  • Lip licking
  • Yawning
  • Raised hair on the back of the neck

2017-09-20_0002

Behaviors of a Fearful Dog

In addition to showing fear through body language, some dogs exhibit one or more of the specific behaviors below, which are basically symptoms of fear or anxiety:

  • Growling
  • Biting
  • Pacing
  • Destructiveness
  • Clinginess to owner
  • Barking
  • Submissive urination

Physical Symptoms

The dog’s fear may also manifest in some physical signs that it is unable to control, such as:

  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Dilated pupils or seeing the whites of a dog’s eyes
  • Loss of control over bowels or bladder

2017-09-20_0003

Treating Fearful Dogs

One thing for sure in my experience though, is that recognizing the symptoms, and therefore rehabilitation, of shelter animals is often harder, because we don’t know enough about their history or specific details of physical abuse they may have suffered. It’s times like this that I wish dogs could really talk!

Often, an adopted dog realizes it has found a new loving owner and can overcome its fear or anxiety fairly quickly. However, patience is key when it comes to helping a dog that has suffered long term abuse or neglect and professional help may be needed.

It really great that there are also many reputable rescue centers that will work on any known issues, to ensure they make their charges as ‘adoptable’ as possible.

These are some of the most common steps to help our furry friends overcome their fears and/or correct any undesirable behaviors:

  1. Give the dog space and time to acclimatiz2017-09-20_0003_001e to their new environment.
  2. Provide them with their own ‘safe place’, such as a crate, where they can retreat to like a den.
  3. Encourage them to come to you with treats and gradually gain their trust.
  4. Distract them by playing with them or practise obedience commands.
  5. Joining a good dog training class will provide extra support and also help with the dog’s socializing skills.

 

I can’t stress enough how essential positive reinforcement is – whatever the dog, whatever the circumstances.  Punishing a dog who has committed some act of aggression or engaged in destructive behavior is rarely successful. In a sense, a fearful dog expects to be punishedThat’s why it’s fearful and that’s the connection you need to break without punishment. 

Like many dog owners, I resist the use of medications such as anti-depressants, to treat fear in dogs, as they are not a cure. However, for severe cases, this is often an option people use to reduce the anxiety/fear to a level where the dog would be calmer and more receptive to training.  

I have found the more time and dedication I have put in to my rescued pups, the more rewarding the final results have been. I am always amazed at how dogs have the ability to not only forgive past human treatment, but then continue to give us their unconditional love.

The world is certainly a better place with dogs in it and I, for one, couldn’t imagine a life without mine!

2017-04-07_2234

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team2017-04-07_2235

 

Rabies – Are You willing to Chance the Odds on Your Furry Best Friend?

Rabies isn’t really something that hits the news headlines very often these days, probably because human rabies cases in the U.S. currently average two per year. However, cases of rabies in domestic pets average 400 to 500 per year.

This is obviously a very small percentage of the total pet population, but that doesn’t ease the heartache for the 400-500 pet parents who took the risk and lost their furry friends to this dreadful disease. Don’t Let a Simple Missed Vaccination be the Death of Your Beloved Pet

Wildlife have accounted for >80%of reported rabid animals in the United States since 1975. The most common rabies carriers in the U.S. are raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.

2017-09-16_0155

Rabies Facts

  • Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system.
  • Rabies can infect any warm-blooded animal.
  • There is no cure for rabies, and it is almost always fatal. Once clinical signs occur, an infected animal usually dies within five days.
  • The only way to test for rabies is by examination of the brain tissue of a dead animal. There is no way to test for rabies infection in a live animal.
  • Rabies virus is spread by contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Transmission is usually through a bite wound, but the disease has been known to spread through a scratch or an existing open wound.
  • The incubation period — the period of time between exposure to a disease and the onset of clinical signs — for rabies can vary greatly. The typical incubation period is three to eight weeks, but it can be as little as nine days or as long as several years in some rare cases. The incubation period depends on several factors, including the location of the entry wound, the severity of the wound and the animal’s immune system. In general, the farther the wound is from the brain, the longer the incubation period will be.
  • An infected animal can only transmit rabies after the onset of clinical signs.
  • Rabies is endemic throughout the continental United States. Hawaii is the only rabies-free state.  Rabies is most prevalent along the East Coast from Florida to Maine and in southern Arizona along the Mexican border.

2017-09-16_0201

Rabies Symptoms

  • The early signs of rabies typically include behavioral changes — the animal may appear anxious, aggressive or more friendly than normal.
  • As the disease progresses, animals develop hypersensitivity to light and sound. They may also have seizures and/or become extremely vicious.
  • The final stage of rabies is typified by paralysis of the nerves that control the head and throat — the animal will hypersalivate and lose the ability to swallow. As the paralysis progresses, the animal eventually goes into respiratory failure and dies.

 

Rabies Laws

  • Most states have laws mandating rabies vaccinations for both dogs and cats.
  • Most states also have laws requiring rabies quarantine for animals that have bitten a person or another animal.
  • Some states also have mandatory rabies quarantine for unvaccinated pets who have been bitten by a wild animal or who have a suspected bite wound of unknown origin.

Why a 10-Day Quarantine?

  • In almost all states, an animal that has bitten a human or another domestic animal must undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine period. Some states require that this quarantine be carried out in an approved animal control facility, while others may allow the quarantine to be carried out at the owner’s home.
  • The quarantine is set at 10 days because a rabies-infected animal can only transmit the disease after clinical signs have developed AND once these signs have developed, the animal will die within 10 days.
  • If the animal lives beyond the 10th day, it can be said with certainty that it was not shedding the rabies virus at the time that the bite occurred.
  • If the animal dies before the 10th day, it can be tested for rabies. If the test is positive, a human bite victim will still have enough time to receive post-exposure vaccinations and prevent the disease.

Check out this video from the Global Alliance for Rabies Control: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Dog+with+Rabies&&view=detail&mid=8E7E1ECB1CE23CFB5D298E7E1ECB1CE23CFB5D29&FORM=VRDGAR

Why a Six-Month Quarantine?

  • In many states, an unvaccinated domestic animal that has been bitten by a wild animal or that has received a suspected bite wound of unknown origin must undergo a six-month rabies quarantine. Most often, state law requires that this quarantine be carried out in an approved animal control facility at the owner’s expense. Because the incubation period for rabies is usually less than six months, this quarantine period is meant to ensure that the animal does not have rabies before it is allowed to come into regular contact with humans and other animals again.
  • If an owner is unable to comply with this law or cannot afford to pay for the mandatory six-month quarantine, the only alternative for the pet is mandatory euthanasia and testing for rabies.
  • Keeping your pet’s rabies vaccination up to date will ensure that he never needs to be quarantined for six months, even if he is bitten by a wild animal.

2017-09-16_0202

Tips for Protecting You and Your Pets

  1. Know your state’s rabies law! Obtain a copy from your local animal control agency or health department.
  2. Always keep your pet’s rabies vaccine up to date. Puppies and kittens should receive their first rabies vaccination at 12 weeks of age. Pets must be vaccinated again in one year, and then a three-year rabies vaccine is generally administered during the rest of your pet’s life. Many animal control agencies and humane societies offer free or low-cost vaccinations. To find low-cost options in your area, call your local animal shelter.
  3. Keep your pet’s rabies vaccination certificate in an accessible location.
  4. If your pet bites a person or another animal, consult your veterinarian immediately. Most states require that bites to humans be reported to the local health department. An animal control officer may contact you to file this report, and you will be required to show proof of your pet’s rabies vaccination.
  5. If your pet is bitten by another known domestic animal, consult your veterinarian immediately and ask the owner to provide proof of rabies vaccination. If the other animal is not up to date on his rabies vaccine, it is advisable to report the incident to your local animal control authority to ensure that the animal is quarantined appropriately.
  6. If your pet receives a suspected bite wound from an unknown animal or if your pet comes in direct contact with any wild animal, even if no wounds are evident, consult your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may recommend a rabies booster.
  7. If you are scratched or bitten by any animal, either wild or domestic, consult your physician immediately. If required by your state’s rabies law, your physician will report the incident to your local health department and animal control agency. If the animal is a pet, ask the owner to provide proof of rabies vaccination.

 

Reducing Your Risk of Getting Rabies from Wildlife

  1. Don’t keep wild animals as pets. Americans keep more than 4.7 million exotic animals as pets — animals that cannot be vaccinated against rabies.
  2. Avoid direct contact with wildlife, dead or alive. Never touch any wildlife with your bare hands. If you find a sick or injured wild animal, call your local animal control agency or humane society and let the experts handle it.
  3. Avoid animals displaying unnatural behavior. Wild animals that are unusually friendly or displaying other unnatural behaviors may have the rabies virus.
  4. Discourage contact between pets and wildlife. Don’t let your pets roam or encourage them to interact with unfamiliar domestic or wild animals.
  5. Feed your pets indoors. Leaving food outside often attracts stray dogs, cats and wildlife to your yard.
  6. Animal-proof your trash. Make sure your trash lids are locked, and don’t leave bags of garbage outside the cans.
  7. Prevent wild animals from getting into the house. Prune tree branches that overhang the roof. Keep screens on windows and cover small openings, such as chimneys, furnace ducts and eaves.
  8. Report all stray animals to animal control. Stray animals may not be vaccinated for rabies. They also run a high risk of exposure to wild animals who carry the disease.
  9. Give your child some guidelines to follow. Do not frighten young children, but make sure they learn some basic rules about protecting themselves from strange or unfamiliar animals.

Article credits: American Humane; Global Alliance for Rabies Control

https://www.americanhumane.org/get-involved/

https://rabiesalliance.org/

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health.

2017-04-07_2234

 

 

Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team2017-04-07_2235

Expect the Unexpected (AND the Expected!)

2017-09-06_0217

Texas is just beginning to recover after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the state last week, when the storm dumped 19 trillion gallons of water on the region. It left behind catastrophic flood damage to residential areas, which experts claim will amount to at least $35billion, about what Katrina cost in 2005.

Sadly, there was also loss of life, both human and animal; the number of which is expected to rise.

To add insult to injury, Hurricane Irma is now posing another significant threat, prompting state of emergency declarations in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Although Irma’s path remains uncertain, Florida Gov. Rick Scott stated yesterday: “In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared.”

We couldn’t agree more, as this is now more a case of “Expect the Expected”, so we implore you to do the same for you and your family, including your furry members too.

PLEASE DON’T DELAY – use the tips below to check your safety measures are up to date and keep your furry family safe and sound in the case of any emergency.

PLEASE DON’T LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND – they may not manage to survive on their own or may run off in fear, never to be reunited with you again!

DO YOUR HOMEWORK – While you may not live in an area which suffers from natural disasters, check out your travel destination to see if they suffer any seasonal issues.

GET ORGANIZED – make up an emergency kit for your pets and be sure to keep it in a handy place, so it’s easy to grab when you really need it. Also, if you’re in a flood risk area, make sure it’s in a watertight container and preferably not in the basement. Please see the checklist provided below to help you:

16 ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR CANINE COMPANIONS’ EMERGENCY KIT

1. 3-day supply of water and food (MINIMUM) – You can never predict the intensity of disaster, so it is always a safe practice of having an adequate supply of food and water for the whole family

2. 7-day supply of any medication your dog is taking PLUS a written copy of all medications, dosage instructions and any other health conditions, such as food allergies, that would be useful should you ever have to leave them with a boarding facility.

3. Pet carrier – it can come in handy if you have to travel to another place with your pets.

4. Lightweight bowls & can opener (if you stock canned food or you need to purchase additional supplies and that’s the only type available).

5. Towels and Blankets for your pets

6. Gloves and hand sanitizer for yourself

7. Leash and Harness (ideally a harness with a handle, so you can easily lift your dog over hazards and obstructions, or into boats, especially if they get injured).

8. Plastic bags

9. Litter pan scoop

10. Contact details of your veterinarian and local emergency animal shelters

11. Copies of your pet’s vaccination certificates

12. Microchip number

13. List of pet-accommodating boarding facilities, should your whole family need a different place to stay for a while.

14. A RECENT photo of your pet and a note of your contact information – it might prove critical in reuniting you with your beloved pet, should you get separated from them in the chaos.

15. Some treats and a favorite toy to lower stress levels and keep them occupied

16. Consider additional clothing such as weatherproof dog-coat, life vest or booties

We hope you’ll never have to use this disaster emergency pack but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Wishing you and all your furry friends a safe and stress-free September!

2017-04-07_2234

 

 

Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team2017-04-07_2235

Putting Your Dog “To Sleep” – The Last Act of Love and Kindness

It’s a sad fact of life, but a dog’s life is always shorter than a humans , so we know from the start that we are going to have to deal with heartbreak of losing them at some point.

Loss of a beloved pet is one of the most painful experiences anyone can bear, but I don’t think anyone should deny themselves the absolute joy, unconditional love and loyalty that ONLY owning a dog brings. 

2017-08-29_0055

When Is It Time to “Put My Dog To Sleep?”

“Putting my dog to sleep” or “putting my dog down” are softer, more common terms for euthanizing a dog by lethal injection, for a terminally ill or suffering pet.

This is the hardest question that we all have to face because it’s not a case of “if” but “when”.

Your veterinarian can provide an objective point of view based on their medical condition and long-term prognosis of a specific illness/condition, but you know your pet better than anyone. You are the one that sees your pet every day, understands how they’re coping, can recognize changes in their ‘normal’ behaviour and therefore the final decision is down to you.

Sometimes, the decision is mercifully more clear-cut:

  • When a dog is in severe, chronic pain which can’t be relieved
  • When a dog is critically injured and won’t be able to survive the damage
  • If a dog’s quality of life is so poor that he/she is merely ‘existing’ not ‘living’

More often than not though, there’s never a clear-cut answer and we can easily become overwhelmed as we wrestle with our feelings of self-doubt and guilt, but it generally centers around evaluating your pet’s “quality of life”.

Veterinarian Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM offered this guidance: “It is probably ‘time’ when the bad days begin to outnumber the good ones. Pet owners usually have an idea of what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in the life of their pet. Chart time over a week or month.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating your pet’s quality of life:

  • Does your pet soil him/herself during the day? This can really be a stressor for some pets who prefer to be clean, and it can also pose health risks – i.e. skin rashes and infections from sitting in urine and/or faeces.
  • Does your pet still enjoy “basic activities” such as eating? Is the appetite normal?
  • Does your pet enjoy human interaction? Is s/he still cognizant of who you are?
  • Can your pet move around without difficulty or pain?
  • Does medication/treatment no longer relieve their symptoms/pain?
  • Has your dog become aggressive to the point of being dangerous, and training, behavioral modifications and other treatments haven’t helped?
  • Could your dog survive for some time to come, but their life will be full of vet visits, painful treatments, anxiety and stress… with no hope of recovery, just management? In other words, they are just ‘surviving’ not ‘living’.

All of the above clearly shows that there is no single answer – We can only do our best. But, if you feel your own emotions are perhaps getting in the way of making a decision, then share your concerns with your veterinarian or one of the groups mentioned in the ‘Moving On’ and ‘Rainbow Bridge’ sections below.

How can I ensure my dog doesn’t suffer at the end?

We all want to help our beloved pet leave this world as calmly and peacefully and thankfully this is now possible by asking your veterinarian to follow the “Humane Euthanasia Protocol” (Please note that this is not mandatory protocol, so be sure to specifically request it).

Basically, there are 2 steps to this euthanasia procedure:

Step 1 –  A sedative/tranquilizer/pain-reliever (or combination of these) is administered – whilst this is taking effect, it gives you time to say your final goodbyes and hold your pet as they seem to gently fall to sleep.

Step 2 – The veterinarian will administer the final drug by injection which will stop the heart.

Following these steps ensures that your dog doesn’t become scared or stressed, and they don’t feel any pain as they pass away. It’s also worth taking their favorite blanket and/or toy to help them relax in otherwise sterile surroundings.

It’s undoubtedly the most humane form of dog euthanasia.

There are additional costs involved because multiple drugs are used, but it’s not prohibitive and giving your best friend a pain-free passing is more than worth it.

 Moving On

This is often easier said than done and non-dog owning friends, struggle to understand the level of grief. What they don’t realize is it’s NOT ‘just a dog’, but an important member of the family. And for single fur-parents, their dog has been their best friend, confidante, shoulder to cry on, companion – through the good times and the bad.

It is impossible to replace your dog, but it is possible to replace the unconditional love that only dogs can provide. Also, no two dogs are exactly the same; they have their own personalities and quirky characteristics.

Also, after allowing myself time to grieve, I have personally found it helped to fill the aching void in my heart and life, by rescuing another dog – showering my love on them and enjoy the feeling that I am saving another faithful friend from a caged life (and potential lonely death, without ever having experienced a loving home).

Our lost furry friends will always have a special place in our hearts, but eventually the sadness is replaced with happy memories.

The Rainbow Bridge

More than any other prose, The Rainbow Bridge has probably been2017-08-29_0056 the one to bring most comfort and solace to dog owners trying to come to terms with the loss of their beloved pet.

The story originates from Norse legend, but many authors have claimed ownership and there have been various new editions published since. All however, depict a beautiful, green and lush landscape “just this side of heaven” called Rainbow Bridge, where all beloved pets go to when they die.

If you’ve never heard of this poem then please read the Original Rainbow Bridge poem here.

I recently came across a website, created by Tony Bacon called rainbowbridgeonline.com. It’s a website dedicated to pet loss, or more specifically, pet memorial – remembering our pets who are waiting at Rainbow Bridge. They are a community of like-minded animal lovers who want to immortalize the lives and memories of furry family members online forever, whilst helping and supporting others who have also felt the heartache and pain of losing a friend or two themselves.

There are also various poems that really help the grieving and healing process. I particularly love one written by Tony himself called ‘A Single Tear’, which is a poem about Rainbow Bridge from your pet’s point of view. Click the link below to read more.

https://rainbowbridgeonline.com/

Additional Help for You

If you are struggling to come to terms with your loss, you may find some additional support on the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB) website http://aplb.org/

Their services are free and they are all professionally trained volunteers in pet bereavement counseling. Their own pet loss brought them together, and in honor of their pets, they wanted to help others going through the same sad experience.

I am truly sorry if you are currently facing the imminent decision-making process, or already suffering the loss, but I also hope this will help you through the bad times and that as dog-lovers, we understand that our furry friends are forever in our hearts and will never leave us.

2017-04-07_2234

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team2017-04-07_2235

 

National Immunization Awareness Month

2017-08-17_2049

Just like it is important for us, it is also important for our pets to stay on top of their vaccines and immunizations.

Because these factors may change over time, the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital recommend the vaccination plan for each individual pet be decided at routine annual examinations, following a discussion between you and the veterinarian regarding your canine companion’s lifestyle and travel plans in the year ahead.

 

Why is it so important?

1. It is essential for your pets’ health and help them have a long, happy life. Vaccines can effectively prevent serious canine diseases like distemper, rabies and hepatitis.

2. It is required by law. Different states have different laws governing the administration of some required vaccines. Be sure to check which dog vaccines are required where you live and also states you plan to visit for vacation with your furry family.

3. If you need to board your pet for any reason a vaccination for ‘kennel cough’ or canine infectious disease complex (CIRCD) is essential. Many boarding kennels require the vaccination to be given within 6 months of boarding and at least 10 days prior to boarding for maximum effect.

4. If your pet likes to play outdoors, with other pets, or is a seasoned hiker, it is more likely that they will be exposed to more infectious and potentially fatal diseases. If your pet is vaccinated, its immune system will be prepared to fight these infections.

5. Depending on your geographical location and your pet’s lifestyle, your veterinarian may recommend different vaccinations and the regularity of boosters. Make sure to contact your veterinarian to define which vaccines are important for your pet.

6. It is important to remember that vaccines have saved countless lives. Rabies vaccination, for example, has saved the lives of countless dogs and many humans as well (who could have contracted rabies from dog bites).

Keep safe!

blog_post2

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team