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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team2017-04-07_2235

Expect the Unexpected (AND the Expected!)

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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!

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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. 

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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.

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Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team2017-04-07_2235

 

National Immunization Awareness Month

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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!

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Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

ARE YOU ALL SET FOR ‘TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK DAY TOMORROW’ 23rd JUNE?

Not long now until one of the best working Fridays ever!

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As per usual, the arrival of the new furry co-workers will no doubt create a lot of excitement, so before you leave tonight, just take a few minutes to ensure your work place is doggie-proof, to avoid any little mishaps or accidents.

  1. Make sure any garbage cans within your dog’s reach are emptied.
  2. Remove choking hazards, such as pens, highlighters, pins, clips and other stationery items.
  3. Hide human cookie and candy jars – bring your own dog’s favorite treats and hand out to any co-workers. This is a great way to help train socialization with strangers – just get them to ask you pup to sit before they give them the treat.
  4. They may be willing to sacrifice their favorite snack for your furry friend, but politely remind your co-workers that chocolate and peanut butter containing xylitol are toxic to dogs. Perhaps put a little sign next to your dog, directing them to his special treats.
  5. Clear a space for a bed or blanket, so your pup has somewhere comfortable to lie.
  6. Identify a place to comfortably secure your pup on their leash, if necessary, to keep them close to you but not a tripping hazard for your co-workers.
  7. Pack their office bag tonight, so you don’t forget any doggie essentials rushing out of the door in the morning:

Food & Water (for the whole day, including journey)

Bowls

Favorite treats

Bed &/or blanket

Favorite toy & chew to keep them occupied

Collar & Leash

Poop bags and cleaning supplies to clear up any mess inside or outside

Information about your local animal rescue centers

 Please be sure to give your pooch regular breaks – if they’re not used to a crowd of people or it’s your pup’s first time in this strange environment, a short break with their human will help calm them down or, conversely, relieve boredom. This is especially important for your senior dogs or if they suffer from joint issues such as arthritis, to stretch their legs and help relieve stiffness from lying in the same position for a long while.

We hope you and your canine companions have a happy and tail-wagging TYDTWD!

Helen & The FidoActive Team

#TYDTWD #Take your dog to work day

Better to have Loved and Lost than Never to have Known the Love of a Dog

This Sunday, June 11th, is World Pet Memorial Day and it’s true, dogs do leave pawprints on our heart.

Many of you may be like me and have always had pets as part of the family. It is a sad fact of life that we usually outlive them and the pain of losing them is so unbearable, you feel that you couldn’t possibly go through that emotional wrangle again.

I certainly felt like that but, after I allowed myself time to grieve my first canine companion, I realized how many other dogs were waiting for a loving home – one which I could easily (and happily) provide. I also realized that all dogs are unique, with their own little characters, so it was never a case of simply ‘replacing’ my beloved Barney with another dog, it was a means to fill the gap in my heart and bring happiness back into my life, that I have to say, only a dog can!

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It’s days like this that also remind us to just stop for a moment and appreciate what we have now, BEFORE it’s lost. So why not spend the day spoiling your pets and making some special new memories with your furry family?

If you love dogs (or any other type of animal for that matter) but are unable to have one of your own at the moment, for whatever reason, then why not just bring a little joy to a ‘forgotten’ animal at your local rescue shelter. This could be either becoming a volunteer dog-walker, giving them a cozy blanket or toy or making a donation in memory of a pet you have loved and lost.

One thing’s for certain the benefit will be mutual…and you may eventually find room for another furry love in your life.

Hope you all have a great Sunday to remember!

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Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team

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Honoring our Brave Military this Memorial Day – We Salute You!

By Helen Broadley for FidoActive

Whilst Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, it is also a time to remember the brave men, women and animals that gave their lives for their country, so that we can enjoy the freedom to enjoy this ‘holiday’ with our loved ones.

The American Pit Bull was used by the U.S. military during the Seminole and Civil wars and became the poster dog for the World War I propaganda and recruitment posters, but over the years the breeds enlisted for service became as diverse as the roles they perform.

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Their super-human eyesight, hearing and sense of smell, make these canine compatriots an invaluable member of any team and they work tirelessly 60 hours a week, with on-call shifts 24/7 –  and all without a paycheck to go towards their retirement or pay for meds to ease the pain of health issues resulting from their intense and physical work demands!

BUT they were not trained to kill, they were trained to save lives, with roles including: transporting medical supplies, search & recue (on land & sea!), sentries, messengers, clearing buildings, explosives detection, tracking, tunnelling, narcotics inspections, customs and border protection and even pulling telephone wires under airfields and mined tunnels – to name just a few!

These courageous canines don’t volunteer, they are simply drafted, yet their loyalty and bravery knows no bounds, and they gladly put their lives on the line to protect their human service buddies.

Of course dogs are ‘man’s best friend’ and more recently they have been an integral part of the recovery process as companions for wounded heroes or those suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Many of these special service dogs were originally taken from rescue shelters and trained for active duties all over the world, but it is heart-breaking to think that many of them returned to shelters or euthanized at the end of their useful service.

It seems therefore very fitting that two big problems can become one mutual magical solution – Help every American hero and save every shelter or rescue animal from euthanasia.

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Companions for Heroes (C4H) provides companion animals obtained from shelters and/or rescues, who might otherwise be euthanized, free of charge to active duty military personnel, military veterans, and first-responders recovering from the psychological challenges they suffered during service to our country.

This amazing non-profit organization recognizes the incredible power of the human-animal relationship and seeks to support those suffering from psychological stress as they pursue recovery with the unconditional love of a pet. You can learn more about them at: www.companionsforheroes.org

Also, sadly even today, a service dog often finds that their handler is simply unable to take their service buddy home with them, once they retire from active duty.  We can only imagine the desolation and confusion those loyal dogs suffer, being separated from their devoted handlers.

The good news is that many of these special animals are eligible for adoption and are placed into appropriate and loving homes. So, if you think you could provide a happy retirement home for one of these loyal 4-legged patriots, you can learn more about it here:

https://petsforpatriots.org/about-military-working-dog-adoptions/

All of our country’s heroes and veterans served for us and deserve to be remembered by us, so just spare a thought this Memorial Day.

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health and keep each other safe!

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About the Author:

Helen Broadley

Helen Broadley is co-founder of FidoActive, a small business of life-long dog owners and dog lovers who have been motivated, by their own experiences, to create superior, all-natural products that promote good health in all canine companions.

FidoActive also supports the amazing work of many community rescue shelters across the USA through product donations, to help get their furry residents in tip-top condition whilst waiting for their forever home.

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

You can find out more about FidoActive on their website www.fidoactive.com

Fido means faithful & loyal– a quality that your dog gives unconditionally

Active is what we want every dog to be!

 

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Make Sure Your Dog’s Bark is worse than their Bite!

By Helen Broadley for FidoActive

Make_Sure_Your_Dog’s_Bark_is_worse_than_their_Bite!

Every year more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs across the country; one in five require medical attention and sadly more than half the victims of dog bites are children. The most alarming fact is that bites are often from dogs they are familiar with, or have even known and loved for years as part of the family. This just emphasizes the need to increase awareness and ensure we educate our children, friends and family to make them smart and safe around our canine companions.

Some bites are simply tragic accidents but the majority are normally a consequence of a particular situation, circumstance or environment and therefore can be avoided if we learn to understand our dogs better.

As responsible dog owners, we need to ensure our dogs are well socialized with both people (and other dogs) through positive, force-free education.

Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend and not many dog lovers can resist petting a pooch BUT there are certain times where this is NOT a good idea:

  • If they are chewing a bone or eating
  • When they are playing with a toy – do not try to try to take it away from them
  • When they are sleeping.
  • If they are ill, injured or in pain
  • Do not try to touch the puppies of a dog, if she is resting with them or is anxious about your presence.
  • Avoid petting the dog when he is barking or growling
  • If the dog is not with his owner or chained / tethered
  • Even if the dog is with the owner, ALWAYS ask the owner’s permission to pet the dog
  • Sudden loud noises may surprise or frighten them and may trigger an automatic defensive aggression
  • Don’t reach through a fence or gate, over a wall or into a vehicle to pet a dog – they often see this as territory that it is their job to protect for their human family
  • Don’t pet ‘Service Dogs’ – they are special working animals and shouldn’t be distracted from their important jobs
  • Like us humans, dogs often need some ‘alone’ time, so if they seem to be trying to hide or seeking a quiet place, give them some space
  • If a dog is barking excessively, growling, baring their teeth, fixated gaze with whites of eyes showing, then these are all signs that the dog is not comfortable and common ‘warning’ signs preceding a bite, so it’s important to look, listen and understand what a dog is telling you

Make_Sure_Your_Dog’s_Bark_is_worse_than_their_Bite!_2

I know these precautions may all sound like simple common sense and they are, but I guess it’s often easy for us to be tempted by a four-legged fur ball or soulful face and not be aware that we may be unwittingly putting ourselves, others and the dog in danger.

Last, but not least, please remember that dog bites are NOT breed specific, they are behavior specific, so it’s vital to be observant to keep everyone safe and happy.

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Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

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National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day : Expect the Unexpected

Natural disasters seem to be in the news headlines more often in recent years and some types have been commonplace in certain areas such as ‘Tornado Alley’. Any form of natural disaster can bring chaos, tragedy, and catastrophe with it and sadly, animals are the ones most neglected in such circumstances. The Atlantic reported that over 600,000 animals were killed or stranded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Hence, there is a dire need to form an emergency plan to ensure the safety of pets in such emergency situations.

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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. So, as this is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, we just wanted to reach out to all you fellow dog owners out there and help you form an emergency plan that ensures the safety of your furry family, should a disaster strike.

If you have a pet at home and haven’t formed an emergency plan yet, you should do it now before it’s too late. The first thing you need to do is to make an emergency kit for your pets. Have a look at the

suggested list below and, above all, make sure you keep it in a handy place, so it’s easy to grab when you really need it!

Some of the things that must be included in your canine companions’ emergency kit are:

  • 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
  • 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.
  • Pet carrier – it can come in handy if you have to travel to another place with your pets.
  • Lightweight bowls & can opener (if you stock canned food or you need to purchase additional supplies and that’s the only type available).
  • Towels and Blankets for your pets
  • Gloves and hand sanitizer for yourself
  • 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).
  • Plastic bags
  • Litter pan scoop
  • Contact details of your veterinarian and local emergency animal shelters
  • Copies of your pet’s vaccination certificates
  • Microchip number
  • List of pet-accommodating boarding facilities, should your whole family need a different place to stay for a while.
  • A RECENT photo of your pet and a note containing your contact information – it might prove critical in reuniting you with your beloved pet, should you get separated from your pet in the chaos.
  • Some treats and a favorite toy to lower stress levels and keep them occupied

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

To sum it up, it’s always better to prepare all the safety precautions such as this well in advance, so you can make any necessary improvements in good time, especially if you live in a high-risk area.

Don’t delay – check your safety measures are up to date and keep yourself and your loved ones (both human and furry) safe and sound in the case of any disaster!

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Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team

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

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