Get a Pep in Your Step with Your Canine Companions!

We’re now over a week into the New Year and I have to be honest and say that I don’t really do ‘New Year resolutions’, I just aim to make the new year the best it can be, for both me and my family – furry members included!

Many of us will have unashamedly indulged in all the wonderful food and drink over the holidays and, as sure as night follows day, we always start the New Year with a few extra pounds. Our canine companions will have had their fair share of extra treats too, so they are probably in the same boat!

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

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

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

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

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

Whatever you decide to do, we hope all your New Year resolutions come true!

Wishing you and your canine companions a happy and healthy 2019!

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

 

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

Christmas Trees

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

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

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

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

 

Decorations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Floral Arrangements

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

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

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

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

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

❆ Hibiscus may cause diarrhea

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

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

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

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

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

 

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A Dog as a Surprise Present Doesn’t Always Lead To a Furry Merry Christmas!

Are you looking forward to the Christmas holidays? Some puppies and full-grown dogs won’t be. Why? Because they will end up as gifts in the festive season and it will not end well for them. You might be wondering why this would be the case – surely a gorgeous puppy would make the ideal Christmas gift?

There is an old saying – “A dog is for life and not just for Christmas”. While it is true to say that a lot of dogs that are given as gifts are treated well and are loved by their owners, it is not always the case. What seems like a good idea can turn into a disaster for the poor dog.

There is nothing more heart-breaking than seeing so many beautiful dogs turn up at rescue centers, which were basically unwanted gifts.

A Dog is a Life Commitment

Before you even think about giving a puppy to a person as a gift, you need to know if they will be committed to loving and taking care of the dog for the next 15 to 20 years. A dog needs a lot of special attention, especially in the early training period, and of course plenty of exercise. Is the new owner going to be the right kind of person for this? Does their lifestyle suit having a puppy or would they be better with an older dog that is already house trained and has mastered basic commands such as sit, stay and down?

The last thing that you want to do is to give a dog as a Christmas gift to someone (or a family) that doesn’t want it. Not all people have the same loving and caring attitude towards dogs that we do. Yes, the kid will most likely be delighted with the new puppy, but will the mom and dad?

So, if you are thinking about giving a dog as a Christmas gift, we suggest that you take these 4 key factors into consideration:

#1. Make sure that it is not a Surprise

There is nothing wrong with giving a dog as a gift if they go to the right people. A puppy can literally light up a person’s life, and they can be delighted to receive one. But not everybody is going to feel that way, so you need to find out first.

But what about the surprise element? Look the welfare of the dog is far more important than a surprise package – any welcome recipient will get even more joy from the first walk or snuggle they have with their new furry friend.

But, if you really don’t want to ask the intended recipient if they would like a dog as a gift first, give them something else to unwrap on the actual day. Maybe a photo of the proposed pooch in a picture frame with an ‘I Owe You’ note written on the back. Or give them a box of doggie essentials, such as food and water bowls, a leash, toys or a dog blanket.

The recipient then has the opportunity to meet the dog first and ensure they are a good match for each other or select a more suitable canine companion. This is definitely best for both the receiver and the dog in the long run.

#2. Be Prepared for Anything – Pay the Adoption fees

OK, so you have asked the recipient if they want a dog for Christmas and they tell you that they do. The thing is that you can never be 100% sure, even if you know the person really well.

We have always chosen our own dogs and I think that’s really important, because you know which is the right dog for you when you meet them – there’s an unmistakable mutual bond. And don’t forget, the present may be for an individual, but there are other people in the household that will need to get on with the new furry family member too.

So, it is a good idea for you to pay the adoption fees to the shelter first. If the recipient changes their mind (it happens) then there is no harm done and you have made a great donation to the shelter.

Bringing a new animal home and settling them into a normal routine takes a huge amount of preparation, perseverance and patience, so the hurly burly of the holiday period may not be the best time for either the gift recipient or the dog.

#3. Only give Dogs as Gifts to Family

You might not agree with this point as you may have friends that go back many years. The trouble is that even those friends that you grew up with will sometimes find it tough to say no to you and, again, you may not know their other family members so well. This can be a disaster for a dog, so just stick to giving a dog to your immediate family.

#4. Avoid Acting on Impulse

It can be very hard to walk past someone that has a box of cute puppies for sale. You start thinking about who would love one of these puppies for Christmas, and before you know it you buy one. AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS!

Similarly, internet shopping allows anybody to buy a pup at the click of a button!  This just fuels the already huge problem of illegal breeders and puppy mills (who also supply pet stores) – they just see the poor dogs as breeding machines and to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense. Please, DO NOT purchase any pet through these channels – this more often than not turns out to be a very expensive mistake.

We simply ask that you really think seriously about where you buy ANY pet and we always encourage people to consider adopting a rescue animal first, where the rescue center will know more about the history, character, health and training needs of the animal.

There are already so many unwanted animals in rescue centers across the country and sadly the situation only gets worse around Christmas time, when people give up unwanted pets given as presents.

If you follow the guide principles above, you will not only give someone a great gift but for a homeless pet, a loving and dedicated family is the greatest gift of all. 

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

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

 

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The Easiest Way to Include Fido in Your Thanksgiving Feast

Not long now and I’m sure your Thanksgiving preparations are well underway!

This is a special time to spend with our family and friends and I’m sure for all you fellow dog-lovers out there, that includes the four-pawed variety too!

So 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 ARE SAFE FOR FIDO

No salt or seasoning to be added

  1. Turkey White 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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!

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

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

CAREIf 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.

 

  1.  Apples Apple 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 pup tucking into their Thanksgiving food on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FidoActive/  and put a smile on all our faces!

Happy holidays!

 

 


Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

Why a Senior Furry Soulmate Could Be YOUR Next Perfect Companion

10 Reasons Why a Senior Furry Soulmate Could Be YOUR Next Perfect Companion

#1       Senior dogs have better manners 
Having spent years living with a family, they have been socialized with humans and may even have been trained to at least respond to basic commands such as sit, stay and down. Many will also be house trained, so it won’t take long for them to pick up the potty rules in their new home. 

#2       What you see is what you get
 senior dog holds no surprises as to how big they may grow, whether their coloring may change, or whether they will develop a genetic or breed-specific condition. Having knowledge of their past and present helps you better manage future expectations.

#3       Senior pets are less destructive
An older dog has grown out of the seek and destroy puppy phase, they’ve gone through their infant teething, so don’t chew on anything and everything and their mischief mayhem is replaced with calmer curiosity.

#4       You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
Adult dogs are less easily distracted than younger pups, so they can focus better on the task. Many will already know the basic commands, so it can be fun for both of you to learn new tricks and increase the bond between you.

#5       A dog to match your own energy levels
As an older dog has less excess energy to burn off, they will be happier to go at a slower speed. So, if you prefer to play frisbee in the yard or a walk in the park, rather than a mountain hike then an older dog may be the best fit for you.

Oh, and it goes without saying that senior dogs make great snuggle buddies when you just want to kick back and relax at the end of a hard day!

#6       Senior dogs and senior citizens make the perfect companions
Many elderly people crave companionship and can talk to their furry friend all day, every day, without judgement or criticism. Stroking an animal also has a proven soothing influence, that improves a human’s mood and well being.

#7       Adopting a senior dog is a relatively short-term commitment
Many people deny themselves the pleasure of a dog because their circumstances are likely to change in the next 8-15 years. Elderly people think their pet will outlive them and are worried about what would happen to them. A senior dog is the perfect solution for both scenarios and satisfies the mutual need for companionship.

#8       Adopted seniors are more devoted
Dogs are always thought to have a sixth sense but, from my own personal experience, I truly believe that my senior adoptees really know they have been rescued and saved from years spent in a cage or an even worse fate.  They show true devotion and are really eager to please, as if they are showing gratitude for me rescuing them.

# 9      You Can Pick Your Perfect Pooch
Whether you want a certain size dog, or a non-shedding breed, one that’s cat-friendly or one that likes travelling in cars, you can cater for YOUR specific requirements.

Many rescue centers have photos and details of dogs available for adoptions on their websites, so you can make your initial shortlist before arranging a visit in person. There are also some rescue organizations that specialize in specific breeds, which will not only match you up with the dog of your dreams but also provide specialist ongoing advice and support.

BUT don’t be surprised if you end up going home with a totally different dog than you went for – you’ll only know which is the right one for you once you get there!

To see their true character, it’s important to interact with the dog outside the cage, to get to know them better and see if you have that special connection.

#10     It is in the giving that we receive.
This is undeniably illustrated when you give a rescue dog a home, for you will receive unconditional love and loyalty that money just can’t buy!  What’s more, I think they know they’ve been ‘rescued’ and love you all the more for it!

Yes, it may take a little time and patience from both of you at the start, but it’s sure worth it and bound to put a new spring in both of your steps!

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

 

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