Canine Joint Supplements Are Just That – SUPPLEMENTS!

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

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

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

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

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

Top Tips to Help Ease Your Dog’s Painful Joints 

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

⋅ Provide a cushioned bed and position away from drafts

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

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

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

⋅ Help them with obstacles and heights  

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

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

⋅ Provide traction on slippery floors

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

⋅  Hydrotherapy

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

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

 ⋅ Massage

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

⋅ Healthy Balanced Diet

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

⋅  Positioning of feeding stations

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

⋅ Keep your dog out of damp, chilly weather

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

⋅ Regular Check-ups

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

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

 

 

 

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

Take the Stress Out of Visits to the Vet!

For the majority of dog owners, visiting the veterinarian is a fact of life, and while some of our furry friends may not enjoy it (understatement of the year when it comes to my 10-year-old collie-cross!), it certainly doesn’t have to be such a traumatic trip.  

Here are a few tips on how to help your dog have a less stressful vet visit and the younger your pet is when you start this the better, although it’s worth the effort for dogs of ANY age: 

 

1. Impromptu Visits 

Make impromptu visits to the vet when your dog doesn’t NEED their assistance – perhaps drop in as part of your walk once a week. Let the practice staff know you are trying to train your pooch and get them to make a fuss of them – only if your dog likes it of course!  

Also, as with any positive reinforcement training, remember to give them some tasty treats. 

This will help your dog build up positive feelings about visiting the vet, so that when they do actually need to be seen for treatment, they will be more relaxed.  

 

2. Handling 

One of the things many dogs dislike about visiting the vet is being handled, especially in places they are not used to being touched. 

This is another thing you can help your dog get used to at home, long before they need to visit the vet. Start at home by touching them on a part of their body you know they enjoy – often the chest or behind the ears are favorite places.  Leave your hand there for no more than three seconds, then give them a treat, and let them relax.   

Gradually move your hand to a new area, perhaps the front leg, for a maximum of three seconds, and give a treat each time.  If your dog looks uncomfortable at any point, stop what you are doing.  Remember to take this ‘touch and treat’ approach super slowly.  The ultimate aim is to be able to eventually touch your dog on their paws, lift up their tail, look in their mouth – basically, all of the things a vet may need to do during an examination. 

Gradually increase the time you leave your hand on them up to 10 seconds. As with so many aspects of dog training, the ‘little and often’ approach tends to work best, so set aside some time each week and make this part of your play time.  

 

3. Waiting Room   

There’s more often than not a period in the waiting room, so help your pooch relax by bringing their favorite toy and blanket and talk to them in a calm voice to keep their focus on you. This will help reassure them and know that their best friend is right by their side.   

If possible, be sure to sit as far away from the door and the busy reception desk as you can. Also, try and create space between other visitors and position your dog so that they are facing away from other animals. This will help lessen their anxiety and keep them more settled.  

 

4. Examination Room 

When it’s time to go into the examination room, remember that you are your dog’s best friend, and they are relying on you to speak up for them.  You know better than anyone how your dog shows they are stressed and growling is the common way dogs vocalize that they are not comfortable. The vet will be totally absorbed in actual examination or procedure, so may be unable to see your pet’s face or hear them. It’s up to you to pay close attention to how your furry friend is reacting to the procedure and if they get stressed or begin to growl, please do not hold back from politely, but firmly, asking the vet to stop what they are doing. Both your dog and your vet will thank you for speaking up! 

NEVER tell your dog off for growling – they are only trying to tell you they are in distress. 

Bites can occur during vet examinations because the owner and the vet ignored a growl and the dog felt they had no other way to show how uncomfortable they felt in that situation.  Being aware of the different ways your furry friend communicates is the best way to ensure every visit to the vets has a happy ending.        

While regular vet visits are necessary to help ensure our furry best friends are kept in tip-top health, we hope that you do not have cause for more frequent visits due to accident or illness. 

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

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team  

 

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WILL YOUR FURRY FRIEND BE HOME ALONE THIS 4th JULY?

If so, please make sure they are safe and sound during the celebrations. Facing all of those sudden noises and firework flashes is likely to spook ANY dog, especially when they haven’t got their best friend to lean on! 

 Take them for a walk before it’s dark (cue for start of fireworks!), so they are dog tired. They are less likely to be startled when fast asleep. 

  Ensure they have their ID on at ALL times – even at home! If they get spooked and bolt, they will often just continue running in a bid to escape the noise, which means they could end up a very long way from home, distressed and disorientated. Their ID is essential to help secure a safe and speedy return of your beloved pet. 

  Close the drapes/blinds to dampen sound and mask flashing lights. 

 Switch on radio or TV to mask sound. 

 Ensure they’re comfy in their favorite spot with a blanket and favorite toy to snuggle up to. 

 Keep them occupied with their favorite chew or treat-filled kong. 

#happydogs #happyholidays #doglovers #ilovedogs #petID #lostandfounddog #fidoactive

Wishing you and your canine companions safe and happy celebrations! 

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

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Is Your Dog Flea Control Up To Scratch?

All You Need To Know About Fleas

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

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

So What are Fleas?

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

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

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

What problems can Fleas cause?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you know if your Dog has Fleas?

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

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

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

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

How to Treat Dog Fleas

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

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

How to Prevent your Pooch Getting Fleas

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

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

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

 Bathe your dog regularly using specialized shampoo.

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

 

 

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How Well Can You Speak Canine?

Dog Body Language

We all want to communicate as much as possible with our furry friends and understanding dog body language is one of the best ways to do this. Your pooch cannot tell you how they are feeling through words so it is vital that you have a good understanding of what their actions and mannerisms mean.

All too often dog owners interpret their pet’s body language incorrectly. They think that an action means their pooch is telling them one thing but in reality they are trying to communicate something else. So we have a comprehensive guide to your dog’s body language for you so that you can better understand what they are trying to tell you.

Start by really knowing your Dog

Before you can start to understand the body language of your furry friend you need to really know them. For example different breeds will adopt different postures and this will have an impact on what they are trying to communicate.

Here are a good couple of examples. A Shih Tzu has the tendency to hold up their tail and you can interpret this as their neutral position. If they deviate from this then the chances are they are trying to communicate something. With a German Shepherd their neutral position is holding their tail down.

You need to look carefully at your dog’s entire posture. It is important that you take any actions with their body parts into context with their posture. There can be subtleties here. If your pooch has floppy ears then it might be difficult for you to spot when they move their ears back just a little bit.

It is entirely possible that your furry friend will change their postures in time. They may begin to display a body posture that communicates fear, but when they discover that this posture is effective this can change to a more confident posture despite the fact that they are still experiencing fear.

Dog Body Language

We felt that the best way for you to learn about the body language of your furry friend was to provide lists of behaviors and actions that demonstrate particular emotions. So this is what you need to look out for when assessing what they are trying to communicate to you:

How to tell if your dog is experiencing Fear or Stress

If your furry friend is feeling stressed out or fearful, the following actions are the most common ways they can communicate this to you:

  • They will move their ears back
  • Their tail will be down or even tucked between their legs (please be aware that certain breeds have their tail down in a neutral posture e.g. greyhounds)
  • They will start to back away
  • They will look away
  • They will have their head down
  • They will start to cower or crouch down
  • They will wrinkle their eyebrows

In addition, they may also display the following characteristics:

  • Trembling (when not cold)
  • Panting (when not hot or thirsty)
  • Refuse to eat
  • Freeze in one position
  • Hide away
  • Pacing around or increasing another activity
  • Lick their muzzle
  • Lift a paw
  • Begin to salivate (when no food around)
  • Yawning (when not tired)
  • Bear their teeth
  • Go to the toilet inappropriately
  • Express their anal glands which normally produces a nasty fish like smell
  • Widen their eyes which enlarges their pupils

How to tell if your dog is feeling Confident

You obviously want your furry friend to feel confident rather than fearful or stressed. Here are the typical signs of confidence:

  • They have their ears forward
  • Their tail is up (remember than in some breeds this is the neutral position)
  • When they stand they are straight up
  • Their eye contact is direct
  • Their head is held high
  • Their mouth is open a little and they expose their tongue

These are all signs that your dog does not feel threatened by anything or anybody around them. You can usually approach a pooch displaying these characteristics without any concern.

How to tell if your dog is Alert/Curious

Dogs are curious creatures and they will usually want to check things out that they have not encountered before. So, if your furry friend has discovered something that interests them, they are likely to display some or all of the characteristics below. It’s their way of telling you that they are paying attention and making an assessment of a certain situation.

  • Ears are forward and may be twitching if they are trying to detect a specific sound
  • Mouth is closed
  • Wide eyes
  • Forehead and nose are smooth
  • Tail is horizontal but not bristled or stiff

How to tell if your dog is feeling Happy

If the body language of your pooch is relaxed then this is probably a sign that they are happy. This is what you need to look out for as signs of happiness:

  • Mouth partially open with a soft look
  • Relaxed ears that are not taut or pulled back
  • Posture is relaxed overall with head raised, a confident stance and tail relaxed
  • Wagging of the tail which includes wiggles from the whole body. Tail wagging with a relaxed body also suggests happiness
  • Showing you their belly by rolling over
  • Bowing down ready to play with their bottom in the air and chest pressed against the ground

Results will vary by breed but in general if your furry friend is exhibiting these signs then you can confidently assume that they are happy. At the end of the day it is all about your pooch appearing to be at ease and comfortable.

How to tell if your dog is feeling Sad/Lonely

Your pooch is not going to cry when they are sad. But they can exhibit other signs of sadness or loneliness. Check for this body language to see if your furry friend is feeling sad or lonely:

  • They make a whimpering or whining sound
  • Generally moping around not enjoying things that they normally do
  • Energy levels down
  • No interest in treats or other food
  • Smaller eyes that may look squinty
  • Patterns of sleep are different from normal

Of course, this kind of behavior can be a sign that your pooch is unwell. Try to make your furry friend happier by going for a walk, playing with a toy that they love, giving them their favorite treat and letting them play with another dog that they like. If they are still sad then consult your vet.

How to tell if your dog is feeling Angry

Of course you don’t want your furry friend to be angry but sometimes this is going to happen just as it does with us. These are the tell-tale body language signs:

  • A threatening stance standing as big as possible
  • Body upright and stiff with fur standing on end
  • Ears flattened and eyes not blinking
  • Open mouth and drawn back lips with the baring of their teeth
  • In an attack position ready to lunge
  • Low growling that is threatening

If you see these signs in your pooch then don’t do anything to make the situation worse. Do not stare at them or try to provoke them in any way. Be careful with sudden movements and keep your distance. Your furry friend may just need a little time to cool off but, if this behavior continues, it may be because they are actually injured and they are simply displaying their natural self-protection mechanism.

We hope that this guide will help you to better understand your dog’s body language. Always remember that certain breeds will act slightly differently but, over time, you will get to know your dog better than anyone, what makes them tick and what ticks them off!

It’s amazing how our furry best friend can sense and willingly provide emotional support whenever we need it, so it’s only fair we do the same for them. That’s what makes the special unbreakable bond between you.

It’s amazing how our furry best friend can sense and provide emotional support whenever we need it, so it’s only fair we do the same for them

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team

 

 

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