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Friday, 18 December 2009

Off lead is off putting!

My beautiful Beagle puppy is almost old enough to go out for walks. What is giving me sleepless nights is the prospect of letting her off the lead for the first time.
How do you know for sure that they'll come back?
Any hints for making this less of a stomach-churning episode?
Sue Maxwell, Walton-on-Thames

Hi Sue - Beagles will be Beagles! But they do need their exercise, so at some point you are going to have to let her stretch her legs! Common sense applies, so make sure you are well away from roads so that the worst that can happen is that she has a run in the country! Technology can also play its part - did you know you can now track your Beagle using GPS! I would recommend the Retrieva collar (though I confess to a vested interest!), and there are other devices that may also help. No technology can act as a remote control though, so it won't stop the chase, but at least you'll know where to look should curiosity get the better of her! Good luck! Jon

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Other fish to fry

Can a dog have too much fish? My Lab cross loves white fish cooked with rice or pasta and has it every night for tea. She is a faddy eater at the best of times and doesn't like her food all at the same time. She has a complete meal with either chicken or beef at lunch, and although she eats the meat, she sometimes leaves the meal. She seems healthy enough but I am worried that fish every day could do some harm (too much of a good thing).
Joan Hardaker, by email

I've cross posted this question on our new food blog  - click here

Monday, 7 December 2009

Spray it again?

I went to a local dog training club recently with a relative and noticed a line of water sprayers on the trainer's desk. My relative's dog was getting stressed so I started blocking him from the source of anxiety. The trainer came over and told me that blocking wouldn't work and handed me a water spray! She told me to say 'no' and spray the dog's face. The dog was already stressed!
I looked around the room and saw a couple of other handlers using sprays. Whenever their dog barked they would say 'no' and spray. It was probably used as an interrupt rather that a punisher, but I just don't like the idea.
I know a lot of training clubs use them but can they work and what is the logic behind using them?
Tony Cruse, by email

Friday, 4 December 2009

Stomaching the problem

Does anyone have any experiences of using L-glutamine in dogs with stomach ulcers? We are keen to investigate any supplements which may be safely used to aid our dog who suffers with this uncomfortable condition. He receives veterinary medication, and we will obviously discuss any recommendations with our vet, but several internet articles suggest this could help too.
Wendy Peacock, by email

RIchard Allport, alternative vet, says...
Before looking at supplements, the most important question is why has your dog got stomach ulcers in the first place? The commonest reasons are the use of steroids or non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as Rimadyl, Metacam etc, or the use of drugs like Aspirin and Ibuprofen. If your dog is on any of these, get him off them as soon as possible. Another possible cause is the presence of mast cell tumours in the skin – they release histamine which can be implicated in the formation of stomach ulcers – so if your dog has any lumps or bumps in the skin, get them checked out. Another possible cause is a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, which is a known cause of stomach ulcers in humans. However, although this bacterium has been found in the stomachs of dogs, it doesn’t seem to have been conclusively proved that it is an actual cause of ulcers.
This brings us on to L-glutamine. This is thought to work by protecting the lining of the stomach from the damage caused by ammonia produced by the Helicobacter bacteria. Whether it would work if Helicobacter isn’t causing the ulcers is a matter of debate. However, it won’t do any harm to try (give 500mg daily). Other natural medicines that are probably more likely to help are Slippery Elm, Liquorice Root and Aloe Vera.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Two's company

In the November issue of Dogs Today you published an article on the top ten tips for selecting a dog and my question relates to that.
Do you have top ten tips for selecting a second dog and how best to integrate him/her into your home with your existing dog?
We have a three-year-old Border Collie who we think is well trained and we feel we are ready to start again and introduce another dog (from a puppy) into our home.
Lance and Sarah Doggart, by email