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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hole lot of trouble!

My Jack Russell is forever disappearing down rabbit holes. I live in fear that one day he will get stuck or come face-to-face with something that attacks him.
I remember Prince Charles losing one of his Jacks and was wondering is there anything that I can do to either stop him going down holes in the first place or enable us to find him should he get into difficulty?
I've thought about GPS tracking - but will that still work if the dog is underground?
Henry Lewis, Blackpool

GPS tracking in the Retrieva collar will enable you to locate you dog above ground, and has some capability underground when used with specialist kit. However, a better solution for small hole loving terriers may be a product by a French company called Num'axes ( The product is called Terrier Finder 3 and uses radio frequency directional technology that can "see" underground.
Andy Stuart, Retrieva Ltd

Editor note - the above link takes you to a site that appears to also sell electric training collars, just thought I'd flag it up as we normally don't allow links to sites that encourage the sale of aversive training devices, however their dog finding collars do seem to not be available via any other website so I have kept the link here.

Living through bloat

I could wait for someone to write in to ask about bloat, but in that time one of our lovely readers' dogs could die. Instead I have asked someone who has lived through bloat and lives with the fear of it, to pass on her tips for how to spot it and what to do when you do.
Anyone else out there had bloat problems? I've also started a thread on our feeding blog for people to exchange diet tips.
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

Bank Holiday Monday 28th May 2007 will stay etched sharply in my mind
for the rest of my life. My youngest Irish Setter, Geordie, who was just five
years old, otherwise known as 'Cymbeline Fallon By Hooley' (parents:
Timadon Miss Irresistable & Twoacres Fergus) had Gastric Torsion and
Bloat. His mother had Bloat when she was seven weeks in whelp and tragically was later found dead in the whelping box, when the pups were just 14 days old. So I took Geordie always knowing that because of this I could never use him at stud and have turned down several offers of stud work for him, being totally honest about my reasons for doing so, as it has always been my policy to be open and honest about any health problems concerning my dogs.

I have always believed that Bloat & Gastric Torsion happens very quickly
and is a dire emergency, but this was not my experience. I watch my dogs
like a hawk, so am always immediately aware if they are not well, even if it
isn't obvious what the problem is.

Geordie was not himself for 48 hrs prior to this happening. If I let him out
he wanted to come straight back in, but once inside he just wanted to go
back out again. He just couldn't settle, clinging to me like a limpet, feeling
very sorry for himself and generally not knowing where to put himself or
what to do. His appetite during this time remained normal....nothing
distracts him when there is food around, eating is his favourite activity;
unusual for an Irish Setter.

One of the reasons that it wasn't immediately obvious that Geordie was
bloating, was because he has another health problem and his behaviour
could have signaled the onset of that quite easily. Geordie started fitting
when he was 18 months old, eventually being diagnosed with Idiopathic
Epilepsy after an MRI scan of his brain and a spinal tap, at the Animal
Health Trust in Newmarket. This ruled out the possibility of the fits being
caused by anything other than Epilepsy, such as a brain injury, a virus, a
brain disease, or another diseased organ. This is not a particularly
pleasant procedure for the dog to experience and is not the first
diagnostic test the vets opt for to diagnose this disease, but I felt that it
was imperative as, not only had his father had been used at stud and his
mother whelped another litter, but Epilepsy is not the only reason for
fitting. As you can imagine I was absolutely devastated by the diagnosis.

Geordie's Epilepsy progressively became worse until he began to have
cluster fits, severely enough to need hospitalizing in order to stop him
fitting. On Bank Holiday Monday 28th May, Geordie hadn't fitted for eight
months and as any change in his behaviour pattern could indicate that he
was going to begin another bout of cluster fits, his behaviour that
weekend did not immediately scream Bloat at me.

Geordie did not swell up suddenly, but, very gradually over the course of
48 hours, until by the Monday morning, the day he bloated, I noticed that
he seemed fatter than normal and made a mental note to take him to the
vets after the holiday for a check up. His twice daily medication regime of
Epiphen and Potassium Bromide for the Epilepsy, has caused him to
steadily gain weight, so he is on a restricted diet and never has titbits, so
there was no apparent reason why he should have been getting fatter.

As the morning wore on he just wouldn't leave me alone, to the point of
becoming a nuisance, though it was obvious that he was desperately
trying to tell me something. At this point he wasn't huge, just slightly
fatter than normal, he was salivating a lot, but the Epilepsy medication
often caused him to salivate heavily, so alarm bells didn't ring. He didn't
seem to be unwell; he just wasn't his usual bouncy, happy self. It is worth
noting that he was not at this time, exhibiting any of the other signs of
abdominal discomfort usually associated with Bloat & Gastric Torsion.


Then a couple of hours later I noticed that he was trying to be sick without
success, though he only did this once and he was uncomfortable when he
walked, moving very stiffly on his back legs. It was so similar to watching
someone trying to move whilst suffering a severe bout of colic that this is
when my instinct kicked in, BLOAT shouted at me and I called the
emergency vet. However, it also occurred to me that he might have an
abdominal obstruction, though to my knowledge he hadn't had anything
which could have caused this.

Never before have I been so relieved to discover that my own vet was the
duty vet that weekend. Although his abdomen by this time was enlarged
and tight like a drum, his back end being wider than his front end when
viewed from the head down to the tail, the other symptoms of phase two
were not present.


At weekends and Bank Holidays the local surgery, which is literally 5
minutes down the road, is closed, we always have to travel to the main
surgery, a nine mile drive away. It was a nightmare journey with every red
light being against us. Geordie is normally so good in the back of the car,
even on his own, just laying down and keeping still, he is so quiet that
several times I have thought that I must have left him behind, as it hasn't
been obvious that he is in the back. This journey was not like that, he
spent the entire journey moving around and throwing himself all over the
place. The further we traveled the more acutely aware I became that he
could very well be Bloating and having Gastric Torsion in the back of the
car and there was nothing I could do about it. I felt totally helpless and
useless, but tried to stay calm for Geordie's benefit.

My vet arrived at the surgery at the same time as me and as he lives
further away than I do, he must have driven like the proverbial clappers,
for which I will be eternally grateful. When he examined Geordie, he said
he didn't think he was in dire straights yet and he didn't think his stomach
had started to twist, but there was a possibility that he could actually have
torsion later, if he sent him home, so he would have to X-ray him and
release the gas anyway, as he was full of it and blown up like a drum. He
did note that Geordie had a shaky stance whilst being examined. He is not
normally anxious when at the vets. This shakiness was probably due to

My vet wasn't able to release much of the gas by tubing him, so had to
perform abdominal surgery to get rid of the gas. He explained that quite
often Bloat creates lots of frothy foam, which blocks the exit from the
stomach, making it impossible for the gas to escape. When he opened him
up he was astounded to find that the stomach had already started to twist,
because Geordie had not presented as if he was in this stage of Torsion.

He stressed that if I hadn't phoned when I did, then the organs inside
would have been damaged by the blood supply being cut off as the
stomach twisted. This is what causes the damage and is why some dogs
do not recover. I've never had a dog with Bloat before, or seen one with it,
but knowing my dogs as I do, I instinctively knew that he wasn't right. I
was surprised to hear from my vet that Bloat and Gastric Torsion can also
be caused by a blockage, or a tumour, as I didn't know this could happen.
Geordie's liver was very swollen, so some was sent away for analysis, but
found to be normal. He had a much bigger operation than normal, as his
stomach had to be cut open to remove the contents, because my vet
couldn't get them out any other way and his stomach needed to be
completely empty to stop him bloating again after the surgery, so Geordie
was stitched all the way down his abdomen. Whilst Geordie's stomach
has now been stitched down in an effort to reduce the chance of him
having Gastric Torsion again, (an operation called a Gastroplexy) my vet
was at pains to point out that he could probably Bloat again and that if this
happened then it would be a battle between the gas and the internal
stitches. Unless the internal stitches break down he will hopefully not
experience Gastric Torsion again, though of course there are no

No one knows the definitive reasons, or cause of this dreadful disease, but
there are several well known risk factors. In the twenty seven years that I
have owned Irish Setters, I have always been scrupulous about following a
strict management code, doing everything that we are supposed to, in
order to limit the possibility of this happening, but yet disaster still struck.

As a matter of course I have always:
* Fed my dogs twice daily, staying with them after they have eaten
* Used a head-height stand for both water and food dishes
* Limited the amount of water available immediately after eating
* Avoided rigorous exercise, stress and excitement for 1 hour before
and 2 hours after eating, even making them go to bed if necessary
* Any diet changes have always been made gradually over a period of
7 days

After 7 days in intensive care, Geordie was allowed home. So far so good,
he is managing to eat without further problems, but now much to his
delight he is eating four small meals a day, the biscuit being soaked to
avoid it swelling and fermenting in the stomach. The vet is very pleased
with his progress. He says this is helped by the fact that I got him there so
quickly, right at the start of it, so there was no damage to the internal
organs. Geordie was lucky that his Bloat and Gastric Torsion was a 'slow
burn' and not the rip roaring type that we all think of when we hear those
dreaded words. Because of his other health problem, it would have been
so easy to miss this, or not recognize it for what it was. If I had not
followed my instinct and had thought that I would see how he was in the
morning, he would have been dead. I am so very grateful for the skills of
my vet and the support I received from my friends. Knowing that you were
all there for me, helped tremendously.

(c) 2007 Michelle Webster.

We had an earlier bloat related question that you may be interested in reading. Click here.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Growing old gracefully

I have a Border Collie bitch who is nearly 10 years old, and I have recently noticed that her tail has lost some of its bushiness, especially around the base. Is this normal as a dog ages?
She is fed a raw chicken wing every morning and a scoop of Burns every evening, sometimes with added meat and veg. Should I supplement her diet in any way to help her cope with the ageing process?
She is spayed and weighs 15kg so is quite a small collie. She has so far shown no signs of athritis and is happy and active.
Mrs V Garrad, by email

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Support system

Angus, our 12-year-old crossbreed, has just been diagnosed with Partial Laryngeal Paralysis. He has no real symptoms other than sometimes a hoarse bark (he barked when at the vet's for his booster which was what led to the diagnosis) and a very occasional cough. His hind legs, which the vet says are linked to this condition, are perfectly normal.
Does anyone know if there is anything we can do to support him? We wondered if a raised bowl would be any good?
Also is deterioration usually slow or quick? The vet has told us that surgery will be available if necessary so long as he remains well. He is a healthy 26kgs, fit, active and usually taken to be a lot younger than his real age.
Susan and Jeff Munro, Washington, Tyne and Wear

Richard Allport, alternative vet. says...
A hoarse bark is indeed often the first sign of Laryngeal Paralysis (LP) which is a neurological condition in which the nerves that control the opening and closing of the larynx (voice box) progressively deteriorate, leading to the hoarse bark, and also excessive panting, difficulty in breathing and inability to exercise. It can only be properly diagnosed by examining the larynx under a mild anaesthetic, and a hoarse bark could be present for other reasons, but LP is the likeliest cause. It is most often seen in older, larger breeds of dog.
There is some controversy over whether or not LP is linked to hindquarter nerve deterioration. Not all dogs affected by LP get hind leg symptoms, but some do, however this may be coincidental. Hypothyroidism has also been linked to LP, again there is so far no clear proof of a connection.
If the condition does get worse, usually an operation is necessary – this ‘ties back’ the folds of the larynx that open and close. Although surgery is usually successful, any operation carries a degree of risk, and sometimes natural medicines can be effective. Supplements of high strength Vitamin E, and Zinc, together with homoeopathic remedies such as Causticum, Ignatia, Conium, Cuprum met (and others – choice depends on individual factors) can work well. It’s also vital to ensure affected dogs don’t become overweight and it helps to change from a collar to a harness.
Raising the food bowl probably won’t help unless an affected dog also has megoesophagus, a condition which is more common in dogs with LP.
Good luck to Angus, let’s hope he stays a Shetland (just a little hoarse!)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Does Max need pain relief?

Max is just 13 years old and 2 1/2 years ago was diagnosed with spondylitis and two slipped discs he has been under the care of our orthopedic vet who performed a myelogram on Max to confirm the problem, Max has since been on steroids, but has now been taken off them and is now on Tramadol, Metacam and joint tablets. The main problem is that he doesn’t seem a comfortable boy.
He is often whining and if he sits anywhere and there is something touching his back (or he thinks there is) he gives out very loud barks which really goes through you. He has never been an easy dog to handle when it comes to being treated for anything by us or the vet, we obtained Max from the local rescue kennels when he was just about 3/4 months old he is a Staffie x and weighs 16.5kgs.
I wondered if anybody performs hypnotherapy on animals? Another thing that has happened to him is that he will come and lie with me with his head across my knee, something he has never done, as he has never been a loving dog, although we all love him to bits. He would never hurt anyone and is marvelous with children, he will even attempt to play with my three-year-old Jack Russell but it is his discomfort that worries me, hope you can assist.
Mrs Josephine Glenton, Notts Tel: 01623477822

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Bedroom problems and sofa issues

Isla the Lurcher is now a much-loved member of our family but we're having a few problems and I'd be grateful for some help, please!
Like most Lurchers, she loves comfort and likes nothing better than getting on the sofa, which is fine in our house - our sofas are very dog-friendly!
However, when we go visiting it's not always appropriate for her to assume she can sit on other people's furniture! I struggle to get her off which is embarrassing.
Also, when she goes upstairs she likes to get on the beds - which again, is fine with us. It's just on the rare occasion when we don't want her to get on the bed she isn't at all happy about getting off.
If you tell her to get her off the bed, she refuses. If you try to touch her collar and make her get off she'll growl and pretend to bite you which I think is obviously totally out of order.
I just don't like the fact that no one in the family can grab her collar in an emergency without a tantrum. What should we do?
My reaction when she tries to bite is to shout loudly at her and then take her downstairs and shut the stair gate, but it doesn't seem to be working.
We've tried training her with treats to get off the sofa and bed but it doesn't seem to work as she's not that bothered about food and very often we don't have food to hand when we need to get her to do something.
Kevin Brockbank, Newbury

I'd train the dog to settle on a particular blanket - which can then be put on the bed or sofa. Then, when you visit friends, take the blanket and put it on the floor, so Isla rests there, rather than on the sofa. When training, practise the recall and touch her collar briefly every time she comes and then give her a treat. When she sits for a squeaky toy (this may work better than a treat, as she doesn't sound food-oriented), then touch her collar and then reward. Little and often, touch her collar to help desensitise her - so she realises it's a good thing, not a threatening gesture. The emergency grab is something that is taught at Puppy School - it's a godsend. It's a pity Isla's too old for Puppy School classes, but some training with a good behaviourist sounds vital. Oh, and stop shouting at her when she 'pretends' to bite - you're reinforcing any idea she has that you are threatening her! She could well up the stakes and respond by really biting next! I think it was Dunbar who said a dog can go on the sofa and bed - no problem - but as long as that's okay with you and that he or she will get off when asked. Personally, I'd stop her having the sofa and bed privileges until your relationship is on a better footing, and instead give her a cosy crate where there can be no dispute and to defuse any problem situations. A good behaviourist could sort this out quickly and nip any future problems in the bud, A worthwhile investment now, at the start of your relationship, I'd say. Claire Horton-Bussey

Sleepless in Chobham

Oscar and Tess sleep in the kitchen which has a double glass door which gives them a view of much of the garden.
Two nights ago I was awoken at 4am by insistent barking, you know the woof that means "there is something out there and I'm very unhappy about it!". (Having seen the BBC2 Horizon documentary on the Secret Life of Dogs I now know that it's not just me that can understand woofs!).
I was going to try to turn over and ignore it, hoping that husband would get up and tackle the invaders if necessary - but the noise woke my son who also speaks dog. "Mummy there's something outside, Oscar is very worried. I'm scared."
So maternal instincts being what they are of course I had to go down stairs to investigate to prove to son that there was no reason to be afraid.
Outside lights switched to high beam so I could see the burglars, doors opened noisely to offset the impression made by the girly-pink satin pjs (Xmas pressie!).
The two dogs were out that kitchen door like Greyhounds at the races. Woofing and running for the far corner of the garden where probably some poor bunny/fox/deer/badger had long since departed thanks to my light show.
They came back exhilarated at that nighttime expedition. And my heart sank.
I had rewarded their woofing.
Last night the woofing started at 2am.
Will this continue? How do we break the cycle?
Ear plugs for all? Hard to ignore these woofs. The dogs are proudly doing their job - it's just I'd prefer to only be alerted to human invaders rather than four legged ones!
Beverley Cuddy, Editor Dogs Today

Stop Press: Brilliant suggestion re the frosted glass! We tried bin bags last night - not quite so attractive - but it did the trick!
In answer to the comment, we're lucky to live on a very sleepy lane with only three other houses. We're near the common and surrounded by a lot of unfenced open space. It is a haven for wildlife and we see deer, rabbits, foxes in the garden. Our boundaries are far from rabbit/fox proof and deer seem to be able to bounce in and out over the back fence whenever they feel like it.
We don't mind them sharing our space, it's just we're less pleased to hear about their visits in the middle of the night!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Go organic!

My family and I are very health conscious and we eat a mostly organic diet. We are about to get our first dog and I would love to feed him organically. However, I am a complete novice with regard to doggie diets and don't know if such a food even exists for dogs. Can anyone help?
Amelia Richards, by email

Richard Allport, alternative vet, says...
If you are thinking of feeding a proprietary dog food, there are a few organic dog foods on the market. By far the best, in my view, is Lily’s Kitchen, a company that produces a range of organic canned and dry food with top quality ingredients and nothing significant in the way of additives.
Or you may prefer to give a home made diet using organic food – real raw meaty bones and offal from organically reared cattle, raw organic chicken wings, and so on.
Either way I’m sure your new dog will have a wonderful and enjoyable healthy organic diet.

Karen Rodger, from Orijen Pet Foods, says...
We totally understand your need to feed your dog as naturally as possible and ensure the diet is free from artificial additives and preservatives so often found in pet food.
We don't call ORIJEN organic as the organic designation requires that all ingredients have been designated by a governing body. This is not possible with ORIJEN as certain ingredients - like fish for instance - are not covered by any organic ruling and therefore cannot be called organic.
ORIJEN is made with the highest inclusions of free-run chicken & turkey, whole eggs and wild-caught freshwater & saltwater fish-all farmed or fished within our region and delivered FRESH each day - ORIJEN is bursting with protein-packed, human-grade meats.
Free of the grains or carbohydrates that are inappropriate for your dog, ORIJEN dog food delivers a full complement of regional fruits and vegetables, russet potatoes, peas and blackcurrants from prairie farms, red delicious apples and cranberries from the interior orchards, and organic sea vegetables from the cold North Pacific waters.

John Rice, OrganiPets Sales Director, says...
OrganiPets is a range of complete organic dog and cat foods made with human grade free range organic chicken. We are keen to provide a good, healthy, quality food so we avoid any artificial colours, preservatives or additives and do not include any wheat, beef and most importantly soya, which is often used as a cheap source of protein that is difficult for dogs or cats to
We have a strong environmental perspective, sourcing our ingredients as locally as possible, using recyclable packaging and are winners of the Greenshoots award as Oxfordshire's most environmentally friendly new business of 2008.
OrganiPets is available from over 400 retailers including Waitrose supermarkets, independent pet shops, organic shops, garden centres and directly from

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Reducing the Carbon Pawprint

Like many others these days I would like to cut my carbon footprint, and try to eat locally-grown foods where possible. I eat very little meat myself, and what I do is free-range or organic, but I  accept that my dogs do need to eat meat! The other day I read a statistic that really shocked me, and that was that 50% of a food animal is unfit for human consumption, and much of it is thrown away. I would like to feed my dogs meat that is ethically raised, but preferably too from parts of the animals that would not otherwise be used. There's no point feeding them fillet steak, but they could be eating the lungs, tripe, heart and all the unmentionable bits! How can I be sure the food I give my dogs is from animals raised to high welfare standards – but not using food that humans would otherwise eat? What's the best way to feed from the point of view of the environment, welfare of the food animals, and food miles?
Joanne Holmes, Burford, Oxfordshire

Also posted on the What should I feed my dog blog

Richard Allport, alternative vet, advises...
Doesn’t life get more complicated by the day! It is so hard to weigh up the pros and cons of the benefits of eating organic produce versus the downside of the ‘food miles’ that may be involved. I think the best way forward is to find a good local independent butcher (supporting a small local business) who can provide you with the raw meaty bones and offal that should indeed be the basis of a healthy diet for your dogs. If this is organic so much the better, but I do think local produce even if not organic is preferable to organic food flown in from far away places. A good butcher will always source meat from animals reared to high welfare standards simply because the quality is better; the selling point of independent butchers is always the quality factor of their produce.
I can see that your dogs are going to be very well fed indeed!

Rations running low

I have been feeding my dog raw for about a year now, buying my supplies from a pet shop every couple of weeks. Unfortunately my supplies have run out and I'm unable to drive the 10 miles to my supplier, as I can't even get my car off the drive for the snow and ice. I'm very lucky in that I have a small supermarket within a few minutes' walk, so none of us will starve! But of course I can't buy actual raw dog mince with ground bone. I have bought minced lamb and beef, and Max is very happy indeed to eat this, but I'm worried because it won't have the calcium he needs. Please don't suggest I give him chicken wings or bones, I'm just not happy to do this, but I really don't want to take him off raw, especially as the range of prepared foods at the supermarket is very limited. Is it ok to just feed human mince until the weather improves?
Darren Holmes, Ash, Surrey

Also posted on our feeding blog - click here

My dog is child phobic - help!

I have a Labrador-sized crossbreed, Mollie, who came from a small rescue kennel two years ago, where she was estimated to be about two years old. Mollie has always disliked children, off the lead she will go out of her way to avoid them, but if cornered she has been known to growl. We have no idea of her history, but I'm sure she has been tormented in the past. I usually walk her in places where we are highly unlikely to meet anybody, but at present I can't drive as the roads here are so bad. We have a large field nearby where lots of people walk their dogs and it's all I can use until the weather improves.
Unfortunately, it's also full of kids playing in the snow. Many of them seem to have no idea how to approach a dog, and today a youngster of six or seven ran up to her before I could intervene and tried to pat her. She was taken aback and did growl at him; luckily the mother told the child off for running up to a strange dog but I could meet a less sensible mum next time. Mollie has never actually bitten anyone, and I really do not want to subject her to a muzzle. She is a young dog and needs her exercise, and even if I keep her on the lead there's no guarantee that children won't come running up, they seem to have no manners these days. What can I do?
Name and address witheld

Would love good gloves!

My collie loves to play fetch, and I always take a ball or Frisbee on our walks. At the moment though it's so cold, the Frisbee actually gets coated in ice! I'm in danger of getting frostbite throwing it. I have loads of pairs of gloves, wool, leather, synthetic – you name it, I've tried them. But the toy is so wet that before long my hands are damp and cold. My husband bought me a pair of waterproof mittens but they are so thick and unwieldy I can't even hold a lead while wearing them, let alone throw a toy. Please help before my fingers fall off!
Sue Chandler, Tunbridge Wells

I know exactly what you mean! Santa brought me a wonderful pair of gloves made by Sealskinz – They do a huge range, and yes, some are too thick for this purpose. I have just checked mine and they are the Versatility Glove – they are thick enough to keep my hands warm, but thin enough to enable me to pick up a toy or put on a lead. They are fully waterproof, and my hands stay really cosy in them. Pricey, but well worth it.
Christine Bailey, Dogs Today

Great balls of ice

My dog is very long-coated, and walking in the snow is a nightmare. Balls of ice gather in the fur on his legs, and between his toes and in his pads. It is obviously quite uncomfortable for him – he starts the walk with a real spring in his step, but after a few minutes he is trudging, tail down and looking very sorry for himsel
When we get home I have to try and get rid of this ice, and it's really hard. A towel can only do so much, and I can't get a comb through the wet coat. He spends ages licking and nibbling at his legs and paws. Any suggestion please?
Sarah Edlington, Manchester

I have just this problem with my Airedales. A friend told me she has heard that combing vegetable oil through the legs before you set out would stop the snow sticking, but that sounds very messy to me! I'm sure there must be a grooming spray that could help – anyone have any ideas?
As to getting the balls of ice from the feet, the best answer I have come up with is the paw plunger – I have to admit that we received some samples of these in the office some time ago, and one has sat in my utility room pristine in its box ever since, but in a flash of inspiration I decided to use it on those iced-up paws – result! And if you happen to live in one of those regions where they have actually salted the roads(!) it will remove that too. You'll still have to towel the upper legs I'm afraid though....
Christine Bailey, Dogs Today

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snow fun

Are some dogs feet better adapted to the snowy conditions?
For example, Tess our Springer seems to move around unimpinged yet Oscar the Beardie, who you think was designed for cold weather, very quickly gets painful ice balls inbetween his pads. He very soon looks like an abominable snow man but the snow seems to bounce off Tess's coat.
What sort of feet work best and do even Huskies struggle with the wrong sort of snow?
Anyone got any miracle products to make walking on gritted, icey roads less of a pain? I'm sure there's something like doggie chap stick for their pads developed in Scandinavia. Anyone know what it's really called?
Beverley Cuddy

Park life

Yesterday, while filming a short item for BBC South News in Farnborough I witnessed a very strange event. In the middle of the park was a beautiful Wire Fox Terrier apparently doing a perfect sit stay. In the car park some distance away were two women sitting in a car who the dog was watching intensely.
My husband and kids were keeping warm in the car, eager to get off to the cinema and they were watching this scene while I was doing my interview. Eventually curiosity got the better of them and they decided to ask the women what was occurring.
Turns out this happens most days. Their dog decides he's not coming home and does this sit protest for sometimes several hours. If they approach, he runs off and sits a little further away. He isn't remotely interested in food so that hasn't worked. Their only hope is if someone with a dog comes along, he'll then either run over to the dog and make friends and then can be caught or he'll be afraid of the dog sufficiently to run to the car for safety.
Isn't it amazing that they've put up with this situation without stopping letting him off the lead in the first place or investing in a Flexi lead!
They confessed to some days giving up, going home and coming back a bit later when they hope he's got bored. They say he used to run after the car and jump in if they started to leave, but even that has stopped working recently.
What would you advise them to do next?
They confessed they have vented their frustration on him when they have finally got him back so that may be part of the syndrome.
I don't have their contact details but I guess we could always leave a copy of the magazine in the car park for them to read as they do seem to spend a lot of time there!
What would you tell them to do.... sounds like something like doggie Relate is needed!
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

Monday, 4 January 2010

Gentle approach to arthritis

My lovely Border Collie is getting a bit stiff but I am loathe to put him on strong pain meds as he's only eight years old and I am hoping he'll live a very long time and he'll probably need to be on drugs for life now. Is there anything gentle I can try to put pack the spring in his step? I've been to the vet and he's ruled out major structural problems, he thinks this is the start of arthritis.
What have you tried that works? Ideally I'd like to avoid NSAIDs if at all possible.
Charlie Holdsworth, Watford