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Friday, 29 July 2011

Stop my collie pup developing bad barking habits!

I have a 20-week-old collie pup who is a lovely little dog. I also have a six-year-old Dalmatian-Collie cross and a 13-year-old collie.

Skye has settled well in our home and is clean and gets on well with the other dogs. He has attended six weeks of puppy classes. However, what has surprised me is that he barks at any dog he meets. I have been consistent in taking him into our nearby town, and he is keen to meet people, children, wheelchairs etc, but not other dogs. At puppy class he interacts with other owners but not other dogs.


Yours sincerely, Gill Burfitt, Llangollen, Clwyd

Ps – he is very bright and eager to learn

Collie wobbles

I wrote a number of years ago regarding my collie Jake who was frightened of whistles. The advice helped enormously and although he was never really cured of his fear I learnt how to manage it. Sadly Jake passed away two years ago due to an aggressive cancer and last year I gave a home to a two-year-old collie who was not being treated very well. He settled in quite well and I gave him time to adjust to his new life, which he did although he was quite nervous but he had my new friends and their dogs and the "pack" got on very well together. Since the New Year things have started to deteriorate. If one of my friends does not come into the park he was constantly looking for her dogs. Now he does not want to go out at all. If I manage to coax him to the park he has to stay on the lead as he wants to get out of the park. If my friend comes in with dogs he is happy for about five minutes to run with them and chase the ball then all of a sudden his tail goes between his legs and I have to put him on the lead again as he tries to escape. He is pulling so much on the lead and I have a long lead as well but he is beginning to hurt me. Around the home he is very obedient and to reinforce that I am pack leader I always feed him second to me and make him wait for me to lead the way in and out. It just seems outside he has no faith in me and there is nothing that has happened to make him feel this way.

In his previous home he lived with a young man who then moved in with his girlfriend who had a female Jack Russell and then she got a male Jack Russell. It seems there was a bit of aggression between the two males and they had to be kept in separate rooms when the owners were out all day. I have found out that the girlfriend used to slap my dog Woody quite a lot. It makes me wonder if he doesn't trust me because I am a woman. He has no collie attributes at all, he is more like a lap dog and I feel for him as he is only three. I have read a lot of dog behaviour and especially collie behaviour and I cannot find anything to help me with this problem. I have to work part-time but he has always been left and he is very good at being left since living with me. I am desperate to help this poor mixed up little fella because he is very lovable and deserves the best. I did think another dog for company might help but I don't want them to fight while I am not here.

I would appreciate your help as I have not come across this problem in any book I have read.

Sue Delaney, by email

Help for a growly tum

My neighbour has two rescue Westies, both spayed bitches in their later years but still very active. Daisy has a very delicate digestive system and was the first on the scene, along with an Irish Wolfhound who died very young some years ago. I think she has scars from her previous environment: she is bossy and always ready to eat and steal from Mitzi if not watched. Despite this she is a nervous dog, absolutely hates thunderstorms. She has periodic bouts of what we think might be IBS and small deviations from her diet can sometimes trigger a wobbly tum or sheer stress.

She had one of those sessions this morning and has eaten grass. When her symptoms subside the “grazing” will stop. There were recently some stormy weather precursors a few days ago when she became a little agitated and showed signs of stress - in fact there was lightning across the English Channel in France late last night, which can be seen from Foxhills where we live in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. It came to nought.

Her Vet has given her owner some tranquilisers in the past but they do have an adverse effect on her temperament so she is given nothing. Her owner needs to find out if there is a canine equivalent of the human drug Buscopan to relieve the cramps and rumblings and I would be very grateful if you could answer that question so that Daisy can look forward to a relatively pain-free last few years.

Joan Robson, Ventnor, Isle of Wight

Richard Allport, vet, advises...

Interestingly Buscopan is actually licensed for use in dogs, although officially for use as pain relief in urinary obstruction by injection. However, even if it is used for the relief of cramps in the abdomen it will only ever relieve symptoms, as opposed to preventing the problem from occurring. It seems pretty certain that anxiety and nervousness is a trigger for the condition – natural anxiety relieving remedies such as Kalm aid (an amino acid combination) and Skullcap and Valerian ( a herbal complex) will be likely to minimise the anxiety and therefore reduce the number of episodes.

Remedies to soothe and balance the digestive tract will help even more to reduce episodes. The herb Slippery Elm will do this, as will clay based supplements, including one I use regularly that rejoices in the simple brand name of ‘Clay’! A specific pet probiotic such as Lacto B should help even more to prevent symptoms occurring.

Paw reaction to allergens

I would appreciate any advice anyone can give me with regard to allergies.

My five-year-old dog Tyler has had chronic ear infections since last April time and as you can imagine he's been prescribed lots of different medications over the past year. At the same time as the ear infection flared up, he had one back paw that was red in between the paws, but it was not a major concern at the time and the vet said we'd keep an eye on it. By October all four paws were red in between the toes and he was also licking them a great deal. Nine months on and his paws are still red, almost looking as if they're bleeding at times.

We're currently back and forwards at the vet almost every week and in the past month he's been on prednisone steroids on and off. Other meds he's been on/is currently on are Epi-Otic ear cleanser (not using that at the moment), Hibiscrub for his paws (not using at the moment), Epi-Soothe shampoo (not using at the moment), Surolan ear drops (not using at the moment), Otomax ear drops (currently using), Coatex medicated shampoo (currently using), Prednisone (not using at the moment but was on them a couple of weeks ago), Cortisone steroid spray (currently using) and Advocate flea meds (have not used yet).

The vet has said that long term the steroids might be the only treatment we can use, but obviously I’m not comfortable with this and the vet does understand my worries hence why she prescribed the cortisone instead. Atopica has also been discussed but is very dear every month.

I'm looking for any natural alternatives that can help with Ty's red paws and chronic ear infections, as I’m really not happy with the amount of medication he's been on the past few months. Tyler has not had an allergy blood test, as the vet didn't think it was worth it as she said 80% of dogs are allergic to dust mites, so we're basically treating it as a dust mite allergy. His bedding is washed at least once a week and I vacuum/mop/dust every day or every other day to keep dust at bay. He's also fed Barking Heads Salmon and Potato dry food with Fish4Dogs Salmon Mousse added in daily. He receives no treats. It's all so frustrating, not knowing what is causing him to react and not being able to get it all under control!

Many thanks,

Louise, by email

Alison Logan, vet, advises...

If I am presented with a young dog licking and chewing all four paws then my first suspicion is an allergy, and in particular an inhaled allergy or atopy. The red paws you describe is a reflection of bacteria breaking down saliva on the fur after Tyler has been licking at his paws, and is a real giveaway for a dog who may not be seen licking his paws. Westies are a classic breed for being white with red paws because of paw licking. I wonder what breed Tyler is?

Tyler is older than the classic age for first showing signs of an inhaled allergy, often one-two years of age, but I would still be highly suspicious. An allergic dog is usually allergic to more than one thing. My usual plan of attack is:

- Strict flea control, even if no sign of fleas found – a dog allergic to fleas only needs one flea to bite, and fleas are only on the animal for 5% of the life cycle, the remainder being spent in the environment. It follows that an efficient flea control strategy will address not only the pet in question but also all other dogs, cats and rabbits living in the household, and the environment (not overlooking the car, caravan, treehouse etc);

- Elimination diet – there may be an element of food hypersensitivity which is keeping Tyler above the itch threshold;

- Inhaled allergens – seasonal (grass pollen etc) and non-seasonal (house dust mite, human dander etc).

Allergens can be identified from blood sample or intra-dermal skin testing, allowing a specific hyposensitising vaccine to be formulated to treat Tyler.

Corticosteroids will dampen down the allergic response, but this is treating the effect and not the cause of the problem. However, where it is not possible to pursue further tests in order to identify underlying allergens, or if specific therapy is unsuccessful or cannot be maintained after diagnosis, then there is an important role for corticosteroids to play. After all, the ultimate aim is to relieve a particular dog’s itchiness. There must be nothing worse than an incessant urge to scratch and lick at oneself. There are potential drawbacks to treatment with corticosteroids so one always aims to treat with the lowest effective dose, accepting that side effects may occur.

Tyler is still young so I do think it would be worth pursuing further investigation and hopefully finding a specific treatment.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Not old, vintage!

We really like to see as many reader’s dogs as possible featured in the magazine.

In the October issue we are doing a special Golden Years feature and we’d really like to hear from you with your tried and tested solutions for any of the following issues:

- Joint and mobility problems
- ‘Alternative’ remedies for all ‘senior’ ailments
- Best accessories to make an older dogs life more comfortable – for eg raised bowls, comfortable beds, warm coats, car ramps etc
- Best nutrition for an older dog – is there a food which is better suited?
- Teeth cleaning for older dogs
- Or any other hints and tips you’d like to share to make life with an older dog just that little bit more golden!

If you experience any problems posting your replies or if you have a fantastic photo to share of your vintage dog please email with 'Vintage' in subject line.

Alison Hunt from Orthopets says...

We all grow old; it makes no difference whether we have two legs or four. The rate at which it occurs may vary, but growing old is an inescapable fact of life for both dog and owner. Equally, the problems and challenges that old age creates are also similar, in particular the effect on joints and the problems, perceived or otherwise, of undergoing and recovering from surgery.

So as owners of elderly dogs, what do we do when the joint problems are such that surgery is one of the few solutions available to ease the discomfort and improve the mobility of these senior citizens of the canine world? What can we do when faced with the dilemma as to whether to put our dog through surgery? Are there any other alternatives other than just continuing with endless joint supplements and pain relief?

Well, yes, in many instances there are in the form of Orthotics (orthopaedic braces), and in fact for dog owners in the US there has been for several years. Now, finally, these options are available to dogs and their owners on this side of the Atlantic.

In the human world, the use of Orthotics is commonplace, especially in sport. These devices provide stability and support to a joint for many reasons, to aid post surgical rehabilitation, to protect a problematic joint during periods of activity, or to provide long-term aid where a surgical solution is not an option or has failed. In dogs they can offer the joint support that otherwise would need surgical intervention.

For older dogs, Orthotics can be particularly useful as non-surgical alternatives to arthrodesis (joint fusion) in cases of severe arthritis or collapse of the carpus (wrist), or tarsus (ankle), as well as partial of full ruptures of the cruciate ligament or Achilles tendon.

This has been made possible through OrthoPets Europe, the recently launched European arm of US industry leaders, OrthoPets LLC. Denver, Colorado based OrthoPets LLC was created over eight years, its founder using his knowledge & experience in the human field to develop these innovative solutions for the animal world.

The devices are custom fabricated for each patient therefore ensuring the best in terms of fit, comfort and support. The shells are made of advanced plastic and should last the life of the dog. The hardware used is not adversely affected by water, all straps and pads are replaceable and other than some limitations to the actual shells, the devices can be fully refurbished.

A shining example of what can be done, is Bertie, the 13½ year old Labrador of OrthoPets Europe’s Rod & Alison Hunt. Bertie who, in his younger years had surgery for elbow OCD problems twice, is now in end stage DJD in his elbow. He’s had an elbow brace for the last couple of years and has continued to take twice daily walks with the rest of his pack since then without problems. Is he slowing down – yes definitely, but his enthusiasm for life remains and his brace allows him to get out and about comfortably. And long may it last

Here is Bertie now...

Check out and you’ll see what we mean! There is lots of information on the OrthoPets Europe website so have a look and see if there is a solution that might help your oldie!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Euthanasia - is it time?

I would be grateful to have people's take on my present predicament. We have three rescue dogs, one four-year-old in perfect health and two golden oldies, one of which is the subject of my concern. Jamie is a Border Terrier who had been abandoned by the roadside. After two weeks in police kennels and no-one claiming him, he came home with us. That was eight years ago, and the vet thought he might have been 5-8 years old at the time, so he is potentially 15+ years old.

Although he settled with us and our existing dogs at the time, he was always a quiet, private little boy with no big displays of emotion. In fact, I used to think that he was always wondering what he was doing with us and when he was going home!

A couple of years ago he started displaying signs of senility and this has steadily got worse until he is now almost completely in his own little world. He does not interact with us or the other dogs at all. Physically, he is increasingly stiff in his movements, as well as deaf and almost completely blind. He does not like being handled (never has, this is nothing new) and lifting or guiding him is usually met with a little growl, which I don't think is due to any kind of pain, but how can you be sure?

He is still eating well and when I lift him up on the sofa with me, he seems to enjoy the closeness.

My husband does not think Jamie now has enough quality of life and is asking me to consider having him put to sleep. I am resisting, but I am not sure for what reason: do I genuinely not think it it yet time or can I simply not bear the thought? (We have had dogs for a very long time and I have ahd to make this decision many times over the years, but in Jamie's case, because it is not brought about by physical illness but by old age and general decline, I cannot seem to make my mind up whether it would be kindest to let him go or not.

He is on Vivitonin and Aktivat - I don't know to what extent this is helping.

We have a vet review booked for 6 August, but I know from earlier consultations that the vet is reluctant to give me advice on what to do. His view seems to be that if the dog is eating, then he is not feeling unwell. I am not sure it is enough. I worry that his life is just uncomfortable greyness and silence, punctuated by a meal every twelve hours.

I also cannot rely on Jamie to 'give me a sign' that he is ready to go - he is just too uncommunicative and unresponsive.

To complicate matters, we are moving house in the next couple of months. Would it be completely wrong to introduce him to a new environment in his present state? Even here he bumps into things occasionally although he does seem to have retained a mental map of the layout and mostly manages to navigate around the place.

Has anyone else had experience with older dogs with "nothing wrong" with them except old age, general decline and senility? Would it be kindest to let him go, and certainly before we move house?

I would be so grateful for any advice.

Kind regards

Anne Bardell, Doncaster, by email

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Runaway collie

Please help! I have five lovely Border Collie rescue bitches; the last two are a rescued breeding bitch and one of her last litter. The problem is when we are on walks the mum runs off with any small dog we pass and pesters the life out of it, as well as its owner. She won’t heed my recall at all.

I have had mobile calls from irate people as far as a mile away when I have considered it a safe distance to let her off lead with the others (one of which is her own puppy), but she will remember the last small dog we have passed and slips away.

I don’t want her to spend her last years on a lead, after the sad life she has led, and I don’t really want to spay as she recently had a very bad reaction to anesthetic when having some teeth out. I’m also not sure that it will make any difference.

This is really getting me down and it is spoiling the walks for all the other dogs. Obviously I can’t be cross when I do eventually recapture her, but it seems to me that she does not want to be with us at all, although she is very loving and waggy at home.

Any ideas?
Chris, by email

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Switching diets

I would really like to try feeding my dog – a six-year-old female, spayed, rescue collie cross - a raw diet but my husband is opposed, worrying about salmonella and other infections that might be picked up.

We used to feed her on a well-known but not high-quality canned food, with a handful of the same brand dried mixer added in, until I read in Dogs Today that diet can affect scratching. She used to scratch a lot and since switching to sometimes Natures Menu, sometimes Arden Grange canned food, with some Orijen dried food too, she doesn’t scratch so much anymore. On a Sunday she has roast dinner instead, and she is very partial to carrots! Her breath could be nicer too!

Is salmonella something to be concerned about? What are the facts when it come to raw food? Is there a good way to introduce the diet? And how can I convince my husband?!

Shelia March, Farnham, Surrey

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Night terror

I don't know whether you'll be able to help, or ask someone (!), but over the past few months, my three-year-old Collie has taken to pooing during the night.

I feed her at about 6pm, she goes out before I go to bed and I have even taken to using a spray on the mat/floor in the kitchen to deter her, but no good. I am at the end of my tether and have no idea what to do!

Any suggestions would be gratefully received!

Julia Graham, via Facebook

Monday, 11 July 2011

Cold feet

My three-year-old Pug, Boris, is suffering from blocked anal glands. They become blocked so often that my vet has suggested giving Boris an operation to have them removed. I have been with my vet for 30 years and he has been brilliant with my other dogs so I do trust him but there is some doubt in my mind and I can’t shift it. I suffer from arthritis and find it very difficult to empty them myself, although I have done so and continue to try.

I was a vet nurse for five years and have never hesitated to allow my own dogs to undergo necessary routine teeth removals or for pyometra, for example, but I am worried about this operation. My son has helped me to search internet forums and the overwhelming opinion seems to be that Pug owners should avoid this operation going ahead. The operation is planned for this Thursday, but my vet told me last Friday to ring him today if I still had doubts, and I am thinking about postponing it.

I wonder if changing his diet might help? He is on medium junior Royal Canin and has been since he was a pup – his breeder said it was ok for him to have junior food rather than puppy food as a pup because it’s all dog food. I’m not sure if this is truly the case, but apart from blocked anal glands, he is a very healthy and happy dog in all other respects. I have started adding spinach to his diet too.

Has anyone else had a dog who has had this operation? Is this a common operation? I would love to hear from anyone who has, and even more so if the op was carried out on a Pug. He is clearly stressed by the problem and I think he must be in pain. I do not want to prolong his pain, but I do not want to put him under a stressful operation that may not help.

I really want to make an informed decision on this, because Boris is so much more than just a dog and I love him to bits. I am happy to change his diet – I would cook for him if it made him better. I would be really very grateful for any advice.

Thank you very much

Joan, by phone

Alison Logan, vet, says...

The anal sacs lie just inside the anus, at four and eight o’clock as you look at your dog’s backside. They fill with a fluid which has a smell all of its own, quite fishy but not in a pleasant way. When dogs fight, there is often a fishy smell because the anal sacs have been released during the confrontation.

They are thought to have a role in territorial marking. Under normal circumstances, the fluid they contain passes onto faeces as the bowels are evacuated, marking them as belonging to the dog. Personally, I find it hard to believe that each dog has a unique smell for its anal sac fluid.

If the anal sacs do not empty properly but accumulate this fluid, they can become very full and cause the dog all manner of irritation. This may manifest as:
- Scooting – the characteristic dragging of the rear across the floor, usually when you have visitors of a delicate disposition;
- Biting at the back paws;
- Biting at the tail base;
- Leaping up suddenly as if been stung by an insect;
- Odd behaviour, rushing around for no apparent reason.

Emptying anal sacs is generally a simple matter, either externally or with a gloved finger. Some dogs may find this painful, sometimes needing sedation.

Normal anal sac fluid ranges from a brown liquid to a greeny-white toothpaste-like substance. The fluid being warm, it is not uncommon to detect an infection, usually indicated by the presence of blood in the fluid. Rarely, an abscess may develop which is incredibly painful for the dog, and it may burst through the skin. Antibiotics and pain relief are often sufficient but it may be necessary to flush the infected sacs under sedation.

Recurrent anal sac infections and abscessation are a common reason for removal to be recommended. This is not surgery to be undertaken lightly so you are quite right to be giving this careful thought. Faecal incontinence is the major concern, albeit a rare complication. There is also the need for general anaesthesia so the age and general condition of your dog need to be considered. However, if your dog is suffering from repeated anal sac infections and abscesses then removing the anal sacs will solve that.

If your vet has recommended anal sac removal because of a growth in one or both sacs, then there are other factors to consider.

If you are at all unsure about putting your dog through this procedure, then I would go back to your vet to discuss it with him at greater length. He really will not mind talking it over with you because this is an important decision you are making on your dog’s behalf. Your vet is in the best position to advise you because he knows you and your dog and the history leading up to his recommendation to have the anal sacs removed. He will want to know that you are happy and giving fully informed consent for the procedure before he goes ahead.

Be prepared

Hello, I was just wondering if anyone knows what to do if your dog is bitten by an adder and you are, say one hour, away from a vets?

Can you carry anything on you to give to them, for example, or is it just a case of getting them to the vets asap?

Rachel, by email

In search of a dog ramp

Does anyone know where I can get a dog ramp to help my old GSD get into the back of our four wheel drive? It's difficult at the moment and my husband isn't very well at the moment so he can't lift her.

Any suggestions really appreciated.

Lesley, by email

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Test driving the Dyson Groom Tool!

A few weeks ago we asked for volunteers to try out the intriguing Dyson Groom Tool. Well I'm excited to say we now have them here for you to see!

Now I'd like to point out that Bruce the Labrador did only have three legs before he started the trial and it wasn't an overzealous suck action that caused it!
Here was the charming email that put Bruce the top of my list as a reviewer:

We have a timeshare triped (or should that be tri-pawed?). That is, we walk him most days, and have him (Bruce) for the day at least two days each week. We do this because Bruce is too strong for his elderly lady owner and otherwise would never get out. (Nor would she come to that).

Bruce is a prolific shedder at this time of year particularly. I'm sure he would not be scared of a mere vacuum! I would be happy to video or photograph Bruce enjoying this pampering, particularly if it might mean he can get this treatment at home as well as when he visits us each week.


Keith. (Wheeler)

Here's Bruce's movie...

Next up is the fantastic Gina Graham, the doggie dancing lady whose doggies have been in our mag lots before and have made it onto the cover, too!

Here's their review:
Review of Dyson Groom Tool
The Dyson groom tool is a brush attachment for grooming your dog, it attaches to Dyson vacuum cleaners enabling the vacuum to suck any hair loosened when grooming your dog.

The attachment itself features a slicker type brush and it fits easily onto the Dyson vacuum. It is operated by holding down a lever on the back of the brush.

I used the tool on my long coated Sheltie, the brush itself is suitable for her coat type, the slicker bristles can sometimes be too short but with this brush they are long enough for her long coat. I used the tool attached to a battery operated hand held Dyson Animal which I felt was a bit bulky for a small dog, therefore I would probably recommend attaching it to a hose for small dogs. The tool itself is great and it is refreshing to find yourself brushing the dog and not getting covered in hair! Sometimes the hair does get stuck around the bristles and doesn’t suck up first time so you just have to press the lever on the brush a couple of times to loosen the hair, the vacuum then sucks the hair through the brush really well.

The tool was also tested on my medium coated shepherd cross, again the brush was attached to the Dyson and using this was a lot easier on a bigger dog. I found the tool worked very well as the hairs didn’t tend to get wrapped round the brush as much as with my long coated dog and they were sucked up through the vacuum easily.

Finally the tool was tested on my other partner’s short coated german shepherd. Again this worked really well on her and despite being short coated we managed to fill the vacuum up quickly!

Overall I think this is a fantastic tool – the brush is a decent brush and works on a variety of coat types and it’s easy to use. It’s a fantastic invention – you can now brush your dog without getting covered in dog hairs! I can’t recommend it enough.

Here's Kathryn Parker's review...

Over the last few weeks I have been immensely pleased with the Dyson Groom Tool – a fantastic new innovation that means my home is now almost hair-free from the dog!

The small attachment is made of a robust plastic and is exceptionally lightweight – perfect for grooming sessions with a long-haired dog. The dog in question is my gorgeous Labradoodle, Rufus. Firstly, I would like to dispel the myth that Labradoodles do not molt much – simply not true!
I think the first concern for people using the Dyson Groom Tool will be that thunderous noise of the vacuum – something many dogs do not like. Rufus, whilst not afraid of the vacuum, does tend to think it is a game to be played with, by barking and running around in circles. The fabulous thing about using the Dyson Groom Tool, attached to the vacuum, is that I have managed to get him used to the noise in pretty much the first session. I found that by turning the vacuum on before brushing him and leaving on for quite some time whilst keeping him sat down and calming him with stroking, solved the problem in the fist ten minutes. He now loves it!

The Groom Tool attaches to the vacuum very easily (animal model upright for me). Before using it to brush Rufus, I turned the vacuum on so that he became very calm with the noise before I commenced. The Groom Tool has quite sharp bristles for the human hand, but the dog found them absolutely fine, and I would go as far as to say, soothing. Very easy to use, I simply pushed down on the attachment to make the bristles appear, and then using a fairly firm pressure, with the vacuum on, began brushing down Rufus’s back. To my amazement, so much hair was lifted out of his coat, and then I simply released the bristle trigger and the vacuum rather spectacularly sucked up all the hair into the container. How fabulous!
Usually after grooming with a regular brush, my living room carpet has mounds all over the place and I still have to get the vacuum out afterwards. This is a concise and hygienic way of grooming the dog, and is less work for me. I found the brush to run through the dog’s hair really easily and am also told it cleans up dead skin cells as well. A bonus to the product!

I would say that this is a fantastic innovation. A small and simple tool that is very easy to use and provides the apparatus needed to keep the home dog-hair free. I love seeing the hair sucked up from the brush to the vacuum – it is remarkable to see how much actually comes up in one sitting.

Pros – Really efficient at grooming with great bristles that the dog finds relaxing.
The sucking action is fantastic and keeps my home completely hair-free.
I do not have to groom the dog and then vacuum – this is an all-in-one product
Very lightweight and simple to use
Very hygienic, bristles retract after use and there is no hair on the brush to pull out

Cons– For some, getting the dog uses to the noise of a vacuum can be difficult Sometimes I like to groom the dog whilst watching television – not going to happen with the vacuum on!
It would be great if there were some kind of longer hose attachment, as the vacuum has to be quite close to the dog in order to reach. Longer hose would make it ideal.
It’s not recommended for the legs and delicate areas, so other brushing is still required.

Here's their video review...

Thank you so much to our wonderful and very professional panel of reviewers! 
Some budding TV presenters in my opinion! And thank you to Dyson for giving us the Grooming attachments to play with!

A supplementary question...

We are doing an article in the next issue of the magazine on supplements and I'd like to ask you some questions - I hope you don't mind!
What supplements - if any - do you give your dog and why?
My old Mum had an enormous number of extras she gave our dogs and I'm just wondering if anyone else has some tips they swear by?
Tell us a bit more about your dog either on here in the comments section or email me with a photo - if you have one. But don't forget put 'Supplements' in the subject so I don't lose them - I do have a very full in box!
So if you have a row of bottles, I want to know what they are and why and what you feel they do for your dog! Or if there's just one addition to your dog's diet you couldn't be doing without I'd like to know all about it!
Best wishes
Beverley Cuddy
Editor, Dogs Today
My email address is

Monday, 4 July 2011

Can you shed some light on shedding?

Dear Think Tank

I am writing to you to see if you can help me with my Cocker Spaniel's coat. She is lemon roan in colour and is two years old.

She has been moulting on and off for two years and we do brush her every day but still the hairs are everywhere.

I would be very grateful if you can help me.

Mrs Kalits, Denbighshire

Alison Logan, vet, advises...

If your cocker spaniel is two years old and has been shedding excessively for the past two years, then you have been coping with this for all the time that you have had her! Lemon roan is such a pretty coat colour, but does mean that the hairs are really obvious on dark furnishings and clothing. Conversely, the hair from my black Labradors and cat collects on my hard kitchen floor against the walls and on the paler carpets, as well as showing up on light clothing (so I am usually to be found wearing boring dark colours!).When I am consulting, it is the white rabbits which leave my navy work top covered in fur.

A pet constantly shedding is a common complaint in the consulting room. A common explanation goes as follows. In today’s modern society, we strive to keep our homes at a temperature so that we can take off our outer clothing, even in the coldest of winters. The result can be a house running at a similar temperature all year round, without seasonal variation. I have been on visits where, on a cold December day, the owners open the door to me wearing no more than a tee shirt and trousers. Pets living in such conditions cannot change their coat as they go from inside the house to outside and end up confused, so to speak.

Generally, dogs kept in a kennel outside will not moult all the time but follow a more accepted seasonal pattern. They put on a thicker coat for the winter which is then shed in the spring in favour of a lighter weight coat for the hopefully warmer weather of the summer.

Provided your dog is not going bald but is actively re-growing hair then this should be a natural state of affairs, which is not great news for your carpets but good for your dog from a health perspective.. It is important to ensure she is being fed a balanced diet. There are food supplements which will help boost the condition of her coat.

It goes without saying that grooming on a regular, daily basis will help catch loose hairs before they land on your carpets and clothes. Just like walking our dogs should be a pleasure, so I would try to look on your dog’s daily grooming session as a chance for spending quality time together, rather than a chore.