May issue

May issue
May issue

Friday, 25 May 2012

All night long


My Border Collie has started to bark at night and do not know how to stop it.
I just wondered if you knew how to stop it?
Tamsin (age 11), by email

Friday, 11 May 2012

Urgent help needed for Dalmatian needing rehoming

We've just received a phone call from a very desperate reader.

Helen sadly needs to rehome her two-year-old, Dalmatian, Jasmine. Unfortunately Jasmine has been attacked three times by different dogs and although she lives with one other Dalmatian and a small dog, has developed a fear of other dogs. Jasmine used to go crazy even when she picked up a scent of another dog whilst out on a walk and did bite Helen (redirected aggression), but Helen and her daughter have been working with a behaviourist which has helped Jasmine to improve. She now does get along with some dogs. Unfortunately Helen has recently suffered a heart attack and her daughter has recently been diagnosed with a debilitating illness, and they have made the decision that sadly Jasmine is simply just too much for them to care for at the moment.

Helen and her daughter are desperate to find Jasmine a happy forever home. They have spoken with Hope Rescue about taking Jasmine in to be rehomed but they are so short on space they need to prioritise pound and stray dogs who do not have owners. Dogs Trust has told Helen they can't take a dog who does not get on with other dogs, but they are now looking into what they can do. Dalmatian Welfare have said they very rarely have adopters who are willing to take on a dog with a history of behavioural problems and they have just too many dogs at present. We understand that rescues have such an awful situation to deal with - it is they who have to pick up the pieces of unwanted dogs -  and they are doing their best with such a massive workload, but if anyone knows of anyone who can help, please let us know.

Helen is in Chorlton, Manchester. Jasmine has been neutered and is up to date with her vaccinations. She has injured her neck so has to wear a harness. Although she isn’t good with other dogs she is great with people and children and it’s only since the attacks that she has become aggressive and afraid around other dogs, and she has spent time working on this with a behaviourist.

If anyone knows of a rescue or anyone who can take Jasmine in or help her, please do call us on 01276 858880 or email

Eat your greens


Does anyone know if eating grass is a sign of anything, such as illness, or a diet lacking in something?

My six-year-old collie mix has always eaten grass, but she seems to be eating a lot more of it at the moment. I'm not sure if all the rain making everywhere very green has something to do with it, but it does seem to have become more tasty to her recently!


Isabelle White, by email

Alison Logan, vet, advises…

I know exactly what you mean. My Labbies particularly like lush spring grass which is probably tasty as it is actively growing and fresh, and particularly after a heavy dew. It is often said that a dog brewing a stomach upset will eat grass to purge himself but I have not noticed that with my Labbies… if anything, they are feeling on top form! Often it does all come back up but I have never noticed subsequent illness or malaise. Alternatively, I notice grass in their motions when picking them up, or else help may be needed to remove it from the anus – speaking from experience. I would recommend using a poo bag as a glove, as you always have a poo bag with you when out on a walk but never a disposable glove. 

With my vet’s hat on, you ought to consider the possibility of an increased risk to your dog of picking up a lungworm infection with Angiostrongylus vasorum through eating grass which may have slugs and snails on it. Your vet will be able to advise on the most suitable product to use as a preventative.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

DCYD: what do you do when travelling alone?

We are soon to get a puppy. We cannot wait. However, although we don’t have any holidays planned for the summer this year, do you have any advice for traveling with dogs in hot weather. Sometimes there are major hold ups on the roads and although you can give your dog water and have the car windows down, as your ad shows, the car can still get tremendously hot in a very short space of time.

Also, if traveling alone with your dog and you need to use the toilet, what can be done about your dog? Sometimes the places are very large and there are often queues (especially for females) you can easily be gone for 15 mins. Far too long to leave your dog!! Do you have any advice? If you do would you kindly post it to your website as I am sure this is something people may not have thought of.

Kind regards,

Avril Howe, by email

The RSPCA advises...

Each year the RSPCA receives around 6,000 calls from members of the public concerned about an animal that has been left in a car on the street, in a supermarket car park or at a public event.

Dogs can die from heatstroke in as little as 20 minutes. In warm, sunny weather cars become ovens and even if it’s cloudy, the temperature inside a car can become dangerously hot for a dog. When it is just 22°C (72°F) outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C (117°F) or even higher. For this reason, the RSPCA advises that animals are never left inside cars.
If a dog left in a car is panting for breath, it may be starting to suffer from heatstroke. This could kill the dog very quickly.
Leaving the car windows open or putting a bowl of water inside does not help.
Temperatures in air conditioned cars can reach the same as the outside air temperature within just five minutes of air conditioning being turned off.
Owners who put an animal at risk by leaving it locked inside a car can face prosecution.

Below is a link to our page that gives advice on this:

Motorway service stations reply...

A Welcome Break spokesperson said...

Our policy on allowing dogs into our services is much the same as any other restaurant/eatery, i.e. we only allow guide dogs.

A Roadchef spokesperson said...
We welcome all customers at Roadchef Motorway Service areas. However, as we are predominately a catering business we must abide by all environmental health and hygiene regulations. As a result, we do not deem it appropriate in all circumstances to allow dogs inside our motorway service areas (except of course for guide dogs or other assistance dogs).
We do recognise the dangers of leaving dogs in cars, and as such, provide water bowls and places to tie up leads outside our motorway service areas.

Kirsty Birkin, Moto, said...
Only guide dogs are allowed internally on our sites. Being a dog owner myself, if I am travelling on my own I tie my dog up in a safe area if I need to use the rest room.

Ferry unfair?

Can you tell me why do we have to pay for our dogs on the ferry coming from France into England when they just stay in your car on the boat? It seems to have gone up the price per dog, too. When SeaFrance was running, dogs were free, both ways. 
I cannot understand why P&O charge so much for just having a dog sitting in your car, plus the other ferries as well
Also why do some ferries not charge for a dog leaving England only coming back? To bring my four dogs back to England on the ferry when we have been on holiday costs more than me, my husband and the car - usually for us its only around £45, but then you add £60-£70 on top for the dogs. I know people will probably say it's for paper work etc, but if that's right how come you don't have to pay going over to France only coming back.
Is it just away of making money from dog owners? I don't think it is fair. 
Janis McLeod, by Email

Friday, 4 May 2012

Bargaining chip


I have recently adopted a Greyhound from a rescue centre that specialises in the adoption of sighthounds. She's not our first Greyhound/sighthound. We paid our "donation" to the centre and left with adoption papers and her free month of pet insurance from PetPlan. She is neutered and microchipped. This is where my problem now lies.

I sent off the adoption papers along with the fee to get my details registered to her microchip. I received a phone call from pet log today saying that the rescue centre have refused to let them change the details. I phoned the rescue centre and they said, "It was nothing personal, they do it to everyone to safeguard the dogs as they've had dogs dumped".

Surely it is in the dogs best interest to have its current owners details registered? Is there anything I can do?

Lisa, by email

Dogs Trust's legal expert Trevor Cooper (, advises...

As there is currently no law on microchipping it is entirely a matter for the owner at the time to decide whether or not to change the details on the database when the dog is transferred to someone else. If the details don’t get changed on transfer, then our argument for saying that chipping means that the person responsible can more easily be traced goes out of the window.

This becomes a little complicated:-


This issue is most likely to arise with rescues. They want to make sure that a dog that they rehome is properly looked after and want to ensure that it that is not the position that they will be able to get the dog back. They believe that the likelihood of the dog getting back to them is increased if they retain ownership ie the legal title. Should the dog stray, the rescue will say that it should be returned to them and they can then decide whether or not to entrust the dog with the keeper again. The problem will come if the rescue moves or if they lose their records.


For the same reason, some breeders do the same thing. There is often a clause used that if the new owner doesn’t want the dog any more that it must be returned to the original owner. However, in fact this kind of clause is unenforceable if ownership passes, because:-

A transfers ownership of a dog to B with that clause. However, B gives the dog to C ie. B breaches the agreement that it had with A. However A can’t get the dog back from C because they had no contract with them.

However, if ownership does not pass from A to B (ie if B becomes the keeper rather than the owner), then if B gives the dog to C, it is slightly more likely that A will be able to reclaim the dog as being the legal owner. However I really do not like this kind of arrangement and would try to argue for C in this kind of case as I would say that in fact ownership had passed from A to B.

Easy rider


Now my elderly Labrador is getting older, she has more than a few fatty lumps and is growing out of her car harness. She has a Roadie Ruff Rider currently which has been excellent.

I bought this over 10 years ago at the recommendation of Dogs Today. What harness is recommended now? Is there a car harness out there that also doubles as a walking harness, as she has outgrown her walking harness some time ago?


Lynn Walker, by email

Eats shoots and all sorts


One of our six dogs has the habit of eating the ground. I know it sounds strange when put like that, but that's the best way I can describe it. He lies down, then starts to chew at the ground between his paws. He chews through the grass, chews through the grass roots, then eats the mud, gravel, stones and anything else underneath. And it's not just on grass - dirt, sand, stone chippings, he treats them all the same. What's more, once he's got a good spot going (nice and soggy) he'll come back to it time and again until I cover it with a rock. Then he'll start another elsewhere. And also our other dogs also like the soggy chewed patches and start chewing them as well!

Does anyone know why this could be? Our vet seems to think this is nothing to worry about and doesn't think it's anything like a dietary deficiency. They have a good diet - the chewer is on Arden Grange sensitive and the others are on Burns. I wonder if it's just because some spots are particularly well "flavoured" by everyone taking turns to pee there, but he does it in the woods, on the beach, anywhere!  Surely this can't be any good for him? Could he be lacking in anything?

And while on the subject, one of the others, an elderly Japanese Spitz with no teeth, tries to eat stones. Okay, not big ones, but he picks them up and chews (gums) them to death and would probably try to swallow them if we didn't stop him. We've had to resort to a Buster (cone) collar when he's outside unsupervised to stop him choking himself. Any ideas why he does this, or more importantly how to stop him?  He does like to eat grass by the mouthful as well.


Bill, by email

Richard Allport, vet, advises...

Well, it’s a moot point as to how ‘good’ a complete diet is compared with the all singing, all dancing , tip top, raw meaty bone diet (and fewer dogs on such a diet appear to need to eat earth and vegetation) but however good a diet, some dogs love to scavenge and eat rubbish of various kinds. Or swallow stones (in this case a behavioural expert could be of assistance, I think it’s just an obsessive habit, like chewing fingernails or sucking the thumb in humans).

I guess the earth chewing member of your tribe has a similar obsessive habit. I doubt it’s due to a lack of any minerals or vitamins, although I have had a few dogs with the same kind of soil eating penchant who did respond to a mineral supplement called Volcanic elements, which is rich in trace elements amongst the more common minerals. It might well be worth trying this for your dog – but if he does continue to excavate your garden you might be lucky enough to find he strikes oil and makes you a fortune!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Why do I have a crabby dog?

We have a thing with Rothko, every time when we go out for our walks he starts walking funny - we call it sideways or crab walking. Now we had him checked by the vet with Xrays; the lot but nothing major was found - so the assumption is it is behavioural. But he looks like he is uncomfortable.
The common denominators are:
- he is on the lead (on collar or harness makes very little difference) off lead he is fine
- we only have it on our regular walk, it has some paved bits (on our other less regular walks we have hard surfaces too but no problem then, even on the lead)
- off the lead he is fine at home on the courtyard he is also fine.
It's like he is jerking the lead himself no matter if this is a long lead or short one. Also on the way back from the walk he wants to stop at every tree, bit of grass etc if we pull him along (GENTLY) he start walking funny again. Now we tried several things but nothing seems to help - like walking on his own with Steve, walking with me alone, walking with our other dogs Nadar or Merz etc.. walking with a very very loose lead...
Also unrelated to anal glands.

Tried a Thundershirt, no change.
Anyone any ideas?

Judith Broug, by email