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Bee Stings, Honey Bees, White Clover and My Dog

Honey Bee

Bee stings and dogs do not end well. I have a paddock full of White Clover or Trifolium repens, the white clover (also known as Dutch clover, Ladino clover, or Ladino). We have to keep it mowed regularly otherwise the Honey Bees become a problem because as the field is solely used for walking the dogs.

The drone of the Honey Bees is an odd experience, but once we can hear this, we know it’s time to do some grass cutting.

It is a regular occurrence here to have to catch a dog limping off on 3 legs after getting stung by a Honey Bee. It happened today, poor Maisie ran off on 3 legs, wondering what the heck happened. I caught her and pulled out a minute sting. It’s only through experience that I knew what to do, but I can imagine many a dog owner seeing their poor dog limping around on 3 legs and not knowing what to do.

If this happens to you, don’t panic, there’s no need. Just follow the instructions below to deal with it quickly and without fuss.

What do I do if I suspect my dog has been stung?

If you are walking on a grassy area where White Clover is prominent, then there is a fair chance your dog has been stung. Here’s what to do.

  • Get a firm hold of your dog or get someone to help you
  • Lift up their paw
  • Look underneath on their pads for the bee sting
  • You are looking for a small white-ish thing
  • Pull it out with your fingers, then throw it away
  • Your dog should now be none the wiser
  • If any swelling occurs, it will very likely go down after a few days
  • If in any doubt, please see your vet as bee stings are painful for them

Bee Stings

It will look something like this –

 

bee stings

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Knuckle Bones for oral health in dogs

Knuckle bones

Knuckle Bones are my top recommendation for keeping tartar at bay in dogs.

Ok, I’m no vet so you really should not avoid getting vets advice, but read my blog and make a sensible decision about your dogs’ teeth and their oral health.

I have always been a multi-dog household and have never had a better method for keeping my dogs’ teeth clean. Roast knuckle bones are great for when:

  • Teeth are starting to brown and cleaning the teeth with dog toothpaste is not working
  • There is tartar on your dogs’ teeth
  • There is very thick tartar on your dogs’ teeth!

Do not rely on this method when:

  • Your dog has cavities (which may not be evident as the tartar is covering it)
  • Cavities mean extractions, so please see a vet
  • Your dog guards bones and is aggressive (if you can safely leave them alone while chewing the knuckle bone then this is your call)
  • If you have a guarder, use a lead like one of our house lines to lead your dog away when they get a bit silly around the bone

When using this method, make sure you:

  • Allow supervised sessions of chewing
  • Throw the bone away 1-2 days
  • Watch their pooping as bones will firm your dogs’ stools

Always:

  • Discard bones after a day or two as they can splinter
  • Make sure you supervise as your dog may actually eat the whole bone (yes believe it)
  • Throw the knuckle bone away afterwards if it is really hot

Knuckle Bones and daily/weekly checks

This is my routine for my dogs’ oral health.

  • New dogs, get them used to being examined. Lift their lips and get them used to having their teeth examined
  • Check your dogs’ teeth weekly so you can monitor how dirty they are getting
  • It is possible that some dogs teeth will stay pearly white versus a dog of the same age with disgusting thick tartar
  • If you can clean your dogs’ teeth with a toothpaste and brush then this is great as well as using knuckle bones
  • I recommend Logic Oral Hygiene Gel for Dogs because you can actually just put this on your dogs’ teeth without doing much else if you find brushing their teeth difficult

Nylabones

Nylabones are great if your dog will chew but either you or your dog is not keen on the whole real bone thing. That’s Ok because I use Nylabones too.

I recommend you make sure you are using the right type of Nylabone for the type of life stage of your dog. Don’t do what I stupidly did once and thought I was saving money by buying the puppy Nylabones for an adult chewer, they don’t last long and can even be dangerous.

The bits that break off an unsuitable chew can become stuck in your dogs intestine and may even prove fatal, so mark my words.

That’s about all folks. If you have any questions about this topic, remember I’m not a vet but have been using this method successfully for many years.

Feel free to comment below.

 

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Doggy MOT that any owner can do

Ever heard of a doggy MOT? Well, you have now. I call it a doggy MOT when my dogs get a once over by myself – not a vet. It’s something any owner can do when you just follow some simple guidelines, which is what I’m going to do here.

There are places where a follow-up consultation with your vet is recommended, so please heed this advice where necessary.

Disclaimer: I am not a vet, so please, if in doubt, take your dog to be checked by a vet without delay.

The MOT

  • Your dogs’ coat – too many dogs come into my boarding kennels with neglected coats. All you need to do is keep them bathed, combed and infestation free. If you can’t for whatever reason, then take them to a recommended groomer or your vet, most vets have in-house groomers as well. Use grooming time to check your dogs’ skin condition and for any lumps that may be there.
  • Teeth – from personal experience, this is a biggy for me. Ive always been on the ball with teeth care but it still catches me out now. Debris that collects around the tooth/gum line can (ultimately) lead to a general anaesthetic and tooth extractions, at best an infected gum. I am going to do a new blog on oral health but for now, do this:
    • Inspect weekly or every few days
    • Note status of teeth and monitor
    • Give roast knuckle bones under supervision and take away when they start to become well chewed. (Avoid your dog ingesting pieces, can also cause constipation, it is your responsibility to use bones properly). Done correctly, roast knuckle bones can save your dog having to have an anaesthetic. I’ve seen the worst teeth come up beautifully on these roast knuckle bones alone. (NB I reiterate. Be responsible.)
    • A good toothpaste like LOGIC paste. This can be rubbed on to the gums with your finger or brushed in the traditional way.
    • You can sometimes chip off tartar with your nail. Do this!
    • Ultimately go to the vets, but check your dogs’ teeth weekly.
  • Nails – keep them trimmed to the right length. As dogs mature and become senior in their years they grow more or don’t wear so fast – whatever. Keep an eye on dew claws as they don’t wear and can grow full circle to dig in or puncture the dogs’ pads or skin – nasty, been there. Checking them saves this.
  • Anal glands – most owners don’t even know what these are. They are little scent sacks on either side of the dogs bum that are supposed to empty when they poop. If you think its funny that your dog scoots its bottom on the floor, or you can see them nibbling or licking their bottoms its time for a trip to the vet.
  • Eyes – do they run, get them checked. Do they look clear, can you see anything on the eyelids or in the eyeball that shouldn’t be there? Does either the top or bottom eyelid look like it is rolling in or out? Is there a pink stain or a visible stain on your dogs coat from their tear duct? Time for a checkup.
  • Ears – check your dogs’ ears and get them used to being looked at before there is an issue. Same with anything if you only ever check your pet when in discomfort or pain, they will never let you check them over as they will associate you checking them over with the pain or discomfort. Trust me I’ve made that mistake.

Have fun checking your dog, it’s time to bond and get them used to being handled.

~ Sarah

 

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Walking Your Dog – How often?

How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?

A question that many ask but few master. Walking your dog is dependent on many factors. Of course, breed types, breed ages, age and health are all factors that should be considered when working out the right amount of time to walk your dog.

Factors that are secondary to your dogs’ needs are that of the owner, not the primary importance but a factor nonetheless. Factors that dictate how long your dog is or isn’t walked are things like time, work hours, owner health, owner interest or lack of interest sadly. Behaviour issues such as pulling on the lead and not coming when called are all factors that effect walk duration or frequency.

It’s a fine balance

I always tell dog owners that walking and feeding your dog is a balance. So for example, if your dog is a working dog, they will be fitter, require more exercise and hence need more food. If your dog is a small lap dog that gets a few minutes a day or just let out in the garden then they require less food.

“My personal opinion is dogs should always be walked a minimum of 2 times every day with extra time to relieve themselves, for example last thing at night and first thing in the morning. Dogs should never be left for longer than 4 hours as they can become bored and need the toilet.“

Summary

So, with these examples above you can see that it’s definitely a balance that needs to be worked out. But how do you work it out? Look at your dog’s body weight / condition. Are they fat, thin, just right? You can tell by looking at the region behind their last ribs, they should have a waist line, an area that ‘goes in’ as it were.

You can google infographics to find out the ideal body condition for your dog.

So, in summary there is no definitive ‘how many minutes should I walk my dog’, because there is no right or wrong answer. You have to work it out based on all the factors. Above all, enjoy your dog and make sure they get as much exercise as they can enjoy. If in doubt ask your veterinary surgeon.

 

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Vestibular Syndrome in Dogs

Vestibular Syndrome is one of the conditions I have the most experience of while working with English Springer Spaniels (it is not just springers that suffer). Most of them get it and it’s not unusual for them to experience an episode more than once or twice. It can happen and pass in minutes (rare) or it can spread over 10 days from onset to recovery.

What I wanted to address particularly in this blog post is how to deal with the first onset of the episode. The first symptoms of vestibular syndrome in dogs are without a doubt the most stressful for the inexperienced dog owner but the trauma your dog is experiencing is what you have to consider including:

  • Time to recover
  • Care from you to help with toileting, feeding – can you help them out to the loo physically? I made a strap to help with the weak rear end.
  • Accept that meds may not help, but time will
  • Above all do not rush to have your poor dog put to sleep because vestibular syndrome is not a killer, peoples attitude towards it is!

How can I prepare?

Vestibular Syndrome can affect your dog in their senior years, in my experience with springers, it’s almost inevitable that they will experience it, I’d say 50%+ chance. What you must remember is you do not have to have them put to sleep!

  • Get a rear end support for your dog, I make them but you can buy them from any dog mobility store.
  • Have some meat in stock that can be had fed, not chicken, a proper complete meal like Pets At Home Wainwrights. This meat can be cut up into squares and be hand fed nicely, dogs like it and it is a complete meal (better for their bowels than just one type of protein)
  • If you need to address incontinence – for male dogs you can get belly wraps and then put incontinence pads in them – for female dogs you can get bitch pants and again use conti pads (incontinence pads can be bought from any food store like Tescos etc)
  • For pooping accidents, feeding as above will help you pick it up as poops should be solid, this is not guaranteed as there may be a disturbance in the bowel habits post vestibular syndrome until they fully recover

Symptoms Of Vestibular Syndrome

  • Walking in a circle, unable to walk straight
  • Loss of balance
  • Eyes flickering from side to side called nystagmus
  • Loss of appetite

I always say ‘always consult a vet’ but do you really want a dog whose world is spinning to be travelling in a car when there’s nothing your vet can do anyway? This is just my opinion and they DO recover. What can kill them is the fact they were already weak (old) or are experiencing other illnesses that don’t make them as resilient to this disease. The only time this happened for me was with a very old girl springer and she was on her third episode.

Video of Buster November 2017

About Recovery

It is not unusual for a dog who has suffered a vestibular episode to be left with a head tilt and possibly a little more unbalanced than normal.

Expect more occurrences once they have had one. If you are aware you can be better prepared and less stressed thus focussing on your dogs’ recovery and not your own inconvenience! I’ve had many a people call me and say, we’ve lost so and so, oh what happened, oh she had a stroke. Too late to advise as they’ve already killed the dog. Just my opinion having dealt with more vestibular cases than I care to count!

Please feel free to add your comments and experience.