Dog Care and Safety

  • There's a road, keeps on calling me! The DOGtrace X20 Dog GPS Tracker

    It's always difficult to know how your dog is going to react to different training styles. Inuk the Shepsky, German Shepherd cross Husky seemed to keep a safe distance to me and be constantly checking where I was. I crossed my fingers and hoped German Shepherd traits would override the rumours you hear about huskies wandering off. I continued to walk her off the lead, mainly down the enclosed canal tow path since I had her at 8 weeks.

    Training was confined to a small space about 20m x 7m but with an open end where she could get to the canal and road and she did know what was beyond that imaginary line due to the walks. With a firm command as she approached this line and armed with the treats in my pocket she had no interest in stepping one foot further. We'd even pop out to this spot for toilet (off the lead) and she'd come straight back in doors on cue!

    It was around 6 to 8 months I noticed a change in her behaviour. She'd always been a scavenger which drew her further afield but the instinct to chase, cats, pigeons, ducks and squirrels. As she began to understand the difference between good and bad behaviour, if she knew she'd been bad, not come back on cue, chased something and gone near a road, the husky kicked in. Friends agreed you could see it in her eyes, she's thinking 'why would I come back to be told off' it was then I realised the difference in positive and negative training techniques and different breeds (more on that another time) this happened one or two times but as I continued the daily routine she quickly forgot this behaviour in these locations.

    And so, the icing on the cake! An unfortunate sequence of events. One afternoon while at the farm where I run a business, she picked up a road kill rabbit, with meat exposed she ran off into the field with it. Surprisingly when I caught up with her she gave it up and recalled quite well ...but not too long after on a walk down a disused railway track she caught and killed another rabbit. Not uncommon I later found in many breeds! This scenario was different, every time I got close she'd pick up and run away, each time with a little less on the rabbit. When it was finally gone there was no recall, not sit, no stay, nothing. As I had before tricked her back into the lead with treats this time I called a friend and his dog. If you switch her back into play mode and the most lifts from her eyes she'd recall straight away. But each time she'd grow wise to the tricks.

    Back on the farm the draw of rabbits, and waste food had become a problem. Where I could usually have her off the lead and under control. If she stepped beyond the circle of control you'd see the most ...and then she was off. It wouldn't be a problem as I know where she goes but they don't like it on the farm so I could not continue any routine. If the doors were open she was penned in or on a tether. But this meant, at the slightest opportunity she'd be off.

    The DOGtrace X20

    DOGtrace X20There's no worse feeling than you thinking you might have lost your dog, she might have wondered to the busy road or evening someone's made off with her. All these things run through your mind during the search. When you know where she is it's different! There's some element of cornering or ushering away from danger. I'd looked at many tracking devices, all with the need for a data connection to transmit the gps and of course reliant on phone signal. All great but the locations you are most likely to be in this situation is usually remote.Armed with the Dog Trace X20 I headed down to East Head on the West Wittering Estate. I have no problem recalling here, only the farm! But I know there's rabbits in the dunes and bramble bushes so as we walk on the inland side off the peninsula she'd be off on the hunt. With the collar and handset paired and full GPS signal we set off. The handset is fairly simple with 4 buttons and a simple, hold the 2 components together to turn the collar on system. The range is up to a massive 20km but we wouldn't be getting to test that today. While she's close the handset signals this so I sent her off into the dunes for a hunt. Very accurately the device tells you the dogs direction and distance so I continued the walk her down, not looking back and not with the usual occasional recall. At times she was 80m away, out of sight but I knew exactly which bush she was patrolling

    DOGtrace X20

    The system comes with lots of other functions including beeper, fence and can even monitor up to 9 dogs. It's waterproof and for me this means sand proof which is great for down the beach.

    In my opinion, keeping you dog on the lead at times they should be able to roam is not the solution to the wandering dog problem. I managed to correct this behaviour in locations where I still had some element of control. But it's piece of mind you need in order to remain in the correct state of mind yourself to deal with the issue and train it out.

    Find out more here:

  • Great twist on the Creature Comforts series from our friends at Tilt

    Check out this video from our Friends at Tilt. Tilt were commissioned by the South Downs to produce a 'Take the Lead' campaign about responsible dog ownership. This made us chuckle! Dog walkers on the South Downs were interviewed and the voice over was added to a funny animation with a twist on the classic creature comforts sketches.

    Take the Lead from tilt on Vimeo.

  • Something The Bakers Ads Don't Mention

    Why is Bakers dog food such a poor brand to feed your dog? Well the following ingredients list may explain why... E320 - has been found to be tumour-producing when fed to rats. In human studies it has been linked with urticaria, angioedema and asthma E321 - banned for use in food in Japan, Romania, Sweden, and Australia. The US has barred it from being ...used in infant foods. So bad McDonalds have voluntarily eliminated it from their products. E310 - Banned from children's foods in the US because it is thought to cause the blood disorder methemoglobinemia E172 - Banned in Germany E132 - Can cause skin sensitivity, a rash similar to nettle rash, itching, nausea, high blood pressure and breathing problems. One of the colours that the Hyperactive Children's Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of children. Banned in Norway. E102 - TARTRAZINE - A trial on 76 children diagnosed as hyperactive, showed that tartrazine provoked abnormal behaviour patterns in 79% of them E110 - Sunset Yellow has been found to damage kidneys and adrenals when fed to laboratory rats. It has also been found to be carcinogenic when fed to animals E104 - One of the colours that the Hyperactive Children's Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of children. Banned in Australia, Japan, Norway and the United States. E171 - Banned in Germany E153 - Banned as a food additive in the United States of America. Suspected as a carcinogenic agent.

  • Protect Your Dogs From The Winter Elements.

    Over the past few years here in the UK we have experienced colder than normal winters and they caught us out because they were early. Dogs feel the cold as much we do, so it's important to keep them warm and dry while out on their walks. Dogs tend to grow thicker hair over the winter months but this can sometimes not be enough to protect them from the cold. Dog coats are the perfect way to keep them warm and protect them from the winter elements. There are a wide range of dog coats available whether you go for the Hurtta Winter Jacket with its fleece lining, fur collar and underbelly protection to keep them or a Timberwolf Wax Jacket with it's waterproof waxed coating protection. Coats will keep your dogs warm, dry, clean and protect their main muscle groups.Hurtta Winter Jacket It's important your dog gets the right size coat. Measuring your dog is easy, take a tape measure and hold it an inch above their back and measure from the base of the tail to the base of the neck. Don't be tempted to lay the tape measure on their back and follow the curve as this will only add to the measurement and therefore you'll get the wrong size coat. See our earlier blog post, Dog Coats – Getting the right Size

    Dog boots can also be used to protect your dogs paws from the salt and snow. The boots keep your dog paws warm and will prevent the snow freezing in their paws which can be very painful for the dog. Salt can be an irrritant on their paws so boots will ensure this doesn't happen and your dog can go for a pain free walk in the snow and ice. Another way to protect their paws is Shaw Paw Wax it helps prevent damage to the paws in the cold winter months and on long hikes all year round.  It's also great to stop your dog slipping on laminate or tile floors.

    Even though it's cold and you may not feel much like venturing out your dog still needs to be exercised. So as you need to be warm and dry so does your dog, coats and boots will help them keep warm and dry and make the daily walks more enjoyable for them.

  • Heat Stroke in Dogs

    With the weather now starting the warm-up, well for the moment anyway, and with a potentially hot summer forecast heat stroke can be a serious problem for many dogs.

    Dogs Overheat in cars


    Hyperthermia is an elevation in body temperature. This increase typically occurs as a response to a trigger, such as inflammation in the body or a hot environment. When a dog is exposed to high temperatures, heat stroke or heat exhaustion can result. Heat stroke is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Once the signs of heat stroke are detected, there is precious little time before serious damage - or even death - can occur. Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans - they release heat primarily by panting and they sweat through the foot pads and nose. If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, the internal body temperature begins to rise. Once the dog's temperature reaches 41°C, damage to the body's cellular system and organs may become irreversible. Unfortunately, too many dogs succumb to heat stroke when it could have been avoided. Learn how to recognise the signs of heat stroke and prevent it from happening to your dog. Signs of Heat Stroke The following signs may indicate heat stroke in a dog:
    • Increased rectal temperature (over 40°C requires action, over 41°C is a dire emergency)
    • Vigorous panting
    • Dark red gums
    • Tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)
    • Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
    • Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
    • Thick saliva
    • Dizziness or disorientation

    What to do if You Suspect Heat Stroke If you have even the slightest suspicion that your dog is suffering from heat stoke, you must take immediate action.

    1. First, move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.
    2. Begin cooling your dog by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body - especially the foot pads and around the head.
    3. DO NOT use ice or very cold water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body's core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia, introducing a host of new problems. When the body temperature reaches 39°C, stop cooling.
    4. Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog's mouth.
    5. Call or visit your vet right away - even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary (and further testing may be recommended).

    Tip: recruit others to help you - ask someone to call the vet while others help you cool your dog. Preventing Heat Stroke There are ways you can prevent heat stroke from happening in the first place.

    • NEVER leave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, regardless of whether the windows are open. Even if the weather outside is not extremely hot, the inside of the car acts like an oven - temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes.
    • Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days. When outside, opt for shady areas.
    • Keep fresh cool water available at all times.
    • Certain types of dogs are more sensitive to heat - especially obese dogs and brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds, like Pugs and Bulldogs. Use extreme caution when these dogs are exposed to heat.

    Some dogs can recover fully from heat stroke if it is caught early enough. Others suffer permanent organ damage and require lifelong treatment. Sadly, many dogs do not survive heat stroke. Prevention is the key to keeping your dog safe during warmer weather. By Jenna Stregowski, RVT To help your dog cope with the heat try the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler

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