Of course, your dog is cute! But if they are overweight they could be in real trouble!
Okay, so your dog is big-boned, a little heavy for his height and probably has a bit of puppy fat on him- what’s so alarming about that? The truth is it’s definitely something to be alarmed about. Pet obesity is a very real problem that has slowly become more of a national trend, rather than an exception. If your dog is obese, he/she is at risk of disease, illness or death even.
It’s not uncommon to find pets that are way beyond their ideal weight limit and the consequences of pet obesity are no laughing matter. Let’s take a detailed look at what these are and how they impact your dog:
Pet obesity- the consequences
Don’t Overfeed Your Dog, Spoil Them The Healthy Way
People tend to spoil their dogs by overfeeding them and giving them lots of unnecessary tasty treats. Dogs are always ready to eat those treats and who doesn’t love to spoil their dog. Those big beautiful eyes looking at you, who can resist. But you don’t have to feed your dog to spoil them.
Here are our 7 top tips to spoil your dog the healthy way:
Services Available at K9 SWiM Which Help Your Dog Lose Weight
K9 SWiM we care about your dog’s health, fitness and happiness. You are always welcome to book any of our services to improve your dog’s fitness and weight over time.
The doggie gym with walking machine, vibration board and core strengthening equipment, are low impact easy exercises to do on balance disks, balls and pads that help tone and strengthen.
We would design a circuit for your dog to do once or twice a week.
Contact us or call us on 1300 787 064 to discuss your needs for your dog to get into shape.
A Personalised Weight Loss Program for Your Dog
We offer a weight loss control program where we give your dog a health check, weigh in , measure and plan a diet and exercise regime for you and your dog to follow. This goes for 8 weeks and is monitored weekly. It is done safely and slowly so your dog is comfortable and happy enough to lose weight.
Not Sure If Your Dog Is Overweight?
Dogs can easily put on weight and you don’t notice straight away but then you start asking yourself “Is my dog overweight?” or maybe you notice other changes in your dog like they have less stamina and their interest in physical activity have decreased.
The Body Condition Score will help you recognise if your dog is overweight. But if you are unsure then K9 Swim or your dog’s veterinarian can weigh your dog and determine your dog’s Body Condition Score (BCS) for you.
Hi I'm Sam Sherrington
Osteopathy has, over the years, become such a huge part of my life. I graduated from UWS in 2003 with a Master of Osteopathy and promptly set about establishing my human practice. Having been a little obsessed with animals since the time I could express my feelings, and having spent my childhood and teen years collecting stray cats, dogs and horses much to my parents hidden delight, it really was no great surprise to anyone that animals would creep into the practice one way or another.
In 2009 I was able to complete, with distinction, the Graduate Diploma of Animal Chiropractic through RMIT in Victoria. This course was the result of an amazing amalgam of Osteopathic, Chiropractic and Veterinary practitioners, with lecturers and tutors from all three fields. Our discussions over meal breaks were educational to say the least! To say this refueled my passion for Osteopathy and it’s potential to make a difference to all creatures, great and small, is a mammoth understatement.
My new qualifications prompted me to take a leap of faith and head overseas to Ireland to focus on the animal side of practice, and I have just after nearly 8 years, returned from a wonderful time living the Irish life while building up strong skills and experience in my practice with horses, dogs and people.
People often ask why on earth a dog might need an Osteopath, and like with humans, the answer isn’t necessarily a quick one.
What is Canine Osteopathy?
Canine Osteopathy is a gentle hands on therapy for dogs which ultimately aims to restore movement wherever in the body it may be lost, and to reduce pain and discomfort resulting from these restrictions. When the joints, muscles, ligaments or tendons, connective tissue or even the vessels and organs of the body aren't free to move pain and discomfort will often result. Many activities we, and our dogs consider a part of normal daily life, can result in these sorts of restrictions. Degenerative processes due to age, injury, breed predisposition or just bad luck can also create compensation and restriction of free and full range of motion. Helping to reduce the these restrictions can have huge effects on the comfort levels of the dog plus helping dogs gain the most from tailored rehab programmes after surgery and is where Osteopathy holds great value for our beloved animals.
What is the major goal to Osteopathic treatment?
The major goal to Osteopathic treatment is finding and addressing restrictions in movement, the premise being that restricted movement, in any tissue of the body, will reduce the capacity for full health of those tissues. This obviously can result in altered gait, altered ability to carry out normal activities of daily life and predispose the body to injury and/or pain. So with that in mind, the Osteopath primarily uses their hands to find and reduce restrictions in normal movement of the body to allow the natural healing ability to work to its best capacity. That’s the abbreviated version.
The full version is something I’m only too happy to converse at length whenever anyone asks! Even 15 years into my professional life I am still blown away, on an almost daily basis, by how powerful it can be to simply allow a body to move. The changes are often much bigger than even I expect, particularly with animals compared to humans, as they have no preconceived ideas as to what they should or shouldn’t be feeling, and what their pain does or doesn’t mean to their life.
Problems in dogs that Ostepathic treatment can help
So what might an owner see that might give them cause to think an Osteopath could help?
How Canine Ostepathic treatment helped Roly the Jack Russell
Occasionally these cases surprise you and make an almost miraculous turn around, like one wonderful little Jack Russell Terrier "Roly" who presented with full hind limb paralysis. Roly had 3 treatments over the space of a month, and along with veterinary management involving medication to manage pain and bandaging to protect his limbs, and some simple home exercises I prescribed for his owners to carry out, he was up and walking, albeit with reduced coordination. I next saw him almost a year later when visiting his owner to work on one of her horses and could hardly believe when I saw him leaping around the place as though there had never been a problem. He is a perfect example of how sometimes, simply giving their systems the space to heal by removing any restrictive roadblocks can reap huge rewards.
I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with the K9 SWiM team, and have access to the vast skills and knowledge base of the rest of the team, not to mention the ability for my clients to access the hugely beneficial hydrotherapy options.
I greatly look forward to helping your dogs achieve their best physical health in 2018, Initial consultation with you and your dog is generally one hour and then subsequent consultations are forty five minutes. If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0452 472 959
Sam Sherrington - Osteopath
The holiday season is upon us; and while that means festivities and fun for you and your family, it can mean a lot of stress for your dog. Some of the stresses your pet has to deal with this time of the year are the weather and unfamiliar faces and guests that may visit your home during this time. The summer months bring with them lighting, thunder and electrical storms all of which can upset your dog.
Most dogs are extremely sensitive to climatic changes and some of them are also phobic when it comes to dealing with the stormy weather around them. They have a very acute hearing and a keen sense of smell and know when a storm is approaching well before humans do. If you find your dog becoming restless and anxious, it’s important that you don’t make too much of a fuss about it.
Act normal and comfort them without mollycoddling them too much as this will help calm them down eventually. The same logic applies to help your dog through the noise and bustle associated with parties and guests in your house. This same approach should be used when there is too much of commotion or when fireworks are being lit in the vicinity of your home.
Some tips to follow
Here are some more things you can do to help de-stress your dog:
Make the holiday season stress-free for your dog
If you are planning on hosting parties during the holiday season, do spare a thought for your nervous pet with unfamiliar visitors. The idea is to create a safe zone he can retreat to in case he feels stressed. That could mean keeping one room free for him, with his bed and water and food bowls easily accessible. This will reduce his anxiety and give you the time to focus on the party and your guests.
The other thing you need to focus on is the activity levels of your dog during the holiday season. With all the running around you have to do decorating the house and preparing food for guests etc. it’s easy for your dog’s needs to get sidelined. The one way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to bring your dog to K9 SWiM’s Hydrotherapy Centre. Your pet can swim around and have fun at our indoor pool and get the exercise he needs during the holiday season too.
Conscientious pet parents are always aware of all the nuances of their dog’s behavior; and so, if there is any change in the way their pet behaves, they are able to quickly pick up on it. While it is easy to pick up things such as food habit changes or appearance changes, there are times when you may not be able to pick up signs of anxiousness in your pet.
The fact is that just as humans can suffer from various behavioral problems, so can pets. There may be times when a pet dog starts acting very erratically, they may just start running around in circles in the yard or may continuously lick its legs or some other part of its body which could develop into an infection. Some pets become very aggressive or destructive and will tear apart everything in sight, the minute their owners leave them alone in the house and go out.
Many pet owners are puzzled when they hear about pet anxiety as it can come on at any stage of their dog’s lives. Owners think that the dogs should be stress free because they have a comfortable and loving home but this is not necessarily the case.
Causes of Stress and Anxiety in Dogs
Causes of Stress and Anxiety in Dogs can be due to:
Signs of anxiousness in dogs
Here are some signs that your dog is anxious; it is an indication that something has upset them and they require additional support from you:
Displacement behaviors in dogs
Natural ways to reduce anxiety in pets
Reduce Your Dogs Anxiety for a Happier and Healthier Dog
A visit to your vet is advised initially as you need to rule out if this anxiety is caused by an illness or a toxicity. A simple blood test can determine this.
If it is a fear or phobia then find yourself a good behaviourist that can help with some techniques to lessen the anxiety and help put your dog in a better frame of mind. They will be able to detect the triggers and work with you in alleviating the stress.
If your dog needs to burn off energy which will assist in calming him down then good exercise and mental stimulation is important. Find a sport that your dog will love or swim a couple of times a week. This will make a happier and healthier dog and will reduce the anxiety levels.
K9 Swim stocks Pet tunes which is a portable Bluetooth speaker with 90 minutes of acoustic music specifically designed to calm your dog. We also offer herbal remedies to calm, massage and an indoor heated pool or an underwater treadmill to burn off excess energy.
We are delighted to announce that we will be stocking some delicious nutritionally balanced raw and lightly cooked doggie meals from The Good Pet Food Kitchen. All of their recipes are thoroughly researched and tested. The Good Pet Food Kitchen was foundered by Annabelle Selleck a qualified Veterinary Nurse and Pet Nutritionist who has a passion for canine nutrition and health and has created these mouth watering dishes with the highest human grade ingredients and nothing artificial.
This month Annabelle has written this article on "Why Real Food In Your Dogs Diet Is So Beneficial" for us. A great read for all dog lovers!
Sharon Osmond - K9 SWiM
Why Real Food In Your Dogs Diet Is So Beneficial
Ok, hands up, who’s excited about Canine Nutrition?
Just like with human nutrition, there’s lots of information floating around & products on the market. Plenty of it is great, some of it not-so-great and some of it downright dangerous.
How do you spot the difference and work out exactly what is the best diet is for your fur kid?
As simplistic as it sounds, a good place to start is good old fashion common sense.
In Australia, we are a fairly lucky bunch, with access to good, clean water, fresh fruit & vegetables, excellent seafood and some of the best quality meat in the world due to our beautiful agricultural land.
We are sure you would agree that when you base the main part of your (human) diet around these fabulous natural wholefoods and keep highly processed foods to a minimum, you feel the benefits. Your energy levels increase, skin is clearer, eyes brighter, shinier hair, your body seems to maintain its ideal weight more easily and you simply feel better.
It’s the same for dogs. They thrive on real food. The key is giving them a wide variety of natural whole foods, taking into account any food intolerances or allergies.
Dry Dog Food
There are now some improved dry dog food products available but please choose wisely. Understanding pet food labelling is very important. Always look of whole meat ingredients ie: chicken, fish, beef, etc and NOT “meat-meal” or “meat byproducts” as these terms can including some very dubious types of “meat”.
Ideally, highly processed dry dog foods should be just a small part of your dog’s diet, kind of like junk food/ takeaway in your own diet, it’s convenient but not ideal to eat every day. Remember, all foods processed at high temperatures will lose some of their natural goodness. Lost nutrients are often replaced with synthetic vitamins & minerals to meet the questionable AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officals) standards.
There is new research currently underway assessing Advanced Glycation End-products (AGE’s) in highly processed pet foods. AGE’s are formed when sugars are cooked with proteins and fats at high temperatures. Food manufacturers have also added AGE’s to foods, especially over the last 50 years, as flavour enhancers & colourings to make foods look nicer. There is evidence that AGE’s in both human food and pet food may be potentially carcinogenic.
Watch Veterinarians Dr Karen Becker & Dr Joe Bartges Video discussing AGE’s in pet foods here.
Frozen, freeze-dried & air dried dog foods maintain a much greater level of natural goodness, without needing to replace the vitamins & minerals with synthetic versions because they were “cooked” out during processing.
Raw vs Cooked Real Food for Dogs
A well balanced meal of raw meat, raw bone, some raw fat and fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, ground seeds is the pinnacle in canine nutrition for MOST dogs. However, there are a few things to consider to keep this feeding option safe.
Your Dog's Diet
When gathering information regarding the best diet for your pets, and taking into consideration any pre-existing health conditions, use a combination of common sense and professional advice. Remember that Veterinarians learn an enormous amount of knowledge during their years of study; surgery, internal medicine, dentistry, parasitology, radiology, ultrasonography, general practice. But often animal nutrition study is limited and classes are sometimes taught by the large pet food manufacturers.
Like human GP Doctors, unless vets have a special interest in pet nutrition, they may not have all the information you need if looking to feed a more natural diet.
You may need to seek out advice from a vet with a special interest in nutrition, a holistic vet or animal nutritionist. Often owners and staff of pet stores, dog trainers and carers may have a special interest & knowledge in a more natural way of feeding your precious fur kids.
If you are interested in learning more, some great resource books are:
Also follow the wonderful Rodney Habib from Planet Paws on Facebook.
Visit www.goodpetfoodkitchen.com.au for more info on real foods for dogs. Our cat range will also be available soon.
And if you are interested to learn hands on how we make our delicious & nutritious real food doggy dinners at Good Pet Food Kitchen, please join our mailing list and you will be the first to know the dates of our new Saturday Canine Cooking Classes.
Remember, even small steps can make a huge difference to your dog’s health. Don’t be overwhelmed. Adding a can of sardines to dry food, sharing your leftover veggies, scrambled eggs, snacks of fresh fruit, some fresh meat (raw or cooked- but never cooked fat, always trim fat before cooking & feed raw fat if your dog is fit & healthy, it’s a great source of energy when balanced with fresh meat) every now and then will add so much goodness & happiness to your dog’s life.
Love and Wagging Tails
Annabelle & Gypsy
Warmer weather brings out the ticks and fleas and in some areas of the country our parasite season is longer due to our seasons not being as defined as they used to be.
Here is some useful information about these parasites, signs that your pet has them and things you can do to prevent your dog from getting ticks and fleas.
Fleas and Your Dog
Fleas are parasites and they live, feed and breed on your dog which is the host animal; but they can also affect humans and it doesn’t take long for them to make themselves at home on your property. Let’s look at the things we can do to prevent these creatures from infesting your home and your pet:
How do fleas show up on dogs in the first place?
Dogs can easily pick up these parasites from other pets as fleas can jump very easily from one dog to another. However, your dog primarily picks up fleas from the environment that it comes into contact with such as yards, homes parks or areas where other flea-infested pets or other animals have been.
Fleas- signs to look out for:
How to protect your dog from fleas.
Fleas thrive in shady, wet, warm and humid environments. So, keeping this in mind there are several ways you can help protect your dog from getting fleas such as:
Ticks and Your Dog
Ticks are normally found in regions where there is a lot of bushland and native wildlife. These troublesome parasites can cause quite serious problems for your dog such as paralysis. The paralysis tick latches onto the dog and injects toxins into their system which progressively paralyses them normally from the hind legs forward.
Symptoms of tick paralysis include:
Some more symptoms of common tick infestations
How does a dog get ticks?
It extremely difficult to prevent your dog from being exposed to ticks; these creatures can latch onto to your dog when he/she goes out with you on walks, or during any other outdoor activities such as hiking etc. Dogs get a tick infestation because they are out in that open environment, walking through the high grass or woods.
Ticks undergo questing (they crawl up onto low shrubs/grass and stay there). When a dog walks by or even when we walk past and brush against these ticks, they quickly dislodge and latch onto us. These parasites can live for well over a year without any food and they will just stay there waiting for a host to latch onto.
The right way to check your dog for ticks
How to protect your dog from getting ticks
Some of the things you can do to protect your dog from getting ticks include:
How to Remove A Tick Safely from Your Dog
Tick Twisters are available to purchase at our K9 SWiM Wellness Centre, North Richmond
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The winter air is cold and chilly and it’s true that your dogs need to have a longer coat to keep them warm. Many pet parents wonder whether they need to give their dogs a break from regular grooming as it may make them uncomfortable and chilly.
This can be no further from the truth; your pet needs much more attention in the winter months. If you don’t groom them during this time, their coat can matt and result in skin problems and discomfort.
Here are a few winter grooming tips for your dogs:
1. Bush and Demat Their Fur
It’s important that you brush and demat your pet’s coat before bathing them as wet fur will only get tangled quickly
3. Nail Trimming
ground and it pushes their toes outward, which makes it very uncomfortable for them to walk.
4. Trim their Coat
However even if you have a Maltese, Lhasa Apso or Shih Tzu, you would have to regularly trim their coats as they have sensitive skin.
In short, you need to continue grooming your pet regardless of the season. You can also bring your pet to our Indoor pool for a spot of fun. They will have a fun time swimming around in the warm water of the pool. We also offer a complimentary warm water rinse & blow-dry, to dry your dog before you leave the center.
Fudge first came to us in January with Coonhound disease which is a neurological disorder that effects and inflames the peripheral and multiple roots of the nerves-mainly the spinal nerves — causing the body to malfunction, have paralysis to all limbs and severe muscle wastage. Over the past 6 months we have experienced the highs and lows of Fudge and his loving and patient mum, Liz. Just when we thought the going was getting tough Fudge turned a corner and has not looked back. This is a story written by Fudges mum Liz that gives you an insight into the day of the life and progress of Fudges’ recovery. If it wasn’t for the patience, persistence and the love Liz has for this gorgeous boy he would not be here today. It is important for dogs with this acute polyneuropathy to have physio, hydrotherapy and dedicated owners to get them through. This was well worth the battle.
Sharon, K9 SWiM
Liz's story "Fudge My Wonder Dog"
Coonhound Disease - Idiopathic Polyradiculoneuritis (ACIP)
Poly - like Polio
Radiculo - ridiculous (as in 'bloody ridiculous')
Neuritis - neurological
Thankfully this time we could care for him at home and his symptoms didn't increase as drastically as had previously, he could hold his head up and he could eat, drink and wee and poop!
A typical day in the life of caring for a 33-kilo paralysed adorable choc lab
Make a slurry of water and try everything you have to get him to drink, milk, ice cream, vegemite, stock, meat.... anything! It's a similar procedure with food, chicken, mince beef, fresh veggies ...... Anything ....please eat!
You're very tired as you did this regime at 3am, midnight and probably about 9 or 10pm the previous night. Then there is getting on the floor and doing the physiotherapy, massage and cuddles! It's a test of endurance, this regime changes over time, it does get easier as Fudge gets better as he has more control over his bodily functions and as he is able to wriggle / roll the nights become a lot easier. After many Kurrajong Vet visits with loads of encouragement and support from all the team there a month had passed by with not much change in Fudge.
Then we were introduced to K9 SWiM and we haven't looked back!
These helped and Fudge started to get a bit more movement and strength. (although the side effects were a problem especially with his muscle tone)
We were at the vet regularly with 'he won't wee' or 'he won't poop', or 'he won't drink or eat' one time he had to have his bladder seen to and 2 litres came out!!
He was off the steroids by the time May came around and we persisted, Fudge loved his swims and he loved all the attention and love given to him by all the girls. Not much change happened over the next few weeks except that we were encouraged as his swimming improved with him being able to swim the length of the pool without too much help, which was exciting.
Our Homemade Canine Treadmill
Fudge’s Amazing Progress
The problem with this disease is that not many people have heard about it, most vets have possibly seen it once or twice in their time and rarely have they seen a dog healed from it. It’s hard when you don’t really know the future, you don’t know if your dog will recover, you don’t know the ‘odds’. It’s full time care, you can’t work, can’t go out for more than a few hours at a time, it’s really a choice to put your life on hold and you don’t know for how long.
If you were to ask what has helped the most with Fudge’s recovery, I would have to say it’s been a combined effort of lots of praying, a very kind and caring regular vet, the unbelievable support and kindness from K9 SWiM and having the chance for treatment from Rob Willis with some miraculous results, we have been truly blessed!!
Fudge has started to walk, he has not completely recovered but it's just a matter of a little more time and he will be back to his old self. We could not have persisted this second time with this disease without the help and support of Sharon and all the girls, they have been so encouraging and they genuinely love Fudge and he loves them. If you met Fudge you would love him too!
Herbal treatments for your pets can have significant benefits provided they are used in the right form. It’s best to consult an animal herbalist or naturopath when starting your pet on any herbal treatments as these professionals have a good understanding of herbs and can recommend which ones would be suitable for your animal.
Your pet’s digestive system is able to absorb tinctures or strong herbal teas very well and it’s best to give these at frequent intervals through the day, rather than a single large dose, as it helps boost the immune system and speeds up the healing process.
Aspects to consider
You can add dried herbal mixes and powders to your pets’ food which will have a slower response but is the ideal way for maintenance. It’s also the best solution for those fussy four legged babies that don’t like taking medication. The factors that you have to take into consideration include your pet’s:
Herbs should be used in a holistic manner and the medical condition and its origin should be taken into consideration before starting any particular treatment. The body has the ability to heal itself and once the root cause of the problem has been established, herbs can be used to support the body to rebalance itself.
What can herbal medications be used for?
Herbal treatments can be used externally as well as internally for various conditions such as:
The right diet for your pet matters
Along with the herbal treatment, you also need to make sure your pet is getting a natural, well-balanced and nourishing diet. Even when you give your pet any packaged foods, buy ones of a good brand as these will have the right ingredients and nutritional balance.
If you alter your pet’s diet, do so gradually; this gives their digestive system the time to adjust to the new foods and you are able to monitor whether its ingredients agree with your pet. Opt for products that don’t have any colourings and preservatives (as far as possible), and be on the lookout for allergic reactions to new foods.
Herbs are packed with minerals and vitamins which help improve overall health and wellbeing. They can also help increase your pet’s lifespan as they keep them healthy; so you can safely give your pet herbs even when it doesn’t suffer from any specific medical condition.
As a qualified Animal Herbalist and Naturopath I am always happy to discuss what will be best for your dog. You can book a consultation for your dog with me at the K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre.
Also the K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre is now selling herbs and herbal mixes for all kinds of conditions for your pets and horses. Drop buy and get your healthy supplies for your pets.
Turmeric is a great herb for so many reasons. Curcumin, the principle active component in turmeric, is a potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent which helps with arthritis, pain, skin conditions, blood issues and is used for cancer and doggie dementia. It is a powerful antioxidant and can help protect the liver against toxins.
Refrigeration will last 1 month
Frozen will last 3 months
Dosage: ¼ teaspoon for a small dog and up to 1 teaspoon a day for a large dog.
Mix in food. Always introduce new food and supplements slowly over a 5-7-day period.
Check with your vet or animal naturopath before feeding if your dog is currently on any medication, before surgery or pregnant.
Recently we celebrated Anzac Day, remembering the Australian and New Zealand Corps Soldiers who fought and died for our countries. Over the centuries, man’s best friend has assisted our soldiers in wars in the capacity of trackers, scent detectors for mines and explosives, guard dogs, companions and most importantly, to boost the morale of our troops.
Dogs were often used to carry messages in battle through the trenches and from point A to Point B. Some messenger dogs also performed other communication tasks, such as pulling telephone lines from one location to another.
In World War I, the Australian Military forces enlisted German Shepherds to watch over their valuable equipment. In Vietnam, our Australian Task Force had dogs as part of their combat tracking teams; they would search the thick and dense jungle to locate the enemy and were successful in saving the lives of their handlers and team mates.
What Makes a Good Combat Dog?
There are a number of attributes that go into making a combat dog, such as:
Interesting fact- Did you know that in World War II, special gas masks were designed for the dogs in combat?
However, it must be understood that not all dogs are cut out for combat; they must have the right personality, drive and assertion to be successful in these settings.
Popular War Dog Breeds
We love our 4-legged friends because they are extremely smart and intelligent creatures, and are loyal and devoted family members. It is these very same qualities that make some dog breeds useful in a war zone. They are highly dedicated to their handler and tend to develop very strong bonds with them. The most popular dog breeds for the armed forces include:
Dogs of these breeds that eventually do go on to becoming military dogs must be in great physical shape, reward-motivated, athletic and should have the right level of excitability and aggression. Aside from this, they should also be free of any physical maladies such as hip or elbow dysplasia.
The Story of Sarbi- The Australian Canine Hero
When there is talk about war dogs, Sarbi, the Australian canine hero cannot go without a mention. She was a black a Labrador - Newfoundland Cross that went missing when the Taliban ambushed our Australian Special Forces. Her handler, Corporal David Simpson was injured in this raging nine-hour battle. In all the commotion that ensued, the corporal lost Sarbi when the clip of the harness (that attached her to her handler), was shot off. The startled Sarbi fled in fright; and once the wounded soldiers had been transported away from the site, the soldiers searched high and low for Sarbi, in vain. After having gone missing for 3 weeks, they eventually declared her missing in action.
Thirteen months after this incident, a soldier spotted a dog in an Afghan village that had an uncanny resemblance to Sarbi. He used various military commands to test her and she responded to them which affirmed the fact that she was Sarbi. Fortunately, she had been well cared for; the village Chief who had grown very fond of her, was also very reluctant to let her go.
After a great deal of negotiations, they eventually let Sarbi go and she was brought back to base. After months of quarantine in Afghanistan as well as Australia, she was finally reunited with her beloved handler Corporal David Simpson- that’s where she spent her retirement as the Simpson family’s pet. Later in 2015, Sarbi succumbed to brain tumour and breathed her last at the age of 12.
The Army Honours Sarbi
Canberra’s Australian War Memorial has catalogued numerous stories of our brave war dogs, along with many other records of animal acts of bravery.
The cold weather is coming and can be a dampener on your exercise plans; not just for you, but your dog as well. But there is no reason to blame the weather for your inactivity. It’s important that your pet gets daily exercise in some or the other form. The days tend to be shorter in the winter months and your pet doesn’t get the amount of exercise it ideally needs.
The cooler days aren’t comfortable for arthritic or older dogs as this is when the aches and pains start surfacing with more frequency and severity than normal. This is because they are unable to move around as much; and their muscles and limbs don’t get warmed up.
This extended inactivity can cause boredom and stress in your dogs and you will notice behavioural issues such as chewing, digging and barking; some dogs tend to add weight during the winter months as well. While getting them outdoors for a spot of exercise may not be easily possible or even advised when the weather is cold, there are some effective ways of ensuring your pets get the exercise they need, even in the colder months:
Swimming in warm water allows the muscles to work more efficiently and helps to aid blood circulation without risk of cramping. It also helps reduce some of the swelling in joints. The increased limited weight bearing exercise makes joint movement easier; helps regain fitness and can help them to lose weight they may have gained.
Swimming also provides your dog excellent mental stimulus. You can choose to take a “swim for fun” class, a “learn to swim” class, or one for regaining mobility and strength or even for weight loss.
Bring out some favorite toys your pet loves and hide them in different places in the house and get your dog to look for them. You can also hide treats if you like instead. These games are an excellent way for you to bond with your pet.
You can also get a group of friends with their pets together and simply book our K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy Centre’s pool for an hour. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you and your pet can have in the tepid water of the indoor pool. Your pet will also get the opportunity to socialize with other hounds and can find a great outlet for all their energy they have, by splashing around in the water.
We also offer a complimentary warm water rinse and a blow dryer to dry your dog before you take them back home. For more information about our hydrotherapy services, feel free to browse our website.
We all know that massages are good for us and that they leave us feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. What most people aren’t probably aware about is that massages are equally beneficial to their dogs as well. So, are massages for pets and animals a modern concept?
Not really!! Let’s take a peek into the history of animal massages…
Massage Therapy For Animals- The Background
The word massage is derived from mass which is an Arabic word that means press. Massage therapy finds its origins in China and is over 4000 years old. There is also a lot of evidence in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics that display how healers used to massage animals as a form of treatment. The therapy was also used by the Romans; Flavius Arrianus was a noted philosopher and administrator who worked during Roman Emperor Hadrian’s reign.
He is said to have propagated the use of massage therapy for horses and dogs and stated that it would help strengthen and knit their limbs. Aside from this, he also mentioned that it helps cleanse any impurities their skin might have. Different ancient civilisations used to address various medical conditions in their work animals and pets, using massage therapy.
“Massage is the act of manually rubbing and kneading tired muscles to significantly improve the physical, emotional as well as metal health. This also helps the body heal itself.”
How Your Pets Can Benefit From Massages
Over the years, many studies have been conducted by researchers across the world and there is solid evidence that massage and the act of touch benefits our pets in a number of ways, such as:
In addition, it is excellent for pain management; expert veterinarians are now recommending massage therapy for their patients that have undergone surgery or are recovering from an injury. Over the years, there has been a noticeable increase in the popularity of canine massages in Australia.
It is increasingly becoming an integral part of chiropractic, physical, veterinary and physiotherapy treatments for canines. It has proved to be so effective in improving the overall wellbeing of pets that is now also being used for sporting & competitive dogs, as a preventive treatment.
Who Should Learn Pet Massage Therapy?
1. Pet Parents
If you learn how your pet should be massaged, it will help maintain its overall health & wellbeing. In fact, it’s a great way to help your canine friend relax, and massage time is perfect for bonding with your pet. If there are any abnormalities in your pet’s bodily movements, those may also be brought to light in the course of the massage. This gives you the opportunity to have them addressed before they escalate and affect the health of your pet.
2. Workers/Helpers at Animal Shelters
If you work or are a volunteer at an animal shelter, massages can be quite beneficial for the canines there. In fact, animal rescuers should also consider learning canine massage. It can help de-stress, relax and teach the dogs to be more trusting and confident while interacting with humans. Massage has therapeutic effects on pets suffering from any emotional issues such as stress, trust, anxiety and grief.
Tips For Massaging Your Pet
Contact the Experts
We offer excellent massage therapy services for dogs at our new K9SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre at North Richmond. Sessions are by Booking Only.
I (Sharon) run specialised animal massage workshops at this centre. If you are interested in learning how to perform massages for your own dog, please contact us for details of our next massage workshop. For more information, please check this page.
Valentine’s Day! What better time to show our dogs how much we love them with a little bit of spoiling and extra attention, the paw partner that loves you unconditionally and is always there to greet you with a wagging tail.
These 7 tips are a great way to show your pooch some love.
1. Tasty Treats
2. A New Toy
3. A Lovely Walk Somewhere New
5. Swim Together
7. Organise a Puppy Play Date
We are excited to share with you that our Canine Underwater Treadmill has been installed at our new K9 SWiM Wellness Centre at North Richmond. Bookings will be available for Wednesdays starting from February, 2017. Dogs can benefit greatly from this form of Hydrotherapy for rehabilitation, fitness and health.
What is a Canine Underwater Treadmill?
The Canine Underwater Treadmill is a walking treadmill enclosed in a tank of water specifically designed for dogs. The resistance and speed can be adjusted along with the depth of water this allows for a progressive therapy program to be tailored for each dog, from the smallest to the largest.
How the Canine Underwater Treadmill Works
The dog walks into the tank and warm water gradually starts to rise to the correct level for their size and condition. The treadmill belt will then move and the dog will walk for a set period of time. The treadmill’s resistance and speed is controlled and adjusted for each dog’s condition. Once the dog has finished their session, the water then drains out of the tank and the dog can easily walk down the ramp.
Benefits of the Canine Underwater Treadmill
Hydrotherapy sessions with the Canine Underwater Treadmill provide resistance and buoyancy, which alleviates the pressure off your dog’s limbs and joints. The reduced weight-bearing load increases the functional use of their limbs. The warm water used in the treadmill helps reduce pain and inflammation, which can also make connective tissue more flexible and increase blood and oxygen in muscles. Programs are specifically designed for your dog’s condition to gain the maximum benefits such as:
The Canine Underwater Treadmill is great for rehabilitation in dogs especially for orthopaedic or neurological conditions. It encourages walking or jogging with a more normal gait pattern, which is beneficial to dogs.
Below are some conditions that dogs that the underwater treadmill can assist with:
Conditioning and Training
Competition, Athletic and Agility dogs will benefit on the underwater treadmill in conditioning, strengthening and cardiovascular fitness from the water’s resistance. It boosts endurance and helps reduce the risk of injury.
Overweight dogs can exercise safely, improve their cardiovascular system and muscle strength quickly without the jarring effects of exercising on land.
Keep in Mind
As with any new form of treatment, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before undergoing hydrotherapy. If your dog has had surgery or is recovering from an injury a Vet Referral Form is required before making your booking with us. If you have any questions please contact us.
Book your consultation and session now
Summer and it’s hot weather is here! That means that the bush fire season is upon us. Pet owners need to be prepared in the event of a bush fire. Pets have been left behind in bush fires because their owners had not included their pets as part of their Bush Fire Survival Plan. Taking the time to create a Bush fire Survival Plan helps ensure your family and pets safety.
Having a pet emergency kit will ensure you have the items you need for your pet ready to go quickly. The kit can include:
If you are using a cage, pet carrier or float, have these easily accessible for a quick evacuation and make sure your pet is trained to enter and spend time in these. Otherwise they may panic or fret and you may have difficulty to get them go into their crate or carrier.
Relocate or Stay?
For high-risk times it may be safer for you and your pets to relocate to somewhere else until the danger is over. Pets may panic and run. If you want to keep them with you, then keep them close to you at times of risk by keeping them inside, on a lead or in a crate. This will be faster and more efficient when it’s time to move your pet should you need to evacuate.
Do not leave it until the last minute to evacuate as this is the most dangerous option for you and your pets.
Make a Plan with Neighbours
Having a plan made with neighbours can help keep your pets safe if you are not at home. Consider doing the following:
It is a great idea to have signage on a gate or on your door should you have animals on your property or inside and you are not home. State how many pets there are so they can be accounted for should someone else have to evacuate them in an emergency.
Always prepare your evacuation bush fire emergency plan before summer so you can act quickly in case of an emergency.
Watch for Heat Stress in Your Pets
Bush fires are usually in times of extreme heat and your pets may be vulnerable to heat stress. The signs will be panting, dehydration, drooling, high temperature, red gums, increased respiration and heart rate. If you suspect your pet is experiencing heat stroke, soak towels in cool water and place over pet or in-between the legs or around the neck. Always seek veterinary assistance immediately.
To prevent heat stroke provide lots of shade and fresh water outside. Preferably bring them inside to a cool part of the house if the temperature is soaring outside. Do not leave dogs in cars; the car can heat up so quickly to a dangerous temperature. Overweight, aged, short nosed or unhealthy dogs will suffer a lot more in the heat than other dogs so take extra precautions with them.
Fire Safety for You and Your Pets
It is that time of the year again when fleas are out and about and on the increase Fleas can cause terrible distress in our dogs, causing itching, irritation or infections.
There are many natural therapies that can help deter fleas on your pets. This month
K9 SWiM would like to share a natural flea repellent spray that you can easily make yourself at home with a few simple ingredients. This will help deter fleas and other parasites with the added bonus that your dog will also smell great. The best thing about using natural ingredients is that you won’t have to worry about what chemicals your dog is licking off their coat.
Natural Flea Repellent Spray for Dogs with Wormwood, Rosemary and Lavender
This is a lovely spray to use on your pet and its bedding to deter fleas and other parasites.
Add herbs to the saucepan of water and slowly bring to the just on boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Cool, strain and put into a spray bottle and spray away! Keep refrigerated and this will last you for a couple of weeks.
Alternatively dry some wormwood, rosemary and lavender and when ready mix the 3 herbs together and place in a little cotton bag and place in your pets bedding, it not only adds a lovely scent to their beds but deters all those little nasties!!!
Check Your Dog for Fleas and Other Parasites Daily
It is good to check your pet daily for any fleas and parasites Finding ticks and removing them early can save their lives.
The best flea control is flea prevention.
As dog owners we want to ensure that our gardens are safe for our four legged friends. When creating our gardens we are sometimes unaware that they could be toxic to our pets. Pet friendly gardens tend to have an organic approach, making them safer and healthier. Before going out and buying seeds or plants, let’s make sure you are planting a dog friendly garden.
Common Weeds & Plants That Are Harmful To Dogs
There are a lot of plants that can be harmful to our pets and it is always wise to check online before purchasing. Listed below are some common weeds and plants found in the garden that can cause allergies or toxicity to your pets:
The AEC (Animal Emergency Centre) has produced a chart that you can download or print for reference, listing Common Plants Toxic to Dogs and Cats. Check your garden today!
Fertilizers, Herbicides, Insecticides and Baits
It is important to store any fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or baits out of reach of your pets as these can be toxic. When using, keep your dogs out of the garden and make sure you read the labels. The label will include instructions and ensure the safety of your pets when using the product. If you are unsure then consult your veterinarian.
Why Do Dogs Eat Plants?
Not all dogs eat plants but here some common reasons why some dogs do:
Common Symptoms Associated with Toxic Dog Plants
Most of us know when our four legged friends are not feeling well and toxic plants can cause minor to more severe symptoms. Listed here are some of the common symptoms related to toxic plants:
If you think your dog or pet is sick from ingesting a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Planning Your Dog Friendly Garden
When planning your garden, make sure you select plants that are safe for your dog and avoid plants that are toxic or irritable. Some dogs love digging and there are bulbs like hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and some lilies that can be fatal. Some plants are fine and it’s only the fruits and berries that are poisonous, although there are also some grasses and weeds that can cause allergic reactions like itching, sneezing and bad rashes.
Familiarise yourself with what plants you have in your garden, or if planning a new one - check that the plants are safe for your pets before purchasing them. There is a great Australian book out called
“Poisonous2pets by Nicole O’Kane” that details all of the common plants and their toxicity along with great photos to help you identify the plant itself.
You also need to be aware of plants with thorns, spikes or hard sharp branches and where they are planted. If they are poorly positioned dogs may run into them or run past and injure themselves.
Features of a Dog Friendly Garden
To keep our dogs happy and healthy, here is a list of dog friendly features for the garden:
This month one of our regular K9 Swim member’s, Madalin Bell shares her story about her dog Chloe. How love, support and Hydrotherapy is giving quality and fun to Chloe’s life as a paraplegic dog.
Chloe Wasn’t Always a Paraplegic
Born on the 9th of July 2008 Chloe recently celebrated her 8th birthday last month.
Chloe became part of our family when I received her as a late 11th birthday present and reward for doing well in school and behaving myself. My mum had gone to the shops to get some groceries and came back about an hour later with something moving around in her jacket. Much to my delight it was Chloe, the puppy I had been nagging for! She was so small that she could fit in my hand and looked like a little ball of black and white fluff with a fat bottom bigger than the rest of her. That fat bottom would sway from side to side when she walked. It looked so cute!
It didn’t take her long to become part of our family. She has always been social, curious and full of energy. She would follow everyone around and always wanted to know what everyone was doing. Chloe is so small, only ever weighing 3.5kg but it’s the size of her personality that makes her boss of our house. I’m sure she will always be the boss here.
Chloe Paralysed Through an Injury
In September 2014, my little sister Ruby was born and our house flipped upside down with a change in sleeping patterns. Chloe had to sleep in my room due to her midnight barking habits.
On November 4th 2014, Chloe was let out the back to go to the toilet and I was running late for school. Things were so hectic with a new baby and we all just rushed out of the house that day, forgetting Chloe was still out the backyard. All day I had a strange, sick feeling that something was wrong, so I went home early. When I arrived home Chloe was not there to greet me as she had always done. I searched the house for Chloe but I couldn’t find her anywhere. It was then I remembered that I had left her out the backyard. I quickly ran out the back and whistled but only our two other dogs Ammo and Xena came running. Still no Chloe, I started a perimeter check for any escape routes. It was then that Chloe came running out from underneath our caravan dragging her back legs. I freaked out, I didn’t know what to do or how to react. I just picked her up and ran inside to call my mum. After getting no answer I just wrapped Chloe in a towel and ran to my local vet, which is luckily only a five minute drive from our house.
I was a mess when I arrived at the vet. I had been crying and was puffed from all the running and I didn’t even know what to tell them. The vets were fantastic and took us in straight away, I called my mum and finally got an answer and she came right down. The vet said it could have been either one of two things, a ruptured spinal disk from a fall or she was hit with something or by someone. The tests to give proper diagnosis would cost far too much for us. She was paralysed and tests would not change that. Chloe was admitted to hospital for the next few days on pain medication.
The Decision is Life
On the 7th of November,2014 the vet recommended to have Chloe put to sleep because of the quality of life she would have as a paraplegic dog. We chose against their decision and brought Chloe home because we felt she was the same dog and although she was a paraplegic now she was not in any pain. It was up to us to commit to her quality of life.
Chloe Comes Home
Chloe was back home and needed care around the clock. I also had my HSC to study for, so it took some time to work out a routine. Chloe now had to wear a nappy which through the night would often come off and so I would be up bright and early to start cleaning the mess. After washing Chloe, changing her nappy, give her food and water, washing her blanket, mopping my bedroom floor, it was time to get ready for school. Then when I arrived home from school I would have to do this all over again. It was an exhausting cycle. It took us some time to work out what size nappies would stay on Chloe all day. Just recently, we tried newborn suits which work an absolute charm!
Love and Support Gives Chloe Quality of Life
Our family was not in the best financial position and we were so worried about how we could provide what she needed. We decided to post an ad on Gumtree asking for people for help with supplies such as extra blankets, nappies, puppy pads, etc. Amazing people came forward to help, donate and support us and a special thanks to Kath and Chrissy Schultz from Queensland who have been incredible with sending Chloe beautiful care packages of coats, collars and even a doggy pram and wheels! All these donations have been a life saver for Chloe. Before Chloe had her wheels we couldn’t take her outside and the few times we did, she grazed her back legs on the cement so she couldn’t go anywhere with us. Her wheels gave her mobility again and it didn’t take long to get use to them as she now powers along.
We started a Facebook page for Chloe- Chloe the Paraplegic Pup , as we had so many people wanting to help and messaging us and supporting our decision to not put her to sleep. We are all so thankful to everyone that has supported and helped Chloe and our family to get through this and give Chloe a good quality of life.
Hydrotherapy so Beneficial for Chloe
Recently Chloe rapidly lost a lot of weight, from 3.5kg down to 2.5kg. I met Sharon Osmond at TAFE when I was studying for my Certificate II in Animal Studies. She was my TAFE teacher and I asked her about K9 Swim and if there was anything that she could recommend for Chloe. After visiting with our vet and deciding that it would be beneficial for Chloe to swim and after taking some blood tests and ruling out any other underlying conditions, we changed Chloe’s food to higher protein and fat content and started swimming with Sharon at K9 Swim. Sharon was absolutely fantastic with Chloe and showed me how to swim her myself. Although Chloe wasn’t a big fan of swimming at first, she now loves her weekly swims at K9 Swim. She is already benefiting from the Hydrotherapy and I hope in a couple more weeks we may see some movement in her back legs. I wish we had known about K9 Swim earlier as we had only known of more expensive Hydrotherapy options, out of our budget and area.
Chloe is gaining weight and looking healthier than ever. She has more energy and is really enjoying herself. I hope that we can spend many more years with our little Chloe and one day even see her stand on her own again, thanks to swimming.
Thank you Madalin for your story on Chloe. It is very encouraging to others that may be in the same situation. When I met Madalin in my class at TAFE we talked about Chloe and then she brought Chloe to class one day. After I assessed Chloe and discussed her history with Madalin we agreed that Chloe would benefit from Hydrotherapy. Madalin talked to her vet and got the all clear. Chloe wasn’t a great fan of swimming at first, but since she has been coming weekly. I feel she looks forward to it.
Hydrotherapy to a paraplegic dog feels good. They are buoyant in the water and for that time they can let their limbs relax and the spine becomes neutral. Chloe can stretch out in the warm water of our pool which promotes blood circulation throughout the muscles and body. I have seen improvement with Chloe in that she appears happier, has more energy and her muscle tone is improving. The other important aspect of Hydrotherapy is that it is a great mental stimuli. We enjoy Madalin and Chloe’s visits and we are moved by Madalin’s commitment to this wonderful little dog.
A dog’s nose is very different to ours. They smell and sense the world in a completely different way to us. Most of us view the world predominately through our eyes where as a dog does it through their nose. They know so much more than we think and their nose has a lot to do with that.
So let’s have a look at what a dog nose.
A Dog’s Strong Sense of Smell
A dog’s sense of smell is more than 1000 times more sensitive than humans.
Dog’s noses can have up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared to about 6 million in people. The part of the brain in dogs that process smell is also much, much larger in proportion than it is in humans.
The Dog Nose How to Find You and More
Dogs have been used in tracking for over 100s of years by man. First used for hunting, search and rescue and more recently trained to detect diverse odours such as narcotics, explosives and more.
Different breeds of dogs sniff in various ways. For example, a Beagle will follow air and ground scent with their nose mainly pointing to the ground and a German Shepherd tends to smell the air-scent with their head up rather than keeping their nose to the ground. A Blood Hound’s nose is able to trace smells over 300 hours old. There’s also a bit more to nose here. The Blood Hound’s floppy ears help them smell by fanning odours up their nostrils and their loose skin also helps trap and retain the scent.
Dogs Picking up the Scent
Alexandra Horowitz, a dog-cognition researcher at Barnard College, writes that while we might notice if our coffee has had a teaspoon of sugar added to it, A dog could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water, or two Olympic-sized pools worth. Diabetic alert dog’s nose picks up on the special scent that is released when their human’s insulin levels drop.
There's More to Their Nostrils Than You Know
A dog’s nose does more than just breathe air in and out. Their nostrils can work independently from each other so one nostril can breathe while the other can smell the scent and break down the odour.
Did you know that a dog’s nose print is thought to be as unique as our fingerprint. I know my dogs have left their unique print many times on my glass doors and windows. How about you?
Dogs Decode PeeMail
Have you ever taken your dog for a walk and they want to stop and sniff every bush or post that another dogs has peed on. That’s because dogs can find out a lot about other dogs through their pee. It can often be referred to as PeeMail, dogs leaving messages for each other. They can determine the sex of the other dog and whether it is a female on heat or if male dogs have been de-sexed. They can also sense other dog’s health and stress levels and even thought to convey another dog’s social status. It would be interesting to know if they can tell if other dogs are large or not. Because I know many tiny dogs that see themselves as six foot tall with a big attitude.
You Can’t Fool Your Dog’s Nose
Dogs smell your fear. When we fear something or are feeling nervous our heart rate changes and we produce chemicals in our bodies that dogs can smell on our skin. So there is no point trying to pretend in front of our four legged friends because you won’t be fooling them. They also recognise your unique scent under all those products we use on ourselves such as perfume, deodorants and soap.
A Dog Nose How to Greet You
Dogs introduce themselves with their nose. How many times do you feel that wet nose when you meet a new dog? Dogs get to know each other and us through smell. Yes and smelling each others butts is completely normal. This is how they get to know each other and become friends.
Smelling Great or Stinky
Have you ever put on some perfume or deodorant for your dog to turn away or start sneezing. They don’t seem impressed with your smell do they?
Well that being said, have you ever had your dog roll around in delight in something that smells disgusting? I know my dogs have always managed to find that fresh patty of cow manure to roll around on and then to sit up and look so proud and happy. It’s like they are saying “Look at me I smell great!”
What we think smells great may not smell pleasant to dogs and visa versa.
I have found that my dogs love to lie in the garden that is filled with lavendar, wormwood and rosemary. These herbs have volatile oils that can rub off and help prevent fleas and other external parasites as well as making them smell nice!
So there you have it, I hope you know a little more about what your dog nose through this light hearted article.
Hi I'm Sharon Osmond the owner and founder of K9 Swim. The Splash Blog is where I share tips and information on dog's health and safety and some fun facts and stories.