Hydrotherapy is a form of non-weight bearing, low-impact exercise that is extremely effective in the rehabilitation of painful, weak and sore joints. The non-weight bearing conditions are first treated with controlled swimming movements. The entire body gets proper support from the floatation. The limbs are able to move very freely and there is no jarring like that which occurs while exercising on any hard surfaces.
Swimming is proven to be one of the best forms of exercise because almost all the muscles that are used in movement are also involved in this activity. You don’t have to worry about any stresses that come from running on concrete or any other hard surfaces.
The Impact of Walking on Hard Surfaces
Why Canine Hydrotherapy is a Great Option
It isn’t uncommon for the terms swimming and hydrotherapy to be used interchangeably. But the fact is that these are essentially different in terms of the effects and benefits they offer. When a dog is swimming it means they are completely buoyant in the water and this is very different from hydrotherapy.
The latter is an aquatic exercise that is carried out in a much more controlled manner, which means the pet’s body isn’t overburdened in any way. Hydrotherapy is water healing and its value lies in the buoyancy, warmth and pressure that it provides. Some of the primary benefits of this form of exercise include:
Dogs that require improvement with core strength,cardiovascular strengthening, flexion, proprioception, extension, gait improvement, muscle building, will surely benefit from hydrotherapy.
The Positive Impacts of Hydrotherapy
Here are some facts about hydrotherapy and why it is the best form of exercise for our canine friends:
Hydrotherapy for Arthritic Joints
If your pet has arthritis, that can lead to painful & swollen joints. These conditions can make it very difficult for them to exercise or even walk comfortably. In fact, your dog may find it challenging to get up if they have been lying down for a very long period of time.
The inactivity ultimately takes its toll on your pet’s body and they may start to gain weight as well. This impacts their health even further and adds more pressure on the joints. All of these problems can be addressed very effectively with hydrotherapy.
Swimming your pet in a special indoor heated pool is one of the best ways to speed up recovery post-surgery as well. It helps improve general fitness, stamina and muscle tone and conditions and strengthens the body. Your dog will also learn how to swim and will begin to shed those extra kilos if they are overweight. A five-minute swim is equivalent to a 5 kilometre walk.
Other Conditions That Can Be Helped by Hydrotherapy:
Hydrotherapy typically begins 4 to 6 weeks after their operation. Consult your vet about when the best time is to start hydrotherapy for your pet, post and pre-surgery. Your vet would need to fill in a Vet Referral form . You’d have to give this to the Hydro-therapist before starting on any treatment. This will help ensure your Hydro-therapist designs the perfect treatment plan for your pet. This treatment is extremely effective and can reduce your pet’s recovery time by at least 50%.
Some Additional Facts
Many pet parents wonder whether swimming their dogs in rivers, oceans or dams has the same benefits. If your pet has a condition, swimming in these settings has a number of disadvantages. While it’s true that a dog can swim very freely in these waters, the temperature of the water is cold and some of the points you need to consider include:
Hydrotherapy for Fun and General Exercise
Swimming is a great form of exercise for pets young and old. Hydrotherapy isn’t only for pets that have become injured, are recovering from surgery or are overweight. These sessions can be a source of entertainment and fun for your healthy pet as well. It helps them burn energy, stimulates their mind and canines have a ton of fun retrieving a Frisbee or ball in the water. K9 SWiM has also hosted dog parties where clients have booked the pool for their dog’s birthday and invited some of their pooch friends along.
Enquire at K9 Swim for hiring the pool for your club or party. Conditions Apply.
Hydrotherapy at K9 Swim
The low-impact therapeutic effects of hydrotherapy make it the perfect form of exercise for pets that are suffering from arthritis, aching and inflamed joints. It helps your canine friends gain muscle tone and fitness and also offers a safe and fun way to get a full body work out.
At our centre you can rest assured that your pet will be treated with the utmost care and safety. We are very passionate about what we do and your pets can enjoy some time in the warm water of our indoor pool. Our centre is unique and the modern complex has been purposefully designed and built for dogs’ fitness, fun and rehabilitation. In fact, we are one of a kind in all of NSW.
Different Hydrotherapy Programs
The indoor heated pool and underwater treadmill is great not just for rehabilitation and fun but for conditioning swims as well. While it’s a great place for older dogs, we also run classes for puppies as well. Based on the specific needs of your pets, you can choose from:
When it comes to maintain the long-term wellbeing of your dog, ensuring they are in peak physical condition is what matters the most. The positive muscle toning, strengthening effects and overall fitness benefits that hydrotherapy provides is a whole lot of fun and a great way to get your pet to expend his energy in a healthy and consistent manner. When you choose to bring your dog to K9 SWIM you know that they are getting the best attention from certified and professional Hydro-therapists. No matter what age or size your dog is, we have a program for them.
Focus on Canine Holistic Health at our K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre
The Hydrotherapy Centre has an indoor heated pool along with an underwater treadmill and provides services from fun or conditioning swims to rehabilitation. Courses and seminars will be run in the training room within the centre in the near future.
The Wellness Centre is all about Holistic health with the following practitioners practicing out of the centre:
For more information, feel free to browse our website.
Or why not drop by and check out the new centre for yourself.
A dog is considered to be a senior when they reach the age of seven to 10 years old. Smaller breeds tend to become seniors much later than larger breeds. For example, Great Danes are considered to be seniors by the time they are approximately 5 to 6 years of age,
whereas a Chihuahua would only be considered middle age by that time. However, aspects such as the environment, nutrition as well as genetics have a significant role to play in how fast a dog will age.
Some Changes That Come With Age
With age, there are many different changes that can take place in your dog such as:
Helping Your Dog Manage Their Ageing Process
While most of these changes can be very gradual, aging is something that cannot be reversed. However, it is possible to slow this process by following a good health management plan. Some things that can prove to be beneficial include:
How to Improve Balance and Muscle Tone in Senior Dogs
When a dog ages it becomes less active. They begin to lose their ability to balance themselves well. This typically occurs due to muscle loss which in turn leads to further inactivity. When a dog is inactive it causes the body to slow down, age faster, making them more prone to injury. There are certain therapies as well as anti-aging activities that can help your dog remain more active in their senior years such as:
Common Conditions that Senior Dogs Suffer From
As dog’s age there is deterioration in the joint function and arthritis becomes a very common problem. It is important to control your dog’s weight and have an exercise plan that will help alleviate the symptoms. Maintain consistency in daily exercise because sporadic, strenuous activity can stress and strain your dog’s joints.
It’s far better to exercise him multiple times during the day, but for shorter spans of time. Do not take your dog out on days when he/she is lame or stiff. It’s crucial that you provide your dog very good bedding. Orthopedic bedding is also available for senior dogs in many pet stores. Ramps are very useful over steps and to help your dog get into the car comfortably.
Treatments such as hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and massage will surely help.
2. Dental Disease
This is another common condition in aging dogs. This makes it important that dogs be taken to the vet for regular checkups. Canine toothbrushes, treats and chew toys will also help maintain dental health in senior dogs.
Is more commonly seen in elderly female dogs but can also been seen in male dogs. Incontinence can be caused by infection, neurological issues, spinal problems, hormonal imbalance or senility as well. Older dogs tend to forget all their toilet training and are likely to wet the area they are lying in. In most cases, a certain amount of medication would have to be given on a daily basis to treat incontinence.
4. CDS (Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome)
Many dogs experience Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms. This condition is referred to as CDS and the common signs of it include:
The progression of CDS can be snail-paced. Keeping your dog active and mentally stimulated is one of the best ways to slow down the progress of this condition. In some cases, antioxidants can help the condition.
While these are quite common in older dogs, it’s important to make sure that your dog actually has cataracts. It’s likely that he is suffering from a condition called lenticular sclerosis, which tends to be more common in senior dogs. This condition causes the eye tissue to become rigid over a period of time and the eyes develop a grayish-blue tint. Lenticular sclerosis doesn’t compromise the dog’s eyesight seriously and no treatment is necessary.
If the dog has a cataract, it can result in cloudiness or opacity in the eyes and the condition can impact their vision eventually. Most owners don’t notice the cataract in their dog’s eyes until it has covered almost 60 percent of the eye. Cataracts are often accompanied by illnesses such as hypothyroidism and diabetes. It is possible to remove cataracts via surgery.
The Benefits of Herbal Treatments in Senior Dogs
Older dogs can benefit significantly from herbal treatments that may be used externally as well as internally. Herbs are packed with minerals and vitamins and provide good support to the natural healing mechanisms in your dog’s body. There are a number of different herbs that can maintain your pet’s overall well-being and keep them healthier in their old age. Herbs can prove to be very effective when used in conjunction with the right amount of exercise, a balanced and nutritious diet, and sufficient sunlight.
Balanced Nutrition Matters
Since older dogs have low activity levels their metabolism is slower. This means, their body requires fewer calories. However, it is important to ensure that your senior dog gets the right amount of easy-to-digest, high-quality protein content in her food. Typically a balanced diet for your senior dog would include:
Low-fat, high-quality, concentrated protein.
Carbohydrates that are easier to digest- these will provide her energy.
Various minerals to support arthritic or stiff joints.
In addition to the protein content in the diet, vitamins can help effectively fight infections that are brought on due to a decline in the immune system.
While it’s a good idea to feed your dog at least a couple of times a day, you may find that they prefer to eat smaller portions, multiple times a day. This is a very normal eating pattern in senior dogs, as their system is able to digest smaller quantities of food much better than larger portions.
K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre for all dogs young and old
Even if your dog is aging, you will find that they will crave some level of socialisation and will enjoy an outing. At our centre, we offer herbal, photonic treatments and massages that help with mobility and overall wellbeing. K9 SWiM has a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy centre, where we offer gentle hydrotherapy sessions for senior dogs.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your golden oldie and give them a good quality of life in their senior years.
Watch out for our Senior Happy Hour Classes coming up in the warmer months!
Cruciate ligament ruptures or tears are one of the most common cause of lameness or injury in dogs. Most commonly seen in large breeds but can be seen in any size dog of any age.
What is the canine cruciate ligament?
The cruciate ligament connects the back of the femur (the bone above the knee) with the front of the tibia (the bone below the knee). This ligament is responsible for keeping the tibia in place beneath the femur and stabilising the knee joint.
Canine cruciate injuries.
Cruciate injuries can happen to the fittest of dogs. It is the twisting injury to the knee joint which affects the anterior or cranial cruciate ligament making the joint unstable and causing pain and discomfort. It could just happen from landing the wrong way when jumping, running or playing.
Overweight dogs are more susceptible to this type of injury as their joints have been weakened? by having to carry their extra weight. In some cases, it is just unfortunate that some dogs are predisposed to this condition.
What are the signs of a cruciate injury?
Treatment of cruciate injuries.
A lot of owners are unsure if their dog needs to have surgery or not.
K9 Swim’s Osteopath Sam Sherrington says:
“Traditionally surgery has been the main go to treatment, especially for larger breeds, however there’s plenty of research suggesting outcomes for managing these injuries ‘conservatively’ may be just as good, especially in the longer term.
Conservative management involves weight management, controlled activity and rest and anti inflammatories to manage inflammation and pain. “
Osteopathy and Hydrotherapy rehabilitation.
Sam goes onto say that “Osteopathy and Hydrotherapy are two powerful additions to this protocol, in the acute phase and in the longer rehabilitation phase, both with or without surgical intervention. Rehabilitation is a time where many techniques are available to help ensure the tissues can settle with the best strength and function possible.
Hydrotherapy is a fantastic option for adding healthy stress to the healing tissues, encouraging stronger, symmetrical movement while minimising strain more than is possible with typical land based movement. Dogs appear less likely to reinforce their old dysfunctional movement patterns when they are in water, which means a greater chance of overriding old muscle memory and creating newer healthier movement patterns for the future. This is particularly useful as a preventative for dogs involved in high impact athletic endeavors such as agility, jumping, dock dogs, flyball etc.”
In the conservative approach the muscles are built up around the joint offering stability and support with the tissue around the knee thickening and helping the cruciate ligament to function. The aim is to decrease pain, improve weight bearing on the injured leg and treat the rest of the body as it has been compromised with the dog not bearing weight evenly.
Surgery and post-operative treatment.
For full tears, especially in the larger breed dog, surgery may be suggested by your vet.
Post-operative rehabilitation is exceptionally important with these cases and your dog will need to have very limited activity for 6-8 weeks which includes cage rest and controlled short on the lead walks daily. It may take up to 3 months for a dog to gain good function of that limb and this is where osteopathic care and hydrotherapy is the key to a good speedy recovery.
Cruciate injuries can also lead to more damage.
The unstable joint can also lead to meniscus damage. The meniscus is a C shaped shock absorbing piece of cartilage which is inside the knee joint.
Arthritis will most likely develop in the joint if your dog has suffered an injury as such. This can be controlled as the dog ages and a good maintenance program will assist in reducing arthritic degeneration within the joint.
Avoiding cruciate injuries.
Key points to assist in avoiding cruciate injuries or help repair cruciate injuries and arthritic changes are:
K9 Swim Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre stock a large range of supplements that can assist in prevention and recovery of cruciate ligament damage as well as knee braces that add stability to the injured limb. We also offer programs for overweight dogs, conditioning and rehabilitation.
For further information on how Osteopathy and Hydrotherapy may help your dog avoid or recover from CCL injuries contact Sam on 0452 472 959 or K9 SWiM on 1300 787 064.
Like humans, dogs too have 5 essential senses. Understanding these is one of the best ways to understand your pet better. Let’s take a detailed look at these senses- sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
Dogs also have limited visual capacity when it comes to seeing colours and can see everything around them in shades of grey, yellow and blue. This explains why your dog can’t easily see the ball that’s lying on the lawn, within plain sight. Choose your pet’s toys with care- look for ones that move, light up or glow or even ones that make some noise or have a distinctive smell.
That’s really amazing, isn’t it? Little wonder then that some dog breeds like German Shepherds, Bloodhounds, and Belgian Malinois, are specifically trained to be sniffer dogs and help law enforcement detect the presence of drugs or explosives. Species like the American Pit Bull Terrier, Border Collies, and Beagles are perfect search & rescue dogs. Pet parents should keep this aspect of their dog’s sense in mind and can use fun scent games while training them.
Try driving another car of the same make and model as yours into your driveway, and your dog will know it isn’t your vehicle. The unique structure and shape of their ears are what gives them their acute sense of hearing.
Dogs don’t always eat food for its taste, they will happily chew & swallow things that look even remotely edible. This makes it very important to carefully monitor what your pet puts into his mouths as some things they attempt to swallow can prove to be toxic and fatal too. So, it’s up to us to make sure we don’t feed them these toxic foods such as chocolate, grapes, onions etc
With your dog’s taste senses, herbs are great as they can be added to your dog’s meals giving them many great health benefits and even though the taste is appealing to us humans our dogs are happy to gobble it up. K9 SWiM have herbal products along with natural supplements that you can purchase, and you can contact Sharon who is a qualified Animal Herbalist and Naturopath to discuss what will be best for your dog.
Brushing their fur is another way of showing your affection for your pet.
Learning to massage your dog will not only bond you and your fur baby but will provide great benefits such as general well being, better movement and a healthier and happy dog. Massage improves circulation which improves and supports all systems of the dog’s body and by doing this you will give your dog a better quality of life and longevity. Sharon runs Canine massage workshops. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to find out when they are running.
You can use this information to build a stronger bond with your dog and understand him better.
At K9 SWiM we are very conscious of all your dog’s senses to give them the best care.
With winter right around the corner, the cold weather can aggravate arthritis-related aches and pains in dogs. Since they stay in heated indoor areas, drink insufficient water and don’t get enough sunshine, it can result in dryness of the skin and affect the condition of their coats too.
In addition, they may become more susceptible to bacteria and viruses; which makes it even more important to help them build their immunity levels. One of the simplest things to do is to create a small garden where you can grow some herbs that will be beneficial to the health of your dog. You can add herbs to your pet’s meals; this will help them greatly with mobility issues, improve their overall wellbeing and the flavour of their meals as well.
Some indoor herbs to grow during the winter months
1. Lemon Balm
How to add these herbs to your dog’s winter meals
Many pet parents wonder whether their dogs will actually take these herbs happily. Most herbs have a distinctive aroma and taste that some dogs may not find very palatable. The one way to ensure your dog consumes these beneficial herbs is to cleverly incorporate them into their meals. Here are some ideas to get you started:
How K9 SWiM can help
If you are unable to grow fresh herbs or source them easily, simply use the dried variants. Our K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre also has a well-stocked herbal section, where you can source dried culinary/medicinal herbs in quantities even as little as 50g in weight. Feel free to contact us to make an appointment to discuss as we can create some tailor-made herbal blends to complement the requirements of your pet.
Every pet owner will go through the loss of their pet at some point or the other, and this loss isn't less than devastating for most people. Pets are part of our family and can be one’s best friend. Dealing with the loss of a pet can be excruciatingly painful and you may find it very difficult to get through the day as you usually would. It can take weeks and even months to get over this loss and feel a semblance of normalcy in your life.
There is no need to be embarrassed by the grief and sadness that you feel and the need to mourn the death of your loved pet. This process is a very natural one and in most cases, the only way to deal with what you are experiencing is to go through the motions and let the feeling fade on its own.
How to deal with the grief
Understanding exactly what you are going through is one of the best ways to deal with your pain and grief and you have to learn how to cope with it. Grief has many stages and you may go through feelings ranging from shock and frustration as well as anger and deep sadness. It’s important to understand that all these feelings are part of the healing process and that you don’t try to suppress them. Every person grieves differently; regardless of the level of hurt, the grief still takes its toll.
Overcoming the guilt
Some pet parents have to make the decision to put their pets to sleep (euthanasia) and this can cause them to feel a significant amount of guilt. But there is another angle to the situation that you should look at when you feel this type of guilt. You should consider yourself fortunate that you were able to offer this to your beloved pet to spare them from any pain or suffering. This thought will help you get through that feeling of guilt, allowing you to accept that what you did was right for your pet.
Look for support
You may also sometimes find that people around you don’t share the deep sorrow you are feeling and aren’t as understanding or supportive. Some may even go to the extent of stating that you are overreacting to the situation and say things like “It was nothing more than a pet “ or “ Isn’t it time you got over this by now?”. However, your pet was a significant part of your life; most people, especially ones that haven’t had pets, won’t be able to comprehend or appreciate the depth of feelings you harbour.
One of the best ways to deal with this loss is to connect with others that have suffered a similar loss at some point in their lives; they would be able to understand the grief you are feeling and will offer some empathy as well. It's also important that you look after yourself in this period as the sadness and stress can make you feel tired and drained of energy, affecting the way you function. Maintain a good diet, sleep and exercise as this will help you get stronger each day.
If you have some other pet/s, it’s even more crucial that you maintain a normal routine around them as the situation can take its toll on them too. Pets can feel your emotions so the stronger you are for them the better they and you will be. They too may be suffering from grief if they have also lost their friend. Remember the good times you spent with your beloved pet and do something in their memory.
Here’s a lovely poem by Suzanne Taylor:
My Forever Pet
Pet Loss Counselling
If you are struggling with losing your pet there are Pet Loss Counsellors that you can go and talk with to help you along this journey. I met a very nice lady a few weeks ago called Vicky Nonas who is a qualified counsellor providing support for people of all ages, both young and older, who are dealing with expected or unexpected pet loss, or with a pet’s terminal diagnosis.
Vicky has also experienced her own grief when losing her beloved pets, which motivates her passion.
“Losing a pet can be catastrophic and deeply painful. Talk therapy can be very helpful whilst navigating through this unpredictable time. And one of the things I like to highlight with clients is their ever-lasting relationship with the loving memory of their beloved pet. Therapy may include a client bringing a part of the memory of their pet such as, a blanket, collar, toy, photos etc. to assist with the healing process.
The Cottage I work from is warm and welcoming. I provide a safe space for people to express their feelings of grief and loss. We provide tea and coffee and if a client prefers, we have the luxury of having a counselling session under the shade of a beautiful oak tree with blankets and pillows provided. I also offer general counselling services. Visit my website for more details or to book an appointment.”
Vicky Nonas, Prof. Counsellor, M.A.C.A, M.P.C.A
By My Side – Counselling and Pet Loss Support www.bymyside.net.au
Our pets live forever in our hearts
Arthritis is derived from artho (joint) and it itis (inflammation), both of which are Greek words. It is estimated that about 30% of Australian dogs are affected by this condition in some form or the other. Your dog may be diagnosed with DJD (Degenerative joint disease) or OA (osteoarthritis).
Factors that can contribute to arthritis in dogs
Arthritis is generally caused by instability of the joints as well as regular wear and tear. However, there are a number of other factors that contribute to this condition such as:
Understanding what arthritis is
The joints that are most commonly affected include the elbows, shoulders, knees, and hips. All joints in the body have a smooth cartilage cover which allows the free movement of adjoining bones with the assistance of Synovial fluid (lubricating liquid). The cartilage and also offers a cushioning effect to the bones.
In dogs that suffer from arthritis, there is deterioration of the cartilage covering the joints and the lubricating fluid loses its efficacy. These conditions cause the bones to become rough and they begin to rub against each other. The movements result in a significant amount of discomfort and cause even more damage to the cartilage.
Arthritis- the sign to look out for
Most dogs are quite resilient and the signs of discomfort or pain may not be evident right away. However, the common symptoms to look out for include:
Next steps to take
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to take your dog to the vet for a thorough check-up. X-rays and a comprehensive physical examination will determine if your pet has arthritis. While it is normal for you to feel dejected, there is hope. Arthritis can be managed and controlled effectively in a number of ways.
Helping your dog manage arthritis
1. Managing the pain
At the outset, your vet would prescribe some pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication. These help in alleviating discomfort, inflammation, and swelling. There are a number of highly potent herbal remedies that can help reduce the pain and inflammation as well.
2. Focusing on the right diet
There are certain foods that can help fight inflammation and these can help manage your dog’s condition. Some of the dietary changes you can make include:
Your vet may prescribe nutraceuticals. These supplements that help provide some relief to dogs with arthritis. They help with symptoms such as inflammation and improve mobility. Some of the effective supplements include Green-lipped mussels, Joint strong, K9 Power, Techneyflex and Tuffrock Joint Formula.
This is a very important aspect in the treatment of arthritic dogs. You need to keep your pet exercising, taking care that their muscles aren’t stressed too much. With this in view, hydrotherapy becomes an excellent exercise option because it:
5. Weight Management
If your dog is arthritic, it’s very important to ensure he or she has a normal weight. The heavier your dog the more load and strain on the joints. This results in pain, discomfort and more inflammation and speeds up the progress of arthritis even further. If you want to successfully manage arthritis in your dog, weight reduction is something you need to focus on.
6. Massage or physical therapies
Visiting a massage therapist, physiotherapist or canine osteopath can benefit your dog. Massages are a good way of increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the affected areas. In addition, these massage and physiotherapy sessions can help improve muscle tone, joint flexibility, and range of motion too. Some of the other alternative therapies that have proven to be effective in providing relief in arthritis are hot and cold therapy, photonic therapy and acupuncture.
7. Toe Grips and harnesses
If your dog is slipping on smooth floors or floorboards, you can give provide some traction. Toe grips are a good solution as they help your pet place their feet correctly on the floor and get a firmer grip. You will find a number of well-designed harnesses that can help your dog get into the car or walk up & down stairs, without you having to do any heavy lifting.
8. Home aids and home improvements
You can use a supportive orthopaedic memory foam bed for your arthritic dog. This type of bed provides good support and comfort. Your dog will feel more rested and will be able to get in and out of bed easily. You can get movable ramps for helping your pet get in and out of the car or even to climb up and down stairs. This will save you some effort and help reduce the stress on your dog’s muscles and joints.
9. Portable doggie stairs
These aids are great for smaller dogs that prefer sitting on a couch or lounge when you are watching your favorite show on television. This little staircase is the perfect alternative to them jumping up to sit beside you.
10. Heat pads
These are a great option for older dogs during the colder months. You can place the heat pads under their mattress. The heat radiated provides some comfort to their joints during cold nights.
Now it's up to you
As you can see, there are a number of things that can be done to manage arthritis in your dog. And it isn’t as difficult or challenging as it is made out to be. If the vet has diagnosed that your dog has arthritis, you would have to make some conscious changes to his or her lifestyle at the outset. This will take some adjusting in the initial stages, but your dog will eventually get used to it over time and it will become a normal part of their daily routine.
Never miss out on scheduled visits to your therapist or vet. Include some mobility supplements and aids to help them move around more comfortably. Watch your dog’s weight and ensure they get regular exercises or swimming sessions. Most dogs simply love the latter and look forward to their weekly swims and hydrotherapy sessions.
Contact the experts
We at K9 Swim Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre have a number of products in stock such as:
Not only will this help your pet maintain mobility, but will keep their body weight in check too. Richmond Tafe offers excellent massage courses; these courses give you the opportunity to learn the different types of techniques you can use to massage your dog; this goes a long way in managing arthritic conditions.
For more information about our hydrotherapy and other services, feel free to browse our website.
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
If you liked this article you may also like these:
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.
Call Us 1300 787 064
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.