With Summer brings heat, bush fires, ticks, snakes, spiders, parties, fireworks and electrical storms, to name a few. Do you know how to administer first aid to your dog should he/she have an accident or is bitten? It is essential to know the basics of first aid for pets should an emergency occur.
Here are a few common situations that you might find your fur baby in:
Heat can affect dogs in fatal ways and with our summers soaring into 40 degree heat we must ensure that our dogs are safe from hot conditions. Dogs do not perspire like we do, they only sweat through their paws. Dogs pant to control their body temperature but if they are panting in hot humid conditions they are not receiving cool air, and this can be extremely dangerous for them.
Snake bites can be deadly, and care is to be taken for yourself as well as your dog if you come across a snake. Acting quickly can save your dog’s life. Snakes will normally only strike as a last resort and will try and avoid your dog if possible.
The paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) can be found in bushy coastal areas along the eastern coast of Australia and it's also one of the most dangerous threats to your dog’s health. They are most prevalent from Spring to Autumn however can occur at any time of year.
Paralysis ticks are external parasites that suck the blood from the host animal and it's the ticks salivary glands that produce the toxin that affects the nervous system of the dog. Once paralysis occurs the dog can die in a number of hours unless quickly treated by your vet with anti-tick serum. After initial treatment it can still take 48 hours for the toxin to be removed so your dog can continue to deteriorate during this time.
We at K9 Swim run first aid courses regularly in our training room for pet owners to learn about all the fundamentals of first aid for their beloved pets including how to do a tick search and how to apply a pressure bandage along with recognising emergencies, nail care, bites, stings and allergies, poisoning and lots more.
Call us on 1300 787 064 to put your name down for the next course which will be in February 2020. A must for all pet owners.
What is Photonic Therapy?
Photonic Therapy is a scientifically advanced form of acupuncture using light, instead of needles, to stimulate recognised acupuncture points. It offers a safe, painless & effective treatment method, which promotes healing and largely eliminates the need to suffer pain. It is very effective for humans, horses, dogs and cats.
The energy of light (photons) is transformed into electrical energy by the connective tissue under the skin. This electrical energy is transmitted to the brain by the nerves. Acupuncture points are known to be areas in the skin of increased electrical conductivity, the stimulation of which can change a body function. By stimulating these certain skin areas, we can change the perception or messages the brain is receiving. This causes the brain to release certain chemicals, pain killers and anti-inflammatories, which activate the body's healing processes.
Photonic is applied to any form of imbalance or stress in the body and when applied correctly can help attain optimal health and general well-being. It can treat illnesses, injuries and is wonderful for post-surgery as it increases the speed of healing, reduces pain and can prevent arthritis from forming.
Photonic can have an effect on a number of conditions within the body. It can help maintain normal body processes and cellular turnover to stay healthy with regular use. Using Photonic can help calm nerves and decrease pain and inflammation by increasing blood flow to the nerves so they can heal.
By using Photonic this will increase blood flow to any given area of injury or imbalance and the body can heal itself.
Not many dogs enjoy needles. Photonic Therapy is an advanced form of traditional complementary medicine using red light to stimulate recognised acupuncture points along the body. Rather than stimulating acupuncture points with needles, a special red light is used. The dogs appear to be quite relaxed as its non-invasive, non-painful and is totally safe to use. Photonic provides relief from pain and promotes healing.
How Does Photonic Therapy Work?
The safe, low frequency red light (not laser) is applied to the skin at very specific points to stimulate the autonomic nervous system as well as the spinal nerve transmission which supports the healing of conditions and injuries in animals. The light stimulates the skin and cells to trigger a chemical (ATP) which signals the brain to release endorphins, anti-inflammatories and serotonin and by doing this will assist in eliminating toxins and improving cellular uptake of nutrients. This then will reduce pain, swelling, inflammation and increases circulation and relaxation.
Healing with light dates back to ancient Egypt where people journeyed to various temples devoted to the healing power of sunlight.
In this modern day, many advancements in technology have allowed leading scientists and physicians to use photonic red light therapy in many practical health applications including animals. It is widely used now on humans, cats, dogs, horses, birds, livestock and wildlife with outstanding results.
An interesting fact is that NASA uses red light therapy in zero gravity to expedite the wound healing process for their astronauts.
Conditions That Photonic Therapy Can Help With
Photonic Therapy is used to treat a number of conditions in dogs such as:
Other Benefits to Photonic Therapy
Photonic Therapy compliments other Natural Therapies including Hydrotherapy. A combination of therapies designed for dog’s individual needs and circumstances can see the dog gain maximum health benefits.
We offer Photonic Therapy at K9 Swim, a session costs $40 and bookings are essential. We will discount your photonic session by $10 if its booked with a Swim or Water Treadmill session.
We can also put a package together for you. Call us today for more information
It is not uncommon for dogs at some stage of their life to digest, inhale or absorb some kind of toxin. Toxins come in all forms such as food, human drugs, rat and snail bait, household substances and chemicals. What we feel are safe for us such as food and medications may be another story for our beloved pets.
Safety around your home is paramount to keep you pet safe from being exposed to toxins that may be fatal to their health.
If you feel your dog has been exposed or taken a form of poisoning don’t panic but get to the vet as fast as you can. Being aware of the symptoms may very well save your pets life. If it is safe take with you the packet, labelling or substance of the suspected poison so your vet can identify the toxins. If your dog has vomited a sample of that would be good too.
Signs of Poisoning and Toxicity
Common Ingested Poisons
Acids are found in many household products like cleaners, pool chemicals and car battery fluid. Exposure of toxic chemicals can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin or eyes.
Dogs can be inquisitive and may chew through a bottle or lick /drink substances and these substances may be lethal to your pet.
Ingesting acids will cause ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract with abdominal pain and vomiting. Your dog may paw at its mouth, become distressed and vocal.
Inhaling acids will bring on labored breathing and distress where absorbing acids on the skin will cause irritation and burning and in the eyes, will bring on squinting, pawing at the eye or the eye swelling shut.
Do NOT make your dog vomit as you may cause irreparable damage by the acid burning as its coming back up, but take to your Vet immediately.
Rat and Snail/Slug Bait Poisoning
Rat bait appears to be at the top of the list for the most common poisoning. Rat bait is an anticoagulant which prevents the blood from normally clotting which kills the rat by internal bleeding. Unfortunately, if our dogs eat this they too will suffer the same fate.
If unaware that your dog has eaten rat bait you may not see any obvious signs straight away however your dog could be bleeding internally and it may be several days before you notice any signs which could then be too late.
If you have noticed a box of rat bait disturbed or open and feel your dog may have ingested some seek medical advice immediately.
If you actually see your dog eat it then try and make him/her vomit immediately and get to your vet as soon as possible.
To prevent your dog from this deadly poison, remove baits from your home and surrounds or place in areas where your dog can’t possibly get to. Bait stations are the best as your dog can’t get into these, but still place in a safe place out of reach of your pooch.
Common Inhaled Poisons
Common Absorbed Poisons Through Skin, Eyes and Paws
How to Avoid and Prevent Your Dog From Being Poisoned
If your pet has had an experience of poisoning/toxicity then it’s worth detoxifying your dog with some great herbs to cleanse the blood, liver and body.
Our Wellness Centre can help you with a detoxing mix to add to your dog’s food daily for a month so cleanse the body and get your fur baby back on track.
Give us a call to make a booking for a consultation with our Naturopath.
Its Spring time!!! This means that now the days are getting longer, we can walk our dogs more, be outside and play for longer. Warmer weather and flowers blossoming can bring some seasonal issues for our pets such as pests and allergies so here are a few ideas on getting them all ready for the Spring months ahead.
Warmer months brings on shedding which you will find in the house, car and everywhere else your pooch is! Bathing and brushing regularly will help rid the loose excess hair and keep your house cleaner and your fur baby happier. Take your dog to a Groomer for the works or get a mobile groomer come to your home and give your dog a spring clean!
Spring grass, flowering plants and trees can all cause allergies in your pet just like it can with us. Symptoms of allergies could be scratching, licking, chewing, hair loss, rashes, weepy eyes, red paws, swellings and even smelly skin.
Pay special attention to what’s in your garden and areas where you take your dog for walks. Some gardens can harbour plants that can cause irritation or even be poisonous to our pets. These plants may only flower or berry once a year but it might be those parts of the plant that can cause allergies to your dog. Identify what plants you have in your garden and check if they are dangerous to your dog.
Buzzing insects can attract your dog’s attention and if bitten may cause a nasty allergic reaction. If you notice unusual swelling on your dog or have seen your pooch stung seek Veterinarian advice as the severity can differ from dog to dog and you want to avoid any further complications.
Tick, Fleas and Worms
These pests love the warmer weather so make sure that your pet is up to date with preventative control and if in tick areas, do regular tick searches as these parasites can be harmful. Warm months also bring out mosquitos and their bite on your dog can spread heart worm so make sure that they are covered for this along with your other worming routine for roundworm, hookworm and tapeworms. Talk to your Vet about prevention of these nasties.
Lawn and Garden Care
Spring is when we love getting back out into the garden and getting our lawn and plants healthy and rejuvenated after the cold winter. We must be very careful of the chemicals that we use on our grass and plants as they can be toxic to our pets. Herbicides, fertilisers and insecticides are generally poisonous to our pets so please make sure you read the instructions carefully and take note of the recommended waiting time before allowing your pets back outside on the grass and in the garden.
Spring Cleaning in the House
The warmer weather and longer days gets us inspired to spring clean the house but think about what harsh chemicals you may be using which could be dangerous to your fur babies. Make sure that your pets are out of the way when you are cleaning and to air the house after using chemicals so when your pets enter the home again all fumes and chemical smells have gone.
Don’t forget that we have a Doggy Day Care now at K9 Swim so if you want to spray your lawn or spring clean your house why not drop your fur baby off to us for the day so you can do your spring jobs safely and your pooch gets a fun day out at the same time!
It may sound overwhelming and radical to you when your vet talks about amputation but dogs mostly cope with losing a limb, whether it be from a disease such as cancer or an accident. They don’t seem to experience the same mental sense of loss as humans do and most dogs adjust to life on 3 legs, they get along with their day as they are busy being a dog!
Amputation involves a major surgery and your vet will only recommend this procedure if they feel it will give your dog a better quality of life and release them of pain and suffering.
Initially after surgery it may not be easy for your dog to move about like he/she used to although if they didn’t use the leg before surgery they may just adapt very quickly. There will be an adjustment period of your dog getting used to balancing and walking about on 3 limbs but in time they will compensate and distribute weight to find a comfortable way of mobility.
After surgery your dog will be sent home on pain relief and possibly a course of antibiotics. Your vet may place a cone around your dog’s head to prevent licking or chewing at the surgery site. Your dog will probably be quiet for a few days and you will need to assist toilet breaks by supporting your dog to walk with a towel slung under their belly or a harness. Check for any swelling, inflammation, discharge, infection or blood and contact your vet if you are concerned. There will be a follow up check-up a few days after surgery then stitches will come out from 10 – 14 days’ post-surgery.
Amputation is a very difficult decision for you so discussing in detail with your vet about the process, the post-surgery, recovery and prognosis will help you come to your decision. Large and heavier dogs may not adapt as well as a smaller lighter dog and dogs that are having an amputation for cancer still may not be cured but by removing the limb you may be extending your dog’s life and making life more pain free.
Ways To Help Post-Surgery
There are many ways of assisting your dog in the recovery and rehabilitation of amputation and the following points will speed on recovery, keep your dog’s mind stimulated and promote health and happiness in your mate.
Trista gets about just fine on 3 legs and swims like a fish.
How K9 Swim Can Help
K9 Swim can help you with the recovery and rehabilitation of your dog after amputation.
Our Hydrotherapy Centre has an indoor heated pool with easy access for dogs that have mobility issues. Hydrotherapy is a wonderful therapy for muscle development, calming down inflammation, easing aches and pains in sore bodies and limbs and exceptional for mental stimulation and burning of energy. It is safe and controlled and we are experienced in handling post-surgery patients.
Our Wellness Centre has our Osteopath Dr Samantha Sherrington that can speed on recovery and release connective tissue and tightness. We can offer herbal and natural remedies for phantom pain, anxiety or depression and we also have our Post-Operative Day care for those owners that can’t be at home every day with their recovering dog. We can care for your dog in a secure and safe place, toilet them regularly and give them lots of kisses and cuddles!
Call us on 1300 787 064 to discuss your needs.
You may also be interested in reading:
Caring For Your Dog Post-Surgery
It is becoming more common to see hip dysplasia in many dogs of all breeds, predominately larger breeds. As a dog owner, you may feel absolutely devastated when the vet gives you the news but with advances in Veterinary treatment and safe management options, hip dysplasia can be controlled and managed well.
What is hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip joint that occurs during a dogs growth period. Signs may be noticed as early as 4-6 weeks of age or not until they are in their senior years. The ball of the femur does not fit correctly into the hip socket which causes the hip to partially dislocate. Some dogs may show no signs of this condition where others will experience pain and difficulty moving around. Hip Dysplasia is mainly a genetic condition however diet and the environment can contribute to this condition, such as obesity or rapid weight gain which puts excessive strain on the joints and nutritional disorders.
Signs to look for:
A lack of co-ordination in the hind quarters can be a sign of hip dysplasia
How is hip dysplasia diagnosed?
Recognising symptoms early is important and your vet will do a physical examination by checking your dog’s movement of the hip joints and most probably taking x-rays to confirm the condition.
Normal Canine Hips Bilateral Hip Dysplasia
What treatments are available for hip dysplasia?
There are many options available today when it comes to treating hip dysplasia and managing it. A treatment plan depends on various factors such as age and the severity of the condition. Surgery is normally a last option after other treatments and management have not been effective or if the condition is severe.
These include a combination of a healthy diet, weight management, joint supplements, anti –inflammatories, non-weight bearing exercise like hydrotherapy, to build muscle and support the limbs, acupuncture, photonic therapy and Osteopathic treatments.
There are several surgical options and your Vet will recommend which one is best suited to your dog’s condition.
Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)
The normal hip is a ball and socket joint and this surgery removes the neck and head of the femur which is the ball part of the joint. This surgery is very good especially for smaller dogs as the muscles and connective tissue of the leg hold the femur in place and forms a functional “false joint” FHO can be used in larger dogs if arthritis is severe, if the hip dislocates or if the other procedure is too expensive for the owner. FHO surgery can provide most patients pain free mobility.
Total Hip Replacement (THR)
Total hip replacement surgery removes both the ball and socket which is replaced with an artificial ball and socket normally made of surgical stainless steel and plastic. This is generally performed in larger breeds of dogs but can still be used in smaller dogs. THR surgery can give many years of pain free mobility and is generally reserved for dogs that have severe and painful conditions and that have not responded to conventional management.
Double or Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (DPO/TPO)
The object of the DPO and TPO procedure is to “capture” the femoral head in the socket thereby reducing laxity present. The procedure in when the pelvis is cut in two or three places around the hip joint, rotating the acetabulum and stabilising the pelvis in the new position with metal bone plates and screws.
This should only be performed on young dogs only - usually less than 6 months of age that have no arthritic changes in the joint. Following this procedure dogs must be crated/confined for at least 6 weeks with short on leash walks only to ensure the bones heal in their new position correctly.
Caring for your dog with Hip Dysplasia
· If you suspect that your pet has hip dysplasia, see your Vet straight away to minimise the arthritic changes that will develop as the problem worsens.
· Monitor your dog's body weight and avoid obesity as weight puts a lot of pressure on the joints
· Avoid strenuous exercise but provide moderate low impact exercise such as hydrotherapy and controlled walks
Don’t over feed or over exercise growing pups. Researched evidence indicates that pups that grow too rapidly are more than likely to develop hip dysplasia and over exercising pups that may have any abnormalities in their hip structure will exaggerate the issue with excessive running, jumping and repetitively chasing objects. All of these can be detrimental to their growing joints.
K9 Swim can assist your dog in managing hip dysplasia with our state of the art Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre. From our indoor heated pool and under water treadmill for low impact and non-weight bearing exercise to our in-house Osteopath, herbal remedies and natural therapies we can offer a range of treatments that will make a difference to the quality of life to your pet. If its managing hip dysplasia with non-surgical options or rehabilitation after surgery we can help your pooch get back on track to optimal health.
We now offer Post Op Day care so if your dog has recently had surgery and needs to be confined and you can’t be home every day with your fur baby then we can help.
Just give us a call to discuss on 1300 787 064
You may also be interested in reading:
Caring for your dog post-surgery
Winter is back and the harsh weather can bring a variety of health issues to our pooches. Biting winds and cold numbing wet days can cause your dog to be uncomfortable and unhappy. Whilst some people think that their dogs are okay with their fur coats and that they can tolerate the cold, this is not always the case. Our dogs are now domesticated and so many of them are now indoor dogs, so cold weather can be hard on them just like it can be for us. We can help our dogs be safe this winter by giving them a little extra care, especially our golden oldies that feel the cold a lot more than they ever used to.
Here are a few winter health risks to our dogs and some ideas on how to get them through these chilly months.
Winter Health Risks to our Dogs
Our dogs if left outside in extreme cold conditions can experience some severe issuess that can be life threatening.
Hypothermia can occur in dogs that are exposed to cold and freezing conditions for long periods of time, if they get wet in cold conditions, if they have bad circulation, old or are in poor health and are subjected to cold and windy weather. Hypothermia is an extreme lowering of the body temperature which causes the heart and respiration to slow down. Symptoms of mild cases would be shivering and their ears, feet and nose will feel cold. As it progresses your dog will start to be lethargic, depressed and weak. Their muscles can start to get stiff and their breathing and heart rate will get dangerously slow.
Frostbite can occur when your dog is out in very cold and freezing conditions. Their body gets exceptionally cold and the body pulls heat from their extremities like their ears, tail and paws to the centre of the body to try and stay warm. Ice crystals may form and the skin starts to become pale and a bluish gray in colour due to the lack of blood flow. The skin may feel icy cold, hard or brittle. This is very painful for the dog and in severe cases can turn black, blister or ulcerate.
Burns: Dogs can happily snuggle up in front of the fire or heater in cold weather but sometimes they may get a little too close. Don’t leave your fur baby alone in front of a fire place or heater even if you do have barriers up. Your pet can still get a bad burn by coming into contact with hot surfaces or spitting fires.
How can we prevent winter health risks?
Swimming at K9 Swim is a great way of exercising in the Winter months. The pool is indoors and heated and we offer a warm water rinse off and blow dry after. We also run a Senior Swim program for Golden Oldies 10 years and over.
For more information Enquire here
Temperature: Some breeds of dogs have big thick coats that can keep them warm but those dogs with thin coats need assistance with a warm jacket for the cold winter months. If your dog is an outside dog then a very good warm shelter and bed is essential to keep them safe from the elements. In freezing conditions a coat or a comfortable bed outside will not protect them from frostbite, to the extremities, or hypothermia if they are out for long periods so try and find a protected, dry, warm place for your dog during these conditions. If your dog is an inside dog then take them out regularly for walks and exercise but don’t leave them out in freezing conditions for a long period of time.
Exercise: Our fur babies still need to exercise in the winter months. The best time for their walks is mid-morning or mid-afternoon when the day is not at its coldest. When the sun is shining, spend time outside playing and get that great Vitamin D supplement. If you are showing or competing your dog in cold conditions then make sure you have a good warm jacket to keep them warm before and after their event.
Bedding: In cold months, its essential to have the right bedding so that your dog is nice and warm and comfortable. Do not let your dog sleep on a cold floor during winter months – get a trampoline bed so it’s off the ground and elevated. Heated beds are available and are great for old or arthritic dogs. Keep your dog away from drafts and provide warm blankets and a nice protected area.
Senior Dog Care: Winter months can certainly aggravate any existing medical conditions and arthritis that your dog may have. Senior dogs need to keep gently exercising especially through these cold months. When exercising, be aware of freezing ground, slippery surfaces, icy winds and freezing rain. Make sure your dog is rugged up when going for a walk and when they return from their outing they have a warm, supportive bed to rest in. You may like to give your golden oldie a mobility supplement to help with the aches and pains associated with age and arthritis.
Massage: Who doesn’t like a massage! Our pooches really benefit from massage, especially in cold months. Massage puts blood and oxygen into the muscle groups, it detoxifies the body, reduces inflammation of arthritic joints and circulates the blood around the body to stay warm and maintain a general well-being.
Nutrition: Your dog doesn’t have to eat lots more because its cold. They are possibly doing less exercise so you may have to reduce the calorie intake according to their activity level. Provide good quality and nutritious meals for your best mate so they feel satisfied in the cold weather.
A great idea especially in the colder months is to make up a batch of bone broth which gives your dog wonderful vitamins and minerals to keep them going through Winter. Bone broth not only is nutritious and yummy to them, but it also helps with their coat which can dry out in the cold months. Bone broth also maintains a healthy gut and is great for dogs with digestive problems, it supports the immune system and assists in protecting joints due to its glucosamine and chondroitin properties.
Here is a recipe for delicious bone broth:
What you need.
How to cook.
The broth will be like jelly when you first spoon it out of the container and some pets love it like that but you can warm it up for 10 seconds in the microwave or leave for a few minutes at room temperature and it will reduce to a liquid form.
Add some freshly chopped parsley to the broth when serving for added vitamins.
A couple of spoons full of broth a day on its own or mixed with food is wonderful for your pet.
You may also be interested in reading:
Winter Herbs - The Perfect Winter Remedies for Dogs
Grooming Your Dog Doesn't Stop Over Winter
Dog trainers and veterinarians often tell you how important socialisation is for your pets. So what exactly is it? It’s essentially the method used to teach puppies how to cope with the world around them as they grow. The critical socialisation period is generally from 4 to 12 weeks of age. This is the time you’d introduce your puppy to various situations they would encounter in their life. The objective is to ensure that every experience they have is positive and that they don’t become distressed in any way.
When your puppy sees something new for the very first time, they are more likely to be startled than interested. The interest quotient comes in later, after which they decide how significant it is and whether they should pay more attention to it. The different things they would be trying to determine are whether it’s safe, can be eaten, played with or is it dangerous?
Important Facts About Canine Socialisation
Being able to discover all this vital information in a comfortable and safe way, with positive outcomes helps them become a more balanced adult dog. Here are some facts about socialisation for puppies:
Tips to Socialise for Success
Once your pup is 3 months old they can come to K9 SWiM’s Hydrotherapy centre for a swim in our state of the art canine heated pool. K9 SWiM also runs regular Puppy Splash classes that run for six weeks where puppies will learn to socialise and get confident in the water. It is a great bonding experience for you and your pup. You will both have lots of FUN!
Check out when the next Puppy Splash starts
You may also be interested in reading:
Making Your Garden Dog Friendly
How To Recognise Whether Your Dog is Anxious- Tips To Help Them Naturally
Essentials oils are becoming exceeding popular as a holistic way of managing our health, but can our pets benefit from them too?
Essential oils can be a wonderful addition to supporting our pets emotional and physical wellbeing when used correctly. They can support our pet’s skin, calm the emotions and give relief to our senior pet’s muscles and joints and so much more.
But what are essential oils exactly?
To put it simply they are naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in plants, seeds, bark, stems, roots and flowers. They are extremely potent so a little goes a long way and especially for our pets!
There are a few important things to consider when starting your journey of using essential oils for your pets.
First off, know your pet’s health and talk to your veterinarian if in doubt. It’s always good to know what you are dealing with first and some oils may not be advisable with certain conditions and medications.
There are many different oils brands on the market but not all oils are created equally. Choosing an oil that is certified pure grade is imperative. Many oils contain synthetics and we could end up doing our pet and ourselves more harm than good.
Knowledge is the key. Essential oils can play such a beneficial role in our pet’s well being and there are lots of wonderful resources and information out there. Take time to research the oil you are using for your pet, get advice or attend an essential oils workshop to learn more.
We love using essential oils for our beautiful dogs Sunny and Grommy and we are passionate about sharing our knowledge and helping others. If you want to learn more about using essential oils for your pets stay tuned for more workshops and seminars at K9 Swim in the coming months. You can contact us for more information by visiting us at www.facebook.com/twooilyems or call us on 0452 280 543.
With age in our dogs comes molecular and cellular level changes in the brain. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that cause aging and these can result in loss of brain function which is a natural part of aging.
Dogs can experience dementia or Alzheimer's like symptoms and this is called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). CDS can progress slowly. To further slow down this progression keeping the dog mentally stimulated and active is important. Antioxidants may help.
Our in house Veterinarian Dr Rob Willis has a great interest in our older dogs and has given us some signs and symptoms to look for and he has developed a treatment plan to assist in the aging process to help relieve some of these symptoms. Read on and Rob will be visiting us again in May so if you have concerns about your dog that may be showing some of these signs book in and see Rob.
Is your dog suffering from the effects of brain ageing (senility)?
By Dr Rob Willis
There are a number of signs of brain ageing in older dogs including:
These signs are most common in dogs that are in their teens as this is when most owners notice the sudden onset changes however the problems generally are there pre-teens and this is especially true for large and giant breeds.
Brain ageing in dogs
'Brain ageing' is thought to be caused by a number of processes with the main ones being:
The good news is there are things we can do for this condition, if you have a dog that is affected you don't have to resign yourself to the fact that they are just 'old'.
I have used a combination of treatments including acupuncture and veterinary prescriptions while those looking for a natural supplement perhaps Neurologinol would be worth a try for your dog. 'Neurologinol' is a purpose build veterinary naturopathic supplement to assist in the management of brain ageing in dogs.
For more information contact Dr Rob 0490 038 208 or email email@example.com
As pet owners it can be overwhelming when your dog has had surgery and it’s time for you to take them home from the vet and manage their post-surgery care. It is crucial you give your pet the best possible care during this time to accelerate their recovery and assist in prevention of any secondary issues arising.
Talk to your Veterinary Surgeon
Your Veterinary Surgeon has done their part by performing the surgery and they will also explain your post-surgery care and often give you discharge papers and printed instructions on your dog’s post-surgery care. There are no standard post-surgery specifics as these will always vary due to the type of surgery being done and you’re your dog’s age and condition. It’s important you talk to your vet and that you understand the instructions that you have been given. As this can be an emotional time it is a good idea to write down your questions and take notes on what you need such as bandages, stitches or medications to administer. This will avoid any confusion and ensure you don’t forget anything.
Be diligent about your dog’s post-surgery care.
It is imperative that you follow the instructions from your Vet and if they tell you that your pooch requires restricted rest and needs to be on a controlled lead, they mean it! The reason is that your dog’s body needs to heal properly, and additional movement can increase the risk of injury and result in another surgery or other complications.
Post-op checkups at the Vet clinic are very important after surgery as the Vet will make sure healing and recovery is going as planned. Don’t put off or miss any of these checkups.
Confining your dog for post-surgery recovery
Keeping your dog confined after surgery is common as it helps the cut tissue to heal. Your vet may request you to crate your dog and keep them leashed when taking them to the toilet.
At K9 SWiM with so many post-surgery dogs coming here for rehabilitation and speaking to the pet owners I often hear people say, “It’s too hard to keep my dog crated and leashed to go to the toilet” Yes, it can be frustrating to keep your dog crated, confined and quiet during their recovery period from surgery or an injury. But when I hear dog owners tell me that they had just let their dog outside to go to the toilet and have a sniff around off the leash - that’s when their dog has hurt themselves and then their dog is back to square 1.
Here are a few tips to assist you in making confined rest and restricted exercise a little easier and more stimulating for your dog during this time.
Crate train your dog.
It is a good idea to crate train all dogs. So if they do injure themselves in the future and have to be crated for rest, then they will be OK with it. If you know your dog is going to have to have surgery get them crate trained before surgery. Dogs that have never been crate trained may find it stressful when placed in a crate post-surgery and could injure themselves further by trying to get out.
Canine Hydrotherapy for post-surgery rehabilitation
There any many types of surgeries where canine hydrotherapy can assist and accelerate recovery.
Hydrotherapy is non-weight bearing and will rebuild muscle quickly and will add no stress to the limbs. Muscle atrophy will be prominent in pre-and post-surgery cases and by building muscle again will assist in the stability of the limb and the mobility of your dog.
Surgeries such as spinal, cruciate repair and hip replacements, hydrotherapy is fabulous anywhere from 2-6 weeks’ post-surgery. With any rehabilitation program at K9 SWiM our Vet Referral (Link form) form must be completed and signed by your vet. This confirms that your vet has given the OK to start Hydrotherapy. Your vet should always approve any additional treatment or rehabilitation your pet is receiving for an injury they are treating. If you have any concerns during rehabilitation we are happy to liaise with your vet on your dog is progressing.
Other post-surgery rehabilitation options for your dog.
K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre specializes in post-surgery rehabilitation with an indoor heated pool, an underwater treadmill. We take a holistic approach to rehabilitation offering services such as massage, acupuncture, photonic therapy and strengthening exercises which are great for recovery and rehabilitation. Our retail shop stocks a variety of aids to assist in recovery like harnesses, braces, toe grips and orthopedic memory foam beds. Herbal mixes and supplements are also available for purchase.
Osteopath – Dr Samantha Sherrington and Alternative Vet – Dr Rob Willis are also available for appointments at K9 SWiM Wellness Centre.
So when you are talking to your Vet, discuss these options and ask when your dog will be ready to start these therapies.
You are welcome to come in and have a look around or call us on 1300 787 064 to make an appointment for your dog’s recovery.
Aries Dog (March 21 – April 20)
Taurus Dog (April 21 – May 20)
Gemini Dog (May 21 – June 20)
Cancer Dog (June 21 – July 20)
Leo Dog (July 21 – August 20)
Virgo Dog (August 21 – September 22)
Libra Dog (September 23 – October 22)
Scorpio Dog (October 23 – November 22)
Sagittarius Dog (November 23 – December 22)
Capricorn Dog (December 23 – January 22)
Aquarius Dog (January 23 – February 18)
Pisces Dog (February 19 – March 20)
Most people love the holiday season and there is so much to love about them. There is cheer in the air and everyone seems to have a smile. While the holiday season may be a happy time for us, it isn’t always so for our pets. As a matter of fact, it can be quite stressful and sometimes potentially dangerous too. So how can you ensure that your pet is able to make it through the holiday season in a stress and anxiety-free manner? Here are some of our tips that can help for different situations:
Leaving your pet when you are heading out of town?
For many, the holidays also mean travel. But it may not always be possible to take your pet with you every time you head out of town. This means you will either rely on a pet-sitter or kennel to house your pooch. This may cause stress and anxiety to your pet. You can help reduce this anxiety by doing at least a couple of runs with a pet-sitter or boarding facility before you go out on vacation. This will help him become more familiar with strange surroundings or a new person. It’s also a good idea to ensure they have a favourite toy or blanket for comfort even a piece of your clothing with your familiar smell.
Going on a long car drive with your dog?
If you plan to take your dog along with you on a road trip, it will go far more smoothly for everyone if you ensure he uses up some of his energy before loading up. Depending on the age of your pet, playing with a toy/ball or even taking them on a long walk can help expend some of the nervous energy. Also, don’t feed your dog breakfast just before you hop in the car. Feed them a relatively light meal 3 to 4 hours before you hit the road. There’s nothing worse than a gassy passenger in the car.
Entertaining at Home?
If you are planning to spend time at home during the holidays and are going to be entertaining a lot, the constant stream of guests can be quite upsetting to your pooch. If your pooch tends to get very nervous around strangers, its best to create a safe space for them in any room of the house. This will give them the quiet time they need while the festivities are on. Don’t compel your pet to be where all the noise and people are if they prefer to be in a quiet room or they want to sleep in their own bed. Allow your pet to decide exactly how much socialising they are comfortable with. Also spend some quality time with your pet around this time so their routine doesn’t feel to out of place.
Putting up Christmas Decorations?
While you may like to decorate your house and your Christmas tree with twinkling lights, decorations such as these may send your pooch into a frenzy. If you notice your pet becoming anxious or nervous when they see the blinking lights, simply use some other décor. After all, your pet is a family member and you want her to enjoy the holidays as much as everyone else, don’t you?
When choosing holiday décor, consider whether it can pose a threat to your pooch if they swallow a decoration. Sometimes a simple thing like securing your Christmas tree so it can’t be knocked down will prevent an injury to your pet.
Any firework displays close by?
Dogs are exposed to a variety of loud noises throughout the holidays. The hustle and bustle of everyone cleaning the house and decorating it, clanging of pots and pans from all the holiday cooking, Christmas carolling and more. Fireworks are the added noise factor that can upset your dog immensely.
Fireworks often causes stress and anxiety in our pets. It goes without saying that you need to keep your pet away from any common areas where people are lighting fireworks. Place your pet in a quiet room when firecrackers are being lit; this can help keepthem calm and safe.
Try to maintain regularity in your pet’s routine and don’t change their diet either. While the holiday season can be an exciting time for you and your family, following these tips can also help ensure your pet is safe and happy as well.
You may also want to read:
• Tips to Keep your Dog Calm and De-Stressed This Holiday Season
• Top 7 Tips To Keep Your Dog Happy This Christmas
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.
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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.