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
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Caring for your dog post-surgery
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
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.
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.
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.
Warmer weather brings out the ticks and fleas and in some areas of the country our parasite season is longer due to our seasons not being as defined as they used to be.
Here is some useful information about these parasites, signs that your pet has them and things you can do to prevent your dog from getting ticks and fleas.
Fleas and Your Dog
Fleas are parasites and they live, feed and breed on your dog which is the host animal; but they can also affect humans and it doesn’t take long for them to make themselves at home on your property. Let’s look at the things we can do to prevent these creatures from infesting your home and your pet:
How do fleas show up on dogs in the first place?
Dogs can easily pick up these parasites from other pets as fleas can jump very easily from one dog to another. However, your dog primarily picks up fleas from the environment that it comes into contact with such as yards, homes parks or areas where other flea-infested pets or other animals have been.
Fleas- signs to look out for:
How to protect your dog from fleas.
Fleas thrive in shady, wet, warm and humid environments. So, keeping this in mind there are several ways you can help protect your dog from getting fleas such as:
Ticks and Your Dog
Ticks are normally found in regions where there is a lot of bushland and native wildlife. These troublesome parasites can cause quite serious problems for your dog such as paralysis. The paralysis tick latches onto the dog and injects toxins into their system which progressively paralyses them normally from the hind legs forward.
Symptoms of tick paralysis include:
Some more symptoms of common tick infestations
How does a dog get ticks?
It extremely difficult to prevent your dog from being exposed to ticks; these creatures can latch onto to your dog when he/she goes out with you on walks, or during any other outdoor activities such as hiking etc. Dogs get a tick infestation because they are out in that open environment, walking through the high grass or woods.
Ticks undergo questing (they crawl up onto low shrubs/grass and stay there). When a dog walks by or even when we walk past and brush against these ticks, they quickly dislodge and latch onto us. These parasites can live for well over a year without any food and they will just stay there waiting for a host to latch onto.
The right way to check your dog for ticks
How to protect your dog from getting ticks
Some of the things you can do to protect your dog from getting ticks include:
How to Remove A Tick Safely from Your Dog
Tick Twisters are available to purchase at our K9 SWiM Wellness Centre, North Richmond
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The winter air is cold and chilly and it’s true that your dogs need to have a longer coat to keep them warm. Many pet parents wonder whether they need to give their dogs a break from regular grooming as it may make them uncomfortable and chilly.
This can be no further from the truth; your pet needs much more attention in the winter months. If you don’t groom them during this time, their coat can matt and result in skin problems and discomfort.
Here are a few winter grooming tips for your dogs:
1. Bush and Demat Their Fur
It’s important that you brush and demat your pet’s coat before bathing them as wet fur will only get tangled quickly
3. Nail Trimming
ground and it pushes their toes outward, which makes it very uncomfortable for them to walk.
4. Trim their Coat
However even if you have a Maltese, Lhasa Apso or Shih Tzu, you would have to regularly trim their coats as they have sensitive skin.
In short, you need to continue grooming your pet regardless of the season. You can also bring your pet to our Indoor pool for a spot of fun. They will have a fun time swimming around in the warm water of the pool. We also offer a complimentary warm water rinse & blow-dry, to dry your dog before you leave the center.
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.
Valentine’s Day! What better time to show our dogs how much we love them with a little bit of spoiling and extra attention, the paw partner that loves you unconditionally and is always there to greet you with a wagging tail.
These 7 tips are a great way to show your pooch some love.
1. Tasty Treats
2. A New Toy
3. A Lovely Walk Somewhere New
5. Swim Together
7. Organise a Puppy Play Date
Summer and it’s hot weather is here! That means that the bush fire season is upon us. Pet owners need to be prepared in the event of a bush fire. Pets have been left behind in bush fires because their owners had not included their pets as part of their Bush Fire Survival Plan. Taking the time to create a Bush fire Survival Plan helps ensure your family and pets safety.
Having a pet emergency kit will ensure you have the items you need for your pet ready to go quickly. The kit can include:
If you are using a cage, pet carrier or float, have these easily accessible for a quick evacuation and make sure your pet is trained to enter and spend time in these. Otherwise they may panic or fret and you may have difficulty to get them go into their crate or carrier.
Relocate or Stay?
For high-risk times it may be safer for you and your pets to relocate to somewhere else until the danger is over. Pets may panic and run. If you want to keep them with you, then keep them close to you at times of risk by keeping them inside, on a lead or in a crate. This will be faster and more efficient when it’s time to move your pet should you need to evacuate.
Do not leave it until the last minute to evacuate as this is the most dangerous option for you and your pets.
Make a Plan with Neighbours
Having a plan made with neighbours can help keep your pets safe if you are not at home. Consider doing the following:
It is a great idea to have signage on a gate or on your door should you have animals on your property or inside and you are not home. State how many pets there are so they can be accounted for should someone else have to evacuate them in an emergency.
Always prepare your evacuation bush fire emergency plan before summer so you can act quickly in case of an emergency.
Watch for Heat Stress in Your Pets
Bush fires are usually in times of extreme heat and your pets may be vulnerable to heat stress. The signs will be panting, dehydration, drooling, high temperature, red gums, increased respiration and heart rate. If you suspect your pet is experiencing heat stroke, soak towels in cool water and place over pet or in-between the legs or around the neck. Always seek veterinary assistance immediately.
To prevent heat stroke provide lots of shade and fresh water outside. Preferably bring them inside to a cool part of the house if the temperature is soaring outside. Do not leave dogs in cars; the car can heat up so quickly to a dangerous temperature. Overweight, aged, short nosed or unhealthy dogs will suffer a lot more in the heat than other dogs so take extra precautions with them.
Fire Safety for You and Your Pets
As dog owners we want to ensure that our gardens are safe for our four legged friends. When creating our gardens we are sometimes unaware that they could be toxic to our pets. Pet friendly gardens tend to have an organic approach, making them safer and healthier. Before going out and buying seeds or plants, let’s make sure you are planting a dog friendly garden.
Common Weeds & Plants That Are Harmful To Dogs
There are a lot of plants that can be harmful to our pets and it is always wise to check online before purchasing. Listed below are some common weeds and plants found in the garden that can cause allergies or toxicity to your pets:
The AEC (Animal Emergency Centre) has produced a chart that you can download or print for reference, listing Common Plants Toxic to Dogs and Cats. Check your garden today!
Fertilizers, Herbicides, Insecticides and Baits
It is important to store any fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or baits out of reach of your pets as these can be toxic. When using, keep your dogs out of the garden and make sure you read the labels. The label will include instructions and ensure the safety of your pets when using the product. If you are unsure then consult your veterinarian.
Why Do Dogs Eat Plants?
Not all dogs eat plants but here some common reasons why some dogs do:
Common Symptoms Associated with Toxic Dog Plants
Most of us know when our four legged friends are not feeling well and toxic plants can cause minor to more severe symptoms. Listed here are some of the common symptoms related to toxic plants:
If you think your dog or pet is sick from ingesting a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Planning Your Dog Friendly Garden
When planning your garden, make sure you select plants that are safe for your dog and avoid plants that are toxic or irritable. Some dogs love digging and there are bulbs like hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and some lilies that can be fatal. Some plants are fine and it’s only the fruits and berries that are poisonous, although there are also some grasses and weeds that can cause allergic reactions like itching, sneezing and bad rashes.
Familiarise yourself with what plants you have in your garden, or if planning a new one - check that the plants are safe for your pets before purchasing them. There is a great Australian book out called
“Poisonous2pets by Nicole O’Kane” that details all of the common plants and their toxicity along with great photos to help you identify the plant itself.
You also need to be aware of plants with thorns, spikes or hard sharp branches and where they are planted. If they are poorly positioned dogs may run into them or run past and injure themselves.
Features of a Dog Friendly Garden
To keep our dogs happy and healthy, here is a list of dog friendly features for the garden:
With days shorter and colder in the winter months we thought we would share some tips and treats on keeping your dog healthy, warm and fit over winter. Our furry friends rely on us for their health, comfort and joy.
Winter Dog Bedding Tips
Your dog’s bedding will depend on whether they are an inside dog or an outside dog.
Even though it may feel warm inside the floor can still be quite cold. Make sure bedding is off the floor and out of draft areas. Dogs are social animals and love to be part of the family and having their beds in a location where they can see you always provides them comfort knowing that you are there.
A dog house should be big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around. Any extra space just means extra area to heat. Make sure your dog house is in a good location so the wind does not enter the opening and gets some sun during the day to add some warmth. You can cover the doorway of the dog house with a flap of carpet to prevent the wind from coming in. You can also place a blanket over the dog house to provide some extra insulation in the winter months. A good insulated mattress and warm blankets within the dog house will ensure a nice warm comfortable sleep.
Extra warmth for your four legged friend can be provided through heat lamps, heaters, heat mats, heat packs and hot water bottles. It is important to make sure that any heating mats, packs or hot water bottles are placed under bedding so the heat radiates through. NEVER apply heat directly to your dog as it will burn the skin and cause discomfort.
If your dog sleeps in front of an open fire it is important to make sure the fire has a screen so your dog doesn’t accidentally get burnt from embers.
How About a Winter Jacket
There are so many warm and protective winter jackets on the market that can keep our pooches nice and cozy in the cold nights. Dogs with arthritic conditions, older dogs, short coated dogs and dogs that have been unwell feel the cold so much more and will benefit greatly in these months with the extra warmth.
In the winter months our dogs can turn into couch potatoes and sleep a lot. They conserve energy whilst sleeping and exercise much less so you will need to adjust their diet accordingly otherwise they may start to put on weight!
Outdoor dogs will burn more calories (up to 30%) and will need extra food if you can’t bring them inside.
Water is just as important for Winter as it is Summer so make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water available at all times.
Adding some great winter herbs to their meal can help them through the cold months- Echinacea for the immune system, turmeric for mobility and it’s a warming herb as well, Rosehips for vitamin C. Consider adding these supplements to their meals to get through the cold days and nights. Remember to ALWAYS consult a vet or an animal naturopath before giving your dog herbs or supplements.
The days are shorter in winter months. You may go to work in the dark and get home in the dark and are unable to exercise your dog like you can do in the warmer, longer months. Exercise is still very important as dogs need to burn off energy, stretch their muscles out, get mental stimulation all for their well-being. Why not bring them for a weekly swim at K9 Swim where the pool is indoors and heated and is a perfect workout. They will sleep well at night after a swim!
Arthritic dogs suffer more in the colder months. This is the time to keep them exercising so they don’t seize up. Swimming in a heated pool is a great exercise for arthritic dogs since it is a non-weight bearing activity. Keep arthritic dogs on regular and no stress to the joint exercise and stick to it, they will get through the colder months a lot easier.
Warm Winter Food - Why not cook up a doggie casserole with lean meat , vegetables and some brown rice! A delicious nutritious winter warming meal for a cold day! Or you can add some warm water to their kibble , this will warm their tummies!
Winter Massage – Massage is wonderful for our dogs and especially in the winter months where muscles can get tight and sore as they are not moving around as much. Treat your dog to a massage whilst you are watching TV or listening to some nice music in a warm room. Not only is it nice for our dogs but it’s a wonderful bonding experience for owners and their beloved pets.
Not sure how to massage? Come along to Richmond TAFE’s next animal massage workshop on Friday 24th June, bring your dog and learn how to make your dog feel great!
Who doesn’t love to snuggle! Winter is a great excuse to curl up and snuggle with your four legged friend inside in the warmth away from the winter cold.
Keep safe, warm and well.
We expect changes in our dogs from when they are first puppies all the way through their life. Most of our dogs enter their senior years between the ages of 7 to 10. Larger breeds tend to develop age-related problems earlier than smaller breeds. We can help our senior dogs adapt to the changes that occur through aging in a variety of ways. First thing we can do is recognise the signs of aging.
Signs of Aging in Dogs
All dogs age differently and show different signs of aging. Here are some signs that your dog may show when aging:
Senior Dog Diet
A healthy nutritious and appropriate diet for the senior dog is essential. Senior dog foods and supplements can help older dogs live healthier but you must also consider that if your dog has any health issues the diet may also have to be altered to improve that condition. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best diet and supplements for your dog at their regular visit to the vet. Diet and good prophylactic routines against internal and external parasites are all a major part of controlling the aging process in our fur babies.
Senior Dog Exercise
The aging process brings with it loss of muscle tone and balance which will lead to inactivity. Inactivity will lead to faster aging as well as the risk of injury. Our older dogs can benefit greatly by some anti-aging activities and therapies that can slow the aging process down. Short walks, massage or gentle swims will assist in their cardiovascular system, weight control and can aid in the reduction of stiffness, soreness and inflammation of the joints. There are gentle exercises that will help strengthen, balance and keep your dog flexible. It is also very important to keep up their mental stimulation by offering novel toys or teaching them new tricks, this can help your older dog feel young again!
The Do's and Don'ts for Your Aging Dog
Dogs love to be part of any family fun including Easter, but CHOCOLATE is NOT safe and is harmful to your dog. There are alternatives to chocolate that your dog can enjoy when celebrating Easter with you.
Including Your Dog In Easter Celebrations
Your dog can join in the Easter celebrations by you making or buying Easter eggs made from carob that are yummy to eat and safe for your dog.
A boiled egg, coloured and decorated with natural food dyes is another treat your dog can enjoy at Easter.
Why not make up some healthy brownies or biscuits made into Easter shapes and frost with carob or yoghurt drops! Your dogs will go hopping mad over them!!!
Continue reading for a great doggy biscuit - K9 Cookie that you can make yourself.
Easter Hunt For Dogs
Children love to play a game of Easter Hunt around the house and yard so why not get your fury friend involved and create an Easter Hunt for your dog! Carob Easter eggs or their favourite dog treats or biscuits will work a treat that will have them hunting for a surprise.
The Perfect Easter Egg For Your Dog is NOT Chocolate!
Most humans love chocolate but chocolate is toxic to our 4 legged friends. Chocolate contains cocoa and cocoa contains the compound theobromine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs. The amount of Theobromine differs in the different types of chocolate with dark chocolate having the most.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Experiencing Chocolate Toxicity
The symptoms of Theobromine poisoning include:
• Rapid breathing
• Stiff muscles
• Uncoordinated .
• Elevated heart rate
• Seizures / collapse
How Do I Prevent My Dog From Eating Chocolate Over Easter?
It is important to keep chocolate out of reach of our dogs and keep them in a different area if there are Easter celebrations with chocolate about. Many people are unaware that chocolate is toxic to dogs so make sure the rest of the family and friends know not to feed your dog any type of chocolate or sweets containing cocoa.
I Think My Dog Has Eaten Chocolate, What Should I Do?
Stay calm and contact your vet immediately.
Try this delicious healthy K9 Cookie recipe for your pooch. It is a great treat for your pooch that can be used for Easter and any other celebration. So let’s get cooking!
K9 Cookie Recipe
• 2 cups of wholemeal flour
• 1 cup of rolled oats
• 1/3 cup of smooth organic peanut butter
• 1 tablespoon of natural honey
• ¼ teaspoon of chia seed
• 1 1/2 cups of water or low salt chicken stock
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Mix the flour and oats together in a large mixing bowl. Pour in one cup of water or stock and stir until smooth. Add in the peanut butter, honey, and chia seeds and mix until all the ingredients are well blended.
3. Slowly add the water until the mixture has a thick and doughy consistency.
4. Lightly flour a cooking surface. Roll the dough onto the cooking surface to create a 1/4 inch thick sheet.
5. Use a cookie cutter to create Easter shapes. Place the cookies onto a greased or lined baking tray and bake for 40 minutes.
6. Allow to cool completely before icing.
When cool you can melt carob or yoghurt drops to decorate the cookies. Delicious!!!!
We all love our Australian summers and dogs love to stretch out and relax in the summer sun but some days can be excessively hot for our pets and we need to take some precautionary measures to avoid heat stress in dogs.
Dogs Can Dehydrate Very Quickly
Consider leaving more than just one bowl of water around just in case one gets knocked over. Do not use stainless steel or tin bowls for their water as these can heat up quickly. Make sure the water is left in the shade and if you are heading out for a few hours on a really hot day place some ice cubes in their bowl of water to help keep it cooler for longer.
Never Leave Your Dog In The Car
It does not have to be a hot day for the temperature of your car to rise quickly even with the windows down. The temperature in cars rise quickly and they can become like an oven for your dog so never make the mistake of leaving them in the car even for “just a minute” while you run an errand.
Provide Your Dog With Plenty Of Shade And Access To Cooler Areas
Provide your dog with shade and access to cooler areas so they have a place to get out of the sun and beat the heat. On extremely hot days it is best for you to keep your dog inside. It is always nice to “chill out” with your dog away from the heat.
Take Your Dog For A Swim
What better way to escape the heat than going for a swim. Hot summer days are not good for exercising your dog like you normally would at the park or going for a long run or walk. Swimming will cool the body temperature. Dogs can’t release heat by sweating the way humans do, heat and humidity can raise our dogs body temperatures to dangerous levels. Not only will your dog cool off by swimming but will get a good workout as well! For the older dog wading and gentle swimming can help bring the core temperature down.
The Swamp Cooler's light color is designed to reflect heat from the sun. Combined with the evaporative cooling effect, the Swamp Cooler keeps dogs comfortable when temperatures rise. Auto-lock buckles on each side of the jacket provide easy on/off.
Symptoms Of Heat Stress in Dogs
The symptoms of heat stress can vary and they will display several signs:
• Rapid panting or finding it hard to breath
• Fast heart rate
• Red or pale gums
• Excessive drooling
• Signs of distress
• Lethargic or difficult for them to get up
• Vomiting or diarrhoea
What Should You Do If Your Dog Show Signs of Heat Stress
Remove the dog from the hot area immediately. Take them to your veterinary. You can also lower their temperature by wetting them with cool water. CAUTION: Do NOT use very cold water as it can actually be counterproductive and cause more harm. Allow your dog access to cool water to drink but do not try to force feed them water as they may choke.
Remember prevention is the key!
We are getting closer to the festive season where there will be lots of food, fun and festivities. You want to make sure your dog is happy and part of this. Not everything we do in the jolly season is safe for our canine friends. Here are our 7 top tips on how to keep your dog happy this Christmas.
1. Keep tinsel and decorations out of reach
These decorations are very tempting for dogs even if they are placed high on your tree. Make sure you keep an eye on your dog if they are anywhere near these because swallowing them can cause serious injury or even death.
2. Know which Christmas foods are bad for dogs
Christmas foods that we love can be toxic to your dog. Here are a few foods that you should NOT give your dog – chocolate, Christmas cake, grapes, raisins and nuts and NO ham bones as they are quite fatty and can lead to pancreatitis. Stick to treats that have been made for dogs as they love it and they are good for them. Love’em has some great treats and cookies created especially for dogs.
3. Secure your Christmas tree
A Christmas tree can easily be knocked down by your dog. Place your Christmas tree in a corner and secure the tree so it won’t be knocked causing your dog or anyone else injury.
4. Choose the perfect gift for your dog
The perfect gift for your dog is the practical gift. Why not buy your dog their own life jacket so you can be assured they are safe when they go swimming on holidays or in your own pool, K9 SWiM stock lots of healthy supplements and Hills Science Diet food so you can keep them healthy inside and out. We also stock fun water toys that are durable, colourful and floatable - the perfect gift for this summer.
Our Surf Dog robes are a must for this summer! Dries your dog quickly after their swim and also stops sand and water getting into your car!
5. Include your dog in celebrating Christmas and know when they need a rest
It is great to have your dog enjoying Christmas with family and friends but they also need space away from it all where they can rest and relax. Many dogs are afraid of fireworks and may panic or try to run away and injure themselves in the process so be sure they are safe and cannot get out. If your dog needs to be away from the celebrations make sure you spend some time walking and playing with them beforehand.
6. Organise a dog sitter
Friends, family and neighbours can be busy during the holiday season so organising a dog sitter will make sure your dog stays safe and happy while you are away.
7. Play with your dog
Your dog loves to spend time with you. It is not always the quantity but quality. Play their favourite game or take them to their favourite dog park to meet up with their friends. So play and be merry.
Dogs are part of the family so it is important that they feel safe and happy over the holiday season. We hope these tips help you keep your dog happy and safe over Christmas and keep their tail’s wagging!
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
If dogs remain overweight it can lead to other serious health issues such as diabetes or heart failure. The sooner you recognise that you dog is overweight and do something about it the better.
A combination of exercise, healthy diet and an improved daily routine for your dog can see them shed the extra pounds, which means a happy and healthier dog. Hydrotherapy is a great way for dogs to lose weight safely as there is less stress on their joints and it improves their cardiovascular fitness.
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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.