Recently we celebrated Anzac Day, remembering the Australian and New Zealand Corps Soldiers who fought and died for our countries. Over the centuries, man’s best friend has assisted our soldiers in wars in the capacity of trackers, scent detectors for mines and explosives, guard dogs, companions and most importantly, to boost the morale of our troops.
Dogs were often used to carry messages in battle through the trenches and from point A to Point B. Some messenger dogs also performed other communication tasks, such as pulling telephone lines from one location to another.
In World War I, the Australian Military forces enlisted German Shepherds to watch over their valuable equipment. In Vietnam, our Australian Task Force had dogs as part of their combat tracking teams; they would search the thick and dense jungle to locate the enemy and were successful in saving the lives of their handlers and team mates.
What Makes a Good Combat Dog?
There are a number of attributes that go into making a combat dog, such as:
Interesting fact- Did you know that in World War II, special gas masks were designed for the dogs in combat?
However, it must be understood that not all dogs are cut out for combat; they must have the right personality, drive and assertion to be successful in these settings.
Popular War Dog Breeds
We love our 4-legged friends because they are extremely smart and intelligent creatures, and are loyal and devoted family members. It is these very same qualities that make some dog breeds useful in a war zone. They are highly dedicated to their handler and tend to develop very strong bonds with them. The most popular dog breeds for the armed forces include:
Dogs of these breeds that eventually do go on to becoming military dogs must be in great physical shape, reward-motivated, athletic and should have the right level of excitability and aggression. Aside from this, they should also be free of any physical maladies such as hip or elbow dysplasia.
The Story of Sarbi- The Australian Canine Hero
When there is talk about war dogs, Sarbi, the Australian canine hero cannot go without a mention. She was a black a Labrador - Newfoundland Cross that went missing when the Taliban ambushed our Australian Special Forces. Her handler, Corporal David Simpson was injured in this raging nine-hour battle. In all the commotion that ensued, the corporal lost Sarbi when the clip of the harness (that attached her to her handler), was shot off. The startled Sarbi fled in fright; and once the wounded soldiers had been transported away from the site, the soldiers searched high and low for Sarbi, in vain. After having gone missing for 3 weeks, they eventually declared her missing in action.
Thirteen months after this incident, a soldier spotted a dog in an Afghan village that had an uncanny resemblance to Sarbi. He used various military commands to test her and she responded to them which affirmed the fact that she was Sarbi. Fortunately, she had been well cared for; the village Chief who had grown very fond of her, was also very reluctant to let her go.
After a great deal of negotiations, they eventually let Sarbi go and she was brought back to base. After months of quarantine in Afghanistan as well as Australia, she was finally reunited with her beloved handler Corporal David Simpson- that’s where she spent her retirement as the Simpson family’s pet. Later in 2015, Sarbi succumbed to brain tumour and breathed her last at the age of 12.
The Army Honours Sarbi
Canberra’s Australian War Memorial has catalogued numerous stories of our brave war dogs, along with many other records of animal acts of bravery.
The cold weather is coming and can be a dampener on your exercise plans; not just for you, but your dog as well. But there is no reason to blame the weather for your inactivity. It’s important that your pet gets daily exercise in some or the other form. The days tend to be shorter in the winter months and your pet doesn’t get the amount of exercise it ideally needs.
The cooler days aren’t comfortable for arthritic or older dogs as this is when the aches and pains start surfacing with more frequency and severity than normal. This is because they are unable to move around as much; and their muscles and limbs don’t get warmed up.
This extended inactivity can cause boredom and stress in your dogs and you will notice behavioural issues such as chewing, digging and barking; some dogs tend to add weight during the winter months as well. While getting them outdoors for a spot of exercise may not be easily possible or even advised when the weather is cold, there are some effective ways of ensuring your pets get the exercise they need, even in the colder months:
Swimming in warm water allows the muscles to work more efficiently and helps to aid blood circulation without risk of cramping. It also helps reduce some of the swelling in joints. The increased limited weight bearing exercise makes joint movement easier; helps regain fitness and can help them to lose weight they may have gained.
Swimming also provides your dog excellent mental stimulus. You can choose to take a “swim for fun” class, a “learn to swim” class, or one for regaining mobility and strength or even for weight loss.
Bring out some favorite toys your pet loves and hide them in different places in the house and get your dog to look for them. You can also hide treats if you like instead. These games are an excellent way for you to bond with your pet.
You can also get a group of friends with their pets together and simply book our K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy Centre’s pool for an hour. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you and your pet can have in the tepid water of the indoor pool. Your pet will also get the opportunity to socialize with other hounds and can find a great outlet for all their energy they have, by splashing around in the water.
We also offer a complimentary warm water rinse and a blow dryer to dry your dog before you take them back home. For more information about our hydrotherapy services, feel free to browse our website.
We all know that massages are good for us and that they leave us feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. What most people aren’t probably aware about is that massages are equally beneficial to their dogs as well. So, are massages for pets and animals a modern concept?
Not really!! Let’s take a peek into the history of animal massages…
Massage Therapy For Animals- The Background
The word massage is derived from mass which is an Arabic word that means press. Massage therapy finds its origins in China and is over 4000 years old. There is also a lot of evidence in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics that display how healers used to massage animals as a form of treatment. The therapy was also used by the Romans; Flavius Arrianus was a noted philosopher and administrator who worked during Roman Emperor Hadrian’s reign.
He is said to have propagated the use of massage therapy for horses and dogs and stated that it would help strengthen and knit their limbs. Aside from this, he also mentioned that it helps cleanse any impurities their skin might have. Different ancient civilisations used to address various medical conditions in their work animals and pets, using massage therapy.
“Massage is the act of manually rubbing and kneading tired muscles to significantly improve the physical, emotional as well as metal health. This also helps the body heal itself.”
How Your Pets Can Benefit From Massages
Over the years, many studies have been conducted by researchers across the world and there is solid evidence that massage and the act of touch benefits our pets in a number of ways, such as:
In addition, it is excellent for pain management; expert veterinarians are now recommending massage therapy for their patients that have undergone surgery or are recovering from an injury. Over the years, there has been a noticeable increase in the popularity of canine massages in Australia.
It is increasingly becoming an integral part of chiropractic, physical, veterinary and physiotherapy treatments for canines. It has proved to be so effective in improving the overall wellbeing of pets that is now also being used for sporting & competitive dogs, as a preventive treatment.
Who Should Learn Pet Massage Therapy?
1. Pet Parents
If you learn how your pet should be massaged, it will help maintain its overall health & wellbeing. In fact, it’s a great way to help your canine friend relax, and massage time is perfect for bonding with your pet. If there are any abnormalities in your pet’s bodily movements, those may also be brought to light in the course of the massage. This gives you the opportunity to have them addressed before they escalate and affect the health of your pet.
2. Workers/Helpers at Animal Shelters
If you work or are a volunteer at an animal shelter, massages can be quite beneficial for the canines there. In fact, animal rescuers should also consider learning canine massage. It can help de-stress, relax and teach the dogs to be more trusting and confident while interacting with humans. Massage has therapeutic effects on pets suffering from any emotional issues such as stress, trust, anxiety and grief.
Tips For Massaging Your Pet
Contact the Experts
We offer excellent massage therapy services for dogs at our new K9SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre at North Richmond. Sessions are by Booking Only.
I (Sharon) run specialised animal massage workshops at this centre. If you are interested in learning how to perform massages for your own dog, please contact us for details of our next massage workshop. For more information, please check this page.
Valentine’s Day! What better time to show our dogs how much we love them with a little bit of spoiling and extra attention, the paw partner that loves you unconditionally and is always there to greet you with a wagging tail.
These 7 tips are a great way to show your pooch some love.
1. Tasty Treats
2. A New Toy
3. A Lovely Walk Somewhere New
5. Swim Together
7. Organise a Puppy Play Date
We are excited to share with you that our Canine Underwater Treadmill has been installed at our new K9 SWiM Wellness Centre at North Richmond. Bookings will be available for Wednesdays starting from February, 2017. Dogs can benefit greatly from this form of Hydrotherapy for rehabilitation, fitness and health.
What is a Canine Underwater Treadmill?
The Canine Underwater Treadmill is a walking treadmill enclosed in a tank of water specifically designed for dogs. The resistance and speed can be adjusted along with the depth of water this allows for a progressive therapy program to be tailored for each dog, from the smallest to the largest.
How the Canine Underwater Treadmill Works
The dog walks into the tank and warm water gradually starts to rise to the correct level for their size and condition. The treadmill belt will then move and the dog will walk for a set period of time. The treadmill’s resistance and speed is controlled and adjusted for each dog’s condition. Once the dog has finished their session, the water then drains out of the tank and the dog can easily walk down the ramp.
Benefits of the Canine Underwater Treadmill
Hydrotherapy sessions with the Canine Underwater Treadmill provide resistance and buoyancy, which alleviates the pressure off your dog’s limbs and joints. The reduced weight-bearing load increases the functional use of their limbs. The warm water used in the treadmill helps reduce pain and inflammation, which can also make connective tissue more flexible and increase blood and oxygen in muscles. Programs are specifically designed for your dog’s condition to gain the maximum benefits such as:
The Canine Underwater Treadmill is great for rehabilitation in dogs especially for orthopaedic or neurological conditions. It encourages walking or jogging with a more normal gait pattern, which is beneficial to dogs.
Below are some conditions that dogs that the underwater treadmill can assist with:
Conditioning and Training
Competition, Athletic and Agility dogs will benefit on the underwater treadmill in conditioning, strengthening and cardiovascular fitness from the water’s resistance. It boosts endurance and helps reduce the risk of injury.
Overweight dogs can exercise safely, improve their cardiovascular system and muscle strength quickly without the jarring effects of exercising on land.
Keep in Mind
As with any new form of treatment, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before undergoing hydrotherapy. If your dog has had surgery or is recovering from an injury a Vet Referral Form is required before making your booking with us. If you have any questions please contact us.
Book your consultation and session now
Summer and it’s hot weather is here! That means that the bush fire season is upon us. Pet owners need to be prepared in the event of a bush fire. Pets have been left behind in bush fires because their owners had not included their pets as part of their Bush Fire Survival Plan. Taking the time to create a Bush fire Survival Plan helps ensure your family and pets safety.
Having a pet emergency kit will ensure you have the items you need for your pet ready to go quickly. The kit can include:
If you are using a cage, pet carrier or float, have these easily accessible for a quick evacuation and make sure your pet is trained to enter and spend time in these. Otherwise they may panic or fret and you may have difficulty to get them go into their crate or carrier.
Relocate or Stay?
For high-risk times it may be safer for you and your pets to relocate to somewhere else until the danger is over. Pets may panic and run. If you want to keep them with you, then keep them close to you at times of risk by keeping them inside, on a lead or in a crate. This will be faster and more efficient when it’s time to move your pet should you need to evacuate.
Do not leave it until the last minute to evacuate as this is the most dangerous option for you and your pets.
Make a Plan with Neighbours
Having a plan made with neighbours can help keep your pets safe if you are not at home. Consider doing the following:
It is a great idea to have signage on a gate or on your door should you have animals on your property or inside and you are not home. State how many pets there are so they can be accounted for should someone else have to evacuate them in an emergency.
Always prepare your evacuation bush fire emergency plan before summer so you can act quickly in case of an emergency.
Watch for Heat Stress in Your Pets
Bush fires are usually in times of extreme heat and your pets may be vulnerable to heat stress. The signs will be panting, dehydration, drooling, high temperature, red gums, increased respiration and heart rate. If you suspect your pet is experiencing heat stroke, soak towels in cool water and place over pet or in-between the legs or around the neck. Always seek veterinary assistance immediately.
To prevent heat stroke provide lots of shade and fresh water outside. Preferably bring them inside to a cool part of the house if the temperature is soaring outside. Do not leave dogs in cars; the car can heat up so quickly to a dangerous temperature. Overweight, aged, short nosed or unhealthy dogs will suffer a lot more in the heat than other dogs so take extra precautions with them.
Fire Safety for You and Your Pets
It is that time of the year again when fleas are out and about and on the increase Fleas can cause terrible distress in our dogs, causing itching, irritation or infections.
There are many natural therapies that can help deter fleas on your pets. This month
K9 SWiM would like to share a natural flea repellent spray that you can easily make yourself at home with a few simple ingredients. This will help deter fleas and other parasites with the added bonus that your dog will also smell great. The best thing about using natural ingredients is that you won’t have to worry about what chemicals your dog is licking off their coat.
Natural Flea Repellent Spray for Dogs with Wormwood, Rosemary and Lavender
This is a lovely spray to use on your pet and its bedding to deter fleas and other parasites.
Add herbs to the saucepan of water and slowly bring to the just on boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Cool, strain and put into a spray bottle and spray away! Keep refrigerated and this will last you for a couple of weeks.
Alternatively dry some wormwood, rosemary and lavender and when ready mix the 3 herbs together and place in a little cotton bag and place in your pets bedding, it not only adds a lovely scent to their beds but deters all those little nasties!!!
Check Your Dog for Fleas and Other Parasites Daily
It is good to check your pet daily for any fleas and parasites Finding ticks and removing them early can save their lives.
The best flea control is flea prevention.
As dog owners we want to ensure that our gardens are safe for our four legged friends. When creating our gardens we are sometimes unaware that they could be toxic to our pets. Pet friendly gardens tend to have an organic approach, making them safer and healthier. Before going out and buying seeds or plants, let’s make sure you are planting a dog friendly garden.
Common Weeds & Plants That Are Harmful To Dogs
There are a lot of plants that can be harmful to our pets and it is always wise to check online before purchasing. Listed below are some common weeds and plants found in the garden that can cause allergies or toxicity to your pets:
The AEC (Animal Emergency Centre) has produced a chart that you can download or print for reference, listing Common Plants Toxic to Dogs and Cats. Check your garden today!
Fertilizers, Herbicides, Insecticides and Baits
It is important to store any fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or baits out of reach of your pets as these can be toxic. When using, keep your dogs out of the garden and make sure you read the labels. The label will include instructions and ensure the safety of your pets when using the product. If you are unsure then consult your veterinarian.
Why Do Dogs Eat Plants?
Not all dogs eat plants but here some common reasons why some dogs do:
Common Symptoms Associated with Toxic Dog Plants
Most of us know when our four legged friends are not feeling well and toxic plants can cause minor to more severe symptoms. Listed here are some of the common symptoms related to toxic plants:
If you think your dog or pet is sick from ingesting a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Planning Your Dog Friendly Garden
When planning your garden, make sure you select plants that are safe for your dog and avoid plants that are toxic or irritable. Some dogs love digging and there are bulbs like hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and some lilies that can be fatal. Some plants are fine and it’s only the fruits and berries that are poisonous, although there are also some grasses and weeds that can cause allergic reactions like itching, sneezing and bad rashes.
Familiarise yourself with what plants you have in your garden, or if planning a new one - check that the plants are safe for your pets before purchasing them. There is a great Australian book out called
“Poisonous2pets by Nicole O’Kane” that details all of the common plants and their toxicity along with great photos to help you identify the plant itself.
You also need to be aware of plants with thorns, spikes or hard sharp branches and where they are planted. If they are poorly positioned dogs may run into them or run past and injure themselves.
Features of a Dog Friendly Garden
To keep our dogs happy and healthy, here is a list of dog friendly features for the garden:
This month one of our regular K9 Swim member’s, Madalin Bell shares her story about her dog Chloe. How love, support and Hydrotherapy is giving quality and fun to Chloe’s life as a paraplegic dog.
Chloe Wasn’t Always a Paraplegic
Born on the 9th of July 2008 Chloe recently celebrated her 8th birthday last month.
Chloe became part of our family when I received her as a late 11th birthday present and reward for doing well in school and behaving myself. My mum had gone to the shops to get some groceries and came back about an hour later with something moving around in her jacket. Much to my delight it was Chloe, the puppy I had been nagging for! She was so small that she could fit in my hand and looked like a little ball of black and white fluff with a fat bottom bigger than the rest of her. That fat bottom would sway from side to side when she walked. It looked so cute!
It didn’t take her long to become part of our family. She has always been social, curious and full of energy. She would follow everyone around and always wanted to know what everyone was doing. Chloe is so small, only ever weighing 3.5kg but it’s the size of her personality that makes her boss of our house. I’m sure she will always be the boss here.
Chloe Paralysed Through an Injury
In September 2014, my little sister Ruby was born and our house flipped upside down with a change in sleeping patterns. Chloe had to sleep in my room due to her midnight barking habits.
On November 4th 2014, Chloe was let out the back to go to the toilet and I was running late for school. Things were so hectic with a new baby and we all just rushed out of the house that day, forgetting Chloe was still out the backyard. All day I had a strange, sick feeling that something was wrong, so I went home early. When I arrived home Chloe was not there to greet me as she had always done. I searched the house for Chloe but I couldn’t find her anywhere. It was then I remembered that I had left her out the backyard. I quickly ran out the back and whistled but only our two other dogs Ammo and Xena came running. Still no Chloe, I started a perimeter check for any escape routes. It was then that Chloe came running out from underneath our caravan dragging her back legs. I freaked out, I didn’t know what to do or how to react. I just picked her up and ran inside to call my mum. After getting no answer I just wrapped Chloe in a towel and ran to my local vet, which is luckily only a five minute drive from our house.
I was a mess when I arrived at the vet. I had been crying and was puffed from all the running and I didn’t even know what to tell them. The vets were fantastic and took us in straight away, I called my mum and finally got an answer and she came right down. The vet said it could have been either one of two things, a ruptured spinal disk from a fall or she was hit with something or by someone. The tests to give proper diagnosis would cost far too much for us. She was paralysed and tests would not change that. Chloe was admitted to hospital for the next few days on pain medication.
The Decision is Life
On the 7th of November,2014 the vet recommended to have Chloe put to sleep because of the quality of life she would have as a paraplegic dog. We chose against their decision and brought Chloe home because we felt she was the same dog and although she was a paraplegic now she was not in any pain. It was up to us to commit to her quality of life.
Chloe Comes Home
Chloe was back home and needed care around the clock. I also had my HSC to study for, so it took some time to work out a routine. Chloe now had to wear a nappy which through the night would often come off and so I would be up bright and early to start cleaning the mess. After washing Chloe, changing her nappy, give her food and water, washing her blanket, mopping my bedroom floor, it was time to get ready for school. Then when I arrived home from school I would have to do this all over again. It was an exhausting cycle. It took us some time to work out what size nappies would stay on Chloe all day. Just recently, we tried newborn suits which work an absolute charm!
Love and Support Gives Chloe Quality of Life
Our family was not in the best financial position and we were so worried about how we could provide what she needed. We decided to post an ad on Gumtree asking for people for help with supplies such as extra blankets, nappies, puppy pads, etc. Amazing people came forward to help, donate and support us and a special thanks to Kath and Chrissy Schultz from Queensland who have been incredible with sending Chloe beautiful care packages of coats, collars and even a doggy pram and wheels! All these donations have been a life saver for Chloe. Before Chloe had her wheels we couldn’t take her outside and the few times we did, she grazed her back legs on the cement so she couldn’t go anywhere with us. Her wheels gave her mobility again and it didn’t take long to get use to them as she now powers along.
We started a Facebook page for Chloe- Chloe the Paraplegic Pup , as we had so many people wanting to help and messaging us and supporting our decision to not put her to sleep. We are all so thankful to everyone that has supported and helped Chloe and our family to get through this and give Chloe a good quality of life.
Hydrotherapy so Beneficial for Chloe
Recently Chloe rapidly lost a lot of weight, from 3.5kg down to 2.5kg. I met Sharon Osmond at TAFE when I was studying for my Certificate II in Animal Studies. She was my TAFE teacher and I asked her about K9 Swim and if there was anything that she could recommend for Chloe. After visiting with our vet and deciding that it would be beneficial for Chloe to swim and after taking some blood tests and ruling out any other underlying conditions, we changed Chloe’s food to higher protein and fat content and started swimming with Sharon at K9 Swim. Sharon was absolutely fantastic with Chloe and showed me how to swim her myself. Although Chloe wasn’t a big fan of swimming at first, she now loves her weekly swims at K9 Swim. She is already benefiting from the Hydrotherapy and I hope in a couple more weeks we may see some movement in her back legs. I wish we had known about K9 Swim earlier as we had only known of more expensive Hydrotherapy options, out of our budget and area.
Chloe is gaining weight and looking healthier than ever. She has more energy and is really enjoying herself. I hope that we can spend many more years with our little Chloe and one day even see her stand on her own again, thanks to swimming.
Thank you Madalin for your story on Chloe. It is very encouraging to others that may be in the same situation. When I met Madalin in my class at TAFE we talked about Chloe and then she brought Chloe to class one day. After I assessed Chloe and discussed her history with Madalin we agreed that Chloe would benefit from Hydrotherapy. Madalin talked to her vet and got the all clear. Chloe wasn’t a great fan of swimming at first, but since she has been coming weekly. I feel she looks forward to it.
Hydrotherapy to a paraplegic dog feels good. They are buoyant in the water and for that time they can let their limbs relax and the spine becomes neutral. Chloe can stretch out in the warm water of our pool which promotes blood circulation throughout the muscles and body. I have seen improvement with Chloe in that she appears happier, has more energy and her muscle tone is improving. The other important aspect of Hydrotherapy is that it is a great mental stimuli. We enjoy Madalin and Chloe’s visits and we are moved by Madalin’s commitment to this wonderful little dog.
A dog’s nose is very different to ours. They smell and sense the world in a completely different way to us. Most of us view the world predominately through our eyes where as a dog does it through their nose. They know so much more than we think and their nose has a lot to do with that.
So let’s have a look at what a dog nose.
A Dog’s Strong Sense of Smell
A dog’s sense of smell is more than 1000 times more sensitive than humans.
Dog’s noses can have up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared to about 6 million in people. The part of the brain in dogs that process smell is also much, much larger in proportion than it is in humans.
The Dog Nose How to Find You and More
Dogs have been used in tracking for over 100s of years by man. First used for hunting, search and rescue and more recently trained to detect diverse odours such as narcotics, explosives and more.
Different breeds of dogs sniff in various ways. For example, a Beagle will follow air and ground scent with their nose mainly pointing to the ground and a German Shepherd tends to smell the air-scent with their head up rather than keeping their nose to the ground. A Blood Hound’s nose is able to trace smells over 300 hours old. There’s also a bit more to nose here. The Blood Hound’s floppy ears help them smell by fanning odours up their nostrils and their loose skin also helps trap and retain the scent.
Dogs Picking up the Scent
Alexandra Horowitz, a dog-cognition researcher at Barnard College, writes that while we might notice if our coffee has had a teaspoon of sugar added to it, A dog could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water, or two Olympic-sized pools worth. Diabetic alert dog’s nose picks up on the special scent that is released when their human’s insulin levels drop.
There's More to Their Nostrils Than You Know
A dog’s nose does more than just breathe air in and out. Their nostrils can work independently from each other so one nostril can breathe while the other can smell the scent and break down the odour.
Did you know that a dog’s nose print is thought to be as unique as our fingerprint. I know my dogs have left their unique print many times on my glass doors and windows. How about you?
Dogs Decode PeeMail
Have you ever taken your dog for a walk and they want to stop and sniff every bush or post that another dogs has peed on. That’s because dogs can find out a lot about other dogs through their pee. It can often be referred to as PeeMail, dogs leaving messages for each other. They can determine the sex of the other dog and whether it is a female on heat or if male dogs have been de-sexed. They can also sense other dog’s health and stress levels and even thought to convey another dog’s social status. It would be interesting to know if they can tell if other dogs are large or not. Because I know many tiny dogs that see themselves as six foot tall with a big attitude.
You Can’t Fool Your Dog’s Nose
Dogs smell your fear. When we fear something or are feeling nervous our heart rate changes and we produce chemicals in our bodies that dogs can smell on our skin. So there is no point trying to pretend in front of our four legged friends because you won’t be fooling them. They also recognise your unique scent under all those products we use on ourselves such as perfume, deodorants and soap.
A Dog Nose How to Greet You
Dogs introduce themselves with their nose. How many times do you feel that wet nose when you meet a new dog? Dogs get to know each other and us through smell. Yes and smelling each others butts is completely normal. This is how they get to know each other and become friends.
Smelling Great or Stinky
Have you ever put on some perfume or deodorant for your dog to turn away or start sneezing. They don’t seem impressed with your smell do they?
Well that being said, have you ever had your dog roll around in delight in something that smells disgusting? I know my dogs have always managed to find that fresh patty of cow manure to roll around on and then to sit up and look so proud and happy. It’s like they are saying “Look at me I smell great!”
What we think smells great may not smell pleasant to dogs and visa versa.
I have found that my dogs love to lie in the garden that is filled with lavendar, wormwood and rosemary. These herbs have volatile oils that can rub off and help prevent fleas and other external parasites as well as making them smell nice!
So there you have it, I hope you know a little more about what your dog nose through this light hearted article.
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
This month I thought I would share my dog Annie’s story with you all as she has been battling Cancer for the last five months. Finding out your dog has Cancer is devastating. Our pets give us their unconditional love, so when they are sick we want to do everything in our power to help them. My dogs are like my children and I hope Annie’s story will raise awareness of canine cancer.
Annie came into this world one quiet evening back in March 2008. She was the only female pup in a litter of 8 and right from the start she was an athlete. She would run and play with her brothers, boss the boys around and loved to cuddle up and fall asleep on your lap. She was an adventurous pup and was always getting into mischief! But apart from that she was loving and totally focused, intelligent and followed me everywhere and still does. She is my shadow.
Annie has always been a healthy, athletic dog with no injury or sickness until November 2015 when I discovered her lymph nodes were enlarged all over her body. Annie showed no other signs of feeling unwell, she had a good appetite, hadn’t lost weight and was as active as usual.
I took Annie to the Vets the very next day to have her bloods taken so we could see what was going on. Her glands were still enlarged and I started to fear for the worse. I knew I had to stay positive for Annie’s sake as dogs have such a strong sense for what we are feeling and I didn’t want her to stress.
It took a few days to get the results. Sometimes being a Vet Nurse can be a bad thing as we know too much and we can jump to conclusions when it’s your precious dog involved. It was the longest few days of my life but Annie didn’t have a clue on what was going on and continued as normal, showing no other symptoms other than her enlarged lymph nodes.
The day the results were due I woke up with a sinking feeling in my heart and my stomach tied in knots waiting for the results that came later that afternoon. The vet rang with the news that I was dreading to hear, Annie had Lymphoma- Canine Cancer. I suddenly went out of Vet Nurse mode and stopped thinking about all the things I should be doing and became the distraught owner. The first few days I just cried and cried. It felt as if the tears would not stop. But Annie didn’t show any signs of feeling sick she was still running around and had a healthy appetite. She didn’t know she had cancer. She would look at me with those gorgeous amber eyes when I was crying and was wondering what was going on.
So I wiped my tears away and took a deep breath and started to get my head around it all.
Chemotherapy was started straight away. At first Annie felt nauseated and I was given some medication to help her through that. One of the drugs that she started on didn’t agree with her so it was changed and from then on she coped with chemo exceptionally well. Then came another shock. As good as she looked and acted she had T cell Lymphoma which is the less common cancer which is harder to treat.
Annie was put on a 6 month protocol, some of the chemotherapy is intravenously administered and the rest of the chemotherapy is taken orally. From the first treatment Annie responded really well and by the next visit her Oncologist said she was in remission.
Annie has still been having chemo since November 2015 and has been living life as normal. Dogs don’t react like humans do to chemotherapy. Some of the side effects they can suffer from are diarrohea , vomiting and lethargy, Annie has had minimal side effects. Her diet has been changed and herbs added to help her fight the cancer and to keep her immune system strong. Some herbs can help with protecting the liver, strengthening the immune system, giving gastro intestinal support and helping with the blood.
Once Annie’s chemo protocol is finished she will still have regular blood and health checks to make sure the cancer has not returned.
Last month we took Annie out to my farm. Little did we know that this weekend would be another test of Annie’s resilience. She had a great weekend with us and the other dogs, going for walks, laying in the sun and helping us check the horses and supervising our gardening and mowing! Just as we were packing the car to go home. Annie got into a battle with a brown snake that had come into the yard. Before I knew it the battle was over and Annie had been bitten. Brown snake bites can be lethal and we were an hour away from any vets. We acted quickly and got her to the vets in good time.
In normal Annie fashion she jumped out of the car and was showing no clinical signs of snake bite. The blood test and snake detection kit showed positive- she had definitely been bitten. She stayed 2 days in hospital and came home as if nothing had happened! She is one amazing and lucky dog.
The snake battle is over but the battle with cancer continues and we take each day as it comes, Annie loves life and always has. I hope we have many more years with our dear Annie.
Animal Massage To Detect Symptoms Early
As an animal massage therapist I am always giving my dog’s a massage . You notice when something is different in your own body so by getting to know your dog’s body, this will help you identify any problems sooner rather than later.
Wipe Your Tears Away And Take A Deep Breath
We all need our time to deal with the sadness we feel but we need to wipe away our tears and take a deep breath so we can be there for our pets in their time of need. Dogs have a strong sense of what you are feeling so it’s important to keep a positive attitude. You also need to be calm and collected so you can fully understand the treatment options and so you can have our questions answered by your medical professionals. You will be given a lot of information which you will need to process in order to make the right decisions for your dog’s health.
Diet And Natural Therapies and Canine Cancer
If your dog is diagnosed with cancer there is a lot of information out there for diet and nutrition which is exceptionally important to strengthen their immune system. To prevent cancer always feed a healthy diet, stay clear of preservatives and artificial colourings and flavourings and feed good quality food for dogs. Keep them fit and healthy and this will benefit them in dealing with diseases like this and give them every opportunity to deal with it and stay strong through treatment like our Annie.
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!!!!
Have you ever had an itch that you can’t scratch? We all feel for our dogs when we see them scratching, scratching and scratching trying to soothe their itch! An Oatmeal Rinse is a great natural home remedy that you can make yourself, that will relieve and soothe your dog’s itch. Before we give you the recipe lets go through why your dog may be itching and two of the most common causes being fleas and wondering dew and what your can do for these two causes.
Why Dog's Itch?
Dogs itch for many different reasons such as
Fleas On Dogs
As fleas are the most common reason for dogs itching it is best to ensure your dog is free from fleas before you take your dog to the vet to determine the cause of the itching.
We don’t always see the fleas on our pets so the best way to check is to comb your pet over a damp white towel or paper and if fleas or black particles fall onto the damp white surface and turns a reddish colour you know that there are fleas present. As this black particle is flea faeces which contains dried blood that will turn red once in contact with a wet surface. Fleas lay eggs, and the eggs fall off where the pet goes. This means that you must treat your house if your pet has picked up fleas. The life cycle of a flea is about four weeks, so even with diligent treatment; it will probably take that long to rid your environment of fleas. Particularly during flea season, and whether or not you've seen fleas in your home, wash all bedding and blankets in hot water, vacuum all floors, rugs, furniture and other surfaces at least once a week, paying particular attention to rooms and places the animal usually stays. To make cleaning easier, you can cover furniture and your pet's favorite rugs with sheets.
Lemon- citrus is a natural flea repellent. Slice a lemon (leave the peel on) and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. Let sit overnight- this water can then be sprayed on your pet. This will help eliminate fleas and temporarily prevent new ones from taking up residence on your pet.
Wandering Jew is a common cause of contact allergies in dogs. Contact allergies normally affects the belly, armpits, paws and face, so the best prevention is to remove the plant or not let your dog have access to areas where the plant is.
Soothing Your Dog's Itch With Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a natural remedy you can prepare yourself at home to soothe your dog’s itching.
Oatmeal cleans, soothes, relieves and balances the pH level without causing further irritations. Here is the home remedy recipe for Oatmeal Rinse to soothe your dog's itching.
Oatmeal or rolled oats will do
A stocking sock or small muslin bag
Luke warm water bath
Step 1: Place 2 tablespoons of oatmeal into the stocking sock or muslin bag
Step 2: Run stocking sock or bag through the lukewarm water bath until the water becomes milky
Step 3: Place dog in bath and soak dog in oatmeal water. You can use the stocking sock or bag to sponge the dog.
Step 4: Leave on dog for 3-5 minutes- as long as dog will tolerate standing in the bath.
Step 5: Rinse off with warm water.
As a qualified Animal Naturopath and Muscle therapist I have found that natural remedies, certain dietary vitamin supplements and herbal products can help your pet with their allergies and many other health issues. Contact me to discuss your dog’s best natural health solutions.
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!
Not many dogs enjoy needles! Photonic Therapy is an advanced form of traditional complementary medicine using light to stimulate recognised acupuncture points. Rather than stimulating acupunctures points with needles, a special red light is used.
Photonic Therapy Assists Dogs With Many Conditions
Photonic Therapy is used to treat many conditions in dogs such as
Other Benefits of Photonic Therapy
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.
The chart below shows you your dog's age in human years. dogs age may vary according to its breed and size. Dogs age quicker than us humans.
So now you know how old your dog is in human years
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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.