Puppy Grooming

Grooming sessions with puppies can start as early as 3 weeks old. The sooner you start the better as the puppy may not be so agreeable to it as it gets older. Whilst puppies may not need a lot of grooming initially, it is not just about keeping your dog looking good. It promotes good health, gives you a chance to check his coat and body for any health issues and is also good bonding time. It is so important to get your puppy used to being handled and having his ears cleaned, coat brushed, and nails clipped as it makes visits to the vets and groomers less traumatic for him.

The skin and hair of a puppy is very much like that of a human. Both human and dog skin and hair is made of protein with oil to lubricate. Regular brushing will help to bring out the natural oils and will spread over the coat to give it a healthy sheen. A soft bristle brush or a pin brush for a thicker coat, would be ideal for a puppy.

In the past it was said that you should not bathe your dog too often, but modern shampoos are designed to help you groom puppy at home and can be used on all dogs of all ages and coat type and suitable to be used as often as your dog needs to be bathed. Mild shampoos that will not irritate the eyes are available for puppies. Use a good hypoallergenic shampoo for puppies and dogs with sensitive skin and allergies.

Tips on Grooming

Most puppies enjoy being bathed. Use warm water and lather up, making sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all the shampoo. It is best to towel dry and let the coat air dry. A dry shampoo can be used, but they are not as effective as a wet bath.

Puppies have sharp pointed nails which scratch so make sure their nails are trimmed. After the first trimming, the pup is usually active enough to keep them worn down for about six weeks, but regularly check and trim, as you would an older dog.

Use ear wipes to clean the ears, getting into all the creases. Check for any redness and if there is also a bad odour, this could be a sign of infection. Frequent head shaking and scratching at the ears should also be checked out with the vet.

Teeth brushing is not much fun for either you or the pup, but if you can get him used to this early on, it will reap reward. Bad teeth is very common in dogs so a good oral routine is a good habit to remove plaque. Finger brushes are a good idea and easier to use than a regular brush. Never use human toothpaste, always use dog toothpaste. Specially designed chew sticks and dental sticks also help to keep teeth clean.

If you intend to take your dog to the grooming parlour, take him for a visit during the puppy stage to get him used to the sounds and smells. A first grooming session can be quite scary! If you would like to see a video on how best to groom a puppy watch this here

 

Choosing the perfect puppy for you

One of the secrets of enjoying a successful and happy relationship with your dog is to make sure you have done your research and chosen the right breed of puppy for you, your lifestyle and family.

Would you believe, there are over 200 pure breeds of dog in the UK and many designer breeds that are also very popular. Each of these breeds will be very different to live with, have differing needs and energy levels. You need to research which breed, as best you can,  will fit with your idea of dog ownership and what you are prepared to do every day for the next 12/15 years or so, come rain, shine, snow, wind – get the picture!

People tend to forget that dogs cost money and they are not cheap. They need feeding, grooming, training and regular vet check-ups. A recent survey estimated that owners spent on average a minimum of £1,000 a year on their dogs. Vet fees are ridiculously expensive so getting insurance is definitely a requirement and some breeds have higher health issues, so make sure you research that as well. In addition, don’t forget all the dog beds you will get through during the chewing period which could last a couple of years!!

So assuming you can afford it, do you have the time to give this bundle of energy and fun? Dogs do not have on and off switches. There is lots to consider. Whatever the weather, they need to be exercised; there are training needs to build up a good relationship and you need to understand each other to make your life together relatively stress free and most of all, you need to enjoy being with your dog.

Having the time to exercise your dog is the biggest commitment. Some dogs will be happy with 20 minutes or so twice a day, but some high energy breeds and dogs bred to work, may need a good 3 hours a day off lead exercise, especially as a young dog with loads of energy and enthusiasm to explore the great outdoor wilderness of rabbits and birds. Breeds such as herding dogs, gun dogs, spaniels and some terriers will need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and relaxed at home.

Then there’s the hair!

Would you be able to cope with a long haired double coated dog that will require daily brushing or costly grooming bills. Not forgetting the shedding or ‘coat blow’ two or three times a year. Can you put up with that in the house?! Short haired dogs are a lot easier to look after and probably only need a weekly brush, however, they still shed hair and it should not be under estimated how much that can be! The long haired coat also gets matted and will need attention every time it gets wet. Silky coated dogs can get matted coats as well, especially Spaniels who love to get into undergrowth and water emerging with grass seeds, burrs and twigs stuck in their coat! Non shedding breeds such as poodle type coats will need to be clipped. Whatever breed you choose, some amount of grooming is part and parcel of dog ownership – it just depends on how much time you have to give to keep them looking good.

Having said all that, owning a dog is wonderful. It’s therapeutic, gets you out of the house to keep you exercising and that four legged mischief maker will give you unconditional loyalty and love. There is nothing like having a dog in your life – just be prepared for what you are getting!

Common Dog skin problems

Does your dog have a dull coat, is constantly scratching, itching, chewing at his paws, or wiping his face and eyes? Any one of these symptoms sound familiar? Dog skin conditions are one of the most common reasons for a trip to the vets.

Constant scratching at itchy skin is really common. Persistent scratching can be torment for both dog and owner; as well as making your dog totally miserable, it can cause broken skin infections and hair loss. Itchy skin can be caused by allergies which can be broken down into three main sections i.e. fleas, the environment or food. Whilst flea bites are particularly irritating to both dogs and humans, some dogs have a hyper-sensitivity to it and just one bite is enough to set off intense itching and scratching. However, it is treatable and can be controlled. See your vet for regular three monthly treatments in tablet form to keep your dog flea and tick free. This is far better control than the over the counter options that are in the form of liquid drops on the skin.

Environmental allergies can be seasonal, so it is a good idea to keep a diary of when your dogs starts scratching and where he has been. Itching that starts when the weather starts to warm up, could be down to fleas or inhaled allergens such as grass pollen. Nettles and thistles can also cause irritation to the paws and you may find your dog scratching at the carpet or chewing his feet to get some relief as soon as he returns home from exercise. Environmental allergies are harder to treat and if control is difficult your dog may need to have medication prescribed by the vet. However, Piriton is a good option for allergy control but always speak to your vet before using who will give you the correct dosage for your breed and size of dog.

Dog Food Allergy

A food allergy is more difficult to diagnose and not as common as you would think. An allergy is created by a hypersensitivity to a protein, and the only way to find out what that is, is to give your dog totally different food and by process of elimination remove the trigger. Unfortunately, most manufactured dog food has similar ingredients, so you may have to get help and advice from your vet practice. Some dog owners swear by a BARF (bones and raw food) diet especially if the dog has behavioural issues which may be caused by an allergy, but most vets are against giving dogs bones. We would recommend that this is fully researched and understood before a change is made. Grains are also not a natural food for dogs so always try and get a grain free kibble to avoid stomach irritation.

Treatments

The introduction of a few drops of salmon oil to your dog’s diet is great for shiny coats and also for bones and joints in older dogs. Keeping your dog shampooed and groomed on a regular basis with either a bristle or pin brush and occasionally going over with a coat thinner tool to remove the loose hair will help keep your home dog hair free and a healthy, fresh smelling, happy dog. Regular checking of your dog’s coat will also identify any problems such as dry skin, fleas and ticks and knotted hair and grass seeds and burrs that can also cause irritation.

About Terriers & How to look after Terriers

Apart from the Dachshund, most Terriers originated from Great Britain and the name derives from the Latin ‘terra’ meaning earth. Little is known of them before 1560 when a renowned British writer Dr John Caius described them as “snappy and quarrelsome little dogs”. At that time there were only short legged Terriers used for going to ground by putting them down foxes and badger holes. These dogs had rough coats, erect ears and a sprightly temperament.

No other working dog was a more efficient killing machine than these little terriers. They were bred to be tough, tenacious and totally fearless and these attributes remain today which probably explains why terriers are better at overcoming serious illness than any other breed.

The terrier story is not for the faint hearted as in the 19th century, short legged terriers were carried in saddlebags and would accompany foxhounds when hunting. When the hounds had cornered the fox, they would be released to inflict the last moments. They were competent in keeping farm buildings free of vermin and were also used in dog fighting sports. The bull baiting terriers were originally large mastiff type dogs, but were inter bred with terriers to increase aggression.

The types of Terrier dogs and today’s terrier breeds are still high spirited, feisty, bold dogs and often have little tolerance for other animals including other dogs. However, they are popular breeds and do make good pets, although probably not for a family dog with young children. They are unique playful characters, make great watchdogs and are loyal defenders of their realm. However, they do require an owner with determination to match the terrier personality.

With the exception of the Dachshund and Bull Terrier breeds who have smooth short haired coats, most terriers have wiry coats that require to be hand stripped to maintain the characteristic appearance. This video shows how to hand strip and although it may look a little harsh, it is not painful at all for the dog.

The short coated terrier needs little grooming and a quick brush with a bristle brush is probably all that is needed.

Terriers are notorious diggers and chewers. Make sure they have plenty of hard wearing toys or your furniture may suffer! Ideal toys to keep them mentally stimulated as well are the activity toys you can stuff with food. Other toys on the market are those that use recycled water bottles to create fun and interesting noise.

Some terriers and in particular the Bull Terrier, can be prone to bed sores, so their bed needs to be soft and supportive. A well padded dog bed with supporting sides would be ideal or a memory foam dog mattress, if your dog favours stretching out.

There are many but some of the popular Terrier breeds are:

* Airedale Terrier – Tough, hardy and faithful, but stubborn
* Lakeland Terrier – Fearless, nimble and single minded. Needs a patient owner.
* Border Terrier – uncomplicated and genuine terrier little altered from its original form. Amenable personality, a good family dog. Assertive handling needed.
* Yorkshire Terrier – Very popular breed, lots of energy and thinks it’s a giant. Can be tenacious and stubborn.
* Irish Terrier- mainly now a companion dog, but could be put through field trials and lure coursing. Elegant and a good family dog although can be boisterous.
* Norfolk Terrier – Good natured, robust companion dog. A good guard dog who is happy in either town or countryside.
* Norwich Terrier – One of the smaller breeds, bossy and believes in its own importance. A good family companion and would get on with older children. Easier to train than most terriers and loves rigorous exercise.
* Cairn Terrier – small in size, fairly easy to train than most terriers. Equally at home in town or country. Good companion dog.
* West Highland White – One of the most popular breeds. Excitable and loves attention and needs regular exercise.
* Bedlington Terrier – Very distinctive breed. Needs a lot of mental and physical stimulation or could be destructive

For more information on types of Terrier dogs how to look after Terriers a helpful guide can be found here We are always willing to help in choosing your next dog, please don’t hesitate to contact us

Looking after old dogs

Dogs are for life and that can mean you have them in the family for up to 15 years. If you cannot give a dog that commitment, then you should think hard about getting one.

Dogs are great pets and with the right handling they will give you unconditional loyalty and companionship. However, they are not young and active for ever and every stage of your dog’s life should be cherished.

A Senior dog is considered to be about 8 years old. Many older dogs at Rescue Centres are overlooked for adoption for younger more active dogs, but older dogs can also make very loving and rewarding pets. They have also grown out of the silly and mad adolescent stage and unless they have been abused, have often had some basic training and are house trained. Many older dogs still have plenty of energy and love countryside walks and playtime and exercise is critical in keeping your dog mentally and physically in good shape even when they are older.

Middle age spread affects us all even our dogs, so keep an eye on your dog’s weight as your dog gets older. The ideal is to be able to feel the ribs but not see them and does your dog have a waist? By that we mean does the body taper after the rib cage. Older dogs tend to get slower and exercise decreases so they will not need so much high energy carbs in their diet. If you dog is beginning to look a bit chubby, try changing his food to a lower calorie type. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight as they age is an important factor in preventing health problems in old age. Regularly check their teeth and consult your vet if there is any sign of dental decay.

Older dogs are often prone to arthritis so its important to keep them warm with dog blankets and to have a comfortable bed or mattress. A good orthopaedic dog mattress may be considered an expensive luxury, but it will last a long time and also give your dog all the support it needs to ease joint stiffness. Paws Plus One can supply a great mattress that is based on a human design and the pocket springs in this dog bed allow your dog to either curl up or stretch out with ease and helps to provide an ideal balance of joint support, even weight distribution, insulation and cushioning.

Older dogs with arthritis and dogs with injury may also benefit from the use of a magnetic dog mat which can be put in their bed or over a mattress. The Paws Plus One magnetic mat is made from the superior quality, close knit, thick and warm thermal Warmwick knitted fabric, with rare earth Neodymium magnets for magnetic therapy whilst sleeping.

It is recommended that Senior dogs have a vet check every six months. Many diseases and health problems can be treated if caught early enough.

If we take care to keep our senior dogs healthy, they can remain active and happy up to 15 and 16 years of age. Senior dogs tend to be mellow and calmer and a joy to have as part of the family. Enjoy and love your dog through each stage of its life.

You can use the dog age calculator below to find out how old your dog would be in human years!

Grooming a Double Coated Dog

Double coated dogs need a lot of regular grooming time all year round. They will naturally grow an extra thick coat for the winter months which will shed throughout the summer and in fact most days!! Double coat = double the fur so be prepared for dog hair in the home and constant vacuuming!

A double coat is a dog coat that consists of two layers. The base layer is of short dense hair and serves to protect the dog from extreme temperatures i.e. keeps him warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The top layer of longer hairs are called guard hair and help to repel water and dirt.

Twice a year a double coat will “blow coat” which is when they shed most of their undercoat hair and the guard hair becomes brittle and dull looking. It can take up to three weeks to fully shed and this is the time when it’s really important to brush out your dog’s shedding hair and a good tool to use is the coat grooming thinner. If not dealt with it will cause matted clumps which can get tangled with grass seed, twigs and possibly fleas and ticks, making it very difficult for grooming and will become uncomfortable for the dog.

To name a few, typical doubled coated dogs are:

German Shepherd
Border Collie and other Collie breeds
Old English Sheepdog
Bernese Mountain Dog
Newfoundland
Golden Retriever
Husky
Great Pyrenees
Yorkshire Terrier
Schnauzer

Top tips for grooming:

* Brush your dog every 2 or 3 times a week with a pin brush.

* Use a slicker brush for the thicker and longer hair around the rump

* To remove loose and dead hair from the undercoat use an undercoat grooming rake

* Regular bathing with a good quality anti tangle shampoo

* Use a wide tooth comb to work through mats and tangles. If you have to cut out a clump pinch the fur as close to your dog’s skin as you can to prevent cutting the skin.

* The coat controller or coat grooming thinner is great for controlling shedding in thick coats

Take a look at this link for a good tutorial on how to groom double coats.

Dog Grooming

If you are about to get a dog or thinking about the right breed for you, don’t forget about the amount of time you will need to keep it well groomed.

Obviously long haired dogs are high maintenance and will need daily brushing. Medium haired dogs tend to get matted hair, especially Spaniels who love to get into bushes and the undergrowth. Short haired dogs are easier to look after using a soft bristle brush  and can go longer between grooming sessions. However, most breeds who love off lead fun and play often come home with grass seeds and burrs attached to their coat, so regular brushing and attention is a must.

It is a good idea to get your puppy used to being groomed from an early age – introduce the brush and being brushed for a short time each day and you will have a happy dog who loves being groomed and touched. Introduce touching his paws regularly. Dogs don’t generally like their paws touched, but clipping claws is a basic need and getting him used to having his paws touched, cleaned and stroked will be a bonus when you have to take him to the vets or the dog groomer. Long claws can break which is painful and can become infected. Long claws can also affect the way your dog walks and in extreme cases can cause joint problems. Claw clipping can be done at home, but you have to be careful not to cut too short or you could cut into the quick and make it bleed. A good instruction guide is available at http://www.wikihow.com/Clip-Dog-Nails. Alternatively, consult a professional dog groomer or a vet nurse.

To keep the dog coat in good condition, make sure you have the right tools for the type of coat your dog has. Paws Plus One has a good selection of grooming products from Groomers which are used by professional Dog Groomers nationwide.

Avoid shampooing your dog too often to maintain the natural oils in his coat; once a month is probably about right unless he is particularly dirty. Working dogs and those that are outside a lot, will require more regular bathing, but often a good hose down after a walk in the countryside is good enough to keep him clean and smelling fresh with a shampoo once a month or so. Always use a good quality mild and natural shampoo with the right pH balance to make sure the skin does not get irritated. If your dog does has a skin condition or irritation, a shampoo with tea tree oil is a good remedy, but always take to the vets if it does not clear up for a specialised treatment.

Don’t forget the ears! Spaniels and long eared breeds in particular, will regularly need their ears checked and cleaned. Some breeds are prone to ear infections, especially those that love the water and swim a lot. If you dog’s ears become smelly, it is likely he has an ear infection, so take him to the vets for some ear drops to clear it up. If it is not treated, it can become very severe and painful and could also affect your dog’s hearing.

Some breeds such as the Poodle, do not shed hair so their hair keeps growing and will need regular cutting or clipping. Some wire haired terrier dogs, need to be hand stripped and it is best to consult a professional dog groomer to do this and not attempt yourself.

Tick infestation

You may recall the post in 2014 on Ticks and Keeping your dog Tick free. Well it seems ticks have been fighting back; you may have seen in the media recently of the large number of tick infected dogs.

Researchers from the Big Tick Project found 1 in 3 dogs checked were found to be carrying a tick and also the risk of pets picking up a tick is as great in urban as in rural locations, which is a huge finding when it is understood that ticks are mostly found in woodland and long grass areas. It is thought due to the warmer climate and milder winters of recent years, Britain’s tick population has been able to thrive, which in turn puts animals at greater risk of tick infestation. Areas greatly affected by this increase are Scotland, East Anglia and the South West.

It is not only animals that can be affected, due to the many diseases ticks can carry. The tick can attach itself to humans walking through long grass just the same as an animal. Lyme disease is a potential risk which can cause a series of health conditions including meningitis and heart failure, which could be fatal.

How can I check if my dog has ticks? You should check regularly for any small lumps by running your hand over the body of your dog, Ticks will attach themselves very firmly anywhere, but common places are around the feet, head, neck and ears and are roughly 1mm to 1cm in length. Ticks can be black, brown or tan and they have eight legs with an egg shaped body which grows and gets darker as it fills with blood. They can also be tiny: some species are only as large as the head of a pin. Be careful to make sure it is definitely a tick before you try and remove it. Some older dogs get warts, so be careful not to mistake a tick for a wart!

How to get rid of ticks?

Only use a tick remover. These are readily available from pet shops and vet practices. Gently press the remover against your pet’s skin near the tick. Slide the notch of the remover under the tick, pulling it free. Take care to remove all the tick, any part of it remaining in your dog could cause infection. If unsure, your vet practice will always give advice and help with ticks.

For further information, click here.