Breed of the Week: Kuvasz

kuvasz

Meet our lovable and courageous gentle giant breed this week, the Kuvasz! These big hairy dogs have a naturally sweet temperament and love to be around the people their family. Although having a Kuvasz may mean a lot more hair in your house, they make it all worth it with their wonderful personalities!

 

The Kuvasz is a very old breed originating from Hungary. Original Kuvasz’s were much larger than the ones we see today. During the 14th century, only royalty were allowed to own a Kuvasz. They became very popular with royals who enjoyed hunting game, as the Kuvasz was a great hunting companion. As time passed, the Kuvasz started to become more accepted for common-folk to own. Farmers were big fans of the Kuvasz as they made fantastic guard dogs for sheep and livestock. The breed continued to be used as a guard dog for livestock all throughout the 1900’s. This breed makes an excellent guard and watch dog as his size alone can be quite intimidating. They have a very loud and deep bark (but they only make noise when necessary) and they are naturally very wary of strangers.

 

Kuvasz today are smaller in size compared to their ancestors, but still remain to be known as a gentle giant. They absolutely love their family and are very loyal dogs. Kuvasz’s do have a tendency to be wary of strangers still, just like their ancestors; be sure to do a lot of socialization with them so they know not to be aggressive or fearful towards strangers. Although they may seem big and tough, they are sensitive dogs and respond best to positive training as opposed to any gimmicks or harsh training methods. Most Kuvasz’s are great with other dogs and pets, but some can be very nervous or anxious around them, so it is extremely important before deciding to get this breed, that you have committed to training and socializing your Kuvasz for the rest of this life (not just while he’s a puppy!).

 

The Kuvasz sheds quite a bit and also is prone to mats with that thick double coat of his. Be sure to brush him with a good quality slicker brush 3-4 times a week to keep his coat looking its best. They will also need to see the groomer for hair clipping on a regular basis. They amount of time in between grooms depends on the individual dog as well as how long the owner prefers to keep the hair, but generally every 4-6 months.

 

Kuvasz are great family dogs and will always stay loyal to their family. Although very bonded to ‘his people’, Kuvasz don’t typically have much separation anxiety. To keep him from developing separation anxiety, make sure to not make a big deal about leaving or coming home, wait until your dog is calm before giving attention and affection. The Kuvasz may not be for everyone as this breed generally needs continuous training and socializing throughout most of his life. But if you are looking for a wonderful and outdoorsy companion, the Kuvasz might be the right dog for you!

Natural Ways to Deter Fleas

puppy running

One thing all dog owners can agree on, no one likes fleas! As small as they are, they can be a big nuisance to not only your dog, but your whole household. It is recommended that you discuss with your vet the best flea prevention for your dog. Most people choose to use topical applications of medicated flea control. This week we are looking at some natural methods to help protect against fleas.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar          Who knew the wonder remedy has benefits for dogs too? Some dog owners have found adding a little bit of apple cider vinegar to their dog’s water can help to deter fleas. Approximately 1 tsp is enough for a 40lb dog, diluted in about 1 Litre of water. If you find your dog doesn’t like the taste, you can put a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water into a spray bottle and just spray down your dog’s fur. Depending on how comfortable you are with the smell of apple cider vinegar, you can also spray down the dog bed and any other furniture he typically goes on.

 

DIY Flea Bath           If it’s getting to be around flea season, you can pre-emptively give your dog a homemade flea bath. Just combine 2 cups of water with the juice of 1 lemon and about ½ cup of his normal doggy shampoo. Mix well, and use in place of his regular pet shampoo during his next bath. Your dog will smell lemony fresh while also keeping pesky bugs at bay!

 

Go To The Beach!               Many dog owners swear by the use of salt on fleas. If you’re worried that maybe you’ve seen one or two fleas around, take your dog to go swimming at a dog friendly beach! The salt from the water may ‘dehydrate’ and kill the fleas. Because this method hasn’t been studied, this method is not recommended if you’ve seen many fleas on your dog. Be sure not to do this method too often, as the salt will also start to dehydrate your dogs skin and dry out his hair.

We hope that these natural remedies help you and your dog stay happy, healthy and free of fleas!

Breed of the Week: Scottish Deerhound

scottish deerhound

Our featured breed this week is the majestic and always happy Scottish Deerhound. These long-legged dogs have a very quiet nature, they much prefer to avoid any chaos, and watch from a comfy couch instead!

 

The Scottish Deerhound breed dates back as far as the 13th century. Back then, only people who were Dukes or higher ranking could own this breed. During the 13th century there was a large decline of deer in England, most of them had migrated to the Scottish Highlands resulting in a very high concentration of deer in that area. The Scottish Deerhound breed was developed to help control the population of deer. These dogs are very long and lean, shaped almost to mimic the deer so that they could effectively track down, chase and hunt them. During the 18th century, breech-loading rifles gained popularity, and more and more deer hunters were using guns instead of depending so heavily on the Scottish Deerhound. During World War I, the breed almost became extinct, and they still remain to be recognised as a very rare breed.

 

The Scottish Deerhound is often described as graceful and undemanding. They are rarely ‘needy’ and generally don’t have many issues with separation anxiety.  An adult Scottish Deerhound is graceful and very fast. Although they can run like nobody’s business, they are also very comfortable and happy to lounge indoors on the couch with you. When they do get outside, make sure it is a very large area they can run around and that it is fully enclosed as reliable recall can sometimes be an issue with this breed. They need daily activity to stretch those legs and get out some energy.

 

Scottish Deerhound puppies and teens are often not as graceful as the adults. Similar to a young Great Dane, Scottish Deerhound puppies can be quite awkward when running and playing as they are still getting used to their very long legs. Scottish Deerhound pups need extra exercise for all that puppy energy, and they love to play with everyone!

 

Although very intelligent and a great natural temperament, the Scottish Deerhound can be a bit stubborn to train. They need someone who is very consistent and patient to help communicate what is expected of them. They require a lot of socialization around small animals otherwise they are often likely to chase small, fast moving animals (sometimes including small dogs and cats!).

 

With their wire-hair coat, they require brushing once or twice a week. They can easily get tangles in their hair after romping in the yard, and easy fix is to rub in some baby oil to help loosen any knots or tangles. They do require hair trimming, but they frequency will depend on each individual dog, typically every 3-6 months.

 

The Scottish Deerhound is a gentle quiet breed that loves to run fast. Although they may not always come back when called, they make great family pets and generally get along with everyone they meet. This majestic breed makes a wonderful addition to laid back families with lots of open, fenced in space to run around!

Preventing Bloat in Dogs

dog eating

Extreme bloat in dogs is a serious health concern. Sometimes the bloated stomach contorts, also commonly known as a ‘flipped stomach’ or ‘twisted stomach’. The medical term for it is actually Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV). It can cause serious harm to your pup, so it is important to know the warning signs, what to in the case of bloat and what can trigger bloat to happen in the first place.

 

Triggers of Bloat

When a dog eats a large meal or drinks a lot of water, his stomach expands. This expansion can put pressure on other organs nearby causing problems such as a lack of blood flow or a tear in the stomach wall. Sometimes if a dog is very active, this will cause the bloated stomach to rotate or ‘twist’, preventing enough blood to get to major organs.

Many larger breed dogs have a much higher chance of developing GDV in their lifetime, as opposed to smaller breed dogs; this is due to their deep and narrow chests. Dog breeds such as Great Danes, Boxers, German Shepherds and St. Bernards all have very high chances of having bloat at some time in their life. Dogs who have suffered from GDV, often have a much higher chance of it occurring again. Because bloat can occur if a dog eats to fast or has rigorous exercise to close to eating time, dogs who are naturally very active should be fed small meals and try to relax for a bit before going for a run. A popular tool if your dog tends to eat too fast is a ‘slow-feeder’ type bowl.

Although it is widely believed that bloat or a flipped stomach happens only to dogs who are too active after eating, there are also many cases where there was no known reason as to what caused the bloat. That is why it is important for every dog owner to know the symptoms and stages of bloat and how to handle situation.

 

Warning Signs of Bloat & What to Do

The symptoms of bloat typically don’t take long to appear. The dog may seem restless and start pacing. He may try to vomit but is unable to. Other typical symptoms are pale gums, drooling and rapid heartbeat. As all dogs are different, he may show only one of these symptoms or he may show many. If you notice your dog having any of these symptoms or any dramatic change in health or personality, you should always call your vet first to determine with an expert if he needs to come in. With cases of bloat, time is extremely important to the dog’s recovery.

If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to try and keep him as comfortable as possible until medical attention. Do not encourage the dog to get up and move around if he has collapsed, just make sure he is in a comfortable position. Do not try to force the dog to eat or drink as this can worsen the problem.

Once at the vet, the vet will relieve the pressure in the dog’s stomach by either a tube or a needle, depending on the severity. All cases of bloat should be seen by a vet immediately to prevent any further complications.

 

Bloat or GDV can be a very scary thing to deal with. It can be even scarier for your dog! That’s why we owe it to our furry best friends to know what to look out for and how to help until proper medical attention from a vet professional.

Breed of the Week: Standard Poodle

poodle

A very popular breed that most of us can easily recognise walking down the street, the standard poodle. Although their hair cuts may often change, they still remain very recognisable with their tight curled fur and long elegant faces. This week we look at the friendly, playful and elegant standard poodle.

 

The Poodles early ancestors were curly haired dogs from central Asia. One of the Poodles ancestors was the Barbet and was seen commonly in France, Russia and Hungary. It wasn’t until several other strains of rough-coated water dogs that the poodle we recognise today came to be, and these strains were found in Germany in the late 18th century. As the dog was originally bred to hunt in the water, they were aptly named from the German word ‘Pudel’ meaning to splash. With the poodle’s popularity in France, the French often called the Poodle ‘chien canard’, meaning ‘Duck dog’, reflecting its excellent duck hunting abilities.

 

The Poodle is one of the most intelligent dog breeds, but also has a strong willingness to please its owner. So it’s no wonder that throughout history the Poodle has been used as guide dogs, therapy dogs, circus performers even as a military dog. Being hypoallergenic, they are still a fantastic options as guide and therapy dogs as they fit into most people’s lifestyles.

 

When we think hypoallergenic, the dog breed that first comes to mind is the Poodle. Although that is correct that they are a hypoallergenic breed, many people misunderstand that hypoallergenic does not mean non-shedding. All dogs will shed some, but hypoallergenic breeds, like the Poodle, shed significantly less. They don’t need much grooming, you can brush them once or twice a week. They will need regular trips to the grooming to have their hair trimmed, the frequency depends on the owner as there are many fashionable hairstyles for the Poodle. The Standard Poodle cut includes ‘poofs’ or large rounded out chunks of fur on places like the dog’s hips and head. Although this hairstyle may look silly to some, all those ‘poofs’ have purpose! It is believed that handlers would keep larger bits of fur in strategic places on the dog’s body to prevent those more sensitive places being exposed to cold water. So the dog can have most of his fur shaved or very short so he can stay cool when running around on the hunt, but also keep those hip joints and head protected when in the water for long periods of time.

 

The Standard Poodle makes an excellent family pet. They are very intelligent, but unlike most intelligent breeds, they are also extremely trainable and rarely stubborn. They can get along great with all other dogs, people and pets, but just like any breed they should have good socialization at an early age. They are active dogs and like to go for at least one big walk/hike/or play at the dog park every day, along with regular shorter walks and bathroom breaks. Although some may think of the Poodle as a finicky breed that doesn’t like getting dirty, that can’t be farther from the truth! The Poodle is as rough and tumble as they come! They love playing in the mud and especially diving into and splashing around lakes and rivers.

 

The Poodle makes an excellent family pet and may be a good option for someone who doesn’t like a lot of shedding. Don’t be deceived, your Poodle will not stay clean on his own accord, the second he can get dirty, he will! They are easy to train as well as great natural temperaments. They are often calm and quiet, yet still very active and playful when the time calls for it. They can make a fantastic addition to almost any family!

Health Needs of Diabetic Dogs

old golden retriever

Having a dog who is diabetic requires some knowledge of what possible behaviours to watch out for. Many diabetic dogs live completely normal lives like any other dog, and very rarely do they suffer from negative side effects. But it is important nonetheless to be aware of what happens in your dog’s body when their insulin is low and how to prevent as well as treat it.

 

Diabetes in both humans in dogs, is a result of the body not producing enough insulin or the body having an inadequate response to insulin. Just like with humans, when dogs eat, their bodies break down the food into individual macronutrients that the body can then sort and utilize. Glucose, made up of a small chain of simple sugars, is a type of carbohydrate used primarily to give the body energy. Insulin is meant to be produced when we eat food so that it can carry the glucose to where it needs to go to be used as fuel for the body. When the body does not produce a sufficient amount of insulin, glucose is not able to be utilized. As a result, blood sugar levels increase and when left untreated, can lead to very serious health problems.

 

If a dog is not able to produce enough of the hormone insulin on his own, the vet may recommend a dosage of insulin that he will need to take at certain times every day. It is very important that the insulin is given at the right time. Your vet will give specific instructions on dosage and times, depending on your dog’s individual needs and if he has type I or type II diabetes (dogs most commonly have type I, while cats are more likely to have type II).

 

Some signs to watch out for that your dog has diabetes are excessive thirst, lethargy, weight loss, a change in appetite or vomiting. Your dog may show several or maybe just one of these symptoms. In general, if you notice any abnormalities in your dog’s behaviour, health or appearance, you should immediately discuss with your vet as early detection of diabetes can prevent more serious health problems.

 

Although the exact cause of diabetes in dogs is unknown, it can sometimes be a result of obesity, autoimmune disease, or can develop as a result of certain medications. Some dog breeds have been known to be more susceptible to developing diabetes. Breeds such as miniature schnauzers, Keeshonds and Samoyeds seem to be more likely to develop diabetes compared to other dog breeds, especially at around 6-9 years of age.

 

The best way to try and prevent diabetes is to help your dog stay active by getting enough exercise every single day. As we know, dogs who are obese can be at higher risk of developing diabetes so make sure your dog also has a healthy diet that doesn’t include too many treats or table scraps! And as we mentioned earlier, watch out for any changes in your dogs behaviour as early detection of diabetes can help prevent more serious health complications as a result from the disease. With help from your vet and keeping your dog active and eating a wholesome diet, your dog is sure to live a happy and healthy life!

Breed of the Week: Jack Russell Terrier

jack russell terrier

Our energetic featured breed this week is the rough and tumble Jack Russell Terrier! This little guy is the epitome of a big dog personality in a little dog body. This breed is packed full of self-confidence and they are almost always on a mission; whether it be to chase a squirrel up a tree or playing a game of fetch with their owner, they are their happiest when they have a task at hand!

 

The Jack Russell breed was developed in the early 1800’s. Everything about the Jack Russell tells you they were specifically bred to be the best fox hunters. They are fast and muscular, able to chase a fox without slowing down. Their bodies are compact and flexible so that they can easily get into burrows or hollowed out logs with no problem; wherever a fox can go, the Jack Russell can follow. Being used for so long as fox hunters, this breed is well known even today for their high energy and stamina.

 

The Jack Russell is a highly active dog and needs an owner who enjoys going for long walks and hikes. It is also a good idea to get your Jack Russell Terrier involved in agility competitions, the breed typically excels at these events and it’s a great outlet for all that energy! Consistency is key when training your Jack Russell, you want to make sure he knows you mean what you say. Jack Russell Terriers are intelligent dogs, if you ask them to sit and they ignore you and walk away, they will learn they don’t need to do anything you ask of them. You should always follow through on any command, and if they walk away it is best to leash them, bring them back to the training area and continue the session so they learn they can’t ignore your commands. Jack Russells can definitely be a bit stubborn and have a mind of their own so they require an owner is not only consistent but also patient.

 

The Jack Russell Terrier breed requires very little grooming. Their coat can come in almost any colour, and they have three different coat types: smooth, broken and rough. The smooth and broken coat types do not require any trimming, but the rough coat should be brushed once every two weeks or so and go to the groomer every couple of months. The smooth coat is short hair, smooth to touch and sits flat on the body. The broken coat is similar to the smooth coat but can have a few spots anywhere on the body that has longer hair and feels coarse. The rough coat is all over longer hair that feels coarse.

 

The Jack Russell Terrier is a perfect match for someone who has an active lifestyle, but can also be calm and consistent. With a Jack Russell you will never be bored because they are always up to something! And if you’re ever in the mood to play Frisbee, they will always be right there for you and ready to go!

Importance of Keeping Your Dog’s Ears Clean

flapping ears

We all know how important it is to keep our own ears clean to prevent things like infections or hearing loss. It is just as important that we keep our dogs ears clean! We want to make sure our dogs stay happy and healthy; one way to do so is by keeping their ears free of potentially harmful dirt and germs!

 

Unless you have a very talented dog, it’s likely that he can’t keep his own ears clean. So it is up to you to take a look in his ears every so often to make sure there’s no junk or signs of irritation. Dogs (especially ones with long floppy ears) are bound to get dirt, mud, grass, etc., in their ears at some point. Most of it flies out when the dog shakes his head, but to ensure it’s clean, have him sit down for you so you can take a good look in his ears. You want to look out for dirt, excess build-up of ear wax, anything lodged in the ear, redness or lots of scratches.

 

The most noticeable signs if your dog’s ears are really bothering him are excessively shaking his head, leaning his head to one side, scratching the ear excessively and whining or whimpering when someone touches the ear. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to have your vet take a look at the ears as these symptoms generally don’t show up until an infection has taken place and needs antibiotics. To ensure it doesn’t get to the point of infection, you want to use vet approved dog ear wipes to wipe the outside area of your dog’s ears (don’t try to force it too deep in the ear!), this should be done every other day or so.

 

Be aware that the tools we use to clean our ears should never ever be used on your dog’s ears. Q-tips can easily damage delicate areas in your dog’s ear. It is best to have your vet show you how to properly wipe your dog’s ears so that you are gentle but also effective at remove excess dirt or wax. Your vet will likely recommend pet wipes using all natural ingredients so it will help soothe your dog’s ears and not irritate them with harsh chemicals.

 

So when your dog is rolling in the grass and getting his ears dirty, you can worry a bit less now that you know what signs and symptoms of ear irritation to watch out for. With daily ear checks and as needed ear cleanings with pet safe wipes, you dog will have sparkling clean ears!

Breed of the Week: English Toy Spaniel

english toy spaniel

Meet our cute and affectionate featured breed of the week, the English Toy Spaniel. This breed loves spending time playing and cuddling with their owner and rarely leave their side. They can be surprisingly reserved with strangers as they are very picky about who they give their affection to. One of the typically quieter toy breeds, the English Toy Spaniel can be a great addition to almost any family and living space.

 

For a breed that’s been around for so many years, it’s amazing how well-documented their history is. During the 16th century, ‘exotic’ type lapdogs were all the rage. During this time, the English Toy Spaniel was developed with it’s immediate ancestors being the Pekingese and Japanese Chin. Many artists during the 16th century loved painting the English Toy Spaniel with their very easy-going personality, they aren’t your typically high-energy small dog and generally prefer to just lounge around most of the day (making it much easier to paint!). This breed goes by many other unofficial names such as Toy Spaniel, King Charles Spaniel (different from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and ‘Charlies’ (after King Charles I and II who both favoured this breed).

 

‘Charlies’ are not high-energy dogs, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t speedy! Although they prefer to lounge around, they absolutely love to chase things that move fast. If a butterfly happens to catch your Toy Spaniel’s attention, they’re off on the hunt in a second! They can get along well other pets and young kids as long as they’ve been introduced early and well-socialized. English Toy Spaniels can be goofballs and have tons of affection to give, but they are very picky who deserves their affection. You will find this breed likes to pick favourites amongst the people he meets and only those people will see the Toy Spaniels more outgoing side.

 

English Toy Spaniels are great dogs for first time owners. They are fairly easy to train (albeit a little stubborn at times) and will really work hard to please the people they are bonded to. They don’t require much exercise, but are also more than willing to go on a hike with you! Anything you are planning for the day, the Toy Spaniel wants to come with you! They do well in almost any living situation, they are small enough for apartment living and are very adaptable dogs. They only thing they don’t adapt well to is being left home alone all day as they crave attention from their favoured human companion.

 

This breed needs a lot of maintenance to keep looking their best. With their short muzzles, their faces are perfect places to gather up dirt and debris, so it will need to be wiped daily and after romping around in the garden! They need to be brushed about twice a week to prevent matting in their hair. They should go to the groomer for hair trimming once every 2-3 months. Especially in colder weather, when the hair on their feet and legs gets too long, water will freeze on that fur and can contribute to frostbite. In hot weather, the same area of fur can develop tangles covered in mud and dirt and be very uncomfortable and cause skin irritation if the hair is not kept trimmed.

 

‘Charlies’ can be a perfect companion dog for a first time owner, especially for people living on their own as English Toy Spaniels like to pick one person to give all their love to. With their easy-going and gentle nature, they are great company to bring to pet-friendly offices. They rarely bark and prefer and slower, quieter lifestyle. If you’re looking for an adaptable and loving small dog, consider the distinguished and sweet natured English Toy Spaniel!