importance of grooming dogs

The Importance of Dog Grooming

Today we’re going to talk about the importance of grooming. Now, don’t be alarmed! It’s regarding your dog. I don’t know about you but working from home has created a slight change in the way that I go about my daily tasks. Working through this change, I have realised that establishing certain daily regimes and sticking to them is a catalyst for a healthy day and a healthy mind.
In the same vein, helping your dog keep up with certain grooming and exercise regimes is going to ensure that they feel their best at all times.

Grooming your dog in between visits to the grooming salon is vital to their wellbeing – both physical & mental. It may seem like it’s not a big deal but imagine how you would feel if you hadn’t brushed your hair for a few weeks? Probably a bit less than fresh.

Grooming takes many different forms. Whether it’s clipping your dog’s nails to the right length; cleaning their teeth for a big, healthy smile; cleaning their ears, wiping their eyes so that they can see comfortably as well as brushing and bathing their coat to bring out its healthy natural shine.

A dog’s fur can often become tangled and knotted around itself without frequent brushing. Matting occurs a lot in many dog breeds with curly, fine or double coats. In extreme cases, a dog’s coat can become what groomers call ‘pelted’. This is when matting is very tight to the skin, preventing proper air flow.

Matting and pelting prevents proper temperature regulation, causes skin irritation, hides parasites like fleas or other nasties, and causes extreme discomfort and pain for the dog. In these cases, humanity over vanity is the best case scenario. Taking your dog’s fur back quite short – although a daunting thought! – is actually much better for the well-being of your pooch. This way, it will grow out much healthier and your dog will feel healthy and happy.

It’s all about putting preventatives in place.

‘Looking good now and feeling great later’. For instance, cleaning your dog’s eyes regularly with specially formulated pet eye wipes, helps to clean away any existing tear stains and dirt that could cause a blockage of the eye duct later on.

Another extremely important aspect of grooming your dog is familiarising yourself with your dog’s body. For example; combing your dogs fur is a good opportunity to catch any skin anomalies much earlier on.

By regularly cleaning your dog’s teeth, you will realise quickly if anything is out of the ordinary. You’ll know if they seem more sensitive or even if there is a slightly different smell which could be a sign of infection. When cutting their nail’s, you will notice a difference in sensitivity – if there is one.

Grooming is so important for both you and your dog as you are better educated on any potential problems you may want to bring up to your vet.

And it’s a great way of keeping your home clean!! The more you brush and bathe your dog, the more fur you catch in the brush and less floats around your home. It’s a win win really!

A dog grooming glove is a great option for lifting excess hair whilst simultaneously massaging your dog for a therapeutic –and most importantly, positive grooming experience.

I’d say one of the most important aspects of dog grooming is being able to bond and build trust between you and your dog. If anything occurs in the future, your dog will allow you to ease them through situations that they feel uncomfortable in.

Grooming your dog is a great relaxant for you both and an easy way to give your gorgeous dog some much needed attention.

how to keep your dogs cool in the heat wave

Keeping your Dogs cool

Ooh! It has been an absolute scorcher recently. This unusual British heat wave has got us thinking about you and your dog. And despite the rain, we wanted to give you some information on how to keep your dog cool & happy in this heat and crazy humidity.

Keeping your dog nice and cool can sometimes be difficult to manage. Especially as we are not used to this kind of heat. So, we thought we’d put together some do’s and don’ts on keeping your dog’s body temperature under control and some general information to keep you in the know. Dogs can’t sweat through sweat glands as much as we humans do. Dogs have sweat glands on their noses and their paw pads. So whereas we can sweat from just about anywhere on our bodies, dogs are limited. Instead, dogs regulate their body temperature through their respiratory system.

Dogs with shorter noses and flatter faces have much harder time tolerating heat, so beware if you own a pug, bulldog, or another breed with these features. Dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes. Helping them regulate their internal thermostat is very important. Just like a lot of us, they love a good run around on a sunny day and sometimes do not understand their limits.

  • Here a few do’s & don’ts just for you:
  • Encourage your dog to stay in shaded areas and out of direct sunlight;
  • Put a damp towel down for them to lie on;
  • Fill a hot water bottle with cold water;
  • Circulate cool air – keep windows open, turn on a fan or keep air con at a reasonable temperature;
  • Keep dogs out of greenhouses or conservatories. These places can get dangerously hot even if its mild outside;
  • Never leave your dog in a parked car. Temperatures inside cars can reach astronomical levels on a warm summers day;
  • It is advisable to keep white faced dogs indoors during the peak heat of the afternoon as they are more susceptible to sunburn. As well as dogs with white ears and noses;
  • If you have one, put a paddling pool in the shade for them to splash about in. However, if your dog gets super excitable – be mindful of them exhausting themselves in the paddling pool.
  • ‘Swimmers Tail’ can occur in an overexcited dog which could lead to a bruised immobile tail;
  • Always leave a bowl of fresh water out;
  • When out walking on a sunny day, always pack fresh water and a bowl;
  • Ice cubes as a cooling snack always go down well;
  • Try popping their favourite treat in the freezer to cool it down;
  • Be careful of your dog playing in the garden for long periods of time;
  • Check the pavement isn’t too hot for walks. If it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for your dogs’ paws. If that is the case then stick to grassy walks.

The best thing we can say after taking these precautions is to keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke. If your dog is panting heavily, seems exhausted or dribbling – move them to a cool place and put cool water on their coat. Make sure the water is cool, not freezing.

There are other things you can do too! Sunburn could lead to painful blisters & sores on your dog. Long term exposure could even lead to some skin cancers. However, It is possible to buy pet sunscreen as a precaution. You can also buy a few accessories to keep your dog cool. For example; Cooling Vests, Cooling Mats and even Cooling Bandanas!

We hope you have a great week guys.

Covid-19 and dogs - corona and

You, your dog and Corona (Covid-19)

We join you today to answer some questions and shed light on a subject we know all of you, and us included, are concerned about. And rightly so!

Covid-19 and what that means for you and your Dog.

In the last few months we have had to jump head first into unprecedented times. And whilst we all sit in wait; waiting to emerge into our new normal, it is very easy to experience anxiety & confusion about what actions to take now and in the future regarding you and your Dog.

At the moment, a lot of this will be stemming from the unavoidable amount of information about Covid-19 spilling out from every source possible.

It is difficult to separate fact from fiction in tense times like these and we would always urge you to check sources thoroughly as unfortunately, fake news has the tendency to spread at lightning speed.

Due to this, we at Hounds of Hackney have done the research for you. We have gathered all up to date information regarding various concerns raised about Corona Virus and your Dog.

We hope this information eases any fears you may have so that you can find some peace and relaxation in this turbulent time with your beautiful pooch.

Firstly, it is important to note that most people who will become infected with Covid-19 will be infected by people and not animals – which is why social distancing as well hand washing is so unbelievably important when it comes to fighting this virus.

Globally, there have been a few reports of human to pet transmission BUT these appear to be very isolated incidents. As of April 25th 2020, there have been no reports of animals in the UK with Coronavirus.

Several global health organisations have issued advisories saying there is no any evidence that pet animals can spread coronavirus or indeed be infected with it in the same way as humans.

Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.

In saying that, taking precautions when it comes to how you handle your dog in your home and out on walks is necessary as this is a rapidly evolving situation and the science and facts based around it will continue to develop.

If you or someone in your household has been infected with Covid-19, it is theoretically possible that traces of the virus could be on your pets coat or skin.

In this case, we would recommend someone else in your home to handle your pet and take care of their needs whilst you are self-isolating and in recovery. If this isn’t possible and you live alone, we would recommend taking precautions such as;

  • Wearing a mask when handling any of your Dogs needs
  • Wash hands before and after feeding or dealing with your pet in any way – using sanitizer with 60% alcohol and above for safe measure
  • Avoid petting, snuggling, kissing or being licked, sharing food and bedding
  • Keep your dog on a lead when on walks and do not allow it to come into contact with any other human or be petted in any way
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people or dogs gather
  • Maintain a safe distance when outside at all times

The risk of your dog passing it on or becoming infected by someone outside your home and passing it to you is extremely low at this moment but we consider this to be best practise in these uncertain times.

If you are well and self-isolating then you can interact with your dog normally but washing your hands and sanitizing regularly will also help stop other viruses and germs from spreading.

In the same vein, we would also recommend that whilst out and about you adhere to government guidelines when it comes to social distancing with both humans and animals that belong to other people unless it is absolutely necessary.

We understand the emotional repercussions of all of the above and we are all absolutely feeling it!

If we can help in any way at all, please get in contact.

dogs have anxiety with fireworks

Fireworks, Dogs and Anxiety

Most of us think of the fifth of November as a time for fun, fireworks, warm hats & gloves and the coming together of loved ones in celebration.

It can truly feel like a magical time.

Before my teens, the internet wasn’t a huge thing at all yet! And now that it is – creating and spreading awareness is an integral part of society. It’s important to attach a responsibility to an action and think about the consequences of what a seemingly innocent activity is.

Fireworks are fun to watch (for most) but there are other things we, as pet owners, need to take into consideration in order to keep our pets feeling safe and happy.

For dogs, Bonfire night continues to be one of the most terrifying times of the year – which is so heart breaking. Already this month, concerned owners have started sharing pictures and videos of their terrified pets.

To put it simply – our gorgeous dogs just don’t know what the ‘heel’ is going on.

Animals have a more acute sense of hearing than humans and so perceive any loud noise as a threat.

Loud noises trigger the flight or fight instinct in a dog and therefore their anxiety is triggered massively.

This blog is going to shed some light on a few little things that you can do at home that will help calm your pet. You can start with prepping as much as you can. For example, feeding them and filling up the water bowls before the fireworks start as there is a chance that they won’t eat or drink when feeling distressed.

  1. Take them for a long walk earlier in the day

It is best to take your dog earlier on in the day and not after dark when the fireworks start. Nice long walks well help them to relax, burn some energy and feel more at ease when the noise starts.

  • Don’t react to fireworks yourself

Dogs perceive fireworks as a threat so seeing their owners respond without fear will help keep them calm.

  • Sound therapy – Get them used to loud noises

There are a lot of CDs, apps or video’s that you can play to your dog as you get closer to fireworks season then will help condition them into understanding that they are not under threat.

You can play the sound of fireworks whilst cuddling your pet, giving them treats or just generally doing something to positively reinforce the sound

  • Muffle the sound of fireworks if you can

The RSPCA recommends that close your doors, windows and curtains to try to block out the sound as much as possible.

  • Create a safe space for your dog

It is important that your pet has a safe space to run to once the loud noises start – whether that is in a cupboard or under furniture. Trying to coax your pet out during loud noise displays can actually cause more stress and anxiety so it is recommended to give them a moment in their space.

  • A sleepover

If you are aware that your dog gets anxious and you know there are going to big fireworks displays near you – we’d recommend organising a sleep over for your dog at a friends or relatives house IF you know it is going to be much quieter.

We hope that some of these tips will help you and your pooch stay as calm as you possibly can. This time of year is all about helping dogs feel loved, positively in control of their environment and relaxed.

the dangers of rawhide

The dangers of Rawhide

So, I’m walking down the cute doggie aisle of a shopping centre and I feel ridiculously mushy and excitable about buying my beautiful dog a new treat. She’s the best dog ever and she deserves it. I’m thinking surprise and excitement. I’m thinking cuddles of gratitude. I’m thinking peace and quiet. I’m thinking fresher breath. Wahoo!

One of the most common dog treats available are ones containing rawhide. For example – You would have seen those bright white chewable hide treats shaped like bones. You can get big bones, little bones, rawhide tiny twists. You name it. They all look like delectable treats that you know your dog would LOVE.

However, these treats have started to raise a few eyebrows among top class pet professionals and today we are here to highlight some of the reasons why.

So what exactly is Rawhide?

Rawhide treats come from the inner layer of a cow or horse hide that has been stripped and cleaned of hair.

In order to remove the hair from this layer, the hide must be soaked in chemicals, primarily Sodium Sulphide and it is then whitened with Hydrogen Peroxide, pressed and put onto the shelves.

Aesthetically, it is the dehydrated skin of a cow or horse. As dogs chew on these tough treats their saliva softens and rehydrates the skin – turning it into a soft and gooey treat for your dog to eat.

What are the benefits of Rawhide treats?

Immediately what springs to mind are the psychological and dental benefits for your dog. Chewing keeps dogs’ jaws strong, teeth clean, and breath a bit fresher.

Dogs that chew regularly on rawhides and other bones or toys are said to have less plaque and tartar build-up on teeth.

Having something to chew can also help with anxiety as well as curbing the need for your shoes or the bottom of your couch to become your dogs’ next chewable conquest.

What are the dangers of Rawhide?

In terms of consumption, the most immediate hazard is choking. It is possible for a dog to swallow chunks of the hide too quickly and choke. It is also possible for large chunks that have been swallowed to cause a block in the intestines which could lead to a serious operation or the death of your dog if the blockage is found too late.

Toxins and carcinogens such as Arsenic and Formaldehyde have been detected in rawhide treats and this is why some professionals have classed Rawhide treats as a ‘slow dose poison’.

Rawhide is classified neither as a human food nor pet food, so there are no regulations over its production.

Do the benefits out weigh the dangers?

No they do not. As you look into the production of them – it is clear that the process in which they are made could very easily lead to a healthy dog’s decline or even worse. The process in which it is made means it is a by-product of the leather industry. It is a chew stick made up of leather, toxic chemicals, dyes and glues. That does not sound healthy.

A lot of dog owners are calling for Rawhide treats to be taken off the shelves due to the above and because the sale of them is unnecessary when there are plenty of alternatives and ‘No Hide’ treats available.

A ‘No Hide’ chew has no poisonous ingredients and provides all of the psychological satisfaction your dog could need.  They are super nutritious, highly digestible and completely healthy for your pet.

Of course if your pet has a rawhide treat rarely – make sure you are around when they have it but we sincerely believe that often is way too much with this dog chew and that a more natural alternative will be a lot better in the long run.

Xylitol poisoning in pet dogs

Xylitol is poisoning your beloved dogs

Hello to all of you Canine lovers!

Today our voice is with you to raise awareness of an issue that we believe could be potentially lethal to your beautiful pet.

That issue is the rise of the sugar substitute Xylitol. You may have heard of it and it may even be in you cupboards right now.

This seemingly harmless sweetener is found in a variety of foods and has no threatening adverse effects on humans. However- If ingested by your Dog, the effects could lead to a rapid decline in your pooch’s health and potential death by poisoning.

All of us here at Hounds of Hackney, would you believe, absolutely LOVE any and all Dogs. At our core – we want to stimulate their wellbeing by keeping them calm, happy and active. The very thought of any of the above just makes us shudder in horror which is why we are raising awareness today.

Although Xylitol has been used as a sugar substitute for decades, it’s popularity has increased dramatically in the last few years as a healthier alternative. Unfortunately, the spike in use has led to a massive increase in canine deaths – now hitting the thousands.

There are many reasons as to why its popularity has soared. It has a low glycaemic index which means it’s a better option for diabetics and has dental plaque fighting qualities. Due to this, it has been approved for use in lots of oral care products, pharmaceuticals and as a food additive.

Here is a list of some products that may contain the sweetener;

  • Sugar-free gum
  • Breath mints
  • Baked goods
  • Toothpaste/mouthwash
  • Cough syrup/children’s chewable vitamins
  • Puddings/sweets/sugar free deserts
  • Peanut butter/nut butters/yoghurt/takeaways
  • Allergy medication/digestive aids/over the counter nasal sprays

Even small amounts of Xylitol can cause Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), seizures and liver failure. When non-primates eat something containing Xylitol, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid release causes a profound decrease in the level of blood sugar.

The most common cause of poisoning is sugar free chewing gum as it is easily ingested off the floor whilst on a walk – although it is best to remember that not all chewing contains it.
Some symptoms to look out for are; Weakness, lethargy, vomiting, tremors, disorientation, jaundice.

If you feel like your pet has come into contact with Xylitol, get in touch with your vet immediately. There are lots of out of hours services available and in cases where your pet has eaten something containing the poison but isn’t displacing any symptoms – it is imperative that you get them checked out due to its toxicity.

In terms of prevention in your home; try to familiarise yourself with any products that contain it and keep them locked away.

Be wary of how you get your pet to take any medication. For example; if you use peanut butter!

Also, be sure to only use pet toothpaste and not human toothpaste when cleaning your canine’s teeth.

Outside of your home, talk about it with non-pet owners and pet owners a like. Not everyone is aware of Xylitol or the effects of throwing chewing on the floor. Spreading the word will absolutely make a difference.

Change can and will happen over time.