Keeping your dog fit and trim is not always an easy task. It is hard to say no when they give us those big brown eyes asking for a treat. Unfortunately, dogs that are carrying even a few pounds more than they should be are at risk for several heart issues. The hips, back, and joints are stressed, including the ACL that can be deemed a bad knee by us dog owners. The extra weight works the heart and lungs more and puts them at a greater risk for diabetes. It will interfere with the working dog both in speed, stamina, and the possibility of injury.
How to tell if your dog is over weight?
1. Stand over your pet viewing the back. Look for a nice curved indentation in the area of the waist (just behind the rib cage). A pet with a "straight line" from head to tail, or even a bowed-out line along the back, could likely mean that your pet is overweight.
2. View your pet from the side. There should be a nice "tuck up" area behind the rib cage and before the hind legs. A pet with a "straight line" or a saggy area in the belly area could likely mean that your pet is overweight.
3. Gently run your fingers along your pet's rib cage. The ribs should be felt easily and the skin should glide over the ribs smoothly, as opposed to large "sheets" of fat moving along the ribs.
4. Check the area above the base of the tail; overweight pets have extra padding and folds in this location.
Dog food high in grain can add to weight issues in dogs. Ironically, the same idea as the Atkins Diet for humans works well for our dogs, moderate to higher protein, lower fat, and no grain. We must also keep the Kcal or calories per cup down. You can add low sodium green beans to your dog’s food as added fiber and filler. This will fill them up with less calories. One food that does a great job with weight loss is made by Petcurean Pet Food, Now Senior Weight Loss. They are a Canadian company that uses only the best quality ingredients. It has a moderate protein of 24%, lower fat of 10%, and a higher fiber of 6 %. You will also want to modify the treat intake. Using pieces of carrots, or cucumber and green beans will help lower the calories and also add fiber and vitamins. If using treats from the store, make sure to use a grain free treat. Breaking them in half will also cut the calories in half!
We as pet owners are solely responsible for our dog’s weight. They do not have the ability to push away from the bowl. Helping them maintain proper weight will ensure a healthier, happier, and much longer life.
As the pollen starts to fall, you will notice more skin issues with your pets. Dogs will begin to scratch more, have ear infections, sneezing, watery eyes and nose, and hot spots. Airborne allergens, such as pollen, create histamines. When you pet comes in contact with the allergen, he responds by trying to eliminate it by creating histamines. Histamines in turn cause the symptoms mentioned above.
To help eliminate the symptoms and keep your dog more comfortable during this pollen season we recommend the following: To keep the skin and coat free from the pollen, you can wash often during the heavy pollen months of March and April. We recommend using a non detergent, non soap containing shampoo. You can safely wash your dog twice a week with Groomer's Secret. We developed this line of products 10 years ago to target skin and coat health using only the best natural ingredients. Our line of Groomer's Secret shampoo contains coconut oil derived cleaning agents to safely and effectively clean the skin and coat. The thin consistency of our shampoo reaches the skin to clean away pollen, dirt and odors. We use all natural oils to soothe the skin and enhance the coat. We recommend our Nature's Remedy shampoo during pollen season. It soothes and heals the skin with Tea Tree Oil, therefore stopping the itch. We always recommend our Silk Solutions Conditioner to help properly moisturize the skin and coat. Proper moisture balance using silk protein naturally replaces the lost lipids from the skin caused by day to day activities. The heaters in our homes during these cold months deplete the dogs' skin and coat of lipids causing them to have dry skin just as it does for us. Dry skin is not always noticeable. Even slightly dry skin allows dirt, bacteria from ponds and puddles, and pollen to evade the skin. When dry the skin is more porous, when moisturized, it has a layer of protection. We also, have a hot spot spray that drys and quickly heals hot spots. It can also be safely used as an ear cleaner. It contains Tea Tree Oil to heal and a natural drying agent to help dry up the hot spot. You never want to put ointment on a hot spot. They must dry to heal.
Dogs that lick and chew their feet during pollen season do well with having their feet washed when they come inside. Using a low bucket of pan of water at the door, dip each food in the water and pat dry with a clean towel. This lifts the pollen off of the foot and from between the pads. Just wiping sometimes pushes the pollen in between the pad.
We also recommend that dogs with allergy symptoms consult with their veterinarians about the proper does of an antihistamine. Proper use of antihistamines such as Claritin, Zyrtec and Benedryl offer relief to dogs by blocking the histamines that the pollen are creating. Only give your dogs medication after consulting with your veterinarian. Even antihistamines that are safely used for dogs can be dangerous if complete medical history is not known.
Cats are also bothered by pollen. Cats tend to sneeze more with runny nose and watery eyes. They can scratch more and loose hair. Losing hair for a cat means hair ball since they clean themselves. Cats are not as easily bathed and we do not recommend Tea Tree Oil for cats at all. It can be an allergen in itself for cats. Since they are more sensitive we only recommend our Silk Solutions Shampoo and conditioner for them. It not only washes away pollen and the loose hair but also aids in quick shedding by conditioning the coat. I only recommend washing a cat that will tolerate water. I suggest having a helper and a towel close by. Many cats love baths but those do not will let you know. Cats can also have antihistamines. The exact type and dose can only be determined by your veterinarian. Cats are very sensitive and require a closer examination to determine what the best remedy is for their symptoms.
As the working dog reaches 7 years old, they are now in the senior years of dog life. These years mean changes in metabolism, muscle tone, joints, eye sight and hearing, as well as the skin and coat. Many of you are familiar with some of these issues. I would like to explain how nutrition can help prevent these issues as well as supplement those already in the senior years.
First, let me say that a working dog, in my opinion is any dog with a job that requires extreme workouts in the outdoors. Boykin’s that retrieve put their bodies through some of the most extreme conditions and sacrifice the muscles and joints to get to where they need to be. In doing so, they are in the sun, cold, water and mud. These conditions play a part in the skin and coat. The skin is dried by the heat, water and mud as well as chapped by the cold.
How can diet help? I recommend feeding your senior dog a grain free diet that is lower in protein, higher in fiber and has less Kcals per cup than many of the grain free foods on the market. Grain free means less grain to wick away moisture from the digestive tract, and less empty calories. There are some that target the senior dog, but using common sense and reading labels can be just as good.
The senior dog needs less protein because they do not have the same muscle building ability that they had. This means the kidneys will work harder to filter the protein not used by the body. Keeping your protein under 30% will keep things more in balance for seniors. Higher fiber plays an important role in keeping the bowels consistent and keeping down over production of the anal glands. For the senior dog that is less active and not working, rather in “retirement”, should be able to maintain on a protein level of 24% or so. Keeping the Kcal per cup down, helps keep excessive weight off of the senior, less active dog.
Adding glucosamine and chondroitin to your dog’s diet will help ensure the mobility of the joints. I recommend feeding this from puppy to senior. It helps play an important part in the building and strength of the joint as well as maintaining the over used joints. Senior dog foods do not have an adequate amount nor are they absorbed well . You will see a much better success rate using a high quality supplement.
Omega 3, 6, and 9 are important for the joints, eyes, skin and coat. Organic Coconut Oil or pure salmon oil are two of the best sources for this. It helps to put back in to the skin what the outdoors can take out. Dry skin allows bacteria from ponds and wetlands to invade the skin causing infection. Dry coat becomes brittle and sparse. Both lead to an itchy dog. There are no products that can completely repair dry skin and coat from the outside. This has to be done from the inside out. Using non detergent shampoo and a silk protein conditioner can help maintain the healthy skin and coat that the omegas have made.
Well balanced nutrition that targets the senior issues can prolong the ability to be a working dog during the senior years.
Pictured above is Ali Semler;
Below are some links with some great resources for your dog.
Summertime can sometimes mean itchy skin for some dogs. This is due to grass allergens as well as bacterial infections caused from the heat and moisture. Many dogs get Hot Spots which are typically moist, infected areas on the skin that itch. They will start out small and grow quickly. They can become very painful and infected. If caught early on Groomer's Secret Derma-Ease spray can help stop the itch and dry up the hot spot. If infection has set in, please see your veterinarian for antibotics to use with the Derma-Ease spray.
Other skin issues and itching can be relieved by bathing your dog regularly in Groomer's Secret Nature's Remedy shampoo. This Tea Tree Oil shampoo works as a diluted product to reach and penetrate the skin to help heal and stop the itch. Our shampoo is safe to use weekly since it contains no harsh soap or detergents. It acutally helps to wash away the allergens while soothing the skin.
Learn more at www.groomerssecret.com
These products are formulated and owned by All Is Well Summerville.
All Is Well - Summerville helps support Carolina Poodle Rescue with donations of food, treats and toys. We also sponsor many local events so they can attend. Please help us by sharing their site so that others can adopt, donate and support them. We have worked with this rescue for over 10 years. They are one of the best at matching the right dog with their forever family!
We now carry two full lines of Freeze Dried dog and cat foods. Freeze Dried food is a great way to feed a grain free diet. We carry Stella and Chewys and Primal. Check out the websites below and stop by for information and samples.