Corona virus and your dog – Your COVID-19 dog questions answered




Since emerging onto the world stage in early 2020, corona virus it has significantly impacted everyday life with many of us living in uncertainty and fear due to its wide-ranging health and economic impacts. 

Thankfully dogs are not affected by coronavirus which is a definite silver lining in these times of lockdown and social distancing. There are however many questions from concerned owners over coronavirus and their dogs. We’ll answer them here.

Can my dog catch Corona Virus?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a disease of people. Its global spread is due to transmission between people and there is no evidence animals are responsible for this ongoing spread.

There is however evidence dogs can catch the virus from infected humans. (See excerpt from World Health Organization below). It is important to note dogs do not get ill or exhibit symptoms of coronavirus and they cannot transmit the virus themselves.

 “The Veterinary Services of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China reported to OIE evidence two dogs have been infected with the COVID-19 virus following close exposure to their owners who were sick with COVID-19. The test showed the presence of genetic material from the COVID-19 virus in nasal and oral specimens. The dogs were not showing clinical signs of the disease.”

Dogs are not clinically affected by Corona virus, COVID-19.

Can my dog transmit COVID-19?

There is no evidence of animal-to-animal transmission or of animal-to-human transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

However, there is potential for dogs to act as fomites (a technical term for an object or material which can carry infection). For example, if your dog was sneezed or coughed upon or handled by a person infected by coronavirus, the virus could remain on your dog’s coat. If your dog was then handled by another person, the virus could be transmitted to this person.

For this reason, it is advisable to practice social distancing for your dog as well as yourself. Do not let people who are not part of your household pat or handle your dog.

Apply social distancing rules to your dog as well as yourself. Restrict pats and cuddles to household members only.

Can I take my dog for walks during Corona virus lockdown?

Abide by local laws regarding access to outdoor spaces. Many localities allow for outdoor exercise so long as social distancing is practised. Ideally walk your dog at least twice daily to provide exercise, mental stimulation and opportunity to toilet.

Employ best social distancing practice by avoiding other people and dogs and avoiding contact with benches, playgrounds, exercise equipment and water bubblers in public areas. Keep your dog on a leash and maintain 2 meters distance from others.

Keep your dog on a leash at all times and prevent them from approaching other people and dogs.

How do I care for my dog if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?   

The World Health Organization provides the following guidelines for pet owners infected with coronavirus:

 “When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.

When possible, people who are sick or under medical attention for COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pets and have another member of their household care for their animals. If they must look after their pet, they should maintain good hygiene practices and wear a face mask if possible. Animals belonging to owners infected with COVID-19 should be kept indoors as much as possible and contact with those pets should be avoided as much as possible.”

Regular hand hygiene and social distancing are your number one protection against the spread of coronavirus.

How do I provide exercise for my dog during corona virus lockdown or quarantine?

If you find yourself in a lock down situation where you are unable to leave your home, dog exercise and mental stimulation can be provided through games, dog work-out sessions and making changes to your dog’s feeding regime. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Turn mealtimes into a scavenger hunt: spread and hide your dog’s kibble throughout the house and garden.
  • Intersperse multiple play sessions throughout the day: 5-10 minutes of fetch, hide & seek or football
  • Encourage your dog to walk up and down the stairs multiple times (if they have healthy joints)
  • Teach your dog new tricks and practice obedience training to keep your dog mentally stimulated and on their feet.

It is important to try and maintain your dog’s routine where possible. By keeping up your dog’s regular exercise you will help maintain their mobility, regulate weight and reduce anxiety and boredom.

Encourage regular exercise to keep your dog healthy and prevent boredom during lockdown.

How do I keep my dog healthy during COVID-19 isolation?

Remember prevention is better than cure. So keep up to date with your dog’s health schedule. Continue providing regular medications and maintain parasite prevention (worm, flea, tick, heartworm prevention). Should your dog fall ill, don’t panic. Even in isolation, expert advice is available.

As a result of the corona virus pandemic many vets throughout the world are offering tele-consultations, enabling vets to provide advice and prescribe medication via phone and video call. As an essential service veterinary clinics remain open for your pets care.

Pets are not forgotten. Veterinarians have been classified an essential service and remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.

 Pay extra attention to your dog’s food intake. If daily exercise levels reduce make changes to food intake to prevent weight gain. Likewise pay attention to your own feeding habits. Extra time at home often leads to increased snacking and increased feeding of treats which quickly results in dog weight gain. Set your dog a daily food and treat allowance and make sure the entire household heeds it.

Finally, keep calm and carry on

Millions of dogs around the world are currently rejoicing over the extra attention and company they are receiving as a result of their owners staying home.  Meanwhile we humans benefit by maintaining some normalcy in our lives through keeping up with our dog’s needs.  We now value the companionship of our dogs more than ever. Not to mention their adorable antics which bring comic relief to the situation we all face, THANK DOG!

This coronavirus pandemic will pass. By heeding isolation and social distancing guidelines, enjoying the companionship of our dogs and keeping in contact with friends and family by phone, we will get through this together. 

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How weight management improves dog arthritis symptoms




Helping your Arthritic Dog

1 in 5 dogs are arthritic, making osteoarthritis the single greatest cause of chronic pain in dogs. The heavier the dog, the more likely the onset of dog arthritis symptoms. The link between excess body weight and early onset of this disease well documented. 

Weight management eases dog arthritis symptoms.

Therefore, the best preventive measure against dog osteoarthritis is to maintain your dog at a healthy body weight. And the most effective way to manage arthritis symptoms in overweight dogs is through weight management. 

A University of Glasgow study * investigated the effects of weight loss in obese arthritic dogs. The study recorded significant improvement in lameness and pain after a commencing weight loss of just 6.1- 8.85% body weight!  Even more buoying was the fact that dogs in the study continued to improve in-line with ongoing weight loss.

Documented improvements such as these are especially encouraging for the pet parents of overweight and arthritic dogs.

Dog Arthritis Symptoms:

  •  stiffness, 
  • trouble rising from a resting position, 
  • difficulty with everyday activities such as climbing the stairs and getting into the car,
  • reluctance to jump and run, 
  • limping,
  • running with a skipping or hopping gait
  • swollen and painful joints 
  • behavioral change e.g. reduced playfulness or aggression.

The development of any such symptoms should prompt a veterinary check-up. 

Is your dog slowing down or stiff when rising from rest? It’s time for a vet check.

 4 Steps to Effectively Manage Dog Arthritis Symptoms:

1. Weight management:

 Alleviate pressure on joints and improve mobility by maintaining your dog at their ideal weight.  Help overweight dogs lose weight through a customised calorie and portion plan. 

 

  2. Provide regular low impact exercise: 

 Low intensity activities such as on-leash walking and swimming, do wonders for arthritic pets. Gentle exercise helps stimulate blood and nutrient flow to the joints, it improves flexibility and helps build muscle mass to stabilize joints. In fact, gentle exercise helps alleviate joint pain!  

Many well-meaning owners believe it best not to exercise their arthritic dogs. This often results in increased stiffness and weight gain- exacerbating mobility issues.  Keep your dog to a gentle activity program and seek advice from your veterinarian regarding effective pain management to help with your dog’s mobility. 

3. Seek effective pain management to help ease arthritis symptoms:

Many dogs are stoic and do not overtly display signs of pain. Chronic pain is often interpreted by owners as their dog simply ageing or slowing down. Regular veterinary check-ups will determine whether your dog is arthritic or experiencing pain. 

Most arthritic dogs benefit greatly from pain management. Quality of life improves dramatically as does mobility and the ability to exercise. 

 Pain management is achieved through anti-inflammatory medications, cartilage repair and protectant drugs (chondroprotectants) and nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin. 

Acupuncture and hydrotherapy also greatly benefit arthritic dogs. 

The well-being of arthritic dogs can improve dramatically with veterinary management.

4. Implement household measures to help your arthritic dog. 

Provide your dog with a soft padded bed to cushion their joints. Avoid winter chills and keep your dog warm by bringing them indoors and using pet friendly heat pads or blankets. 

Consider purpose-built ramps to aid your dog getting in and out of the car and raise the height of your dog’s food and water bowls. 

Avoid winter chills and provide soft cushioning to help alleviate dog arthritis symptoms.

Ultimately achieving a healthy weight for your dog is the best remedy and the best protection against arthritis. So, if your dog is a little on the cuddly side, start working towards your dog’s healthy weight goal. Your dog will thank you! 

*Marshall WG, Hazewinkel HAW, Mullen D, De Meyer G, Baert K, Carmichael S. The effect of weight loss on lameness in obese dogs with osteoarthritis. Veterinary Research Communications. 2010;34(3):241-253. doi:10.1007/s11259-010-9348-7.

The Bulldog – all about the breed




Courageous, tenacious, calm.

The Bulldog is a British national icon, symbolizing strength, courage and tenacity ­sometimes referred to as the ‘Bulldog spirit’. These qualities, along with its willingness to fight larger animals, appealed to the British population during the first world war, and the Bulldog became the poster child for WWI propaganda.

The Bulldog’s stout, muscular stature, wrinkled skin, undershot jaw and hanging chops are unmistakable. They make loyal companions and adapt well to the city or country life.

Bulldog puppy

The Bulldog is sometimes called the English Bulldog or the British Bulldog to distinguish him from the taller American Bulldog and smaller French Bulldog.

At 40 to 50 pounds (18 – 22 kg) they’re heavier than they look and have a relatively short lifespan of 8 – 10 years. You can maximize his lifespan with a healthy diet.

Famous Bulldogs

Bulldogs are popular with celebrities. Adam Sandler has Meatball, Brad Pitt has Jacques, Miley Cyrus has Ziggy, Pink has Elvis, Ozzy Osboure had Lola and Ashley Simpson has Hemingway.

Bulldogs are not known for the athletic prowess, but they do have a natural aptitude for skateboarding, kicking off with one foot and leaning to turn corners. Some of the best skateboarding Bulldogs will do tricks and turns. Tyson and the late Tillman are perhaps the most famous skateboarding Bulldogs.

Positive Traits of the Bulldog 

  • A Bulldog’s coat is short, smooth, glossy and easy to care for.
  • The Bulldog is easygoing and loyal.
  • He doesn’t need much exercise.
  • He seldom barks.
Bulldog chew toy
Bulldogs love chew toys

Negative Traits of the Bulldog

  • The Bulldog’s short snout can make breathing difficult, especially during hot humid days. If a Bulldog’s breathing is labored during hot days, put the air-conditioner on for him. Read more about Brachycephalic dog breed risks.
  • Though their fur is short, they shed.
  • The wrinkles on a Bulldog’s face can trap food and moisture so when you brush him wipe his wrinkles, too.
  • Bulldogs can’t swim. If he falls into a pool he will drown. The Bulldog carries most of his weight around his head, so stairs and swimming pools can be a hazard for him.
  • They can be stubborn.
  • The Bulldog can be food possessive and should not be fed around small children or other pets.
  • Bulldogs drool.
  • Bulldogs are prone to dystocia (difficult births) due to the size of their head and shoulders. Emergency caesarians are common.
  • Bulldogs often cost more than your average dog in vet fees over the years. 
  • His snout means he will snore, grunt, snuffle and pass gas. They can’t help it. The short snout means they gulp air when they eat, and what goes in must come out one way or another. Some commercial pet foods can make this worse due to their high fiber levels. This high protein home made dog food will help.

Grooming

  • Trim his nails every two weeks
  • Brush him with a soft brush 2 – 3 times per week, wiping in the wrinkles of his face and snout.
  • Keep his ears clean with cotton balls and ear cleaning fluid. Start young and keep some healthy dog treats handy so the Bulldog will associate the experience with something positive.
Bulldog
When grooming, wipe the groove of his wrinkles

Exercise for the Bulldog

Bulldogs are not as demanding as the more active dog breeds, such as Labradors, but he does need regular moderate exercise, along with a careful diet, to stay in shape.

Training the Bulldog

The Bulldog is known for being stubborn, but they do have a sweet nature and persistent training will pay off.

Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving your Bulldog too many will make him fat. Choose healthy low-calorie treats to avoid him becoming overweight, and use them sparingly.

Puppy training classes will help you to curb any undesirable behaviors that some Bulldogs have a tendency to develop. Bulldogs love to chew and play tug-o-war, so it is important to teach the young Bulldog what he can and can’t chew, and to release what’s in his mouth on command. To prevent aggressive food protection, get him used to having food removed from his bowl.

Bulldog Health Issues

Bulldogs, like many purebreds, are predisposed to certain health issues including hip, heart and skin problems.

As a brachycephalic (short-nosed breed), Bulldogs are predisposed to breathing difficulties, especially during exercise and when they become over heated. Breathing troubles are also exaggerated if dogs become overweight.

Responsible registered breeders of Bulldogs (such as Kennel Club Assured Breeders) account for these issues by supplying the buyer with information on the pup’s parents. Whenever possible you should always meet the pup’s parents so you can see for yourself that there are no exaggerated features, such as an overly short snout, that might cause health problems.

Bulldogs are prone to heat stroke and owners should be vigilant about providing shade and water on a hot day. Air conditioning indoors and ice in his water can help. Never leave any dog in an enclosed car in the sun, even in mild weather.

If a Bulldog is breathing too hard and his tongue hangs out unusually far and takes on a bluish color rather than its usual pink, he is overheated. Immediately soak him in cool water and call your vet. 

Bulldog - British Icon
The British icon – keep calm and carry on.

History of the Bulldog

The English Bulldog was bred for bull baiting, a cruel form of amusement in the Middle Ages in which a dog was pitted against a bull or a bear. A lot of money changed hands in wagers, and as bull baiting grew in popularity, dogs were selected and bred for courage, power and tenacity. A Bulldog will hold on to the bitter end. #Bulldog

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5 Reasons Your Dog is Smarter than You




A dog’s sense of smell is legendary but did you know they have better night vision and hearing than us mere humans do? Senses aside, dogs have two more super powers that we can actually learn from.

1. The Magnificent Nose

A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than ours. To put this in terms we can better understand, let’s make an equivalent comparison with our sense of vision. If you can see something a third of a mile away, your dog can see it 3,000 miles away!

Dogs can detect cancer in cancer patients and hypoglycemia in diabetics. They can smell our fear, sadness and anxiety. They serve the community by sniffing out drugs and explosives, and they successfully track down missing persons and criminals.

A dog’s nose is a magnificent piece of equipment with 300 million olfactory receptors (we have a mere 6 million) and a sizable portion of their brains devoted to the joy of smelling (40 times more than we devote to our sense of smell). They also have a labyrinth-like smelling chamber in their nose through which air passes and odor molecules are analyzed, and a special nasal organ and brain area devoted entirely to smelling pheromones. We have none of these.

There are dog sports dedicated to the sense of smell, which is a fun way to celebrate and nurture your dog’s super power. This is an exciting subject and scientists are studying the dog’s ability to smell more than ever before.

Vitamin A is associated with healthy sensory cells in a dog’s nose and brain. Give your dog vegetables (especially carrots and sweet potato), eggs and organ meats such as chicken, which are all good sources of vitamin A. Providing a healthy wholesome diet for your dog will keep him sniffing away for years. 

Dog nose
A dog’s sense of smell is its super power.

2. Dogs Can See in the Dark

A dog can see in light levels that are five times dimmer than what the human eye needs. This is due to the structure of the dog’s eyes.

  • Dogs have large pupils, which let in more light.
  • Their retinas have more rods, which are sensitive to light and motion.
  • Most importantly, they have a mirror-like membrane at the back of their eyes. So any light not absorbed by the rods will bounce off the membrane giving the rods a second chance to absorb the light and giving your dog those eerie glow-in-the-dark eyes. 
Puppy eyes
These puppy eyes are not just cute.

3. Dogs Have Powerful Hearing

Dogs are born deaf. Not until they are 3 weeks old can they hear, but once their hearing has fully developed, they can hear four times the distance we can.

Dogs have 18 muscles in their ears, enabling them to swivel and tilt their ears, like a radar, to pinpoint tiny sounds across great distances. It explains why a dog will cock her head, perhaps even bark, long before you hear a visitor at the door. Dogs with erect ears (such as Boston Terriers or German Shepherds) have better hearing than floppy-eared dogs (such as Spaniels).

Dogs can hear higher pitched sounds than we can, too. A dog’s frequency range is 67 – 45,000 Hz compared to the human range of 64 – 23,000 Hz. That’s why, to us, a dog whistle doesn’t seem to make a sound. Its pitch is too high for our ears to hear. These whistles are great for training your dog, especially for herding activities, because you can send signals to your dog using a series of short or long blows without ever using your voice.

Inside the canine ear structure is a network of tiny muscles that respond to slight fluctuations in sound vibrations by instantaneously contracting and relaxing. It is this sensitive structure that enable dogs to hear such an astonishing range of frequencies.

Deaf people can have the assistance of a hearing dog that will alert her handler to important sounds, such as doorbells, smoke alarms, ringing telephones or alarm clocks.

Dog ears
A dogs ears can swivel to locate the source of the sound.

4. Dogs Are Experts in the Art of Body Language

A dog’s ability to communicate through facial expressions and body language often leaves us in no doubt of the message they are conveying.

There’s a YouTube video of three poodles. The pet parent asks “Who did this mess?” The two brown poodles look directly at the white poodle who stares at the ground. “Cody, did you do this mess?” asks the pet parent.

Cody, a brown poodle, looks at the camera and cocks her head.

“Murphy, did you make this mess?”

Murphy, the other brown poodle cocks his head, too.

“Maggie, did you make this mess?”

Maggie backs away with her tail between her legs and disappears into the nearest room. Guilty as charged. Although, to be clear, the body language displayed by Maggie is actually conveying fear of the reprimand not guilt over the mess.

A furrowed brow and large eyes can also convey a sense of fear or stress, while a full body wag tells us the dog is happy.

Some of the most common body poses are:

  • ALERT: Ears pricked, head raised or even cocked, mouth closed.
  • AGGRESSIVE: Hackles raised, ears forward or to the side, lips curled. This dog is showing his dominance and warning that he will attack if challenged.
  • AFRAID: Hackles raised but his ears flattened back, body lowered and tail down. The dog is fearful but not necessarily submissive and may attack if he continues to feel threatened.
  • SUBMISSIVE: The dog rolls onto his back exposing his stomach, tucks his tail between his legs and avoids eye contact. This dog is indicating total surrender.
Dog with cocked head
Dogs can express themselves better than some people.

5. Dogs are Masters of Mindfulness

A dog knows how to live in the moment and enjoy every one of her senses.

Going for a drive with the window down is akin to skydiving for a dog. It’s a rush of ecstasy!

Going for a walk will do it, too. Playing with a ball, swimming at the beach, sniffing, running, fetching, playing, jumping, spending time with her adored human. A dog enjoys all of these simple pleasures by being fully present and not mulling over the future or the past.

Taking the time to enjoy each moment of your life is both important and necessary. We all tend to rush through each day to ‘get things done’ without actually enjoying any of our tasks along the way. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘life is a journey, not a destination’.

Make your daily walks with your dog that special moment where you slow down and take in everything around you. Be awake to the present moment. This mindfulness will help you to live with the same kind of joy that your dog does.

Dog with head out window
Dogs know how to enjoy every moment.

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The Beagle – all about the breed



Curious, easy-going and a devoted sniffer.

With his big brown eyes and long houndy ears, the Beagle is an easy dog to fall in love with. He is one of the top ten most popular dog breeds in the United States. The Beagle was originally bred as a scent hound to track rabbits and is still used for this purpose. They love exercise, and need it much more than most people think.

Beagles come in a lot of colors including lemon and white, orange and white, chocolate and white, red and white, and tri-color.

The Beagle has a compact build between 13 – 16 inches (33 – 41 cm) high and weighs 20 – 24 lbs (9 – 11 kg). His life expectancy is 10 – 15 years. You can maximize his lifespan with a healthy diet.

BEAGLE
The Beagle is easy to love

Famous Beagles

Beagles are big in the cartoon world. Who hasn’t heard of Snoopy! We also have Poochie (The Simpsons), Odie (Garfield), Gromit (Wallace and Gromit), Underdog, Mr. Peabody (Rocky and Bullwinkle), and Brains (Inspector Gadget).

Beagles star in movies, too. Frannie the dog plays a mistreated Beagle who runs away from her cruel owner in the movies Shiloh and Shiloh 2.

Beagles have appeared in television programs Star Trek, the East Enders, The Manor Born and The Wonder Years. 

Positive Traits of the Beagle 

  • The Beagle is a conveniently-sized dog.
  • Beagles are athletic and playful and enjoy outdoor activities.
  • Beagles have a handsome body with soulful eyes.
  • The Beagle is normally a good natured, peaceful family dog.
  • Beagles get on well with other dogs.
  • The Beagle’s short coat, though thick, is easy to groom. Beagles shed moderately throughout the year but more so during Spring. To rid them of excess fur, brush them 2 – 3 times per week.

Negative Traits of the Beagle

  • The Beagle is not a good choice for your city apartment because an apartment will not provide him with enough space to run and play.
  • A Beagle must stay on leash when not fenced in. Beagles have selective hearing. When they are on a scent they will not hear you calling them or obey any of your commands so keep him on leash.
  • They have a tendency to bay and howl.
  • Beagles require a lot of exercise, a minimum of thirty minutes in the morning and evening. If they don’t exercise enough they can turn their energy to destructive pursuits.
  • A Beagle will shed slightly more than the average pooch throughout the year, and more again in Spring when they lose their winter coat. To help rid him of excess fur, brush your Beagle two or three times per week.
  • A Beagle will be happier with constant companionship so you might consider getting him a buddy.
  • Beagles are cunning escape artists so his play area should be at least five feet tall and extend under the ground so he can’t tunnel beneath it.
  • The Beagle has a potential for health issues (see below).
Beagle playing
Beagles like companionship and get on with other dogs

Exercise for the Beagle

Beagles are energetic dogs that need to play and exercise every day. Beagles were bred to work in a pack so they prefer to do this in company. Take him for a walk but keep him on leash. The Beagle is a scent hound and is unable to resist the urge to run in pursuit of a compelling scent. Yell all you like, he’ll be so focused on the scent he won’t hear you.
A Beagle that is left on his own for too long might become destructive. Consider getting him a buddy.

Beagle exercise
Beagles require a lot of exercise but should be kept on leash.

Training the Beagle

Beagles can get distracted with smells and may be stubborn. But with patience and positive reinforcement, Beagles will respond to training. Treats are a useful training aid, but ensure you choose healthy low-calorie treats to avoid him becoming overweight.

Beagle Health Issues

The Beagle, as with all pure breed dogs, has proclivities to certain health issues. For the Beagle these include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, dislocated knee-caps and eye disorders. Responsible breeders will screen their breeding dogs for these conditions.

When buying Beagle puppies it is recommended to have a hip evaluation, ophthalmologist evaluation, and an MLS DNA test.

Beagles are also prone to obesity. Keep your beagle on a calorie-restricted diet and limit his access to treats. Beagles are experts when it comes to scavenging food. Curb this habit to prevent tummy upsets and weight gain.

As with all breeds, keep his nails trim, his ears clean and give his teeth a regular brush.

History of the Beagle

The first dogs referred to as ‘Beagles’ were tiny hound dogs used by hunters that stood no taller than 9 inches. They were called ‘pocket Beagles’ because hunters could literally put them in their pockets. The standard Beagle was bred in England in the 1840s and imported to the United States in 1870. The Beagle is the only dog to rate in the top ten for popularity since the American Kennel Club registry began.

It has been suggested that the name Beagle originated from the French word ‘beugler’, which means ‘to bellow’. Beagles sure know how to bellow but there is no evidence to support this theory.

Keep your Beagle active with your free WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness tracker! Join the pack and start creating the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog!

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French Bulldog – all about the breed




Compact, quiet, expressive, charming.

The French bulldog just hit #1 on the popularity charts in the UK,
surpassing the Labrador, a breed that had held first position for thirty
years.

While the Labrador is still the most popular breed in the
United States, the French bulldog has surged in popularity there too,
reaching #4.

Famous Frenchies

Frenchies have received a lot of exposure recently. Reese Witherspoon
has Pepper, Lady Gaga has Asia Kinney, the Beckhams have Scarlet and
Hugh Jackman has Dali. French bulldogs have also been the pet of choice
for Leonardo DiCaprio, Hilary Duff, Madonna, Martha Stewart and Michael
Phelps amongst others.

They’ve appeared in commercials (Sketchers), television programs
(Modern Family) and movies (Bringing Down the House, Due Date,
Secondhand Lions).

Thanks to social media, French bulldogs have become celebrities in
their own right. Mannie-the-Frenchie leads the way with his 1.1 million
Instagram followers!

Mannie the French Bulldog
Mannie the French Bulldog has over 1 million Instagram followers

Positive Traits of the French Bulldog

It’s easy to see what all the fuss is about.

  • The French bulldog with his big bat ears and comical expressions, makes a great companion, especially for city dwellers.
  • French bulldogs have compact muscular bodies, which makes them rather portable.
  • They are relatively quiet, which is great for city apartments.
  • They don’t require a lot of outdoor exercise.
  • They have short easy-care coats.
  • They have quite a good life span at 10 – 12 years but you can maximize it by following the veterinary-designed longevity diet.
  • They are affectionate, expressive and charming.
French bulldogs
French bulldogs keeping cool

Negative Traits of the French Bulldog

No one’s perfect.

  • French bulldogs can be stubborn which makes them a challenge to train. But start early, be persistent and patient, and use healthy dog treats as incentive. Make sure the treats are tiny and low-calorie. You don’t want to end up with a well-trained but fat Frenchie.
  • All short-faced breeds like the French bulldog will snore, snuffle,
    grunt and pass wind. They can’t help it. The short snout means they
    gulp air when they eat, and what goes in must come out. Commercial pet
    food can make it worse due to the high level of fiber. This high protein
    home made dog food will help.
  • Frenchies are not good swimmers. Due to their large head and small bodies they risk drowning if they fall into a pool.
  • French bull dogs can be slow to house break. Four to six months is not unusual. 
French bulldog
Short-faced breeds like the French bulldog snore, snuffle and pass wind.

French Bulldog Health Issues and Breeders

Popularity has a down side when rogue breeders see an opportunity to
cash in. French bulldogs, like many purebreds, are predisposed to
certain health issues including eye, ear and skin conditions.

As a brachycephalic (short-nosed breed), Frenchies are predisposed to
breathing difficulties, especially during exercise and when they become
over heated. Breathing troubles are also exaggerated if dogs become
overweight. Check our dog breed chart for ideal weights.

Responsible registered breeders of French Bulldogs (such as Kennel
Club Assured Breeders) account for these issues by supplying the buyer
with information on the pup’s parents. Whenever possible you should
always meet the pup’s parents so you can see for yourself that there are
no exaggerated features, such as an overly short snout, that might
cause health problems.

French Bulldog puppies
French Bulldogs are charismatic and compact.

History of the French Bulldog

French bulldogs were actually first bred in England as a miniature
bulldog, but lacemakers took them to France where the breed became
fashionable among society ladies, prostitutes, artists, writers and the
general bohemian crowd.

French Bulldog
French Bulldogs have become one of the most popular breeds.

Keep your French Bulldog active with your free WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness tracker! Join the pack and start creating the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog!

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A Dog’s Sense of Smell: Just how powerful is it?




A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than ours. To put this in terms we can better understand, let’s start with the equivalent comparison in our sense of vision. If you can see something a third of a mile away, your dog can see it 3,000 miles away. Or in terms of taste, if you can taste a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of tea, your dog could taste a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water – that’s two Olympic-sized pool’s worth of water.

Scent Tracking

Let’s, for a moment, consider the skill involved in tracking a missing person. The dog is first given the target scent, such as an item of clothing belonging to the missing person. He then sets to work following that scent. Along the way he’ll smell a myriad of odors – a rabbit hiding in the undergrowth, some cat urine, or deer scat perhaps – but he stays focused on the target scent, which is truly incredible.

Dog Nose
A dog’s superpower is his sense of smell.

Dogs Can Smell Disease

True stories abound about dogs and their unbelievable sniffing powers.

  • A cancer-sniffing dog found melanoma on a spot of skin that doctors had pronounced to be cancer-free.
  • Five trained dogs were able to accurately identify lung cancer in 99% of patients and 88% of people with breast cancer by merely sniffing the patients’ breath.
  • Dogs can smell when a diabetic’s blood sugar drops. In a study, 65% of dogs warned their diabetic pet parents, by whining or barking, that a hypoglycemic attack was imminent. 

Dogs can also sniff out a person wearing or carrying explosives. They can sniff out drugs even when those drugs are sealed in air-tight canisters and surrounded by other smells.  

Dog sense of smell
Dogs can smell cancer

Your Dog Can Smell Fear

Our bodies betray our emotions in olfactory ways. Human skin is covered in sweat glands and sebaceous glands that secrete different biochemical scents when we are happy, anxious or sad. A dog can pick up the different smell of these hormones and be affected by them.

In a study, participating people were asked to watch a movie. Some watched a scary movie (The Shining) while others watched a happy movie (Jungle Book). Swabs were taken of each person’s skin secretions after the movie.

A group of participating golden retrievers were each presented with a swab.  Those presented with a swab from a person who watched The Shining showed signs of distress. They did not interact with strangers and sought comfort and reassurance from their owners. Those presented with a swab from a person who had watched Jungle Book were more relaxed, wagging their tails and confidently interacting with strangers. 

Dog sense of smell
Golden retrievers were able to smell fear.

What is it About a Dog’s Nose That Makes it so Powerful?

There are six key factors;

  • Dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses to our 6 million.
  • The part of a dog’s brain devoted to analyzing smells is proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours.
  • A dog’s nose is also designed with smelling in mind. When we inhale, we smell and breathe through the same airway in the nose. But when a dog inhales, the air is separated into two paths. One goes straight to the lungs. The other swirls into a labyrinth of 300 million olfactory receptors where, in collaboration with the brain, the odor molecules are sorted and analyzed.
  • When we exhale, the spent air goes out the way it came in, temporarily rendering us incapable of smelling. But when your dog exhales, the spent air leaves through those little slits in the side of his nostrils, which enables fresh air to swirl in through his nostrils as the old air is being exhaled. That means he can continuously sniff.
  • A dog’s ability to wiggle his nose enables him to determine which nostril a scent arrived in, helping him to locate its source.
  • Dogs also have an organ in their nose that we don’t have – called a vomeronasal organ – which detects the pheromones of different species. This organ has a dedicated part of the brain to interact with or, in other words, its very own database of pheromone information.
Dog nose
Dogs have 50 times more olfactory receptors than we do.

How to Nurture Your Dog’s Sense of Smell 

Dogs read the local gossip through their noses, and write their own messages in their urine, so don’t be tempted to drag him away from an interesting hotspot of odors. This is his chance to read the canine community board.

There are sports you and your dog can play that celebrate the sense of smell.  Scent work (sometimes called ‘nose work’) involves your dog being given a target scent to find. Normally this is a cotton swab doused in essential oil hidden in a pot. In the sport of tracking trial, your dog must follow a scent trail to find certain articles.

Vitamin A is associated with healthy sensory cells in a dog’s nose and brain. Give your dog vegetables (especially carrots and sweet potato), eggs and organ meats such as chicken, which are all good sources of vitamin A. Providing a healthy wholesome diet for your dog will keep him sniffing away for years. 

Dog nose
Vitamin A is important for your dog’s olfactory health

Keep your dog in prefect health with our free WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness tracker! Join the pack and create the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog! 

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Brachycephalic Dogs – How to Manage Flat Faced Dog Health Problems




The Risks Faced by Flat-faced Dogs.

Wondering what French Bulldogs, Pug dogs and Boston Terriers have in common?  Besides being totally adorable, these three breeds are classified as brachycephalic.

Brachycephalic (Greek for short-headed) dogs typically have short noses and flattened faces. These breeds include Pugs, French Bull Dogs, British Bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers and Shih tzus.

The popularity of flat faced dog breeds has grown in recent years, so much so, French Bull Terriers have overtaken Labrador Retrievers as the number one registered breed in Britain!

The French Bulldog was the most registered dog breed in Britain in first quarter 2018.

This growth in popularity has highlighted the many health issues associated with Brachycephalic dogs – in particular, Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).

BOAS is a direct effect of compacted facial anatomy and results in an increased effort to breathe and reduced airflow to the lungs. Signs of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome in dogs include:

  • Wheezing when inhaling: caused by narrowed nostrils and nasal passages
  • Snorting and grunting sounds: caused by elongated soft palate
  • Snoring, coughing and gagging: due to laryngeal collapse and narrowed airways.

In severe cases, airflow may be so impeded, dogs collapse after exertion.

Dog displaying any respiratory signs should be examined by a veterinarian. Many brachycephalic dogs benefit from surgical intervention. This typically involves shortening the soft palate and surgical resection to open the nostrils and larynx.

Flat faced dogs suffering with obstructive airway syndrome benefit from surgery to open the airways. 

Other Flat Faced Dog Health Problems

Flat faced dogs are prone to  heat stroke or overheating especially if they are overweight or old. The facial conformation of flat-faced breeds renders panting a much less effective cooling mechanism than in their long-nosed counterparts. For this reason, overheating should be avoided at all costs (air-conditioning may be required in hot climates).

It is especially important for Brachycephalic dogs not to exercise during the heat of the day. Always monitor for signs of over exertion and laboured breathing. Use a harness rather than collar, when walking to reduce pressure on the neck and airways.

Flat faced dog breeds such as the French Bulldog have narrowed airways and are unable to pant effectively to keep themselves cool.
Long-nosed dog breeds have more efficient cooling systems and larger airways.

Flat-faced dog breeds are also prone to heart problems- secondary to their facial conformation. Impeded airflow results in reduced oxygen levels in the bloodstream which in turn places increased workload and strain on the heart. Annual veterinary checks are recommended to monitor heart health.

Many brachycephalic dogs experience dental decay and gum disease. This is because shortened facial features typically lead to overcrowding of teeth. A regular dental check-up is a must.

Most breeds have deep facial skin folds and narrow ear canals. This reduces skin ventilation leading to increased likelihood of recurring infections. A regular facial and ear cleaning routine is necessary for brachycephalic dogs.

The eyes of many short-nosed breeds protrude. This impedes the tear film from spreading properly and reduces lubrication of the eye. As a result, brachycephalic dogs are prone to “dry-eye”, eye ulcers and ocular injury.

Many brachycephalic dogs have difficulty giving birth due to the mismatch between large-sized puppy heads and the mother’s birth canal. A large proportion of brachycephalic dogs are born by C-Section.

Tips to Keep your Brachycephalic Dog Healthy

When buying a brachy pup, always check the parents have not needed surgery for obstructive airways. Dogs with extreme brachy features should never be bred. BOAS is a hereditary condition that will require significant costly veterinary treatment.

Dogs with less exaggerated facial features suffer much less than those with extreme shortening of the face. Not all dogs require surgical intervention. Choose wisely. Always meet parent dogs and if possible request the opinion a vet prior to purchase.

All brachys are prone to weight gain. It is vitally important these dogs are maintained at a healthy weight. In addition to causing obesity related disease, weight gain greatly exaggerates brachycephalic breathing difficulties and problems with overheating.

This overweight Pug dog is at extreme risk of heatstroke and life-threatening dyspnoea (breathing difficulty).

Although predisposed to many health issues, brachycephalic breeds have a friendly and outgoing nature and make wonderful companions. Buy from trusted breeders and keep up with regular veterinary checks, to avoid many of these health complaints.

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The Dachshund – all about the breed




Long Body, Short Legs, Big Personality

With his unique sausage-shaped body, little legs and alert expression, the Dachshund certainly stands out from the crowd. They are not built for hiking, running or strenuous swimming, but they will play tirelessly. They are smart, affectionate, brave and make vigilant watchdogs, but prefer to be inside with their humans (even snuggled under the covers on cold nights) rather than outside.

Be extremely careful not to allow your Dachshund to become overweight (visit our weight calculator). If he does, it will put strain on his long spine resulting in slipped or herniated discs.

Dachshund
Dachshunds prefer to be inside with their humans than outside in the cold

Standard-sized Dachshunds range from 16 – 32 pounds  (7 – 14 kg). The miniature Dachshund is less than 11 pounds (5 kg).

There are three coat types:

  • The smooth haired Dachshund – normally attaches himself to one person. They require minimal grooming.
  • The wirehaired Dachshund – is normally more energetic, cheeky and stubborn due to his terrier heritage. They require clipping twice per year.
  • And the long haired Dachshund – can be quieter and sweet-natured due to their spaniel heritage. They require regular brushing.

Their life expectancy is 12 – 16 years. You can maximize his lifespan with a healthy diet.

Wirehaired dachshund
A wirehaired Dachshund looks best if clipped twice a year

Famous Dachshunds

Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund is a Canadian Dachshund who stars in a series of Youtube videos and books. He embarks on all kinds of adventures from cooking to canoeing. He is also an Instagram sensation @crusoe_Dachshund

Famous Dachshund
Crusoe Dachshund from Canada

Positive Traits of the Dachshund

  • Dachshunds are moderate shedders, relatively clean, and have little or no body odor.
  • The Dachshund makes a good watch dog and will bark when visitors approach.
  • They come in a variety of small sizes, coats, and colors
  • He is comical and entertaining
  • Is loyal to his family
  • Needs only moderate exercise
  • And is good with other family pets, especially other Dachshunds.
Dachshund and cat
Dachshunds get on well with family pets

Negative Traits of the Dachshund

  • Although the Dachshund makes a vigilant watchdog, apartment dwellers may find his sharp, persistent bark to be too loud. With persistence, you can train them to stop when you tell them to.
  • Spinal problems affect one in four Dachshunds.
  • The Dachshund can be a little stubborn and it will take patience to house break him.
  • Plucky Dachshunds can sometimes want to take on large dogs.
  • Dachshunds have strong hunting and chasing instincts and must be kept on leash when walking
  • They were bred to burrow and might do this in the garden if left unsupervised. 
Dachshund puppy
Dachshunds are bred to chase and must be walked on-leash.

Exercise for the Dachshund

The Dachshund is an energetic dog for his size and requires regular exercise not only to keep fit and stay at his optimal weight, but also to build muscle to support his spine. Two moderate walks a day will do. Keep him on leash. Dachshunds have a keen nose and were bred to chase.

To avoid back injury, never allow your Dachshund to run up and down stairs or to jump on and off the furniture.

Dachshunds need exercise
Exercise is important in building muscle to support their long spine.

Training the Dachshund

Though intelligent, some Dachshunds can be quite independent, which can make it a challenge when trying to train him. Rewarding them with affection when they get it right will go a long way. Be patient and consistent in your training and avoid using harsh commands or punishment on these sensitive souls. Positive reinforcement works best.

House breaking your Dachshund will take persistence and patience. They won’t want to run outside to go potty on a cold or rainy day. An inside potty area will help on such days.

A few Dachshunds might regard strangers with suspicion, which left unchecked, could progress to a nip. Socialize your Dachshund from a young age so that he becomes accustomed to people. Teach him to respect you so that when you say ‘no’ he will stop his bad behavior. 

Dachshund puppies
Patience and positive-reinforcement pays off when house breaking a Dachshund.

Dachshund Health Issues

Dachshunds are susceptible to disc damage due to their long spine. To prevent this, be vigilant about keeping his weight optimal. This can be maintained with a calorie-controlled diet and adequate exercise. Ignore those pleading eyes at the dinner table. Food scraps can put on weight. Give him these healthy dog snacks instead.

Like most dogs with floppy ears, Dachshunds can get ear infections if their ears aren’t kept clean. And as with all dog breeds, trim your Dachshund’s nails once a month.

Dapple Dachshund
A dapple Dachshund. Dachshunds come in a variety of sizes, colors and coats.

History of the Dachshund

“Dachshund” is German for “Badger Dog”. They were bred six hundred years ago in Germany to burrow into badger dens and frighten out the resident badger. The Dachshund’s low long body shape was especially bred for this purpose. But their personality has also served them well. The badger, with his razor-sharp teeth and claws, is a challenging enemy for any dog, let alone the little Dachshund. But the Dachshund’s intelligence, courage, loud bark, and strength more than makes up for what he lacks in height. 

Long haired Dachshund
The long haired Dachshund is generally quieter and sweet natured due to its spaniel heritage.

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Dog Years to Human Years




The Average Lifespan of a Dog

Working out dog years to human years for your pooch depends on his expected lifespan, which varies from breed to breed, and can be lengthened. More about that later, but for now, let’s assume you don’t know your dog’s breed and you just want a rough idea of dog years to human years.

Dog’s mature more quickly than humans in the first year of their life, so the first year of your dog’s life (in human years) is equal to 15 dog years. So if you have a one-year-old pooch, he will be a 15-year-old teenager to other dogs.

Dog Years Calculator

  • The average lifespan of a dog is 11.5. This is the average of all breeds put together.
  • The average lifespan of a human is 78.
  • That gives us 6.7 dog years to human years (round it up to 7 if you want to simplify the math).

In other words, if your dog is 5 years old (in human years) he is almost 35 years old in dog years. 

Dog Years to Human Years
Dogs mature more quickly than humans, so if you have a one-year-old pooch, he will be a 15-year-old teenager to other dogs.

How Long Do Dogs Live? 

The average lifespan of a dog varies from breed to breed, with the smallest breeds living longer than the large breeds. For example, the Chihuahua lifespan is around 16 while the Great Dane lifespan is only around 9 years. But the average lifespan of a dog can be lengthened.

The Chihuahua lifespan
The Chihuahua lifespan is around 16 years.

Average Lifespan of a Dog By Breed

Small Dogs

Chihuahua 15 – 16
Chinese Crested 15 – 16
Pomeranian 14 – 17
Smooth and Wire Fox Terrier 13 – 15
English Toy Spaniel 13 – 15
Rat Terrier 13 – 15
Yorkshire Terrier 12 – 15
Russell Terrier 12 – 14
Lakeland Terrier 12 – 14
Manchester Terrier 12 – 14

Medium Size Dogs

Cocker Spaniel 13 to 15
Welsh Springer Spaniel 13 to 15
Australian Shepherd 12 to 15
Poodle 12 to 15
Whippet 12 to 15
Chinese Shar-Pei 12 to 14
Puli 10 to 15
Chow Chow 11 to 13
Curly-coated Retriever 11 to 13
French Bulldog 11 to 13
Bulldog 10 to 12
Boxer 10 to 12

Large Dogs

Belgian Malinois 14 to 16
Irish Setter 12 to 14
Akita 11 to 15
Anatolian Shepherd 11 to 13
Newfoundland 10 to 12
Giant Schnauzer 10 to 12
Rottweiler 10 to 12
St. Bernard 10 to 12
Scottish Deerhound 10 to 12
Flat-coated Retriever 10 to 12
Dogue De Bordeaux 9 to 11
Irish Wolfhound 8 to 10
Great Dane 8 to 10
Bernese Mountain Dog 7 to 10
Great Dane Lifespan
The average Great Dane lifespan is 8 to 10 years, but this can be extended with the right food and lifestyle.

Factors Affecting Dog Lifespan

Pet obesity is an epidemic across developing nations. This is alarming because research has shown that obese dogs live 2 years less than dogs at a healthy weight. Obesity increases the risk of many diseases that not only shorten your dog’s life, but diminishes the quality of his life, too.

Keeping your dog at a healthy weight reduces the risk of his developing weight-related diseases, improves his quality of life, and gives him a chance to live out his full life expectancy.

Trauma, cancer, congenital disease and infectious disease are other factors that can affect your dog’s lifespan. Cancer is the leading cause of death in large dog breeds, particularly Golden Retrievers, and studies are underway to discover why this is the case.

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