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“Help! My dog won’t eat”

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German Shepherd

“Help! My dog won’t eat”

My German Shepherd Dog is two years old and her top weight at the vet was 40kg. After moulting, she has lost interest in her food and has dropped to 35kg. The vet said she should ideally be between 38-42kg.

She is healthy in every other way except for the odd runny poo – she just doesn’t want to eat. She has had a faecal test for worms, which was negative, and now my vet wants to run further tests that may not give me an answer. Is it possible this is just a summer/heat thing? We got her expensive vet food that she ate well at first, going up 2kg in a week, but she is only eating about half of that now.

James Farrell advises…

You seem to have done all the right things so far. It can be a seasonal trait for dogs to lose their appetite in the summer if it is hot. I’m not sure if your bitch is neutered, as entire females can be more prone to loss of appetite and condition around their season.

Once the routine and common things have been addressed (like worming status) then I would recommend listening to the options your vet can run through, as although some tests might appear expensive, they offer good value if you get to the heart of the problem. Unfortunately, with the nonspecific signs your dog is displaying we have to start with routine tests and work up from there, ruling out conditions one by one, which is why sometimes the results can be frustrating if an answer is not immediately found.

Blood tests to rule out exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (common in GSDs, causing weight loss and loose stools) would be sensible and possibly some sent for allergy testing (common in one- to five-year-olds). Routine abdominal X-rays and ultrasound will ensure that the insides are OK.

Be prepared that occasionally we can only get the information we require by more invasive methods, such as biopsy via endoscopy or surgery. We reserve these options for later, but often these will be the most rewarding in terms of finding out what the problem is and successfully treating it.

For more pet care advice, see our Pet Care Advice pages.

Lucky Oscar gets all-clear just in time for the holidays

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Oscar

When vets first saw Oscar two years ago to look at a mysterious mass, tests confirmed it was benign. However, the lump began to grow rapidly and soon it was affecting his quality of life.

Luckily, seven-year-old Oscar is now on the mend thanks to the vets and animal welfare team at the Mayhew. The mass on Oscar’s chest had been identified as a lipoma (a fatty lump), but despite not causing him any harm, the mass began to grow and restrict his movement.

The team, who had been seeing Oscar for regular health checks, knew they needed to act and as his elderly owner was unable to take him to a vet, the charity collected him and brought him to their clinic where surgery was carried out free of charge.

Oscar spent six days in their care before reuniting with his adoring owner so that they could spend the holidays together.

As well rehoming pets, Mayhew’s community support work also helps to assist owners who are elderly, unwell or in a vulnerable situation, and their pet Refuge Scheme can provide short-term shelter and care for pets of people in crisis. The charity relies on donations to make all their work possible.

Festive warning after Golden Retriever eats whole bag of sultanas

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Oliver-Louie-has-recovered-well-after-he-ate-a-bag-of-sultanas-thanks-to-vets-at-Beech-House-Veterinary-Centre

A Warrington vet has issued a warning for pet owners to keep mince pies and Christmas cake out of reach after a Golden Retriever had a lucky escape.

The drama unfolded when Oliver Louie’s owners, Roger and Rosie Wood, returned home from an evening meal to find an empty sultana packet and two sheepish-looking dogs. Earlier that day, Roger had added some sultanas to his breakfast but had inadvertently left the bag – which contained a pound of sultanas – on the kitchen top. 

Despite the dogs showing no sign of illness, Roger was aware of the potentially fatal consequences and, not knowing which dog was the culprit, took both to Beech House vets in Warrington, part of the Willows Veterinary Group. Both dogs were given an injection to induce vomiting which soon revealed that Oliver had eaten the whole lot.

Oliver Louie (right) and his sister Scarlett Bluebell

Vet Emily Guest of Beech House Veterinary Centre says that sultanas and raisins, the key ingredients of many Christmas treats, can cause fatal kidney failure in dogs if eaten. With Oliver identified as the culprit, he was immediately put on fluids and kept in to be monitored overnight until blood tests showed that his kidneys were unaffected, and he was well enough to go home.

Emily adds that although not all dogs are susceptible to sultana, raisin or grape poisoning, it was impossible to know which animals might be affected or how little is needed to cause potentially fatal renal failure. She explains, “Just four grapes have been known to kill a four-kilo dog so the risk is real. And it doesn’t matter how big your dog is, large or small.”

“With Oliver Louie it was the enormous amount of sultanas he had eaten that was also a concern. First of all we gave him an injection to make him sick. Then we gave him activated charcoal to bind with any toxins that may have been released in the gut. This prevents any sultanas which have not been thrown up from being absorbed as they make their way through his gut. We then monitored him for a few days to make sure all was well with his kidneys and he was then discharged, with no ill effects.

Oliver Louie gets a check over from Beech House vet Emily Guest (right) and vet nurse Izzy Roberts

“Oliver Louie was fortunate as his owner knew of the dangers and knew what to do. But in the run up to Christmas it’s about prevention as much as treatment. Grapes, sultanas, raisins, chocolate, onions, garlic, Ibuprofen – these are all things you may have around the home over the festive period that can be poisonous to your pet. Keep them out of harm’s way and if you suspect your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t, don’t wait but contact your local veterinary centre as soon as you can for advice.”

After receiving urgent treatment, eight-year-old Oliver Louie was given a clean bill of health but Roger is now worried other dog owners may not know of the risk.

Mince pies and other Christmas treats containing sultanas and raisins can cause fatal kidney failure in dogs

Roger, who runs his own pet food business MPM Products, explains, “Fortunately, I was aware that these products were dangerous but I’m sure lots of other pet owners don’t know. Many of the people I have spoken to since who own a dog said they didn’t realise they were poisonous.

Oliver was really lucky – I knew it was a problem and I knew what to do but if I hadn’t known and then left it without getting help, it could have been a very different story.”

Oliver Louie and his sister Scarlett Bluebell are pictured with, from left to right, vet Emily Guest, owner Roger Wood and vet nurse Izzy Roberts

“Know what can harm your dog, especially with the food that is around at Christmas time and keep it out of their way. And if you think they have eaten something that’s not good for them, don’t wait but call the emergency vet for advice.

It was just one bag of sultanas we had not noticed before we went out, but it could have been curtains for Oliver. I will now always try to be one step ahead and make sure everything is cleared up so there is no temptation in their way!”

Does grain-free dog food really make a difference?

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Author: Margot Perrot 

You may have noticed that grain-free dog food has become increasingly popular in recent years. Dog owners have become much more aware of how low-quality some brands of off-the-shelf dog food are and have begun seeking out alternatives to the most popular mainstream dog food. Grain-free, raw and fresh homecooked dog food is on the rise, but is this grain-free food really making a difference to the health and wellbeing of our four-legged friends?

Are grains really that bad for my dog?

The grain-free dog food craze began soon after people jumped into the world of gluten-free diets, so it comes as little surprise that dog food companies got in on the action and started developing grain-free food. Many owners have convinced themselves that grains are one of the worst things you can find in your dog’s food, but that isn’t the case.

While it’s true that the wolven ancestors of our house-tamed dogs wouldn’t exactly start salivating if they came across a field of wheat, most dogs have developed the ability to digest grains after centuries of domestication. Over thousands of years, dogs have evolved alongside us lucky humans.

The latest research has shown that most dog breeds carry the enzyme amylase that is needed to digest starch, meaning they are absolutely able to process grain. However, this research has shown that there are regional breed differences. Many dogs from Arctic and Japanese origins carry as few of these grain-enzyme genes as their wolf, coyote, jackal and dingo cousins. These breeds include the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed, Japanese Akita and the Japanese Shiba-Inu.

Dogs do not suffer from coeliac disease like humans. However, we know some dogs have dietary intolerances or allergies to grain and others have true disorders. Some families of Irish Red Setters suffer from a condition known as gluten-induced enteropathy. This causes severe diarrhoea, weight loss and weakness. Wheat gluten sensitivity is also likely to play a factor in a protein-losing intestinal disorder in Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. A recent study has also shown that a gluten-free diet has been hugely beneficial in alleviating signs of cramping syndrome, also known as Spikes Disease in Border Terriers.

For most pet parents, however, simply seeking out grain-free food isn’t going to give your dog a brand new, ultra-healthy lease on life. That said, carefully selected fresh ingredients absolutely could.

So why go for grain-free food?

The popularity of grain-free dog food is part of a wider movement among dog food brands all looking to provide owners with a better way to feed their dogs. While the grains in popular off-the-shelf dog food brands shouldn’t be the main cause of concern for most dog owners, the lack of natural nutrients and real meat should be.

For a dog food to be labelled ‘with chicken’, it only needs to contain 4% chicken! the other 96% can be a combination of any kinds of meats. Fortunately, there are plenty of up-and-coming dog food brands all offering meals with real meat, real vegetables and beneficial fats and oils from natural sources. Feeding your dogs fresh food with all of the required nutrients is a great way to ensure that your dog lives a happy and healthy life.

It’s important to remember that grain-free does not mean carbohydrate-free. Carbohydrates are also naturally found in fresh vegetables, seeds and botanicals and can be a fantastic source of energy and digestible fibre, ensuring gut mobility, balanced good bacteria and regular stools.

One thing that is very important to remember is that not all grain-free food has all of those necessary nutrients. It’s important that your dog’s food has been formulated by experts in nutrition to ensure it is complete and balanced. While foods that are grain-free are often healthier than other foods and are a good indicator of which food is best for your dog, you should still read the label, just to be sure.

“My dog won’t wee on walks”

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“My dog won’t wee on walks”

I’ve recently rescued a Border Collie bitch who won’t go to the toilet when we’re out. She’s only five months old but it is becoming a problem if we want to go out all day. She has easily held on to a wee for eight hours until we’ve got back to the garden for her to relieve herself. This can’t be good for her! I’m now worried how she will be on our holiday in the spring. We haven’t been brave enough to let her off lead yet so I don’t know if it’s a problem not wanting to wee while on a lead, rather than only wanting to go in the garden.

Kirsten Dillon advises…

Dogs feel naturally vulnerable when they are going to the toilet, so it may be that she is simply too insecure right now going to the toilet on a walk.

Work on bonding exercises – such as playing games and massage – to make her feel safe and secure and this problem should change itself naturally. Also, find a less exposed site, such as an enclosed bushy area or fenced-in pen to help. If she does go, praise her gently but don’t make too much of a fuss, we don’t want it becoming more of an issue than it already is.

Because you don’t know her background with regard to toilet training it may be that she has only ever gone on a certain surface – we see this with rescue Greyhounds and the like, who can only toilet on concrete. Try different surfaces too just in case.

You may very well be completely right when you say she can’t or won’t toilet whilst on lead. This is not uncommon in dogs that have never had to do it.

There are enclosed fields around the UK for rent which are perfect for dogs that need this extra fenced security – try one of these for an hour and see if that is indeed the issue. If it is, then working on the previously mentioned protocols of making her feel bonded and trusting you will help her go in different places. Have a look at www.dogwalkingfields.co.uk.

Simply put, be patient with her and keep showering her with love – it will resolve itself I am sure.

More Pet Care articles

Which harness is the best for your dog?

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There are plenty of reasons to use a dog harness instead of a collar. For dogs that pull on the lead, or dogs with health issues, a harness may be the better option. Harnesses are fantastic for small or short-faced breeds as they are especially susceptible to pain or injury from pressure around the neck. Harnesses provide better control, and so work better for training and with dogs that pull on the lead. So how do you pick the best harness for your dog?

Front clip vs back clip dog harness

Harnesses can either be back-clipping or front-clipping (or both). Back-clipping harnesses have a lead connecting clip between the shoulders and are a great option for dogs who do not pull on the lead. They take the pressure off the neck and collar and are a good general harness and are excellent for small breeds that can sometimes find front-clipping harnesses uncomfortable. However, back-attaching harnesses can actually encourage pulling in some dogs, and so are not ideal for reactive dogs or strong pulling dogs.

Front clipping harnesses have a lead connecting clip on the chest and are excellent for large dogs or dogs who pull on the lead. These harnesses give excellent control, as the dog’s centre of gravity is located at the chest, so when the dog pulls, the harness will turn the dog around towards the handler. These harnesses often also have a back-clip, allowing you to connect a double-ended lead to both the chest and back clips, giving ultimate control. Front-clipping harnesses are excellent for training and are a very useful tool with reactive or strong pulling dogs.

Every dog is different and that is why it is important to understand the differences between harnesses to pick the right one for your pooch. Below are some of the harnesses we recommend and the differences between them.

1. Ruffwear Front Range Harness

The Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness has been designed by Ruffwear to be the perfect harness for everyday use, suited for trail running and your day to day dog walk. This classic harness is available in six different colours, so you’re sure to find a style to suit you and your pet.

Key features:

  • Four points of adjustment so you can get a perfect, secure fit for your dog.
  • Two lead attachment points – an aluminium V-ring on the back and reinforced webbing on the front.
  • Padding on the front and belly of the harness to ensure even load distribution on your dog and comfortable wear.
  • A reflective trim to ensure your pet is visible in low light conditions.
  • ID pocket to store dog tags.

The Front Range Harness is available to buy here.

2.  Red Dingo No Pull Padded Dog Harness

Red Dingo’s Padded Dog Harness has soft padding on the chest and back areas for maximum comfort. Fully adjustable and easy to fit – incorporating all of Red Dingo’s quality features.

Key Features

  • Reflective trim for safety and style
  • Dual D-rings which give the owner more control of their pet
  • Twin bucklebones which makes this harness incredibly secure but also easy to take on and off
  • Matching double-ended training lead available

Red Dingo’s Padded Harnesses come in 5 different sizes and colours to cater for every size dog. The harness features two lead attachment points: a D-ring on the dog’s back for everyday walks, and another D-ring on the front for training and/or additional control.The harness is available to buy here.

One main advantage with this harness is the matching double-ended training lead. This six-in-one training lead provides different configurations for every need. The three D-rings on the lead give handlers the flexibility to use the lead as a short, medium or long lead, as well as a double lead for two dogs, a shoulder lead for hands-free walking or a temporary tie. This lead is available to buy here.

3. Bowl & Bone Yeti Harness

The Yeti harness is elegant and stylish, but it’s also a comfortable wear for your pup. It’s easy to put on and its pleasant to the touch material will make your dog not want to leave the house without it! This back-clipping harness has a lead connecting clip between the shoulders and is a great option for dogs who do not pull on the lead. It takes the pressure off the neck and collar and is a good general harness especially for small breeds that can sometimes find front-clipping harnesses uncomfortable.

Key Features

  • Lined with a super soft faux fur material
  • Fully adjustable straps on the body ensure maximum comfort
  • Reflective trim on straps to increase visibility on night time walks

The Bowl & Bone Yeti Harness is available to buy here.

Pulling and jumping up are not ideal with either a collar or a harness, so if you struggle with either of these things, simply switching to a harness will not solve your problems – a reward-based training plan will also need to be in place, however a harness can help you with this. A regular (flat) collar with the owner’s name and address is a legal requirement in the UK for all dogs (Control of Dogs Order 1992) as is a microchip (since April 2016). Whilst your dog must wear a flat collar and ID at all times, you do not have to walk your dog on a collar unless you choose to.

 

Dogs Monthly Book Club

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Welcome to the Dogs Monthly Book Club. Each month we review our pick of the latest releases, with an opportunity to win for lucky readers! If you would like to enter the prize draw, please email competition@dogsmonthly.co.uk with the name of the book you would like to receive in the subject line. Please remember to include your name and full address. Entries close 3 January 2019.

Feed MeFeed Me

Liviana Prola

Reviewed by Jo Hicks

Feed me – those unspoken words said regularly by dogs all over the world!

We all want the best for our four-legged friends and the role of diet in helping keep them happy and healthy is one that regularly crops up in consumer and social media. With so many differing opinions and information sources, this topic can seem a minefield. Do you subscribe to the feeding recommendations of the brand or regime that shouts loudest, the one that seems to have the most ‘science’ or veterinary support behind it, the one that best matches your lifestyle and budget, or perhaps the one that currently appears the most popular?

In Feed Me, Liviana Prola discusses a home-cooked diet and takes you through 50 different recipes, including options for puppies, senior dogs, active dogs and those who may need to shed a few pounds. However, it is far more than a ‘doggie cookbook’ – you will find a wealth of information discussing areas such as dietary requirements and the contributions of various food groups, canine preferences and foods you must avoid.

The recipes themselves are easy to follow. Each one includes a guide size, a handy tip (such as a slightly different preparation routine if you plan to freeze), a ‘twist’ (which might be an appropriate substitution for a highly active or senior dog) and a note relevant to the recipe that relates to doggie health. There is a huge variety of recipes and generally, the ingredients can be sourced quite easily – spleen was the only thing that would have been a challenge for me, and while I hadn’t heard of several of the supplements that are mentioned, they were easily found online.

As for a doggie perspective, my collies tried the soft-boiled egg with squash and chicken also the cod and potato casserole. They both seemed to get the ‘paws up’ and we had empty bowls (and Kongs) with both recipes, although their preference was ever so slightly for the cod.

Overall, Feed Me was a really interesting read. Liviana Prola is clearly extremely knowledgeable, passionate and highly qualified. She provides you with an absolute wealth of information, yet it’s very accessible and you don’t feel bombarded by science. For those wanting to learn more about a home-cooked diet, or if you already feed one and would like to broaden your dog’s menu, then this is an absolute must-have reference book.

I would have been interested in her take on treats and what options she suggests – perhaps that will be the next book. A final mention must go to the illustrations, a fantastic and quirky selection that complement the recipes beautifully.

Mojo Make BelieveMojo Make-Believe (The Mojo Tales)

Lynne Land

Reviewed by Julie Farrington

You may remember Mojo from last year’s Britain’s Got Talent series and from our August 2018 front cover. Now he’s the lead character in his own children’s book series, written by his PA, Lynne Land.

Mojo Make-Believe tells the story of a day in the life of Mojo, a black Toy Poodle. It is a book that would possibly appeal to preschool or primary school children, especially those with a love of dogs.

The book contains lots of pictures of Mojo and his friends and also speech bubbles to indicate what Mojo is thinking.

Maybe a book that can be read to a child at bedtime, as it ends with Mojo also going to bed after his busy day.

For the quite actual love of WorzelFor the Quite Very Actual Love of Worzel

Catherine Pickles

Reviewed by Sian Kelly

This is a fabumazing book! Worzel Wooface is a luffly boykin rescue Lurcher and this is his daily diary telling us all about his fourth year of living in his forever home. His adoptive family are Mum, Dad and their children – a fuge ginge boyman and a small previously ginger one. He also lives with five cats.

I hadn’t read any of Worzel’s previous books, but very soon felt as if I had known him forever. He tells his story in his own very unique was and his own inimitable language.

I found myself laughing out loud at the daily adventures of this ever so slightly eccentric (in the nicest possible way!) family. When Mum rescued Fred the fish (times 67!) from the muddy swamp that used to be a pond, I nearly choked on my coffee. I could just envisage Worzel taking a swim in the swamp that used to be a pond.

Being the owner of rescue dogs myself, I can totally empathise with Worzel’s Mum. My dogs have also dun realising that mud is good for the complexion, smells fabumazing and have dun swimming in lovely pooey coloured water!

Even the sad parts of the book were written in a very sensitive way. His rescue background and some of his issues have made him scared of a lot of things, and he is very thoughtful and perceptive to other people’s feelings.

I absolutely love the photos in the book – they make the diary seem so much more personal.

I was telling a work colleague about this book. She desperately wants to buy a Lurcher puppy, so I was able to spread the ‘adopt don’t shop’ message on her and passed on the contact details for Hounds First Sighthound Rescue – the fabumazing rescue that Worzel came from (www.houndsfirst.co.uk).

To sum up this book – Hugh-Stan, we don’t have a problem, not at actual all. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book all about life, love and Lurchers. I will quite very actually be buying the three books that precede it.

the evil secret of chestnut farmThe Evil Secret of Chestnut Farm

Maria Stubbs

Reviewed by Martha Cornish

This book informs people, including children, about the dreadfulness of dog fighting and puppy farming. Before reading this book, I didn’t know anything about puppy farming and I hadn’t even heard of dog fighting.

The story is fiction but is based on real life, with advice from Cariad and the League Against Cruel Sports. It begins when Dorothea Sowerbutt is in a clothes shop called Elegant Gowns and is spending a small fortune on a blue dress. We then find out that she gets her money from puppy farming. This is when puppies are bred without love and care.

A Pug puppy called Walter, who has a patch of black shaped like a heart on his chest, gets taken away to a home. The people had bought him for their spoilt daughter, who only wanted a Pug because they were fashionable. When he pooped on the floor and the daughter stepped in it, she no longer wanted him. They tried to sell him, but no one was interested, so he was given away for free to someone who turned out to be a dog fighter.

The book is aimed at children over nine years old, but adults would also enjoy it. I thought it was brilliant and a good read.

Cruelty to dogs cannot be tolerated any longer. The Evil Secret of Chestnut Farm shows how humans have lost respect for dogs and their lives. I hope this book will help people to realise what they have done wrong and change it.

Our latest FreebieFriday competitions

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FreebieFriday

Every week, keep your eyes peeled for our FreebieFriday competitions on Twitter. Read our Terms and Conditions.

Twitter

Win a squeaky snowman toy from Danish Design.

 

How to enter: Head to our Twitter account. Follow us and RT our competition post.

Closes: Closed. Our winner is:@CarolineSmythe3

Weight loss advice for dogs on a New Year’s health kick

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Overweight dog

Pet obesity campaigns and warnings have made themselves clear this year, and owners are deciding that it might be time to include their furry companions in their New Year’s health kick. With advice from James Wellbeloved, we would like to ensure you have all the guidance needed to stick to your doggie resolutions.

Is my dog overweight? 

Before making any changes to your dog’s diet and exercise routine, you need to properly determine if your dog is the ideal weight for their breed and gender. The fastest and most accurate way to do this would be to see a vet. They can tell you whether they fall inside or out of their ideal range.

Less than 1 in 10 perform the recommended monthly weight check, while 30% of owners admit to never weighing their pet.

Weighing scales

It is possible to get a good sense of your dog’s weight yourself. You can weigh them at home on a set of scales they can get onto safely and comfortably. A dog’s ideal weight is very individual, you can check the James Wellbeloved dog breed weight chart to get an idea of what your dog’s ideal weight should be.

The best way to check the weight of dogs of all ages, is to do a physical check yourself. This should be done on a regular basis as well as general check-ups with your vet to ensure they are healthy:

  • Stand next to, or over, your dog so that you can clearly see their body shape from above. A dog in the ideal weight range will have a clear waist line just before their rear legs and an obvious width difference between their chest and abdomen. From the side, you should also be able to the see the tummy is tucked a bit higher towards the waist (as opposed to being at the same level as the chest).
  • An overweight dog, from above, will lack any obvious definition around the waist. From the side, your dog’s tummy will be in line with, or hang lower than, the chest.
  • For short coats, an overweight dog will show no signs of any definition around the ribs.
  • For dogs with longer coats, you will need to feel their ribs to get a sense of their weight. If you struggle to feel their ribs, they are likely overweight.

How can I help my dog loose weight?

If you have confirmed with your vet your dog is overweight and have discussed a change in diet, then a strict diet plan should be put in place as well as changes to your usual exercise routine. You will need to make sure any other house members are fully aware of what will be required and that everyone sticks to the diet plan.

Waiting for food

Most weight loss plans include; feeding your dog a light dog food diet that includes fewer calories but more fibre and protein, following the recommended daily amounts on the packaging, and cutting out treats or extra food until they have reached their ideal weight.

Dog licking lips

Every dog needs needs a regular amount of exercise to burn off excess calories, turn protein into muscle, keep their minds active, and to keep their hearts strong. They require at least two walks per day, 30 minutes or more, with some breeds requiring more exercise than others. scheduling more frequent or longer walks will help them keep the weight off and will benefit their sleep and overall wellbeing.

Unfortunately, up to 45% of dogs only get up to 30 minutes of exercise each day and 1% are never walked at all.

Dog with ripped play toy

Regular play is also essential, not only will this keep your dog fit but playing with them will be mentally stimulating. Play could include hiding favourite toys for them to find, creating little puzzles, playing fetch or games of hide-and-seek. It’s important to find the type of exercise that is best suited to you and your dog so that it is enjoyable as well as having a positive effect on your dog’s health!

Running dog

You can find out more about the James Wellbeloved weight loss advice here

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Career in grooming

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Grooming career

I’ve been considering a change of career for a while and quite fancy dog grooming. I’ve been doing an online search for courses available and they vary so much in price and course content. What should I be looking for in a good course and what are the preferred qualifications?

Stuart Simons advises…

Dog grooming is becoming more and more attractive to people looking for a change. There has been a huge increase in our profession over the past few years. It’s a wonderful career choice, but it isn’t simply ‘playing with dogs all day’ as many people naively believe. Dog grooming is incredibly skilled, highly physical and not always a walk in the park. It certainly takes its toll on the body. Having said that, it is also incredibly satisfying and wonderfully creative.

It is currently an unregulated industry, leaving it open to exploitation by unskilled, inexperienced and unqualified people offering to teach it – even though they have no idea themselves of the risks involved and the skill it takes. To find a good course, research the tutors of the college that you are looking at. Ensure they are members of The Groomers Spotlight so you can guarantee that they at least have a qualification.

The Groomers Spotlight has a dedicated training page, showing colleges around the UK that you can trust. The owners are members of The Spotlight, meaning you should get a good grounding in the industry. The three qualifications that I would recommend are: the Open College Network (West Midlands) also known as the OCN, the ICMG (an international qualification) and lastly, the most recognised one in the UK – the City and Guilds L3. Good luck!

To find out more, visit www.thegroomersspotlight.com/index/pages-list/type/training

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