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The 3 Apps That Will Make You an Awesome Dog Owner

Posted on 13 November, 2019 at 5:25 Comments comments (1671)



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As a new dog owner, you want to get everything right. You want to have all the answers, have the coolest toys, and plan the best pet-and-owner activities a dog could hope for. You and your new dog should have an amazing time together whether you're chilling on the couch, running through the park, or splitting a barbecued steak on the back patio. Of course, we're not born knowing how to be the perfect pet parent. That's what apps are for!

Gone are the days of guessing whether you're doing it right. With the incredibly multi-featured and high-tech pet apps available today, you can do just about everything with data-driven insights and resource centers so you never have to wonder if you're being the best pet parent. You'll know it! The key is having a highly functional phone that can tackle it all.

If your phone is on the clunky side, consider an upgrade so you can take advantage of all the info out there. Whether you’re an Apple or Android fan, look for sign-up deals from service providers. You may be able to purchase a new smartphone at a discount when you trade your old one in, and you can often pay for your phone through monthly installments. With your phone in-hand and these three key apps, you can become a fully informed and totally awesome pet parent.

ScritchSpot, Your One-Stop

This app has about all it will take to become your one-stop for answers, insights, and resources as a pet parent. Get started with their new pet owner guide to walk you through the basics, and then do some exploring. ScritchSpot can help you locate nearby pet-friendly venues, find a pet sitter or walker, it provides dog training tips and pet product reviews, and has the ability to save and share your pet's medical records. On top of all that, there is a community of pet owners to chat with, learn from, and befriend.

But perhaps the coolest part of this all-in-one app is the adoption feature. The app pairs a quick personality quiz (we've taken it, and it's great!) with shelter pets near you who might be a terrific match - just in case your first dog needs a furry friend.

Fitness, Health, and Activity with FitBark

Having a fitness tracker for your dog is super useful. As Animal Wellness points out, exercise is important to your pooch, helping him stay fit and healthy throughout life. With the FitBark app, you can know not only whether your dog is getting enough exercise, but also if he is feeling stressed, when he’s itchy or in pain, and how well he sleeps.

Even better? It pairs with your fitness tracker for tandem fitness and exercise goals, so you can stay active and data-driven together!

Train Yourself to Train Your Dog via iTrainer Dog Whistle and Clicker.

Finally, there's how to be a totally awesome trainer. There are tons of great dog trainer apps out there to train you to train your dog, but the iTrainer Dog Whistle and Clicker is one of the few that actually interacts directly with your dog. It is capable of making dog whistle sounds at a chosen frequency and comes with a variety of clicker and fun sounds your dog will learn to respond to.

Dogster explains clickers are especially useful because once your dog learns a sound, they will never be confused when the sound plays, unlike how tone of voice and inflection can send different messages for voice commands. You can also record your own sounds for custom training goals and routines. 

Are you ready to become a totally awesome pet parent? These three apps are your start to a beautiful friendship. All you need to be a great pet owner is a sturdy leash, a soft bed for Fido to snooze in, healthy dog food, and your phone. And an awesome dog, of course!



Posted on 26 August, 2019 at 18:10 Comments comments (1337)

When we take our puppy home, the joy, love and fun that we will have together are all that is on our minds. We go through all the stages through to adolescence and hopefully a full and healthy life to old age. Finally, we arrive at the time we dread, our elderly dog at the final stages of life. This is heart breaking and we have to be strong and hold it together for them as we will have to make so many decisions as to how our beloved pet is going to enter the Rainbow Bridge.

It is a shock to learn that your dog has a chronic or terminal illness and just months to live, but when you have gained composure, learn everything from your vet about your dog’s condition. When we have a treatment plan in place for pain management and medication, our main goal in these final months and days is to give as much as we can, quality of life, relief from pain and discomfort and emotional support from us.

Our main hope for our beloved dog is an unassisted death at home, However, this is not always possible if their condition deteriorates. Holistic therapies work hand in hand with veterinary orthodox medication, for example Reiki, massage, acupuncture, proxy tapping, Flower essences and crystal healing. If they have a canine companion, they too should avail of holistic remedies to help them through this sad period in their life. As our dog progresses through their illness or dying in old age, positive emotions, enjoyable activities and more time with us is what they want and adds quality of life.

Chronic and Terminal illness can deteriorate quite quickly and an emergency house call service at a moment’s notice or out of hours service at your veterinary surgery should be in place if euthanasia becomes imminent. Keeping a daily journal can help when discussing how they are with your vet. However, if they cannot breathe comfortably enough to sleep, stand or are no longer eating or drinking, incontinence, seizures, no interest in surroundings, how they tolerate medical intervention and vet visits and other symptoms that require constant monitoring and care, we must consider their quality of life, especially if they are in pain or distress. It may help to ask your vet what they would do in this situation? as we don’t want to euthanise too soon if they still have quality of life and we don’t want them to suffer by delaying it, by seeking advice from our veterinary surgeon hopefully it will help us to put your mind at rest as to whether or not it is the appropriate time to end their life by euthanasia.

Vocal or body language can be an indication of pain but not all dogs whimper in pain and it can be difficult to know. Lack of appetite and seeking isolation, lethargic, reluctant to walk and being grumpy are more outward indicators of pain. look for Subtle behavioural changes. Your dog may be losing sense of sight, hearing and smell and will seek comfort and security by being close to you.

Road accidents and surgery may take the decision of an unassisted death at home out of our hands due to complications during surgery. Your veterinary surgeon will always advise as to complications that may occur and discuss options that are available. It is of little consolation to us but Euthanasia means good death. Your vet knows what a difficult decision this is and will discuss the process with you. It is your choice whether or not to be present when your vet administers the euthanasia solution and I know that it is too much to bear, but knowing that you were with your beloved companion at the time of their peaceful and painless death, will help you through your grieving.

If you are preparing your dog for surgery, and indeed coming to terms with it yourself, the best tonic for your beloved dog is to spend every minute that you can indulging them with whatever they are able to do, things that they loved to do. If they do not come through surgery, knowing that we said goodbye and that our final moments were peaceful and filled with love is such a help when we are grieving.

Their canine companions will be every bit as concerned as to what is happening in their lives, as they can sense what we are dealing with in the last days and months. Dogs are more in tune with their environments and surroundings, and I truly believe, fully understand when a canine companion is near to entering the rainbow bridge. Just like us, dogs have different personalities and display sadness and grief in a number of ways. for example, their depression can be displayed by loss of appetite, disrupted sleep or sleeping all day, withdrawn and feeling disoriented and clingy. This is so sad, and again we have to hold it together for our surviving dog who had bonded with their companion. In order to help our surviving dog with his grief it is good to keep a blanket or other reminder. Pay extra attention to them but do not go overboard as to create a separation anxiety problem.

Try to keep to a routine, and over time their grief will ease and your dog’s personality will return. However, if after a few weeks they have not resumed an energy for life, a visit to your vet would be advised. Give your dog some time to adjust to losing his companion before bringing another dog into the family as they are still missing their buddy and may resent the new family member.

Anticipatory grief occurs for us dog owner’s when we begin grieving for our dog who is still living. We constantly ask the question? how will we cope without them? Experiencing, a deep sadness whilst holding it together for our terminally ill dog. This pain becomes acute when your beautiful beloved dog passes over, and crosses the Rainbow Bridge. Give yourself permission to grieve. Your dog was a family member. Healthy coping mechanisms include crying, screaming, and taking all the time you need to come to terms with your loss. I advise my clients who are going through this tough road to take flower essences to get through each day from the start of this sad journey to the end and afterwards, until we can think about our beloved companion with a smile. Knowing that they will be in our heats for ever.

Bach Flower remedies for Grief

Sweet Chestnut – Helps in situations when we are overwhelmed with despair after a loss

Star of Bethlehem – Helps in situations of shock and trauma when we refuse to accept loss of a loved one feeling paralyzed in grief.

Gorse – is a remedy for feeling overwhelmed, feelings of total hopelessness, in a depressive state

Walnut - helps us adapt to new circumstances


Puppy and Kitten Socialization

Posted on 8 August, 2019 at 5:50 Comments comments (421)

Puppy And Kitten Socialization

Socialisation begins with your puppy from the moment they are born from their mother and interaction with their siblings. Puppies are extremely dependent on their mothers for the first weeks of their lives. They learn important social skills from their mother and siblings so it is vital that they are not taken from their mother before six to eight weeks. Between 3 to 12 weeks puppies should be introduced to humans. Each puppy should be given daily individual attention in order for them to have positive interaction with people for when it is time to leave their mother and siblings.

If puppies are separated from a litter too soon, some health and behavioural problems can arise such as decreased learning ability, separation anxiety, poor physical condition and decreased weight gain. However, tempting it may be to give new - born puppies to their new human family when the puppies are born, it is a crucial time in their lives to be with their mother and siblings. If this timeline is not followed puppies could develop problems in later life and the mother can experience medical problems.

During their first six to eight-week period with their mother, supplemental feeding should be given and the final weaning should take place, as it is important that weaning from the mother be a gradual process for both the mother’s health and the health of her puppies.

When you take your puppy home remember that the first 12 weeks are the most important and they have experienced six to eight weeks learning from their mother so it is your job to add new experiences to their daily lives, but, that does not mean that you are finished when you get to week 12, as it is important to expose your puppy to new things through to, and throughout adulthood. This is critical for their mental health and future confidence and happiness which can reduce aggressive and fearful behaviour. When a puppy feels safe, they are curious and intrigued with life and their outside world which is a joy to be part of.

The more relaxed your puppy is the more happy they are in engaging in different experiences. They do not have to have close or prolonged contact with new things or people, the quality of the exposure is critical and a happy puppy grows into a happy dog. The time that you spend with your puppy socializing should be fun for both of you. Be relaxed and calm and until your puppy is fully vaccinated it should be held in your arms and as much as possible only interact with vaccinated dogs. Being with other dogs makes your puppy more sociable and will be at ease with other dogs. A visit to the groomer helps your puppy to become accustomed to other people.

Puppy Parties

Puppy parties are educational and fun where your puppy will be introduced to a whole range of new experiences in a safe comfortable fun way with new friends. These parties are relaxed and the puppies seem very happy accepting new things . Puppy parties provide a safe place for them to socialise providing positive encounters with other puppies and also meet new people, men, women and children, new sights and sounds and smells. Attending a puppy party at your veterenary surgery gives your puppy a positive association for future visits.


Just like mother and toddler groups it is so funny as I have been told by friends who have attended these parties with their young pups that they were hoping that their puppy would not be the naughty boistrous one. I was also told about a puppy party where two sibling pups from a shelter were reunited when they met at a party and ran straight to each other. Puppies can attend until they are sixteen weeks old

When you are introducing your puppy to new experiences, talk to him, give treats and keep a distance from the things that you are showing him so he can watch from a comfortable distance before he is ready to explore. Exposure to new things must always be calm and relaxed and wait for your puppy to engage. If they are curious, they will move towards what they are seeing. If they are timid and cautious wait and go back to it at another time. Just being around noises, animals, and people will eventually become familiar and safe. Never stay near to something that is frightening to your puppy and you will know if they are afraid by tucking their tail in and trying to move away barking or whining as you do not want to create a lasting fear. In all situations should be comfortable and safe for your puppy.

There are so many things to introduce when socialising such as different surfaces, grass, carpet, wood, gravel, tarmac. Kitchen utensils and their noise, vacuum cleaners, the lawn mower, letters dropping through letter boxes, cars, and moving bicycles are just a few things, the list goes on and on from day to day. Lots of new experiences.

Puppies do go through fear periods. These are developmental stages so if your puppy seems afraid of something previously taken in their stride, take a step back from the socialisation by providing treats and cuddles and other happy experiences. Fear periods often pass in a week or two. Your puppy is like a sponge so make sure they only soak up positive experiences.



Kittens like puppies have a prime socialisation period and like puppies learn to be less fearful in unfamiliar situations and changes in their environment. New experiences with rewards can also be very helpful to create a confident kitten. The main socialisation window for a kitten is from 2 to 7 weeks. Kittens must get used to being handled at a young age so It is so important to choose a breeder that will provide your kitten with a variety of expereinces during those early weeks playing and interacting with the kittens spending time each day to help the kittens interact with humans to enable the kitten to become curious and confident ready for their new home, as they are not brought into your family home until they are seven to eight weeks old.

Kittens also need protection from infectious diseases and parasites before they begin socialising with other animals. During the first 16 weeks kittens can be introduced to new people and situations but you should follow your veterinarians advice as to when it is safe to expose your kitten to other cats.

You should help your kitten to become more accustomed to being handled by different people, children and interaction with other animals , sounds and smells with positive reinforcement. Every experience you expose your kitten to must be positive without fear at a pace that allows your kitten to remain relaxed. Once your kitten is happy at home gradually get them used to the environment. A car ride in their crate to the vets office and a visit to a groomer can be help. Showing them the outside garden, sights and sounds, birds flying around, traffic noise if in a City and farm animals nearby if in the countryside.

Animals not properly socialized become adult animals with an increased sensitivity to new experiences frightened of new people or animals. This can result in hostility or violence due to fear. and can lead to difficulties in day to day life as adult dogs and cats.

Always ask your veterinary surgeon for advice about socialisation and if there are any products that they can offer to help make this period easier.

Flower essences are very helpful in calming and making your puppy or kitten feel more secure during this crucial period in their lives.

The Scintilla Range of Essences that I created for Animals

Socialisation Essence

This essence has been created to affectionately support animals who have not been socialised to the world they live in. This is often the case when animals have been taken away from their mothers and siblings too early. It is a modern misconception that eight weeks is the optimal time for a kitten or puppy to leave their home. This is a crucial socialisation period when animals learn from their mother and family about how to be a cat or dog. If this window of learning is disrupted and your animal has not experienced the right experiences, what you will have is an animal that may exhibit certain fearful behaviours such as fear, aggression, uncertainty, lack of confidence, and they may lack communication skills when conversing with other animals. A side effect of this essence is that it can help to shift a memory developed out of a trauma that is still present in the psyche many years later. The Socialisation Essence is made from a blend of Bailey, Bach and Verbeia Flower Essences. It contains flower essences such as Rock Rose and Lily of the Valley and others to support the change needed to become confident and certain of their environment.

Fear Essence

The Fear Essence for puppies going through the fearful period and cats in fearful situations

This Fear Essence has been lovingly created to support animals who are in a state of fear when faced with a situation that they are terrified of and especially helpful when your puppy is going through a fear period. The reason for the fear may not be apparent to us but the behaviours exhibited are usually the same: shaking, panting and hiding. Fear has a knock-on effect on our animal’s health in other ways. The Fear Essence is made from a blend of Bailey, Bach and Verbeia Flower Essences. It contains flower essences such as Aspen and Bracken and others to support the change needed so that courage can blossom, just as any beautiful flower would.


Moving House

Posted on 21 July, 2019 at 0:40 Comments comments (338)

Moving house with pets

In this article I want to discuss issues which affect cats and dogs when moving house. It can be a stressful event for humans and especially stressful, confusing and upsetting for animals. Cats and dogs are attached to their own territory and moving can be disruptive and disorientating so what can we do to keep our pets calm for emotional and physical wellness during this transition.

It is a good idea to set aside a quiet room in your house that has been emptied and shut the door to reduce any noise. Provide their usual bedding, toys, food and water and leave them in some peace and quiet in between their toilet breaks.

Keep to your pet’s daily routine and continue once you have moved to make your pet feel more at home giving them plenty of reassurance and attention during and after the move. I Believe that distance Reiki would be a great help to them during this time by creating consistency and stability.

Pets are creatures of comfort and may take time to settle. It is best to move when you have time off work, to leave your pet alone in their new environment can lead to anxiety. Limit your pet to an area of the house, furniture free, as even a fully trained dog can revert back to destructive chewing if they are stressed, toilet training can also become a little hit and miss. Reassurance and a recap on training may be needed. Redirect their focus between treats and training.

If you are moving to a new area of the country for example in the United States and other parts of Europe, it is a good idea to ask your veterinarian surgeon prior to the move how a new climate could impact your pet. You could also ask your vet for advice in keeping your pet calm during the move and if they can recommend a veterinary surgeon in the area you are moving to.

Holistic therapy in conjunction with conventional veterinary care can work hand in hand, Animals feel fear, anger, happiness, depression, jealousy and joy just like us. Flower essences and Crystal healing are excellent holistic treatments.

Bach Flowers can change an animal’s negative emotions to positive. Dr Bach said, “for flower essences to work you need to have a soul, animals are the most soulful creatures to grace this earth”. That is such a beautiful quote from Dr Bach and so true.

In this situation of transition and change, if I was choosing Flower essences to treat an animal, I would prescribe Mimulus and Walnut.

Mimulus is the bravery flower and can be given short to medium term, starting before you move and see how your pet is settling into their new environment. For any period of change flower essences help to ease them into their new surroundings. It is just so wonderful to see your pet become more confident and courageous being able to enjoy life again without fear.


Walnut breaks links with the past and is very useful in all transition situations and big changes. It protects against outside influences and breaking with the pas,t so that they can move forward more easily.

Crystal Therapy

While going through change or transition crystals can make it easier and smoother to calm emotions creating a positive energy. Animals respond to the healing energy of crystals and it can help to make transitions easier and smoother for your pet.

In the hustle and bustle of the move I would place the crystals near a photograph of your pet, pointing towards the picture. This will help to send long-distance healing and protection to your animal while they are safely waiting in a quiet room.

Before you move it may help to make some crystal water to treat your animal before you move and when you arrive at your new home. I would put the crystal water in a separate water bowl as I believe that the animal will drink as much as they need so it is good to have their normal drinking water available for them as well. If you are not experienced with crystals ask a qualified Crystal healer to help you as there are two methods, the direct method and indirect method. You can also make a crystal grid

Crystal grid for peace and harmony in the home

Place clear Quartz, Flourite, Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Citrine and Jade on a flower of life Crystal Grid Cloth as seen below.

Place clear quartz, fluorite, Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Citrine and Jade on a flower of life Crystal Grid Cloth.

Clear Quartz is a master healer that is effective for all conditions

Amethyst calms nerves, and is an all-round healer.

Jade is used to resolve blockages and re-balance the heart chakra.

Rose Quartz dispels feelings of despair, fear, and resentment to bring out feelings of happiness.

Citrine brings happiness, joy and positivity in life by eliminating negative energies transforming them into positive energies.

There are many more crystals that can be used.

Blue Lace Agate promotes sleep, and calms an anxious pet.

Sodalite can calm a nervous pet and is good for settling down during travel

Chrysocolla boosts confidence and gives the courage to deal with situations and helps to relieve stress and tension.

Jet is a grounding and protective crystal which removes negative energies, reduces emotions such as fear, and sadness and has the ability to balance yin and yang energies.

Watermelon Tourmaline relieves stress and supports inner peace so your pet can move through this transition as painlessly as possible.

Do not wash their bedding until a couple of weeks after the move as a familiar scent in the new house will be of comfort to them. Ensure that your pets ID tags and microchip details are up to date with your new home address. Unpack your pet’s belongings first and when you walk them through their new home show them where familiar toys, bowls, and beds are placed. Do not let your pet loose in your new garden before checking fencing and walls. When you are sure that your garden is secure stay with them outside until they are confident in their new surroundings. Socialise them to new neighbours, street traffic and noise. And may I wish you good luck and happiness in your new home.

Hoof And Paw Tree Of Needs

Posted on 14 July, 2019 at 4:45 Comments comments (4837)

The Hoof and Paw Tree of Needs

This is how I teach to my students in my Hoof and Paw Academy: I put the emotional needs first. It may not be the normal conventional theory but it has worked well for me over the last 14 years.

For animals to feel safe and relaxed, they need to have certain needs met and preferably in the order listed above. At the root of the tree, you have the emotional needs. A tree with strong roots will be able to withstand anything that blows their way. Meeting the emotional needs of your animal is key to keeping your animal well balanced and safe. This is the root and pathway to all your animal’s happiness. If an animal is fearful or grief-stricken, they are going to care little about their survival and the need to find food. The will, however, need to urinate/defecate, drink and sleep. But this will be very difficult if their emotional and safety needs are not met first. An animal that is stressed will spend most of its time living on its nerves, pacing or may even have shut down completely. I have worked with horses that have lived in the most appalling conditions with little food or water. One given the security of a loving home; it is then that their whole system shuts down. It is almost as if they have been hanging on until their safety needs are met so they an die in peace. Would this end have been different if they had been treated with essences before they found their safety?

When we move on to the second need of our animal, which is safety, many would have thought it to have been the first; therefore, it is so interesting to understand the Hoof and Paw Tree of needs when working with the Bailey, Bach and Verbeia Essences. The essences support an animal who is fearful, while they learn to cope with their fears in any of the situations that are making the frightened. When you look at a tree you can see that the roots need to be the strongest and grow widest, so that they can support the rest of the tree behaviours. When an animal feels happy, safe and secure, they will be able to successfully groom, move and can become social with other animals and humans

If you had put social, movement and grooming as the most important behaviours, then you would have an upside-down tree. This would of course be very unstable, causing the tree to topple over and crash to the ground. Then of course you would have a dead tree! Making sure that our animal’s emotional needs are met and that they are the foundation of an animal’s happiness is the magic concrete underpinning your animal’s wellbeing.

You must remember that our animals are living in a society that has changed considerably over the last 50 years. It has become almost unrecognisable to both animals and humans. The food is now processed, the cities are polluted and the green fields destroyed by building new homes Understandably animals are displaying mote and more mental health issues because we have forgotten the basics of how to look after the and how to support their daily needs.

Bailey, Bach and Verbeia Essences are the perfect ‘safe’ therapy to support the myriad of behaviours that our animals are displaying. All the essences have a beautifully untouched energy that is pure and very honest. This is because they are made by hand and not in an automated busy factory. How an essence is made is extremely important in how it performs. You will be able to tackle any emotional problem as there is a huge selection of essences to choose from. This will help you to finely tune your selection of essences for your animal. It will make you reassess what is really going on emotionally for your animal and what is at the root of the problem. When did it start and what was the cause of this new behaviour?

Having a tree that is well nourished by the rain feeding its roots and the sunlight shining on the leaves is the same as an animal being fed correctly with the correct diet and being socialised to as many different experiences as possible from a young age. A healthy tree will weather all that comes its way and will stand strong in the hardest storm. It will offer protection to the birds and shelter the rabbits. For animals to be healthy and happy they need to be given the correct tools to grow emotionally and physically. When they do not receive the correct input, it is here that the Bailey, Bach, and Verbeia Essences can be very beneficial.

A beginners Guide to Reiki!

Posted on 10 July, 2019 at 0:50 Comments comments (1548)

When I was taught Reiki and began my holistic animal practice, I never envisaged teaching an animal holistic module at a veterinary college. Kathleen Prasad was my teacher and is the leading expert in the world in Reiki techniques with animals, I learnt to Master level and have taught and practiced Reiki for many years and run many Reiki workshops.

Frans Stein, after the death of Hawayo Takata researched Reiki and realised that Mikao Usui had intended his symbols and attunements to be used in a different way, as Howayo Takata had interpreted their use incorrectly.

Reiki is now, recognized and respected and used in conjunction with main stream medicine. It compliments and supports orthodox veterinary medicine and I was very happy to teach Emma Hedderson a veterinary surgeon who was keen to learn. Some Pet insurance companies are starting to include Reiki treatments within their pet insurance policies. However, it is best to check this as it may require a vet to refer your pet for their Reiki treatment or to give consent. It is so good to see that Animal Reiki is now becoming a profession and respected in its own right.

Although there is no legal requirement to request or obtain veterinary consent before Reiki is offered to animals, Reiki is not a magical cure and should always be used in conjunction with veterinary care to check for any physical health problems. If you are seeking Reiki for behavioural problems you should always check with your vet as these could also be the result of a physical health condition.

There are many veterinary practices who now have Reiki practitioners working alongside them and also holistic animal centres. I am so happy that vets now see the valuable emotional support that Reiki gives to both animal and owner and especially given to an animal who is in transition before euthanasia is performed.

There are a small number of animal studies which show the benefit of Reiki and putting it into mainstream therapies, but much more needs to be done. I am at the moment conducting a study on Zoo animals and Reiki and hope to see more trials in the area of animal shelters and Reiki.

Two Studies Published:

“Personal interaction with a Reiki practitioner decreases noise-induced microvascular damage in an animal model” in the journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2006 Jan-Feb; 12(1)15-22

“Reiki improves Heart Rate Homeostasis in Laboratory Rats “in the journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (14(4):417-422, 2008

Reiki is used in cat and dog rescue centres, at horse/dog racing yards, stables and horse sanctuaries and where veterinary care has not been able to diagnose the issue or find a helpful treatment. It is used to treat animals with behavioural issues and can improve the quality of life for older animals

Reiki is a natural calm therapy that promotes the bodies natural process of self-healing. Animals are far more aware of energy than us humans. It can reduce stress, and helps emotional issues which can be very helpful for rescue animals who have experienced trauma, and nervous pets. For example. a visit to the vet, travel, bonfire night, storms and thunder and other stressful situations. Sometimes there is a need to treat both the owner and animal as the animal’s problems may have arisen from a stressed owner.

Reiki always acts for the animals highest good. Animals will choose whether to accept Reiki or not and cannot be forced. If their body does not want to receive it the energy will not flow. This is the case when they have received enough healing the energy will stop flowing as they no longer need to accept it from the practitioner. There is no need to disrupt or move an animal, they can be beside you in the comfort of their home or it can be given through distant healing. In fact letting the animal choose is by far the best way to offer Reiki to an animal.


Bramble Five Freedoms

Posted on 30 June, 2019 at 15:25 Comments comments (487)

Bramble five freedoms


The Five Freedoms were developed in response to a 1965 United Kingdom Government report on livestock husbandry. The Five Freedoms set standards for humane animal care which was initially set for livestock but later the principles of care included the keeping of companion animals also.

In a paper published in 2016 in Animals (an international, journal devoted entirely to animals including zoology and veterinary sciences) Dr Mellor stated that Scientific understanding over the last two decades showed that the 1965 Government Five Freedoms was mainly to take care of the animal’s welfare in livestock and did not include companion animals and the mental well-being of the animal and their quality of life.

In 2017 Dr Mellor published a paper in Animals and explained that “the purpose of the five domains was to draw attention to areas that are relevant to both animal welfare assessment and management”.

These Five Freedoms and correlating Five Provisions are accepted worldwide: 

1 Freedom from hunger or thirst, provided by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour

2 Freedom from discomfort, provided by an appropriate environment, including shelter and comfortable resting area.

3 Freedom from pain, injury, or disease, provided by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.

4 Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour, provided by sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal’s own kind.

5 Freedom from fear and distress, provided by ensuring conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering.

Sadly, the Five Freedom Principles are not being carried out in some agricultural practices, animal shelters, rescues, puppy mills, and Zoos. Dr David J Mellor, PhD Director of the Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre and professor of Animal Welfare Science at Massey University in New Zealand, developed and promoted a set of guidelines more progressive, that goes beyond taking care of an animal’s basic needs.

Many of our agricultural practices still fall short of these standards. 

In order to provide clear guidance for animal welfare and management Dr Mellor described correlating provisions in each of these domains of modern humane animal keeping.

1 Good Nutrition

Provide ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour. Minimize thirst and hunger, and enable eating to be a pleasurable experience. 

I maintain that it is essential to provide a proper balance of nutrients when feeding your animal. Animals need a balanced diet for growth and maintenance of a healthy body. They need a certain combination of carbohydrates, fats, protein vitamins, minerals and water every day in order to function properly. This can be provided in a good quality species appropriate diet. and varied diet. Fresh water should be available and accessible for your animal. I would also include dental care as a poor diet can be detrimental to your animal’s teeth.

2 Good Environment

Provide shade/shelter or suitable housing, good air quality, and comfortable resting areas. Minimize discomfort and exposure, and promote thermal, physical and other comforts.

In addition to Dr Mellor’s provisions I believe that species and breed and size of your animal and their characteristics should also be taken into consideration.

 3 Good Health

Prevent or rapidly diagnose and treat disease and injury, and foster good muscle tone, posture, and cardiorespiratory function. Minimize breathlessness, nausea, pain, and other aversive experiences and promote the pleasures of robustness, vigour, strength, and well-coordinated physical activity.

 I would like to add to Dr Mellors provisions in good health to ensure that your animal does not become overweight through not being exercised enough and to provide plenty of stimulation to make sure your animal does not become bored and lead to destructive tendencies.

 4 Appropriate Behaviour

Provide sufficient space, proper facilities, congenial company and appropriately varied conditions. Minimize threats and unpleasant restrictions on behaviour and promote engagement in rewarding activities.

I would add allowing your animal to engage in what they like. For example do you allow your dog to sniff and explore when you are out walking? jump around and play whilst enjoying their surroundings. To enjoy your company and the company of other dog’s if they enjoy engaging with other dogs when out. Also to go to different places not the same walk every day if possible.

5 Positive Mental Experiences – Socialization

Provide safe, congenial, and species-specific opportunities to have pleasurable experiences. Promote various forms of comfort, pleasure, interest, confidence, and a sense of control.

I believe that the socialization of a puppy is crucial in the early days of their development in promoting good mental health. Experiences during the first year of a dog’s life can make all the difference to their future temperament and character and can result in a friendly, well-adjusted adult dog who enjoys the company of people and lives life to the full.

In order to socialise your puppy they must encounter a vast array of experiences. However, you must be careful before they are fully vaccinated it is better to invite children and adults and fully vaccinated puppy friendly dogs into your home.

 When your puppy is fully vaccinated introduce them on your travels enjoying new and varied environments for example town and country walks, parks, the beach if you live nearby and to cats and other animals so that they feel comfortable around them.

Visit your vet to get your puppy weighed and bring treats so that a visit to your veterinary surgeon will be a pleasant experience for them. Lots of car rides to help get used to the motion and noise of traffic etc. visit a pet store and let them walk around and a pet friendly café would be great.

It is essential to let them get used to household and garden activities eg. Vacuum cleaners tv radio and especially the lawn mower when mowing the lawn. Lots of sights, sounds and smells. Puppy parties and dog training classes are excellent for socialisation and training.

Remember that it is the quality of the exposure that counts and gently ease your puppy into each new experience. Have treats with you and allow them to watch from a comfortable distance until they are ready to explore.

Golden Years with your Canine Companion

Posted on 24 June, 2019 at 6:10 Comments comments (1204)

You have reached the age of retirement and you have happy times ahead to enjoy with family, friends, and your dogs, who may very well be in their golden years also. It may be daunting to think that your canine companions may be coming to the end of their lives, and what do you do when that devastating sad time arrives?

You are still agile and don’t feel aged in any way but you may have to revise your checklist of desirable adoption-dog characteristics if you wish to add another dog to your family. You may very well have had Great Danes most of your life, but perhaps a smaller and maybe older dog would be a better fit at this moment in time when you are a sprite 70-year-old.

Older dogs have a harder time in finding a forever home so it is a win win for both of you. We are told use it or lose it, and walking is essential for our health and well- being all dogs need exercise also, but a large dog pulling on their lead pulling you down the street is not a good choice. However, a zippy and active young dog may also be a tripping hazard for an adult with mobility challenges so perhaps it is very wise to opt for a mature trained dog.

Ageing with dogs is very positive. There are lots of good things about being a senior dog owner. When you reach retirement, you have more time to spend with them. Having an animal companion helps to ease loneliness and stress. They keep you more active and social and if you want to move into a retirement home, many these days welcome companion animals, recognizing that the physical and mental health of their residents is enhanced by their animal companion.

You may want to travel and holiday with your animal companion and there are lots of pet friendly hotels. Motor homes are very popular these days and you can even visit friends without imposing your furry companion on them with their home from home motor home.

raining for you and excellent for your dog, or hire a dog trainer to come to your home.


So, are there any down sides to being an ageing pet owner. Perhaps it is a matter of finances. Can you afford to take care of one or more animal companion? Can you afford food, bedding and any emergencies that crop up? If your animal companion is elderly medical needs can be expensive.

Dog equipment to make fastening easier is available. Front clip harnesses ease the pain of leash pulling. A waist belt is extremely helpful for people with arthritic hands, that can clip your dog’s lead to your belt. This transfers the dog’s pulling pressure to your hips and allows you to be hands free. Of, course you have to be stable enough and that your dog isn’t too big and able to pull you over. Bungee leads give some stretch and can reduce impact if your dog runs to the end of the lead. Ezy Dog shock lead works very well. Ruffwell sells a waist belt that comes with a stretchy lead. Dog ramps can be useful if you cannot pick your dog up to get into the car or jump on your bed. You can also give treats on sticks, as simple as peanut butter on a long-handled wooden spoon can make it easier.


Hiring a professional dog walker for a few days can also be beneficial to you both if you are not feeling up to walking on any particular day. Family can help with visits to the vet, groomer, and training classes. You can also find mobile groomers to come to your home that will collect your dog. There are many online companies that will deliver pet supplies to your home.

The most important and difficult discussion with your family is about planning for their dog’s future. Family can make these decisions easier by putting their minds at rest that their companions will be cared for in the event of their death. This is what puts many elderly people off having a canine companion but do not want their canine companion to outlive them. However, there are several solutions to ensure your dog is cared for after you are gone.


Ask family and friends before you designate them to care for your dog’s care in a will. And leave instructions as to what food they eat, medical issues and any medication, your veterinarians name and contact number and your companions favourite toys and sleeping places and general routine.


You can sign up for a canine care card with the Dog’s Trust. The service is free of charge whereby your dog will be cared for by people who love dogs. They promise that they never destroy a healthy dog and that your dog will be kept safe, warm, given medical care, looked after and loved until they find a forever home. Please note that, especially in the case of an older dog, they may never find a forever home again.

Exercising Your Dog!

Posted on 19 May, 2019 at 7:30 Comments comments (560)

Exercise is a key part of our dog’s health, happiness and wellbeing. Exercise maintains a healthy weight, muscle mass, and keeps joints mobile, it is part of your dogs’ natural instincts to be active and is a key part of your dog’s health.

Exercise avoids health problems and natural light has many benefits on mental and physical health for both you and your dog. Dog’s need exercise to prevent negative behaviour so if you don’t tire them out, they will soon be up to mischief chewing your furniture when they are frustrated and bored.

There is a danger of weight gain if your dog does not get enough exercise and there can be a tendency towards increased aggression towards other pets or people due to lack of exercise resulting in mental stress. However, if any destructive behaviour does not stop once they are getting enough exercise you should consult your veterinary surgeon

When choosing your dog, you will have to consider your own life style, as not all dogs are the same and some need considerably more exercise than others. Consistency and building up endurance is the key especially as puppies and young dogs. The UK Kennel Club recommend five minutes for each month of their age up to twice a day, plus playful exercise.

Avoid being a couch potato on week days, and an athlete at the week end, as this will only lead to fatigue and muscle soreness. Dogs will slow down with age like ourselves, so more leisurely slower paced walks will be kinder on their muscles and joints.

Over exercise is as bad as no exercise, always check your dogs’ paws for wear and tear, cuts or grazes, irritated skin or swelling. Joint injury can cause difficulty in moving, and tiredness or irritability and limping through muscle pain or stiffness after too much exercise. Heat stroke is also something to be very careful to avoid. Check for excessive panting or drooling, uncoordinated movements or vomiting. Younger and older breeds can have difficulty, and dogs like pugs can’t cool as efficiently as other breeds. An hour either side of walking is best for feeding to avoid stomach upset or bloating.

Canicross has become very popular with many dog owners, some breeds are much better suited to running than others for example sighthounds and lurchers, are speedy across very short distances, but will tire over longer distances and such breeds as Labradors will be happy to run alongside you. Huskies or Border Collies may be happy to go the distance but may need their attention held during the run, and small nosed breeds can have difficulty breathing and are more susceptible to heat stroke. If you intend to go running with your canine mate, build, up endurance slowly, be prepared for stops for sniffing and peeing and don’t forget water for your dog as you want to avoid dehydration

You know your dog and their capabilities and limitations, and it is up to you to stop play and exercise if they get over excited as they can often ignore pain. This especially is important if your dog has had any joint surgery, or joint problems, for example hip dysplasia. Always consult your veterinary surgeon for advice regarding exercise.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding your dog’s health.

Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) or Alabama Wood Rot

Posted on 4 May, 2019 at 8:05 Comments comments (716)

Alabama dog rot was first identified amongst greyhounds in the state of Alabama in the 1980s. After the first flare up, the number of reported cases dwindled and as no clinical research was carried out, the disease was almost relegated to history. Because no one has been able to determine what causes the disease, it is now only recognisable by its collection of clinical symptoms. The Environment Agency has ruled out any chemical contamination in water supplies and the source of the disease is unknown. However, Experts believe the disease is very similar to Alabama Rot, thought to be related to a toxin produced by E Coli bacteria. However, no evidence of this has been found after no signs were shown on the infected dogs. Alabama dog rot is a disease that causes damage to a dog's blood vessels and the kidney. It is a mysterious disease which is hard to identify, early detection is vital and sadly, very difficult to treat. Since the disease was first detected in 2012 in the UK the number of cases of Alabama dog rot in dogs has risen. The most serious outbreak was in the New Forest region of Hampshire but there have also been reported cases in several other counties, with the most recent cases reported Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, Devon, Dorset, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Greater Manchester and Worcestershire. In 2018 there were 46 confirmed cases of Alabama dog rot, following 40 cases in 2017 and 19 in 2016. There has been some speculation that walking dogs in particular areas of the countryside may be a contributing factor, but the Forestry Commission has yet to warn of any specific sites being dangerous, reassuring dog owners by saying. Many thousands of dogs are walked in the countryside every day and it is important to remember only a very small number of dogs have been affected. This is not what a devastated owner wants to hear after their dog has been affected and tragically died. Knowing that it is on the rise again in the UK and dogs have been affected in Ireland it is time to take preventative precautions for your dog. However, there is no specific steps to take to prevent your dog from contracting the disease, there is some evidence of seasonal fluctuation, with most cases appearing between November and June. New advice suggests keeping your dog away from very muddy areas, as it is suspected that the disease spreads from muddy and woody areas. General advice given is to monitor where your dog goes on your walks and to wash off any mud as soon as possible after your walk After your walk especially in muddy woody areas, rinse off the worst of the mud with a hose, bathe your dog and dry thoroughly. It may seem over the top but if the dog is not very muddy it is a precaution to wash and dry paws. The first sign of Alabama Rot is skin sores that have not been caused by physical injury. These sores can present as lesions, swelling, a patch of red skin, or may be open and ulcer-like. The sores are most commonly found below the knee or elbow or occasionally on the stomach or face. Usually, this will cause localised hair loss and the dog will begin licking the wound. These lesions will be followed between two and seven days later with outward symptoms of kidney failure: reduced appetite fatigue, and vomiting. Affected dogs will also develop signs of severe depression.