Senior Dogs

Senior Dogs - 5 ways to keep them safe and healthy on a walk

5 ways to keep senior dogs safe and healthy on a walk

Just lately I’ve seen a lot of senior dogs out and about being walked by their owners.

I’m not saying there are more senior dogs out than normal. I think I just notice them more because I’m the owner of a senior dog.

In fact the age range of a senior dog is really quite wide. Many class a dog as a senior when they hit 7 years, which seems young. But in good old dog years (1 dog year = 7 human years) this makes the dog 49.

But you can actually break this down depending on the size of a dog. It’s well known that giant breed dogs don’t live as long as small dogs.

So you can use the following as a rule of thumb for your dog reaching senior citizenship:

Small dog: 11 years

Medium dog: 10 years

Large dog: 8 years

Giant breed dogs: 7 years

senior dog resting

What’s been troubling me lately is that I keep seeing senior dogs out on walks falling over. It literally breaks my heart.

The one that really got me was a dog that had a poo on the pavement then proceeded to stand up and staggered and fell into his own poo.

The dog had two owners with him so they were able to get him up and wipe him down. But what a horrible situation to be in.

Firstly it makes you stare the hard truth in the face. Your dog is getting older and approaching the final stage of their life and they are struggling.

Yes we can see that over the years they’ve got grey hairs spouting on their muzzles, they may be sleeping more, they could have arthritis.

But nothing wakes you up to the fact that your dog is old when they struggle to get up or walk.

Senior dogs

I've got 5 tips to help your senior dog enjoy walks that won't hurt them.

Take them to the vets. Only your vet can really assess whether your dog is in pain. Most of our dogs are very stoic and we can’t tell if they are in pain. Any signs of pain they give are so subtle that us mere dog owners will miss.

Our dogs will also carry on walking or running because they like it. They will not think to themselves, hang on I think I need to rest up. Your vet can advise you if your dog needs medication to manage their pain.

Supplements. Cod liver oil is great for us and our old bones and it’s great for dogs too. There are so many supplements for dogs. I have seen amazing results with Yumove. It does take around 6 weeks to work but can work wonders.

I like to give my dog sardines in oil once a week. Both the fish and oil help with keeping him supple plus it’s cheap and easily available. Sardine Sunday’s are a winner here! If your dog has any specific medical condition, on regular medication or allergies then you check with your vet first before starting any supplements.

Stop pounding the pavements. Pop your dog in the car (now might also be the time to look at a ramp for your dog to get into the car) and drive to a place where you can get straight onto grass.

If a dog does fall then grass is a much safer place for them to do so. This is essential if your dog is wobbly on its paws.

Have a rest day. I can not say this enough, no dog needs to go for a walk everyday. And this is certainly true for a senior dog that is struggling. Take them out one day and then have a day off.

With older dogs you rarely have to worry that they are going to destroy your house because they haven’t had enough exercise. You can play brain games with your dog on a rest day, but chances are they will be sleeping. Senior dogs sleep as much as a puppy.

I know that you probably got a dog so that you could enjoy long walks together but you need to face facts that your dog won’t be able to manage those long walks now. Enjoy the shorter walks and remember the long ones. Don’t force an old dog that is wobbly on its legs for a long walk just because it’s what you have always done.

Use a dog stroller. If your older dog really is struggling to walk then use a dog specific stroller. Your dog will appreciate seeing the sights and fresh smells but without causing him any further discomfort. You can get strollers of various sizes. It’s always worth looking on selling sites for one.

Old dog laying down

My own dog is almost 14. Everyday is a blessing to have him still with me. He can’t run like he use to or walk great lengths. His stamina has gone. But we have sporadic short walks, trips in the car and plenty of brain games. He is happy. He loves his little outings but they do tire him out.

As much as I don’t want him to be old, he is and I’ve had to adapt how to care for him. Have you adapted the care of your dog so that it suits his age?

You can get your FREE copy of my ebook ‘Engage & Entertain’ here. It’s full of brain games that have all been tested out on my 13 year old dog.  Tea towel surprise is his favourite!

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, Woofers Dog Services,  she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. Sally is also the author of  “The Lockdown Dog” and “Dazzle Your Dog” You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Dog Walking and Training Haverhill

ROMANIAN RESCUE DOG – 5 ways to help them settle in

Congratulations! You have just adopted a Romanian Rescue Dog, you are a superstar! You have saved that dog from a life on the streets or even worse the kill shelter.

But are you really prepared for them to join your family in your home?

Because let’s be clear, they aren’t the average rescue dog that you will find in our rescue centres here in the UK. A lot of those dogs have never lived in houses before.

Most Rommie’s haven’t ever known a home. They have never known dinner time. It’s unlikely that they have never experienced being loved and cared for. They may have been beaten. Quite probably, they may have been starved.

I’ve got 5 sure-fire ways to help your new Romanian rescue dog settle in their new home.

1. A safe place for their bed

Romanian Rescue Dog safe

Your new dog may never have experienced a plush dog before. Whilst they are getting acclimatised to living in a home and all the soft comforts it brings I recommend buying a single quilt and cover and fold it into half and half again.

If your new dog has a toilet accident it’s easy to wash. It will also provide cushioning for them if they are on the thin side.

It’s also relatively cheap in case your Rommie decides that they would like to chew it up and destroy it.

Remember you don’t know yet how your Romanian rescue dog is going to react to the situation they have found themselves in.

But the bed you choose for your dog isn’t as important as where you put it. It needs to be somewhere that will purely be for your dog and your dog alone.

This could be a space under the stairs or a quiet corner of a room. It shouldn’t be anywhere near where you are walking in and out of a room. A crate is ideal, and again should be placed in a quiet area of the house.

Whatever you choose it needs to be a sanctuary for your new dog. It needs to be somewhere quiet, away from any other dogs or small children.

2. Leave your Romanian rescue dog alone

Romanian street dog

I know it’s exciting to have them home and you want to stroke, cuddle and play with you new arrival but let’s just think about it.

If your dog has come direct from Romania then they have had a hell of a journey. Seriously, they have been travelled for ages.  They would have been crated, apart from comfort breaks all that time.  They would have endured being handled by different people and been on different types of transportation.

They are going to be very tired, and likely to be a shell shocked.  It’s also unlikely that they have never been inside a home before so imagine having to deal with that too.

Not only that but you will undoubtedly be talking to them in a language that they may not have heard before.  They may have a name, but it would have been given to them when they were put up for rehoming.  They won’t necessarily associate the name with themselves.

Basically, they have been through a huge ordeal and they need time to decompress.  Time to rest from all the stress of their journey to you. So leave them alone, if they come up to you wanting fuss then that’s great, give them some fuss.  Be led by them.

3. No visitors

Sad romanian dog

Ok, I know you have been patiently waiting for your new dog to arrive.  No doubt you have been sharing photos and the news of your new arrival.  But just ask everyone to stay away for a few days.

As I previously said your dog needs time to decompress.  They are shell shocked.  The last thing they need is umpteen people coming through the house petting them and calling them over.

There will be plenty of time for that.

And just from a safety point of few it’s good to keep people away whilst you are getting to know your dog.  The rehoming charity may have prepped you with what characteristics your dog has, but be warned, some have not spent any real time with your dog.  They have made a call on what your dog is like with little time spent with the dog. 

Your dog may have been advertised as dog friendly but could be reactive to others.  They could have been described as child friendly but in fact they jump up at everyone.

Use this time to get to know your dog, everyone else will have their time at a later date.

4. No walks yet for your Romanian rescue dog

Rommie dog

I know that you can’t wait to get your new family member out and about.  I bet you have got them a really smart collar and lead for the occasion too.  But, as I mentioned earlier, they have had a stressful journey to get to you. 

For some it will be more stressful than others, but either way your dog needs time to rest and get over their journey to you.  They need time to get to know their new surroundings and work out who the hell you are.

It takes a dog at least 72 hours to decompress.  They will be feeling overwhelmed.  Of course they could be feeling scared.  They may not be relaxed enough to be their selves.  Possibly they may not want to eat or drink.  They could completely shut down as a way to help them cope with the stress they are going through.

So the last thing they need is the stress of a walk and potential situations that they have never encountered before like traffic, reactive dogs, screaming children or squirrels.  In fact they may have never been on a lead walk before so even just putting on a lead or harness could be a huge ordeal for them.

Give them that time, or more if they need it to chill out and relax.

5. Leave the lead on

Romanian Rescue Dog

Most newly adopted dogs are at risk of escaping in the first few weeks in their new home and environment.

For Rommies that have survived on the street, they will be very skilled at getting out of places.  That 6ft fence may be no issue for them.  Honest.  I know it’s hard to believe that the little dog you have just rehomed could possibly get over that 6ft fence, but a stressed dog is capable of many things if they feel threatened.

So, the best thing to do is to pop a lead on them whenever you take them into the garden to reduce that risk till your dog is feeling safe in their home.

FREE Brain Games eBook

If you would like to work towards building an awesome relationship with your dog you can sign up here to my free eBook, Engage & Entertain,

In it you will find games that not only work your dog’s brain, tires them out but also really helps them focus on you.

Originally written to help owners with their dogs during the first Lockdown when we we were limited to going out once a day, this eBook has also been beneficial to owners of newly adopted dogs.

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. Sally is also the author of  “The Lockdown Dog” and “Dazzle Your Dog” You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Dog Walking and Training Haverhill

5 dog items I can’t live without in this New Normal world

New normal world - essential items for dog owners

I originally did this blog a few years ago. But times have changed and our needs as dog parents are now very different in this new normal world. So I've updated this list and included some products that have helped me to keep my dog happy but also deal with social distancing rules and avoiding transference of viruses.

As before these 5 items have all made my life a little easier and most importantly they save me time. I use all these items and I am going to explain how they work and what I use them for.

These leads have literally kept my business going before, during and after the lockdown.  Biothane leads are bacteria and water resistant. As well as that they are so simple to wipe clean.  I use antibac wipes and wipe each lead down in between every walk I do.  At the end of the day I wash them in some hot water and washing up liquid and boom, they are ready for the next day’s adventures.

As well as biothane leads, Victoria from Bella Bows Boutique who made these leads for me, also makes biothane collars. There are sizes, styles and colours to suit all dogs  from a little dachshund to a deep chested greyhounds and more.

I have used these leads for 6 months now, and I think its fair to say I walks dogs more than the average person.  Yet these leads still look spanking new.  Winner.  I don’t think I will ever go back to regular cloth leads for my professional walks now. These are very much part of my new normal, and are here to stay.

Woofers Dog Services

I upgraded from my last reccomendation of the hozelock portable shower to this little mobile beast!

The difference with this is that it has a brush already built into it.  So it’s great for muddy paws, or muddy tyres, or garden furtniture that has been pooed on by the pigeons.

Yet when I ventured out a month after lockdown this proved to be my saving grace.  Way back in April 2020 the restrictions of lockdown were very tight.  I could only walk dogs if I could wash my hands and wash all equipment.  At that point sanitiser and anti bac wipes were a no no.  So this became my new normal mobile car boot washing station for me and my equipment.

Washing dogs muddy paws

What I really love about this is that it has a slider button just near the button you press to get the water coming through the brush.  But if you put this slider across then it just emits a constant stream till it runs out of pressure (you just pump it up again) or water (which you just fill up.)

If you do need it for muddy paws then this is what I advise you to do. Fill it 3 quarters of the way up with water.  Take a flask of hot water with you.  Once you have had the walk pour the hot water in to the tank, give it a shake and spray down those muddy paws.  You can also add shampoo to it or washing up liquid if you are having the same problem as me with pigeon pooping everywhere!

Dogs poo a lot.  When I started my business, I admit I used value nappy bags.  I figured they were cheap and if you can put a stinking full nappy in it then it would be fine for dog poo. I found out quickly it was a false economy.  Yes, the bags split and yes, my hands regularly got covered in poo.  Nice! 

So, I did lots of research and I brought Pogi’s Poop Bags.  They are biodegradable, big and smell so good!  I am addicted to the smell of them!  They are much longer than the average nappy bag and at least 5 times at strong (dog poo is heavy!) I brought a big box of them (50 rolls/450 bags) and it came with 2 dispensers.

This cost me around £20.  I use on average 2/3 rolls a week so this box will last me between 17 – 25 weeks.  Of course I do pick up a lot of poo, so I think this is great value for money.  I bought mine from Amazon and I’ve had clean hands ever since.  Happy days!

Yet again the lockdown meant that these have found an alternative use in my new normal world. They have become rubbish bags for all my used antibac wipes and disposable gloves.  I also pop my Kong balls in a new bag after I have cleaned them after each dog.

This one single item has changed my world! I wash lots of dog beds, dog towels and dog toys.  Lots of them, in fact I think I wash more dog related stuff than regular washing. 

The only problem was that I would have to put my washing machine on at least 2 empty cycles to get rid of the dog hair.  The amount of times I pulled out a jumper that was sporty an unintentional hairy look! 

Then I found the pet washing bag.  Simple, easy to use, a big life changer!  You just pop your dog stuff in the bag, zip it up, pop it in the washing machine, take dog stuff out and give the bag a shake outside to get rid of the dog hair that it has trapped.  Dog hair free washing machine for the cost of around a tenner! Also great for cats too.

This product was in my old normal world and continues you straight into my new normal world.  I don’t ever see a time when I won’t be using it.

Before COVID-19 I had heard a lot about this product but I never got round to getting any because, as far as I was concerned, I had an adequate first aid kit.

But I soon stocked up on it because I knew how effective it was.  As the Leucillin makers say on their website:

Due to the speed in which surviving bacterial cells can reproduce, a 99.9% kill rate is not sufficient. Leucillin contains an extra strength formula, which kills 99.99999%, to ensure that not a single pathogen cell survives.

Top dog products

I was able to use this, to spray any contact I made directly with the dogs collar or harness and  I could also spray the dogs fur with this.  And right back when you couldn’t get sanitiser for love nor money, I used this on my hands instead.

On top of that it’s bloody brilliant for keeping wounds clean. You can get this from many online stores, including Amazon and also from Pets at Home.

It’s now very much a part of my new normal first aid kit.

So that’s my 5 essential items that you need as a dog parent in our new normal world, you can find all these online.  Please do your own research to ensure they are the right product for you and your dog.  Please note I received no payment for endorsing these products, I just happen to think they are brilliant!

Love, Sally x

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. Sally is also the author of  “The Lockdown Dog” and “Dazzle Your Dog” You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Dog Walking and Training Haverhill

4 ways to protect your puppy from dog theft

Dog theft is on the rise - is your dog safe?

One of the things that has been on the rise as we come out of lockdown is dog theft. In particular puppies are being stolen in high quantities.

Lockdown saw a huge demand for puppies. For many prospective pet owners, it was the ideal time to welcome a puppy into their homes.

Most people were at home, either working from home or on furlough which meant puppy wasn’t on their own for too long, which is ideal when you are teaching puppy a new routine, toilet training and generally how to be a good pup!

Sadly, this meant that some unscrupulous people saw this as a way to make money. And lots of it. Prices of puppies ridiculously increased due to the demand, simultaneously causing dog theft to rise.  In fact, according to Dog Lost there was a 65% rise in dog thefts during lockdown compared with last year.

So, what can you do to protect your puppy?  I have come up with 4 ways for you to help keep puppy safe.

haverhill puppy

1. Don't splash them all over social media

I know they are incredibly cute, and you want everyone to see your beautiful fur baby but you could potentially put your pet at risk.

Instead, why not set up a private Facebook group. You can invite trusted friends and family to see your puppy’s adventures that way.

Or set up an Instagram page for your pet. Just make sure your location is never shown on the post and be careful about giving away your location in photos. Of course, you could always make your account private.

And be careful with hashtags. If you are wondering what hashtags are, they are basically an easy way to find what you are looking for on the internet. So if you use a hashtag such as #newpuppy you could be making it easier for them to be targeted.

dog theft haverhill

2. Make sure you never leave your dog unattended in the garden

Yes you want them to go out as they need to but you have to keep an eye on them.  Always. A lot of dog thefts are opportunistic. You could be busy on the phone, puppy is in the garden and suddenly they are gone.

Gardens are the most likely place for dogs to be stolen for. Which is just awful. The Pet Theft Census reveals that 52% off dogs are stolen from gardens.

Likewise make sure your garden in secure. Don’t just rely on a bolt at the top of your garden. Put a padlock on it. Then add another bolt and padlock further down your gate where no arm can reach over to.

Whilst you are making it secure make sure that you have got lights in your garden to.  Security camera can get on your nerves by keep going on and off, but they do that for a purpose.

If you have a low fence, then now is the time to invest in a 6ft fence.

Puppy security

3. Set up a security system

I know it seems a bit drastic but you have no doubt paid a lot of money for your puppy so pay out a bit more to keep them secure.

Set up a security camera on the approach to your house. Depending on what sort of house you have then you certainly should consider adding more cameras to the side and back of the house.

At the very least put up some dummy cameras and out notices up on your back gate and fence to say your property is protected but take down any that say you have a dog.

dog theft suffolk

4. Be vigilant on walks

As I said earlier most puppy thefts are opportunistic so walks out are just as much of a threat.

Make sure puppy has a dog tag on (it’s the law – you can read more about that here.) It maybe an idea to have a couple of tags so that you can hear puppy jingling when they move.

Only let puppy of the lead if they have unquestionable recall. Can they resist the lure of steak from an unknown person?

Take your puppy to a secure dog field for off the lead fun. Go to local classes to work up to that awesome recall. In the meantime use a long lead for a bit of leeway.

Our duty of care to our dogs are to keep them safe. Especially more so to a vulnerable, unworldly young puppy. Yes you may have to invest to keep your puppy safe, but wouldn’t you rather they were with you all their life than just for a few weeks?

We cover recall in all our puppy and adult dog classes.  It’s never too late to work on recall.  Find out more about our classes here

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. Sally is also the author of  “The Lockdown Dog.” You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Dog Walking and Training Haverhill

Dog Tags – The Truth

I’ve been looking online for an identity tag for Frank.  I began to wonder what actually should be on them.  I asked friends and family and everyone had something different to say. People were split on whether you should have your dog’s name on it or not.  Some people seem to think now you have the microchip law you don’t need a tag.  Others would tell me it was owners choice.  I needed something a bit more concrete.  So I researched it and today I am sharing my findings with you.

The Truth

It is the law that every dog must have a tag. If you choose for your dog to not wear a collar you need to ensure that your dog, at least, wears one in public. The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved on it, or engraved on a tag.  Your telephone is optional but considering that this law was passed in 1992 and mobile phones were only starting to make an appearance, I would highly recommend you put a contact number on it.

So what about putting your dog’s name on the tag?  Well according to the law its optional.  There are 2 opinions.  The first one is that if your dog got lost the person who found your dog would be able to help it settle if they know its name.  Then there is the flip side.  If your dog was stolen it could easily be sold on as it would react to its name and the potential new owner would not suspect that the dog was stolen.  So it’s your choice whether you put a name on the tag or not.

Did I mention you can be fined if your dog does not have an identification tag?  You can be fined up to £5000.  Dog tags are cheap, you can get them of Ebay, Amazon or at your local Timpsons. 

An example of what to put on the tag (by law) is:

Mr A Smith, No 54, BH17 7TD 01202 232218

Or

Mr A Smith, No 54 Letsbe Avenue, BH17 7TD 01202 232218

I’ve now ordered new tags for all my dogs, they cost me £4.80 each of Ebay,  and I have put the following on mine (but with my details):

IF I AM OUT ALONE I AM LOST PLEASE FIND MY OWNER: SMITH 54/BH17 7TD 01202 232218

Happy tag shopping, and whilst you are getting one done why not get a spare one done at the same time.

Love Sally xx

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Dog Walking and Training Haverhill