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Motion sickness: What can you do.

January 16th, 2020

What implications could a car journey have for your dog?

Most dogs get excited when walking towards a car but for those who suffer from motion sickness, the brakes come on, the tail goes down and they’ll most probably crawl or try to escape. Just as a human knows, dogs like this know that even a short car journey means stress, a possible upset stomach, drooling or diarrhoea and for some, all of it.

I know how it feels. As a child, I suffered from motion sickness and even a short 20-minute drive to our cottage included a stop or two for me to get out of the car to get some fresh air. It got better with age and I’m fine now but I still can’t read or text while sitting in the car (panic not, I don’t mean while driving 😂).

Motion sickness is more common in puppies and youngsters than in older dogs.

We presume it’s because the ear structures used for balance aren’t fully developed in puppies. If the first car ride ends up with nausea the dog will begin to associate car travel with uncomfortable sensations, even after his balance system fully matures. Because of this, we have to try to make the first car journeys as relaxing as possible from an early age. Stress can also add to motion sickness (such as if a dog rides in a car only to go to the vets) and the negative sensations associated with a car journey will then be more pronounced.

Motion sickness doesn’t only mean vomiting. Other signs of motion sickness in dogs include:

🚙 Excessive Drooling
🚙 Listlessness
🚙 Uneasiness
🚙 Yawning or panting
🚙 Whining or barking
🚙 Vomiting (even on an empty stomach)
🚙 Fear of cars 

To help your puppy and prevent motion sickness in dogs, try the following approaches:

🚗 Help your dog face forward while traveling by strapping him or her into the seat with a specially designed canine seatbelt or put your dog in a crate so that he can see what’s going on around him.
🚗 Take short car rides to places your dog will enjoy, such as the park, beach or woods.
🚗 Lower car windows a few inches to equalize the inside and outside air pressure.
🚗 Keep your car cool.
🚗 Don’t feed your dog before traveling.
🚗 Give your dog a treat or two every time he or she gets into the car and be excited about it!
🚗 Give your dog a toy that he or she enjoys and can have only in the car.
🚗 Start with short rides (just a few minutes).
🚗 If necessary, spray your dog with Calming Floral Spray again.
🚗 Give your dog a one to two-week break from car rides.
🚗 If possible use a different vehicle to avoid triggering your dog’s negative response to your usual vehicle. 

You can also:

🚕 Walk your puppy/ dog towards and around the car without getting into it.
🚕 Spend some time with your pup in the car with the engine off. 


Please note: If a dog continues to appear ill even after several car rides you should consult a veterinarian about treatment for motion sickness!

Do you know what I’m going to do on my next car drive? I’m going to take Calming Floral Spray and a book, I’m then going to spray myself… AND READ (still not me driving 🤣)!!

I’ll keep you posted on the result!

Jitka xx

5 Reasons Why the Elderly Need a Pet.

January 9th, 2020

I’m writing this blog while visiting my parents in Slovakia. It’s so nice to be home and to spend time with them because I get to enjoy mum’s cooking, play cards, watch old films, chat and of course, walk Cherry 😍. Do you remember her? She’s the little black and white chihuahua that changed my parents lives considerably for the better.

“After the final no there comes a yes. And on that yes the future world depends. No was the night. Yes is this present sun.”
Wallace Stevens

We’ve had dogs in our family since I was 13. After my parents lost our last dog a few years ago, mum didn’t want another dog. This surprised me but she said she didn’t want the responsibility and was also worried about walking a dog on the icy roads in the winter. As a result, for a few years, she just looked after her friends’ dogs while they were on holiday. The thing is that every time she had a little holidaymaker with her she lit up because she had somebody to look after, walk and play with… a little project, something to occupy her and something to entertain her.

I tried to convince her that a little dog would be good for them both but there were always arguments like who would look after him/her if they came to visit me? What if my dad leaves the door open and the dog escapes? How will the regular holidaymakers react and how was she going to walk her/him in winter when worrying about falling? After years and years of me begging, we slowly started to discuss each obstacle and they became smaller and smaller.

As Marie Forleo says… everything is figureoutable.

We eventually got to the point where we discussed what breed to get. When choosing a dog or another pet for an elderly person choose wisely and think ahead!

The benefits of pet ownership for my parents are fabulous and the love, affection, stimulation and joy that Cherry has brought is obvious (this isn’t even mentioning the health benefits such as lowering stress, blood pressure and increasing mental acuity) but owning a dog also carries daily chores and responsibilities and the elderly person has to be up for it.

This is why we settled on a Chihuahua and we haven’t regretted it for one minute.

A small dog doesn’t require as much exercise as a medium or large breed would and I don’t have to worry that the dog will pull my mom over on an icy road. It’s easy to travel with and let’s not forget… less expensive to look after.

There are other benefits too…

1) Taking Care of Something

My sister and I left home years ago and my sister’s kids left the home town as well. Once the last dog left, there was no one to look after. The desire to be useful and of value doesn’t magically disappear when people retire and their kids grow up and build their own independent lives. It’s very satisfying to take care of another living thing for them too

2) Getting Out

Having a dog, requires walks (especially because my parents live in a flat). Going out every day helps my mom to stay connected to life – to other dog owners, the vet, and maybe eventually a groomer as well. Having a pet is a good way to stay involved in your community.

4) Companionship

My parents have been together for 52 years. In the past ,when they worked together and looked after us, there was always something to talk about but after retirement they kind of grew apart… spoke less and had no common interests. Cue Cherry and the whole energy changed! This lovely little dog gave them a reason to talk more, to laugh together and to love.

For many elderly people loneliness can become an unwelcome companion and getting older can lead to depression as well as physical problems. A dog can change an elderly person’s life, their schedule and personality. A dog is never unavailable or off duty and smaller dogs, in particular, are even easy to travel with meaning you can have him/her by your side always.

5) Having a Routine

We are creatures of habit and we need our routines and the routine of caring for a pet can give structure and purpose to your daily life. Perhaps there comes a time where an older person doesn’t want to get out of bed and the dog would need her to?

I hope I’ve given you all something to think about. Maybe you’ve had these same experiences too? 

I LOVE feel good stories so please send me a message and share your experiences with me ❤︎

Jitka xx

Jumping into 2020

January 3rd, 2020

Dogs can’t make new year’s resolutions.

Also they can’t change their daily habits to improve their lives without us. It’s our responsibility to ensure our dog is looked after when it comes to weight, exercise, brain stimulation, and overall health. 

With this in mind… here are 5 Practical New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Owners!

1. Keep them in shape.

A popular new year’s resolution is to get in better shape by changing eating habits and exercising more. A dog, however, is not going to look in a mirror and judge his body and decide that the time to do something about it is now. He doesn’t know that extra weight can increase the risk of many types of cancers and can cause diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis and faster degeneration of affected joints as well as urinary bladder stones.

We do though and only we can do something about it.

We are the ones who choose the food and treats that we give to our dogs as well as the amount. A dog can’t open a fridge or a cupboard (unless you don’t shut it properly) and feed himself, therefore, we need to know what to feed him and how much as well as keep an eye on his waistline. 

I’m a big advocate of raw feeding. Modern dog food is high in simple carbohydrates, low in protein, and full of unfavourable fats which is a perfect recipe for your dog to gain weight. With all this in mind, why not feed your dog a more natural diet which is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and has the right amount of good fat?

Every species needs to eat biologically appropriate food.

For example, pandas must eat bamboo and dogs, like wolves, need high-quality animal protein to thrive. Next time you buy food for your dog, check the labels. How much and what kind of protein is in your dog’s food and how much carbohydrates does it contain (rice, wheat, potato, corn)?

When you change your dog’s feeding plan make sure that the whole family is on the same page. Who is the weakest link in your family? Who is the one that will always sneak a treat under the dining table? 👀

2. Check the smile.

As we all know dogs have sharp, strong teeth, and powerful jaws. They not only need their teeth for eating but also carrying stuff around, playing, communicating, chewing your slippers and steeling your sandwich. In the wild, their teeth and jaws once enabled them to hunt, catch and eat prey.

Dental issues are one of the most common health problems in dogs and these problems with teeth and gums can have a negative impact on a dog’s overall health and quality of life. I’m talking about…

🦷 Discolouration of teeth
🦷 Visible tartar build-up
🦷 Inflamed gums
🦷 Bleeding gums
🦷 Bad breath
🦷 Difficulty to eat
🦷 Loss of appetite
🦷 Apathy
 

Did you now that it is estimated that by the time they are 2 years old, 80% of dogs begin to show signs of oral disease.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a biofilm that develops on the teeth. It’s a white-like matter largely composed of bacteria that has an unpleasant odour that worsens the longer it remains in the mouth. It not only smells bad, but it also causes tooth decay and gum irritation.

If plaque is not removed, it turns into tartar.

Tartar is a yellow or brownish hard substance also known as calculus that remains fixed to the surface of the teeth and is hard to remove. Plaque and tartar are the primary cause of loose teeth and gum disease but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Emmi-Pet Teeth Cleaning System is non-invasive and effective. It will not only benefit the dog’s teeth but their health in general as unhealthy teeth and gums will affect the dog’s whole body. Ultrasound reaches deep below the gum line to kill germs and bacteria and cleans the teeth and gums to prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar.  At the same time, it increases the blood flow to the gums to heal wounds and stop bleeding.

The Emmi-Pet effectively combats:

Gingivitis and periodontitis
Oral cavity diseases
Plaque and tartar build-up
Bad breath


The Emmi-Pet toothbrush is vibration free and no brushing is necessary.

3. Spend more quality time as a pack.

Dogs are pack animals. In the wild, pack animals such as wild dogs and wolves, hunt together, eat together, rest together and raise their pups together. Now I’m not suggesting you take your dog on a hunt but maybe a walk in a different field or a different park would be nice for him because he’ll get to explore different territories. 

If you can’t take your dog off the lead then make a change and let him choose where to go (just make sure it’s safe). Let him decide how long he wants to sniff that one tiny leaf for 🐕‍🦺. 

Perhaps even plan some extra cuddle time while watching TV? Studies show that a little extra TLC goes a long way towards happiness and health ❤︎.

4. First aid course.

For many of us our dog is frankly our most loyal companion and as dog owners, we are fully responsible for them. Many owners would, however, struggle to help their dog in an accident or emergency. Just like us our dogs are susceptive to serious health conditions like strokes, poisoning, heart attacks, broken bones or even organ failure and it’s very important to know how to deal with situations like this. What is the best way to learn how? Yip… take a First Aid Course .
 
Click here to see if your first aid is up to scratch.

5.  Brush, brush, brush, comb.

When it comes to grooming advice the internet is FULL of tips on how to groom your dog. Some of them are good, some not so good, and some are just shocking 😱.

Read my blog here to get some REAL puppy grooming tips!

Consistency is key when it comes to grooming. With a puppy, you have to brush and comb him every day, especially if your puppy is really fluffy. I’m telling you, he will get even fluffier and wrigglier with age… unless you do something and the time to do something is now.

Grab your brush, comb, Calming Floral Spray and some tasty treats and go for it. Do this daily for just a few minutes every day and soon it will be a new habit 👍🏻.

So there you have it! 5 new years resolutions for you to kickstart your and your furry friends way into a GREAT 2020!

Jitka xx

First Aid: Is your up to scratch?

December 31st, 2019

For many of us our dog is our most loyal companion. Period.

As dog owners we’re fully responsible for our dogs well-being, however, many owners would struggle to help their dog in an accident or emergency. Just like us, our dogs are susceptive to serious health conditions like strokes, poisoning, heart attacks, broken bones or organ failure and the question is… would you know what to do?

It’s very important to know how to deal with situations like this, so taking a first aid course should be at the top of your list of things to do.

Since moving to the UK I’ve taken numerous first aid courses. As a dog groomer and a boarding kennel owner, I have to take a pet and human first aid course every 3 years. Have I ever had to apply what I learnt? Thankfully, only to manage small incidents, like minor bleedings.

I came a cross a lovely lady named Sophie Bell about a year ago. Sophie is a vet and she also teaches animal first aid courses. When I spoke to Sophie at the BIGA grooming competition in December, we had a little chat about her courses and it went something like this 🙂.

Jitka: Tell us something about yourself and the courses you offer.

Sophie: I’ve been a vet for 10 years. I work mainly in emergency and critical care but also have a love for all things natural too. My courses cover a lot of in-depth information and help pet owners as well as pet professionals.

We talk about health conditions such as diarrhoea and kennel cough and some home remedies that can really help. We look at how to clinically examine your dog and what subtle signs to look for when they’re in pain. There is a practical bandaging element and a chance to try CPR on my state-of-the-art manikin. We discuss different approaches to neutering, vaccinating and deworming and the options available to you. Then we cover the major emergencies such as gastric torsion, pyometra, seizures and ingestion of toxins – how to spot early signs and what you can do. There’s a section on wounds, bleeding and shock and traumatic incidences such as a road traffic accidents. There is an awful lot of information but everyone finds it very useful and they feel empowered once they’ve completed it.

Jitka: You also do a very popular online course?

Sophie: I offer an online version of the course which makes the courses more accessible. It is video based so very visual with a chance for you to test your knowledge and print notes to form your own handbook. Being prepared and understanding your pet is vital to ensure your don’t miss major issues, also being better equipped with information means you can chat to your vet and potentially save on a vet visit if they deem it unnecessary

Jitka: We’re talking mainly about dogs. But what about other small pets?

Sophie: The course focuses on dogs but there is a mention of cats and other small furries. The cat version of the course is being released next year alongside other pet related health courses.


Jitka: As a vet do you see many cases where a dog owner could help his/ her dogs but because of a lack of first aid couldn’t?

Sophie: I see a number of cases where I wish owners had taken a course as they could have saved their pet. One common problem is when pets have a fit. People are unaware of the protocol they should follow to safeguard their pets life.

One huge issue is the heat a pet generates during a seizure. Owners are unaware of this and fail to cool their pet down which can lead to multi-organ failure especially brain damage. That’s why everyone should take these courses as you never know when a pet may fall ill.


I’m happy to report that Sophie is coming to Vita Canis Style to Rescue on the 26th April 2020, as one of our speakers. 

If you don’t want to wait, check Sophie’s online courses here.

Jitka xx  

Tips how to talk to your groomer and get what you’re after.

December 19th, 2019

Does your fur-baby ever come back from the salon looking nothing like you expected? Are you sure you communicated properly with the groomer?

Below are some tips on how to talk to your groomer and get what you’re after 🙂.

I’ve been in the dog grooming industry for over 20 years now and even though I’ve retired, I’m still very much involved. I rent my salon to 3 very talented ladies, do seminars, teach one on one and exhibit my products at grooming shows. On top of this I, of course, still trim my own dogs. Am I the only one who feels that they can’t keep up with how fast their dog’s hair grows 🙈?!

Over the years while talking to other groomers, it’s always the same stories that come up no matter what country you live in… the same misunderstandings and the same requirements and frustrations.

At this time of the year dog groomers are under a lot of pressure because everybody wants their furry friend to be smart for the festive season. They work tirelessly, for many long hours and some have no days off. Been there, done that… not anymore.

To make everybody’s life easier, clear communication is key while also remembering that good communication is a two-way street.

Your dog groomer should ask you open-ended (instead of yes/no) questions about your dog and the style you require. Follow these open-ended questions with more direct questions because this can help ensure that you and your groomer understand each other clearly.

After examining the coat, your groomer will ask you what length of coat you would like (assuming that the dog is well brushed).

“ Short but not too short”

Not a clear answer. Short is anything between 3mm to 2”.  Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the exact length so your groomer may show you the blades and comb attachments to help you to choose.

“ Don’t make him look like a poodle.”

Fellow groomers hear this sentence far too often from crossbreeds owners. This is sometimes very difficult, especially if your cockapoo, shnoodle or labradoodle has a very curly coat like one of his parents or grandparents… the poodle. Yes, the face and feet don’t have to be shaved but the coat on the body and legs will look like a poodle. Also, with age, the coat usually gets more curly and there is nothing anyone can do about.

Life is too short not to fretting over things that cannot be changed. We need to learn to adjust your expectations and change our outlook. Then we don’t waste moments that could have been great ones.

“The last groomer shaved him.”

If you take your dog to a reputable and caring groomer and he/she shaves your dog, there is usually a reason for that. This reason is most likely, a matted coat.

Matting refers to densely tangled clumps of fur in a pet’s coat. If a coat is not properly and/or frequently brushed, loose and live hair become embedded in large masses. Some coat types also matt easier and quicker than others. Harsh coats don’t matt as easily as the wool coats of a poodle or bichon, or the mix wool coat of a cockapoo and doodle.

There are two main reasons your groomer will suggest clipping:

1) If your dog won’t tolerate de-matting it’s the only sensible thing to do. De-matting solid knots is not only painful (imagine you have dreadlocks and you try to brush them out) but it also damages the coat.

2) If the coat is solidly matted and it looks like felting. This results in it being impossible to penetrate the coat with water, shampoo and conditioner.
 
After all this, the good news is that the coat will grow back and while it’s growing you can systematically brush and comb you dog. Check my blog on how to look after different types of coats.

Is brushing your dog stressing you and your dog out? Why not try Calming Floral Spray. Many groomers use it in their salon with great results. I frequently use it on our puppies when teaching them to be brushed, bathed and trimmed and it really does work!

“I want him to look like the dog in this picture”.

Another common requirement that can cause lot of misunderstanding. When we buy a certain breed we all want it to look a certain way and there’s nothing wrong with that. What we don’t realise (me included, years ago) is how much work is involved in creating this definite look. Let’s take a wirehaired Fox terrier for example… neat and tight jacket, fluffy and snow-white legs, rich red/brown and even richer black markings with a crispy beard and short sharp eyebrows, creating the typical expression for long legged terriers. When we see a photo like this we need to realise that there’s hours and hours of hard work that people put into this.

These dogs will be coat stripped weekly (the technique is called rolling), sometimes even twice a week. They’ll have regular bathing and conditioning of the furnishing and will be hand stripped as well. It also has to be accepted that the dog will be stripped bald once or twice a year. This is a very short and simple description about what is required for a show terrier and I’m not even going to start on the different styles for poodles and other breeds and their coat maintenance!

If you’re not showing and you don’t want to put that much effort into the whole process, then you have to compromise.

This is where clear communication between you (as a dog owner) and your groomer is important. Your groomer should happily show you how to brush and comb and what shampoo and conditioner to use and how often etc. They should also offer bathing in between haircuts and tidying up but then it’s your responsibility to do your bit in between too. The more effort you put into your dog’s coat maintenance, the more likely your groomer will be able to create the style you always wanted for your dog.

“To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others”.

Anthony Robbins

Jitka xx

5 TOP possible reasons your dog is itchy.

December 15th, 2019

Is your dog’s skin itchy and you just can’t figure out why?

Here are 5 TOP possible reasons!

1. External parasites

When our dog starts scratching the first thing we’re advised to do is to check for external parasites…. especially fleas. 
 
Flea bites can make a dog uncomfortable and itchy and they can also bring about other problems.

  • Dogs can be hypersensitive to flea saliva causing an allergic reaction.
  • Flea larvae can be infected with tapeworm eggs and if your dog eats an infected flea he can become a host to this parasite. As a result, if your pet has fleas you should treat him for worms.
  • Fleas only suck blood from their hosts as adults. A flea can live from between 14 days to one year and a female can lay up to 50 eggs in one day – that’s 1,500 in a lifetime!
  • It’s estimated that 95 percent of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment (dog beds, carpet, the gaps in flooring) and not actually on your dog.

Regular use of Vita Canis Insect Repelling Citrus Spray repels fleas and stops them from becoming a problem! 

Environmental allergies could one of the reason why your dog is itchy.

2. Environmental allergies

An allergy is an abnormal response to something in the environment and this substance is called an allergen. It’s very common in people and it’s no different for dogs. People, dogs and other animals that are allergic need only come into contact with very small amounts of the allergen to cause the reaction and the symptoms.

Skin problems in dogs are commonly caused by allergic inhalant dermatitis (hay fever, atopy). While humans have mast cells in the respiratory passages that become inflamed and cause sneezing, dogs inhale the pollen but develop atopy in the skin. Dogs don’t usually sneeze with atopy, most just become itchy which causes them to lick, chew and scratch.

When your dog suffers with inhalant allergies it’s impossible to avoid the allergens as the pollen is pretty much everywhere, even though surprisingly, only about 1% of the total weight of a pollen contains the allergic portion! This doesn’t sound too bad, however when you consider that the ragweed plant can produce 1 billion pollen grains and most pollens and moulds can travel 30 miles in the wind that makes it pretty impossible to avoid them.*

I created Vita Canis Skin Relief to help dogs suffering from environmental allergies and to help them deal with the symptoms. Give it a try!

Skin Relief is a 100% natural treatment for dogs suffering from the discomfort of itchy skin. It provides fast relief for allergic reactions, combats itching, and helps break the frustrating cycle of itching and scratching. A synergetic blend of essential oils, hydrosols and soothing calendula oil, supports the skin’s healing process too.

3. Anal glands

Anal glands are small glands on either side a of dog’s anal opening. They produce a particularly thick, smelly, oily liquid secreted by glandular tissue for identification and territory marking. This is the reason dogs smell each others bottoms when they meet and greet. Did you know that?

Domestic dogs and cats have mostly lost their ability to empty these glands voluntarily.  Passing normal firm stools puts a pressure on the rectum walls to empty the glands and to some degree, help to lubricate the anal opening in the process, making it easier for a dog to poo. Dog’s anal glands may spontaneously empty just by walking around, especially under stress, creating a very sudden and very unpleasant change in his odour 🙈.

Anal glands fill for a few reasons but most commonly when the dog’s stools are soft (after a few days of diarrhoea), so there is not enough pressure to empty the glands. Whenever they fail to empty properly there’s a chance of becoming impacted (firmly pressed) or even worse, infected, which is then a very painful condition and requires urgent veterinary treatment. This results in pain, increased swelling and, sometimes, even abscesses and fever.

If the anal glands don’t empty, they become swollen, but it’s not painful.  It does, however, cause discomfort for the dog so he will try to lick his back end, nibble the base of his tail or scratch. 

Years ago, one of my dogs, Blondie, would scratch her ears when her anal glands where full. I have no idea why, but I believe everything is connected.
 

If you see your dog nibbling his back end or tail or dragging his bottom on a floor… have his anal glands checked by a veterinarian. You can also ask your dog groomer to check the glands on your regular visits. Have a look at my blog about this here.

4. Ear problems

If there is no foreign body present in the ear and you wish to use a totally natural treatment, time to try Vita Canis Ear Cleaner! Have you tried it yet?

Problems with ears can cause a lot of discomfort to our dogs and once they start scratching it causes a vicious cycle of scratching, skin irritation and then scratching even more. Ear infections in dogs are most commonly caused by a range of factors, including bacteria, yeast, ear mites, excessive hair, moisture or wax, foreign bodies and allergies. Because the ear canal in dogs is mostly vertical (unlike the human ear canal, which is horizontal), it’s easy for debris and moisture to be retained in the canal itself leading to problems.

If your dog shows sudden signs of:

Ear pain, inflammation of the ear flap (redness), ear odour, discharge, continual head shaking or drooping of the ear, please have your veterinarian check it out. There may be an infection or it could even be that a foreign body is present causing the infection.

Methods of transmission of infection include direct penetration from the external environment, overgrowth of microflora in the ear itself, perhaps due to stress, hot weather or other factors such as immunosuppression or injury, for example.

If there is no foreign body present in the ear and you wish to use a totally natural treatment, time to try Vita Canis Ear Cleaner! Have you tried it yet?


5. Tight muscles

This is one I’ve observed in my dogs as well as other dogs in the salon. I’ve witnessed dogs scratching for no particular or visible reason but when I’ve touched the area the muscles underneath felt tight and the area warm. But why does this make them scratch? I think the reason is that the muscle tightness causes discomfort and it’s the dogs way of trying to soothe himself, much like we touch our shoulder, or elbow, or other area when it hurts…  a dog is trying to do the same.

In cases like this I would gently massage this spot, using a technique called effleurage.

Effleurage is a massage technique that involves a series of long, smooth, rhythmic strokes over the skin, using either the fingertips or the palms. This movement is usually repeated a few times over the area. It stimulates the blood flow, relaxes muscle fibres, reduces muscle tension and stimulate nerves in the tissues. I would then apply Skin Relief, because it not only provides relief from allergic reactions and combats itching. The peppermint in the Skin Relief also has analgesic properties thereby relieving muscle pain and joint pain.

So there you have it! My TOP 5 reasons as to why your dog could have itchy skin!

I hope it’s been of some help ❤︎

Jitka xx

* Ackerman, L., D.V.M. ; Skin and haircoat problems in dogs ; Alpine Publications, 1994

Keep Calm and Keep Showing

December 8th, 2019

Are you into dog showing?

I’m not as much as I used to be, mainly because it’s very time consuming. It’s hard to find time to travel around the country, pretty much every weekend, while having so much going on. I do miss it occasionally though, I must admit.

There are two shows I’ve never missed since moving to the UK, namely Crufts and National Terrier

Crufts is advertised as the world’s greatest celebration of dogs. Next year you’ll find it at NEC in Birmingham on the 5th – 8th March and it will host over an amazing 27,000 dogs from across the world! The show will be broadcast on Channel 4 and live streamed on the Crufts’ YouTube channel.

🥇 What can you see at Crufts?

Loads of show rings (lol obviously). Somehow, it feels a bit different than any other show. Perhaps it’s the green carpet, the light and the vibe that create the unique buzz.

Discover Dogs.

You can also see many other dog activities like agility, flyball and dancing and you can visit Discover Dogs, where each breed has their own stand to promote their breed. This is the perfect place to get to know the breed you are looking to buy or it can even help you decide what breed to get if you have no clue. If you just want to walk around and stroke and cuddle dogs all day long, and talk to likeminded people, you can even do that. How awesome is that?!

Stands.

Let’s not forget the stands… there are loads and loads of them with everything you can think of. Don’t worry if you forget your coat, scarf or trainers because you can even find those there amongst all the doggy stuff!

I’m over the moon because I managed to get a stand at this prestigious show and since I received the confirmation my mind keeps jumping between excitement and freaking out slightly 😊.

National Terrier.

National Terrier is the other show I’ve never missed. It’s usually on the first Saturday (or Sunday) in April, held at the Staffordshire Show Ground in Stafford. The National Terrier Club was registered with the Kennel Club in 1903 and is the premier Terrier Club in the United Kingdom. National Terrier is referred to by terrier people as Crufts for terriers and I think wining Best In Show at this show is a dream for every terrier exhibitor.

🥇 What does a “show dog” actually mean?

According to Wikipedia, a show dog might refer to any dog entered into a dog show. More specifically, a show dog is a dog which has been specially bred, trained, and/or groomed to conform to the specifications of dog shows, so as to have a chance of winning. The purpose of showing a dog is to evaluate breeding stock.


🥇 What is Dog Showing?

Dog showing or exhibiting is an exciting competitive activity where dogs compete against each other for prizes or awards. It’s a competition where a dog’s attributes and confirmation are compared against a breed standard for its breed. Whilst it can often be taken very seriously, it can be a fun pursuit that people and their dogs thoroughly enjoy. Dog shows are held all over the country, and to find a show within your area, check the Find a Dog Show website.

To pick a show puppy from a litter is not an easy task. It takes years of experience with a breed to see a potential start of a show ring in an eight-week-old puppy.

I asked John what he looks for when choosing a potential show dog. His answer was that a show dog has to have the right attitude and needs to enjoy the whole process, as well as a little bit of exhibitionism. It’s important to remember that show dogs are not machines. They work in harmony with their handler but they also have their good days and bad days just like us.

Ch. Saredon Enigma aka Alan

When Alan (CH Saredon Enigma, Group Winner at Crufts 2017) was a puppy, he and his sister Tinker Bell suffered from motion sickness. Thankfully at that time I was already making my products, so Calming Floral Spray came to the rescue. We sprayed the bedding before we put the pups in the car and then sprayed the back of the car too. It didn’t take many attempts to notice the improvement.

I’m glad we did it and eventually his motion sickness was cured. He lives in Malta now and travels around Europe, winning whatever he can! Thank God and thanks Calming Floral Spray!

Are you showing at Crufts neat year? Or just visiting?

Come and see us in Hall 3. We have some great surprises in line for you too!!

Jitka xx

Winter Paws

December 3rd, 2019

The temperature has dropped in the last few days and I can feel it while writing this blog.

I’m not complaining though because at least it’s still sunny, and crispy morning walks are definitely more pleasant than daily mud baths 😂. In the countryside, I welcome dry and icy days because the dogs come back from their walks relatively clean.

Salt and grit and paws.

Back when I used to live in town and took my dogs for their winter walks the roads were quite icy. I was always concerned, with there being no grit on the road, that I was going to fall. The other worry was that if there was salt on the roads and pavements, that it would irritate my dogs’ paws. 

You see, when the temperature drops below 0 °C water freezes into ice, making the pavements and roads slippery and dangerous.

The salt and grit that are spread on the roads make the roads safer, there’s no doubt about that.

Why salt?

The reason salt is used is that when it dissolves in water it lowers the waters freezing point. As a result, the water remains a liquid even at temperatures below 0 °C. This process doesn’t work, however, when the ice is already completely solid as salt can obviously only dissolve in a liquid.

Road salt is made from rock salt that is derived from underground mines and then crushed. The rock salt is treated with an anti-caking agent (preventing the formation of lumps and making it easier to pack and transport) for optimal effectiveness. Did you know that although rock salt is coarser than table salt it’s still made from sodium chloride? By the way…have you used road salt (sometimes even table salt) at the front of your doors in winter when the temperature drops? 

Pause and think of paws.

With all this in mind, how would you feel walking with your bare feet that have a few cracks on your heals on salty (never mind cold) roads? Why is it any different when it comes to our dogs?

Small, delicate doggies, such as the Chihuahua and other toy breeds, are known for their sensitive paws. Just the same, lean dogs, like Greyhounds, Whippets, and similar breeds are also more likely to have sensitive paws.

On the other hand, dogs like Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, Spitz like dogs and Pastoral breeds have paws that are hardier and more ‘outdoorsy’. Although this is true we should still keep an eye on their paws too.

Ouch!

If you’ve ever had cracked skin on your hands, you know how it feels if you have to wash dishes, do housework or bath your dog. Even worse is if you’re a dog groomer where the constant dryness and cracks become very uncomfortable and even painful 🙈. Now imagine putting salt on your cracked hand… OUCH! The reason why it stings is that the salt dissolves which causes the fluid surrounding the damaged tissue to become extremely hypertonic (meaning that the concentration of salt and other electrolytes is higher than it is in normal body fluids). Pain detecting neurons have their receptors in the tissue and they respond to the stimulus i.e. the hypertonic fluid surrounding the damaged tissue.

Our dogs can suffer from the same problem on their paws just as we can suffer from sore, dry cracks on our hands or feet.

By using Vita Canis Paw Butter, which is deeply moisturising and nourishing, you’ll help to create a barrier on your dog’s paws. This semi-solid whipped butter with essential oils is formulated for dry cracked paws, noses and elbows. 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free, Vita Canis Paw Butter has a pleasant earthy aroma, is lick-safe and contains no synthetic ingredients and fragrances. 

Irritating chemicals.

It’s not only the salt that bothers our dogs’ feet though. The various chemicals and sand that’s added to the salt, providing us with more friction for our boots and cars, contribute as well. These chemicals act as skin irritants and can cause dryness thereby irritating the skin in between their pads. And if this isn’t enough, if your dog takes to licking his paws after walks on this surface he can digest the ice-melting chemicals which can be toxic 😱! 

Wash, wipe & check.

You can see why it’s very important to wash or wipe your dog’s feet as soon as you get home from a walk to remove the salt and other chemicals from your dog’s paws as soon as possible. Do this before he has a chance to lick them! 

After a thorough wash, check your dog’s paws and pads for cracks, minor cuts, and even small particles of salt or gravel stuck in his hair or in between his pads. If you find any scratches or scrapes an application of Vita Canis Soothing Antiseptic Spray can help.

Soothing Antiseptic Spray is an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic treatment that provides relief from scratches, minor wounds, and hot spots. It has a regenerative effect on damaged skin, doesn’t sting and is safe for sensitive and allergy-prone skin. 

Enjoy!

Although this might all sound scary please don’t let it deter you from walking your dog and enjoying the time together. Come rain, sun, snow or ice your furry friend will appreciate your attention and the exercise… whatever the weather.

Jitka xx

Healing Aromas

November 21st, 2019

Isn’t the number of aggressive bacteria and mutant viruses nowadays just frightening?

What about antibiotic resistance when antibiotics have played such a massive part in helping mankind to survive over the years? For many of us, because of this, we’ve opted on returning back to the natural way of supporting our immune systems.

Why is it that some of us get knocked down by every virus that comes our way while others happily fly through the flu season unaffected?

We’re realizing more and more that the food we eat, our stress levels nowadays and indeed our whole lifestyle are the factors affecting how our bodies are reacting to nasty viruses and bacteria. What’s scary though, is how we used to react to these attacks in the past as opposed to how our bodies are handling these threats now.

Do you ignore your body’s signals?

Rather than listening to your body telling you to slow down and rest, you take a Lemsip, Paracetamol, antibiotics or whatever it takes to carry on with your fast life… sound familiar? I’m guilty of this from time to time too but I’m making a conscious effort of working on it.

Thankfully there’s a very effective and very pleasant way of supporting our immune systems. Yip, you guessed correctly! Essential oils!

There’s lots of different things essential oils can do with their small but mighty aromatic compounds. One of the powers essential oils have is that they can support and strengthen immune responses by stimulating our immune system and also by directly inhibiting the nasty viruses and bacteria that are attacking us.

Essential oils such as cajeput, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, niaouli, rosemary, tea tree and thyme are known to fight a wide variety of viruses and bacteria.


What about our dogs?

Let’s not forget our furry friends as they need immune system support too and we can help them with it! Upper respiratory infection (the kennel cough), also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is very common at this time of the year. There are multiple agents that cause the infection, and it’s highly contagious. Bacteria and viruses of kennel cough are spread through airborne droplets, which are produced by sneezing and coughing.

NB: If your dog shows signs of kennel cough remember to minimise contact with other dogs in order to protect them from coming into contact with the virus too! 

So this leads us to the question… which essential oils can we use safely at home, at work, in the grooming salon and in the kennels to protect and heal us and our four-legged friends?

🌿 Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus essential oil has an affinity to the respiratory system and has been clinically shown to kill the airborne flu virus. There are over seven hundred species of eucalyptus, but the most commonly used are Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiate. Both are best known as a decongestant inhalation for colds and catarrh, and significantly improve respiratory function

🌿 Lemon

Lemon is one of my favourite oils. When I feel sluggish and low on energy I open a small bottle of lemon oil and deeply inhale it a couple of times. Sometimes I put a few drops into my oil burner. The fresh aroma of infused lemon essential oil helps overcome my mental fatigue and lifts my spirits. Lemon also has antibacterial properties and is very useful in treating the symptoms of colds and flu and bronchitis.

🌿 Lavender

Lavender seems to work on everything. It’s the almighty oil of all oils and is definitely the most popular and versatile essential oil. Lavender is recommended for treatment of colds, flu, bronchitis and throat infections. Bonus is, it smells delightful too!


🌿 Niaouli

Niaouli is from the same family as tea tree oil but less known amongst the general public. It has a strong and fresh odour, similar to eucalyptus, and is known for it’s highly antiseptic properties. In fact, you can find this oil in our Ear Cleaner!

When it comes to respiratory problems, niaouli is recommended for acute and chronic bronchitis and sinusitis. It also has excellent expectorant power which means it expels mucus from the respiratory system.

Want to know how to use them?

Add 4-5 drops of your favourite essential oil to a classic oil burner (why not give our ceramic oil burners a try) or electronic diffuser, breathe deeply and enjoy!

Enjoy!!

Jitka xx

REAL Puppy Grooming Tips.

November 13th, 2019

When it comes to grooming advice the internet is FULL of tips how to groom your dog. Some of them are good, some not so good, and some are just shocking!

My point of view…

Because of this, I decided to share my point of view on the subject. Over 20 years in the dog grooming industry has brought me across all sorts of puppies and youngsters, and all sorts of behaviour… from falling asleep on a grooming table to a hysterical bunch of fluff that I couldn’t even touch. But why is that? Genetics or environment? Who’s responsible? The breeder or the owner?

Like everything else, it’s not black and white but let’s try to keep it simple. 

You find a breed you like, you then find a breeder and eventually a puppy. How exciting is that? A little fluff ball (or a totally smooth little munchkin) running around and ruling your life from day one. Right from the beginning though we should start bringing some sort of structure into our puppy’s life. Feeding time, playtime, bedtime, walkies… and grooming should be a part of the structure as well.

Before you get your puppy…

Once you’ve found the breed you like and you’ve done your research, you should also find out what is required when it comes to grooming. What brushes and comb do you need? How often should you take your pup to a groomer and when to start etc?


Be aware…

Even though the internet is an excellent source of advice and knowledge, you can get some outrageous tips when it comes to grooming, especially when it comes to crossbreeds like Cockapoos, Cavachons, Cavapoos and many others. So very often they are sold as hypoallergenic and low maintenance and it says they don’t need as much grooming as a poodle. Really? Good marketing move, isn’t it?

This doesn’t only happen when it comes to crossbreeds though. There’s been many times that I’ve heard from a new Welsh (Lakeland and Wire) puppy owner that their dog must be hand stripped because the breeder said not to do anything with his coat until he’s one year old. Again… Really?

Easier said than done…

Ok, back to that little fluff ball you’ve got at home. Let’s assume your breeder showed you what brush and comb to get, and how to use it and then all you have to do is just do it… right?

This is easier said than done in many cases. Little puppies are wriggly, they have the attention span of a goldfish, and a moving brush is just calling at their little teeth to dig into it. This is usually the point where the owners will think that she doesn’t like it and will choose to rather attempt it tomorrow (by the way, she doesn’t like it tomorrow either) or choose to get a different brush or comb or put it off till Sunday… and another Sunday.

First mistake!

When it comes to brushing your puppy, consistency is key. You have to do it every day, especially if your puppy is really fluffy because I’m telling you, she will get even fluffier and wrigglier with age… unless you do something.

Little puppies are wriggly, they have the attention span of a goldfish, and a moving brush is just calling at their little teeth to dig into it.

My tips.

🐩 Put a non-slip mat or a towel on the top, and prepare your brush, comb and treats, maybe even a bone to chew on, a Kong filled with peanut butter, or a Likimat with soft cheese on to make the experience as pleasurable as possible.

🐩 Calming Floral Spray is very handy in these situations, it will keep both of you calmer.

🐩 A few gentle strokes with a brush all over the body, followed by combing will do for the first few sessions. If the puppy behaves well, follow up with a yummy treat. Remember, we are creating a positive experience here.

🐩 If the puppy is fidgeting or perhaps even trying to bite the brush or you, correct her, but don’t give up. If you give up and let go, that little brain will be thinking… aaahhh, if I jump around and bite the brush, she’ll let go and I may even get a treat… I’ll do it next time as well. WE DON’T WANT THAT. The whole process is very simple, but not always easy.

Depending on what kind of dog you have at home, you’ll need different brushes, and combs and you can find out more about different types of coats here.

So when should I take my puppy to the dog groomer?

Again, common sense is needed when taking some of the advice found online. Just some examples are… don’t take your puppy to a groomer until she is 1 years old, don’t have it clipped, just do it at home, it’s easy, just grab some kitchen scissors. I didn’t make this up, I promise! I saw a video on YouTube of a Labradoodle owner, showing how to scissor a matted doodle with kitchen scissors. I’m sure my heart stopped when I was watching it! Why, you may ask? Because it’s SO dangerous! Luckily the dog was brighter than the owner and didn’t move the whole time, bless his little heart 🙈.


Visit to a groomer… ASAP

When we’re selling puppies we recommend visiting the groomer ASAP after the second vaccination. Not much will be done at this age, but your puppy will get used to being handled by different people, get used to different noises like the clippers, hairdryer and barking dogs and will also learn it’s ok to be away from you for some time. If you’re too worried, spray your puppy and yourself with Calming Floral Spray just before the visit. Even inhaling Comfort Blend will help you with separation anxiety when leaving your puppy. It’s usually us who get more upset 💔.

Another tip…

There’s another thing you can do at home to make future visits to dog groomers and even vets, more enjoyable. Teach your puppy to tolerate different noises like a hairdryer and clipper (you don’t have to clip your dog, panic not 😂!) by borrowing your husband’s clippers, or nose hair trimmer, and gently moving it around your pup’s head and body to get her used to it. 

If you struggle I’m sure your dog groomer will happily help you and show you what tools to use and how to use them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and take professional advice over the internet 😊

Looking for a professional dog groomer?

Check The Groomers Spotlight to find a qualified groomer in your area. 

After all this, let’s not forget the importance of handling.

. Stroke your puppy gently all around the body, not just the back and the belly. Gently stroke and pick up the legs, massage the paws, gently stroke the tail and ears and don’t forget the teeth. You can even use a command ‘teeth’ and your pup will learn that you’re going to check her teeth, and eventually get used to cleaning them as well. Have you seen our Emmi-Pet Teeth Cleaning Service?

Lastly, remember, do not quit… your grown-up dog and your dog groomer will thank you… JUST HANG IN THERE!

❤️ Much love ❤️

Jitka xx