Meet our Vita Canis distributor in Finland, Pia von Koch

July 18th, 2018

 

Pia is very well known in the dog show world. She is a very successful handler and groomer, and not only in her home country of Finland. She’s intelligent, tall, pretty and blond, and she has an incredible connection with every dog she shows.

Pia & our young Airedale Richard

I’ve known Pia for a few years now. I used to see her at Crufts and she used to come to Saredon kennels to look at the Airedales and Lakelands. She always looked very stylish and glamorous, and I’ll never forget seeing her coming out of the grooming room one day wearing high heels. Seriously, trimming an Airedale in high heels?! I can barely stand in high heels, never mind working in them and handling a dog. Impressive, I thought!

We became friends when Pia was staying with us a few years ago for the first time. She visited Saredon kennels and worked with John on improving her hand stripping and styling skills for a few weeks. She knows that even if you are at the top of your game you need to carry on learning and improving to stay at the top.

We had a great time together, which is not hard as we share the same passion for dogs, and we both like the same books, films, and jokes. It’s fair to say, we had lot of fun together.

After her first visit here, Pia became a Vita Canis reseller in Finland, and this is her story.

What can you tell us about yourself?

I have been involved with dogs all my life. My first dog was a smooth-haired fox terrier. In the 70’s I started to show my Bernese mountain dog, but at that time I wasn’t so passionate about showing and handling. I have been a cloth designer for about 20 years and over that time I’ve owned different dogs as my family members, the Standard Poodle, and the Doberman to name a few. I got my first Airedale in 1998, and I absolutely fell in love with this king of terriers. Today I have 5 of them. My Airedale terrier, Duke, was the top Finnish Airedale for 6 years, and the top terrier in 2014.

In 2015 I opened my first dog grooming salon, called PiaDog® , in Helsinki and in a short period of time it became very busy and successful, specialising in hand stripped terriers. Over the years in dog showing, I made many national and inter

We both enjoy nice G&T and good veggie food

national champions, won best in shows, and even judged in Japan at the Open Airedale terrier Show.

Why did you decide to sell Vita Canis products?

In 2016 I visited Saredon kennels and worked with John, and you [Jitka] introduced me to your products. The first time I tried the

Hand Butter I fell in love. I loved, and still do, the soft, silky feeling it gives to my dry skin.

What is your favourite product?

The Calming Floral Spray  and Hand Butter . I use the calming spray in my salon on an every day basis and it is always in my show case as well. The Hand Butter helps my dry skin (really it should be called body butter, not hand butter !)

What is the best seller in your salon?

This time of the year it is definitely the Tick Off. Ticks are a massive problem in Finland. The ticks have become more abundant and have extended their distribution range in Finland, and Europe, during the last two to three decades. You can come across ticks not only in the countryside but also in Helsinki city centre!

 

If you would like to become a reseller or are interested to know more about stocking our products, please get in touch with me on enquiries@vitacanis.co.uk

Jitka xx

Sneaky and Dangerous Grass Seeds

July 11th, 2018

It’s the time of the year when we enjoy walking our dogs in the fields and meadows more than any other time of the year.

We also all know to use some kind of protection, preferably natural, on our dogs for ticks and fleas and other little pests.

But what about those sneaky grass seeds? And why?

There’s not much we can do beforehand as they are pretty much everywhere at this time of the year.

And what happens if they are left in the dog’s coat?

There are two most common places on the dog’s body where grass seeds can cause problems, and these are the feet and ears.

Dangerous grass seeds

Grass seeds can easily get between the dog’s toes, this part of the foot is called the interdigital space. When the grass seed is ‘holding’ onto the soft fur between the toes, it is slowly making its way towards the skin and can/may penetrate the skin with ease. And then slowly burrowing itself deeper and deeper … this results in discomfort, extreme pain, infection, and acute lameness. Your dog will vigorously lick its paws and toes, he will be very uncomfortable and/or even lethargic. That’s the time to visit your vet, because sometimes the grass seed may travel under the skin so you won’t be able to see it.

The situation with the ear is very similar and also very dangerous. The grass seeds shape allows it to work its way from the fur on the ears down along the ear canal and can go so deep that it can damage the delicate eardrum. If the grass seed enters your dog’s ear he will shake his head vigorously and he will look very uncomfortable. If you notice this sign take your dog to see your vet straight away.

After walks, I use a slicker brush with longer bristles for removing any grass and twigs from my dog’s coat, especially the Scotties who are like magnets for them! They are not so keen on brushing but I’d rather persevere with brushing and checking than rush to the vets later.

Brushing after walks is very important

Sneaky grass seed between Tanky’s toes

So, always remember to check your dog’s feet, coat, and ears after a walk in the fields, forest, and meadows. And don’t just look for ticks, keep an eye out for those seeds too!

Enjoy your walkies.

Jitka xx

Awesome Summer Activities to Do with Your Dog

July 4th, 2018

Paddling, swimming, diving

This is the most obvious summer activity as you can imagine 😊

My Scottie, . Tank, loooooves water!! He loves his paddling pool so much and gets so excited that he starts to bite the walls of the pool to the point that we can’t use it anymore, so over the years we’ve gone through few of them 😊.

He loves water but unfortunately, he isn’t a good swimmer because of his short legs and heavy (masculine) body. So when we were at the Dogs Unleashed Show at the end of June, he tried the diving pool with an assistant, and loved it! Unfortunately, without the assistance he wouldn’t be able to enjoy it as much, so I think my next purchase for him is going to be a swim vest!

Homemade frozen treats

Here you can really get creative!

Mash your dog’s favourite fruit and/or veggies and fill the ice mould or any other moulds you like and have. Put it in the freezer and voila … frozen doggy treats! You can also use meat or veggie stock with chunks of meat and veggies, pour it into a mould and freeze … and as Aleksandr the meerkat used to say, sheemples!!

Twist with the Kong

Does your dog like the Kong as much as my dogs? Have you thought about filling it with something delicious like a meat, mashed veggies, peanut butter and freezing it?

‘Chuckit!’ toys

My dogs like the ‘Hydro Squeeze Chuckit!’ toys in this hot weather. Soak them in water and freeze (lots of freezing this summer, lol!)

Fun with a hosepipe

No explanation necessary 😊 ! Mr Tank in action!

Early morning walks

My dogs and I are morning people.

You can easily find us out in the early morning walking around the quarry behind our house. I love early morning walks in summer … the quietness, haze, breeze, and no one around … just me and my dogs.

What are your summer activities with your dog/s? I love to try out new activities with my doggies (as I’m sure you know!) and always love to hear new ideas.

Jitka xx

 

There is no treat like a natural treat

June 20th, 2018

Modern dog food, including treats, are high in simple carbohydrates, low in protein, and full of unfavourable fats which is the perfect recipe for your dog to gain weight.

So why not feed your dog a more traditional, natural diet, and natural treats? That’s a diet high in protein, low in carbohydrate and with the right amount of good fats.

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. So the next time you buy your dog food, check the labels. How much and what kind of protein is in your dog’s food? And how much are carbohydrates (rice, wheat, potato, corn)?

Here is an easy change you can make today to help your dogs. Ditch the rawhide chews for natural treats. Do you know how a rawhide chew is made? Producing rawhide begins with the splitting of an animal hide, usually from cattle. The top layer is generally tanned and made into leather products, whilst the inner portion, in its “raw” state, goes to the dogs. Removing the hair from hides often involves a highly toxic recipe called sodium sulphide liming … nasty stuff. And the rawhide chews are actually pretty dangerous, containing carcinogen FD&C Red 40, along with preservatives like sodium benzoate and others … really, nothing can beat a nice juicy raw bone for goodness and dogs love them best! Bones such as a cow’s femur or shoulder-blade, for example.

My dogs like Benyfit Natural treats. These yummies are utterly irresistible for my dogs. Free from any grains these chewy little bites are easily transportable and make a great training treat. They come in different flavours like turkey, beef, duck, black pudding (pork).

Black Pudding is more of a softer sausage-like consistency compared to the others and so makes them ideal for the softer mouth dogs including puppies. Totally natural these bite-size rewards come in a resealable tub for ultimate convenience.

All these treats are 100% natural, perfect for a smaller mouth, and gently dried to lock in the freshness.

If I don’t have any special treats at home for my doggies, then I go for things like cheese, a small piece of apple, broccoli, berries … these do the trick for my dogs.

And sometimes I make them a ‘to kill for’ LIVER CAKE

Ingredients:
300g lamb liver
1 Crushed garlic clove
1 Egg
150g oat flower, coconut or qinoua flower

You will need:
Food processor
A greased medium sized baking tin
Method:
Pre-heat oven to 180°C

Put all the ingrediencies (liver, crushed garlic and egg ) into the blender and blend until smooth or until the liver is in very small pieces. Then lowly start to add the flour,
and the mixture will start getting gloopy consistency, like a brownie mixture. Just a different smell 😊
If it’s a bit too thick, add some goat milk, or if it is too runny, a little more flour.
Poor the mass to the baking tin, the mixture should be about 2 cm deep.
Put in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Stick a knife in the middle, if it comes out clean, it’s done.
Let it cool, cut it up to smaller pieces and put them in bags or tubs to freeze. And then you can use them when needed.
Otherwise keep them in the fridge up to 3 days.

 

Ps: Do you feel confused or need more advice about feeding your dog? Ask the pro! Moddie Lambert is a qualified canine nutritionist who works with holistic vets and she will be happy to help. Check Moddie’s Facebook group.

Jitka xx

Muddy Dog Challenge

June 16th, 2018

Tinker and I had a fantastic day , on the 10th June! We took part in the Muddy Dog Challenge to raise money and support for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. It was the first one of a few of these events and took place in the grounds of the spectacular Wollaton Hall, an Elizabethan mansion, on a hill in Wollaton Park, near Nottingham.

The first group started at 9:30 am and then 10-15 people were sent off in batches every ten minutes thereafter. Tinker and I were in the second group, and after a short warm-up we shot off! I was so impressed with Tinker’s speed … normally she is just comfortably, slowly trotting next to me (maybe because I am too slow for her? Lol), but because she was running with other dogs she was more keen. On the track, there were 14 under and over obstacles, like a dog maze of muddy tunnels, a doggy ball pit, a tyre wall, A-frame, trampolines and lots of other fun obstacles! During the run, we both had a chance to refresh with plenty of drinking stations.

While we were running, our stand was in the capable hands of my lovely friend Sam. When they showed us our stand location that morning, we were really excited, next to the vegan food stand and not far from the loos … how perfect is that?!

If you fancy doing something different with your four-legged friend and supporting a good cause, don’t hesitate to visit the Battersea event page, there are still Muddy Dog Challenges running across various locations until the end of September: https://muddydog.battersea.org.uk/all-locations

 

Dog Breeds for People with Allergies

June 14th, 2018

I found out I’m allergic to dog hair!! Me?! The owner of multiple dogs, dog groomer, boarding kennel owner?! My entire life revolves around dogs!

Since I was about 5 years old I’ve suffered from really strong allergies to grass pollen. I’m happy to say it’s getting much better with age, however, I was always a bit snotty and have to have a tissue with me all the time. It’s a bit annoying but I’m used to it now.

A few years ago my mum told me about something called Bioresonance therapy. It’s a very complex topic so I don’t want to write about it, as I don’t know enough, but what I do know is that the amazing machine called BICOM can find out what you’re intolerant to, what you’re allergic to, where there is inflammation in the body, etc. As I mentioned earlier, to my big surprise, I found out that I’m allergic to dog hair!! After a few lifestyle and diet changes both my allergies became less prominent … and I didn’t have to swap my dogs for hypoallergenic breeds! 😊

Hypoallergenic Welsh Terrier Rosie

Apparently, hand stripped terriers are hypoallergenic and I know a few people who can’t have breeds like Golden Retrievers and Border Collies for example, but can easily cope with breeds such as Welshies, Airedales, and Lakelands.

People use the term ‘hypoallergenic breed’ for breeds that are more compatible with people with allergies and I even read a research article that claims that allergen levels vary in individual dogs more than in the actual breeds.

I also think (from my experience) that sometimes we can get a reaction that depends on what is in/on the dog’s coat. This time of the year when I have a dog for hand strip, and that means, I hand strip before bathing, I get all sneezy from the excessive amount of pollen in the dog’s coat. If it is a scissored or clipped breed, I bath it before the styling and everything is fine.

According to my online research the most suitable breeds for people with allergies and asthma are:

1/ Poodle

2/ Yorkshire terrier

3/ Miniature Schnauzer (Standard and Giant are not mentioned which is interesting)

4/ Shih Tzu

5/ Havanese

6/ Maltese

And others …

What’re your thought on this? What breed do you have, and are you affected by seasonal allergies?

 

Are you ready for a dog?

June 7th, 2018

Having a dog was my childhood dream for as long as I can remember. I would dream about having a dog, I would walk my imaginary dog, buy treats for my imaginary dog. Even though I didn’t have a dog yet, I already had the dish, brush, collar and lead… just in case he/she appeared in my life! And he did… when I was 13. A beautiful, tiny Miniature Schnauzer puppy from my aunty.

Was I ready? Was my family ready?

I was as ready as I’d ever been! I’d read as many books as possible, and I knew I would do anything to make it work. My dad wasn’t ready at all because he didn’t even know the puppy was coming. He was in shock and confused, bless his cotton socks. I remember he was cuddling the puppy, talking to him sweetly and the same time shouting at my mum and me, “what the hell is a dog doing here”? The monologue was something like this: “you are sooo cuuuutee…” “what a stupid idea to have a dog in a flat” “you are little cutie pie” “you are not responsible enough to have a dog” “do you want a biscuit, sweet” “you will get bored with him soon, and what are we going to do then” “you are so small, so, cute, so gorgeous…” And on and on and on… And my mum and I just stood there trying to make sense out of it.

In the end, we had this fantastic little dog for over 15 years, we had an amazing time, we learnt a lot from having him, he bonded us together, and he taught me a few very valuable life lessons.

So, are you ready for a dog in your life?

Here are a few things you need to consider:

1/ Finances – I didn’t consider that as a child, so it was all on my parents and I’m ever so grateful to them for all their support. You need some extra cash for emergencies, especially with puppies; you need finances for vets, insurance, dog food, toys… and then on top of that, depending on your lifestyle, a dog sitter, dog walker, kennelling when you go on holiday….

2/ Enough room – Once I had a client who had a Newfoundland in a flat on the 5th floor in a busy town centre. I don’t think that was a wise choice. Washing a dog after a walk in their small bathroom was a challenge when he shook after walks, water and dirt went everywhere. They couldn’t have a coffee table as he knocked everything down with his tale… but he was gorgeous and so well behaved.

3/ Enough time – owning a dog will take over your life. Literally! Especially in the early days when you have to get up early to take the puppy out, feed it, take it out again, play, train, go out, feed, go out, play, train, nap, go out, clean the little accidents on the floor, watch the puppy so it’s not destroying anything, go out, feed, go out, sleep (hopefully all night!) 4/ General knowledge – do your research before you get a dog. Having a dog is a long-term commitment and we are talking years, sometimes decades of dedication, patience, and love. Do your research on breeds, go to dog club events, dog shows, discover dogs at Crufts, training classes, agility classes, talk to people, and find the most suitable breed for yourself and your family. Research the food… do you want to feed using dry food, tinned food, raw food, what are the pros and what are the cons? Learn about basic training so you are prepared when the new member arrives. Are there any puppy classes in your area?

A lot of homework needs to be done beforehand but it will be well worth it once they arrive 😊

So, ARE you ready then?


Jitka xx

How to tell if your dog is overheated and what to do about it?

May 30th, 2018

Do you know the 5-second rule?

No, not Mel Robbins (which, by the way, you should definitely check out here, if you haven’t heard about her lifechanging 5- second rule)

I’m talking about the 5 Second Rule that says ‘on a hot summer’s day, if you can’t keep your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds, don’t walk your dog on it!’

I think I’m right in saying that we all enjoy this warm, sunny weather? Even though we want to enjoy this experience with our dogs as much as possible too (because we just don’t know how long it’s going to last!) we have to be very careful not to let our dogs overheat.

At this time of the year, I usually walk my dog very early in the morning or late at night. Especially my Scotties, with their thick coat and short legs, and their bodies close to the hot ground, they don’t enjoy the heat. I always have to make sure there are plenty of shaded areas on our walks, and a place to rest, away from the sunlight.

As we know, dogs cool down by panting, not sweating. But when a dog is overheated:

  • The panting becomes more rapid and excessive
  • The gums, tongue, and skin around the eyes becomes dark pink or red
  • The dog is drooling a thick saliva
  • The dog has a worried, anxious expression as he is in distress.

Some breeds are more prone to heatstroke than others. Brachycephalic breeds like the Bulldog, Pug, and Boxer have more difficulties cooling the air through their very short nasal cavities. Dogs with a heavy double coat, short legged dogs, old dogs, young puppies, and overweight dogs are more vulnerable to overheating.

Overheating can be life-threatening if not treated immediately, noticing the early signs of heat exhaustion will reduce the chances of canine heatstroke and death.

What do you do?

1/ Give your dog cool, fresh water to drink, but don’t force him. If he doesn’t want to drink wet his tongue, but don’t pour it into his mouth as he may suck it into his lungs.

2/ Put a cool towel on your dog’s throat, armpits and between his back legs, and wet his ears and paw pads. If you are outdoors, a stream or pond can be used to help him cool down.

3/ If your dog is not improving, transport him to the vet. Your dog may have to receive oxygen, some fluids, and other treatments. With severe overheating, seizure and/or cardiac arrest may occur

Check our other blog post from last year, Clip or not to clip, that explains why shaving your dog in summer is also not a good idea.

Stay cool and hydrated, until next week!

Jitka xx

Are you ready to rescue?

May 17th, 2018

When I first came to the UK, my English wasn’t very good. During that time I was improving my hand stripping skills in the Saredon Kennels and occasionally doing a few pet trims. One day a gentleman came in with a small fluff ball, very cute and a little unsure. He told us that she was a rescue. I was delighted and told him that my first dog was as well! But I did wonder how this small fragile girl managed to do all the hard training required for a search and rescue dog. You see I thought “rescue dog” was the same as a “search and rescue dog.” Tricky business this English language!

As you know my friends and I are organising the UK’s first ever charity dog grooming competition, Style to Rescue, on Saturday the 19th May. As we are getting closer, we are getting more excited and busier than ever. There’s so much to think about and to sort out to ensure the day will go smoothly.

All the groomers are looking forward to the challenge. They will have plenty of time to become familiar with the dogs, and will have 3 hours to complete the groom, which is much more than at other competitions. The dogs and groomers will have a break during the grooming, and can ask for extra help with handling if needed. In their goody bags they will find, among other lovely stuff,

Aromatic Dog Spray Floral  which will help them and the dogs to keep calm.

We are also having a Groomers bake off 😊 The groomers are bringing cakes which will be tasted by a blindfolded judge. After the judging, the cake will be sold so we can raise even more money for the rescue centres.

We have some amazing raffle prizes kindly sponsored by fellow groomers and numerous companies. You can see our full sponsor list on www.style2rescue.co.uk

There will also be amazing, not to be missed, seminars running during the day:
9:30 – Pets First Aid with Jan Gallier

10:30 – Tellington Touch with Marie Miller

11:30 – Emmi Pet Toothcare and Demonstration with Sally Hart

12:30 – Dog Behaviour and Training with Craig Flint, aka The Dog-Man

13:30 – Grooming demonstration, Asian Style Mini. Schnauzer, with Lisa Hart

15:00 – Trick Training with Lynne Land and Mojo the Toy Poodle

15:45 – Canine Coat Care with Sue Oliver

And let’s not forget the kids! We are going to have a Kids Corner kindly sponsored and organised by my friend Alice Ward. The kiddies can compete in creative grooming with model dogs; create artworks, guess how many dots the (toy) Dalmatian dog has; guess the name of the Scottie toy dog … and more!

If you are not going to the Royal Wedding and you like dogs, why don’t you come down to the show where the whole family can learn something new, meet friends or make new one! It’s going to be a unique and fun experience for everyone!

We look forward to seeing you there 😊

Jitka xx

Tips for travelling with your dog

May 10th, 2018

Summer …

The beautiful, sunny and hot bank holiday weekend is behind us, but let’s hope we will get more days like these! We have another bank holiday at the end of this month, so if you decide to travel with your dogs, here are few things you should know/consider before setting off.

Travelling & travel sickness

Dogs can suffer from motion sickness, just the same as us humans. Dog motion sickness is more common in puppies and young dogs, and the reason is that the ear structure used for balance is not yet fully developed. In some dogs, however, the motion sickness continues into old age, and if a dog has experienced travel sickness, he or she can quickly connect the car journey with not feeling well, which can cause stress. Typical signs of stress are panting, wide open eyes, lip licking, and shaking.

To help your dog it is very important to change his associations with the vehicle. Make sure your dog is facing forward, don’t feed your dog before traveling, or keep to a minimum, make frequent stops, and offer him water. Use natural calming products like Casper’s owner Kristy:

“My dog has suffered from car sickness since a puppy. I’ve tried everything but he would still have anxiety and sickness. I was introduced to Aromatic Dog Spray Floral from Vita Canis [https://www.vitacanis.co.uk/product/aromatic-dog-spray-floral/], with amazing results. Casper calms straight away and slept most of the way. I did build the spray up through the journey and he kept calm all the way for the first time, making the holiday less stressful for all the family” Kristy Worsell with Casper

Before going on holiday in a car, gradually accustom your dog to car travel by taking him or her on short journeys.

NEVER LEAVE A DOG IN A CAR!

When the weather is heating up it is more important than ever not to leave a dog in a car. I don’t think people realise when the temperature outside is about 20 degree Celsius, in the car it is well over 40. And this happens in minutes! As dogs don’t sweat and they regulate their temperature by panting, in a small closed space like a car they will run out of fresh air very quickly …

Traveling abroad

It is pretty easy to travel with your pet to Europe these days. All you need to do is get a passport, and your vet will be able to help you with that. Your dogs must be microchipped and he/she will need a rabies vaccination. When you are planning your journey back to the UK don’t forget that one to five days before you return to the UK you must visit a local vet. He will check your dog, scan his microchip, and give him a tapeworm tablet. The vet will also sign your dog’s passport. If you fail to do this, your dog may face quarantine or be sent back to the country you have travelled from. So make sure you check the passport, again and again and again!

If you can’t take your dog with you

If for some reason you can’t take your dog with you on your holiday you have many options to consider. You can ask your relative or a friend to move to your house, you can take your dog to his/hers dog sitter, find a home boarding, find a boarding kennel or you can even ask your neighbour to look after your dog. From my experience as an owner of a small boarding
kennel, dogs adapt pretty quickly to the new surroundings. Sometimes with a little help of the Comfort Blend [https://www.vitacanis.co.uk/product/comfort-blend/], a natural product specifically designed for separation anxiety.

“I’ve been having major problems with my young pups’ separation anxiety for 4 months now and was at my wits end after her howling and barking for 4 hours solid when I went out on Friday evening. Today I used Vita Canis Comfort Blend on her when we went out in the car and she had to be left a few times and then I left her in the house for just over an hour. I left my phone on to record her to see what noise she made and returned to find only 6 minutes of crying & then nothing!! Amazing results from an amazing product!!” Sarah Bakewell, Birmingham

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