Many of us have experienced the time accuracy in a dog’s mind. If you sleep with your dog on the bed, you probably have been woken up by him at the same time every single day. At 6pm sharp, he asks for dinner. Not 1 minute earlier nor 1 minute later. At 9pm sharp, he goes to bed, and at 6am sharp, he wakes up again. Dogs are creatures of routine and masters of time. Time plays a very big role in a dog’s life, and training a dog, has everything to do with time.
Good Exposure From the Start
At 6 weeks old, the socialisation window of a dog opens, he starts absorbing everything that he sees, hears, touches and experiences. For the following 6 to 8 weeks, his brain acts like a sponge and it absorbs everything from good to bad and it lingers for a lifetime. This is the most precious time for puppies to be exposed to loud noises, dog manners, basically everything that is going to matter for the rest of his life. This is also the best time to expose a dog to grooming procedures. If the dog has been allowed to bite the handler at this time, the likely-hood of him doing it in future is of course higher too. After the socialisation window closes, at approximately 16 weeks, everything new becomes a great big deal. New loud noises becomes scary things, motorcyclists that he never new existed became terrorists.
Puppy classes are one of the most popular classes in dog trainings and they are one of the most important class to attend for new owners. Many owners gain tremendous improvements and results during that period of time. As time passes, many owners adopt the idea of once you teach a dog something, they should know it eternally. Unfortunately, dogs like humans get rusty over time, things that they once knew can become foreign without consistent work. Dogs are also opportunist. Every time he gets a chance to break your training/rule/command, he will remember it and repeat it when given the chance.
The Eternal Student
Once in awhile, you will hear people putting their plans of training their dog/doing something with their dog being pushed back and delayed until further notice. That is actually one of the worse thing that one can do. Exposing a dog to new environment, new things, new people, new distraction has to be on-going and a never ending process. Training a dog to not-do something or to do something should take place immediately or as soon as you realise there is a problem. Most of us know that training a young dog can be easier than training an older dog. That is not to say that an older dog is less clever or less likely to learn something new. It simply means that the younger dog has lesser bad habits that you need to undo, lesser “wrong things” that you need to rectify. Everyday that you postpone your plan, things get worse. Dogs learn every single day, every single minute. Good things get better with consistency, bad things get worse in time.
With any training method, whether its balanced training, positive reinforcement or correction based training, timing and consistent work is everything. A good correction is all about timing and a positive reinforcement too has to be timed perfectly. You simply cannot rush a dog into a certain behaviour without taking the time to build the foundation and you simply cannot get the dog’s attention without spending time with the dog building a strong bond. And real training can not begin without the dog’s attention. You can give 100 commands and the dog can choose to listen to just 1 because he doesn’t have his attention on you.
One of the most beautiful thing about a dog is that he never stops learning. Therefore, regardless of what mistake he has made or what mistake you have made, there is always a chance to salvage the situation and turn it around. Although the socialisation window of a dog is one of the best and most crucial time for learning and shaping a dog’s future, missing it is not the end of the world. Consistent work over time is the key and timing is the lock.
In the last post, we talk about in every strong dog pack, there is bound to be 1-2 confident, calm, balanced dog and a leader. In our opinion, these ‘top’ dogs and the leader are what makes the whole pack strong, great and amazing.
The leader, is the one who calls the shots, the one who sets the rules and the one who decides where to go and what to do. In every human-dog pack, the human must be the leader. This is absolutely non negotiable. When you allow a dog to be the leader, you are obviously heading for trouble. So then, what to the 1-2 top dogs do? – they help to regulate the whole pack.
Can you have a pack with a leader and no top dog? – A-absolutely. But this makes a difference in the whole make up of a pack. Lets just imagine for a minute. The leader of the pack as the rule setter of a soccer team. Every member in the team has to abide to the rules and the code of conduct and that makes a united team. But what differs the team from an average team and an amazing team? – the star players. These star players are none other than the 1-2 top dogs in the pack. In other words, these dogs will be the Leo Messi in FC Barcelona, the Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. Can these teams function without the star players? -Sure, why not. But will they be a top winning team? – Maybe, maybe not. These dogs, although amazing , are also often the most challenging dogs. They require very strong leadership, they require a strong handler. In a corporate company, you could use a low salary to hire an intern, but you would need a convincing and well worth amount of salary to hire your right hand man. Similarly, you will need a lot more skills to convince a top dog that you are it’s leader. As silly as it sounds, this is exactly how a pack works.
Can you have a pack without any top dog? – Yes, just as the soccer team, the team will still stay united and focused as long as the leader is strong. Can you have a pack with ALL and ONLY top dogs? – Maybe? But we think this will be a pack set up for trouble. Can you have only star players in a soccer team? Can you have only leaders in a team? Too many opinions, too many decision makers can be conflicting and the failure of any team, dogs and humans alike.
Many owners get their dogs without knowing which position the dogs are in. This is why, very often trainers, breeders stress not just once but repeatedly to get the dogs that suits you. If you have an easy dog, teaching them anything is easy, convincing them you are the leader is easy, the amount of leadership skills needed is not as much. When you have a strong dog, one that is bred to be at the front of the pack, you would certain need a lot more attention, time, patience to convince the dog and let it find its place.
How to form your own pack? – If you already have a dog, start by being the leader that your dog needs. With consistent work on both you and your dog, the relationship bond will become stronger. Remember, a dog is always ready to learn if you are ready to lead. If you plan to get a dog, be sure to pick a dog that suits you. Never pick a dog just because it’s cute, it’s active or it’s cuddly. Pick one that you can handle, get a trainer to go with you if you cannot decide. There is no such thing as fate when picking a dog. The dog looking at you with it’s puppy eyes, the feeling of the dog telling you to pick it up, is not fate. Get a dog that suits your lifestyle and energy level is always the way to go, it is the start to creating a good, healthy relationship and a strong foundation to your pack.
When a group of dogs come together, people can refer to the group as a pack of dogs. There is however, a difference between a pack of dogs and a dog pack. You simply cannot place multiple dogs in an open field and call them a dog pack. A dog pack is a like a sacred term. Whether a human-dog pack or a dog-dog pack, all the members have to come together as one. When you have multiple dogs in an open field with different owners, you cannot refer to them as a pack. All these dogs are raised differently and are taught with different rules and values. They are individuals and perhaps in a pack with their owners. Multiple dogs roaming around in the same space does not make a pack.
In every dog pack, there has to be one leader. Whether a human leader or a dog leader, one has to be leading the pack and deciding on what to do, what not to do. With a confused leader, comes a confused pack and a separated pack. There is no rule as to how many is needed to form a pack. It can be that there is only 1 human and 1 dog and they form a perfect pack. What’s special about having a pack is that once you form a strong pack, there can be so many advantages.
One of the most amazing advantage of a good pack is you never ever have to teach off leash deliberately. You don’t have to offer toys, treats, food, your extremely high pitch voice to get their attention. Why? – Because dogs are social animals. They crave to be in a pack. When a dog have a good pack drive, they naturally wants to be in a pack, a good pack. When they are in a good pack, they will have zero intention to run away from that pack. In our humble opinion, pack drive is inbuilt, most dogs come with a certain level of pack drive, and with a good leader around, they naturally want to fit in. A good pack can also help fearful dogs, skittish dogs and many dogs with other issues find balance in them. They can help to balance the dog inside and out. Because a good pack provides calm and focused energy. Placing a fearful dog in a pack that accepts it can help the fearful dog find confident and this is how a pack works.
A dog pack is form firstly with a good leader. A human leader in most domesticated dog cases and a dog leader in the wild. In most amazing packs that we see, there is bound to be 1-2 strong, confident, balanced dogs. When you raise these dogs right, any young dogs or puppies that is being adopted into the pack, will naturally learn from them, take after them and it saves you a whole great deal of trouble trying to convey what you want into dog terms, because there is only so much we as humans can translate into dog terms. A dog teaching another dog is ALWAYS going to be faster than a human teaching a dog, so with that, always take the time to raise an amazing dog, for he/she can be the future help of another dog.
What to do when you don’t have a pack or wants your dog to form a great pack with you? – Firstly, learn how to be a great leader. Make sure your dog is convinced that you are an amazing leader. Secondly and probably the best push that you can have, find an amazing pack around you and ask to hang out with them. If the pack that you have found consist of a number of amazing dogs, we as humans usually have no power to control whether or not your dog will be accepted into that pack. If it does, good for you, your dog will get an amazing push and take after all the good habits that you see in that particular pack.
*All of the above is based on our own experience and knowledge and is in no way scientifically proven.*
One of the most raved about “trick” or things dogs can do is being able to be off leash. Many owners including us, are immensely happy when our dogs can be off leashed. By definition, being off leash just means the dog is outdoors without a leash on. But it varies from owners to owners what being off leash means. To some, it simply means that the dog can be off leash and will not run away. To some it means that the dog is not going to attack or go crazy on other dogs. To others it means that the dog is good at recalling.
If your dog can be off leashed, it means you, your trainer or whoever had the dog before you have put in a considerably huge amount of time to train the dog and make sure the dog does not go rocketing off the minute it’s off leash. By law, all dogs have to be on leash when they are outside.
To us, being off leash is a very huge responsibility. The responsibility lies not only on us on whether our dogs are going to return when called, the responsibility is also on the dog. They have to be polite, and attentive when they are off leash. No one loves seeing dogs having fun off leash more than us. However, many off leash dogs take being off leash a full fledged freedom and they start “exploring” every where.
A very common situation is when the off leashed dog starts enjoying it’s freedom and going everywhere, sniffing everyone, every dog, every patch of grass. First of all, not everyone likes dog, even if they do, having your dog running up to people expecting to be pet isn’t the most polite thing to do. If there are other dogs that you don’t know and the owners have them on leashed, the best option would be to leave them alone. The dog may be undergoing training, the dog may be in stress, the owner may not be in control. Even if the dog is perfectly balanced, the owner has enough control, leave them alone, a dog on leash is in a very compromised situation when your dog off leash goes running up to them. The last thing you want is your dog being attacked by another dog just because you let it off leash (who can you blame then?).
Polite Off Leash Pointers
Make sure you also instil doggy manners if you are planning to off leash your dog. Always keep your dog by your side if the situation is distracting, especially when there are other dogs or humans around. Watch out for your dog, make sure it doesn’t disturb others or pick up any bad habits along the way – Some dogs treat being off leash a holy matter, they will start sniffing every inch of the ground and mark every bush they find. Never let your off leash dog run up to another dog on leash. Never let your off leash dog be in other’s way. Make sure you know where your dog is, make sure your dog knows where you are, and comes back to you when called.
What we always look out for before our dogs are off leashed – we never let the dogs off leash if they don’t know how to behave on leash. If you can’t walk your dog properly on leash, they shouldn’t be off leash. We have learnt over the years to never let the dogs off leash at any dog event when there are dogs are on leash unless they are attentive and polite and we have 150% confidence that they are going to come flying back despite distractions. If they don’t fly back, they don’t get to be off leash. Never allow them to mark, over sniff and disturb any one or any dog. Every human and dog has it’s space, unless our dogs and us learn to respect that, they should always be on leash.
The above are what we always take note of and remind ourselves to keep up with. We hope for a day when all owners will be considerate towards all dogs and have tremendous polite off leash fun.
How often do you shower your dog?
How do you clean their paws after walk?
How do you make sure that they are clean?
Over time, these are the questions that we get the most from fellow and new westie owners. Though we have mentioned it a number of times to different owners, we thought the easiest way to share is of course, write about it.
Most people know that our dogs adore the great outdoors, they go out at least twice a day, they roll in dirt, mud, grass, they walk in the rain, they eat grass and they do so many unimaginable things that many will consider to be dirty. So what many people want to know is how do we keep them clean?
The dogs are being brushed once every two to three days, at the same time we check them for ticks during brushing. We don’t fancy tropical or oral fleas&ticks prevention. Instead, we believe in using a very strong but natural repellent and we believe in maintaining good immune system. Once a month or twice a month, it really depends on how rowdy they get, we fluff them with a dry cleaning powder to rid any excess debris, dirt and others that we cannot remove during normal brushing. Are the dogs sparkling clean? – ABSOLUTELY NOT. If we soak any one of them in a tub of water, we’d bet a million dollars that the water will turn greyish black. So why don’t we just shower them? – read till the end to find out.
When it rains, the dogs still go out. Yes, we try to avoid the rain as much as we can. If there is no other option, they put on simple raincoats before we head out. If they are dripping wet when we get back, we dry them either with a hair dryer or with allow them to towel dry. If they are still damp after towel drying, we spray them to make sure that they don’t get any bacteria infection.
Paw pads are checked everyday simply because these dogs are no gentle dogs. Many of you have seen them with 1 sock, a bandage on their paw, limping on 3 legs, the list goes on. They are so rough and out so much that they get injured from time to time. We check them for injuries and make sure the pads are ok. If its cracked or if we are going on a hot and possibly dangerous route, the pads are ALWAYS protected with a layer of wax. We don’t wash their feet, we don’t scrub their toes, we don’t soak their legs. Once in awhile, we spray them or wipe it clean if needed.
We own terriers and more specifically, westies and cairn – two wired coated, rough hair dog breeds. These are self cleaning dogs. Why don’t we shower them? – while it is not harmful to shower the dogs once in awhile (say once every 3 months), there is no need to unless they roll into extremely nasty stuff. These dogs have harsh coats they are fully capable of keeping themselves clean and protecting their own skins. We have heard so many professionals in Singapore and so many groomers telling us that we have to shower them at least once in awhile because of our climate. Our dogs are living, breathing proof that you don’t have to. Wired coats can take days and some times weeks to recover once its being washed down with soap. Before the coat recovers, there are little to none repelling ability against dirt and pest. If you shower frequent enough, the coat structure changes and overtime, the only way to keep your dog clean will be to continue showering it because the coat no longer possess the ability to clean itself.
Dogs walk on their paws, the paws will get dirty and this is also the reason why many owners soak or wash the paws everyday. Signs of yeast are common and very normal. Signs of yeast and yeast infections are two totally different matter. Just like human, dogs too have yeast present on their bodies. A healthy dog can have a healthy amount of yeast on it’s body and prevent yeast infection. Constant washing and soaking of a westie’s feet can result in discolouration of it’s coat around the paws and also discourage the growth of new coat around the paw.
What we do to maintain the dogs are very simple and very straightforward. While we cannot and may not recommend the same for every dog and we cannot say for other breeds, we have to say that less is more. We do not encourage you to follow blindly. A good understanding of your own dog, it’s breed and coat type is a good solution to understanding many care taking methods.
A westie is an earth dog for a reason. If they are squeaky clean, you might as well call them an air dog. #justsayin
Items that we use:
Dry Cleaning – Fur Refresh Dry Shampoo
Tick Spray / Anti bacterial spray – Fat Boy Tonic’s Shield 4 Thieves
Paw Wax – Fat Boy Tonic’s Wax My Pad
Raincoat – EBay
We all become dog owners one way or another firstly for our own personal reasons. Some of us get a dog for companion, some for protection, some for a healthier lifestyle, others as a replacement to kids. Whatever the reason is, we all got dogs for our own benefits. One of the widely known rule after or even before getting a dog is to be a responsible dog owner. That means to provide the dog with at least the most basic needs, food and shelter and stability. These days, people talk about being responsible dog owner with regards to making choices and plans that include the dogs; never leave a dog behind.
Us too, consider responsible dog ownership one of the top priorities in having a dog. Aside from food and shelter, we owe it to the dogs to give them a stable life. Many of us turn unknowingly turn to our dogs for comfort when we quarrel with our peers, when we need a run in the middle of the night or when we just need a TV-buddy. To us, they are always there 24-7 whether they like it or not. In our opinion, because we choose to bring them into our lives and because we choose to step into the phase of being dog owners, we owe it to them to do what we can, within our means to keep them safe, healthy, happy for the rest of their lives.
We often dislike comparing dogs with children because they are different in so many ways and they have to be raised differently. But in this case, they are more alike than one can imagine. Many people see the heavy responsibility with having kids, but fail to recognise that it is the same with dogs. Whatever we do, whichever decision we make, affects the children in the household directly. When we switch jobs, when we are emotionally unstable, when we move to a new place. Likewise, it affects the dogs directly and indirectly. When you have children, your life isn’t only yours. Similarly, when you have a dog, your life doesn’t just revolves around you. Many dog owners that we met along the way, would raise their hands to agree that their lives have changed because of the dog. Many have become healthier, more structured or have a different passion. Still, there are a minority of people who own dogs, but continue to live their own lifestyle and providing only for the dog when they see fit. Although it is debatable as to whether this is right or wrong, this certainly will not make any dog a good dog, neither will it create a strong relationship with your dog.
There are many dog-business owners and entrepreneurs who started what they are doing all just because of the love and passion they have for their dogs. There are some who moved to a new house, some who took a new job, took on new skills, others who pull themselves out of bed to have healthier and better lives with their dogs. What most of us want out and enjoy the most out of having a dog is the relationship that we can have with them. While we are no relationship experts, the common sayings explains it all “it takes two hands to clap”, “in a relationship, it’s give and take”. Having a strong relationship with our dogs is what most of us search for. That soulmate, the buddy that will always be there. And all those of us with a dog, knows that having a strong relationship with your dog is not so easy. Not many of us can say that our dogs will go to the end of earth with us. Similarly, our dogs may also know that not all of us will go to the end of our lives for them. If we seek a strong relationship, we must first and foremost be willing and ready to put in what it takes to get there, for the dogs are always ready.
If you are like us, trying to build a strong and solid relationship base with your dog, you need to make considerations before you jump into decisions. Consider a daily basic level, if you are angry at your dog for something that he did, is your anger going to solve anything. If you are switching your job, is it going to affect your dog’s life and how are you going to counter it. If you plan to move away, is the move good for your dog. If you are bringing someone new into your life, have you make the necessary arrangements for your dog. Many people assume that as long as we do not desert our dogs, as long as we take them with us wherever we go, there will not be any problem. While we may know what and where our changes bring us, your dog has no idea. Many dogs develop reactive issues, separation anxiety, health issues, connection issues, because of the decisions we make. Dogs always do what works for them even if it is a bad move. As owners, we need to make what works for us, work for them positively.
We are free to choose what kind of owners we want to be, we are also free to decide on the kind of lives we want to give to our dogs. But we must always remember whether we like it or not, for the better or worse, the decisions we make, the roads that we take, affects our dogs and we are responsible for that. If we can’t be responsible to a dog, what else can we be responsible to?
Without passion, there is no dream.
Many times we see dogs that snaps or growls at another dog, we run off to the other corner telling other owners that particular dog is not friendly, not sociable. As owners, many of us fail to read situations correctly and we fail to properly socialise our dogs.
To start off, lets make it clear not to mix trained and socialised into the same pot of water. A highly trained dog can be under socialised and an untrained dog can be the guru in socialising. A socialised dog is one that can co-exist with other dogs off-leash in common grounds without causing any issues.
Now at this point, some of you may be thinking that your dog is very friendly, he is always very happy to meet another dog, tails wagging excitably, jumping, pouncing and has never growled and never caused any problems during meetings. – Just for a moment, step back and imagine this dog as a person that you meet for the first time. So friendly, so conversational, touching your hair, going all around your body, patting your head, always in a high-pitch/tone voice, going non-stop. Is this person sociable? Is this person well-mannered? Absolutely not. Most of us may also consider this person rude, too in-your-face, and all your want to do is tell the person to back off.
Like human, every dog is different. Some of us have better patience than others, some dogs have better tolerance level than others. What we want to teach our dogs is to be well-mannered, to greet dogs properly, to give dogs space, to read warnings politely, to co-exist with other dogs in the same space while maintaining a relax mind. As we have mentioned multiple times, an excited dog, is not necessarily a happy dog. Bringing your dog to an unnecessary excited zone, provides no benefits. It does not make your dog happy, and every single time you come across the same situation, your dog will have the same mindset, over time this mindset is going to build into something bigger, stronger and much harder to control and change (oh yes, its building in the system, you better believe it).
When you meet another dog for the first time, or if you intend to bring your dog out to meet friends, the best way to do it, is off leash. Dogs that are not leash pressure trained becomes tense or react adversely when they feel tension on the leash. If you are feeling nervous, it further heightens the tension on the leash. Unless you are in control of yourself, the leash and your dog is highly leash pressure trained, drop that leash. If you are worried that once the dogs are off leash, you are unable to stop any bad situations immediately, allow the dogs to drag the leashes on the floor. Keep initial greetings, butt sniffing short. Just like how you greet someone new, you shake hands for less than 2seconds. Imagine that someone shakes your hand and holds on to your hand for more than 10seconds. Awkward, isn’t it? Guide the dogs off each other to allow them to learn to keep greetings short and sweet. Use an ‘extended hand’ if you have to. Tools like canes, horse whips, sticks, branches, can act as an extended hand for you to guide the dogs.
Don’t Blame The Other Dog
Dogs like human, feel appreciated when they are given their own spaces. If another dog is not in the mood for play or further engagement, move your dog away. Dogs are social creatures, they like to move in packs. But having said that, dogs also like to be respected. Due to the lack of proper socialisation, many dogs now fail to read warnings and cues. Puppies for instance, like to lick the faces and mouths of adult dogs or one that is in a higher authority. It can be a form of acknowledgment but too much of it, is a form of harassment. Many of us see licking other dogs as a form of play until the other dog snaps back. If your dog is constantly chasing the mouth of another dog, check if the other dog is tolerant with it. If the other dog lets out warning signs such as soft growling or turning away, guide your dog away if he is unable to read those signs. If you don’t and the other dog snaps at yours, you have no one to blame. The other dog gave a warning, your dog failed to read it, and you as the owner, failed to recognise the problem. In the human context, if someone is constantly fussing with your hair even though you asked for a halt, what would you have done next? And as owners, if your dog is constantly being disturbed by another dog, protect your dog. You as the owner, have the responsibility to make your dog feel safe so that he does not need to get all worked up and start attacking because his owner is ‘allowing’ other dogs to harass him.
Invitational play is an excellent way of socialising. Dogs some times do downward bow to invite other dogs to play. It is polite and it is OK to let them play. However, dogs do not need to play every time they are together. Being together even without play, builds their social skills. Dogs observe and learn all the time. Socialising doesn’t have to be about all play, it is about letting your dog learn to be in an environment and be content. If you want your dog to play all the time and you want your dogs to play with the dogs he meet all the time – 1) your dog is going to be very tired. 2) your dog is going to learn that this particular place or these particular group of dogs is all about play 3) your dog is going to regard every single dog or human with play(unfortunately this is a very very bad move)
Recognising Sexual Aggression and Anti-Social
Neutering and spaying dogs are very common and more than half of the dogs are sterilised. It allows them to co-exist without having the need to fight for place and having the need to dominate over another dog of the same sex. However, there are some of us who prefers dog to be intact for various reasons. Female dogs fortunately do not cause much problems even if they are intact. Male dogs on the other hand can openly challenge another intact male if they are not socialised from young. Let us put it up-front. Intact male dogs challenge one another but they will not cause much problems unless there is a bitch on heat. If you have allow your intact male to properly socialise and if you have lay down solid foundation and ground rules, you may have an intact male that is polite and well-balanced even when in contact with other intact males. However, if you have not properly done so, you will soon find that your dog seeks out intact males from a sea of dogs just to ‘kill’ that those dogs. Occasionally, there are intact males that are so highly driven that the only way to knock down this wall, is to neuter them. To put it in the open, if you have an intact male that is only targeting certain dogs, do yourself a favour and do your dog a favour, recognise what the problem is, fix it.
Some of us may be thinking, my dog is very friendly, and doing fine this way, why do I need to be in control of how they meet other dogs? – Because as owners, we love it when our dogs get to meet their ‘friends’ and because as owners, we hate it when our dogs get hurt and we hate it when other people say that our dogs are not friendly. If our dog is doing an undesirable behaviour, and we see no problem with that because it doesn’t hurt him, then we have no one to blame when the behaviour escalates or when he gets injured by another dog. Lastly, put yourself in your dog’s shoes. Do you want to react this particular way all time? Do you want to get snapped at all the time? Or do you want to be the dog that manoeuvres around situations like it’s a piece of cake. We, as the owner, need to be the answer to the equation of a highly socialised and well balanced dog.
Let us all work together on being responsible owners who can proudly say “my dog is well socialised”.
“Why do you put your dogs in the crate?” – We get this question all too often. Our dogs eat in the crates and they sleep in the crates. They also go in the crates when there are too many distractions in the environment that we have no control over. We have been told many times that it is cruel, we have been told many times that dogs enjoy sleeping on our beds and it is beneficial to both them and us. Without going into which is best and what is right and wrong, here are the most important points and the main reasons why we believe crating and confining the dogs into their own spaces is beneficial.
The Safe Zone
Safety is one of the major reasons why our dogs are crate-trained, play pen trained, room trained, small spaced trained. There are times whereby you need a dog to stay at a place for an extended period of time to be safe. For example, you have a relative that is just too afraid of dogs and it will be best for your dog to stay at one place during that period of time. (yes, if they don’t like dogs they can stop visiting, but lets face it. In reality, we have less control over this than we can hope for) Or, if you have an injured dog, you need them to stop moving and the best way to do it, is of course, the crate. If you have a dog that throws up during car rides, crating can be a valuable investment. When they feel safe and relax in the crate, they can bring this mindset with them if they have their crates in the car. If you have a crate trained dog, you can go anywhere with them, all around the world.
Once the dogs are accustomed to crates or small space confinements, all they do is relax or sleep. It puts the trainings or their destroyer minds to halt. One of the worse thing that you can do while training your dog is to allow mistakes when you are not watching. If you are training a dog to pee correctly on the pee pad or stop marking, you want to make sure that behaviour continues even when you are not watching, and the worse thing that can happen is that they repeat the mistakes because you are not there to correct. Crating or confining allows you to put a pause button to your training.
Dogs like small, cramp, cozy areas. If you find your dog under the bed, under a chair, in-between the sofas, you know what we mean. Furthermore, we own terriers. These are little sneaky earth dogs who love to dig and hide in small dark areas. A crate is like an individual little den for them, it makes them feel safe and relax.
When Do We Crate Our Dogs?
We keep our dogs in the crates or in pens when we are not around. Of course we have been asked too many times, why don’t we let them roam around the whole house. We won’t and never will let them wander around the house or in fact, any areas unsupervised. Dogs, when left alone in a place with endless freedom, make silly decisions. And when they are in a pack, they make even more silly decisions.
We keep them in the crates during feeding time. We believe that they should be given their own space during feeding, reducing the need for guarding and aggression. Dogs, by nature guard their food, it is our job to keep the level of guarding to the lowest and reduce any need to do so.
If you have multiple dogs at home, you know it is impossible to have a good night sleep with them all on your bed, regardless of the benefits that many articles claimed that it provides. With the dogs in the crates, they sleep soundly, we sleep soundly. They are not disturbed by other dogs and most importantly, we are not disturbed by them. Like us, they enjoy the privilege of having their own spaces. In case you are wondering, they sleep upside down in the crates. And all crate doors are closed, of course -whats the use of a crate if the door is not closed? This may be surprising, but most dogs prefer to be in a small area and they very much prefer to know where their boundaries are. If you have a security camera at home, take a look after at the camera. Most of you will find your dog at the same old spot every single day.
Lastly, it gives us a peace of mind. We all want to enjoy time outside without having to worry about the dogs at home. Worrying about whether they are scratching the gates, peeing at the legs of chairs, barking their heads off at another dog passing by, stealing food left on the tabletop or wondering where the hell they are when you can’t find them on the camera. All the dogs are in the room, in the pens or in the crates when we are not around. There have never been any exception, they are happy to be where we tell them to be, and we are calm and worry-free.
Bile is a yellowish liquid that is created in the liver. Dogs some times vomit bile out of the blue and this can cause many owners to panic and frantically pick the dogs up for a vet visit. In most cases, vomiting bile is not a concern and shouldn’t be a concern. Many owners think that vomiting bile means that the dogs are hungry. We have boarding guest dogs with us most of the time and from time to time, we see dogs throwing up bile. Most of the time it happens during the first few days of boarding.
Why Do Dogs Vomit Bile?
Does it mean that your dog is hungry? – not necessarily. Dogs is mean that you are not feeding enough? – not necessarily. Dogs throw up because they are anticipating food. We have seen dogs who throw up the moment the hear a refrigerator door open. The dog is not hungry, neither is he getting food. He threw up merely at the sound of the refrigerator door. This is a conditioned reflex. The dog knows and has been conditioned to think that he will get food whenever the refrigerator door opens. The body naturally adjust itself to expect food. When he doesn’t get food, he throws up. Another very common scene is when a dog throws up at a specific timing, everyday between 5 to 6pm. Does it mean he is sick? – oh no, no, no, and NO. The dog is conditioned to react between that time because he is always fed between 5 to 6pm. His body is expecting food.
How do you solve frequent Bile Vomiting?
The easiest way to stop bile vomiting is to adjust the feeding time. Feed your dog at irregular times, this will stop his body from anticipating food and generating excess bile. Feed your dog at your own free time, this helps to up his game at digesting food and also stop bile vomiting AND give you more free time. By irregular, we don’t mean that you have to feed at very different timing everyday. A slight tweak of an hour or even 30 minutes can fix the problem. Another quick way to fix the problem is to offer a small treat. If your dog is vomiting bile every now and then in-between the times that you are not feeding him such as during the day time, offer him some small treats. And by treats we mean just a slice of apple, just a slice of meat, just some training treats and not a whole meal.
Is It Dangerous?
No. It is as simple as that. You don’t need to grab your dog and rush down to the vet each time it happens. In most cases, the dogs are completely healthy. So why spend the time and money to visit the vet? Each time owners bring their dogs to the vet, they expect a problem to be ‘fixed’ by the vet. In order to ‘fix’ the problem, your dog will have to go through tests, get pills, injections and all sorts of unnecessary things. Many vets know how minor many issues are, but they are to ‘fix’ the problems. And in turn, you have a whole lot of pills, creams and what not to ‘fix’ a non existent problem.
However, if your dog has a chronic vomiting issue, and you are certain it is not as simple as just bile, do make a vet visit.
What is an ideal dog owner? – While one may say that the ideal dog owner is one that is this and one that is that, the ideal dog owner to us, is someone who is willing to learn, listen, try and willing to provide a stable lifestyle to the dog. In reality, none of us are ideal dog owners, we can only keep improving our knowledge and keep trying our best to create a ‘perfect’ lifestyle for the dogs. Dogs are a very primal species. Although domesticated, they remain true to who they are, they scavenge for food, they seek leadership and they try to push boundaries.
The basic needs of dogs remain simple – they need food, shelter and leadership. While these are simple, these are also where humans make the biggest mistakes.
Dogs need food, and they need species appropriate food, they need variety just like we do and they need just the right amount. Frequently, dog owners give in to dogs who are trying their luck by the dining tables. Owners give dogs birthday cakes, treats after treats made of ingredients that you and I can’t even pronounce, food that you and I know it’s not needed and will not provide any nutritional needs to the dog. Dog owners tend to feed too many, too much and too frequently, we too were once one of the guilty ones. Possible result of these? – An itchy and obese dog. And we wonder how they got there.
Dogs need shelter, they need a place to relax, rest and feel safe. We general do pretty well in providing this need. We as dog owners buy beds, cushions, mattress, blankets to enhance the comfort level of their sleeping areas. Although deep down inside our hearts, we know that all they need is a dedicated area where they know they can feel safe and relax, we like to give them the whole world, the whole house, the whole bed. Yup, we’ve been there as well. Possible result of these? – An owner waking up several times throughout the night to answer to the dog’s need of moving left, right, up and down the bed.
Dogs need leadership, they need a structured lifestyle, boundaries and a leader. Today’s dog training world has many people believe that a human and a dog should be equal. We should allow the dogs to express their thoughts, frustrations and whatever you call it. It is believe that we should never use force or punishment on a dog because it will cause trauma and possibly cause the dog to shut-down. Any behaviour that you dislike, you should use a treat to distract and redirect the dog and later praise the dog if he is doing a desired behaviour. If you are lucky, and you have an easy dog, you are sure to be fine with these and your dog will shine like a super star. If you are not so lucky, and you have dogs who are reactive to people, to bikes, to dogs, you will be stuck sooner or later. Two years down the road, you will probably still be carrying your dog who is barking at another dog who simply can’t be bothered with your dog. Dogs like to push boundaries and we all know that they are incredibly smart. If you do not stop a behaviour, it means you agree to the behaviour. If you redirect a behaviour before stopping it, it means there is a chance that he will return to that behaviour. Taking a chance with a dog, you are bound to lose. We’ve lost several times giving our dogs the so-called freedom of expressions, chances, redirection treats and plenty of rewards. If your dog’s behaviour is not causing a nuisance to you, it doesn’t mean that it is not causing any inconvenience to someone else.
We are all guilty of some things that we are doing to our dogs just for our own pleasures. Going down several different routes while trying to figure out what is right, what is wrong and simply, what works the best, we are all imperfect. The important thing to do is always try to find a balance in raising a dog by giving them a balanced lifestyle and one that makes us happy. While it is never easy, but one can only keep trying to gain knowledge, trust and respect from their dog. One way to keep yourself in check, and the way that we frequently use, is to always remember that: They are dogs. Not human, not kids, just DOGS.
Continue from the previous post. Click here if you have not read part 1
In the advance world that we live in, supplements are almost required to help our bodies and our dogs’ bodies in one way or another to enhance the immune systems. While there are countless variations of supplements in the market, we like to focus on supplements that help with the immune system and help in preventing cancer. A few types of supplement that may help to prevent cancer includes Vitamin D (of course the dogs can get this from sun, so exercise your dog), curcumin (found in turmeric), fish oil, garlic, beta-carotene, colostrum, kefir.
Realistically speaking, you won’t be able to feed your dog the whole world of supplements out there, it is wise to make a few choices based on your dog’s needs and your ability. While we can’t rid all types of illnesses and diseases we believe in ‘harvesting’ a strong immune. We like to focus on overall gut health and overall immune system as we believe that the way to keep them strong, healthy and have the ability to fight for themselves is by allowing the dogs’ bodies to learn to fight and fend for themselves.
Many already know that we frequently feed the dogs milk kefir. Milk kefir is a functional healing food. Consuming kefir can heal the gut, improve immune function and prevent cancer. Gut health, we have mentioned it a couple of times, is the key to the immune system. 70% of the immune is based on how healthy your gut is. Milk Kefir is one of , if not the best natural probiotics out there. Research is beginning to suggest that probiotics may play a role in inhibiting tumor growth and protecting against cancer. So far, they’ve been shown to reduce the number of cells related to colon cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia.
Colostrum is the next thing that we feed our dogs. Colostrum is the first milk of a mammal during pregnancy. Colostrum is the ‘first vaccination’ for the new born because it contains a lot of antibodies. It is high in leukocytes (protective white blood cells) which is highly possibly why newborns don’t get sick. The antibodies in colostrum helps to protect against several bacterial and viral infection. “Colostrum has also been shown to be of benefit against that most feared of diseases, cancer. Numerous research studies have shown that bovine colostrum prevents the development of cancers, particularly cancers associated with the gastrointestinal tract, under experimental conditions. ” – Quote Sovereign Health Initiative. Lactoferrin, a compound contained in colostrum, activates T-cells, regulates antigen pathways, and promotes enzyme activity. Lactoferrin also exhibits strong antioxidant and detoxification properties which reduce systemic inflammation. As a result, the existence of lactoferrin in the body inhibits inflammatory immune responses and may reduce the risk of cancer and disease. We believe it is one of the most natural and essential supplements available out there. What can be more natural than a mammal’s first milk?
Colostrum for pets
Most people do not know this, but we have a thing for mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms have been prescribed and used for countless ailments for thousands of years. As modern medicine rediscovers these ancient superfoods, there is good evidence that mushrooms are among the most powerful functional food in a growing cancer-fighting and cancer-preventing arsenal. It is important to note that medicinal mushrooms are different from most other mushrooms. Some medicinal mushrooms exhibit direct antiviral and tumor shrinking abilities. One of the most vital benefits of medicinal mushrooms is the activation and stimulation of NK (Natural Killer) T cells. NK cells are lymphocytes that perform immunosurveillance within the body, constantly on the lookout for “immuno-alerters” signaling tumor presence.
Triple extraction of selected wild-harvested medicinal mushrooms from Fat Boy Tonic.
While mushroom is fantastic, it is very hard to find a good mushroom product in the market. Why is that so – as we all know by now, wild-caught, wild-harvested, free range produces are the best. Mushrooms are no different, wild harvested mushrooms are exposed to the nature, making them stronger and better than laboratory grown mushrooms. Many mushroom powdered supplements in the market are from laboratory and they are Mycelium, not mushrooms. Mycelium on grain is actually nothing more than what commercial mushroom growers call “grain spawn”. Grain spawn is cheap to produce and is therefore economical to grow. Unfortunately, mycelium grown on grain or rice contains minimal amounts of the important compounds that are in medicinal mushrooms. Myceliated grain is cheap to produce, often cheap to purchase, but the lack of medicinal compounds makes it a very expensive product. The other thing about mushroom supplements is that, some medicinal mushrooms contains beneficial properties such as beta-glucans and triterpenes. These properties can only be extracted through heat, water or alcohol. So in another words, mushrooms need to undergo extractions before the beneficial properties becomes useful to the body. Extractions are labor-intensive and time consuming. But it’s only by extracting the beta glucan polysaccharides that these compounds become readily bio-available to maintain and improve health.
Other than the cancer cells fighting, one of our favourite property of medicinal mushrooms is the beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is an immuno-modulator , it helps to make your dog’s immune system smarter. It can help raise the immune system’s response so that your body can naturally fight of and kill cancer. The term immune-modulator is the real key; it is not an immune stimulate. Beta glucan modulates or activates but never over stimulates, which is key to the safety of this product.
The immune system is the body’s best defense mechanism for maintaining the health of the whole body. Comparable to a surveillance system, a strong immune system requires numerous factors to function properly. Dr. Rashid Buttar said, “Cancer first and foremost is a problem with the immune system. You cannot have cancer if you have an intact immune system.” Which is why we stress not once, but multiple times that the things you feed your dogs with, the places you bring your dogs to, the stimulants you expose your dogs to, are very important.
Source of supplements: www.fatboytonic.com
∆∆∆ Part 1: Cancer in dogs
We all know that some one that has battled cancer. We all know that someone who survived or that someone who lost the battle. Cancer, the one illness that nobody wants to hear or ever experience. But the sad truth is, none of us are guaranteed to be free from it and none of the dogs are too. The only thing we can do is to prevent, prevent and prevent and hope for the best. When you experience the pain of watching someone or some dog suffer and try their best to overcome and survive, deep down you wished you knew more about what to do and you wished that you had started prevention earlier.
Everyone and every dog has cancer cells in their body. Without going too deeply into how cancer are formed and what it causes, here are the basics. When the immune system is weak, it cannot kill enough cancer cells and the cancer cells grow out of control. That is when cancer is being detected. So the main point that one can do to prevent cancer in dogs is to boost and maintain the immune system (which is the key to surviving a cancer diagnosis) of your dog.
What Causes The Immune System To Be Low
The first and foremost thing that we should know is why, is the immune system of your dog low. This, comes down to of course, genes. Genetically, one dog may be stronger than the other. And this, goes back to where did you get your dog from? Obviously a dog that comes from a long generation of healthy, happy responsibly bred dog will have a better immune system compared to a dog that comes from a puppy mill. Next, the ‘artificial’ things that we do to our dogs. Yearly vaccinations, antibiotics and obesity. The mercury and toxins in a vaccine can weaken the immune system. An antibiotic can kill both harmful and useful bacteria in your dog’s gut. Extra fats produce imbalance hormones and abnormality. Obesity affects the way cell works and raises the risks to not only cancer but a whole other range of diseases and illness.
As the saying goes, every step you take comes with consequences, either good or bad. Maintaining a good immune system is not a one day thing, it has to start today and it should never end. How you raise your dog today, will come to show in time. Today’s research shows that while 5% of all cancer cases are genetic, 95% are the results of lifestyle and environmental influences.
Purdue University study shows that by adding fresh food into your dog’s diet, there is a 90% decrease in risk of cancer. What is fresh food – Fresh meat, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits. Like we have always said, dogs don’t cook their food, they thrive on raw fresh food, not processed in anyway.
Sugar is the main source of fuel which feeds cancer cell. You might say that you don’t feed your dog with anything that contains sugar. Carbohydrate is a form of sugar. Carbohydrate turns into starch and glucose after consuming and these ARE sugar. Carbohydrates are frequently found in dry dog food and home-cooked food. Rice, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins, Wheat all these are some examples of Carbohydrates.
“Otto Warburg was a leading cell biologist who led to the discovery that cancer cells are unable to flourish using energy produced from cellular respiration, but instead from glucose fermentation. Dr. Thomas Seyfried and other cancer researchers agree, and have further discovered that cancer cells are also fueled from the fermentation of the amino acid glutamine.” – Quote from The Truth About Cancer. By removing carbohydrates from your dog’s diet, you can deplete cancer cells of their energy supply.
In other words, if you feed your dog fresh and species appropriate food, you can reduce the risk of them ever getting cancer by a big margin.
So you can deplete the cancer cells of their energy supply, but what kills cancer cells? The T cells. A little brief explanation about what T cells are. – A cytotoxin T Cell is a type of white blood cells that not only kills cancer cells, but also cells that are infected with viruses or cells that are damaged in other ways. T cells are created in the bone marrow to defend the body against germs, bacteria and viruses. “Every T cell is created with a special receptor that recognises a unique anti-gen — a type of matter foreign to the body. When a foreign gen is recognised, the T cell goes into action, either defending the body directly or activating other aspects of the immune system.” – Quote from livestrong.com
Exercise, Stress Levels and Environment
We all know exercise is good for both humans and dogs. Cancer cells cannot survive in an oxygenated environment. When your dog exercise, he’s respiratory rate increases. An active body needs more oxygen than a body at rest.
Harvard Medical School notes that excessive emotional stress has been linked to diseases such as heart disease and may actually inhibit the production of T cells. If the body is stressed, it will cause an oxygen deficiency. TOXIC STRESS, EMOTIONAL STRESS, PHYSICAL TRAUMA, INFECTIONS are four forms of stress that can deplete oxygen in its own way.
TOXIC STRESS and EMOTIONAL STRESS in particular are closely linked to the environment in which your dog is in. Toxic stress, stresses from toxic environmental chemicals requires a large amount of oxygen. Oxygen is used in all detoxification processes. Simply putting it, exercising your dog in a nature park is far better than exercising your dog in the city where there are buildings, constructions and toxins. Emotional stress causes adrenaline and adrenal-related hormones which utilise oxygen. The closest example, bringing your dog to a dog party filled with excited dogs. Many owners confuse excitement with happiness, dogs don’t need to be excited to be happy. Excitement on the contrary causes stress to dogs. Ears up, tails up, pulling on the leash, dashing all around can be a form of excitement and emotional stress. Environment places a very big part in keeping a dog healthy.
All normal cells meet their energy needs by respiration of oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs in great part by fermentation If a normal cell is deprived of 35% of its oxygen requirement for 48hours then that cell could turn cancerous. Therefore it is crucial to keep your dogs active, stress free and in a good environment.
Supplements is the next part that comes in handy to cancer prevention. Click to the link to carry on reading about how and what kind of supplements can come in handy.
∆∆∆ Part 2: About anti-cancer supplements
In our small little city, we lack the vast greenland for our dogs to run about and exercise. The most common thing that we do and can do for our dogs is going for gatherings and attending parties. With the social media development, we often attend gatherings and parties with dogs that we ‘know’ on Instagram or Facebook. In actual fact, we know nothing about these dogs, we only know what was posted on the social media. As such, one of the most common thing to happen during such gatherings is non other than dog fights.
Many scenarios can cause dog fights. One of the most common reasons is when dogs do not greet each other properly. We see a rise in the number of dogs who don’t know how to greet a dog properly. Instead, they meet eyes first and it gets worse when the owners do not see a problem with this. Imagine for awhile, how the the old-school gangster fights begin. “See what see?!”, “You never see me how you know I see you!?”, “See some more? Come, fight!” And this can be exactly what happen when two dogs meet eyes first. Eye to eye aside, there are more opportunities for dogs to fight after the initial greeting.
Ideally, in a public area, everyone should be allowed to correct each other’s dog to keep the area healthy and free of fights. But in the current society, this is barely possible. People are afraid of being judged and there are just too many different training techniques around.
When you have zero control with other dogs, the best insurance is of course your own dog. Having a dog that is slick in social skills is a big bonus and having a dog that is flexible makes going for gatherings and parties a stress-free one. A flexible dog, in our opinion is one that takes cues, warnings and hints from another dog and from the surrounding and avoid before any commotion arises.
Why does your dog need to avoid fights? A dog fight is pretty much like a car accident. The car that causes the damage is the car at fault no matter what happened before or after that. Although your dog might be simply reacting because he was provoked, he is still at fault if he causes a punctured wound on the other dog. Is it your dog’s fault because he has a stronger jaw? Is it your dog’s fault if he was just reacting? Maybe, maybe not. The dog that causes an injury will always be the dog at fault.
All dogs are curious, your dog might be just sniffing around but the other dog might not like his area being sniffed. Simple scenes like that can cause a dog fight to break out. You have no control over the other dog, and you want your dog to be able to enjoy and be curious. So the next best thing to do is of course to train your dog to be sensitive to warnings, to leave when warning is given, to take cues from another dog like a social expert, to drop it when being asked, and to be patient and tolerant. It’s never cowardice when safety is in question.
It is best to train flexibility and build strong social skills with other dogs. Gather some like-minded owners who are also looking to socialise their dogs in a safe way. Build a strong group of 5-6 dogs, set some simple rules that everyone agrees on. At the same time, take the opportunity to study the dogs’ behaviours and language, learn from each other. Correct your dog or another dog when the need arises and allow everyone to correct your dog. Going for a strong pack walk together with the dogs before or after the gathering can help start or end the day productively.
Everybody knows that a strong and healthy immune system is the key to a happy lifestyle. Often, people ask, what do you feed your dog to keep it healthy? Of all the answers we heard, 80% of them are of certain supplements. While supplements can bring your dogs’ immune system to a whole new level, the basics are no doubt still the most important. As with everything and anything, without the foundations, supplementing will not work. So what are the foundations of a strong and healthy immune system? Its all about balance. Imagine a car with tyres that are of different sizes, the car will not be able to travel smoothly, if a dog’s body is imbalanced, the body will not function properly.
Simply putting it, a stress free person is a happy person, a happy person is healthy person. Translating that into a dog’s life, a stress free dog is a happy dog, a happy dog is a healthy dog. Domestic dogs are naturally stress-free, they have nothing to worry about, they have food and shelter all provided for them. We, humans are the ones that put stress into their lives. When we bring them into a stressful environment or when we get them to do things that are not natural to them, we create stress. In human terms, everyone knows that a stressful person gets agitated easily and it creates a imbalance body system and it is the same with dogs. An imbalance body system can easily contract infections and viruses.
•Metabolism and Exercise•
By definition, metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organism. Simply putting it, metabolism helps to keep the body functioning and running. It helps to transport and eliminate. Exercise boosts metabolism and exercise reduces stress. Adequate exercises with help to keep your dog’s body functioning, and stress-free. Insufficient exercise can lead to obesity. Obesity is one of the biggest health problems that dogs have. Many owners think that a fat dog is a cute dog, but a fat dog is also an unhealthy dog. Obesity can put unnecessary pressure on their joints and it can create heath problems such as heart diseases.
•Diet, Diet, Diet•
60-70% of the immune system is located in the digestive system. A dog’s gut flora is the game changing piece of the puzzle to managing their immunity. A healthy diet is the key to a healthy digestive system. Before any supplementing can happen, the core of building healthy digestive system is to have a clean diet. According to science, 30-40% of all cancer can be prevented by implementing dietary change. In order to know what affects your dog, a clean diet is necessary, what goes in, must comes out. When you give them too much food, food with ingredients that you cannot recognise, you are indirectly setting your dog up for an imbalanced digestive system!
Supplements, the newest hot topic in dog industry. There are hundreds of different supplements in the market, each and every one of them claims to be beneficial to a dog’s body in one way or another. The question is, is it really necessary? A brief touch about supplements (we will cover more about supplements and their uses in near future), while all supplements in the market contain at least one beneficial ingredient, they can still be harmful. First of all, if your dog is healthy, with no health issues, no genetic related issues, with a balanced diet and lifestyle, the dog doesn’t need supplementing. Over supplementing is harmful and over dosing can result in an imbalanced immune system. Secondly, know the ingredients in the supplements, more is not always better. When it comes to supplementing, almost always, the purer the supplement, the better it is. Next, how is the supplement made, how is the herb extracted, how is the oil produced, how is it stored, how is it created, where is it from, all these are the deciding factors to how potent and how beneficial the supplement can be.
Before modern medicine, plants were the only medicine around and used to treat everything for humans. Dogs were not ‘treated’ at all, they counted on their own immune system to treat themselves. We’ve all heard similar phrase like ‘if you expose your kid to many different situation, they learn naturally and become immune to diseases’, so why are we forgetting this simple yet effective phrase when it comes to dogs? Today, owners visit the vets for every little illness. A simple injection or pill seems to suffice for most things. Antibiotics are the most common medications dispensed, it is given for the treatment of infections caused by bacterias. What you may not know is that antibiotics does not only treat harmful bacterias. Antibiotics are poisons that are used to kill. Vets are the only people who are licensed to diagnosis certain illness and prescribe it with appropriate antibiotics. Every time your dog swallows an antibiotic pill, it kills the beneficial bacteria within your dog’s intestines. Yeasts are opportunistic organisms, as the intestinal bacteria die, yeasts thrive and overgrowth of yeasts are the last thing owners want to deal with.
As we mentioned earlier, 70% of the immune system is within the digestive system, in other words, every time your dog takes in anything that is chemically made (in most cases, medications), it is directly and indirectly affecting your dog’s immune system. Its like a smaller scale of chemotherapy. Many people understand chemotherapy does not just attack cancer cells, it attacks even beneficial cells and that’s exactly what medication does. Although, there are certain illness and ailments we are unable to fix on our own, and a vet visit has to be arranged, over reliance on medication is definitely a immune system killer.
While we are grateful for the science and technology that has been developed over the years, we never bring our dogs to the vets unless when we know it’s necessary(if you need a blood test done) and when its an emergency. We have spent so much time building our dogs’ immune system and gut flora for them to be destroyed with just one course of medication.
So what makes a healthy dog? A healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet and a healthy mind. A dog that is sound in body and mind, is a balance dog.
Often when we look at a cute puppy, we resort to love-at-first-sight, fate, or chance to whether we would like to bring the puppy home. However, breeding is a far more important job than producing cute puppies after puppies. Improper breeding or breeding for secondary benefits in the long run results in unwanted puppies and unhealthy puppies. Therefore, if one is indeed interested in owning a certain breed, a good and responsible breeder is the key to having a good puppy.
There can be many reasons to why one would breed their dogs, but the main focus of breeding should and must always be to improve the breed and/or to carry on the good line. With a good solid foundation for puppies, the chances of puppies developing future problems can be minimised. And the following important factors are a few of what we consider as the most important factors.
1. Living Conditions
The first thing that one should take at look at is the living conditions of the breeder’s dogs. This allows you to understand how the dogs are raised, and what the lives of the parents of a future puppy. You want a breeder that honours their dogs. A good dog doesn’t necessary comes with good living conditions, many people don’t realise that, you might find a Champion Dog living in a small penned up cage. Good living conditions raise healthy dogs.
2. Meet The Parents
A good breeder will always allow you to meet the parents of the puppy. You might have seen or heard this a thousand times, but why is it so important? By meeting the parents, you will be able to understand more about your future puppy and how it will turn out. Breeders will carefully choose their breeding pairs, so that they can ‘control’ and shape the temperament of the offspring. Almost all breeders will at least own the dam of the breeding pair. Spending time with the parents, or at least the dam, this allows you to understand more about the breed and how your future puppy will be like.
3. Health Check
It is important for a breeder to know the faults in any breeding line, and the degree of severity to the faults. If the breeder is aware of any serious faults, they have to be honest with themselves and others, and not allow that particular dog to be used as breeding stock. This is the only way to eliminate serious faults from the breed. For example, good breeder will never breed a dog which has a history of hip dysplasia or obvious genetic skin mange
Good breeders will and should know the medical history of each and every of their breeding dogs. There are many medical check-ups available at the Vets which helps to provide a peace of mind for future owners and allows breeder to know which dogs are not suitable for breeding. Golden Retriever breeders often do Hip Scorings Tests to ensure that the risk of hip dysplasia in future puppies is minimised to the lowest. Alaskan Malamute breeders often do Elbow Scoring Tests to ensure the quality of future litters.
Breeding only healthy and sound dogs is the key here. Always ask for health check results. If health checks are not done, ask why. Some breeds are more prone to certain faults than others. A good breeder will know the breed inside out and will be explain to you why certain tests are done, why certain tests are not done and why.
Most of us want dogs as pets. Therefore a sound temperament is ideal. When you buy a puppy from the store, you cannot predict its temperament. The parents are the closest you can get to predicting a puppy’s temperament as it grows. And the dam or another balance adult is the key to shaping a puppy’s temperament. First of all, a pair of parents with good temperaments will give you a head start to a good puppy with sound temperament. Secondly, the best candidate to nurture a puppy is none other than the mother. This is why good breeders always have the dams close to the puppies, the longer the puppies stay with their mothers, the more they learn.
The fact that a female dog churns money is the very reason why many breeders stray from their initiate intentions to breed a dog. When a female proves to be unfit for breeding, a breeder must pick up the courage and remove the female from any future breeding programs. It is a money losing decision, but it is best for the breed and it is best for the future. Responsible breeders will refrain from breeding the female again if she shows signs of reluctance or unfitness to being a mother. It brings danger to the puppies and it is not natural for them. Good breeders will want their puppies to start right, and start healthily and the best way to ensure that, is of course a sound dam who will become an exemplary canine mother.
5. Champion Bloodline
‘Champion Bloodline’ often comes with a heavy price tag. Some people show their dogs in the show ring or agility trials for passion, some people compete to gain recognition, and some people do it for the possibility of churning money in the future. Conformation dog show world is a very complicated world, although decisions should always be objective, they are often subjective. A Champion Dog might be penned up n cage all day long or it may have the luxury of running in big yards. When you see the term Champion Bloodline in a pet shop, is merely a way of extorting more money. Reason? Why will any breeder who so painstakingly take their dogs into champion positions, place their offsprings in a pet shop to sell to people they have never met?
A champion dog may not be a good dog, but every good dog is worthy of a champion title.
6. Countries Of Origin
In Singapore, one of the things when people buy puppies is to look at the country of Origin. Many people search for dogs that are being imported. It is important to understand that an imported dog does not mean a quality dog. For all you know, puppies with an imported tag may be the very ones that are bred in puppy mills, why else would the puppy be imported without knowing who is the future owner. Finding a local breeder who breeds sound dogs might be difficult, but if you have found one, it can be a better insurance to your future puppy and yourself.
Finding a good and responsible breeder takes time and effort, but it always pays off. Breeding sound dogs takes a lot more than just time and effort. Ask questions, ask many questions. Any breeder with the mind to let their puppies go to good homes will take their time to explain to you. A few years ago when we imported our dogs, we communicated with the breeder and her family almost every single day for 9 whole months, we had so many questions, she too, had so many questions for us. We wanted to know how her dogs were raised, the food they took, the precautions they made and why. They wanted to know how their puppies will live if they come to us, how will they be treated, how many hours will they be left alone, how much exercise they will get and what can we guarantee them. And now, they are our best resource to honest opinions about dog raising.
Keep in mind that while you are looking for a good breeder, a good breeder is also looking for a good future owner. A friend of ours had to take videos and photos of his current living conditions before he managed to acquire his puppy from a breeder. The breeder also made sure that he puppy proof all areas so that it was safe for the dog. Some breeders even prepare sales contract to protect the puppy. In this case, you know that the breeder wants the best for the puppy. Just because you want a puppy, doesn’t mean you get a puppy. Many breeder in fact, will only let you choose from what they think is suitable for you and your family. Most people thinks that a puppy running to you means that it has chosen you, in a breeder’s mind it just means that the puppy is excited, nothing more.
A good breeder is your puppy’s best insurance policy. Be sure to be a worthy future owner if you want a good puppy.
A dog’s paws are one of the most crucial parts of its body. From a dog’s paws, you can tell what kind of terrain the dog walks on frequently. From a dog’s paws, you can tell if the dog has excessive amount of fungi and bacteria. From a dog’s paws, you can tell whether the dog has a good genetic pigmentation.
The paw pads are made up of mainly fatty tissues to protect the dog form extreme temperature. The fatty tissues protects the inner tissues so that heat doesn’t travel too quickly to the dog’s body. The paw pads are made to provide protection and cushion to the dog on all kinds of terrains. Dogs that are being exposed to many different surfaces a lot have thicker and rougher paw skin. It helps to give protect them against the rough terrains and provides them with adequate friction. Dogs that are indoor most of the time and walk on smoother surfaces will have softer paw pads. It is almost similar to the sole of a human foot. If you are out barefooted, you will have a thicker and tougher sole that can protect you well. Dogs that walk a lot on concrete surfaces can expose their paw pads to wear and tear faster than dogs walking on a natural terrain such as dirt and grass. Again, its like a human walking barefooted on a beach vs walking on the grass.
It is normal for a dog’s feet to smell like corn chips because of the fungi and bacteria on their feet. However, too much of smelling like corn chips can be because of a bacteria or fungi infection. While cleaning the pads when it comes into contact with things that stick to the pads or hurt the pads is necessary, cleaning the pads everyday after walk is personal preference. Some owners choose to rinse their dogs’ pads with water everyday, some choose to wipe it, some don’t clean it. Which every way you choose, always be sure to dry it properly or use something that is antiseptic/anti-fungal/antibacterial to prevent a bacteria or fungi overgrowth.
The colour of the paw pads are entirely dependant on the genes just like the nose, the eye rims , the lips and the nails. While it is not uncommon to see dogs with one or two pink pads, an entirely pigmented paw pad is always desired. Having a pink paw pad will however not cause any discomfort or disadvantage to the dog while walking or trekking. Just like any other parts where pigmentation occurs, black is often the desired colour, but thats all.
Paw pad care is important, but over-caring is never good. A dog’s paw can crack due to dryness or heat, but very often, it will heal on its own. A good quality paw balm can help to protect the paw pads by providing a layer of protection BEFORE walking on rough terrains. Paw balms can also be used to speed up the recovery of a cracked paw. A good and adequate paw balm should be able to coat the paw pads with a layer to protect the pads before going out to rough terrains. Prevention is always better than cure. If you know that you will be bringing your dog our to walk on concrete or rocky areas for an extended period of time, wear a good quality dog shoe or apply a layer of paw protection. As the dog gets older, the pads will not recover as quickly as it used to, wear and tear will leave the paw pads smooth and soft. Many old dogs will need shoes to help them grip onto surfaces to prevent slipping.
Smoothening the paw pads on purpose should always be avoided and applying a paw balm to ‘smoothen, moisturise, soften’ the paw pads is most definitely unnecessary, useless and redundant. Rough and sturdy paw pads will provide a solid protection to your dog. Imagine telling a human who has very soft, smooth and delicate foot soles to climb the rocks barefooted, the human’s foot is going to suffer so badly.
Dog’s paw pads are created to allow them to walk barefooted on natural terrains. Walking on concrete is not natural for them, pay sufficient attention to the wear and tear on the paw pads, but always allow them to grow and develop naturally.
Most people know that we are not a big fan of sterilising dogs. Our reason is fairly simple, with hormones intact, dogs can grow properly (in terms of joints and anatomies) and studies have shown that sterilising provides not only pros but a list cons as well. If you haven’t read our first post about sterilisation, click here: POST
However, we also believe that full sterilisation can help a lot of dogs and first time owners in terms of the dog’s behaviour, it can help reduce a lot of aggression between dogs, especially male dogs and we always encourage owners who do not have enough experiences, to sterilise their dogs the traditional way. Having an intact male or female can be very different from having a sterilised male or female, the way they act instinctually is different, the way they greet other dogs can be different, the way that they handle fights is also different.
Moving on, full sterilisation not only result in some growth differences but also possible future health issues. Did you know that there is another way out? Ovary Sparing Spay, Vasectomy will keep your dogs sterile but also leave the hormones intact. It is important that dogs who are not suitable for breeding should never be bred, it is the only way that we can keep the breeds healthy.
Ovary Sparing Spay
For the ladies, ovary sparing spray will prevent them from pyrometer in their later life but also keep their ovary intact. This procedure removes the uterus and cervix but not the ovaries. Female dogs spayed this way will not get pregnant, but they still will act like an intact female dog. They will act like they are in heat and males will be attracted to them, but there will be no vaginal discharge.
Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for the male dogs.Vasectomy will prevent sperm from entering into the seminal stream and will make the male dog sterile, but the hormones intact. The hormones will aid in his anatomy and bone developments. A vasectomised dog will act like an fully intact male dog, but he will not be able to contribute to the future bloodline.
Our honest opinion, Vasectomy and Ovary Sparing Spay will not only keep your dog sterile, but also prevent cancerous illnesses that can be caused by the lack-of-hormones in the future and this is the ideal way of sterilisation for us. The only downside is that dogs that go through this procedures will act like intact dogs, and they will need to be better handled than fully sterilised dogs, very often they will need a tougher and firmer handler.
With these newer options, owners can now decide which methods will best benefit their dogs. As always, not all dogs are the same, it is up to the owners to decide which is best for their dogs.
It is part of our human nature to want to spoil and pamper our dogs, to provide them with the best of what we can. Many of us work long office hours of 9-5, 5 days a week, and we often try to compensate our dogs with luxury gifts. Not many of us realise that what they need and what we think they need can be very different, and fulfilling what they need VS what we think they need can create a vast different in their behaviours and well-beings.
Necessities are things that our dogs need to stay healthy both physically and mentally. We consider exercise, food and discipline as necessities.
All healthy dogs need to exercise. It keeps them healthy, stimulated and its also a kind of healthy lifestyle for us humans. The simplest form of exercise is to bring your dog out for a good walk. Dogs love to be outdoors, how you walk your dog determines the amount of stimulation it gets. The best walk in our opinion involves the same amount of energy with both the human and the dog, walking together, with the dog focusing on you and on the route, nothing else. Walking a distracted dog, is not walking a dog, it’s bringing a dog for exploration. All healthy dogs can and should walk, a good 30-40minutes walk is perfectly fine with most of them. Other forms of exercise include hiking, trekking, cycling, nose work, swimming and so on. Always make it a point to be in the moment with your dog during the exercise, them being able to focus on you helps to build a big portion of the relationship.
Regardless of which type of diet you feed your dogs, a balance and nutritious diet is the key to a healthy dog. The only way to maintain your dog’s inner health is with food intake. Making sure that they consume what they need and not what you THINK they need is important. They don’t need fanciful treats, they don’t need tea-time snacks, suppers, afternoon break. You will not need supplements or medications to ‘cure’ your dog from itchy skin, bad breath or loose stools if you have been feeding him a good healthy diet. Keep things simple, as we always say, prevention is easier than looking for cure.
Many people associate the word discipline with something bad, sort of like a punishment. In the dictionary, discipline also means the ability to follow rules and instructions. All dogs need some sort of disciplines, they need rules and instructions. They need you to lead them. It is up to us owners to teach them what they are allowed to do and what we don’t want them to do.
If you want your dog to stay beside you while you have your meal in a restaurant, you need to teach him and make sure he gets comfortable doing it. When allowed, dogs can do all sorts of things, they can jump up the sofa, they can jump the table to steal food, they can also insist that you leave your meal to bring him for a walk. It is unfair to them that we blame the dogs for such behaviours or we classify it as part of their breed or character. Not all of what they do is because of their breed or character. Many a times, they do what they do because we allow them to. Start by giving them a structure and teaching them a step at a time until you accomplish the type of behaviour you want.
In our opinion, luxury should never be considered until you have fulfilled all their necessities. While luxury can make us feel better while we leave the dogs at home, I hardly think that is what they need. Giving your dog a branded bed is what you think he needs, when what he really needs is a cooling mat. Spoiling your dog is not a crime, if you have the ability and means to do so, go ahead and enjoy. But firstly, make sure you have gotten necessities in order. Necessities is always a priority. You shouldn’t be considering be giving your dog fanciful collars after collars, delicious treats after treats, stylish clothes after clothes when you do not exercise him or feed him the correct food.
So again, Luxury items are things that we get our dogs when we feel guilty or when we feel that they will like it. Necessities are things that our dogs truly need and in fact, all they ever will need.
Raw feeding, although not a new topic to many dog owners outside of Singapore, it is still relatively a new concept of pet feeding in Singapore. More and more owners begin to switch their dogs to raw diet, but the number of owners who prepare their own raw diet remains very little. And those who do not feed their dogs raw, thinks that raw feeding is too expensive.
Feeding Commercially Prepared Raw can indeed cause a big hole in your pocket. Understandably if you are feeding Kibbles or Canned food, the only way to feed is to buy them from Pet Stores. But if you are feeding Homecook or Raw food, it should be very straight forward and logical that these diets can be prepared on your own and can be very affordable, after-all, all the ingredients are right in front of you when you go to the Supermarkets.
If you are looking to switch your dog to raw, here are some very simple guidelines that can be helpful to you.
A balanced Raw Diet consists of:
**10% BONE, 80% MEAT, 3-5% LIVER, 5-7% OTHER ORGANS**
Each ingredient is important and it is none replaceable.
Many people replace bones with Eggshells or some other similar calcium providing ingredients and here is why you should NEVER replace or substitute bone. It is very important to note that the Calcium(bone) and Phosphrous(meat) ratios in a Dog’s diet is very important. Replacing Bone with other ingredients only makes balancing harder. Raw bones also contains marrow. Marrow is made up of primarily fat and blood components. These are very important nutrients. There is also cartilage attached to raw bones. Cartilage is a connective tissue that is made up of 50% collagen and mucopolysaccharides. So to say, bone does not only contain calcium but also other important nutrients to your dog which feeding a substitute ingredient can not provide.
It is very important to make sure the bone content is +/- 10% to provide your dog with the right calcium and phosphorus ratio and it is also VERY important never to replace bones.
*Increase or decrease the bone content slightly to cater to your dog base on his bowel outcome.
*Never, ever, ever, feed weight bearing bones.
Meat is pretty much self explanatory. It makes up the bulk of the diet. Meat contains a lot of nutrients, phosphorus and also water content. Rotating meat parts and types will keep your dog healthy.
Liver is one of the most concentrated source of Vitamin A. It also contains other vitamin and minerals such as folic acid, Vitamin B, Iron and so on. Liver is very high in nutrient which is why it can cause canon butts when not dealt with carefully. Despite its tendency to cause canon butts, it is non replaceable and it has to be at least 3-5% of the diet. Liver is the nutrients concentrated piece of ingredient in raw diet.
Other than different nutrients that different organs contain, they also contain a high amount of essential fatty acids. Any secreting gland is considered an organ. Kidney as the most common and other organs are such as brain, sweetbread, eyeballs, pancreas. Heart on the other hand is a muscle meat and is not considered an organ.
You need to include blood in raw diet. This is a common misconception and a marketing gimmick that commercial brands use to misguide you. Most of the meat we buy are drained from blood but if you feed whole hearts and whole organs, blood is still present in these parts. Blood is also present in raw bones. So do not fall for such gimmicks when you can provide blood to your dogs through such simple methods.
Few Ideas to what you can buy:
Bone – Meaty Pork Rib, Baby Back Rib, Chicken, Duck, Quail, Rabbit, Lamb Flap, Pork Trotters (Depending on the size of your dog, try out different bone variations)
Meat – Pork, Lamb, Mutton, Beef, Veal, Chicken, Duck (Basically everything under meat section)
Organs – Liver, Spleen, Kidney, Sweetbread, Pancreas (Be surprise how happy you’ll be to find exotic organs!)
Doing a cold-turkey transition or doing a slow transition is purely personal preference. Most dogs do just fine with cold-turkey. Some owners on the other hand likes to incorporate a little bit of raw food into their dogs’ current diet until they are used to the diet.
The KEY thing to transitioning is to always start slow, and start with the easiest digestible protein, and that is poultry. Always start without organs and introduce organs very slowly. Start with just bone and meat until your dog is used to the protein then introduce another protein and organs. Allow your dog’s stomach to be comfortable with one protein at a time. Introducing new protein or organs too quickly will not harm your dog, but it will gift you will canon butts (explosive poops).
There are different way of raw feeding and there is no right and wrong as long as they are balanced. Some owners prefer to balance out each day’s meals perfectly – giving their dogs 10% bone, 80% meat, 5% liver, 5% other organs everyday while others prefer to balance it over a period of 3 days, 5 days, 7 days and that is entirely up to you.
Here’s how we feed for our senior dogs and young dogs:
We balance the senior dogs’ meals every day over 2 meals. They poop everyday.
Pre-cut balanced meal of 80%,10%,5%,5% daily.
The young dogs get a balance over 3 days.
Day 1: Bone + Organ
Day 2: Meat
Day 3: Meat
We make sure they take 3 days worth of Bone and Organs on Day 1.
They poop once every 2-3days(Yay to less poop!). In other words, most of the diet is completely absorbed and digested in their bodies.
*With bone, there will always be indigestible content. When you feed bone, expect poop.
How much should i give my dog?
Example of how to calculate food for a 10kg dog taking 3% of his body weight. (If you feel that your dog is healthy and active, go for 2.5-3%, if your dog is less active, use 2%. Slight adjustments and alterations can always be made as time goes by and when you feel that there is a need to increase or decrease your dog’s food portion.
*Use your dog’s IDEAL weight not his current weight.
10kg x 3% =[ 300g] (one day, he will need 300g of food.)
10% out of 300g for bone: 30g
80% out of 300g for meat: 240g
3-5% out of 300g for liver: 9-15g
5-7% out of 300g for other organs: 15-21g
*This is just a guide, every dog is slightly different and you don’t have to be 100% accurate every time.
If you prepare your dog’s food ahead of time, feeding Raw is like a breeze. We often prepare 1-2 weeks of food in advance and leave them in the freezer and thaw a day before. The young boys eat their food right off the freezer.
The beauty of preparing your own raw is rotation. Rotating your dog’s diet is an asset to raw feeding. Every protein provides different nutrients. Rotating between different parts and different kinds of protein allows your dog to be exposed to different kinds of nutrients and it benefits them indefinitely. The thing about commercial raw is that it is often stated as Lamb Meat/Beef Meat. The question to ask is which part of the meat and how much nutrients can a dog receive with the same part of meat everyday? Even if they claim to include the whole Lamb in the diet, are you going to get the whole Lamb worth of nutrients in one bag of food?
*sorry to say we are undoubtedly suspicious of what claims to be inside commercial raw.
The number of dogs that is actually allergic to a raw protein can be so insignificant that it shouldn’t even have to be a point. Dogs can get allergic to a lot of things but raw protein is one of the least that you should be worried about. Things that they can be allergic to in raw diet can be the plant-based ingredients included in commercial raw or the preservatives or the hormones and chlorine-soak but allergies to a raw protein, is very uncommon. A dog can be allergic to a Lamb-based commercial raw but not a Venison-based commercial raw. This however does not mean that your dog is allergic to Lamb. Your dog could jolly well be allergic to other ingredients inside that Lamb-based commercial raw. You’d never know until you prepare your own raw food.
Now the most important part of Raw Feeding. How much does it cost? Well obviously if you are buying grass-fed meat or wagyu for your dog, it is going to cost a bomb. We have been sourcing our dogs’ food from suppliers, occasionally from super-markets and it costs approximately $2 per day for 1 dog about 9kg.
How we rank Raw and Other Diets
1st: Balanced Raw Diet
2nd: Balanced Commercial Frozen Raw Diet
3rd: Balanced Commercial Freeze Dried Diet
4th: Balanced Home cooked Diet (dehydration is a form of cooking, period.)
6th: Imbalanced Raw Diet
7th: Imbalanced Commercial Raw Diet
*imbalanced raw diet is much worse than feeding kibbles that actually provides researched and proven nutrients analysis.
Raw feeding isn’t so hard and isn’t so time-consuming. Once again, it is a great way to understand your dog’s needs and a great way to know what goes into their tummies. If it is still too complicated for you, why not hire us to prepare for you? (Just Kidding!)
If you need any help, feel free to pm us at our FB page.
As with humans, water is the substance of life for dogs. proximately 60 percent of a dog’s body is made up of water. Water makes up a big part of Brain, muscles and blood.Most of us often do not refer water as a nutrient like protein, vitamin and minerals. However, water is considered an essential nutrient because it is required in large amount and these amounts are which our dogs’ bodies cannot produce. They need to take in new water intake everyday to make up for losses through panting, urination, faeces and other areas. All biochemical reaction occur in water. It is important to add fresh water into their body to keep them hydrated.
What Water Does for your pet?
Water is essential for many activities that happens inside your dog’s body.Water keeps your dog hydrated and its body functioning properly. With sufficient clean water, it can help to flush toxic from the body, in particular from the kidneys and the digestive tract. Water is essential for proper digestion, nutrients absorption. Water also helps to regulate the body’s cooling system to help maintain a normal body temperature.
Basically, water helps to keep your pet healthy. Failure to drink enough water over a long period of time can lead to Dehydration. The body will not be able to function well enough when dogs are suffering from dehydration, which in turn can leave the body in a weakened state causing a list of diseases. Organs can also start to lose its function.
How much should my dog drink?
The amount of water that a dog should take daily of course depends on it’s size, it’s diet, the environment and the activity level. As a simple rule of thumb, dogs should consume 55ml to 100ml per kg per day. If your dog is 10kg, it’s healthy level of water intake can range from 550ml to 1litre.
How to encourage my dog to drink more?
Most dogs, like humans, do not drink enough water. Going to the water bowl for a sip is like a torture to them. Dogs consuming Kibbles will need a considerably higher amount of water intake as compared to dogs on raw or home cooked diet. 70% of the fresh raw diet are made up of water. Cooking reduces the water content in meat significantly. However home cooked meals still contains more water than Kibbles.
Here are some simple ways to encourage more water intake for your dog.
Add some healthy flavourings into their water. Yoghurt, Kefir, Food toppers or even fruits can help stimulate their eagerness to drink water.
Make it a habit for them to go to the water bowl after exercising.
Offer clean and fresh water all day, every day.
Add water into their food.
Use a water fountain or a bowl that creates water movements.
Our boys enjoying filtered ice water from Torus Bowl after walk
Dogs are naturally attracted to drink more from moving water. Water fountains or Filter bowls that creates water movements will encourage them to drink more from the bowl. The negative point about most water fountains is that they make use of electricity and cleaning the fountain is a chore.
To allow our dogs to drink more water anywhere they go, we use TORUS bowl. When they take a sip from the bowl, it automatically replenishes with fresh filtered water stored in the reservoir. This makes the water moves and it encourages them to drink more water without having to plug it into a socket.
Staying hydrated is an important key to keeping your pet healthy. Start making sure that your dog drinks enough fresh and clean water!
‘One day I have my dog by my side as I cycle around Singapore’ – trust that we are not the only ones with such thoughts in our minds! Cycling, jogging, inline skating with dogs are all considered part of high intensity workout. It drains their energies rapidly and it gives those muscles a good round of workout.
While everyone has different reasons and agenda, the most common reason to bring your dog on an high intensity workout will be of course, you have a high energy dog. The quickest way to drain his energy is a simple jog in the park. From time to time, we can get tired of walking every day and night and want our dogs to experience something fun and different. Having a dog means having a full-time exercise partner, many active young owners take their dogs with them while training for marathons.
Josser enjoying his run beside our bike!
Besides draining their energies, keeping their bodies in shape and mind stimulated, doing high intensity workout with your dog can also help build a better bond between owner and dog. Before you start doing high intensity exercises, it is always important to check if your dog is suitable for such exercise.
ø Rules of thumb
ALWAYS remember to only bring healthy dogs for high intensity workouts. We started our dogs on fast lure coursing and cycling only after they turned 18 months.
NEVER, never over exercise your puppy or senior dog! Puppies can sustain permanent injuries before their bodies are fully grown. If you are unsure, check with your vet or trainer.
ALWAYS start slow and keep your dog in check. Give them enough breaks and build their staminas gradually. Every dog is different, some need a longer time to learn how to cycle beside you, some need more breaks and some are just born natural. Slow down, stop and give your dog a break once you feel that he is getting tired.
PREPARE enough water and always, always check for injuries before and after exercising, especially on their paws. Never exercise an injured dog and never force your dog to go faster or further.
Looking into professional exercising tools can be a good long term investment –
Hands-free jogging leash: Allows joggers to jog side by side with their dogs without having to hold on to the leash.
Bike Mounts: For dogs can be a good safety precaution when cycling or scootering with your dog. The mounts will help keep your dog away from the tyres and prevent your dog from pulling your bike over.
We typically recommend to start without these tools, get yourself and your dog used to exercising together, then decide which tools are most suitable for both of you.
Remember, exercising with your dog should fun and relaxing for both you and your dog. By the end of your exercise, there’s no doubt that your dog will be grinning from ear to ear!
Pet owners are often in a dilemma when deciding whether to feed commercial raw food or to prepare raw diet for their pets. We have never been able to recommend a commercial raw brand available locally for other pet owners. When asked why, our answer is always, if we don’t feed it we can’t recommend it. Below we list some of our concerns with both types of raw feeding and again, we urge you to read with an open mind. The post is not intended to pinpoint any one brand or tarnish any brand’s image, this post is based solely on our opinion.
*For convenient purposes, self-prepared raw will be referred to as DIY raw.
The one good thing about commercial raw is of course, convenience. The food is readily prepared and supposedly balanced for our dogs. Very often all you need to do is defrost, or add water to rehydrate the freeze-dried edition. It saves a lot of time and effort.
Commercial Raw brands are absurdly expensive in our opinion. Most of the brands available here cost at least one time more than the original price. And this is what you have to pay for in exchange for convenience. If you own only one dog, arguably its not that expensive. If you own big dogs or many small dogs, you know that commercial raw is no way feasible for most of us.
We do not include vegetables and fruits our dogs’ staple diet. Many commercial raw brands include fruits, vegetables and egg into their food. The way we see it, they are trying to please consumers more than mimicking what dogs will eat in the wild. Dogs and wolves alike are opportunistic carnivores, they thrive on meat. When given the chance, they might enjoy a few berries, seeds and nuts in the wild and probably a certain amount of green tripe (the stomach content of their prey). Do they get access to berries everyday in the wild? No. In most commercial brands you find apples, oranges, lettuce, cabbage and all kinds of vegetables in the ingredient lists. Do cows get whole apples or lettuce or cabbage? We hardly think so. In our opinion, green tripe mostly consists of grass and herbs probably and most of the time wolves and wild dogs shake the stomach content and devour the stomach lining instead. Therefore, in our opinion, while occasionally feeding is acceptable, fruits, vegetables and eggs should not make up a permanent percentage in our dogs’ food.
Grass Fed and Grass finished
Grass fed meat and Grass finished meat, are they the same? Many commercial raw offers grass fed meat. But grass fed does not meat grass finished. Grass finished can also mean grain or corn fed but finished on grass. Grass fed livestocks are often fattened before slaughtering with grains and corns. Only Grass fed AND finished meat are truly raised and finished on grass. Honestly, we don’t think its a big deal unless specific allergies shows up when you feed supermarket-bought-meat of course.
Jaw Exercise and Breath
By eating healthy and balance food, the dog’s mouth should not smell, or so we thought. We were surprised by so many dogs that we have met with terrible breaths even though they are fed with premium food. When searching for the problem, the answer was clear. With commercial raw, the food is almost always grounded. Dogs hardly need to move their jaws, all they need to do is swallow. On the other hand, dogs on kibbles have significantly better breath, at the very least, they get to chomp on the kibbles. One of the causes of bad breath is cause by plagues and tartar. By feeding your dog with bones that are not grounded, it helps to keep those teeth clean. Dogs have canines and premolars to carry and tear their food. They rarely chew on their food, which is why if you give a dog grounded food, they are just going to swallow it. Young healthy dogs are fully capable of tearing their own food and chomping into swallowable size. It give those jaws good workouts and it keeps them stimulated. At the same time, it keeps their teeth clean.
Ratios and Proportions
Many commercial raw brands will list their ratios between meat and vegetables on their packaging. For example, 75% meat, 25% vegetables or 90% meat, 10% others. Did you know, balancing the meat-to-bone-to-organ ratio is far more important than one might think. In general, 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% other organs is the right balance. And this important ratio is mostly missing from commercial raw brands. How much of that 75% or 90% meat is bone? and how much is liver? Liver is a non replaceable organ in raw diet. Heart on the other hand, although listed by many brands as organ, is NOT an organ in raw diet dictionary. Heart does not secrete any fluids and it is considered a muscle meat. So we dare say that if the brand that you are feeding lists Heart as an organ, you feed an imbalanced organ ratio for your dog.
Are you really feeding a balanced and proportionated diet with the commercial raw?
Know Thy Stools
Some dogs need more bones than others. Some dogs do well on pork and some on mutton. Some do well on lean meat. With commercial raw, you will never know this. All you know is that this brand gives a good solid stool to your dog. Not only to your dog, the food probably gives good solid stool to 99% of dogs on the diet. How much bone content does it need to get a solid stool from so many dogs? More than 10% we presume? Whatever that is passed out from the dog is what they did not digest and absorb. We have seen a dog passing a whole slice of orange with flesh intact. Most of our dogs do not poop everyday, its safe to say that we now understand what kind of meat they are able to absorb and what kind of meat they will most likely poop the remainder out.
Risk of D.I.Y Raw
Feeding D.I.Y raw takes a little knowledge and a little guts. Every dog is different, before you find the perfect formula for your dog, you need to understand the basic needs and ratios to balance. Then you have to adjust it according to your own convenience and your dog’s needs. Not all dogs will react well when you first start and many owners will give up after seeing how their dogs get diarrheas and vets too will discourage you from it. While preparing your own raw diet comes with a string of benefits, if you do not balance it well, you will take the risk of feeding your dog an imbalance diet.
By preparing our own raw diet for our dogs, we are able to make sure of what they have ate and in what proportion and we get to rotate their food every single day. Different meat, different parts of meat, different organs, different bones. Every one of our dogs is slightly different. Some need more bone content, some are able to devour a whole meal of organs, some need 2% of their weight, some needs 4%. Adjusting a little everyday base on their needs helps us understand them more each day. Although it is highly impossible to be 100% accurate on the ratios and proportions, we believe in balance over time. Meat shopping has become a hobby and we find raw feeding a pleasure. Last but not very least, it saves a ton of money.
The recent topic about dog’s diet revolves around protein levels. In the past, most people stick to a low protein diet once their dogs get older as recommended by vets as a high protein content will increase damage caused to liver. Recently more and more articles came out stating that a high protein content for dogs is not entirely bad and it might be even useful for dogs. How high is too high? And is high protein really the way to go? This post is aimed to let you have a clearer idea about the protein content in dog food.
Cooking causes a molecular change to protein. According to ‘Essentials to Human Anatomy and Physiology’, The fibrous structural proteins are exceptionally stable; the globular functional proteins are quite the opposite. When the bonds are broken down by heat and excesses of pH, the three-dimensional structure are destroyed. The proteins by then are denatured and can no longer perform their physiological roles.
Therefore it is safe to say that consuming cooked protein and consuming raw protein will have different effects on a dog’s health internally or/and externally. A simple example is that a dog might be allergic to cooked chicken, but not raw chicken. The proteins structure are different and the way the body handles these proteins will also be different. An allergy to a raw protein is almost too rare to be pointed out.
More Meat More Protein?
Many people think that feeding food that contains more meat and animal products equals to feeding a high protein diet. Meat is considered a protein in diet just like how grains are considered carbohydrates. But did you know that raw meat contains only on an average 20% protein? Cooking on the other hand increases the protein content. 100% of raw ground beef contains approximately 19.5% of protein while 100% of cooked ground beef contains approximately 25%.
Interestingly, if you look at the ingredients list of a bag of Kibbles that has a high protein level of roughly 35%, you will most likely find less than 5 meat protein ingredients. So where does all the other % of protein comes from if not from meat? Perhaps from plant based protein or from additives? And how exactly are these proteins useful for dogs we wonder.
Too Much Protein?
Commercial food with high protein content is often a taboo to almost all experienced westie owners, breeders and groomers. It is known that they feed only food with specific protein content. Excess protein can cause allergies, skin irritations and liver proteins. Undigested proteins are one of the main culprits to all these problems including auto immune diseases.
Many complete commercial food in the market are breed specific for this particular reason. If feeding a commercial brand, it is important to understand what is the optimum protein content needed based not only on the breed but your dog’s individual needs. Raw diet on the other hand is naturally balanced if the ratios of the bone/meat/organ content is prepared accurately.
“Why is it that when feeding Kibbles or cooked food the protein contents need to be different for each individual dog and breed but not raw diet?”
Remember that a cooked protein reacts different in your dog’s body and gets absorbed differently. The ways to measure whether the cooked proteins in your dog’s food are balanced for dogs and breeds, are unfortunately science and experiences.
Too little protein on the other hand also has its own disadvantage. Most people already know that with too little protein, a dog’s body cannot function properly and in long term, its not healthy for the dogs therefore it needs no further explanation that dogs need protein.
Optimum Protein Content for Westies
Taking the Westies for an example. A breed that clearer do not do well with a high protein diet or a too-low protein diet. While we cant be certain for other breeds, we have noticed that by experiences and by trial and errors, most reputable westie breeders and show owners keep their dogs on commercial food with the protein content of between 21% to 25% Nothing more, nothing less and it is only with reason that they are kept so strictly to this diet.
In our honest opinion, unless with the help of a certified dog nutritionist, a home cooked diet is one that is the most dangerous for we do not only not know the exact nutritional values nor do we know the right ratio to balance it. In general, we are not for or against the high protein diet that everyone is raving about. Rather, have an informed opinion with what you are feeding your dog, why you are feeding that particular diet. If you know someone more experienced, speak to them, they might just share with you why are they choosing a particular diet over the other. Extra knowledges and experiences can help you make a good decision.
As the year comes to an end, we thought we’d write a little about how WOOGA!‘s year went by. 2015 has indeed been a rollercoaster ride for us with many ups and downs. While we wished that they were all ups, we couldn’t be more thankful for all that has happened.
For the past few years, we focused only on boarding and daycare. It wasn’t till 2015 that we decided to make a big move by bringing in some of the products that we truly love and trust into the Pets Market and also added Grooming to the list of services. As a humble little start-up, it honestly is not easy to enter the already-so-advanced Pets Industry. It was also in 2015 that we managed to pull off a few fun events for dogs and owners and made a second trip with the dogs acrossed Europe for some brand new experiences.
Along the way we met with many interesting people who took the time to speak and listen to us. It would be a lie to say that only nice things happened but we are most certainly grateful for the suggestions and critiques thrown to us. We have always believed to keep ideas interesting, facts and information transparent, views opened. Being a small start-up is not an issue as long as we are able to standby what we believe and we are able to stay true to the brand.
Many asked us, what does WOOGA! means. WOOGA! to us, is a simple sound of a cheer in celebration of passion and enthusiasm. Staying simple, passionate and enthusiastic is also what we always aim to do. Some find us obstinate with the views that we have regarding what we choose to feed, use, groom or how we choose to raise our dogs. Admittedly, we do not take care of our dogs the conventional ways but we trust that this is what is lacking right now and we have hopes to keep learning from others and keep sharing our views and opinions. If you have something new for us, we definitely have the time to listen and learn. If you have a minute or two to listen to us, we definitely have a minute or two to share with you. We care not only for the beauty and enjoyment of the now, but also the health and the practicality of the future. And hey, many took a liking to our dogs, it has to mean that we are doing something right isn’t it?
All in all, 2015 has been a really memorable and interesting year and we couldn’t have done it without you. In 2016 we hope to be bigger, better and stronger one step at a time.
We have only one more thing to say and that is, Thank You.
There are unlimited ways to raise a dog, each and every one of us do it in our own way. Here, we talk only about what are WESTIES to us and how we choose to raise them. Everything mentioned hereafter will be based solely on our own opinion and experiences and we urge that you read with an open mind.
To us, the West Highland Terrier is a very unique breed and it takes a certain amount of knowledge or experience to understand the breed. Although bloodline is important, with or without a good bloodline, the puppyhood of the Westie and the constant up-keeping will keep the dog in check and a good diet with good grooming will keep the dog beautiful.
Because of its white and cuddly outlook, many new and first time dog owners quickly assume that a Westie can be a lap-dog. Many pet shops preach the wrong information when selling a Westie. Even with the cute round head that signifies a Westie, it is still a terrier. And terriers being one of the hardest group to train, one of the most temperamental group of dogs is what you will have to deal with when bringing one home. The Westie is a very unique breed. Many breeders will choose not to sell their puppies to first time dog owners. The breed is not a difficult breed to handle, but you will indeed need some knowledge to be able to keep a Westie at its best, a true blue terrier. And in order to achieve that you need to set the right path right from puppyhood.
Regardless of where your Westie comes from, they all need to be raised properly. A Westie quickly can become territorial, aggressive and too hard to teach under wrong hands. Puppyhood is the best time to teach a dog. We like to keep ours among themselves within terriers until they are of a good age and have a good grasps of dog manners before we starting mingling them with others. If you are alone, it is advisable that you find the right peers with the right dogs to form a strong group to kick start. A Westie although adaptable to various situations is a very outgoing dog. They need and love to be outside and honestly most of our apartments are just too small for them. When you want to and have to train them, do it outside those walls. They need a lot of human contacts and they also need ample of time outside rolling on grass, chasing on bees and just being dogs, it helps to bring out their characters and perhaps a bunch of those instincts and these, are very important. We generally do not like to visit the dog parks, there are too many dogs and too many humans, its unpredictable. During this crucial stage, we prefer to hang with dogs that we know and with owners with the same mindset. Bear in mind that although the signs may be small, the breeds that let your puppy mingle with and the training methods you use will define how they grow up into an adolescent. How they greet or play with other dogs, how they chase a squirrel or lure, how they handle fights and tacky situations, how to react when you call for them, all starts here.
After puppyhood, the ever-so-docile Westie starts to become a terror. As an adolescents, most dogs will try to challenge their owners or their peers once again. Correcting or stopping a puppy may be child’s play, but an adolescent Westie’s bite is no joke. A group of dogs, Westies or not, will sort themselves out into different ranks. Whether you classify it as the Alpha, Beta, Omega or any other gentler terms, some will lead, some will follow. What is interesting is that they usually do not get into bloody fights when they do that. And what is important to us is that we remain the ones that they rank the highest. If you have not been handling their terrier/hunting instincts correctly, this stage is also where you will start having problem. Honestly, we believe this is one of the reasons most trainers do not own terriers. It is important to pull through this stage successfully. We do not use treats to train unless we are training them to perform specific tricks. Treats rarely work on Westies or in fact many terriers, but this is solely our own opinion.
As far as we are concerned, the Westie is one of the hardest terrier to groom. In many aboard countries, Westie skin issues is no longer an issue. The breeding lines have been so well corrected that if there is a problem, it has to be the diet. Whereas in Singapore, many Westies come with bad blood due to irresponsible breeding. With bad blood or bad genes, keeping the dog beautiful takes more work than usual. From diet to grooming, none of it can be spared.
A Westie is also well known to be a self cleaning dog. When groomed correctly, you seldom find the need to shower the dog or clean its ears. If the Westie has been clipped before, it may not be able to repel dirt properly and you will have to shower the dog once in a while. However, showering too often will soften the coat, soften the skin and in turn attract more dirt and dust. No matter what the shampoo promises you on how well it can keep the coat harsh, it will soften it to a certain extent. With that said, if your Westie is suffering from infections, the infections need to be stopped or cured before you can start managing it in the old school way. In many countries, infections and mange are often cured with a simple solution dip. Perhaps we have advanced so much that we have been overlooking the simplest and most basic way of treating skin issues.
Handstripping is the only proper way to groom a Westie. Although a Westie with a good bloodline can get away with any kind of grooming its whole life without any skin problems, it is still the only way to keep the coat Harsh and functioning like it should. You need a groomer who truly understands Handstripping and Westies to make them beautiful. A groomer with a master certificate may or may not have the knowledge of owning a Westie and the up-keeping of the Westie. It is important to know your groomer. It is impossible to ask your groomer to achieve a perfect Westie look on your dog if you do not maintain it the way that they should be. Coat on different parts of the body takes different amount of time to grow. If you visit the groomers frequently, your groomer may choose to focus on different portions on different grooming sessions. Hand-stripping is tedious work, it is very labour intensive and it takes good skills to allow the coat to grow correctly and this explains the reason why many wouldn’t take the time and effort to do it. Give it some months, we guarantee that when the steps of up-keeping is right, your Westie is going to look beautiful.
Dogs are instinctual animals, humans on the other hand are very often emotional. And many times, many owners do not understand their dogs’ body language and energy. Many dog owners tend to blame an issue that their dogs have and pass it off as the dogs’ personalities. Some dogs like to spend their days sleeping, lazing around, while others like to play with toys, run around and enjoy outdoor activities. These, are the personality and energy levels of dogs. However howling when being left alone, lunging at other dogs, staying excited 24/7 in the house is not a personality, it is an issue.
If everyone spends a little more time understanding their dogs, their body languages and their energies, the canine world would be a more balanced and peaceful world. Almost all dogs are born naturally balanced. When we humans buy or adopt dogs and bring them into our lives, we try to give them what we think they need. Of course we have their best interests at heart. The problem is how much do we understand about what they need? We are making assumption based on what we THINK they need and not what they really need. A very simple example, when we bring our dogs for walks, many owners assume that their dogs need to greet every single dog they pass by or meet. No, your dog don’t need to greet every single dog you pass by, if you are walking your dog, continue with your walk. You too, will not say Hi to every single stranger you pass by. Few realise that dogs don’t greet like humans. Dogs greet each other by smelling their rear areas. It is how they get to know another dog. Many dogs now lack this manner. A sign that a dog is antisocial towards other dogs is that he is uncomfortable or aggressive about being sniffed. That’s a dog that hasn’t learned any manners. In our opinion, because of humanisation, many dogs now meet heads first. When you allow your dog to meet head first with another dog, even the most sociable dog can take it as a challenge. Firstly, its not polite. Secondly, its not safe. For your own dog’s safety, especially if he is small and not as strong as others, it is best to practice and preach good manners.
In nature, dogs correct one another all the time. Mothers correct their puppies constantly and they never stop correcting them should they be living together in the same household. When the mother correct their puppies, message is meant to be send across to the dog without blood being drawn. Most serious dog fights that we have experienced happens when the owners are near and most of the time when the dogs are leashed. It should be understand that fights and corrections are not the same thing. Most dogs do not want to fight, and they will not draw blood during correction unless it is necessary. It is also important to notice that the dog that starts a correction or a fight might not be the one who has an issue or initiates the fight. And this is precisely why we need to gear ourselves up by understanding their energies and learning how to read our dogs.
There is a slight to big difference between a well-behaved dog and a well-trained dog. While the two certainly have their grey areas and crossed paths more than we know, there is definitely a difference between the two. A well-trained dog is one that can perform tricks and commands on cue. Sit, down, roll-over, heel, all these are part of trained tricks. Many owners often use a clicker or treats to reward their dogs when the tricks are being performed correctly. When the dogs receive rewards for doing these actions, it naturally becomes a trick for them. They will come to understand that if he does this action on this particular cue, he will get a reward.
A well-trained dog may not be a well-behaved dog and vice versa. A well-trained dog might be able to perform up to 20 tricks or more but he might still be howling when left alone. He might be running all around the place when being off leashed. A well-behaved dog might know zero tricks, he might not be able to perform sit or down or pray or roll. A well-behaved dog should be able to behave under all situations or at least when asked to. Allowing you to have a quiet meal at an Al Fresco restaurant, walking near you when off leashed, behaving when being left alone at home.
In our opinion, having a well-behaved dog is more important than having a well-trained dog. Well yes it is of course nice to be able to see your dog perform all kinds of tricks. It is entertaining. But having a well-behaved dog will get you a long way. There is no reason why one shouldn’t ask for both. A well-trained and well-behaved dog. Just how much effort are you willing to pour into it?
We are not ashamed to say that our dogs each know only less than the tricks we can count with a pair of hands, they are less than perfect and so are we. As the saying goes, the hardest part in dog training is not training the dog, but the human. We too are finding our way balancing and learning to achieve well-behaved and well-trained. Its constant work, it never ends but we never give up.
Chicken is one of the main protein that almost every dog owner tries to avoid. The word chicken is widely linked to a string of allergies. But is really chicken the main problem?
Chicken, just like Turkey, Quails, Fowls belongs to the poultry group. The main problem with this group of protein is that hormones are often injected so that they grow faster. Poultries’ lifespan is considerably shorter than other meat groups. Hormones injections are often used so that these animals can grow faster, fatter and bigger. The allergy reaction to poultries is not limited to just chicken. In actual fact, most pets whom their owners claimed are allergic to chicken, are allergic to these hormone injections.
If, you are already purchasing hormone-free poultries, the next thing that your pet could be allergic to, is the sanitising method used on poultries. By law, all poultries in Singapore has to be dipped or rinsed in chlorine for a minimum of 2 seconds. And these two seconds keeps the poultries that we human consume sanitised, but it sometimes can be harmful to our pets. Dogs have a shorter lifespan than us humans, every thing and every effect is enlarged and multiplied when it comes to dogs. A drop of chlorine might not cause any major harm to you, but it might cause an allergic reaction on your dog. One easy way to reduce the chances of any allergic reaction is to remove the skin. Removing the skin removes most of the chlorine that remains on the poultry.
The final point. Some owners think that if their dogs are allergic to cooked chicken, they must be allergic to all chicken products. Cooking changes the structure of protein, it changes the structure of all food. Being allergic to cooked chicken does not mean your dog is allergic to raw chicken. Cooking destroys the structure of proteins and by cooking the meat, you cannot be sure if your dog is allergic to chicken and you cannot even be sure if your dog is receiving a balanced diet.
In our opinion, poultry provides a great variation to the protein and its often the cheapest protein available. Although our dogs’ diet consist mainly red meat, we still enjoy feeding them poultries once or twice a week. It keeps them interested in their food(although we don’t really care if they are interested or not), it keeps their diet balanced by providing a new range of nutrients and it is one of the best type of bones for small to medium size dogs. Rotating your pet’s food intake is always the best way to maintain a balanced diet.
People often blame the faults or the wrongdoings of their dogs on the breed instincts. While we are no expert in other dog groups, we have a good grasp of the terrier group. Many owners like to say that their dogs are too stubborn, too active or just like a terrier, chasing every single moving object. A breed instinct is just the outer suit of a dog. All dogs have the same needs, they need to exercise and they need to eat. If you do not fulfil these needs, any dog regardless of the breed can act stubbornly and seem too active.
The Purer The Breed, The Stronger The Instinct
We once came across a book that states, the purer the breed, the bigger the instinct and after owning a few terriers of our own, we couldn’t agree more. Up till today, the breeding lines remains crucial to the working ability of many breeds. We once met a working Border Collie breeder and he mentioned that the working Border Collies are different from those that are in the show ring. While a conformation breeder will breed according to their aesthetics, a working dog breeder will breed according to their working abilities. With that said, it means that if you get your puppy with a working bloodline, very likely he will have a stronger breed instinct than one that comes from a pet shop or a conformation line.
You may notice that some terriers that comes from the pet shop will look like a terrier but behave nothing like a terrier. A dog can look like a terrier but behave, walk, play nothing like a terrier. If the dog’s parents, grand parents, great-grand parents have not felt the grass and have not been exposed to the outside world, how will they know what being a terrier is like? All that remains is that they look like one.
The Terrier Instinct
Terrier comes from the word terra in Latin. Terra means earth. So in other words, a terrier is an earth dog. In ancient history, terriers excel in hunting vermin, mole, rats and other pests that goes underground. They are small but sturdy, short legged but bold.
In modern days, the number of people that uses terriers to hunt is little, but the terrier instincts remain strong. From our observations, the terriers that come from a show kennel or a responsible breeder seemingly have stronger breed instincts. As an informative book about Westies states, if you follow the breed standards closely, you will not stray far from the breed. In our opinion, chasing bikes, skateboards does not equal to a terrier instinct. Rather, the ability to focus on a prey or a moving object and hunting it down or digging it out is the terrier instinct.
Many owners will be more than happy to have this behaviour eliminated. One way that many try to do is go through positive training to neutralise the hunting instinct. As far as we understand, with positive reinforcements, many behaviours can be eliminated or neutralise, but please do not quote us on this, it is entirely our personal opinion. It puzzles us to a certain extent, if you want a terrier, why will you want to neutralise what makes a terrier?
Most terriers when bred properly come with a certain level of prey drive, some higher than the others. There are many ways that the owners can keep the prey drives in control. While some wants it totally eliminated, we have met a few owners who have high prey drive terriers and are totally enjoying it. Agility, Flyball, Lure Coursing, Simply digging to no-where are a few methods that owners use to keep their dog breed’s instinct fulfilled.
So what makes a terrier?
We have come across a good number of dog owners or trainers who discourage us from getting new terriers simply because they can be hard to train, stubborn and possesses a high prey drive. But thats what spells terriers. In our opinion, a terrier is confident, bold and independent. He stands tall, is focus and is generally sociable and friendly, but he will not back down when being attacked.
We do not have very well trained dogs nor the best trained terriers. Our dogs do not walk by our side when they are being off-leashed. They do not heel when called. They do not stay for long. But we have no intention to train them to do any of that. Our main priority is that they come to us when being called. A hunting dog cannot hunt when he is always by your side. A herding dog cannot herd when he is always by your side. Although there are only pathetic small little patches of grassland in Singapore, still, we like to keep them as close to mother nature as we can. Our dogs chase the squirrels and many times we shamelessly allow them to do so. What matters to us is that they get to enjoy like terriers while we hold the ability to stop them when needed. Once off leashed, our dogs go to god-knows-where, roll on god-knows-what but, they come when they are called and they only chase after what we allow them to chase. Most of the times we are also very careful with the group of dogs they mingle with, for we always believe that you do not need to greet every single dog, but you need to greet the right dog. This is also why we seldom visit the dog parks and needless to say play-groups.
Once you have fallen in love with a terrier, it is always going to be a terrier.
The last part of Series TDM(R) belongs to none other than our Golden Boy, Reeko. Reeko is the oldest of all our dogs and of course, with age comes with a whole bag of experiences. He is our guinea pig to dog raising!
He has been with us since he was 5months old. Now we have an almost fixed routine and a good general knowledge of what to do and what not with our dogs, but all these came with a lot of trials and errors that happened with Reeko. We were the once-very-curious owners, we tried everything that came out in the market, be it products, supplements, vets or salons. Through the years, we narrowed down to what we felt its best and along the way, we met many wise people who came with a whole truckload of knowledge and experience to share with us. Reeko, grew alongside us and experienced a ball of experiences on his own from sprained leg, red eye, missing teeth, ear infection, skin problems, dog fights, positive trainings, stole bahkwa and pee on legs of chair when being left alone, harnesses, collars, explosive diarrheas, kidney failure, prostate cancer to death in family.
One of Reeko’s faviourite past-time, sun tanning.
He was imported from Australia, but we do not know if he came from a puppy mill, home breeder or backyard breeder. He was the last from a litter of 6 to be sold and although we have no idea of his bloodline and parentage, this little guy came with a whole package of terrier in that little 6kg body. Although he is smaller than he should be in size, we are grateful that he is of a good proportion for his size and has just about anything we would call a terrier.
The Skin Problems
As first time owners, we, like many others knew very little about dog raising. We gone through every kind of products available from shampoos to food. Kibbles, human food, cook food, commercial raw, DIY raw, we have tried it all. It sometimes help when you can have that 1 or 2 wise experienced owners to help you along the way. For us, help came only when the skin problems started. For 6 whole years before that, we have too many opinions and options from too many others. We have been through opinions and recommendations such as westies are all allergic to chicken, westies need oatmeal/anti-fungal shampoo, westies need to eat lamb and rice or on fish diet, westies have to be very careful with what they use and eat.
He was clipped quite a couple of times. Many groomers recommended us this way to keep him ‘cool’ due to hot weather.
Reeko had no problems with his skin for a good 6 years (like mentioned before, problems can happen when your dog is 1, 5 or even 10. Not having problems now does not mean it will not happen), and neither was he fussy with food. That being said, we have always kept the 15min rule with all our dogs for food, so they pretty much will eat anything that we give them. His skin problems seemed to start when we changed his food to raw after much research. Naturally, we had to blame raw for the terrible outbreak. It took us almost 2 years to get his coat back and manage it.
The salons we have been too said that his coat had to be clipped in order for the skin to ‘breathe’ and the wounds to be more visible
In those 2 years, we have been to different salons for spa treatments, we have been to vets for shampoos and medications, we have tried detoxing programs, diet elimination, medicated shampoo, medications, if you can name it, we have been there, done that. Throughout the journey, we chose to stick to raw(but not commercial raw for particular reasons) for we have met a few wise individuals.
• WISE WORDS 1: Raw feeding has nothing to do with causing any diseases or problems, it just helps rebalance the body and identify the problems. Detoxing is just an excuse for human mistakes. Coughing, peeing, pooping, sneezing, panting is all a form of detox.
4th or 5th stripping done by grooming salon.
We have been to MANY salons for spas and treatments and eventually we chose to stick to handstripping. We have been to 3 different salons for stripping before we decided to do it on our own. We won’t be touching on which salon is good or bad as we have no intention of mentioning names. We have also gone through the path of showering and treatments almost every 2 days. With simple common sense, washing regularly will keep wounds and injuries clean. But once you stop the washing or treatments, everything goes back or worsen. In our personal opinion, treatments or methods like this although helpful and useful for a short period of time for certain purposes, it is not a long term solution.
• WISE WORDS 2: If you have not raised your dog according to what he needs, how can you expect him/her to be who s/he could be?
We have also gone through a string of supplements, keeping some, eliminating some, detoxing formulas which we eliminated totally and along the way, we have also decided to eliminate steroids and all medications as we believe that its not good for the dogs. However a breeder that we have met made a very good point about the purpose of medications, and it is worth keeping that in mind. If you have to take away your dog’s freedom for months/years because of any reason, do keep this in your mind. While it is good to stay away from medications and steroids, also remember that dogs love exploring and travelling, especially so through their paws. At no point in time we would ever give that up for any reason.
• WISE WORDS 3: If you keep your dog on kitten-dose steroids, he might live a few years shorter than he could have. But throughout the years, he will be more comfortable and relax and there is no need to sacrifice any of its living time for a dog only live for that long.
When we stripped him on our own.
After a whole series of different trials for 2 years, he now as a coat that we love. 2 years before that, he had no coat growing, a tail that looks like a pig tail and he had to be on e-collar 24/7 or he would chew himself raw and his wounds would be oozing pus. Often we find hair balls around the house, he would chew his coat out and leave his skin wounded. He has come a long way from the coatless dog, not perfect, but we love his coat. It has gotten coarser, thicker, and denser. In case you are wondering, the only thing that we have kept until now over these years is the diet, and the grooming. Along the way, there are some treatments that have indeed helped in one way or another, but we did not continue with it. As we speak to more experienced owners and breeders, we also made our choice to follow in their footsteps by keeping our dogs true to their breeds and keeping their up-keeping simple and efficient. While new treatment methods surfaces everyday, there is always one main point to keep in mind. In the past, people could keep their dogs healthy and beautiful without all these technologies, so why can’t we? Our point of view to all owners, all dogs are alike, westies are not necessarily the dogs that have the most skin issues. It varies from dogs to dogs, owners to owners, do not blame the breed.
When problems start to surface, you will meet many people who will try to help you. Some for commercial purposes and some sincerely wants to help. Sometimes it can get too frustrating to try and figure out which is the right path and who are the right people to follow. It is always good to have that 1 or 2 experienced owners who can help and guide you along the way. Fix one problem at a time, and never allow anyone to tie your options down for this is your dog, not theirs. And always remember, dogs, are dogs. They have a different system from human and decisions can often be clear if you just consider them as dogs.
≈ Wise words are from many individuals whom we have met and have found very experienced, knowledgable and helpful.≈
The Cataract Scare
While he was recovering from skin issues, we noticed that he started having cataract issues. Yes, skin allergies can lead to and continue to haunt you as eye issues. A few months later we decided to book an appointment with one of the most famous eye surgeon for cataracts in Singapore to arrange a surgery date at the famous veterinary clinic. Upon visiting and after a blood test, the doctor notified us that Reeko showed some signs of kidney and liver failure from the blood test. He was 9.. The doctor suggested that we get an ultrasound done to identity the problem.
On the second visit, an ultrasound was done, and according to the doctor, Reeko was screaming so badly in the room during the ultrasound session and it was because both of his kidneys had failed and he has prostate cancer. We spent a 4 figure amount and left with 5 different kind of medications/supplements. We were devastated and didn’t take much time to think about the problem as the doctor was supposedly one of the most experienced in Singapore and we blindly followed everything he said. For 5 days, Reeko refused to eat any food that has any of the supplements in it. This dog eats EVERYTHING, for him to not eat any food, it would mean that the taste is really, really bad. Every time we shove the medications and supplements down his throat, he would vomit. 3 times a day, there is not once that he ate his medications or supplements. On the 6th day, we couldn’t take it anymore and discarded all the medications and supplements. In our desperation to fix his health, we came across the soy diet for dogs that supposedly can cure kidney and liver problems and almost went for it. Thankfully, a close friend slapped the idea right out of our heads telling us that it just a scam to deceive desperate owners like us.
Months later, while speaking with a like-minded owner, we took a second look at his blood test and found his BUN level above average. We probably have noticed it before but did not read too deep into the readings the previous time. It then came to our mind that we have been feeding him raw for a few years now. Dogs who are on raw diet have the tendency of having different blood values than kibble fed dogs as all the average levels were measured with dogs on kibbles. Also, ultrasonic should not hurt. Although we have discarded all the medications and supplements given by the doctor, we have tried others along the way and managed to keep only a few supplements that we still use now and he is doing really well on them.
We did not revisit the vet for follow ups and neither did we proceed with the cataract surgery. Now he has a vision that is worse than before but he does not seem to mind a single bit. Like we have mentioned before, dogs seem to adapt better and move on faster.
By the resevoir.
It hurts us time to time wondering if he still can see us. But every time we see him making his way around indoors and outdoors without any fear, we know he is happy this way.
The Soulful Mate
We always believed that dogs have more sense than humans do. They understand more things than we think they do and they feel more than we do. When Tagee passed away, Reeko was at his cremation session. He barked and screamed at the top of his lungs when the staff pushed Tagee away for cremation. That night, Reeko, Dusty and Maneul did not sleep.
Reeko has been quite a big favourite of family and friends. He was always by our side during our school days when we had to stay up to complete assignments. He is always up for walks at 4am, 5am, 3am, anytime, any day. He was one of a very close family member’s snack and nap mate for many years. Once he had a red eye after a grooming session and he could not open his eyes. As suggested by this family member, we used the traditional way of chrysanthemum flower on eyes and it worked like a charm! A few days before the close family member passed away, Reeko refused to leave her side for even 1 second. At that time, she was wheelchair bounded and Reeko was in the way every time we moved the wheelchair. He knew something that we did not, he knew she was leaving us and he wouldn’t leave her side for a single moment no matter how hard we try to move him away. After she passed, he stayed by her side quietly and motionlessly during the funeral. Although things have never been the same since the family member’s passing, we are glad this little guy stayed the same.
Reeko at 10 years old
With his age, there is a lot of things and a lot of events that happened along the way. We have picked out only 3 events that we feel are significant. Reeko has always been courageous, friendly, true to himself and he never gives up. Even with a sprained leg, he would go for walks using just 3 other legs. We once bought him a bicycle seat so that he can rest while the crazy boys run alongside, but he insisted to run with them and not take the seat. He has been with us for a very long time, he has been to every park and garden in Singapore that we can think of. At the age of 13.5, he is no longer as young, as fast and as strong as he was in the past, but he is filled with a ton of gold and wisdom and is not backing down. He has taught us a lot through the years, be it in life or with dogs, because of him, we are who we are and we do what we do. Because of our experiences with Reeko, we always keep a very open mind to all different ways and methods to raise dogs and to keep dogs happy and healthy. We believe that there is no one formula that fits every single dog.
We have been to many vets, but mostly for yearly check-ups, vaccinations and some other time for ear infection or skin problems. We now only visit the vets for check-ups and vaccinations when needed. We no longer go to them for infections or skin problems for personal reasons unless some testings or discussions are needed with the vets. We stopped his vaccinations after he was 6 years old. With all the articles about vaccinosis, many people believes that vaccinating their dogs will cause more harm than good. We have seen many dogs with Parvo and Distemper. Some make it through, some do not. These conditions are real. If you do not want to vaccinate your dog, be very sure that your dog has enough antibodies to fight off these diseases. The only way to keep your dog very safe without vaccinations and not come in contact with any of the viruses, is to keep your dog coped up at home everyday. But remember, dogs love exploring.
Weekends long walk in the park.
All our dogs get 2 walks a day and Reeko is no exception. He join us every morning along with the boys for morning walks. During weekends he walks the same duration along with the crazy young boys for approximately 5km. At night, he gets a walk of his own at his own speed. Two walks per day, rain or shine (or haze in this case). He is still on raw diet, and a small range of supplements for specific purposes.
To Reeko, you are amazing on so many levels. We are very grateful that you have stuck by our side through the good and bad and we are very thankful for your wisdom and knowledge all these years. Because of who you are, you have managed to keep us sane all these years while while the world around goes crazy. Stay strong, stay golden and rock on!
After a short break from the series, we are back with the 2nd last episode, Maneul, the 12 year old little Yorkshire Terrier. Not many people knows about Maneul’s history, us too, have little clue about his past, but he has come a long long way. One of the thing we do know is that, he was found alongside the road.
Maneul was adopted 6years back in Korea. Yes, he made a long way back to Singapore. 6years ago, we visited a kill shelter in South Korea. The shelter, located at the edge of Seoul, houses more than just a few hundred dogs and a few hundred cats. Because of the large amount of dogs being abandoned and surrendered every day, they have to constantly make room for new dogs. Each dog enters the shelter with 10days of hope. The first 5 days for the owners to contact the shelter and claim the dog back. From the 6th day onwards, the dog will be put up for adoption for 5 days before its being put down.
One fine afternoon, while we were in Korea, we decided to visit the shelter to take a look at the dogs up for adoption and how their shelter runs. We had NO, absolutely NO intention of adopting any dog at that time as we weren’t living luxuriously in Korea and we weren’t sure if we had the ability to bring the dog back to Singapore. When we entered the shelter, we were split into groups to visit the dogs. There were cages stacked on one another, each room had more than 50dogs, each has their own cage. There was then this little black dog, shaved, sitting at a corner. When we made eye contact with him, he was performing his best trick. What did he do, you may ask. He was standing on his hind legs and shaking his front paws vigorously as though he was saying ‘These are all my assets, bring me home!’
That day, we left the shelter without adopting any dog. The following few days we counted how much time that little black dog had left. We kept thinking about the little black dog and what was his fate going to be like if we do not adopt him.
On his 9th day in the shelter, we got had a Korean friend called the shelter for us to let them know that we would like to adopt that dog. Over the phone, we tried with our very cannot-make-it Korean at that time to explain how the dog looked like, where was his cage, what can he do, and please, please, please do not put him down. The following day we rushed to the shelter hoping that they kept the right dog. Upon reaching the shelter, we told the staff that we called to adopt a dog but we didn’t get any acknowledgement. We panicked and wondered if they even remember us calling them! Few minutes later, the staff came back out to the counter with a dog. When we saw the little black dog, we heaved a sign of relief. After signing the papers and exchanging a few words with the staffs, we left the shelter with this little black dog wondering what have we done. Upon having him checked by the vets, we found out that he came with a long string of health issues, along with rotten teeth, he had phlegms, flu, ear infection, stomach virus, some sort of joint issue which years later we found to be Luxating Patella.
First few days after we adopted him.
Many that we met pronounced his name, Maneul as the Hebrew name, MANUEL. Maneul, actually means Heart and Heaven. MA-neul (마음) + ha-NEUL (하늘), although meaningful, unfortunately in Korean, it also means Garlic (마늘). Which ever way you choose to pronounce it, this little black dog will not mind as long as you give him a piece of what you are having right now.
The first few days after the adoption, he was motionless. Literally, motionless. We would leave the house for hours and yet find him in the same exact position when we return. We had to spoon feed him food because he would not move, would not eat, would not drink. I think being abandoned served as a trauma too huge for this little guy.
Waiting for bus to visit the vet in Seoul.
His road to recovery was slow and rough because of the phlegm, he could not breathe properly, we had to bring him for oxygen mask therapy. Throughout the night, he would pace up and down because his nose was blocked and he couldn’t breathe. It took weeks and months before he started moving around and behaving normally.
During his time in Korea, he probably lived as one of the most happening dogs. He took the subway, the train, the bus, even on our cheap little orange scooter. The Korean citizens were very kind and happy to meet him on the subway. There was once a kind man gave us a bottle of Green Tea because Maneul was licking his lips constantly and the guy thought that he might be thirsty! He was our best shopping buddy back then. In winter, his face will be covered with snow when we shop outdoors. Once, a shop owner even offered to take care of him while we shop just so that Maneul can stay beside the heater! Good times…
Video chatting with his new family in singapore
From the moment when we adopted him, we had no means of leaving him in Korea if we were to return to Singapore. We spent days and weeks researching on the best way to bring him back and all the necessary things to do. Thankfully we met with people who offered us help along the way. From a very friendly English speaking Korean vet to our family members, they did what they could to make his journey back to Singapore a quick and pleasant one. It didn’t take him long to settle in our homes in Singapore, he is now one of our feistiest, noisiest and the most irritating boy we have at home.
From a quiet little black dog who wouldn’t move, he has evolved. Into one of the greediest dogs we have (if you have seen the others, you know we don’t have many dogs who are highly food motivated, partially because we don’t associate their trainings with food.) and the noisiest dog as we nicknamed him The Referee. He is now afraid of no one, no dog, no height and no pain. We had him on raw for as long as we can remember, and after 1 round of dental scaling and the help of raw diet, his rotten teeth, although may still be dirty, is looking a lot better than they used to. We never sent him for surgery to fix his leg mainly because he is doing really well and its not really bothering him. Between sending him under GA and letting him live with Luxating Patella, we chose the latter. Firstly because he is not that young anymore when it was finally diagnosed as Luxating Patella and secondly dogs seem to be able to cope with issues much better than we do. Often its just the humans who are worried and paranoid when the dog has already adapted and moved on. He does however get some joint support and supplements for that.
Now, he travels with us on our walks. There is no way we would leave any dog behind. During weekends, he takes the back seat in a doggy backpack during the walks. The young boys and the other golden boy take very long walks during weekends mostly exceeding 5km and its too much and too fast for this little black dog. Whether we have to carry him or not, he will not be left behind.
Dear Maneul, please stop imagining yourself bigger than you are. You are merely a Yorkshire Terrier, not a Great Dane. Never once did we regret bringing you back and we are very glad that we did, we needed a referee in the gang to control the crazy boys. Other than that, Maneul, you kick butt!
We have received an amazing number of love letters and love texts about Hand-stripping. Mostly wondering if a clipped dog can still be hand-stripped and whether its after all, worth it.
Handstripping is the proper way of grooming a large number of terriers. Wired coat terriers comes with 2 types of coat, the guard coat as well as the under coat. A follicle typically consist of 1-2guard coat and roughly 7 strains of undercoat. Hand stripping physically removes the hair from its follicle by pulling it out. This process stimulates the follicle and allows a new hair of a coarser texture and a brighter colour to grow out and allows the skin to breathe.
∂ Benefit of Handstripping
Healthy Skin and Coat – To maintain a healthy coat and skin on a wired coat terrier, the older hair must be removed to allow the production of new healthy hair. Without pulling the older coat out, the follicle can become irritated and clogged. Debris and Oil starts to gather at the follicles causing irritations as the new hair of a thicker texture tries to push its way through. When overcrowding of coat happens in the follicle, is unfortunately many times when fungus start to grow and yeast starts to get overpopulated.
Beautiful Colours – New hair that grows out are often brighter for whites and darker and fresher for other colours.
Protection – The harder the coat, the better its ability to repel dirt and dust, the lesser the need to shower the dog. The dog will also be protected against the sun and any other external particles including insects.
∂ What can happen to a Clipped a Wired Coat Terrier
Change in coat texture – Over time you will find that your wired terrier’s coat starts changing into a soft and fluffy or silky texture and it loses its ability to repel dust and dirt. The hair also gets finer and finer as its internal structure change because of multiple scissoring or clipping.
Change in color – Dogs that are clipped often appears duller, lighter or yellowish in colour. Often a whitening or a color restoration shampoo will be used to bring the colours back for a few days. A Westie will become yellowish or golden like in colour while a Wired Fox Terrier will become pale and white with its original brown spots losing its colour and a Norwich Terrier will look just like a Silky Terrier.
Change in Flow – A straight coat can become curly or wavy due to multiple clippings and it starts to get tangled easily.
Skin Issues – Without the guard coat to protect the dog and the undercoat to regulate the air flow and keep the skin healthy, the dog often gets dirty quicker than its supposed to. Pores get clogged if minimum carding is not done and yeast and fungus starts to overpopulate. When an infection starts, it can spread to other areas such as the ears.
Change in Volume – Your puppy may arrive with a lot of coat, but as time goes by, you realise that the coat gets lesser and lesser. Without stripping the coat, the skin loses the ability and rhythm to push a new hair through the follicles, leaving the dog with only the very basic layer of coat that will start fading.
∂ Hand-stripping Techniques
Hand-stripping as the name suggests, uses hand, or fingers to remove the coat. This is by far the most tedious way of stripping but also, the most detailed way as the groomer has the ability to remove strain by strain and at smaller areas whenever needed.
Over time, stripping knives are being developed by various big grooming brands and individual groomers to speed up the process and reduce the stress caused on hand. Different sizes, shapes, blade types, and sharpness have been created over the years to suit different groomers and their needs.
Today, the number of groomers remaining still using only hand or fingers are few. Although the results can be almost the same, stripping knives still possess the possibility of cutting a coat no matter how experienced the groomer is, and is an easier way to make a mistake and create a ‘hole’ on the dog than using purely hands and fingers.
∂ Why is Hand-stripping more expensive
One of the reason that most owners refuse to bring their dog to hand-strip is of course, the price. In general, hand-stripping can cost 1-2times more expensive than regular grooming and the frequency of hand-stripping can be more often. For example, you can clip your dog to its skin and not groom him for the next 2 months, but a hand-stripped dog will look like a mop if you do not groom him for 2 months. While the normal recommendation of grooming a dog is 6-8weeks, hand-stripping is often done at an interval of 4-6weeks.
Why is it so expensive? Firstly, hand-stripping is a skill that is losing its legacy. Not many groomers knows how to do it or take the effort to learn the technique properly. While scissoring a poodle into a teddy-bear cut gives you an immediate result, hand-stripping often takes months before it starts showing its beauty. It is a very niche skill, thus explaining the price. Secondly, instead of using a pair of scissors to create the desired look of the dog, your groomer has to use his hands to pluck the hair a little by little, it requires a lot of time and a lot of energy. While a professional groomer can finishing scissoring your messy dog in probably less than 45minutes, a hand-stripping groomer, no matter how professional he is, cannot finish stripping an overblown westie in 2hours. Its simply, not possible.
∂ My Dog is a Pet
The other reason why owners do not hand-strip their dog. It has been passed down for years that pet dogs do not need to be hand-stripped. As we previously briefly mentioned, a breed standard is there for a reason, the correct way to groom a wired coat terrier is by hand-stripping. Before concluding that a Westie is a type of dog with sensitive skin and plenty of skin issues, I urge you to recall if you have been grooming your dog the proper way. To date, we have not met a Westie that has been hand-stripped since puppyhood having skin issues, except for very specific allergic issue such as the detergent. Skin problems can happen when your dog is 1 or when your dog is 10, age does not matter, as soon as the follicles get clogged, you will start having trouble. Any wired coat terrier when bred properly, should have a coat that is strippable, even if its a puppy-mill dog, the dog should still be given the chance to take on the proper grooming way.
When a wired coat terrier starts having skin issues, the first few thing owners conclude is that their dogs are allergic to food, have an yeast infection, a fungus infection, allergic to pollutants. First of all, only 10% of allergic dogs have food allergy, unless you have done a proper diet elimination, your dog may not have food allergy at all. Secondly, any infection that occur can be because of the inappropriate grooming you have done on your dog. Lastly, a hand-stripped dog should have the ability to protect themselves from external pollutants.
Therefore, is it the terriers that are prone to skin problems, or that they have been misunderstood?
∂ Common Hand-stripping Problem
A few owners who come to us telling us how they have been sending their dogs to strip but the coat is not getting better. Here is one of the most cruel, but common truth. Many dogs do not like their head, neck, butt, legs, hands to be plucked. Hand-stripping these areas take more effort than other areas. While its not painful, it is slightly uncomfortable to them and that is totally normal. What many groomers can do, is that they can use a thinning shear to thin these areas down. When you pick up your dog, your dog will look well groomed and neat, but months later it becomes obvious that the hair is not getting thicker and its losing its texture.
Many owners cannot tell the difference between a coat thinned by a thinning shear and a coat that is hand-stripped. If you find that your dog is not getting a thicker coat after months of stripping, its time to speak to your groomer and request for stripping, ONLY stripping.
We do not cut our dogs’ coat unless they are going for show. even if its just trimming, it can change the coat texture slightly. If you visit the groomer often, and do not mind a slightly scruffy look, let them know to not use the shears too often.
∂ What if my dog has been clipped
Hand-stripping a previously clipped dog can be done. It takes a lot more time, but it is possible to return some of the coarse texture to your dog’s coat. However, the returning of undercoat can be impossible as the original layers have been destroyed and I doubt any groomer will be able to separate them again. Hand-stripping a clipped dog can improve the dog’s coat texture and give it a healthier skin, but remember, it takes months sometimes even years. Do not give up.
Carding is often mistaken as hand-stripping. Carding is removing the dead undercoat while hand-stripping is removing the top coat. If you have dog that has been clipped its whole life but still has a very thick coat with beautiful colours, then you have your groomer to thank. By carding the coat, even if you are about to clip it, will pull out some of the dead coat and the undercoat. This allows the skin to breathe and some new coat to grow. For a Westie, it promotes better skin health, for an Irish Terrier it preserves some of its beautiful colour. Carding is a very simple technique that all groomers should do before clipping or scissoring. If for any reason, you are unable to have your dog stripped, carding is something that should not be ignored. The next time you visit the salon, request the groomer to card the coat even if your dog is a pet.
We hope that this answers most of your questions about hand-stripping. If it doesn’t, feel free to drop us more love letters.
Dusty is our Miniature Schnauzer, he passed away due to a cancerous tumour, although we miss him very much, he was brave and fought right to the end. He passed away bravely, and we did everything possible for him without regrets. Dusty battled through a tumour for over a month, he went through all possible treatments and it seems like he has decided for himself that he wasn’t going through with the surgery right at the end.
If you have been following our Facebook page for quite a while, you would have noticed this Miniature Schnauzer always sitting up straight in the same pose every single photo. While all our other crazy boys were still scrambling to get into places, Dusty is always ready. He would sit where we point to and stay there until the whole session is over. He is our favourite photo boy. And did you know, he was the only dog we managed to train ‘show your teeth’. Dusty always lift his upper lips up to show his teeth just so that we can have a good laugh.
Dusty was diagnose with a cancerous tumour that was so aggressive that it needed to be removed as soon as possible. In order to remove the tumour, his spleen had to be removed as the tumour was growing big so quickly that it was pushing all his intestines and stomach to the point where he couldn’t take his meals properly.
Before the surgery, there were two main things that we needed to take care of so that he could at least have 50% of survival rate for the surgery. First, we had to lower his kidney values. They were so extreme that the equipment could not process the levels, and it was recorded as an error. The tumour caused such a sudden damage to his kidneys that they were not able to function properly. Secondly, we had to increase his blood count. Dusty was unable to generate new blood cells because of the tumour. While there was no guarantee for the surgery, we decided to go with it as it was a pressing issue and it had to be done or we would just be counting days with Dusty.
In order to lower the kidney values, we drove him from one end of Singapore to the other end to get his drips done everyday. After two cycles, there weren’t any improvement, we braved ourselves for the worse during these few days. We made a choice to give the drip another cycle and prayed for the best. Surprisingly, by the third cycle of drip, things were looking so much better, the levels dropped more than 50%. We were delighted. Dusty was eating well, doing well and overall just so happy.
Next, to increase his blood count, he was on a medication. Unfortunately it didn’t work. At the vet’s suggestion, we decided to go ahead with blood transfusion to hasten things up. During this time he had a painkiller medication and a painkiller patch for his tumour just so that he could be more comfortable. Within a few days, we successfully found a dog with suitable blood type for Dusty and scheduled him for the nearest available date for transfusion and the surgery right after the transfusion on the same day.
The day finally came for the transfusion and surgery. By this time, although he was already very weak, having an infection because a tumour, Dusty was still very much alert. He went for his usual stroll early in the morning. Throughout this whole period, there wasn’t a time that he was whining or screaming although he was in pain. Just as we were about to leave for the clinic, Dusty was yelping and whining. It was as though he did not want to leave the house and knew it was his time to leave. We decided to have him rest on his bed for a short moment. This time, he wouldn’t let us leave his side. Even just a step away from him, he would yelp and whine. So we sat beside him and kept him company while he rested his head on our lap and kept his vision on us. 15minutes later he rested his head on the floor, gasped for a last breath of air, and passed away, he was 9.
Now we all know how cancers and tumours are, while it is unfortunate for it to happen to anyone or any dog, it can happen to anyone and any dog. And the only thing you can blame on, is luck. Even though we miss him a lot, we have to say that he was one brave boy and still is. Dusty was extremely cooperate throughout this whole journey. Everyday he would walk slowly to the carpark to visit the vet, and walk in to the treatment room to get his drip done after a ‘see you later’ pat from us. He wanted to get better. He didn’t make it to his surgery although we very much wished he did, he still did a fantastic job. He was one of a kind, even the vets and nurses he met agreed. Through the journey, we stayed with the same clinic that was all the way at the other end of Singapore and we were glad we did. They did a fantastic job taking care of him, addressing issues one at a time and because of that, Dusty was able to make it this far. He was even able to attend a family member’s wedding ceremony and was looking absolutely fine that day.
For those who were wondering why we did not try any holistic ways with Dusty. First of all, he had an aggressive tumour, any holistic ways would have sent him to heaven faster than he should. Secondly, while we try to raise our dogs using natural ways, there are some things that still require medical help, and this is one of them. While we battle with having him treated as quickly and as aggressively as possible, his happiness and his comfort are top priorities. We did what we could, what we should and what was possible and we are happy that he spent his last month or so although in pain, but very happily and fruitfully. Lastly, he did went for acupuncture and had Chinese Medications and we are not afraid to say that it was the worst and most useless decision we made through this journey.
To Dusty, thank you for braving through the journey, you did well and did us proud. Keep posing beautifully show your special trick in heaven and we will see you again someday to continue the wonderful memories you have left with us
We do not like to visit vets and most people know that, but not many know why. We used to have 7 dogs, not just the westies and Maneul (the adopted Yorkshire), we also had a Miniature Schnauzer named Dusty and a happy-go-lucky Australian Silky Terrier named Tagee. And yes so you can see, we love terriers to bits. Series TDMR will be a series of short stories about 4 of our oldest dogs, their lives and what they went through. T is for Tagee, our playful, friendly crazy, slightly oversized Australian Silky Terrier.
Not many people who know us knows about Tagee. Perhaps our first few boarding customers such as the lovely duo Fred and Ralph who now resides in Australia will remember him. He is our most playful and active terrier, always bouncing around, ready for outings and friendly like crazy-friendly. Tagee was 4.5 when he passed away, and he made us rethink the purpose of visiting vets every single time and which vet to choose.
We have been to a lot of different vets for many different reasons and most of the times like most dog owners we used think that the vet knows best. That was a time before all the articles that remind people to go for a second visit. We were at a time where vet knows best, why? Because they have a degree and they should know what they are doing. Unfortunately, no. Vets, yes they are much more knowledgable than most of us in terms of medications, diagnosis and such. But most vets are not adequately taught about grooming (skin issues included), and canine nutrition. Its not a major covered in their studies and its not them to blame.
As mentioned above, Tagee’s incident was the main reason we brushed ourselves up with all the knowledge we can get regarding medical symptoms, blood test readings and even to a point medications. To give you a slight summary, he passed away within 5 days, and of all 5 days, we were supposedly ‘working very closely’ with the vet.
Tagee had signs of fever and a mild seizure the night before. Outside these two symptoms, he appeared to be perfectly normal. We thought something might be wrong, just not quite sure what was. We brought Tagee to a clinic that we used to trust the next morning, but to a different vet as his usual vet had appointments booked till few months later. He did a blood test at the clinic and was tested against distemper. According to the blood test results, the vet mentioned that his liver was not that great(yes this were the exact words), distemper results came back negative. Then the vet suggested to have him hospitalised and on drips for 3 days.
Trusting all their diagnosis, we decided to leave him in the clinic and visited him each day. Every time we visit, his condition seems to be getting so much worse than he was at home. We made a decision to bring him home before he finished the drips as he was clearly unhappy and clearly getting weaker than we expected.
He was much weaker than before we brought him to the clinic. Much, much weaker. After his discharge, he has been breathing very heavily and some what breathless. This has never happened during his time at home even when he had mild seizure. He has no energy to stand up to pee or poo. His eyes were not clear anymore, he bumped into things every time he tried to walk. He fell every time he took a few steps. We had to syringe fed him every bit of food that we could. It was also this day that he started having breathing difficulties, brown disgusting mucus and nose bleed.
It was very unusual that the condition deteriorated so quickly given that he was only 4.5 years old. We brought him back to the clinic this very same day to look for the vet and to finish the drip that he had leftover. The vet conducted a distemper test again, based on his symptoms she felt that this was the only reason. The results as we expected was negative. Upon having his check up by the vet, she mentioned that she have no idea what is going on, his lungs were clear, and changed a new anti-biotic for Tagee. She further mentioned that there is nothing physically wrong with him, and he might be weak because he was psychologically affected by his illness. Tagee came back home with us with 8 different medications. The reasons for these medications were, “Incase there are some problems with this, incase he has some damage here, incase this or that happen”.
At that point of time, we knew we needed help from some others who are more experienced. We sought help from overseas vets from the US, breeders from Australia, Europe, friends that we know well, and friends that we barely knew back then. We tried everyone, and everyone we thought could offer some help. We explained the whole situation and within minutes and hours, everyone came back with the same conclusion as we thought. There is something wrong with Tagee and very possibly an infectious disease, kidney disease, liver disease. And the most accurate guess we had was Hepatic Encephalopathy from a breeder.
The other thing that everyone mentioned was he was being overdosed. There was too many medications, medication of every kind without specific diagnosis and it was too much for his little body to take all at once.
The night passed really slowly, as we were eagerly waiting for morning to arrive so that we can bring him to another vet and get some real help. Throughout the night, we had to stay up and clean him because he was getting bloody mucus uncontrollably. He was still having difficulty breathing but he was walking around the whole house with all his energy as though he knew it was his last time walking around this house. As the morning arrived, our worst fear became reality. Tagee let out two sharp screams and at the same time, he urinated, defecated and vomited blood all together. He passed away.
We gave the clinic a call to inform them that Tagee passed away. The vet and the nurses were not a little bit sympathetic. We were in great grief and we got a very close friend to write an email to the clinic. Not to drop the blame on anyone, but to inform the vet what other vets, breeders and experience friends mentioned and hope that she could do better and help another dog when similar symptoms show up and medications could have been dispensed a little more carefully. We received a reply some days later from the clinic nurse saying that the vet(who did not write the reply on her own) did nothing wrong, and everything was done because of symptoms she saw, medications were given to help the dog and everything was done base on code of ethnics, there was nothing she could have done better and nothing more she could have done.
Naturally, we got furious at the reply. So we sent another email to request for the previous email to be send to the Head Vet, Tagee’s usual vet. About 2 days later, we received a call from the Head Vet saying that she was sorry for our lost, but there was nothing her clinic and staffs did everything correctly to diagnose and help Tagee.
What meant to be a supportive reminder hoping to help future pets and owners became a debate of who was right and who was wrong. Since that day, we never went back to the clinic. We maintained close relationships with all those who helped us in one way or another and we have since learnt a lot more about blood test results, symptoms, medications and diagnosis, and what vets actually study in school.
Now we are not saying that with his blood test results, symptoms that Tagee is not ill. We knew something was wrong and we needed help, professional help. Even with infectious diseases, liver diseases, Hepatic Encephalopathy, his life could have been much, much longer if we have had the right help right from the start. It was almost unnatural for a 4.5year-old dog to pass away in 5 days with 3 days under the clinic’s care. 5 days ago he was still jumping around. We spoke to everyone we were in contact with after he passed away, and even to the most experienced people we spoke to, it was simply bizarre and very likely overdosed with medications.
Many of our customers visit vets a lot. Whenever we can, we try to offer our own views and opinions, sometimes we even tell them what the vet says does not make sense or there was no such need. Understandably, we are not medically trained and it can be difficult to trust people without a degree and its ‘safer’ to follow the vet’s protocol. However please be reminded, a pet is alive, they live and breathe, they are not science. An experienced dog owner can be more helpful than your vet, just our two cents worth. Some situations are unavoidable and a vet trip is definitely needed for they are the ones with the medications and they are the ones with the equipments to aid in diagnosis. But be very careful of which vet you go to, who you speak to and the decisions you make, it can cost your dog’s life just as ours did.
And to our little friend, Tagee, we are sorry that you had to go through this whole ordeal in a period of just 5 days. We wished we could have done better and we wished we had done things differently. We’ve learnt a lot, grown a lot and are a lot wiser because of you. We will continue to learn and become better dog owners to your fellow buddies, those that you have met and those that you have yet to meet. Run free now, boy.
In a country like Singapore, the weather in mid-day is almost always too hot for dogs, and sometimes even for humans. And one of the simplest and seemingly most direct way for dog owners to help their dogs deal with the heat – clipping them down.
There are a large number of Double Coated Breeds in Singapore, and overtime we meet many dog owners or even just passerby questioning us if our dogs’ coat is too long or too hot for them and why don’t we shave or clip them. Dogs do not cool down like humans, and clipping or shaving them brings more harm than good to Double Coated Breeds.
Some Double Coated Breeds are dogs in the Herding Group, the Mastiffs, the Spitz and the largest group of all, the wired hair Terriers. These group consists of dogs such as the Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Samoyeds, Japanese Spitz, Shetland Sheepdogs, Cairn Terriers, Norwich Terriers and West Highland Terriers.
Our westie’s undercoat
These dogs have two layers of fur, and both layers are just as equally important. These layers should and SHOULD be maintained as they originally were. The bottom layer is known as the undercoat, these little fur are fluffy, soft and very short. They do a good job at insulating the dog by trapping air around them and help maintain an optimal temperature for your dog.
The longer and tougher coat is known as the topcoat. The topcoat coat is made up of guard hairs and they do not shed. The topcoat also protects your dog from the sun, dirt, and seriously, insects!
Clipping your dog will NOT help with shedding. Some Double Coated Dogs shed once to twice a year and by clipping them, some owners assume that their dogs will not shed. They will still shed and soon you will notice short, newly clipped fur all over your house. One way to control shedding is to de-shed your dog properly and thoroughly during shedding season or do it every few weeks. Dogs who are sterilised sometimes do not have shedding seasons and they shed a little throughout the year.
Photo credit to owner
KEEPING THEM COOL
Dogs do not sweat and they do not cool themselves through their skin. Dogs cool themselves by panting and through their paws. Their coat helps to keep them cool during warm weather. Clipping your dog allows their skin to be directly exposed to the sun, and this increase the likelihood of sunburn and heatstroke.
IT WILL GROW BACK
No, sadly it will not grow back. By clipping your dog, the topcoat and the undercoat loses their originally layering and both layers will be of the same length. Most of the time the undercoat grows faster than the topcoat and there is almost no chance for the topcoat to ever catch up and create a distance between the two coats again.
Some owners think that over time and under the magical hands of a professional groomer the dog’s coat can be magically turned back into the way it was. If you are lucky, your dog may get a coat that is ALMOST as harsh as its original topcoat, but there will still be little to no undercoat, leaving the dog with just 1 layer of semi topcoat that does only 50% of the job the original topcoat is supposed to do.
It will alter their coat for the rest of their lives.
ITS NOT FLATTERING
A Double Coated Dog typically has a topcoat that is bright and fresh in color, and very, very attractive. The undercoat is non shiny, and usually matte in color. We have met several owners who say that they like their dogs fluffy and cuddly and this is the reason they choose not to groom their dogs the way the breed standard calls for. We can never understand this reason. If you want a dog with fluffy and soft coat, why don’t you just go for a breed that has this coat type in the first place? Poodles, Maltese, Bichon Frise, Coton De Tulear, these are dogs with beautiful soft, fluffy coat.
ITS NOT A SHOW DOG
Some think that only Show Dogs need to be groomed properly and we beg to differ. A breed standard is there for a reason to make sure dogs of their own breeds can perform what their breed standard is set out to be. Other qualities aside, the coat of each specific dog breed is unique to that breed and the coat is a part of the breed standard for a reason.
Our pet westies
First of all, it makes the dog beautiful. The coat helps to protect the dog and keep the dog healthy. Double Coated Dogs that are groomed properly, most of the time do not have skin issues of any kind. It protects them from the environment. With the breed that we know best, the West Highland Terriers, not stripping a westie will sometimes cause clogging in their hair follicles. And it is the same for many other Double Coated Breeds, clipping, in time to come, you will meet with a change in the coat color, a change in coat texture, a change in skin texture, and very possibly a series of skin issues. Again, a breed standard is there for a reason.
We think the owner of this picture mean that dead undercoat should be removed, but there should always be layer of healthy undercoat to keep the dog well protected. Photo credit to owner
In conclusion, a Double Coated Breed should never be clipped unless there is absolutely no other option (e.g. your dog’s coat is matted to the core). A good Double Coat will keep your dog cool, protect your dog from external allergens, protect your dog from the harmful sun rays, keep your dog’s skin healthy and lastly, make your dog beautiful. There sometimes can be exceptions whereby the dog has not been bred correctly or properly and is born with a cotton like coat. This is unfortunately a fault and it can be very hard to maintain the coat if the correct coat ever grows.
We are always very supportive and excited when owners choose to raise their dogs as close as their breeds specifics as possible. With that said, a dog’s coat although is a big part of who he or she is, there are also other factors and activities that owners can do or take note of with their dogs to bring them closer to nature.
Most dog owners are well aware of the benefits of spaying and neutering dogs, not many know that even though there are benefits, there are also disadvantages. We have 5 dogs, and 2 of them are neutered, we stand firmly on the view that not all dogs should be spayed or neutered and timing is crucial when it comes to spaying or neutering your dog.
As mentioned above, most dog owners are aware of the benefits, the benefits of spaying and neutering will therefore not be covered here.
Some of us have the idea that spaying or neutering can help eliminate certain behaviour problems such as marking, humping or aggression.
We have seen countless of neutered male dogs marking whenever they enter someone else’s home, sometimes even spayed female dogs do it. We have 5 boys and none of them mark in others’ homes. In our opinion, marking has to do with trainings and not neutering.
An intact male dog WILL however mark when he is unleashed and unsupervised in an open field or a public area, marking in relatives’, friends’ or even in strangers’ homes is completely a matter of training.
Spaying and Neutering again, will not stop a dog from humping another dog unless it is purely of sexual purposes. Female dogs and sterilised dogs hump too.
Aggression may be helped by neutering the dog but only if the aggression is caused by sexual competition on a fellow male counterpart. There are many reasons for aggression and owners should take a serious look at the reason before coming to the conclusion that neutering can solve their dogs’ aggression problems.
Spaying and Neutering helps to reduce the risks of several health complications, but do you know, it also increase the risks of many other health complications?
While neutering or spaying helps to lower the risk or prevent certain cancers such as mammory tumors or prostate cancer, it also increase the risks of other cancers. Studies have shown that sterilised dogs are significantly more likely to develop bone cancer than intact dogs. A spayed female dog also has a greater than five times risk of having Cardiac Tumor as compared to the intact females.
∂ Growth and Development
If you are wondering why is your spayed or neutered dog taller, longer or more narrow in the neck to chest area as compared to the others of the same breed, this is the reason.
Research published in 2000 in the Journal of Paediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism: At puberty, oestrogen promotes skeletal maturation and the gradual, progressive closure of the epiphyseal growth plate, possibly as a consequence of both estrogen-induced vascular and osteoblastic invasion and the termination of chondrogenesis.
The removal of oestrogen-producing organs in puppies can cause the growth plates to remain open. Sterilized puppies will continue to grow and wind up in a ‘not so standard’ bone structure, or what we call irregular body proportions. Some difference more commonly seen on body proportions are the necks and heights. Dogs sterilised at a young age can be a lot taller than they should have been and narrower from the neck to chest area.
∂ Increase Risk in ACL/CCL, Hip Dysplasia, and other leg injuries
This is the major reason that we feel should be seriously considered before bringing your dogs to neuter during their puppyhood. While large breed dogs are more prone to ACL/CCL or hip dysplasia, sterilised dogs of ALL breeds and sizes are exposed to a higher risk of such injuries. While you save your dog from future possibility of getting certain cancers, you also increase the chance of needing to bring your dog in for surgery because of leg injuries.
We have an adopted Yorkshire that has been neutered since young even before we adopted him. He has luxated patella, although he is very much living happily, this could have been prevented if he were neutered later or at a more matured age. We have terriers and they abuse their bodies and run around like crazy dogs, they love what they do and we don’t want to put any of them at a disadvantage by neutering them as young as 6months.
∂ Other Health Concerns
Spaying/Neutering at early age can cause urinary incontinence in female dogs and increased incidence of urethral sphincter incontinence in males.
In our own opinion, every dog is different, spaying and neutering may help your dog but it may also harm your dog. While one can argue that neutering helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, chopping off a dog’s leg will also reduce the risk of CCL and the dog can get on by with just 3 legs, but this simply isn’t going to be part of any owners’ consideration. Allowing the dogs to retain the hormones for a little longer will allow the dog to have a normal body development and allow them to put on more muscles.
We agree that a neutered or spayed dog can be easier to train and more focused, but this should not be the main reason for sterilising your dog. We have 3 intact male dogs, while 1 can be a grumpy old man at times, the other 2 intact dogs happens to be the friendliest and ‘safest’ among all our dogs. If it ain’t broken, why fix it?
Vets and trainers often encourage sterilizing for various reasons. Undeniably sterilizing has its own set of strong benefits, it is a procedure that cannot be undone. Therefore we encourage every pet owner to consider carefully before deciding. An intact dog can be healthy, can be trainable and can be friendly.
If the decision to sterilised has been made, an appropriate age and time should taken into serious considerations to reduce any risk of health hazards in the future. We feel that the minimum age for sterilization should be at approximately 12 months old if your dog is aggressive on a male to male reason. Otherwise, it’s best to let them grow slightly more and do it only after maturity at 2.Lastly, if you are unable to control your dog from having unwanted litters/puppies, we feel that it is best for you to sterilise your dog to prevent adding to the number of poor shelter animals.
We have written a post in the past on how we feed our dogs and what kind of supplements we feed or keep on hand, we have also received quite a number of enquiries on how to feed raw, and some asking for help for dogs with sensitive tummies.
Dogs CANNOT absorb Lac strains, and most of the probiotics in the pet market contains mainly Lac strains. We keep a bottle of probiotics for infants that contains only the B strains and use it only when the dogs really need some help, it works like a charm. When you can’t get a bottle of probiotics that does not contain Lac strains, we think, Kefir is the next best choice! We recommended several friends/customers to try kefir on their dogs who need some probiotic help and many came back with fantastic results.
What is Kefir?
Kefir is a fermented drink that originated with shepherds of the North Caucasus region. Kefir is a unique cultured dairy product and is one of the most probiotic rich food on the planet. Kefir contains live active, growing living cultures of very strong strains of normal flora; and they will repopulate your digestive system with the good bacterias.
Photo credit to the owner
How is Kefir made?
Kefir is fermenting cow/goat’s milk with kefir grains. It is as natural and as powerful as any probiotic can get. The kefir grains feed on lactose thus making kefir very low in lactose content, which is why, dogs’ digestive systems are very accepting to Kefir.
Photo credit to the owner
What strains of probiotic bacteria are actually in kefir?
Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species. It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do this by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual “clean team” that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. So your body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites. (quoted from imperfectlynatural)
What are the benefits of Kefir?
Other than being a probiotic powerhouse, Kefir boosts immunity, heal inflammatory bowel disease, build bone density, fight allergies, improve lactose digestion, kill candida, support detoxification. And these are just a few benefits of Kefir.
Why Kefir and not lab produced probiotics?
If you cannot obtain a good probiotics that contains no other harmful ingredients and without the Lac strains, why not use one that is natural, and full of probiotics? I bet Kefir contains much more probiotics than the probiotics you have for your dog. Most probiotics for dogs contains only around 5 strains, and out of these 5 strains, 3 of them are likely Lac strains. So you are left with 2 useful strains that helps your dog. Kefir is natural, likely the most powerful probiotic on the planet, and whats more? Its FRESH.
Do you feed your dogs Kefir?
Yes, and no. We do not feed our dogs Kefir regularly. They love it, but we love it too. We make kefir for ourselves, and the dogs get them once in awhile especially on warmer days. We add a tablespoon to a large bowl of water to get them to drink more water. They do not have tummy issues and I do not see why we need to feed them probiotics regularly. The dogs also get them when we keep the kefir for too long, and they turn too sour for our taste, but to the dogs, its just as good! If we ever need probiotics for the dogs, yes we will choose Kefir any day over any other counter bought probiotics for pets.
In our opinion, Kefir is best when fermented with real kefir grains. True, traditional Kefir can only be prepared with kefir grains. Commercial starters come in a small pack contains freeze dried organisms cultured under laboratory conditions. They contain only a few strains of LAB and usually only with one yeast strain. Some strains of organisms of kefir grains cannot be cultured in the lab once they are separated from the grain, so those organisms cannot be found in artificial starters. Every batch of kefir also contain different probiotics base on the grains, the milk and the fermenting time. It is always best to get kefir from a reputable source or purchase/get grains from someone you know. We are lucky enough to receive Kefir grains from a trusted friend, so it is safe to say that we believe the grains that we have are of the best quality. Our friend got his grains from someone who has been growing the grains with only raw cow milk from the 1970s. The grains has been mixed with others that he has found useful.
Every now and then, the grains grow too much for ourselves to use, sometimes we blend the extras for ourselves and sometimes we give it away to those who are interested or need probiotics for their dogs.
If you are having some issues with your dog’s digestive system and would like to give kefir a try, send us a PM, when we have extra grains, we will give it to you. Yes, its free. (Note: Take our grains, at your own risk)
Photo credit to the owner
We received a lot of enquiries ever since we travelled with the boys to UK last year and even more after our Europe Trip. The most common question we receive is HOW TO travel with dogs. This post will serve as a short guide to those who are interested in travelling with dogs.
BEFORE LEAVING SINGAPORE
Before leaving for the other country, first of all, you need AVA’s export permit. This permit is valid for 1month. Depending on the country you are visiting, you will need to find their importing documents and fill them up. Most of the time, you will need the local vets’ help to fill in and have in signed by them. At the same time, your dog also needs valid vaccinations and this includes rabies shots. Lastly, 2-7days before you leave, you need to get your dog treated for internal and external parasites by the local vets and have a health certificate issued by them, then, make your way to AVA to have everything endorsed by them. You will need to obtained an import permit for certain countries.
BEFORE RETURNING TO SINGAPORE
Now this is a lot more tricky. Before coming back to Singapore, again, you need an import permit from AVA. You will also need to fill up the importing documents issued by AVA. These documents need to be filled up by the local vets from the country that you are returning from, and you will need to get the documents endorsed by their local government authorities. There is NO WAY, you can enter Singapore without that document. Depending on the country that you are departing from, you MAY also need exporting documents from that country. Again, your dog will need to be treated for internal and external parasites, and must have valid vaccinations. Follow the importing documents closely, you may also need to have a rabies serology test result with you. All these can be done by a pet travelling agent. However, it does not come cheap, and your dog will need to be with them for a minimum of 2 days.
There will be no quarantine period if you depart from Singapore to most of the countries around the world, except for New Zealand or Australia. However, you dog will need to serve a quarantine period if you are travelling back from countries outside of Category A or B.
WHAT TO PACK
We packed light for the dogs, as they are really easy to manage. Their documents and pet passports are always with us at all times. We packed a bottle of Hoki Oil for them, a few packets of treats, tick-spray, some rags or towels to lay them over the rented car. We also packed their collars and leash, do not let them have their collar and leash when they are in the plane, you might not get it back when you pick them up at the airport. A travel bowl is a must, our dogs eat raw meats, so we get their food as we pass by supermarkets, saved us a lot of trouble packing their food. We also packed Fur Refresh Dry Shampoo and a small comb, we used it twice throughout the trip. We did not come across any grooming salons, so you will not be able to groom your dog there, and it can be very troublesome to shower them along the way. Raincoats can come in handy if you are travelling during the raining season. They also sleep in their crates, so there was no need to bring their beds. If the hotel is too small for 3 crates, we let them sleep around the floor, they figure out their own sleeping spots.
* You will need to clean, vacuum, tape, do whatever you can, to get the dog hair out of the rented car. Most car rental company will not allow customers with dogs to rent the car, and if they do, they will check it very thoroughly when you return the car.
WHAT TO PREPARE PRIOR TO THE TRIP
First of all, make sure your dog is in good health. And by good health, we mean in every aspect. Flying can be stressful for them, and once they land, they will get checked through thoroughly by the local authorities. If any documents are missing, or if they are found to be unhealthy, this includes any skin issues or scratching, they can be deported back immediately. And this works both ways. When you return to Singapore, it also takes a few hours to clear the dogs from the custom. It took more than 5 hours for the customs to check through and clear our dogs in the UK. EU was a lot quicker, but do note that the boys travelled with the EU Pet Passport. If you do not have it, it might take longer than expected. They have to be declared correctly, they have to appear as described, they have to be free from any diseases and most of all, they have to look healthy.
Secondly, make sure your dog is crate trained. Our dogs love their crates, they sleep and eat in their crates. And this makes it all the more easier to travel with them. They take long car rides in their crates without any problem, and even after a 17hour flight, their crates remain clean.
HOW FRIENDLY ARE THE LOCALS TO THE DOGS
I would say, very friendly. Dogs travel almost everywhere in Europe and similarly in UK. There are of course certain restrictions such as they are not allowed in churches, museums or certain shopping malls. The locals are also very friendly towards dogs, very often we find ourselves engaging in small talks with strangers about our dogs, kids run towards them and start hugging and patting them, both locals and tourists bring out their cameras to take a few snapshots of them along the way. However, do take note that the dogs in Europe and in the UK, are VERY well behaved. Through our whole trip, yes both trips, all the dogs we came across are walking right beside their owners, or sitting by their sides as they take their dinner. Most of the dogs, are not anxious nor nervous in meeting other dogs, they even brush pass our dogs as if they were invisible. It is as though strangers walking pass each other in our everyday’s life. How amazing is that.
THINGS TO TAKE INTO SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONS
Back in Singapore we get to leave them at home or in daycare centres while we run errands or go for work. Then we return to walk the dogs, feed the dogs. In weekends, most of us get to spend more time with them, we bring them to pet cafes, dog parks to have fun. All in all, most of us spend just a few hours during daytime with our dogs. However, when we are travelling with dogs, we spend almost 24/7 with them, wonderful, but there are also certain things that we need to take into considerations.
1) You may need to leave your dog alone in the hotel room while you do some sightseeing. (They need to be in crates in most hotels if left alone)
2) There are times that you may need to walk around with your dog the whole day just because your hotel is too far to return to. Make sure your dog is physically ready for that.
3) Locals and tourists alike, are very friendly. However they will not ask if your dog is friendly as dogs overseas are very friendly. They will hug/pat/grab your dog without permission. Make sure your dog is friendly.
4) Car or train rides from city to city, country to country often takes more than just 1 or 2 hours. Make sure your dog is ready for long rides or you will find yourself taking a much longer time to reach your destination.
5) Most of us travel with dogs hoping to visit nature parks and gardens as they are bigger and better than what we have in Singapore. And most of the time we want our dogs to be able to explore the new terrains and have fun. But parks and gardens overseas are amazing huge and do not have fences, there are no dog parks. If your dog runs away when unleashed, I doubt you will be able to find him ever again.
PERSONAL TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1) Always have some small change with you, in some countries, the waiters and waitresses ask for tips and will not let it go until you give it to them.
2) Beware of scam artists in Italy.
3) We always travel by the best available flight time and duration. However, we find that KLM has been a wonderful airline, and we highly recommend it.
4) DO NOT rent your car from Europcar. If you remember back on our 2nd trip post, we mentioned that we met with an accident. Our side mirror on the driver’s side got knocked off by a Hotel’s porter in Prague.The Hotel manager tried all ways to contact Europcar, Switzerland, but no one was there to pick up the phone even though it was during opening hours. They tried the following days and with 4 different numbers given by Europcar, none worked. We tried the online helpline, the operator was responsive, BUT HE WAS IN US! Like seriously?
Following few days, Europcar Prague, Europcar Budapest, Europcar Italy, we visited, tried all of them, they can not exchange a car nor fix the car because Europcar Switzerland did not issue the email and they were STILL not responsive.
During these periods, we have had a few phone calls with them, once in a while, they said yes they will arrange a replacement car, once in another while they said maybe they can arrange if we travel to this garage, another once in a while they said no they cannot replace the car.
And this, is the most amazing conversation we had with their MANAGER.
MANAGER: We cannot replace your car because you drove it out of the region and it is not covered by insurance.
US: What region? We were not informed of any region or insurance when we rented the car. (The desk operator at Europcar was not helpful nor keen to explain nor did he explain anything at all, we signed a paper that shows the car, the price and everything else was NOT IN ENGLISH)
MANAGER: You are not suppose to drive the car into Eastern Europe. (Referring to Prague)
US: But no one explained or told us that, who will travel to Europe and only stay in Switzerland? Europe is so big, everyone wants to travel around it.
MANAGER: You can not expect us to explain the rules and regulations to every single customer.
US: We can’t expect you to do explain, but you expect every SINGLE customer to know that?
WOW Europcar, just WOW.
Our recommendations, Enterprise. We have rented cars from them, and the service is wonderful, the help is excellent, the car is fabulous, and Enterprise is the one you want if you are travelling in Europe or in UK.
In conclusion, travelling with dogs can be an amazingly experience for both human and dog, however proper preparations need to be done well beforehand to avoid any trouble.
* If you are wondering why we only travel with 3 of the boys, the other 2 boys are senior dogs. We do not want to risk anything, and seriously, honestly, they are more than happy to not be involve in the trips. And they are SUPER happy to be away from these crazy teenage boys once in a while to get some peace and quiet around the house.
If there are any points or concern that you are interested in, but we’ve not covered, feel free to email us.
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Europe Trip Part 1 – LINK
Europe Trip Part 2 – LINK
I had originally planned to be a good boy and write about my Europe trip every week. But the humans have been so busy that they didn’t have any free time to help me upload my photos! Anyway, to continue from where we left off, we said goodbye to our family and our hometown and head to Italy!
To Italy, we had 1 mission, well, not me but my brothers had 1 mission! That is to take on the World Dog Show 2015! If you know us, you know that both my brothers enter the show ring in Singapore quite often! Although they did not do as well as they should have, they are fantastic show dogs! Why the World Dog Show you may ask, read on to find out!
Before going to Milan for the World Dog Show, we drove 7hours from our hometown to Venice, The City of Romance.
Venice is one of the most raved about travel destinations in Italy and we absolutely agree with that. However we did not see anything ‘special’ about the city. No doubt its beautiful, the humans and us find it too crowded for their likings. We were there on a weekday, and there was not 1 quiet spot that we can sit down to enjoy the views. Still, we managed to take lots of photos!
‘How often do you get to travel to Venice!’, said the human. The result of this sentence? A ton of photos.
After leaving Venice, we head on to Milan! Definitely one of the most anticipated part of the trip. Milan, in short, crazy traffic, delicious food. The humans think that, throughout the whole trip, and out of all destinations, Milan has the best food.
Our main purpose to stop by Milan was so that my brothers can take part in the World Dog Show 2015. My brothers take part in the Singapore Dog Shows every now and then, well pretty often I would say, but they have had very little luck in winning, and the humans want to know why.
There are of course many correct dogs in Singapore, but so are my brothers. The bad thing about Singapore Dog Shows is that, there is only 1 All-Breed Judge for the whole show. Meaning that there is pretty much 0 chance that you will get a West Highland Terrier Specialist or as a matter of fact, a specialist of any breed. Every judge has their specialty, some specialise in Poodles, some in Golden Retrievers and so on. So in general, there is a high chance that your dog may not be judged correctly or fairly and more so if you have a special breed. Did you know, once my brother Klaus, got graded as Very Good, instead of Excellent just because another dog has already gotten Excellent? (Yes, I like to rant, because I do not see the fairness in this, why can’t both dogs be excellent if they are both excellent?!)
The humans know that my brothers are correct, with lovely coats and they want to know if the judge at the World Dog Show agrees with them. Its not about winning, but more about an assurance of they know and what they are doing is correct. Just in case you are wondering, the Judge at the World Dog Show is from one of the most renown West Highland Kennel in the UK or even, in the world! She is also the reason that they are willing to travel so far.
Before we head to the World Dog Show, the humans brought us to Lake Como. The road up to Lake Como was a nightmare, the roads were so hard to drive, the humans got headaches and we were whining like little chickens at the back of the car. We had a little round of ball chasing around the Lake and had to leave early because of the rain. I was a little down because of that, I can definitely take on the rain! But before dog shows, my brothers’ coat are precious. Usually a few days before shows, the human try to keep them clean, and after the show, its CHAOS TIME!
We reached the Milan EXPO early in the next morning! After some preparations, they are finally ready to enter the ring along with all the other world class westies! Now, the humans are absolutely proud to say that they think my brothers fit right into the whole line up!
One of my brothers, Klaus came in 5th out of all the fantastic dogs in the ring. Of course we were praying so hard that he would come in 4th, but 5th is just as good enough for us. (because 4th place he gets to be photographed!)
The humans got a chance to speak to the judge personally a week after the show, and in her own exact words, ‘There was some very strong competition at the world dog show and I know I graded your dogs excellent so I obviously did not think they had any major faults and were excellent examples of the breed. Both were super presentation and a credit to you. I think the grooming and handling are first class no problems there. Lovely coats. I am surprised you do not win more in Singapore. In Milan you were against the very best. Please let me know how you do in Singapore shows.’ These words right here, made their day and made the travel all worth it. It just further assured the humans and gave the a huge confident boost knowing that a West Highland Terrier specialist feels the same way about my brothers and thinks that the handling, grooming and overall presentation is first class. Now back to the point, why didn’t my brothers win more in Singapore? They don’t know, I don’t know, nobody knows..
Anyway, the show was a blast! We even had the chance to meet the 2015 World Winner, and boy he was STUNNING.
There were also several booths around but they were not so impressive and things weren’t cheap too. But on the other hand, we got to meet many new friends, and the human managed to carry a new grooming table with wheels all the way from Milan to Singapore. Yes, just because there are wheels.
After the WDS2015, we graced the beautiful city! We visited the beautiful Milan Cathedral, we shopped at the Galleria, and we went back home with Subway!
Milan is our 2nd last country to visit in Europe. Switzerland, where we came from, will be the last. What is Switzerland famous for other than chocolates and cheese? The Swiss Alps of course! During the trip planning, I was a little sad to find out that Jungfraujoch did not allow dogs. But the humans managed to find the Romantik Hotel all the way up in Mouttas Muragl, Samedan! The room we stayed in had an open roof terrance with a view of the city and beautiful mountains!
While we are all cited about going to Samedan, Switzerland, the humans were sad that they had to leave Milan. They tasted the most delicious pasta, Gelato and Kebab.
Switzerland is our last stop, going to Samedan means we only had a few days left in Europe.
In order to let us enjoy our last leg of the trip to the fullest, the humans allowed us to roll in the snow! It was our first time with that much snow, and I’m sure many dogs in Singapore are jealous of us!
Travelling in June was one of the worse time to travel in Europe as it was getting hotter and hotter. Thankfully, at Samedan, weather was fantastic! At an elevation of 2454m, the views were breathtaking!
Although it did rain quite a lot, but now that we are at the last leg of the trip, we get to go out in the rain! As much as the humans hated our wet coat, they decided to let it go for once. We went around the whole mountain in our power ranger raincoats!
Then we slide 15storeys down just to take a look at the fast flowing river! I was all muddy sliding down 15storeys but I managed to get my paws clean in just 1s! Thats how fast the water is flowing!
Chilling outside our room terrace.
We spent two memorable nights in Samedan before leaving to Zurich for two more nights then back to Singapore.
This is our last stop. The largest waterfall in europe, Rhine fall.
It was hard to say goodbye to this beautiful Continent, but it was time to go home.
We climbed the mountains, drove the highways, tasted the best pasta, met our beautiful family members, chatted with the locals, got cheated by the immigrants, met an car accident, chased the mountain squirrels, joined the world dog show, played in snow, paid a lot but squeezed in a small hotel, paid a lot and stayed like kings and queens and dragged a grooming table across the country.
19 days, 6 countries, 11 cities, 1 family reunion, 1 world dog show, 1 team, 3 dogs, 3220km, we conquered Europe.
After travelling for 4 hours from the Eagle Nest, I sensed some familiar smell. The smell of my 2nd home, my 2nd favourite place in the world. Like the humans, I can’t wait to reunite with my brothers, sisters, mom, grandma and the little niece whom I will meet for the first time. Are you ready to be bomb-barded by the many family photos?!
This is me meeting my family for the first time after 2 years! They were so excited to see me, while I was a little overwhelmed! But within minutes, I was part of the pack again. We rolled, run, bark, wriggle altogether! Grandma, Mom, Brother, Sisters, Niece, I’M BACK!!
A photo with my brothers after being 2 months away from them. Being back together with them means we are going to have so much fun together again!
Heading down to the river for an off leash walk with the brothers and sisters.
Drinking by the muddy river together.
Check out our happy faces after a long hike. In case you are wondering who is who-
From left Cinska, Me (Josser), Körös (at the back), Kacat, Klaus.
While I’m there, the humans thought they will book a grooming appointment for me. After all, I am with one of their favourite groomers in the world. There are only so few people who knows how to groom a westie correctly, therefore being groomed by our favourite groomer, is a privilege.
This is me, before and after.
After meeting and hanging out with my family for 2days, my brothers and I head out for a little excursion to Czech Republic and Slovakia.
We travelled 4hours to the beautiful city, Prague, and checked into the hotel safely. Just before we headed out to the city for some touring, they got a call from the front desk, only to find out that the porter of the hotel broke the side mirror of the car.
In shock, the humans spent hours trying to solve this with the rental car company and with the hotel staffs to no avail. Imagine if this were to happen on the road, I think the rental car company would have left us on the road to survive on our own.
Feeling disappointed by the customer service of the rental car company, we decided to head to town for sightseeing to cheer ourselves up. Thankfully we came across Burger King. Unlike the Burger Kings in Asia, the Czech’s Burger King is one of a kind. They serve beer! Yes, beer. To cool ourselves off the unpleasant incident, the humans had the $2 beer while we sulk away at the bottom of the table.
Me, being digested by the rental car company, Klaus, being disappointed, and LL, being LL, still had no idea what was going on.
After a round of sulking and beer drinking, we braved ourselves and carried on with our already amazingly fun trip. We will brave through the traffic in Europe with 1 side mirror missing and we ain’t gonna care.
The Czechs seem to love us!
The weather was unbearable for my brother, Klaus, so we had to stop at a nearby restaurant for a break. While we take a short nap, the humans had an early dinner. Food was good, as they said, but service on the other hand, is debatable.
After a day in this beautiful city, we bid our goodbyes and head to the next destination. Slovakia!
We are Kings of the castle!
Bratislava is a beautiful city.
Although our trip to Bratislava was short, it was enjoyable and the sceneries are definitely beautiful.
Before the sun sets, we headed back to our hometown for two more days of family reunion. The humans brought along our favourite ball. We’ve had it for months, and it was still in good shape. Until…
We start playing it in the yard, and Csinka joined in. The ball was gone in 2 minutes. Yes Csinka, I blame you! (but I still love you)
This is our little sister, Kacat, she is a feisty dramatic queen. It was so much fun with her around.
Time passed really fast when you are having fun. Within days, we had to say goodbye to our family. While it was fun for me to reunite with my family and play together, it was also fun for the humans. They get to chat and discuss things with other like-minded humans about breed care, diet, coats, trainings.
What’s goodbye without a full family photo right?
One of the few full family photo after XXX shots.
From left to right: Simi, Cikk-Cakk, Kacat, Flört (little puppy), Körös, Josser (infront), Tilli (behind), Csinka, Klaus
Yes, there are 9 of us in total, a full family photo.
*we are not sparkling silky white, we are not born to be that way. we live like terriers, play like terriers, are being groomed like terriers and we are true west highland white terriers. *
My brothers travelled all the way to UK last December and to Europe this April. I was all alone for 2 whole months. The humans decided that it was time for me to join them in our hometown for a big family reunion.
They put me in my crate and handed me to the officers at Changi Airport. I was a little nervous, but the officers assured me that they they will take good care of me. As it was a long haul flight, time passed really quickly.
Before I knew it, I was in a much cooler environment, fresh air, and within 20minutes, I came rolling out of the over-sized baggage belt. I knew I was a little ‘chubby’ but I didn’t think I was over-sized! After the custom checked through my birth certificates, my ID numbers, I was a free man! I walked all around the airport, even into McDonalds.
After a little fresh air, I hoped onto our new car and travelled to Munich, Germany, the land of sausages and beer. Being a tourist myself, I have to try their food, take photos with the attractions and greet as many local dogs as possible.
This is me, shopping for my own dinner in their supermarket. The good thing about my diet, as the humans always say, they don’t have to pre-pack KGs of dog food. All they have to do is to bring me into any supermarkets/butchery to get the freshest every now and then. Being half Singaporean, isn’t one of the best part of vacations the supermarkets?
The Germans have really great tasting beers as I heard from the bottom of the dinner table, and it seems to be a culture to drink at anytime of the day. It does make sense however, if your beer cost as much as your mineral water, why not have a jug of beer?! As it was Summer, there were a lot of tourists around, everyone was friendly and enjoying the atmosphere.
The only thing not as attractive was that their shops close at 8pm, and on public holidays. So if you are travelling to Munich, remember to check if there are any public holidays clashing with your vacation dates and stock up on food if you know you will be hungry at night.
Although I came here with a mission, to reunite with my brothers and my family, I had to enjoy the company of the humans all to myself for a little while. So, the next day, I dragged them up 1834m to Eagle’s Nest for a little hike. It was a long drive up the mountain roads, we took it really slow, but made it up safety. Along the way, we met a couple of dogs, apparently it was one of their usual hiking road, they even had ankle guards to protect their legs.
Before we get to climb, we took a bus and a lift up to the top to save some time. Having attended 1 hash event in Singapore, I was a pro-hasher, I skipped my way up the rocks and slide down on my fat bum. You know humans like to leave their traces when they visit attractions by writing their names down on walls? Well, dogs like to leave traces too, but we do it in a more natural way, just the way Mother Nature intended. We poop. I climbed all the way to the top and did my business there, a few kicks to decorate the area and left proudly.
This is my photo, showing my proudest moment after climbing up the mountain and leaving my ‘trace’.
Even though we are at the top of 1834m, the sun was still scotching hot. By 2pm, the humans and I could no longer stand the heat and decided to take the lift and head back to the cave.
As the dark sky draws near, it was time to bid goodbye to the Land of Sausages and onwards to the land where my brothers, grandma, mom, sisters are.
Last December, we embarked on the craziest adventure ever! The hoomans brought LL and I half way across the world! If you are wondering what LL means, LL = Laosai Loser, AKA this face.
Anyway, we travelled to the United Kingdom for a little Christmas spree! Prior to leaving, the hoomans thought we will feel cold in the UK, so they left our hair untrimmed for 2.5 months.
Not only did we not feel cold, we felt like the coolest kids roaming around the streets of London. Although I felt like Elvis Presley, with the long fringe, the hoomans unfortunately were embarrassed by our outlook. After roaming the city for 1 day, they decided that they couldn’t stand it anymore! They contacted a local Kennel just 2.5hours away from London to let us use their grooming area. LL and I were a little upset that our beautiful long hair had to go, so we decided to show our disapproval by roll around the muddiest patch of grass we found.
Before heading back to London to show off our coolest new hair cut, the hoomans wanted to drop by the NEC at Birmingham to check out all the other handsome and pretty westies taking part in the LKA show. And oh my god, there were 79 of them in just that single show!
Everyone of them were groom to perfection. LL and I overheard the hoomans saying that these are the real professionals that knows the breed inside and out. We went around the NEC for a few hours while the hoomans chatted with some of the handlers, breeders and groomers. It was a very informative session for them understanding the breed a little more and how the traditional way of raising the westies, still is the best method. LL and I didn’t came out of the NEC empty handed too! We sipped on bowls of goat milk and bought some really cheap raw duck wings for ourselves!
On the way back to London, I found myself a nice position to rest my head and enjoy the rest of the ride.
The last few days in London was a little rush for us, but we were so delighted to be trotting beside the hoomans from sunrise to sunset without feeling tired! We visited many places such as the Camden Market, the London Eye, the Big ben, I can’t remember where else, but that place has the most beautiful sandwich I ever seen!
We bought ourselves the coolest looking raincoat at the NEC, and we decided it will be good use when we visit the Winter Wonderland. Honestly, it wasn’t that cold for us at 5degrees. But in London, we had to do it the London way. Look cool, stay cool and act cool!
There were tons of people at the Winter Wonderland which also means there were tons of food on the ground! If I remembered correctly, we found salmon, beef, some malt and LL probably found a Haribo candy!
A day before leaving London to Heathrow, we went to the Richmond Park. I must say, this is the most gorgeous park I had ever seen. Endless grass field, hundreds of wild deers and the bright blue sky.
LL and I spent the morning rolling around, chasing the cold air, playing with the London dogs and posing for photos. The hoomans were really impressed by how well behaved all the dogs we met at Richmond Park were! All of them were off-leash, really friendly and really well-trained. Now, thats the beauty of having a deep fulfilling bond with your dogs.
With this beautiful park as our last destination, we checked all our to-go places on the list and had to bid farewell to this beautiful country.
We were really sad that we had to leave UK, but we have really enjoyed this trip to the fullest. Not only did we get to enjoy the cooling weather and met some new friends, we were really welcomed in the country. The hoomans were also really happy that they get to meet and chat with all the professionals understanding the history and what is right and best for our breed. The hoomans promised that we will be travelling again this year. I secretly hear them whispered Switzerland and Italy! WOOGA!
Whether you are choosing a dog as a pet or for the show ring, initially the same rules apply. First and foremost, temperament is the top priority. Once you are confident that a pup is friendly and out-going, and is not unduly suspicious or nervous, you can then start looking more closely at any other attributes the puppy may have. Check that the puppy has no obvious deformities and that it appears fit and well, with no evidence of badly running eyes, bald patches on its skin, mucus running from its nose, or a discharge from one or both ears. – Derek Tattersall
(our little boy when we first spoke to his breeder, and yes, this was the face that sealed the deal.)
The benefits of getting a puppy from a reputable and recognised breeder is that you can often view one or two of the puppy’s parents. That in fact will help a lot in determining if you should or should not buy the puppy. You can often gauge the puppy’s size and weight from its parents. Most breeders who show their dogs only use dogs of higher qualities and good pedigrees in their breeding programme. Although anything can happen when you deal with livestocks, getting a good pedigree is actually better than buying a pet insurance later in the years.
When you contact a breeder for puppies, it is unfortunate that most of the time, you will not get the finest dogs. The breeder will usually keep the best puppies for themselves or for show homes. They are simply looking for finer points of the puppy for competition purposes and thus, they have to be very selective. It does not mean that any of the remaining puppies have faults or are unhealthy. It may simply mean that the remaining puppies does not like showing, does not walk with a confident gait, does not have the most ideal coat, but I am sure that a puppy from a reputable source will be of good quality, and will be backed up with a pedigree, which I gamble is better than yours!
Even though most people melt that the sight of a puppy in the pet shop, I do not, and will not ever suggest that one buys a puppy at the pet shop. Unless you get to meet the parents, speak to the breeder. Most dogs are pack animals, and when they are allowed enough interaction with their parents and litter mates, it gets them used to being around other dogs which in turn will solve a lot of future problems such as aggression. Many people stress that a pedigree does not mean anything, all dogs are the same. Yes, a dog with pedigree does not mean that it has a bigger heart than a dog without a pedigree. But what a good pedigree can offer you is to save your money in the future and guarantee that you paid for a healthy dog and not a dog from the puppy mill. If you love dogs you should know how cruel puppy mills are and the only way to stop that, is to stop buying puppies that are bred unethically.
(We call this LL face, and yes his expression is still similar now)
Once again, I stress the importance of buying a puppy only from a reputable source. It is an insurance to yourself and your dog. A dog with good genes can be fed with rubbish (although you should not) and still look wonderful and stay healthy. A dog with bad genes need constant care and up-keeping just to make sure the dog does not get any problems. Furthermore, a good breeder will be your best friend with regards to any problems that you might have in the future.
It has been awhile since we brought our boys our for some lure coursing exercise. We’ve been so busy with all the festive seasons and what not. Needless to say, they enjoyed it so much that all of them KO-ed the moment they went up the car.
For those of you who are wondering what is Lure Coursing, instead of having me write a long boring post about it, it will be faster/better/more interesting, if you click on this link.
Long story short, here is a video of them racing their hearts out!
Dogs are natural carnivores and it is in their instinct to work for their food. Although many suggest that dogs are omnivores, we choose to believe that they are selective carnivores. Dogs are 99.8% similar to wolves in their DNA, if wolves are no doubt carnivores, how can a dog be an omnivore with just 0.2% difference? There is no doubt that a dog will eat a berry a few strands of grass when they are in the woods, but it does not mean that these provides them with the nutrients that they need. They might survive on fruits and vegetables if they are forced to, just like a human can survive on potato chips if we want to.
People are often in awe or probably, in disgust when we mention that our dogs eats raw meat. They’d be in shock when we tell them we will throw our boys whole uncut lamb shoulders for them to do what they need to do. While raw feeding is gaining its popularity in this tiny island, we have yet to meet up to 5 who feed the way we do. In order to keep the post simple, we’ve summarised the few key points that we keep to make raw feeding work for us.
Balance Over Time
We try to keep to the ratio as much as possible. 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% offals. Because we don’t cut our meat up into small little pieces, we go by approximation. Truth is, even if you weigh and cut every piece carefully, you still will not get the exact 80-10-10 ratio right. For example, a whole chicken has 30% bones in it. If we feed chicken on day1, we would have covered 3 days of bones. Therefore we might follow up with 2 days of boneless meal such as pork or beef. 3-5% should be made up of liver, and the rest, can be kidney, spleen, sweetbreads, brains, anything that you can find. Some people feed the 10% offals daily, others feed offals once a week, or even a whole meal of offals to cover for a long period. The key is to balance over time.
Many people feed yogurt, kefir or probiotics to aid in digestion. But honestly, we feel that it is a waste of money if there are no prior or current digestion issues. Although we do keep a bottle of probiotics with us for emergencies, we rarely feed it. Dogs are not able to absorb Lac strains. Unless you buy a bottle of probiotics without the Lac strains, they basically ends up in their poops.
Red VS White
Time to time, like many other raw feeders, we like to gift our boys with an exotic meat such as Rabbit, Fowl, Pheasant and what not. But 90% of the time, we keep them to red meat. We prefer to spend our money buying different varieties of red meat rather than spending them on exotic meat. A 10dollar pork collar will do a much better meal for our boys than a 50dollar fowl. After all, if given a chance, a dog will rather hunt a big animal, it would play a much larger role in their diet.
Vegetables & Fruits
Sure a wild dog might pick up a berry or two on its way, but that will never be a staple in their diet. One will have to steam or chop the vegetables and fruits into very small pieces in order for the dog to be able to absorb its nutrients. A snack or two occasionally will not harm the dog, and she might even enjoy it. A slice of apple or a broccoli will not harm your dog, but do they need it? Honestly, no. They are carnivores. Therefore, we never waste our time preparing vegetables or fruits for our boys. If they’d like a bite or two, they can have it on the grass patches during their walks.
We feed our senior boys some antioxidants to keep their old hearts strong. But bear in mind, they are over 10years old. Our young boys get only fish or krill oil. Very occasionally, they get coconut oil just because they love it, but honestly we coconut oil is more useful for the dogs when applied externally.
We keep to this rule all days everyday. From time to time, our boys will decide that they want fast themselves for one day. And it doesn’t concern us. In the wild, animals don’t eat everyday. They eat when they get food, they eat when they work or hunt. We don’t hand feed them, we don’t coax them into eating. Every dog has their favourite and least favourite meat. If their least favourite meat happens to be what is cheap and easy for us, they will have to learn to eat it. If they leave a piece of meat untouched for 15minutes, we keep it back inside the freezer and he gets the same piece of meat for his next meal and nothing else before the next meal.
We feed BIG.
And by big, I mean nothing that our boys can swallow. We usually feed them meat that are 1kg and above. When it gets too small, we freeze all the small pieces together and we feed it frozen. The younger you start feeding raw, the higher the chance the dogs self-regulate. The bigger you feed, the easier it is for them to learn to self regulate. Feeding big also provides them with some stimulation and exercise. They have more than enough capability to tear their own food apart. They don’t need you to chop into tiny little pieces or hand feed them. And yes, they can do with a little more exercise.
Know Thy Dog
Every dog is different. All of our dogs are different. Some need more bone, some need more fats. The only way to grasp the near perfect ratio for your dog is to try and try. One dog might need 2 days of bones while the other will just need 1. There is no hard and fast rule to what is best. Remember, what comes out the other end, is the result of what went in. The stools tell it best. Take your time, test your patience, don’t be afraid and take it slow.
Our professional working on his lamb shoulder. He can rip every single strand of meat out and leave the bone squeaky clean if he decides to.
So all in all, what do we feed? We feed our boys pork, beef, lamb, mutton, venison. Which ever is cheap and big. We never ever feed beef or mutton bones. These bones in our opinions, are too dense for our boys. How do we feed? We feed bone meals with offals and we feed boneless meals on the other days. How often do we feed? Our senior boys get 2 meals a day and we have kept it that way. Our young boys get only 1 meal a day, they have been weaned into food this way by their lovely breeder and we love it. Also, they self-regulates, which means they stop when they have had enough and we never need to be concern about how much they eat. They can be so precise that the average amount varies 1-2g, its like they have a weighing scale in their tummies. Why do we feed this way? We choose to feed this way base on our research, our beliefs and our opinions.
Finally. The key to raw feeding? Balance over time & know thy dog.
While we are all stuck here with the horrid weather in Singapore, our favourite buddies are having all the fun and fresh air back in Australia!
Fred and Ralph have always been our buddies since they first day we met them. The Shih Tzu duo came from Australia and they were our first boarding customers! We are grateful to how easy-going their owners are and how much they trusted us. Ralph as we remembered, always takes his naps on his back showing everyone his belly and Fred always sneakily snuck up to our pillows in the middle of the night!
A few months ago, we received a message from their owners informing us that our buddies were going back to Australia. We didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to them, so we decided to check in on their lives in Australia.
It appears that they are enjoying their lives in the wonderful country, they even went to the beach for breakfast on little Ruby’s birthday!. We are happy to know that they have both settled well and back to their lovely antics after being shipped around for a little bit. The next time we visit Australia, we’ll be sure to arrange a meeting with the boys to hear all about their adventures in Australia.
And here’s our favourite photo with them!
Till we meet again, rock on boys!
Lastly, congratulations on the little human, Georgia and Shane!
Very often when you mention that your dog has flaky/dry skin, your vet will suggest supplementing the diet with fish oil. Fish oil has been known to provide the much needed Omega-3 to dogs. It is true that if your dog has dry or flaky skin, he/she will probably need some extra oil in the diet. However, if you are feeding kibbles or a complete diet manufactured by companies, the amount of Omega-3 should have been balanced, if its not, you probably should consider an alternative brand.
If you are feeding a raw diet like we are, chances are your dogs are not getting enough Omega-3. Reason being that even the cows/sheeps/chickens are not producing enough for themselves as most of them are grain fed/pasture. Unless the livestock is grazing on grass for its whole life or certified grass-fed, you will need to provide extra Omega-3.
The fish oil sold in the pet industry often has preservatives such as rosemary or are soy based. When we look for a brand of fish oil, we always look for one that is good enough for human. If its good enough for the human, its good enough for the dogs. The lesser the ingredient, the better.
And just how much oil should you give your dog? For maintenance, every 10/lb dog should receive 100DHA+EPA. Yes, that is right, you should add up the two amount get the final amount. If it is for therapeutic purposes, you can gradually increase the amount to what its needed or to what your dog can digest without having loose stools. Salmon oil tend to have a higher DHA+EPA, its beneficial for larger dogs. But if you have a small dog or cat, Krill oil might just do the trick. Krill oil usually have a much lesser DHA+EPA and many of them has not yet been added with tons of preservative and unnecessary stuff.
A very warm welcome to all of you out there visiting our new website for the first time! It took us long enough to have this website up and running! We spent the last couple of months revamping the new website, trying to make it simple and user-friendly. As you might have noticed, we have added a little more information about how we operate and why we do it this way. Also, we have added Dog Talk!, this is a place were we will cover topics periodically. Often, we receive questions such as where do we bring our dogs for grooming, what we feed them, where do we walk them. So, if you have anything that you would like us to cover, please feel free to click on Contact Us, and let us know!
Until then, here’s a photo of Gucio saying Goodnight!