2015.08.18

Spay or Neuter. Every dog is different.

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.

∆ Marking
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.

∆ Humping
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
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?

∂ Cancer
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.

 

 

2015.07.23

Travelling with your pets

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.

QUARANTINE
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?

MANAGER: silence….

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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2014.10.06

Welcome to the new WOOGA!

Good day!

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!

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R.