121 Animal Therapy

The Ridings,
Level Mare Lane
Eastergate,
Chichester,
West Sussex,
PO20 3SA
Tel: 01243 543121

Jane’s Boredom Busters (BB) - episode 4

Hello everyone.

I hope you are all remaining well.

I can hardly believe another week has gone by.I am still working in the garden.Some of the plants, trees & shrubs are doing really well.The azaleas and some of the roses are out.My tomato plants are about 3cm tall now, but my French beans and many of the other seeds I planted have not grown!Not always ideal to use seeds with an average age of 10 years, but I thought it was worth a go!I am not particularly green fingered! 

The NHS GoodSam volunteering has still not produced a single job!

Sorry for the delay in the blog this week.I had planned to write it when I got back from Grove Lodge Vets in Worthing.Just before getting there, the dashboard light came on to tell me to check tyre pressure, by the time I had parked it was flat as a pancake.Luckily Grove Lodge let Phoebe stay inside with them until it was sorted out.The Ford Tourneo Connect has 1 big drawback – no spare wheel – just a compressor and some white liquid to be pumped into the tyre.If it is a big split on the edge, it goes back down within 30 seconds.Luckily the RAC came out & sorted things out for me.It took much longer than we had anticipated – not the way we had planned to spend the hot bank holiday!Anyway, no humans or animals suffered and Phoebe was glad to be home again with her new Fentanyl patch.I then did other things and didn't do any work at all on the blog!

Sounds as though some new announcements will be made on Sunday regarding the current restrictions, so we shall have to wait & see what changes will be made.

I guess lots of you did your own at home / on line VE day anniversary celebration yesterday.It is important to learn from the past and remember those who gave their lives to ensure our lives would be better.

In a different way, similar applies now.I (we) must continue to applaud all those of you who are putting their lives on the line for the rest of us, from those in the NHS and throughout all the other jobs / professions who are keeping the country running, thank you.Already more people have died than the entire population of Chichester, so we mustn't start to become complacent. The rest of us, who also have an important role to play by keeping up the social distancing, thank all of you, but also give ourselves a pat on the back for keeping it up – that is what will make the difference when it comes to beating Covid-19. 

As I've said before, I hope you will find it useful.If you have anything that you would like me to cover, please feel free to contact me and I'll try to do so in the next couple of blogs.You can also leave comments / photos or videos on the "board" on my website or on facebook..If you find this useful and know anyone else who might too, please feel free to forward it to them.Also if you "like it" in Facebook, that would be great.

Remember the "health warning" - they are not suitable for every dog, as it depends where they are currently in their rehabilitation.If you are in doubt at all, please contact me before doing something that is too much for your dog as it is at the moment.

Jane's Boredom Busters (BB) - episode 4

What do you think is the most common infectious disease in adult dogs?It affects over 87% of dogs and 70% of cats over 3 yrs old.

The answer may surprise you – it is periodontal disease.This is the main cause of dental disease and of tooth loss in dogs and cats.

According to an article published by RVC (Royal Veterinary College), there are 6 stages in the process which starts with plaque formation and ends with tooth loss.As with humans, some dogs are more likely to be affected than others.Those most likely to have problems are caused by the shape of their head and location of each of the teeth (more teeth than there is space for), abnormal chewing or playing behaviours (eg eating / catching / chasing stones) and those whose defence systems are unable to cope with the bacteria produced by the disease.Greyhounds have a very poor record as far as dental health in pet dogs is concerned.Numerous studies also link gum disease to pulmonary heart disease and to kidney disease.

As humans we can go for our regular dental health checks and see a dentist and hygienist.With our pets, if there is a problem, the solution is for the dog to go to the vet and having to have a general anaesthetic to enable the vet to do any cleaning, scaling or extractions.We all know that there is a risk to any surgery – and a financial cost, so if we can avoid that or reduce the frequency, that has to be better for all concerned.

Do you brush your dog's teeth?

Dogs, like humans really need good teeth.In an ideal world we would clean our dog's teeth on a daily basis.Sadly we don't all live in an ideal world.

As far as cleaning teeth is concerned, it is always best if you are able to introduce the idea to them as puppies.This does not mean that if you haven't trained them as a puppy that you can't train them, it may just take a little longer.

Start by making sure that your dog is happy for you to touch his face.Initially running your finger up and down and making small circles along the line of the dog's teeth outside its mouth.Once it is happy with that, then start touching the inside too (I would always do this with wet fingers so it doesn't "stick" on the dog's gum).Do this as often as you can until your dog is happy with this, remembering to use lots of praise.Next put some toothpaste on the end of your finger and let the dog lick it.Then put your finger (loaded with toothpaste) into the dog's mouth and rub it gently onto the dog's canine teeth and gums.Again use lots of positive praise or yes command followed by treat.If this goes well gradually work back to the molars.Don't rush things or overwhelm your dog. Try to make it a treat that your dog enjoys. Dog toothpaste is enzymatic, which means it softens up the plaque.There are several different types of toothbrush available, made especially for dogs.These include a finger brush, which I like and then you can go on to a normal brush.I find that a soft children's toothbrush also does a god job, but I also have clients who find they get on very well with an electric toothbrush.Always make sure you know which belongs to the human and which belongs to the dog!Toothpaste comes in many different flavours too, so pick one you think your dog will like.There are lot of videos on line which will how you exactly how to do this if I have not been clear enough

Last week I said I would do a bit more on scent work today.

We are all conscious that we need to be aware of weight (mine seems to keep increasing).The same applies to our dogs.Their life expectancy can be increased by 2 – 3 years by being slightly below "ideal" weight.If your dog has enjoyed any of the games we have played so far, you might like to try things that don't necessarily involve food.

We all know that dogs have a much better sense of smell than we do – look at the work currently being done by the medical detection dogs and drug dogs. If you think you might like to do classes to teach your dogs scent work, you will find there are a number of good local trainers.You will have the option to do this for fun or to progress to competitions.This can be a really good sport to start with dogs who have had injuries and are not able to do agility, flyball or similar activities.It is also suitable for anyone else who would like to try.I am not a specialist in this field.I understand that the scents used for competition are birch, clove, anise and cypress, so one of these might be a good starting point for you, but you can choose what you like.

Essential oil is normally used.Put a few drops on a piece of cotton (this should not have been washed in scented washing powder as that could confuse things.Put this in a clean glass jam jar.Similar to what you have done with food or treats, hold the jar with one hand & have your supply of treats in the other.Whenever your dog sniffs or subsequently noses the jar, use positive reinforcement with "yes" and / praise & then treat.Similar to with clicker training, you are trying to reinforce the action of finding the correct smell.Once your dog is doing this consistently, give it a command. Search / find / whatever you want to use for this.You want them to point it out with their nose.You want to get a clear action from the dog so you know whether it is just sniffing or actually telling you that it has found the scent.Make sure it is always positive and fun.

As with the box and food games you can start to make it more difficult as they get the hang of it.Remember, these scents can be quite strong, so be careful about cross contamination.If you pick it up with your hand, anything else you touch with that hand may smell of the scent you are using.In the same manner, if it is in a box, the box will probably smell of the scent for much longer, so your dog could indicate the "wrong box" because you have already used that box so it has become tainted.

I also came across a variation for some of our previous hide & seek games – try getting them to find the items with the lights out!

On that note I'll call it a day.

Please share any different ideas you may have on the 121 bulletin board, or on facebook and you can also upload a picture or video of your dog if they like – doing any of the above or just doing their own thing.

I'm still aiming for happier pets and happier humans, using or making my "Boredom Busters" ideas!I look forward to hearing how you all get on.

Please also remember to pass this on to anyone who may find it useful and also to like it on Facebook.

Thanks.

Jane

Jane’s Boredom Busters (BB) - episode 5
Jane’s Boredom Busters (BB) - episode 3

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