Friday, June 18, 2010

Maisie and Blondie are absolute winners!

Well, I know I am hopelessly biased towards Pointers but even so at nine months Maisie (proper name Jilony Heaven Can Wait For Fyldefair) is shaping up to be a national champion. She has already qualified for Crufts 2011 and last weekend scooped another prize - this time Best Puppy in Show at Bowood House Dog Show. Heartiest congratulations to Maisie who, as part of her prize, won a hamper of Darling's. Hopefully she will share her prize with her sister (well, not literally, but I am not sure what else to call her), Blondie, who won second place in the AV Gundog class. Let me just say, by the way, that the classes at Bowood House were all on the giant size this year, reflecting the huge popularity of this annual, fund raising event. If you want to see more photos of Maisie, and who wouldn't, then visit the Fyldefair website.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The most beautiful Irish Water Spaniels in the world?

Could there be six more beautiful Irish Water Spaniel puppies in the whole world? Born to Liberty - a Darling's diner, naturally - around five weeks ago. From left to right they are Pink girl, Red girl, Turquoise boy, Blue boy (sitting in the front), Lilac girl and Green boy. Or, Pinky, Reddy etc. This is according to their collar colour, not that you can see their collars now their hair is getting so long. Anyway, heartiest congratulations to Liberty!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Please read this important message about bloat.

I've just received an email from Gill Arney who has started a much-needed campaign to increase awareness of bloat which is, apparently, the second leading killer of dogs after cancer. She has created a facebook page and also a free poster that you can download from or send away for (

Bloat is a very serious, potentially fatal problem and I wrote about it at considerable length on 15th February 2010 if you care to look at my archived posts. How do you know if your dog has it? Here are the things to look for:
  • Your dog retches from the throat but nothing is produced other than small amounts of frothy mucus
  • Your dog tries to defaecate unsuccessfully
  • Your dog adopts the 'Sphinx' position
  • Your dog's tummy goes hard and/or swells up like a balloon and is as taut as drumskin
  • Trying to bite, or worry, the abdomen
  • Your dog is very unsettled

CONTACT YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY. Bloat is a true emergency - be prepared to drive to the surgery straightaway. The chance of survival decreases alarmingly if you delay getting the dog to the surgery more than 60-90 minutes after the first signs.

What causes bloat? Bloat in dogs is likely caused by a multitude of factors, but in all cases the immediate prerequisite is a dysfunction of the sphinctyer between the esophagus and stomach and an obstruction of outflow through the pylorus. Some of the more widely acknowledged factors for developing bloat include increased age, breed, having a deep and narrow chest, stress, eating foods such as kibble that expand in the stomach, overfeeding, too much water consumption in a small period of time; before or after exercise and other causes of gastrointestinal disease and distress. Studies have indicated that the risk of bloat in dogs perceived as happy by their owners is decreased, and increased in dogs perceived as fearful.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

SOS Dog Walk. 24th July. Hampstead Heath.

If you live in the London area then why not join the SOS Animals Sponsored Walk on Saturday 24th July? I have blogged about SOS Animals before so I won't repeat myself. They do fantastic work rescuing abandoned dogs in Spain and elsewhere. What I especially like about them is the fact that the organisation is run by volunteers and operates on a shoestring budget. That means that every penny you can help them raise goes to help the needy animals and not on administration or marketing. The walk itself will be 8 miles and I am sure it will be a lot of fun. The minimum sum you have to raise to participate is £15. Contact details on their website or call 07939 025485

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Raw food and fertility...

When Dr. Francis Pottenger conducted his famous experiments with cats (he fed, roughly, 450 on a raw food diet and 450 on a cooked food diet using the same ingredients) he found that after three generations the cats on the cooked food diet became infertile. We don't know if the same holds true for dogs and cooked food BUT we given that fertility is a growing problem we can guess that it might be so. (Incidentally, processed cat food now has various additives put into it to counter the effect of the cooking, which is why the domestic cat hasn't become extinct in the last 50 years). So, how can a raw food diet aid fertility? The first thing to remember is that it takes two to tango. Dogs are just as likely to suffer from fertility issues as bitches if fed on processed food. Basically most manufactured dog food offers a narrow spectrum of nutrients, damaged fats and proteins, high chemical and grain levels, high levels of artificial calcium, salt and sugar mixed with low levels of natural anti-oxidants, enzymes, available micro nutrients and phytochemicals and…but you get the idea. One of the effects of feeding processed food to several generations of dog, according to Dr. Ian Billinghurst in his book Grow Your Pups With Bones is substantially reduced fertility. He points out that: ‘the best way to certain of low to non-existent fertility…is to feed a dry food starting from when they are puppies.’ Billinghurst then goes on to explain why the different elements (essential fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, anti-oxidants and so forth) in a raw food diet boost fertility. For males he lays great stress on the need for zinc, which occurs naturally in lamb, beef, chicken, eggs, and carrots as well as methionine (found in eggs), magnesium (found in green vegetables), manganese (again found in green vegetables), selenium (again found in eggs) and other important nutrients. Billinghurst feels that it is always better for dogs to obtain all these nutrients from their food and warns against overdosing with supplements. Where supplements may be required it is vital to get professional advice as it is possible to overdose a dog on ingredients such as zinc. If you have a fertility issue with your dog we would be pleased to offer advice.