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KEEP IT CLEAN 12 PET-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS TO FRESHEN YOUR HOME

Life BUMPER Mother’s Day

Is your dog an emotional eater?

Gift Guide

Can I help

BANISH

YOU? Meet the special

DOGGY

BREATH!

dogs trained to assist

Simple tips and tricks

THE POO PROBLEM

ISSUE 131 MAY/JUN 2015 AUS $7.95* NZ $8.90 (incl. GST)

www.dogslife.com.au

Why you should pick up after your pet

SPECIAL N IO IT R T U N & H T L A ANNUAL H E t's health 

ck your pe  Ease doggy allergies How to tra of new diseases  Aussie vets at the forefront

GET TO KNOW YOUR BREED:  CHIHUAHUA  ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIEL  WHIPPET


CONTENTS

Inside… HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL 18 20

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24 26

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Is your dog an emotional eater? Find out! Starting from scratch Discover what causes allergies in dogs and how you can alleviate their symptoms Keeping pace Learn how veterinarians stay up to date on emerging diseases and technology Say cheese? Find out how to tackle bad doggy breath Lucky dog Meet the vet oncologist who went on a journey of self discovery Keep it clean! Browse our latest guide on pet-friendly cleaning products

BEHAVIOUR & TRAINING 36

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Happy dogs are successful dogs Learn how farm dog training has influenced city dogs High-tech hounds Discover the new doggy tech making its way to our shores Training dogs to assist Find out what it takes to train a puppy to assist humans

LIFE WITH DOGS 46

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Let sleeping dogs lie Is it OK to share your bed with your dog? Find out! The problem with poo Learn how your dog’s poo can affect our environment Walk this way Our guide to Australia’s best dogfriendly walks Mother’s day gift guide Spoil your dog loving mum with these gifts

BREEDS 78 82 84

Chihuahua English Springer Spaniel Whippet

DOG TAILS

REGULARS

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4 6 9 11 12 14 72 74 86 92 98

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Puppy meet piglet Meet the piglet that was trained at puppy school In dogs we trust Discover the dogs that served our country NSW’s finest crime fighter Learn what it takes to become a police dog Age is just a mindset Read about an unlikely duo that make the perfect pair

Editor’s letter News Book club Over to you Barkback Bone-anza Love ’em snapshots Ask the experts Kids club Next issue Dog hero www.dogslife.com.au 3


Hi dog lovers!

Life EDITOR Kylie Baracz SUB-EDITOR Anastasia Casey DESIGNER Doreen Milo NATIONAL ADVERTISING MANAGER Stephen Key (02) 9887 0338

ADVERTISING PRODUCTION Ian Cassel

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Emma Perera

CHAIRMAN/CEO Prema Perera PUBLISHER Janice Williams CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Vicky Mahadeva

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Emma Perera ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Karen Day CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Mark Darton CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kate Podger EDITORIAL PRODUCTION MANAGER Anastasia Casey

KEEP IT CLEAN 12 PET-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS TO FRESHEN YOUR HOME

Life

Life

BUMPER Mother’s Day

Is your dog an emotional eater?

Gift Guide

Can I help

BANISH

YOU? Meet the special

DOGGY

BREATH!

dogs trained to assist

Simple tips and tricks

THE POO

PROBLEM Why you should pick up after your pet

ISSUE 131 MAY/JUN 2015

AUS $7.95* NZ $8.90 (incl. GST)

www.dogslife.com.au

www.dogslife.com.au

PS: Do you have an interesting dog story? Send an email to dogslife@ universalmagazines.com.au and tell me about it. You might be featured in the magazine!

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Also featured this issue is our fantastic Mother’s Day Gift Guide. We’ve collated the cutest pet-related products — from bowls to book-ends — that will make both your mum and your dog smile this Mother’s Day. I hope you enjoy this issue.

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ooking after your dog’s health and providing it with proper nutrition and regular exercise is an important part of raising your canine to be a strong and healthy companion. As this is our annual Health & Nutrition Special, we delve into the world of doggy fitness and discover whether dogs can be emotional eaters; how allergic reactions can be managed or prevented; how to tackle bad pet breath; and what cleaning products you can use to keep your home clean while still being pet friendly. Not only is this issue packed with advice on keeping your pet healthy and happy, we also discover how veterinarians manage to keep on top of new illnesses that can affect our beloved animals. I think we sometimes take our local vets for granted when it comes to our pets’ health (I know I do!) so it was interesting to discover what our vets need to do to make sure they can provide the best treatment for our furry (or feathered or scaly) friends. Read more about this on page 22.

ANNUAL 

HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL

your pet's health  Ease doggy allergies How to track of new diseases  Aussie vets at the forefront

GET TO KNOW YOUR BREED:  CHIHUAHUA  ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIEL  WHIPPET

PRINT PRODUCTION MANAGER Lilian Ohanessian

PREPRESS MANAGER Ivan Fitz-Gerald MARKETING & ACQUISITIONS MANAGER Chelsea Peters

Dogs Life issue 131 is published by Universal Magazines, Unit 5, 6-8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113. Phone: (02) 9805 0399, Fax: (02) 9805 0714. Melbourne office: Suite 4, Level 1, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne Vic 3025. Phone: (03) 9694 6444, Fax: (03) 9699 7890. Printed by KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd, Singapore. Distributed by Network Services, Phone: (02) 9282 8777. NZ Distributor: Netlink. UK Distributor: KLM Partnership, Phone: +44 019 9244 7544. Singapore & Malaysia Distributor: Carkit (F.E.) Pte Ltd, 1 Charlton Lane, #01-02, Singapore 539631, Phone: +65 6282 1960, Fax: +65 6382 3021, Website: www. carkitfe.com. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers. The publishers believe all the information supplied in this book to be correct at the time of printing. They are not, however, in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. Prices, addresses and phone numbers were, after investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, up to date at the time of printing, but the shifting sands of time may change them in some cases. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements which appear in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisements for publication. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. *Recommended retail price ISSN 1329-3583 Copyright © Universal Magazines MMXV ACN 003 026 944 www.universalmagazines.com.au Please recycle or pass on this magazine.

3/5/2015 2:10:03 PM

ON THE COVER English Springer Spaniel Cover credit: Cabal Canine Candids

WE ARE A MEMBER OF


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 NEWS

85%

OF OWNERS STRUGGLE TO FIND A GOOD BOARDING FACILITY FOR THEIR PETS Now there is a new website that hopes to reduce this number. Founded by Gareth Brock, who is no stranger to the angst and frustrations experienced by pet parents when it comes to travel, Pet Check-In helps pet owners to search, compare and book the best pet boarding facilities when they travel. Pet owners can now easily search online for pet boarding facilities by location, availability, rating or price. They can also create a pet profile including pet name, age, breed, size, vaccination certificates, special requirements and emergency contact details for facilities to make an informed decision on whether your particular pet suits their service. For more information, visit petcheck-in.com.au. Pet Check-in is proud to have the Animal Welfare League as a charity partner.

Dog walking leads to happier owners According to Lort Smith veterinarian Dr Samara Rao, people with dogs tend to be healthier and happier than those without, and this could be because dog owners tend to be more physically active. Benefits of having a dog include:  lower blood pressure  stronger heart  more energy  lower risk of  denser bones depression Dr Rao suggests that before starting an exercise program, make sure you and your dog are both physically fit enough to handle it.

HIT THE WAVES FOR A DOG LOVERS’ CRUISE

Bigstock

In December 2013, the first Dog Lovers’ Cruise set sail from Sydney for nine beautiful and relaxing nights around the South Pacific on the Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas. Combining a tropical holiday with special presentations by well-respected dog experts, the Dog Lovers’ Cruise featured a total of 30 different lectures and provided a way for like-minded people to meet and talk about what they love. If you’re interested in getting on board, the second Dog Lovers’ Cruise will be sailing again in December this year. For more information or to book, visit activitydogs.com.au/c/dog-lovers-cruise-2015/

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DID YOU KNOW? Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell! Compared to humans that have about five million “smelling” cells, dogs have approximately 220 million, as well as four times the brain power devoted to processing scents.

Thirsty pet? Don’t you just hate it when you come home to find your dog’s water bowl empty again? This can now be a thing of the past with The Water Butler. Available in five different colours, this handy product is a great alternative to traditional pet water bowls and water fountains, providing a constant, automatic refill of water supply — keeping your dog cool all year long, especially in summer. It works by using a small and unique float valve that ensures a constant supply of fresh water to your pet 24/7. Find out more about this cool device at cheekita.com.au

Cold-weather pet tips Winter is a great time for pets. There’s nothing better than cuddling up to your furry family while the temperature drops outside, or lounging around in a warm house on a cold wintry night. However, while the icy conditions can make for heart-warming moments, they also create a range of risks and potential slip-ups that can lead to some pretty serious vet bills. If you’re not prepared and protected against the unexpected in winter, the results can be chilling. Discovering that an accident could have been prevented is always cold comfort, so here’s a guide to avoiding the most common catastrophes that occur in the cold. Cold tolerance Pets’ cold tolerance varies based on coat, body fat stores, activity level and health. Short-haired pets will feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or hormonal imbalances have a harder time regulating body temperature. The same goes for very young or very old pets. Any animal that falls into these categories might benefit from an insulated vest or sweater. Try to shorten dog walks in very cold weather to protect your pooch from weather-associated health risks. Motor vehicle accidents Outdoor cats will seek warmth anywhere they can, including on engines, under hoods of cars or in wheel wells. Check your car and make some noise (by banging on the hood and honking the horn) before starting the engine to ensure cats can get out and avoid serious injury. Antifreeze Traditional antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which causes kidney failure even in small amounts. For example, a cat that walks through a puddle of antifreeze and licks its paws has ingested a lethal amount. Clean up any spills immediately or consider switching to products that contain propylene glycol instead. The average claim for antifreeze poisoning is $1075.19, and costs for treatment have risen as high as $3276.34. Pet-friendly homes Pets tend to spend more time indoors during winter, so it’s worth making sure your home is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets as they can knock them over or burn themselves. Obesity Some owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from the cold, but the associated health risks (including increased risk of diabetes and heart conditions) far outweigh any potential short-term benefits. Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout winter and keep them warm by having them inside. Arthritis Pets with arthritis will become stiff and tender quickly during winter and might find it difficult to move around. Place soft bedding around the house to ensure they’re comfortable wherever they are and take special care to handle them gently. If you believe your pet is suffering from arthritis, contact your veterinarian. Don’t give them human medicines under any circumstance as these can be poisonous to both cats and dogs. The average claim for arthritis treatments is $123.28, and costs for treatment have risen as high as $3794.54. To find out more about pet insurance, visit petsure.com.au

ADVERTORIAL www.dogslife.com.au 7


 NEWS Matthew Smith / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

Wildlife on show at the AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM The world’s wildlife will be celebrated at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Australian Museum in NSW. Now in its 50th year, the event has attracted almost 42,000 entries from 96 countries. The winning photographer, Michael Nichols, was awarded for his black-and-white image of lions and their cubs in Tanzania. For more details of the beautiful exhibition, held from March 28 to October 5, visit wildlifephotographeroftheyear.com Wildlife Photographer of the Year is co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide.

Say that again?

Houndstooth Studio

A new report* has found that dogs can differentiate and process what humans are saying to them. According to the published results, our furry friends pay attention to not only who is speaking and how they speak, but also what is spoken — although it is not conclusive that dogs can always understand what is being said. So next time you are having a “one-sided chat” with your dog, take note — they might not understand, but at least they are listening! *from the Cell Press journal Current Biology

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 BOOK CLUB Kids’ Edition! Perfect for a bedtime story or a read together, here are our top picks for you and your young ones to enjoy. BUMS & TUMS Author: Mandy Foot Publisher: Lothian Children’s Books RRP: $24.99 (hardback), $14.99 (paperback) Available: All good bookstores This colourful picture book from bestselling children’s author and illustrator Mandy Foot takes young readers on a fun and informative journey that will keep them guessing. With puzzling questions such as “who has an orange bellybutton and hangs from a tree?”, this lift-theflap book will surprise and delight readers.

PLEASE MR PANDA Author and Illustrator: Steve Antony Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books RRP: $24.99 Available: All good bookstores Please Mr Panda is a delightful picture book that proves manners can get you a long way. When Mr Panda asks each of his friends if they would like a doughnut, each one replied in a rude way. It wasn’t until a little Lemur asked for one politely that Mr Panda decided to let him have some. This sweet picture book is a great way to teach children the importance of being courteous.

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO A DOG’S BEST FRIEND Authors: Felicity Gardner and David West Publisher: Lothian Children’s Books RRP: $24.99 (hardback), $14.99 (paperback) Available: All good bookstores This funny and heart-warming tale provides an insight into how dogs view their human owners. From making sure to wake them up to leading the way on walks, The Complete Guide to a Dog’s Best Friend follows an older dog as he gives advice to his young charges on how to “look after” their future two-legged best friends.

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 BOOK CLUB

DIGGER — THE DOG WHO WENT TO WAR ANDERS AND THE COMET Author: Gregory Mackay Publisher: Allen & Unwin RRP: $12.99 Available: All good bookstores Anders and the Comet will take you back to the days when blackand-white comics were all the rage. This adventure comic follows Anders, an average kid with a big imagination, and his friends Eden and Bernie. Suited to children aged between six and nine, Anders and the Comet is inspired by the author’s own childhood and urges young readers to explore and create their own adventures.

Author: Mark Wilson Publisher: Lothian Children’s Books RRP: $24.99 Available: All good bookstores Inspired by the true story of Driver, a dog that was smuggled on board a ship in WWI, Digger — The Dog Who Went to War follows the tale of a puppy found and taken to England by an Australian boy conscripted into the Australian army. Suitable for older children, this book is a great reminder of what both ANZAC soldiers and their animals experienced during times of war.

SNAPPY BIRTHDAY Author: Mark Sperring Illustrator: Laura Ellen Anderson Publisher: Bloomsbury RRP: $14.99 Available: All good bookstores When a strange birthday invitation arrives at number 24, the children can’t wait to find out who’s throwing the party. The problem is, when they arrive next door, they find the host is not who they were expecting — he is a huge crocodile! This gorgeous and colourful picture book is suited to all ages and will leave children giggling right to the end.

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Over to you Become a Dogs Life Facebook fan and follow us on Twitter to have your say on the hottest canine topics. Simply search for Dogs Life magazine. WE ASKED: What healthy snacks does

WE ASKED:

your dog dig into?

Does your pup like to pose for the camera?

YOU SAID:

YOU SAID: “Apollo loves having his photo taken ... poser!” Jo Phillips

“Bonnie loves apples!” Rachel Marie

“Mine love salad.” Diana Leventhal

“Banana, scrambled eggs and fish oil tablets!” Katie Bonanno

“Opal (my 15-month-old Blue Roan Cocker) comes running when she hears the vegie peeler. She loves carrots, stone fruit (no stone, of course), lettuce and, when successfully sneaky, she eats the chooks’ grain, rolled oats and grass (she thinks she’s a chook and the chooks think they’re puppies!). I always do extra roast vegies, with gravy or no gravy (GF)! She loves apple cores and a raw beef bone that’s slightly thawed from the freezer.” Michele Williams

Houndstooth Studio

“Yes, indeed! She’s a natural.” Jennifer Baracz “My Fox Terrier cross runs upstairs if she hears the sound of the camera being activated!” James Woodley “Not mine.” Anna Lenart “Bessie always says ‘too many photos!’.” Jackie Irvin

“Our adorable Labrador, Kiko, has a healthy balanced diet and loves apples, carrots and liver cookies as his treats.” Ester-Sonia Las Gemelas g “Most fruit and all veg … takes a whole carrot down the yard and enjoys that, plus bone with marrow.” Kats Stuff

“Mine’s a great poser!” Katie Bonanno

“Carrots, apples and strawberries.” Jojo Pixie Luckhurst-smith

“Anything raw, but my two especially love carrots.” Sara McKinnon

“Blueberries, carrots, strawberries and bananas.” Sofie Jean

“Strawberries and her favourite, rockmelon!” Catherine Skye Somerville

“Carrots, apples and peaches.” Kristy Skinn

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READERS’ LETTERS

BARKBACK WINNING LETTER

Childhood memories Dear Dogs Life, I recently picked up an issue of Dogs Life while sitting in a clinic. I suffer from a psychiatric illness and I usually flip through magazines while waiting to see mental health professionals. It was enjoyable to read the issue and it took me back to my childhood, when my parents used to buy me Dogs Life to read. The magazine always made me incredibly happy and now I’m buying it again because it lifts my mood. I am a dog lover and have a Labrador cross called Pogo. He is my best friend and has been my rock and support for many years now. I cannot thank my loyal companion enough for the unconditional love and support he has provided me over the years. When I’m unwell, he stands by me and does not judge. The importance of friendship, love and companionship that my dog provides is beyond words. I love that Dogs Life is filled with information, articles and images that show just how much dogs mean to humans and gives us information to understand and continue to care for their needs. I will continue to read Dogs Life and I plan to pass on every copy that I’ve read and reread to the waiting room in which I was reintroduced to the magazine because I want others to pick it up and smile. In this day and age, so many magazines are filled with images and articles that are terrible for self-esteem. Thank you for giving me something to read that makes me genuinely happy. Katie, via email ED’S NOTE: Hi Katie, thank you for your lovely letter. I’m so happy to read that you’ve found your way back to our magazine and that you also pass it on to others that may be interested. We are truly blessed to be able to write about dogs all day, and I’m glad to read it makes you just as happy. It is great that your pup, Pogo, is there for you when you need him. Dogs truly are awesome creatures, aren’t they? I wish you and Pogo all the best.

WINNING LETTER The author of each issue’s winning letter will receive a fantastic waterproof dog coat from WeatherBeeta worth $49.95. Katie will be able to keep Pogo warm and dry in WeatherBeeta’s Parka Dog Coat, which offers a strong, waterproof and breathable 1200-denier diamond-weave outer to keep her dog comfortable and protected against the elements. The Parka also features a warm 220g of polyfill, touch tape on the chest and an adjustable belly closure. Available in Barking Mad print, Blue/Grey Plaid or Navy/Grey/White. To view the full range, visit weatherbeetadog.com.au or search for WeatherBeeta on Facebook. 12

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Seizures are commonly classified as either grand mal or petit mal. Grand mal seizures are severe seizures where the dog loses consciousness, while petit mal seizures produce much more subtle symptoms.

LIKE OWNER, LIKE PET

HANDY TIPS Katarina Behan offers some helpful advice for anyone living with an epileptic dog: Have lots of towels available at quick notice to mop up mess. Always carry your dog’s medication with you in a little first-aid bag, even on walks. Try anything another person with experience in managing a dog with epilepsy has suggested or found worked for them. Keep a seizure diary with date, time, post-seizure treatment and previous activities just in case a pattern forms. She also recommends visiting a couple of wonderful online canine epilepsy resources: www.canineepilepsy-guardian-angels.com/ site_map.htm and www.forums.cvm. missouri.edu/cenbb/index.php

humans have epilepsy while in dogs, as mentioned, it has been estimated at between 0.5 and 5.7 per cent. Dr James also points out that there are other similarities between canine and human epilepsy. “Dogs may have altered behaviour just before the seizure,” she explains. “During the seizure, which often lasts for less than two minutes, dogs lose consciousness and fall onto their side. Their neck and limbs are initially stiff then their limbs often jerk and dogs may salivate, urinate and/or defecate. “Following the seizure, dogs often have altered behaviour. They may vocalise, become very thirsty or hungry, pace and may even be blind. This period may last seconds or days but is usually only for 10 to 30 minutes. In between seizure events, dogs with primary epilepsy will be completely normal.” For an owner, watching your pooch experience a seizure is incredibly traumatic. Irish Setter Ben would scream, violently shake, lose control of his bladder and bowel and froth at the mouth, often for a few minutes. But Katarina Behan says the phase after a seizure is the most stressful. “Ben was visually blind, scared and disorientated. Supervising Ben was traumatic as he was unresponsive and panicked and could seriously injure himself running into walls, windows or falling down stairs or even into traffic if he had had a seizure while we were out.” Over the next six months following his first grand mal seizure, Ben averaged a seizure at least once a week. Seizures could come at any time, day or night, and Behan and her husband lived in a constant state of vigilance.

as the treatment will depend on the type and severity of seizure,” Dr Daley says. “A full physical and neurological examination is necessary and blood testing is often performed. True epilepsy is diagnosed by ruling out all other causes through blood tests, imaging and other studies.” There is no cure for epilepsy. Instead, treatment merely controls the condition. Initially, there may be no other treatment than monitoring for further seizures but, depending on the severity and frequency of seizures and the breed of dog, treatment may involve medication. “The most common medication is a barbiturate such as phenobarbitone,” Dr Daley says. “Monitoring with blood tests is necessary and side effects of phenobarbitone include sedation and excessive thirst and appetite.” Sadly, Ben’s epilepsy was never able to be brought under control. Ben went into “status epilepticus”, a life-threatening situation where the seizures occur one after the other without abatement. “In the end, we had no choice but to put an end to the suffering for us all and we said goodbye to Ben just two weeks shy of his first birthday. He will live on in our hearts forever,” Behan says. But she also has some wonderful advice for owners of dogs with epilepsy. “Try to allow your dog to lead a normal life, take each seizure as it comes and enjoy the time between seizures,” she says. “Use your support networks and engage in activities that relax and rejuvenate you.” Behan never allowed the epilepsy to stop her from taking Ben for walks, letting him swim and letting him play with other dogs. The time between seizures was always fun and, because of this, Ben’s life, even though short, was so enriched. “Please do not think that a diagnosis of epilepsy is a death sentence,” Behan says. “Many dogs live long and happy lives on the correct medication and are seizurefree, sometimes even being able to decrease their medication dose or have the medication removed all together. It can just be a matter of sticking in there and not giving up hope.” DL

“Between 0.5 and 5.7 per cent of canines suffer from epilepsy.”

No matter whether you’re talking about dogs or humans, roughly the same proportion of the population suffers from epilepsy. Approximately 3.5 per cent of

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Chance encounter Dear Dogs Life, I picked up a copy of your magazine at a garage sale and have become a huge fan. I have even started taking your magazine to our dog club! I especially loved the article in the November issue, “Getting Fit with Fido”, as this was one of the reasons I bought my Samoyed, Keeda. We are actively involved with the dog club and the picture is of us taken before we participated in our local Christmas parade as part of the dog club team. Keep up the good work! Laura, via email ED’S NOTE: Hi Megan, I’m glad you discovered our magazine at a garage sale — that was a lucky find! I also love your Christmas-themed photo — what a photogenic pooch you have. Dogs are great motivators to get us fit and active, so it’s fantastic to read that Keeda is getting you outside and involved with other dog lovers.

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TRICK KEEP S TO O HAPPYFID D YOU SAAN NE REDUCE YOUR DO G’S ECO PAWPRI NT

GET TO KNO tSHAR-PEI W YOUR BRE tCAVALIER ED: ENGLISH SET KING CHA RLES SPATER tCESKY TER RIE TREATMENT NIELtFINN ISH SPIT R After your dog has a seizure, it’s important Grand or petit? Z to see your vet. “Contact your veterinarian

are thought to have epilepsy. Dr Fleur James from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Murdoch University says epilepsy can be divided into two categories: primary or idiopathic epilepsy and secondary or acquired epilepsy. “In cases of primary epilepsy, there is no cause identified and dogs usually have their first seizure between six months and five years of age. In cases of acquired epilepsy, there is an underlying cause of the seizures, which may include meningitis, infections, brain tumours and stroke-type events, just to name a few,” Dr James says. Certain breeds are also more prone to suffering from the condition, according to Dr Joe Daley from Ark Veterinary Hospital. “In breeds such as the Beagle, Dachshund, Collie, Schnauzer and Belgian Tervuren, genetic factors are either proven or highly suspected,” he says. “Other breeds with a high incidence of seizure disorders include the Boxer, Poodle and Golden Retriever.”

ED’S NOTE: Wow, what an amazing and long life Harry had! Despite being diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age, with you and your son’s constant love and care, he was able to lead a happy, long life. Well done. www.dogslife.com.au

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Watching your dog suffer an epileptic seizure can be a terribly traumatic event. Tim Falk discovers how epilepsy affects our four-legged friends and examines what can be done to manage the condition. waiting for the noise to stop but it didn’t and all I could hear was this banging and my husband calling Ben’s name over and over again. I knew something was seriously wrong but I was not prepared for what I was about to see: my beloved puppy was on the floor in a pool of his own froth and urine, shaking violently. Ben was having the first of many grand mal seizures.” Ben was diagnosed with epilepsy after that terrifying morning. In the general dog population, somewhere between 0.5 and 5.7 per cent of canines

HOW TO TAKE GREAT PIC YOUR PO S OF OCH

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HEALTH AND NUTRITION SPECIAL

hen Katarina Behan was woken at 5am one morning by the sound of loud banging, she thought there was an intruder in her house. “I shook my husband awake and we sat there for a moment listening to this noise that was so loud it felt like it was shaking the whole house,” Behan says. Then they realised the noise was coming from the laundry, where their five-month-old Irish Setter pup, Ben, was sleeping. “My husband jumped out of bed and rushed to the laundry. I stayed in bed

Smile!

PERFEC PRODUC T TS FOR HEAL TH HOUNDS Y

www dogslif

Dear Dogs Life, I bought your double edition of the Nov/Dec 2014 magazine and enclosed was a second magazine — the Mar/April 2014 edition. In the Mar/April edition, there was an article on canine epilepsy. It was very well written, but it brought back memories of my son’s dog, Harry. Harry was a short-haired Chihuahua who developed epilepsy at about three years of age. He was consequently put on low-dose phenobarbitone tablets — 1/8 tablet twice a day. He only weighed 2-3kg. My son had one or two troubles at the start of treatment but when Harry refused the tablet, rather than force feed it to him, my son let Harry find out the consequences of no tablet. Harry was an intelligent dog and put the lack of tablet and not “feeling too good” together and regularly took his pill after that. Harry would jump up onto a chair and take it from my son’s hand. He Canine lived to be about 18 years old; epileptic, half-blind and deaf, but he took those epilepsy tablets up until he died. Kerrie Palmer, via email W

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What should I do if my dog has a seizure? “Try to stay calm,” Dr James says. “It is a stressful time but your dog won’t be aware of what is going on. They are unconscious, even though their eyes are still open. If you think to, try to time how long the seizure lasts for, as your vet will ask you this question, as well as how long it took to return to normal. “The main thing to do is to make the environment around your dog safe during the seizure to avoid injury. This might include moving furniture away and placing a blanket on the ground. It is important to know that dogs don’t swallow their tongue during a seizure so do not try to clear the airway or you are likely to get bitten,” she says. Your veterinarian is the best person to assess your dog following a seizure. They will assess your canine and make further recommendations regarding investigations and treatment options. If the seizure activity is lasting a long time, seek veterinary attention immediately. www.dogslife.com.au 21

12/19/2013 9:38:39 AM

MISCHIEVOUS MALTESE Dear Dogs Life, Thank you for your great magazine, I enjoy your articles and find them interesting and helpful in rearing my four-and-ahalf-month-old Maltese cross. Yes, he looks more like a scruffy but cute Jack Russell! He has been to puppy school and is mostly well behaved, as long as he is not too excited and distracted. He has lots of toys to play with, but there’s one thing he does that seems strange. He gets a teddy and puts his mouth over its nose and then pummels his bed. Is this common? It doesn’t seem to do any harm, but it can go on for quite a while. I wonder if there is a reason for this. He is nervous of strange men, loves kids and is very friendly and adores attention. Sandra, via email Ed’s note: Hi Sandra, thank you for your letter. What an unusual habit your pup has! If you ask me, it seems your little Maltese is just playing around, but I would suggest to contact your local vet or animal behaviourist as there may be more to this than meets the eye. I wish you all the best — and make sure to keep us updated.

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BONE-ANZA GIVEAWAYS

Dogs Life has five Dig-In Digestive Gravy Powder tubs to give away.

DIG-IN DIGESTIVE GRAVY POWDER Dig-In Digestive Gravy Powder is an all-natural, food-based health supplement which can be simply added to your dog’s dinner. It has been scientifically developed to aid with the common symptoms of food allergies, in particular targeting digestive repair and skin and ear irritations. For more information, visit dig-in.com.au

4CYTE CANINE 4CYTE Canine is a unique advancement in joint health containing Epiitalis, a plant oil extract patented for its ability to proliferate chondrocyte cells for cartilage regeneration. The product is suitable for use after joint damage or surgery, or, even better, use it as a preventative treatment for high-risk large breeds, working or athletic dogs. For more information, email info@interpath. net.au or visit 4cytevet.com

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Dogs Life has three gift packs that include one 4CYTE Canine product sample and one dog lead to give away.


BISSELL SpotClean The BISSELL SpotClean portable deep cleaner is a necessity for pet owners. It permanently removes most spills and stains from carpets, rugs and upholstery. Light, quick and easy to use, it has two stain tool heads and operates with a mains power, water and BISSELL formulas. For more information, visit bisselloutletstore.com.au

Dogs Life has two BISSELL SpotClean portable deep cleaners to give away.

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

Houndstooth Studio

* WIN!

To win, enter online at dogslife.com.au and tell us in 25 words or less why you and your pooch would love to win one of these prizes — along with your full name, address and telephone number — or mail your entry to Bone-Anza Giveaways/ Dogs Life, Locked Bag 154, North Ryde NSW 1670. Entries close June 12, 2015. Please read the terms and conditions below.

1. Entry into the competition implies full acceptance of all conditions of entry, including the instructions on how to enter. 2. Entry is open to all residents of Australia and New Zealand. Employees and immediate families of the promoter, associated companies and agencies associated with this promotion are ineligible to enter. 3. Entries close June 12, 2015, and will be judged on June 15, 2015. 4. Entries should be mailed to Bone-Anza Giveaways, Dogs Life Magazine, Locked Bag 154, North Ryde NSW 1670 or enter via our website, www.dogslife.com.au 5. Prize(s) will be delivered to winners within four (4) weeks of notification of winning. Prize(s) are not transferable or redeemable for cash. 6. Prizes are subject to availability, not transferable or exchangeable and cannot be taken as cash. Any change in value of the prize(s) is not the responsibility of the promoter. 7. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Prizes will be awarded on the basis of merit. Chance plays no part in determining the winners. 8. All entries become the property of the promoter. The entries may be entered into a database for future promotional, marketing and publicity purposes unless otherwise stated by the entrants. If you do not wish to be entered into this database, please indicate this in your online entry or on your envelope. This will not exclude you from entry to the competition. Please see privacy note on the bottom of this page for further information. 9. Winners must agree to provide information and a photograph of themselves for editorial and publicity use. 10. No responsibility is accepted for lost, misdirected or delayed mail. Privacy note: With your permission, we may send you information about similar publications/ services from Universal Magazines or carefully vetted third parties. Universal Magazines is committed to national Privacy Principles. We do not sell data to list brokers. If you wish to see our policy go to www.universalmagazines.com.au or call us on 02 9887 0339. Please write either of the following statements on your envelope, depending on your preference: I am happy to receive future offers from Dogs Life and carefully vetted third parties OR Please do not send me any further mail that does not relate to this competition.

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HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL Everything you need to keep your four-legged friend in top condition

WHAT’S INSIDE:

1 2

Is your dog an emotional eater?

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Learn how veterinarians stay up-to-date on emerging diseases and technology

4 5

Find out how to tackle bad doggy breath

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Discover what causes allergies in dogs and how you can alleviate their symptoms

Meet the vet oncologist who went on a journey of self-discovery Browse our latest guide on pet-friendly cleaning products

For more information on your dog’s health and wellbeing, check out dogslife.com.au/dog-news/dog-health www.dogslife.com.au 21


HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL

IS YOUR DOG AN

emotional eater? A

s authorities battle the growing obesity problem among the Australian population, the concept of emotional eating has been brought into the limelight. For many Australians, “comfort eating” is something we do during periods of emotional turmoil. Just been dumped by your partner? Why not try curing the resulting depression with a tub of ice cream? Angry and stressed after an horrendous day at work? Maybe you’ll find happiness at the bottom of a biscuit tin. But new research suggests it’s not just us humans who are emotional eaters — our pets do it as well. Studies have shown that when confronted with stress, anxiety or even boredom, some dogs and cats will use food as a coping mechanism. Rather than eating only when they’re hungry, these pets will overeat in response to how they are feeling. And the results of this can be pretty unhealthy — after all, up to 40 per cent of Australian dogs are either overweight or obese. Animal behaviourist Dr Joanne Righetti says emotional eating has been documented in humans and other animals, including mice, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that it is also affecting our pets.

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“More often, however, I see the opposite: pets who do not eat due to stress,” Dr Righetti says. “When adrenalin runs through our bodies, it slows digestion and overt stress may even result in the pet evacuating its bowel and bladder. You do not need to digest a meal if you are about to fight for your life. Thus, major stress causes a reduction in eating.” However, she says that emotional eating may be related to boredom, stress or depression, all of which are more chronic conditions. When combined with other factors, such as a lack of exercise and the availability of unhealthy “junk” food, emotional eating could be a contributing factor to pet obesity rates in Australia.

STATE OF MIND More research needs to be done before we can form a full picture of what causes overeating in our canine companions. However, if stresses, anxieties, fears and phobias can have an impact on our dogs’ eating habits, how can we help our furry friends feel relaxed and happy? “A fear is nature’s way of avoiding potentially dangerous situations,” Dr Righetti explains. “Fear is normal when truly fearful stimuli are present. When an animal perceives that a frightening stimulus will occur (whether it actually does or not), this is anxiety. Anxiety can occur in all sorts of situations. Those in which the dog has had a negative experience, for example loud noises like thunder, or no experience of, for example meeting children for the first time, can cause anxiety and stress. Having nothing to do can cause stress (boredom), as can being

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Does your pooch like indulging in too much of a good thing? He could be an emotional eater. Tim Falk reports.


separate from your social group (separation anxiety). Dogs have different reactions to these stressors. Many dogs, due to adrenalin energy build-up, react in an external manner. They may try to escape, dig holes or bark. Other dogs, however, will eat more. “Socialisation when young is a very important part of a dog’s life,” Dr Righetti says. “Controlled and positive introductions to experiences in life are the best way to prevent any anxieties later in life. When an anxiety has developed, gradual introductions to the frightening stimulus can help — this is known as desensitisation. This is the best method for solving anxiety issues.” There are also management strategies that can be used to help prevent doggy stress. For example, having a dog walker walk your dog may alleviate the stress of separation anxiety for a little while. If your dog is struggling with boredom, try giving him an occupation. Many breeds were traditionally working dogs and now have very little to do in our homes and backyards, especially when left alone all day.

“Owners can look at what drives their dog most. Food? Toys? Companionship? They can then address these needs,” Dr Righetti says. “So if a dog needs companionship, hire a dog walker, ask a friend to visit or use doggy day care. If the dog likes toys, rotate toys around. Food- and toy-oriented dogs will love food-releasing toys. ‘Hunting’ for food helps occupy a dog and helps with weight reduction, as the dog spends longer searching for food.”

UP TO YOU Of course, owners have a massive role to play when it comes to stopping their pet from overeating. It’s important not to overfeed your pooch, as overweight pets have a shorter lifespan and are at a much greater risk of suffering any number of health conditions. “If a pet is an ‘emotional eater’, though, to take away their safety net — food — would actually stress them more,” Dr Righetti says. “It’s better to provide food but in a way that the dog can have a longer enjoyment period with their favourite activity — eating — so use a food-dispensing toy.” It is also important to understand the cause of the dog’s stress and remove the stressor, or work on desensitisation. With a patient and considered approach, your dog’s comfort eating can soon become a thing of the past. “Owners are basically everything to their dogs,” Dr Righetti says. “They are the food supply, the gym, the emotional support. We need to be mindful of this and satisfy canine needs.” DL


HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL

Dogs can suffer from allergic reactions just like humans. Kylie Baracz discovers what type of allergies affect dogs and how you can help manage them in your pet.

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STARTING FROM

SCRATCH

ike humans, our pets can suffer from aggravating and itchy skin caused by allergies. According to Dr Rusty Muse, an expert clinical veterinary dermatologist specialising in aetiology and allergic skin disease management, the main allergies that affect dogs are split into three major types. “The most common allergies diagnosed in dogs are environmental (pollen or indoor allergies such as dust mites), flea, food allergies or a combination of these,” says Dr Muse. “Allergies are manifested as chronic itching and scratching and are often accompanied by skin and ear infections.” Clinically, pollen or environmental allergies are those most commonly recognised by veterinarians. They are usually manifested as itching to the paws, face, ears or armpit areas and may be seasonal or non-seasonal. “Secondary infections, which can be caused by either bacteria or yeasts, are commonly associated with underlying allergies and these are usually manifested as red papules (rash) or pustules (pimples),” says Dr Muse. “This secondary complication will increase the level of itching in most allergic patients.”

A combination of factors come together to cause a genetically predisposed individual to become sensitised to allergens. According to Dr Muse, dogs that are allergic are born with an abnormal immune response and, when stimulated, this produces an overabundance of substances called cytokines. These cytokines lead to numerous immunological processes and result in increased inflammation in the skin that is then sensed as an itchy sensation in the dog, which, in turn, results in the desire to scratch. In addition, allergic patients have an abnormal cutaneous barrier that leads to increased exposure of environmental allergens, which are able to penetrate the skin more readily and initiate the allergic reaction. 20

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WHAT CAUSES ITCHY SKIN?


When it comes to treating the symptoms of an environmental allergy, Dr Muse says there are many options. “There are multiple different oral and topical approaches that are important in helping to manage symptoms of allergies short term, but long-term allergy testing and successful immunotherapy (either subcutaneous injections with very small needles or oral drops) is one of the safest ways to try to control the symptoms of allergic skin disease.”

FOOD ALLERGIES Food allergies (although much less common than people often believe) can also cause similar changes. According to Dr Muse, no reliable testing exists to distinguish food allergies, and switching commercial diets is insufficient to confirm them. “Changing diets to either completely novel protein diets (such as kangaroo, goat, horse etc) or hydrolyzed protein diets (in which the proteins are manipulated to a very small amino acid component, rendering them less likely to stimulate an immune response) are the best

WHAT IS BEST TO TREAT FLEA ALLERGIES? Some topical treatments are not suitable for dogs with skin allergies. So what else can owners use to fight ticks and flea infestations? “NexGard is an ideal product in that it rapidly kills and incapacitates the flea and tick, resulting in less parasite exposure time,” recommends Dr Muse. “It is an oral product that is suitable since most allergic patients need to be bathed routinely to help decrease allergen exposure and reduce the tendency for secondary bacterial or yeast infections. Topical products may be affected by routine bathing with shampoos that are often used by dermatologists and veterinarians in managing allergic skin disease. “Additionally, NexGard has very good palatability and has a relatively low incidence of gastro-intestinal upset, which increases client compliance and makes administration easier.”

ways to document the presence of food allergies,” he says. Home-prepared food trials that remove all ingredients to which the pet has been exposed can also be used. While ingredients such as grains, corn or wheat can cause allergic responses, these are much less common than the protein triggers in diets such as chicken, beef, egg, fish, lamb etc. DL

FLEA ALLERGIES Flea allergy is associated with itching to the back and around the tail-head and rear legs of dogs, says Dr Muse. “In the case of flea-allergic patients, the flea bite that allows for salivary antigen to be introduced under the skin is the trigger for flea-induced allergic clinical signs,” he explains. “The longer the flea sucks blood from the dog, the more salivary antigen that is transmitted into the allergic dog and the more severe the reaction is in a flea-allergic patient.” Aggressive flea control is critically important in flea-allergic patients. Anything that causes increased itching (even if the pet is not flea-allergic) will lower the “itching threshold” and cause the other allergies to manifest, which in turn will lead to increased secondary bacterial or yeast infections. Dr Muse says flea-allergy dermatitis is very common in allergic patients, where flea control is either sporadic or incorrectly or inconsistently applied. Clinically, flea-allergy dermatitis is associated with itching to the back, tail-head and down the rear legs of dogs. “Flea control is critical in managing flea-allergic patients and there are numerous products that have become available over the last few decades that have made flea control much more readily accomplished. The keys to flea control are using products with rapid kill or incapacitation of the flea, which allow for minimal flea feeding times, resulting in less flea salivary antigen into the skin of the flea-allergic patient,” explains Dr Muse. www.dogslife.com.au 21


HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL

KEEPING

PACE

I

f you were somehow able to travel back in time 25 years and take your dog into a vet clinic to get treatment for an illness, you might be surprised to see just how much treatment has changed. Advances in veterinary medicine, technology and disease management have led to significant improvements in our understanding of the diseases that commonly affect our dogs and how we can treat them. The happy result of this, of course, is that our canine companions (and all sorts of creatures great and small) are living longer than ever before. Other conditions that would once have severely impacted your dog’s quality of life can now be managed much more effectively, and vets discover more all the time about stopping the spread of disease and reducing the risk of infection. However, all this advancement also presents a challenge for vets: if they’re to give the animals that visit their practice the best possible care, they need to stay up to date with all the

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changes in the veterinary world. After all, today’s veterinary graduates emerge with vastly different knowledge to what their predecessors did not all that long ago. Dr Robert Johnson, Sydney-based director of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), explains that it’s very important for vets to continue to learn and that there are various continuing professional development opportunities available. “There’s an amazing amount of opportunities for vets to further their knowledge,” he says. “We learn more every day.” New and emerging diseases can appear at any time — they can arrive from overseas, an existing disease can emerge in a new species, or vets might discover a completely new disease never seen before. However, Dr Johnson points out that, thankfully, new diseases don’t arise too often in companion animals such as dogs and cats. Vets do also need to work to keep abreast of developments in the treatment of common canine ailments, as our knowledge

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From tackling new and emerging diseases to learning different techniques to keep our pets safe from illness, it’s important for vets to stay up to date with developments in the veterinary world. Tim Falk speaks to the Australian Veterinary Association to find out how they do it.


of existing diseases is also evolving all the time. “Vets respond to the demands of the public,” Dr Johnson says. “As people discover and cherish the value of pets in their lives, they want more and more done to improve their pets’ health. Today, we’ve got a lot more technology available to us, such as CT, MRI and digital radiography, and all the different blood tests we can do. We also have access to new drug and fluid therapies.”

OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND

Dr Johnson says. “They focus on a broad range of topics, including everything from dermatology to snake bites.” There are continuing professional development nights held by specialist clinics and university vet clinics, while small group learning activities among colleagues are encouraged. Vets can also undertake clinical review projects, and the AVA provides a wealth of resources to help vets create their own professional development plans.

“As people discover and cherish the value of pets in their lives, they want more and more done to improve their pets’ health.”

So how can vets stay up to date with developments in veterinary medicine? One way is by attending conferences to further their professional learning. AVA conferences are open to vets and vet nurses, allowing them to learn more about a diverse range of topics.

“I’ve been in practice for 38 years and I still learn something new every day.”

The AVA runs an annual conference, the Pan Pacific Veterinary Conference, which will be held in May this year and will be presented in conjunction with the New Zealand Veterinary Association. The event will feature more than 130 expert speakers from Australia and around the world, more than 200 scientific sessions, plus workshops and field trips. Throughout the year, AVA state and territory bodies hold conferences, including regional conferences, and different branches of the veterinary profession get together to discuss issues in their chosen field. For example, the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association (ASAVA) aims to help companion animal vets around the country maintain and improve their skills and knowledge base. Its annual conference, to be held on the Gold Coast in August this year, will focus on “Problem patients in practice”. But there are plenty of other ways vets can learn more about how to care for our canine companions. “ASAVA provides regular webinars, which are free of charge and have been very popular,”

There’s even an AVA Mentor Program that matches up new vets with more experienced members of the profession to offer support, guidance and encouragement. And, of course, reading respected publications such as the Australian Veterinary Journal and Vet Practice Magazine helps vets stay abreast of emerging diseases and trends. “I’ve been in practice for 38 years and I still learn something new every day,” Dr Johnson says, which is a fact he tries to impress on those new to the profession. “Don’t think you know it all just because you’ve finished your degree — that’s just the start,” he says. “You’ve got to be open to learning more and changing your approach if we find a better way.” DL

FOR MORE INFORMATION The Australian Veterinary Association’s annual conference, the Pan Pacific Veterinary Conference, will be held in May this year and presented in conjunction with the New Zealand Veterinary Association. For more information, head to ava.com.au/AVA_ Annual_Conference www.dogslife.com.au 23


HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL

TREATMENT

Kylie Baracz discovers why bad pet breath may be more worrying than you think.

A

recent survey has found a whopping 85 per cent of dogs and cats suffer from dental disease, with more than 70 per cent going untreated. These surprising figures have encouraged veterinarians across the country to urge pet owners to tackle their pets’ bad breath before it gets too serious. One such veterinarian is Dr Nick Taylor, director at Greencross Vets, who says there are a large number of owners who do not consider dental disease an issue in pets and many regard bad breath as normal for a pet. “Few owners, if any, in my experience have taken the time to have a look at their pet’s teeth to check for signs of disease,” he says. “At the end of the day, it is about education. We know our own dental health is important and we spend considerable time and money ensuring we keep our teeth and mouth healthy. We need to ensure that the message gets across to pet owners that dental health is equally important for their furry family members.”

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TYPE OF DENTAL PROBLEMS According to Dr Taylor, low-grade dental disease may be limited to halitosis (bad breath) and some gingivitis. However, as disease progresses, there can be tooth compromise and loss — with the associated pain you might expect when there is a halfrotten tooth stuck in your jaw. “Gingivitis progresses and the gums start to recede from the tooth crown, hastening further tooth loss,” says Dr Taylor. “The bacteria associated with plaque are nasty. These are the sorts of organisms associated with gangrene and decay. Could you imagine having these inside your mouth? “These bacteria can cause significant respiratory and intestinal disease if swallowed or inhaled. These bugs can enter the bloodstream through the infected gums and lodge in the capillary networks in the heart valves, liver, kidneys and elsewhere, leading to other organ disease. Long-term dental disease can cause chronic debility and may prove to be life limiting in severe cases.”

PREVENTION Preventing dental disease comes down to a number of simple tricks. “Feed good-quality dry food as the backbone of their diet. These gently abrade teeth and gums as your pet eats — cleaning as they chew,” suggests Dr Taylor. “It also encourages water consumption for good general health. Feed your pet a daily treat that promotes chewing, such as Greenies — many have a combination of abrasive action and enzyme action to help keep teeth clean. “If appropriate, I encourage owners to feed a raw meaty bone two to three times a week — it is entertainment for your pet and is nutritious, and the raw bone acts as an excellent toothbrush.” You may also choose or be advised to use an in-water or on-food additive that adds additional enzymatic oral cleaning to keep plaque bacteria at bay. Brushing with a pet toothpaste and toothbrush is regarded as the gold standard of dental health for our pets. Most pets will require occasional dental cleaning as described above — bear in mind, with all the brushing, flossing and mouth washing we do, we still need our own teeth cleaned regularly at the dentist! Lastly, Dr Taylor encourages all pet owners to “flip the lip” and take the opportunity to have a look in their pet's mouth and see what is going on.

Houndstooth Studio

SAY CHEESE!

First and foremost, you need to get your pooch’s teeth clean and free from bacteria associated with plaque, advises Dr Taylor. Most often, this involves a dental scale and polish using the same equipment that dentists use to clean our teeth. “For our pets, this is carried out under a short anaesthetic to allow us to do a proper job cleaning all sides of each tooth, and to ensure that none of the plaque bacteria is accidentally swallowed or inhaled during the process,” says Dr Taylor. “In some minor cases, treatment may involve a simple change of diet and management — perhaps feeding some dental treats or chews, utilising some food or water additives to keep the mouth clean or instituting a brushing routine for your pet.”


“Better yet, book a visit with your vet to have a dental health assessment of your pet. They can advise you on the best way to get teeth clean and keep them clean,” he says. “Leading veterinary practices offer health management plans that provide for free consultations and dental checks and significant discounts on routine dentistry, providing owners with an easy way to do the best for their pets.” DL

HELPFUL DENTAL PRODUCTS In the first instance, Dr Taylor advocates an appropriate diet to ensure owners are not promoting dental disease in their pets. Greenies Chewing can be beneficial for your dog’s teeth. Dr Taylor’s favourite chewy item is Greenies, which features a combination of abrasive and enzyme action to clean teeth and mouth.

OTHER GREAT PRODUCTS “You might use an in-water additive such as Healthy Mouth, which is clinically proven to improve oral cavity and dental health,” says Dr Taylor. “Another great product is also Plaque Off — a kelp-based bio enzyme that helps to reduce plaque and protect teeth from plaque biofilm. It is a tasty powder sprinkled on food each day and I am yet to meet a dog or cat that does not love it.”

Hartz Dentist’s Best Dental Powder This powder aids in the removal of plaque and tartar. It works even without brushing.

Tasty Bone Dental Dog Toy These chew toys are designed to improve your dog’s oral health and prevent the onset of disease. They are suitable for both large and small dogs.

These products and more can be found at Petbarn, petbarn.com.au

The Thirst Is Over! Do you have a fear that your beloved pet Testimonials / Check out what will run out of drinking water? Did you rush some of our happy customers out the door to get to work, take the kids to have to say: school or go on a hot date forgetting to re-½ll “So simple and so eáective! I used to your beloved pet’s water bowl? Well, The stress a lot in the hot Perth weather, but Water Butler® is here to ensure a thirsty pet, now I don’t need to anymore - and it is a thing of the past. took 2 minutes to assemble” – Perth The Water Butler®; a great alternative to traditional pet water bowls and “What a great idea, especially for water fountains, providing a constant, warmer climates where the automatic re½ll of water supply - keeping your evaporation level can be huge just in pet cool all year long, especially in summer. one day” – Queensland

www.cheekita.com.au Available in a wide range of colours. Check the website for more details www.dogslife.com.au 25


HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL

Lucky dog

What happens when a veterinary cancer surgeon goes from healer to cancer patient? Kristie Bradfield chats with Dr Sarah Boston, who tells all in her new book, Lucky Dog.

T

he moment Dr Sarah Boston felt a lump in her neck, she knew it was cancer. As a veterinary oncologist and an associate professor in surgical oncology at the University of Florida, in the USA, she has had plenty of experience palpating cysts, tumours and unusual growths in her canine patients. While dogs in her care would normally receive an ultrasound immediately, Dr Boston had to wait a week. And a week without knowing what sort of lump is growing inside you is a week too long. So what does a person with extensive experience in treating cancer do?

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She ultrasounds herself with her vet husband’s portable kit. Sure, that may seem a little extreme, but seeing the suspected cancer mass on the screen was Dr Boston’s first step in an excruciatingly slow journey from cancer doctor to cancer patient, all of which she chronicles in her bestselling book, Lucky Dog.

THE LONG PATH TO TREATMENT From the outset, Dr Boston’s path was littered with false starts, lengthy waiting times between crucial appointments and tests that did little to quell her fears.

Has your dog been treated for cancer? Share your treatment stories with us on our Facebook page, facebook.com/ DogsLifeMagazine As her treatment progressed, she found there was a great disparity between the immediate treatment she provided for her cancer-suffering canines and her own drawn-out progress. “It’s hard to compare a dog’s experience of cancer surgery to that of a person,” she says. “A few things make it easier for them: first, they don’t know they have cancer; and second, they have less time to think about the fact that they have cancer (if they could know that they have cancer in the first place) because they move through the process that much faster.” As an example, Dr Boston’s histopathology reports took three weeks to come through but the wait time is significantly less in the veterinary world, with verbal confirmation of results within 24 hours. “In my patients, we usually have vital information back within a few days. I felt panic when I first found the mass in my neck and then I felt frustrated because the system moved so slowly. When I did finally get the diagnosis, I felt a very strange sense of relief. I call this ‘mal-relief’ in the book because there is not really a good word for feeling relief after hearing bad news, so I had to make one up. I was mostly mal-relieved that my internal and external dialogues were aligned. Three months is a long time to doubt yourself.”

DOUBLE STANDARDS Dog owners are responsible for the health and quality of life of their pets and this responsibility can weigh very heavily on us. This is why many owners go to extraordinary lengths, both financially and emotionally, to seek out the best care. One of the first things many owners of sickly dogs will do is jump online and search for possible treatments and experts. We may also think nothing of emailing veterinarians to ask for advice, but Dr Boston says this level of care is virtually non-existent in the world of


human medicine. You will not have an online chat with a specialist of your choice about your own health problems. But there is a level of trustworthiness that results from transparency. When dealing with a sick pet, owners seek out vets who are not only empathetic to their case, but who will also take the time to explain and educate. “I can always feel the sadness overwhelming these pet owners, even in the boldest and most demanding of emails,” Dr Boston says. “While this direct contact can be a little intrusive, and my professional self knows that I should just pass the email off on someone else to book them an appointment, I don’t. I know that they

are at home, looking at their beloved dog with cancer, trying to find hope. So I always cave and email people back. “One of the dogs that I talk about in the book was blind. Despite this, she woke up her entire family when their house caught on fire. They lost everything except for their dog and, when she developed cancer, they wanted to do everything for her because they felt that they owed her so much,” Dr Boston says. Dogs are resilient creatures and they love their families. They’ll be wagging their tails furiously even when they are in pain. Perhaps it is this unconditional love, and our staunch protection of it, that sees owners spend thousands of dollars on treatments.

ADVOCACY If you take just one thing away from Dr Boston’s story, it should be the simple message of advocacy. It’s just as relevant for humans as it is for our pets. “It doesn’t matter if it is a dog or a cat or a person, you need to have an advocate for your health care,” she says. “If you are a dog with a mass or lump that someone thinks is cancer, your path to diagnosis and treatment will be very different than mine, with one glaringly obvious similarity: every patient needs a good advocate,” adds Dr Boston. Cancer changes people but Dr Boston says that her experience has prompted her to look at life in a different way. “Realising how finite and precious life is definitely makes you try to enjoy life more everyday,” she says. DL

Want to read Dr Sarah Boston’s hilarious — and informative — memoir about her cancer treatment and musings on the difference between animal and human care? Lucky Dog is published by Allen & Unwin and is on sale now.

THE LESSONS LEARNED “Living in the moment is the best lesson that I have learned from my patients,” says Dr Boston. “They do not worry about dying (at least I don’t think that they do) and they don’t even know that they have cancer. In veterinary medicine, we focus much more on quality of life than quantity. In human medicine, this is the other way around.” Dr Boston advises strongly against being complacent when it comes to the treatment of health problems. “I had four doctors tell me that the mass in my neck was likely benign and it was also suggested that I should ‘wait and see’. I knew that the mass was going to be thyroid cancer because of my clinical experience with this disease in dogs and because of my gut feeling,” she says. “Even with this knowledge, I felt silly and crazy sometimes for pushing so hard to get the mass out and I even felt that if it did turn out to be benign, I was going to feel like an idiot. I think veterinarians are more willing to listen and to work up potential problems. Some of these problems might turn out to be nothing but, regardless of the species, it shouldn’t matter.”

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HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL

t i p e Ke

CLEAN

Keeping your home clean and fur-free is easy with these perfect pet-friendly products.

BISSELL SPOTCLEAN The Bissell SpotClean portable deep cleaner is a necessity for pet owners. It permanently removes most spills and stains from carpets, rugs and upholstery. Light, quick and easy to use, it has two stain tool heads and operates with mains power, water and BISSELL formulas. RRP $199 (includes two sample formulas) bisselloutletstore.com.au

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BONDI WASH DOG WASH

LEMON, TEA TREE AND MANDARIN FLOOR WASH BY BONDI WASH This lemon, tea tree and mandarin floor wash by Bondi Wash refreshes while it kills germs. It contains a unique twist of lemon to enliven and cleanse, with a soothing combination of luxurious oils including Australian mandarin, rose, geranium, cardamom and neroli.. RRP $15 for 500mL bondiwash.com.au

Bondi Wash combines unique Australian bush oils, with a luxurious mix of other essential oils and natural ingredients to create this environmentally friendly dog shampoo. The oils have great cleaning properties and have all been independently tested for their antibacterial agents. The product is non-toxic, biodegradable and contains ingredients sourced from the best Australian suppliers. RRP $30 bondiwash.com.au

WHITE MAGIC ECO CLOTHS White Magic Eco Cloths will not only help keep your home clean (and clear of pet hair!), they’ll also do their bit for the environment. Each cloth has a different purpose, from general cleaning to dusting and polishing, and is even suitable for wiping those pet licks and saliva from glass tops and windows. RRP $19.95 whitemagic.biz

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HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL

NEATO BOTVAC 85 ROBOTIC VACUUM Designed with pet owners and allergy sufferers in mind, the Neato BotVac 85 robotic vacuum features a high-performance filter that captures fine dust particles including cat and dog dander, and reduces allergens lurking within the home. With its jet-engine airflow design and patented Neato BotVision technology, cleaning your home of pet hair will become a breeze. RRP $999 neatorobotics.com.au

DYSON DC65 5 ANIMAL UPRIGHT RIGHT VACUUM CLEANER Suitable for carpet, et, hardwood, linoleum um and tiles, the Dyson DC65 C65 Animal is said to be more powerful than any y other upright vacuum on the market. Not only does it clean floors, its tangle-free ngle-free turbine tool also sucks up pet hair from upholstery holstery and removes dust, t, dirt and allergens. RRP $949 49 dyson.com.au

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ELECTROLUX ERGORAPIDO This cordless upright vacuum cleaner is great for trickyto-reach areas and delicate surfaces. Its exclusive Brushroll Clean technology cuts tangled fibres such as pet hair so it won’t get stuck in the brush. With a lithium-ion battery, 37-minute battery life and 180° swivel nozzle, the Ergorapido is perfect for touch-ups around the home. RRP $359 electrolux.com.au


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HEALTH & NUTRITION SPECIAL

CLEANSTAR VACUUM CLEANER PET KIT This affordable pet tool kit from Cleanstar comes with a universal adaptor to suit most vacuum cleaners and includes a turbo head and lint picker tool that removes pet hair and rejuvenates carpets. The handheld turbo feature is also suitable for removing pet hair from furniture, stairs and mattresses. RRP $57 vacuumparts.com.au

WHITE MAGIC EXTRA POWER KOGAN 5-IN-1 STEAM MOP A bit late with your spring cleaning? With the help of Kogan’s 5-in-1 Steam Mop you can clean the whole house quickly and easily. Doing the job of five products — floor mop; carpet cleaner; hand-held steamer; mirror, window and glass cleaner; and garment steamer — it allows you to give your house the thorough clean it needs without using harsh chemicals and without any exhausting scrubbing. It works on all surfaces to eliminate 99 per cent of bacteria. RRP $69 kogan.com 32

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Providing more power than the classic White Magic Eraser Sponge, the Extra Power is 3cm thick, which is compressed down to 1.5cm, to create a block that is twice as hard as other microfibre sponges. Shaped in an ergonomic pattern, the sponge removes grease and grime, soap scum, erases scuff marks and eliminates ground-in dirt. RRP $10.95 whitemagic.biz


RAYCOP DUST MITE VACUUM CLEANER Raycop is a UV anti-allergy dust-mite vacuum cleaner that purports to kill 99 per cent of bacteria and eliminate up to 94 per cent of dust mites. It is designed to clean beds, linens and other fabrics, helping to create a healthier environment in the room. Raycop cleans deep into fabrics and can be used to clean mattresses, sofas, chairs, futons, crib pads, bedding, pillows and curtains. It is suitable for those suffering from allergies and hay fever, and for all people who want a cleaner and safer living space. RRP $189 stretchnow.com.au

HE DRIVES YOU CRAZY BUT KEEPS YOU SANE. No matter what your dog gets up to, WeatherBeeta will protect them unconditionally. Show your dog some love this winter. Put them in a WeatherBeeta dog coat! For the ultimate in comfort, ďŹ t and protection, trust WeatherBeeta.

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ADVERTORIAL FEATURE

A VET’S POINT OF VIEW

4CYTE Canine J

ust like us, our dogs age, and their once instinctive movements become a little more difficult. This is often the result of the damage done to their joints. Sasha, the beloved family dog of Dan and Corina Bright, was suffering from joint-associated aches and pains. Dismayed at the lack of natural treatment options with proven scientific research, the couple started their own company, Interpath, with the goal to develop a safe and effective treatment for their senior pooch. After the success of their first product, Sashas Blend, the couple launched 4CYTE CanineTM, the result of 10 years of research. 4CYTETM contains a newly discovered plant-active Epiitalis® (a conifer seed extract) — patented to actively stimulate the proliferation of chondrocytes, which tip the balance back in favour of the production of healthy cartilage, rather than degeneration. Safe to take long term, it is scientifically proven as a preventative and treatment against joint disorders. DL

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Dog

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4CYTE 4CYTETM comes in convenient chicken-flavour granules and is available over the counter from veterinary clinics in 10g, 50g and 100g packs. A 50g pack lasts a 20kg dog 63 days on the maintenance dose. This is around 70 cents per day. Visit 4cy tevet.com for more information.

“As a small-animal veterinarian, I often work with clients wanting to improve the quality of their pet’s life in the face of osteoarthritis. Many of these patients are older and suffering the effects of age-related joint disease; some are young. Many are recovering from orthopaedic surgery. “Every case requires a tailor-made regimen of rest, exercise, weight management and the support of medication to give [the animal] the most pain-free mobility possible. The addition of the nutraceutical 4CYTETM to this regimen has been impressive, not least of all because of the extensive research that has been undertaken to show just how potent it is in the management of the inflammatory nature of arthritis. Research conducted by the University of Melbourne demonstrated that 4CYTETM was comparable to a recognised and widely used NSAID in the relief of arthritic symptoms*. Evidence-based medicine gives confidence to both the treating clinician and the pet owner. “I now offer 4CYTETM when treating mild to moderate osteoarthritis whether the case is being managed surgically, medically or both. In the past, clients have been resorting to nutraceuticals, which have been based loosely on human joint supplements. We can now offer them a palatable, safe and effective product with a proven role to play in the best management of osteoarthritis in companion animals.” Fiona Anderson BSc, BVMS *Richards, L, et al, A Randomised Controlled Masked Clinical Trial of a Novel Nutraceutical for Treatment of Osteoarthritis in the Dog.

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BEHAVIOUR & TRAINING Be the leader of the pack

WHAT’S INSIDE:

Houndstooth Studio

1 2 3

Learn how farm dog training has inuenced city dogs Discover the new doggy tech making its way to our shores Find out what it takes to train a puppy to assist humans

For more information on training your dog, check out dogslife.com.au/dog-news/dog-training www.dogslife.com.au 41


BEHAVIOUR & TRAINING

Happy dogs are

successful dogs Whether working on a farm or providing vital assistance to people living with special needs, recent studies have shown that the key to a working dog’s success is a positive environment, writes Kate Potter.

A

ccording to a new study of farm dogs from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, dogs provided with kinder training methods and good living conditions are showing the best results in the workplace. Findings from the study show that handlers who use positive reinforcement with their dogs, including food rewards, verbal praise, physical contact and play report greater success with their training than those who use tools such as electric-shock collars. The study also identified associations between success and a number of factors such as dog breed, age training started and the personality traits of the owner. Although the study focuses on farm dogs, the insights also have potential relevance to companion dogs and those working in other contexts.

dogs that really enjoy what they’re doing — they’re happy dogs working for the off chance that they’ll get praised,” Clark says.

Susan Clark, principal guide dog mobility instructor at Guide Dogs SA/NT, agrees that the outcomes of the farm dog study can be seen in the systems and training used with the assistance dogs she works with. “We work with positive reinforcement to encourage our dogs to think for themselves. The skill of the instructor is in knowing how to help shape their thinking because it’s not the same for every dog. “If you can create a ‘thinking dog’ that learns the behaviours you’re looking for, the training simply becomes innate. You see 36

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Bigstock

USING POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT


A DEEP BOND Professor Paul McGreevy from the University of Sydney explains that while the breed can be an important factor for the success of a working dog — Cattle Dogs and Kelpies were strong performers in the study — the nature of the handler and the relationship between them and the dog also has a strong impact on the dog’s performance outcomes. “The role of conscientiousness in handlers is particularly interesting as it is relevant to the best handling and training methods,” McGreevy says. “We know that good animal training is underpinned by consistency and timing.”

HOME SWEET HOME When it comes to living conditions, discussions in the farm dog study suggest that a dog’s housing or living environment is likely to have significant impact on its performance. Clark says that including the “pet dog” experience as part of an assistance dog’s training is an important part of understanding their temperament and suitability for their future role. “If a dog is kenneled, you don’t get to see if it has any bad at-home behaviours or if it has the ability to relax and just chill out when it’s not working and throw off what’s happened during the day. “When the dogs are with us in the training centre, they’re workers, but when they go home to their boarding families at the end of the day, they can relax and be a pet dog,” says Clark. In a farm-work context, it appears that dogs that are housed with other dogs and given the opportunity to play and socialise are well-rested and well-adjusted working dogs that perform better in their workplace than dogs that are tethered or kept in solitary kennels when off-duty. While an in-home environment may meet a dog’s need for comfort and human socialisation, the farm dog study raises the concern that this living arrangement may present a training-related disadvantage. Out of work periods, where trained responses are not required, isolating the dog from the handler can reduce generalisation, where the dog gives a trained response to cues similar to those used in training.

This means that handlers who are consistent, give clear commands, and are timely with their positive reinforcement allow their dogs to make the strongest association between how they are behaving and the appearance of rewards. At Guide Dogs SA/NT, trainers use games and grooming sessions to develop a bond of trust with the dogs, and then use clicker training to encourage their learning. Clark explains that persistence and appropriate rewards are vital for training assistance dogs. “We try to encourage the dogs to think for themselves during clicker training. The dogs soon learn that when they do something the trainers approve of, they’ll receive a reward. “We reward on a random basis. The dog doesn’t get a bit of kibble every time it does something. Because they never know when the reward is going to happen, they’ll keep going until they get it.” Being patient as a dog learns is critical because when a dog loses its confidence, its training can dissipate rapidly. “Some dogs just get it straight away and enjoy the idea of discovering what behaviours will earn them a reward, whereas others may take a couple of weeks,” says Clark. “The important thing is to let the dog work it out in its own time, as we’ve found this method of training means the dog is more confident." DL www.dogslife.com.au 37


BEHAVIOUR & TRAINING

HIGH-TECH

hounds From tracking the distance of your daily walk to monitoring important factors of your dog’s behaviour, high-tech dog collars are the next big thing in the pet industry. Tim Falk reports.

T

he humble dog collar has come a long way in recent years. What was once a simple utilitarian device now comes in all manner of colourful and creative designs, materials and sizes. Not only that, our fondness for high-tech gadgets has also spread to the items we drape around our dogs’ necks. GPS tracking devices, HD cameras, sleep trackers, activity monitors etc … if you want to know more about your dog than ever before, chances are there’s a collar out there that can help. Take the Petrek GPS Pet tracker for example. In the past, if your dog went missing, you checked the local pound, put up flyers and drove the streets calling out his name. But now, pet owners can know where their dog is at all times using a gadget that not all that long ago would have seemed like something out of a James Bond movie. GPS tracking systems use the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network, which incorporates a range of satellites that use microwave signals that are transmitted to GPS devices to give information on location. “The Petrek GPS Pet tracker then uses the

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DID YOU KNOW? There are always at least 24 active GPS satellites circling earth!

mobile phone network to send this location information to the pet owner’s smartphone app,” Dr Doug Black from Microchips Australia explains. “So basically it has two components — a GPS antenna to pinpoint location and GPRS (mobile) antenna to send this information back to the pet owner using a data connection. The pet owner can simply open the smartphone app and see their pet on Google maps within the application. They can also use the app to

perform a large range of functions such as finding the quickest route to their pet, as well as change tracker settings including sync time, frequency of location updates, photo image of your pet, location history on previous days etc.” Although GPS satellite coverage is widespread throughout Australia, mobile phone reception is required so that the tracker can contact your mobile to transmit the location. Like other pet trackers on the market in Australia, the


Petrek GPS utilises the 2G network. “This limits coverage in some regional and rural areas so we are soon to introduce a 3G version that will have a far superior coverage and allow effective use of the tracker in many more regions throughout Australia,” Dr Black says.

“Dog lover David Gibson invented Heyrex and sadly died before seeing the product come to fruition,” explains Kim Goldsworthy, general manager of sales and marketing for Heyrex. “It’s designed around the fact that dogs can’t talk but they can communicate through their behaviour.” This unique product then aims to build a comprehensive profile

simply to find out what your pooch gets up to when you’re not around. There’s even a Heyrex service designed specifically for veterinarians, HeyrexVet, which allows them to assess a patient’s recovery from surgery, response to medication, and to detect changes associated with the early signs of illness and disease. It features modules for monitoring cage rest, exercise and

Dog lover David Gibson invented Heyrex and sadly died before seeing the product come to fruition. It’s designed around the fact that dogs can’t talk but they can communicate through their behaviour.

The Petrek GPS Pet tracker is also entirely safe for your pet to wear, and even the brackets that attach the tracker to the universal collar mount are designed to snap off under certain pressure so that smaller pets are not at risk if the tracker gets caught on a tree branch or some other obstacle. “The Petrek GPS gives dog owners peace of mind to know where their pet is located at any time of the day or night, to be contacted as soon as their dog gets out of the property and, finally, in the event that their dog does escape, they can track the movement of their pet every 30 seconds and be guided via the quickest route to find the dog,” Dr Black explains.

of your dog’s behaviour. It tracks activity levels, mobility, scratching, resting patterns, experiential temperature and sleep disturbances. To access this information, owners simply need to log into the Heyrex website on their computer, tablet or smartphone. The data collected by Heyrex is presented in simple infographics to help you track changes in your dog’s behaviour. This can help you understand whether your dog is getting enough exercise, whether he may be suffering from separation anxiety, whether fleas are making him all itchy and scratchy, or

food plans, a compliance journal and daily activity and behaviour summaries. “Heyrex is non-intrusive and is very safe for your pet,” Goldsworthy explains. “It fits most dog collars, is waterproof and has a battery life of up to two years, so it provides uninterrupted data.” So if you want to keep track of your dog’s behaviour, health or location, consider treating your pooch to one of the increasing number of collars and collar attachments on the market. They might be more expensive than your average collar, but they could prove incredibly useful for you and your four-legged friend. DL

DOGGY HEALTH MONITOR But tracking your pooch’s location is not the only use of a collar. This is where an innovative product called Heyrex comes in. While your pooch may not be able to tell you when he’s feeling unwell, Heyrex can help owners learn more about the health of their dog. Heyrex is a monitor that can be attached to your dog’s regular collar that allows you to build a profile of your canine’s behaviour. To do this, it uses wireless technology to record every aspect of your dog’s activity as it occurs, transmitting this information to the Heyrex receiver whenever your pooch comes within range. www.dogslife.com.au 39


BEHAVIOUR & TRAINING

TRAINING DOGS Have you ever thought how assistance dogs go from playful pups to sensible and loyal companions? Kylie Baracz speaks to the organisations that train dogs to help us in times of need. CHARLES ULM, GUIDE DOGS AUSTRALIA What is a Guide Dog? A Guide Dog is a working dog that has been highly trained to guide someone with impaired vision safely from one location to another. Why are Guide Dogs important? Guide Dogs enable people with vision impairment to get around independently and safely, and to participate fully in their communities. How many people have Guide Dogs in Australia? There are more than 800 working Guide Dogs in Australia. How much does it cost to train a Guide Dog? The process of turning a playful puppy into a responsible, working Guide Dog is quite incredible, taking almost two years and costing more than $30,000 — equivalent to the cost of a car. Guide Dogs are provided free of charge to people with impaired vision. How is a Guide Dog trained? From eight weeks to 14 months, these special puppies live with volunteer puppy raisers, whose responsibility it is to provide a loving home as well as basic obedience. At 14 months, pups return to the Guide Dog Centre where they are assessed on health and temperament. Puppies that are selected to become Guide Dogs then undergo five months 40

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of intensive training, learning the skills they will need to safely guide a visionimpaired handler. Training includes: how to ignore distractions such as food and noises; navigate obstacles; travel on public transport; and find landmarks such as bus stops and cross roads safely. Some tasks, like stopping at all curbs and staircases, are taught through repetition. Other tasks require intensive training, like negotiating a busy train platform to find the train doors. As training progresses, Guide Dogs learn to travel through confusing and crowded areas, such as shopping centres and busy city streets. What dog breeds make good Guide Dogs? Aspiring puppies are carefully selected according to their confidence, responsiveness and health. In Australia, Guide Dogs are usually purebred Labradors and Golden Retrievers because they’re calm, loyal and intelligent breeds with a proven track record as Guide Dogs. Do all the puppies in the program become Guide Dogs? For various reasons, from health to

temperament, not all dogs are suitable to becoming Guide Dogs — some are better suited to companion work, while others make great family pets. The criteria for selection are extremely stringent as the personal safety of future handlers is paramount. What happens to a Guide Dog when it retires? Guide Dogs usually retire after about eight to 10 years of service. The handler decides what they will do with their retired Guide Dog. They might keep it as their pet or offer it to be re-homed with a caring family in the community.


GUIDE DOG FACTS AND FIBS Dr Graeme White, CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, says key facts about Guide Dogs that the public generally misunderstand are:  that patting a Guide Dog distracts it from its job, putting its handler’s safety at risk;  that Guide Dogs are legally allowed into all buildings and on transport;  that a Guide Dog doesn’t make decisions about where to go or when to cross the street as it relies on instructions from its handler. “A Guide Dog is a bit like a car.

We use a car to get around independently but the car doesn’t make decisions on where to go. A Guide Dog enables a person who is blind or vision impaired to be independently mobile, but it’s one better than a car because it stops and alerts its handler to any danger or obstructions in their path,” says Dr White. “With increasing numbers of Guide Dogs working on our streets as a result of rising vision loss, we believe it’s critical that the public fully understands the important role of Guide Dogs in the community,” he adds.

SUE CALE, TALOODLES THERAPY AND ASSISTANCE LABRADOODLES What is the role of a therapy dog? There are lots of applications for therapy dogs in the community. One of their greatest strengths is that they offer unconditional, non-judgemental affection — they don’t care if people are different, what race they are or what their intellectual or physical capacity is. Generally therapy dogs are allocated to individuals; however, we do have a young dog, Taloodles Archie, who has recently started spending a couple of hours a week at a school in the local area. Archie is being used in a variety of ways — in the counsellor’s office to engage the children in conversation; the children take turns in reading to him — he has a calming influence on the kids and he doesn’t care whether their reading is good or bad, and generally the children stroke him while they read; he has been used in role-playing in the classroom; he is used in situations where children who find it hard to focus are asked to perform a task and their reward is to sit with Archie for a few minutes if they successfully complete their task. Can any dog become a therapy dog? If not, what does it take? No, not every dog is suited to being a therapy dog. The most important

WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT? Therapy dogs can be trained to assist their recipients to perform a range of tasks, however, some of their greatest strengths include:  lowering anxiety and stress levels;  boosting happiness;  improving social skills and communication;  the development of empathy;  assisting to overcome speech and emotional disorders;  improving motivation to learn;  building self esteem;  providing nurturing, accepting and unconditional love;  reducing loneliness.

character trait in the selection of a therapy dog is temperament. The dogs need to have calm and accepting temperaments. All the dogs selected for Taloodles are selected not for size, colour, agility or mental acuity but purely for temperament. You can train a dog to do lots of things but you cannot train temperament into a dog, they are born with it. What is involved when training therapy dogs? We start working with the puppies at about eight weeks of age. We employ professional trainers who work with us

and the puppies twice a week. We then continue that training on a daily basis. Training sessions involve obedience training, exposure to lots of different situations, i.e. train stations; car parks; walking through shopping centres with crowds of people; busy roads; preschools; schools; confidence building exercises; and regular assessments to ensure the dogs are meeting training milestones. We ensure that all these experiences are positive ones for the puppies, which encourage them to embrace and accept change. We train our dogs to the Canine Good Citizen standard — the pups are assessed and tested at six months of age to the Canine Good Citizen Bronze standard and then work towards attaining Canine Good Citizen Silver accreditation prior to placement. This testing involves working in and around people and other dogs and ensuring that the dogs are stable and wellmannered at all times. What costs are involved in raising and training a therapy dog? There are many costs involved in raising and training therapy dogs — veterinary, grooming, food, toys, equipment, treats, insurance and professional training costs. It costs approximately $7500 to train a therapy puppy; this does not include the hours of training that go into the dogs outside their formal training. www.dogslife.com.au 41


BEHAVIOUR & TRAINING

THERAPY DOGS PLACED

TALOODLES DAISY Daisy was the very first Taloodle and was placed with her recipient just over 12 months ago. Daisy is a very sweet-natured little dog who was placed with Bianca. Bianca is 11 years old and has highfunctioning autism, receptive and expressive language disorders in the severe range, cognitive and intellectual delay and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. All of these make every day for her family challenging as all these disorders can present simultaneously. Bianca has also suffered with anxiety and depression and has been bullied at school by her

TALOODLES POPPY Poppy’s placement is probably one of the most special placements we will ever make. Poppy was placed with brothers Jack and Ben in August 2014. Jack, aged 14, and Ben, aged 12, both have undiagnosed genetic conditions, they are in wheelchairs and are non-verbal. Poppy has had a significant impact on their lives in the short time that she has been with them. If the boys come home stressed or upset from school, she comforts them and her funny antics never fail to make them smile. She is happy to lie quietly with them while they watch television and her calming presence assists them to go to sleep at night. Patting her and giving her treats is

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peers. Bianca has an over sensitivity to loud places like concerts and swimming carnivals and has a tactile sensitivity to hair washing and clothing. Daisy has provided Bianca with a constant, nonjudgemental, loving friend. Daisy gives Bianca great emotional support and reduces her anxiety and depression. Bianca’s self esteem and self confidence have improved significantly, as have her social skills and ability to engage with adults and other children. She regularly reads to Daisy, which has assisted with improving her reading and language skills. Bianca has also learnt responsibility, patience and caring through her interaction with Daisy. The relationship between Daisy and Bianca is a very special one — Daisy is Bianca’s best friend.

assisting their gross motor skills and her constant companionship also alleviates their feelings of anxiety. This is a very special placement because the whole family are benefiting from Poppy’s presence in their lives.


AMANDA HOPE, ASSISTANCE DOGS AUSTRALIA What is the role of an assistance dog? Assistance Dogs help people with disabilities and give them freedom and independence. They assist their clients with things such as picking up dropped items, opening and closing doors, pressing the button at the traffic lights and alert barking when their client is in trouble. Why are they so important? Assistance Dogs give their clients the confidence to get out and about, and improve their self esteem. Assistance Dogs also provide emotional support as well as a physical service to their ‘team mate’. They bring independence, freedom, confidence, happiness and hope. Can any dog become an assistance dog? If not, what does it take? We raise and train Labradors and Golden Retrievers to be Assistance Dogs. These dogs enjoy learning new things and love being around people. What is involved when training assistance dogs? Each dog takes two years to train. To train an Assistance Dog over a two-year period costs $27,000, and this covers things such as vet visits, food, bedding, toys, travel costs etc. At eight weeks of age, the puppies arrive at the training centre and commence the first four to eight weeks of their training with puppy socialisers. After this, they go to their puppy educators. Each pup and puppy educator has a twohour orientation with one of Assistance Dogs Australia’s

CASE STUDY

NATASHA AND BISCUIT

Assistance Dog Biscuit is the best Christmas present Natasha from Launceston could have wished for. Natasha was born with Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair each day to get around, and now she has Biscuit by her side to keep her company. Biscuit accompanies Natasha to work each day and is happy to settle under her desk and wait patiently until his help is needed. “Biscuit takes the focus off my disability and gives me a feeling of security; he’s always watching out for me and gives me a reason for getting up each day. He can pick up my crutches off the floor, and when I’m at work he loves to collect the mail and give it to the receptionist. Because I have Biscuit I go out every day now, I have him to thank for that!” Natasha often needs to travel for work, taking Biscuit along with her. He even recently attended her work Christmas party and also loves his weekend visits to the beach and drives in the car. Having had a dog before, Natasha researched online and discovered Assistance

instructors before they go home with the puppy educator. This orientation covers the training structure, crate and house training and health care. The puppy educators will care for the pups in their home for the next 12-14 months, providing them with basic obedience training and socialisation. For the first six months, pups and educators attend kindergarten training classes once a week with an Assistance Dogs Australia instructor and then once every two months for the remainder of the time. We encourage puppy educators to take the pups everywhere so that the pups are socialised in a range of community settings. They can go to shopping centres, the supermarket, on public transport, to the cinema, everywhere! If puppy educators go on holidays etc we also have puppy carers to look after the dogs while they are away. After spending 12-14 months with their puppy educators, the dogs will board at Assistance Dogs Australia’s training centre for six to nine months of intensive training. Intensive training takes place at our national training centre in Sydney. Our professional instructors teach the dogs more than 40 commands to prepare them for placement. Each dog receives four training sessions a day and many of these sessions are carried out in public places and on public transport. By the time the dogs have completed their training they have been thoroughly socialised and tested in the local community. We currently have a Bed-and-Breakfast program running too, which ensures dogs can have some rest and relaxation for a few days at a time, in the home of a volunteer during this intensive training period.

Dogs Australia, and decided a furry four- legged friend would be able to lend her a paw as well as provide her companionship. Biscuit gets along well with Natasha’s mum, who is always happy to give him an extra treat or two, and has another four-legged friend at home for company, a Jack Russell called Lucy, who belongs to Natasha’s partner. He has worked out how to help himself to the toys in the toy box, but loves to snooze in his bed in the lounge room at the end of the day.

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BEHAVIOUR & TRAINING

LIZ WOODWARD, DELTA THERAPY DOGS What is the role of a therapy dog in the community? Therapy dogs bring joy to the lives of 12 million Australians and now there is evidence they are also literally good for your health and wellbeing! Through our world-class Delta Therapy Dogs program, the Delta Society aims to bring these benefits to the sick and infirm — children and adults who are in hospitals and nursing homes around Australia. Delta Therapy dog teams have encouraged residents to leave the confines of their rooms for the first time in months, to extend their hand post-stroke or surgery, to walk, to talk, to smile, to laugh, to remember, to forget, and to reminisce about their own animals Why are they so important? Delta Therapy Dogs benefit many people in the community such as the elderly, hospital patients and children; and provide support for occupational therapy.

BENEFITS OF DELTA THERAPY DOGS

 decreased depression  distraction from pain  decreased stress

Benefits for elderly In nursing homes, studies show that the benefits of pet visits include:  patient-therapist interaction  staff–animal interaction  increased muscle strength and range of motion  pain management  reduction of blood pressure and heart rate  greater self–esteem and emotional well-being  improved patient independence  improved social interactions  creating a home-like environment and a positive effect on the community Benefits for hospital patients Hospital patients benefit both physiologically and psychologically from pet visits. These benefits include:  reductions in blood pressure and heart rate  reduced anxiety  decreases in stress levels 44

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 improvements in physical

functions due to petting animals  increased feelings of self-worth  helps with mood disorders such as schizophrenia In occupational therapy (adults and children), pet visits help with:  increased motivation for therapy  increased range of motion  better sensory interpretation  higher tolerance for physical activity when pain is present In people with chronic mental illness, results include:  increased alertness  increased cognitive ability  increased communication (verbal or non-verbal)  increase social interaction with other people  building of confidence and self esteem Benefits for children In children in general,

Can any dog become a therapy dog? If not, what does it take? No, to become a Delta Therapy Dog, dogs must be at least 18 months old and under 10 years old with basic manners. Dogs are required to be fully vaccinated (C5), be on heartworm preventative medication and treated regularly for internal and external parasites. They are also required to have a vet health screening test to determine their suitability to visit physically, and lastly, the dogs must pass a strict temperament assessment. We don’t train the dogs ourselves — the dogs belong to a volunteer and they come to us to be assessed — and they can only work in facilities that join up with Delta and pay the annual donation for the dog to visit.

animals facilitate development of:  relationships and friendships  non-verbal communication  sense of responsibility (care & ecological responsibility)  learning about life cycles and ecology  psychological & physiological health  stimulates emotions

In schools, they can help children become:  less aggressive  less hyperactive and more focused (children pay attention to dog but also more to teacher)  more socially integrated  more playful  better readers (reading to a dog increases reading level) — also reduces stress levels  less truant

In residential facilities, pet visits increases attention span, physical movement, communication, compliance and social interaction and reduces stress.

A recent Delta study shows that children benefit from:  positive effect on reading  academic improvements  increased social emotional wellbeing  positive effect on children with autism  increased engagement in reading  improved community link

In hospitals, studies have shown that pet visits help children with mood disorders. Australian studies have shown that dog visit programs in hospitals help:  distract children from their illness  relax children  make the ward a happier place, establishing a homely environment  stimulate communication

Pet visits can also assist children with pervasive development disorders such as autism. The results include:  greater use of language  greater social interaction  encourage awareness of surroundings


LIFE WITH DOGS Celebrating the wild, weird and wonderful sides of our canine companions WHAT’S INSIDE:

1 2 3

Is it OK to share your bed with your dog? Learn how your dog’s poo can affect our environment Read our guide to Australia’s best dog-friendly walks

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For more information on life with dogs, check out www.dogslife.com.au/dog-news/life-with-dogs

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LIFE WITH DOGS

A preliminary study has reported that at least

LET

10%

of Australians co-sleep with at least one pet

sleeping dogs

Danielle Chenery ďŹ nds out whether snuggling up to your beloved pet at night is detrimental to your health.

LIE

F

alling asleep knowing your canine best friend is snuggled up next to you is a relaxing way to end the day. However, experts are divided on whether it’s the best thing to do for both your health and quality of sleep. A preliminary study recently reported in the International Society for Anthrozoology quarterly publication Anthrozoos, which drew on a subset of data from the 2012 Sealy Sleep Census, reported that at least 10 per cent of Australians co-sleep with at least one pet.

On the positive side, the study found there were no significant differences in total self-reported sleep length or feelings of tiredness during the day for those who co-slept with their pet. 46

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THE RESULTS


“The continued practice of co-sleeping with pets suggests that there may be some benefits such as social support and interaction, and increased feelings of personal security,” says Dr Bradley Smith, who co-authored the study with colleagues Dr Kirrilly Thompson, Dr Larissa Clarkson and Professor Drew Dawson from CQUniversity’s Appleton Institute in Adelaide. However, Dr Elise Anderson, veterinarian at Animal Aid, a not-for-profit animal welfare shelter with facilities in Victoria’s Coldstream, Bairnsdale and Sale, thinks it’s better for all involved if dogs are given their own bed — even if it’s in your bedroom. “On the whole, I think it is safer, healthier and less likely to lead to behavioural issues if a dog has their own bed and understands that that is where they should sleep. For owners who like to be close to their pets at night, a good compromise might be a bed/basket/cushion on the floor somewhere in the bedroom,” she says.

PROS AND CONS While Dr Anderson says the pros of bed sharing include having access to living hot water bottles, bonding with pets and the fact you’re more likely to notice if something goes wrong during the night (for example, your dog becomes ill), the cons are mainly related to hygiene or, more specifically, the risk of zoonotic disease.

“On the whole, I think it is safer, healthier and less likely to lead to behavioural issues if a dog has their own bed and understands that that is where they should sleep.”

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LIFE WITH DOGS

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“For those with allergies to dog hair, having a dog in the bed can exacerbate [them] during sleep.” is the disturbing effect of having someone in the bed. “Sharing a bed with others can be a comforting experience and an important part of family life. For many, having a sleeping companion, human, dog or both, can provide comfort and reassurance, leading to better sleep. In many cultures, co-sleeping, or sharing a bed with other family members and dogs, is seen as the norm.

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“In particular, transmission of parasites such as fleas, mange and intestinal worms are a concern if parasite control is not up to date. As are other zoonotic diseases such as ringworm, gastrointestinal infections etc, all of which can be passed on by close contact with animals. [There is also the] risk of asthma and allergic [reactions] from having hair/dust/ dirt on the individual's bed or bedding.” Health aside, Dr Anderson is concerned about behavioural issues. “From a behavioural point of view, I think it can create some problems. Dogs that are used to sleeping with their owners may suffer from separation anxiety when they are then forced by circumstances to sleep on their own. It could also lead to dominance issues.” Sleep physician David Cunnington has his own views on the canine co-sleeping issue. He believes the main negative aspect


“However, if you have trouble sleeping, or find that your sleep is constantly disturbed by a companion, human or dog, you may be better keeping your bed to yourself. For those with allergies to dog hair, having a dog in the bed can exacerbate allergies and breathing problems during sleep.” Dog owner Sharna Smith* says she’s happy to have her pooch in her bed each night. “He’s a rescue dog (two years old). [At first] I wanted him to feel loved and safe. He started on his soft basket at the end of my bed (I’m quite short). “In the winter, when he gets cold, he snuggles under the covers and sleeps near my feet. Sometimes he wakes me up in the night if he’s itchy or hot, but it’s no more a problem than it is having children. “I realise that if he got fleas that could be bad. But I keep him clean, wash and groom him regularly and give him preventative flea treatments.” On the other hand, it was circumstance that put an end to co-sleeping for Edward Davidson*, owner of two Shih Tzu cross Maltese Terriers. “I had to go overseas for a month and I had family coming to stay to look after my dogs. They had a small child so decided to put up a child-safety gate at the bottom of the stairs. This meant the dogs couldn’t gain access to the bedrooms anymore. “When I got back, I decided to keep the gate in place because the dogs were apparently fine with the transition. I had wanted to stop co-sleeping with them for a while but thought it would be very difficult. One of the two dogs had started to age so was having a hard time jumping up on my new bed and would wake me during the night if she needed to get off the bed (then back on again!). “Also, I’m a light sleeper and tend to toss and turn a lot — I would often accidently turn onto one of the dogs who would let out a yelp — waking us both up!

“The other benefit has been that I don’t need to clean the carpeted upstairs area of my home as often now that the dogs don’t come into this section of the house.” As Cunnington concludes, there’s not really a one-size-fitsall answer to the co-sleeping debate. “It’s something for each family to sort out for themselves based on the sleeping habits, characteristics and needs of all family members.” DL *names changed to protect identities

FURTHER STUDY As a result of the study published in Anthrozoos, honours student Peta Hazelton is now developing a more detailed study into human-animal co-sleeping patterns. As Hazelton explains, “[The study] also aims to understand what may or may not influence co-sleeping behaviours, such as whether certain dog-owner interactions influence co-sleeping practices. “It will also identify whether attachment issues, such as security and separation anxiety, are present in those who co-sleep. The project also aims to identify if specific personality traits, of both owners and dogs, are common amongst co-sleepers. “I want to determine whether these factors differ between co-sleepers and non-co-sleepers, not only to determine what may influence the practice, but also so that later down the track, further research can be done into whether these differences (if any are found), particularly the attachment and relationship aspects, may be enhanced by the co-sleeping relationship.” Here at Dogs Life, we look forward to seeing the results — watch this space for an update. www.dogslife.com.au 49


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LIFE WITH DOGS

The

PROBLEM

POO

with

DOGGY DANGERS

I

f there’s one thing every owner hates about owning a dog, it would have to be cleaning up their nasty little surprises. Tidying up those steaming piles of unpleasantness is undoubtedly a distasteful job, but it’s simply one that has to be done — after all, it’s part and parcel of being a responsible dog owner. But picking up your dog’s poo is about much more than keeping your backyard or local park clean. In fact, by rolling up your sleeves and disposing of dog waste thoughtfully, you’re lending a helping hand to the environment and the rest of the population. Although many dog owners aren’t aware of it, the bacteria and pathogens in dog waste (E coli, faecal coliform, salmonella and giardia) pose a serious health hazard to us humans. This has been well documented by scientific studies and the media, such as the sad case of two-year-old Aimee Langdon in the UK, who lost sight in her left eye after coming into contact with dog waste and then contracting a rare infection. Run-off containing dog poo can also lead to bacteria contamination in our waterways and make beaches unsafe for swimming. There’s also the risk of roundworm, hookworms and tapeworms left behind in the droppings of infected dogs. The dog poo situation can paint a pretty nasty picture but, thankfully, us Aussies are generally pretty good when

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it comes to cleaning up after Fido. In fact, 64 per cent of Australians always clean up after their dog, 13 per cent sometimes do and only 15 per cent never do.

POO POWER! There are some 4.2 million pet dogs in Australia, each of which produces a staggering 1.5 tonnes of poo over its lifetime. But with our canine companions churning out so much waste, could there possibly be some way we could make use of dog poo rather than just chucking it into landfill? This was the question that Duncan Chew set out to answer. “As a dog owner, I am diligent in dealing with dog waste. It wasn’t until I got my second dog, Diesel, when it felt like I was dealing with an exponential amount of poo and it got me thinking about all the dog owners around Australia and the world who are living in a poo-luted planet,” Chew says. “The actual light bulb moment came was when I was at my local dog park one summer and the bins were already full from sporting events and people having parties. So, dog owners doing the right thing and cleaning up after their dog were left with the problem of how to dispose of the dog poo. It was quite amusing

Bigstock

Picking up your dog’s poo may be gross, but getting your hands dirty is the best way to do the environment a very big favour. Tim Falk reports.

Cleaning up after your dog has environmental benefits as well as personal health benefits, says Duncan Chew. “Dog waste is an environmental issue (particularly for the water, agriculture and fishing industries) as it contains nitrogen and phosphorus, which promote excessive algae growth in waterways known as eutrophication. This limits the light available to aquatic vegetation, increases water temperatures and depletes oxygen, causing the death of fish and other aquatic organisms. Dog waste can also damage turf and other vegetation, and adversely impact sensitive habitat areas.”


DID YOU KNOW? Each dog generates around 1.5 tonnes of poo in its lifetime.

to watch — some did the flick-toss, others balanced it on top with a collection of other dog poo bags and rubbish, and others placed it on the ground next to the bin. Combined with the summer heat, smell and flies, it wasn’t a pretty sight. I felt sorry for the poor council park maintenance that had to empty this hazard.” The dog poo problem became an interesting challenge for Chew, who was lecturing and researching on environmental sustainability at Victoria’s Swinburne University at the time. Eager to tackle the problem head on, Chew created Poo Power! — a project aimed at using discarded dog waste from urban parks as a local renewable energy source. Through Poo Power! Chew seeked to construct a biogas energy generator in Melbourne to process dog waste and create biogas, which could then be used as a renewable energy source. “A Poo Power! biogas generator was designed at the end of 2013 showcasing how the renewable energy produced from dog poo and other organic wastes can be used; for example, for ambient lighting in dog parks in the early morning and evening periods,” Chew says. “Dog poo, like other biodegradable waste such as food, green waste and paper, releases methane when it decomposes. Anaerobic digestion is the process that composts this waste to produce biogas that can be used as a renewable source of energy. A biogas generator is the system we use to control and accelerate this natural process.” A proof of concept and a prototype biogas generator was built. However, after the 2013 federal election, there was a dramatic shift for people working on environmental or renewable energy projects. “As a community-based project, it become quite difficult to continue but we look forward to relaunching in better times,” Chew says.

However, Chew has initiated an education campaign to raise awareness of the issues associated with dog waste, and you can find a whole host of resources and information at poopower.com. au, such as how to compost your dog’s poo.

64%

The percentage of Aussies that always clean up after their dog.

WHAT YOU CAN DO While Poo Power! promotes the idea that something we would normally throw away can be useful, Chew says the best thing dog owners can do is support each other in improving the cleanliness of our parks and streets. “If you’re out walking the dog and see someone who doesn’t clean up after them, offer the person one of your dog poo bags as a gentle reminder to do the right thing,” he says. “Until Poo Power! becomes commonplace and if you’re not comfortable sending dog poo to landfill, the best way is to compost it.” Doing so requires a separate composting system and takes time, but there’s some advice on the Poo Power! website. “There’s plenty of poo-tential for people to start their own awareness campaign in their neighbourhood and where possible, I have supported some of these,” Chew says. “Remember, every poo counts, big and small.” DL www.dogslife.com.au 53


LIFE WITH DOGS

Walk this way Our Australia-wide correspondents trek the high and low roads with their canine counterparts in search of a pooch-tastic adventure. NEW SOUTH WALES Michael and Rusty take a trip to Centennial Parklands to enjoy the natural beauty and serenity. I am privileged to let the wonderful readers of this magazine know what an enjoyable time Rusty and I had at Centennial Parklands. I didn’t realise just how big the areas were that are available for off-leash fun, but I was cautioned by some of the regulars that the local rangers were quite strict about where dogs “crossed the line” into the on-leash areas. This is because there are no fences between the go and no-go zones, so control of your four-legged friend is paramount. Unfortunately, we only had time to visit two areas as the parklands are quite large, but Rusty had the time of his life. In the largest area we played hideand-seek, which caused some concern as Rusty’s hearing is not ideal and he started running to where other families were! Eventually, he found me and the rest of our time there was uneventful. There is a lot to do both on- and off-leash. There are plenty of BBQ areas available, but they must be booked in advance. All the amenities were a little spread out, but there are some nice cafes around as well if you are interested in getting a bite to eat. The general rule is to leave the place cleaner than when you arrived, so please ensure to pick up after your pets. On the whole, we give Centennial Parklands an eight out of 10.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Where: Centennial Parklands, Sydney Time: All afternoon if you would like to take a stroll or have a picnic Off-leash areas: Dogs must be on a lead inside and on the Grand Drive circuit and within 10m of Federation Pavilion. You may exercise your dog

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off-leash outside Grand Drive, and away from BBQs and children’s play areas What to take for your dog: Water, poo bags, a ball, a towel What to take for yourself: Picnic blanket, hat, sunscreen, picnic basket, some money for the cafes


KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Where: Oats Street, Kewdale (Orrong Road end) Time: All day Dog bins: Frequently throughout the park Off-leash areas: On-lead only, due to the diverse bird life What to take for your dog: Lead, poo bags What to take for yourself: Hat, water, picnic or some change for a coffee at the cafe

WESTERN AUSTRALIA Kristy and Billy go on a relaxing stroll around Tomato Lake and enjoy the sunshine. Tomato Lake is a great place to spend a few hours with your pooch, walking the various tracks and soaking up the relaxing atmosphere. An unexpected oasis in a suburban spot, spacious grassed areas surround a large wetland filled with a variety of bird species. A 1.6km walk takes you all around the lake, and there is also the option of cutting across the boardwalk that stretches across the centre. Seats are located throughout the park so you and you four-legged friend can take a rest and enjoy the scenery. At the far-end car park there is an additional walk, which meanders through a native garden. Plenty of free parking is located at the entrance as well as further down the entrance road.

PUT YOUR pooch IN THE PICTURE AT HOUNDSTOOTH STUDIO! www: houndstoothstudio.com.au

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S LIFE WITH DOGS

BRIGHT ANIMAL CUSHIONS These stunning animal cushions from Cushions Kingdom will make a great addition to any room and are perfect to snuggle with. Available in a large range of breeds, the cushions are 40cm tall and made out of a blend of 80 per cent cotton and 20 per cent polyester. Each cushion has its own name and personality, such as Ginger the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Teddy the Spoodle and Lulu the Dalmatian. Cushion Kingdom, cushionkingdom.com.au

SAUSAGE DOG BOOKENDS

Y A D S ’ R E H

These weighted bookends are made with a clay interior and wrapped in a matt PVC finish, while the base is covered in smooth foam to protect surfaces. They are the perfect weight to keep novels, cookbooks or reference materials upright and orderly. They’re also just the right size for CDs and magazines, perfect for the mum that likes to keep things organised. Yellow Octopus, yellowoctopus.com.au

MOT GUIDE GIFT

Tell mum y o u l ove h er with these

doggone

g o r g e o us

ideas.

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gift

LAVENDER WHEAT PILLOW These cute Best Friend eye pillows are sure to help your mum relax and unwind after a stressful day. They are made using remnants of hand-woven Nepalese cloths and are filled with wheat and lavender in Australia. They are not designed to be heated. Oxfam Shop, oxfamshop.org.au


FESTIVE DOG PRINTS These fabulous Tillsammans (Swedish for “together�) posters by Swedish designer Lisa Bengtsson make the perfect gift for the art-loving mum. Printed on 300gsm paper, pictured is the Ulrika Eleonora, which comes in both A4 (210mm x 297mm) and A3 (297mm x 420mm) sizes. Norsu, norsu.com.au

PRINTED TEA TOWEL This sweet tea towel is made from 100 per cent natural pearl linen and is designed and hand printed in Mangerton, NSW. Measuring 51x71cm and printed using bio inks, it can be used as a wall hanging, a table mat or even to dry your dishes. Other breeds are also available as both tea towels and cushion patterns. Country Culture, countryculture.com.au

CUTE CARDS Looking for that all-important card to go with your gorgeous gift? Forester Rogers has a beautiful selection of greeting cards, from a handkerchief-wearing Great Dane (by Rifle Paper Co) and a Frenchloving Bulldog (by Golden Fox Goods) to the Anatomy of Dog Love (by Lydia & Pugs). Forester Rogers, foresterrogers. com.au

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LIFE WITH DOGS

OXFAM UNWRAPPED GIFT CARDS Stuck for a gift for mum? Why not buy her a charity gift card! Oxfam’s Unwrapped gift cards feature cute and quirky images and, more importantly, help people in need around the world. For example, a chicken charity gift card (pictured) will provide families in South Africa with an income, eggs and the resources to breed more chickens. Oxfam Australia, oxfamshop.org.au

FLUFFY NECK WARMER Made out of faux fur, the Sciarpa neck warmer by Sasha & Me is perfect for the stylish pet that may need an extra layer of warmth. Available in small, medium and large, this gorgeous grey neck warmer will be a great accessory for the upcoming cooler months. Sasha & Me, sashaandme.com.au

DESIGNER THROW RUG

NEON SILVER ER COLLAR This gorgeous natural tural leather dog collar from Ike & Stella is fitted with a sleeve made from vintage Hmong textile. is f i t H t til The Th sleeve l i designed to be removed or replaced easily without you having to purchase an entirely new collar. The collars are handmade in Los Angeles and are available in five standard sizes. Forester Rogers, foresterrogers.com.au

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This warm and cosy throw rug by Sasha & Me is as soft and warm as real fur, but is animal-friendly! Perfect for spots where your dog loves to nap or to take in the car, the rug has a lightweight and durable design and is fully machine washable. It is available in two sizes — medium: 100cm x 75cm; and large: 120cm x 90cm. Let your dog embrace his wild side with these beautiful furniture throws. Sasha & Me, sashaandme.com.au


CHESTERFIELD DOG BED Man’s best friend also deserves a little luxury in life, that’s why LuxDeco created the Burton Corner Chesterfield dog bed using a high-quality wood frame, sumptuous Cherry Red leather and a cottonblend fabric. The plaid cushion is filled with a hollow-fibre filling, providing extra comfort for your pooch, and is encased in a cotton cover, which is removable for easy cleaning. The handcrafted bed is available in three sizes, making it a versatile gift for pet owners with dogs of all sizes.

DOG BOW TIE AND COLLAR SET DUVET DOG BED These gorgeous 100 per cent cotton duvet covers by Molly Mutt can be stuffed with extra blankets, pillows and clothes to create a comfortable, ecofriendly, stylish and easy-to-maintain bed for your pet. Fully gusseted and zipped, the pet duvet is durable and can be pulled off and cleaned when it gets dirty. The sack inside will keep the inside contents of the bed together. Molly Mutt, mollymutt.com.au

The Polka Complete Set by Dharf is made by a specialist French Canadian collar maker using the traditional basting stitch method. The bow tie, collar and leash are handmade from 100 per cent cotton and feature Velcro, which enables you to easily attach or remove the bow tie. The tie, collar and leash can all be hand-washed. Down That Little Lane, downthatlittlelane.com.au

LUXURIOUS DOG BOWL WITH COVER The Alessi Lula dog bowl is perfect for mums who love spoiling their four-legged friend. The bowl’s case is made from red polypropylene and the inside removable bowl is made of hygienic 18/10 stainless steel. The cute bowl comes with a stylish cover with a howling doggy as the handle, which allows you to protect your dog’s food and save any leftovers for later. It is also dishwasher-safe. The Design Gift Shop, thedesigngiftshop.com www.dogslife.com.au 59


Time for n u r r e h t o an around the block!

The greatest ‘Festival of the Pooch’ in Australia! Our dogs are family, so if you love them as much as we do then join us to celebrate, interact and learn more about our best friends like never before.  Discover the right breed for your lifestyle with dozens of Breed Clubs on Show  Daily shows in the Rose-Hip Vital® Arena from Dr Katrina & The Wonderdogs, Farmer Dave and more!  Expert tips for a healthier, happier dog with advice from celebrity vets on training, grooming, diet and exercise  Meet and learn about dogs of all shapes and sizes in our new Pat-A-Pooch and Perfect Match features  Buy the latest gear for your fur-kids with hundreds of Exhibitors and loads of new products

Friday 1 – Sunday 3 May Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Saturday 15 - Sunday 16 August Royal Hall of Industries and Hordern Pavilion, Sydney Dig deeper at:

dogloversshow.com.au Follow us on Visitors are not permitted to bring any dogs into the Show as it’s an indoor event.

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DOG TAILS Meet the people and pooches making a real dierence

WHAT’S INSIDE:

1 2 3 4

Meet the piglet that was trained at puppy school Discover the dogs that served our country Learn what it takes to become a police dog Read about an unlikely duo that make the perfect pair

For more amazing dog stories, visit www.dogslife.com.au/dog-news/dog-stories www.dogslife.com.au 61


DOG TAILS

Puppy meet

piglet 62

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George was quick to learn how to “come” and “sit” at puppy school. But the surprising thing is, he’s not a puppy — he’s a piglet, writes Kylie Baracz.


of animals, taking up residency with the Holland family’s dog and two cats. According to Karen Harvey, trainer at Jordan Dog Training in Brisbane, George was a star in the class. “George went well in puppy class. He learned obedience very quickly as he was very food motivated. He ignored the other puppies in class, I think because he lives with a dog, so it was no big deal for him,” she says. The little pig went through the same training as the puppies, which included toilet training, teething, walking on a lead and basic commands. The only thing George couldn’t do was bark!

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hen George walked into puppy school, it was no surprise that the other dog owners were a bit confused. The possibility of a little piglet attending puppy classes is not very likely, but George proved that a pig can be just as smart as any dog. Owned by Lilly Holland of Tingalpa, Qld, George came from a mini pig breeder in NSW. He is not unfamiliar with other types

PIG POPULARITY Harvey says there has definitely been a trend in having pigs as pets, especially mini pigs. In the past, she says she has trained a full-size pig and found they are very intelligent animals. “Mini pigs do seem to come in and out of fashion. I’ve known a few people with pet pigs over many years,” she says. “I think once people realise they are very intelligent and very clean animals, they do become a great alternative to a dog, plus there are no fur issues!” Not only are pigs becoming great pets, they are also proving themselves as great companions as they tend to bond with their owners and are very bright. “I guess the similarity between pigs and dogs is their intelligence, and they do bond well with people. They really enjoy a pat and scratch,” says Harvey. We are positive that George will do very well as a companion to Lilly and we can’t wait to find out what he will be up to next! DL

JORDAN DOG TRAINING For more information on training your puppy (or piglet!), please visit jordandogtraining. com.au

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PET

s g i P

@esterthewonderpig Ester is so cute! She even has her own website and fan club.

on Instagram

@thegroundsofalexandria Kevin Bacon became famous when he went missing in 2013, along with Bradley the lamb, from Sydney cafe The Grounds of Alexandria. Luckily, they were found shortly after and all is well!

@jamonthepig This little guy gets loads of snout kisses from his mum and has his own cartoon show in Brazil.

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@prissy_pig Priscilla and Poppleton are gorgeous pet piglets that love going to school with their mum every day


IN

DOGS

WE T RUST

They’ve served with us on fields of battle and have saved thousands of lives in the process. With Anzac Day upon us, Kristie Bradfield takes a look at the proud history of military working dogs and their handlers.

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ogs have been joining us on the battlefield for centuries. Some of the earliest proof of this comes from Egyptian murals depicting canine bravery dating back to 400 BC. Frederick the Great of Prussia used war dogs, as did Napoleon, and war dogs were used extensively in America during the Seminole and Civil Wars. In modern theatres of war, the skillsets of military working dogs (MWDs) have proven to be invaluable. Among other duties, MWDs can track the enemy, detect explosives and find casualties. They relish the jobs they are tasked with and they, and their handlers (affectionately known as doggies), do so for the benefit of our forces and allies.

HONOURING OUR WAR DOGS Between 2009 and 2012, lieutenant colonel George Hulse, the Royal Australian Engineers (Retd), interviewed a group of servicemen who had fought in wars stretching as far back as Korea. While the conflicts they fought in are separated by decades, there was a common thread of mutual respect and genuine affection for the MWDs. Thankfully, we have these stories, and similar accounts compiled by historians, to ensure the bravery shown by these Aussie heroes lives on. Here are just a few of their amazing tales.

PRIVATE JIM MOODY AND HORRIE — FIRST AUSTRALIAN MACHINE GUN BATTALION, WORLD WAR II The story of Horrie the war dog, a little white stray terrier from Libya, captivated

the Australian public during and following World War II. After being rescued and nursed back to health by Private Jim Moody and members of the 2/1st Machine Gun Battalion, it was discovered that Horrie www.dogslife.com.au 65


DOG TAILS was a lot more than a feisty mascot for a thousand diggers: he had an uncanny knack for the early detection of Hitler’s feared Stuka aircraft. It wasn’t long until the entire Australian 6th Division figured out that when Horrie’s ears pricked up and he let out a guttural growl, it was time to head for the trenches, which undoubtedly saved many lives. While Horrie survived campaigns in Libya, Greece, Crete and Egypt, it was in Australia that he faced his biggest threat. The Department of Health at the time had a policy of euthanising pets brought home from war and, despite his celebrity status, the department had its sights set on Horrie. After being threatened with jail, Moody delivered Horrie to the Abbotsford Quarantine Station, where the dog was to be put to sleep. There was public outcry and disbelief when Horrie the warrior dog was euthanised, and Moody shouldered the brunt of the blame. What the public — and the Department of Health — didn’t know was that the real Horrie escaped his death sentence and lived out his days on a dairy farm in Cudgewa, Victoria, where he sired two litters of seven pups and was visited over the years by Moody and his old digger mates.

CORPORAL JOHN CANNON AND EED STORM — ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ENGINEERS, AFGHANISTAN Sapper John Cannon was paired with two electronic detection dogs (EDDs) during his time in Afghanistan: EDD Sam and EDD Storm. The role of an EDD is to search for and detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and weapon caches. It’s an incredibly dangerous job but it is also one that must be done to support troops on the ground, as

well as civilians and vital infrastructure. “We were patrolling along a rock wall behind a group of combat engineers,” Dogs have been joining says Cannon. “I us on the battlefields decided to put for centuries, some Storm up on top as far back as of this rock wall and got him to search 400 BC! along the upper parts of that wall. He searched for a short while and then indicated that he had something. I called in the combat engineers, who found a 20kg yellow palm oil container filled with homemade explosives, and a short length of detonating cord. I sent him further on, along the top of the wall, and he indicated again. This time, he found a second palm oil container, the same as before. This was a convincing non-metal find for the EDD team and definitely saved lives and equipment.”

DID YOU KNOW?

PRIVATE PETER HARAN AND CAESAR — ROYAL AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY, SOUTH VIETNAM In 1966, at the age of 17, Peter Haran enlisted in the Australian Regular Army. When he showed an interest in becoming a tracker and dog handler, he underwent training and was matched with a black Labrador cross Kelpie called Caesar, who had been recruited from a Sydney refuge. After deploying to South Vietnam, Haran and Caesar were tasked with tracking operations carried out in very active combat zones. One of the operations that Haran remembers vividly occurred southwest of Nui Dat following a horrific incident involving brutal M16 mines, also known as “jumping jacks”. Haran

A WAR DOG READING LIST There have been several books published about our war dogs. These include:  Horrie the War Dog — Roland Perry  Trackers: The Untold Story of The Australian Dogs of War — Peter Haran  Animals in Combat — Nigel Allsopp  Cry Havoc: The History of Military War Dogs — Nigel Allsopp 66

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was tasked with tracking the enemy and upon deplaning, he, a coverman, a machine gunner and Caesar started to patrol the contact site. “We patrolled for a couple of hundred metres when we came upon a T-junction in the track,” says Haran. “This was a dangerous situation and I willed Caesar to point (indicating with paw and nose towards a suspected hideout). He did not. Instead, Caesar came straight back to me and sat on my foot. He had never done this before.” Being stationary and exposed in the middle of enemy territory, Haran knew


THANK YOU

his team was in a precarious situation, but Caesar’s bizarre behaviour was enough to make him pause. A moment later, the platoon commander stepped on a mine that blew off both his legs. Two sappers had gone on ahead and when they reached the T-junction, they found a large antitank mine and four M16 anti-personnel mines. The actions of Haran and Caesar saved many lives that day. “Caesar had never received any training in mine and explosive detonation, but he was suspicious of

what he found at the T-junction and, for good measure, he came back and sat on my foot so that I wouldn’t continue forward. That was the worst day I was to experience during my tour of duty. That day haunted me then and still continues to do so to this day.” DL

MORE AMAZING STORIES Want to read more of the interviews with doggies by lieutenant colonel Hulse? Head online to aussiewardogs.org

Unfortunately, there is not enough space to honour all the dedicated dog teams that have served our country so bravely, but there is a gesture that lieutenant colonel Hulse urges the Federal government to make: to issue a medal to Australian military working dogs for their contribution to our combat forces. “All Australian doggies and their mates in combat units would be delighted if the Federal government would accept the contribution of the MWD to our combat units and recognise this service with the issue of a medal to our MWDs,” says Hulse. “We in the Australian Defence Force Trackers and War Dogs Association continue to ask the Federal government for this simple piece of recognition — more for the handlers and their units than for the MWD; after all, a dog just wants the love of his mates and wouldn’t have a clue why it is receiving a medal.” www.dogslife.com.au 67


DOG TAILS

NSW’S

finest O crime fighter Agile, fierce and always up for a challenge, Bob is a legend in the force. Not just your everyday police officer, Bob’s a Belgian Shepherd, writes Michele Tydd. 68

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n a hot spring day in 2014, a Central Coast man in his 30s pulled off an armed robbery at a service club with a blood-filled syringe. It was one of about a dozen outlets he had robbed over time, and he was heading home by train believing he had eluded police. But when the lift door opened onto the platform, it was game over. Waiting was leading senior constable Ben Hammant with Bob, who is fast earning the reputation as one of NSW Police’s finest crime

fighters with his rattle-snake speed, agility and fierce appearance. “Bob’s black face makes it looks as if he’s wearing a balaclava, which we say is our revenge on the crims who use them,” joked one of the officers at Bob’s station. But life hasn’t always been this good for the Belgian Shepherd. Less than two years ago, he was like a bag of bones, living on scraps on the streets in Sydney’s west. He was eventually taken to the pound where his emaciated frame attracted no takers, and efforts to find his owner led nowhere.

NSW POLICE DOGS THAT HAVE DIED IN THE LINE OF DUTY Carts — stabbed during a police operation at Corrimal in 2007. Titan — stabbed during a siege at Seven Hills on December 23, 2004. His death prompted new

laws for higher prison sentences for crimes involving police service animals. Boss – died January 10, 2003 Sam – died February 7, 1996


The day before he was to be put down, the pound phoned NSW Police as a last resort in the hope he would be a good fit for the dog squad. “A lot of people ring us with donations, but often it’s to get rid of dogs who have developed bad manners through lack of training,” says sergeant Hammant, who estimates less than five per cent of those dogs ever make the grade. Police dogs need three prerequisites: a love of play, because that is the reward for service; an alert disposition; and the ability to learn quickly. “Bob was in poor shape when he came off the street but he still went nuts when it came to play — there were six officers including me on that first day and his energy was boundless,” says Hammant.

DOES YOUR DOG HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? The NSW Police hears from lots of owners who would like their pup to become part of the police force. They often think their dog’s ability to sniff or be a tug-owar tiger is enough to get them across the line. However, a successful police dog candidate goes beyond any one single ability. Must-haves for a potential police dog include:  High desire to play tug-o-war and fetch an article;  Physically sound and fit to carry out strenuous duties;  Intelligent, bold and keen to please;  No older than 18 months;  A German Shepherd, Rottweiler or Belgian German Shepherd (Malinois) is preferred, with a certificate of pedigree or the ability to obtain such certificate;  In good health and up to date with all vaccinations, intestinal worming and heart worm preventatives;  Must be of sound temperament. If you believe your dog has what the NSW Police Force requires in a potential police dog and would like to have your dog assessed by the NSW Police, contact the NSW Police dog unit on (02) 9541 9744 for more information.

A HISTORY OF THE NSW POLICE DOG UNIT NSW Police formed the dog squad in 1932 after an extensive hunt for double-murder suspect William Cyril Moxley in April of that year. It was decided the use of a tracking dog would have dramatically shortened the two-week manhunt across Sydney. The site for the first kennels was in Alexandria, Sydney, which, at the time was a swampy wasteland. The kennels doubled as a holding yard for court exhibits and the dogs were expected to work even in their downtime by guarding those exhibits. In 1954, the dog squad was disbanded but reformed in 1979. The Dog Unit, as it is now known, has become a highly trained extension of the force, diversifying into areas including firearm/explosive and drug detection work. The four breeds used for police work are German and Belgian Shepherds, Rottweilers and Labradors.

Bob may have been through the door, but there was still a way to go. He quickly proved he was manically focused and was more agile than most police dogs, with the ability to jump and scale ridiculous heights. But at the training level, he struggled to master

tracking, a crucial skill for the job. “In the end, I sat him down in the training field and whispered in his ear, ‘Mate, you’ve got to do it today or it’s all over’,” says Hammant. Bob not only did it, but he has become one of the best trackers among

the 44 police dogs in NSW. Just recently, this skill saved a man’s life after a car accident in the Hunter region. “It was a bad smash but nobody could find the driver,” says Hammant. “We didn’t arrive until three hours after the accident but Bob led me a kilometre down the road where the driver had collapsed unconscious in the bush well away from the road. “The guy wouldn’t have lasted through the night if left in that condition,” says the sergeant. Bob, at five years old, has probably two more years in the job because police dogs must be retired while they are at the top of their game as many lives depend on their performance. But Bob’s happy ending doesn’t finish there. His off-duty charm has won him a special place in the Hammant family, especially with the two young children. “They were wary at first but gradually it was ‘Dad, can Bob have a blanket because it’s cold?’ or ‘Dad, can Bob come inside because it’s raining?’” recalls Hammant. They have learned to love Bob partly because they are well aware that when Dad goes to work, it is Bob who has his back. “Sometimes you can’t help but think what an amazing transformation for a dog to go through,” says Hammant. “To put it bluntly, Bob went from the dog house to the penthouse, and I can’t think of any dog more deserving.” DL www.dogslife.com.au 69


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Age is just a mindset

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They may appear to be an unlikely pair — the fastest breed of dog on earth and a 91-year-old — but these two make the perfect match, writes Kylie Baracz.

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hen concerned daughter Sue Ritchie contacted Greyhound Rescue to say that her 91-year-old father, Syd Twist, a Gladesville local, had lost his beloved dog and he now “had nothing to get out of bed for”, the organisation went on a search to find him the perfect partner. As it so happened, Greyhound Rescue founders, Janet and Peter Flann, had a dog in mind — a 10-year-old senior dog called Cheeky — that was desperately searching for a home. “Sue’s story that Syd had lost his dog and ‘didn’t have anything to get out of bed for in the morning’ almost brought tears to our eyes,” says Peter. “But the thought that we could help by letting him adopt an older Greyhound was a good feeling. Not many people want to adopt an older dog but this seemed to be a match made in heaven, so it was a win for Syd and a win for Cheeky.” After a standard trial period, the organisation successfully completed Cheeky’s adoption with Syd. “Cheeky was being fostered by Rita, who knew her character and personality very well, so Rita was confident of a good match and she and Cheeky visited Syd to see how they got along,” says Peter. “The rest is history, as they hit it off right from the start.” “Syd is so happy and loves Cheeky to bits,” says Janet. “She has rejuvenated an already spritely Syd, giving him a new lease on life.” Syd and Cheeky now spend their days happily sitting outside the front of their home in Gladesville, meeting all the local passers-by. “Both ourselves and Rita have been back to visit Syd and Cheeky and the most important change is that Syd is happy again and has something ‘to get out of bed for’,” says Peter. “His life has changed; he has a purpose and that is to look after Cheeky. Syd loves to sit outside the front of his house and meet the people passing by, so he and Cheeky are well known in his street. Cheeky is also a great companion for Syd and is very happy with him in her life.” It goes without saying that Syd is now a staunch advocate of Greyhounds as pets! DL

ADOPTING A GREYHOUND The Flanns are advocates of adopting older pets and say Greyhounds can play an important role in the lives of their senior owners. “To see the bond between Cheeky and Syd speaks volumes for this much-maligned, misunderstood and gentle breed of dog,” says Janet. While many people would not consider a Greyhound as a pet, Cheeky is an example of how this gentle breed can offer such love and companionship and make a difference to one man’s life. “Greyhounds make great pets because they are gentle and affectionate. They don’t bark much, they don’t lose much fur, they don’t have that doggy smell and they don’t need much exercise,” says Peter. “They are suitable for a variety of homes and can fit into a family situation with children or couples and because of their low maintenance, they are also ideal for retired people. With the right supervision, they can even live in units.” Sadly, on many occasions, senior Greyhounds are overlooked for their younger counterparts. “Older Greyhounds are overlooked frequently because people want a pet ‘for a long time’. However, Greyhounds have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, so even a seven- or eight-year-old has a good portion of their life left. Plus, older Greyhounds often have qualities that younger ones don’t and they need homes and love just as much as their younger counterparts,” says Peter. Cheeky and Syd’s story is one of true companionship, proving Greyhounds and seniors can lead rewarding, happy lives together.

GREYHOUND RESCUE Greyhound Rescue is a fully registered charity that relies solely on donations and fundraising to continue its work. In 2014, Greyhound Rescue found homes for about 150 Greyhounds as people are realising more and more what great pets they make. But, as fast as they are homed, more come in from the racing industry and Peter and Janet usually have about 60 Greyhounds in their care at any one time, all looking for homes. A lot of them are also in kennels because the organisation doesn’t have enough foster carers. If you would like to help by fostering, adopting or simply donating, visit greyhoundrescue.com.au or search for “Greyhound Rescue” on Facebook. Donations of more than $2 are tax deductible. www.dogslife.com.au 71


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ASK THE EXPERTS Dear Dogs Life, do female dogs go through menopause? Shaz, via FB Dr Michael Archinal says: This is a very common question and one that I get asked on a regular basis. One definition of menopause is the end of a woman’s monthly reproductive cycle. Unlike in humans, dogs do not go through menopause. Dogs do not have a monthly cycle, but go into oestrus (also known as heat) about every six months. The regularity of their reproductive cycle depends on the age, breed and individual. The time between heats may increase as your dog gets older, decreasing the number of times they go into heat each year. In one report, 18-month-old dogs cycled an average of 1.65 times per year, while seven-year-old bitches cycled an average of 1.4 times per year. As your bitch continues to age past seven, fewer and fewer heat cycles occur. Eventually, they may stop cycling altogether. For dogs that aren’t desexed (where the uterus and ovaries are removed, known as ovariohysterectomy), reproductive health risks can increase, such as false pregnancy, pyometra (infected uterus) and mammary cancer. The best way to prevent these issues is to desex your dog.

SAFE SUNSCREENS Dear Dogs Life, my dog is a white Maltese Terrier. Should I be using dog sunscreen when I go on walks? Is it safe? Daisy, via email Dr Michael Archinal says: We are very fortunate to live in such a great country, however, the constant problem of sunburn is ever-present. All animals can suffer sunburn to varying degrees. The most common areas of concern in dogs are the top of their nose and tips of their ears. Lots of dogs like sun baking, even on the hottest of days, and can also expose their tummies to the harmful effects of UV radiation. Some possible solutions/preventatives to this include: protective sun suits, creams and lotions. I usually only recommend a sun cream 74

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if the nose is very pink and if the dog likes to lie in the sun. I have seen Maltese dogs with small hats and even doggy sunglasses to prevent sun exposure issues. I feel it would be fine not to apply sunscreen, as most dogs lick it off immediately anyway. Also, be aware that some human creams can be toxic for pets, so check with your local vet about one that would be suitable for your dog if needed. Fortunately, the dog’s fur acts like a shirt and can prevent sunburn, and most dogs are inside during the hottest part of the day.

TOUGH TRICKSTER Dear Dogs Life, I have a Border Terrier girl who is eight years old. She is great to take out for walks on her own onlead or off but if I take her to the offlead dog park, she acts all tough and wants to take on all the other dogs. I don’t know how to get her to be nice to the other dogs. I’ve tried letting her talk to them through the fence, then taking her in. I’ve tried with fewer dogs in the dog park. They all look like they are having so much fun and I feel she is missing out. Have you got any ideas? Thanks! Sherie, via FB Peta Clarke says: Off-lead exercise areas look like doggy nirvana to most of us humans. Dogs frolicking happily, chasing each other, wrestling … it seems like all dogs would just love a chance to be involved, doesn’t it? With a little learning about canine body language and time spent observing dogs at a dog park, many people begin to question their first belief that this is doggy heaven. While many dogs do enjoy the social gayeties of these areas, there are just as many dogs that don’t. How can we tell? By their behaviour. Body language is a dead giveaway about how a dog is feeling and whether or not the experience is a positive one for them or not. Just like us, some dogs like wild parties, some don’t. I find especially that smaller dogs can often feel very intimidated by dog parks. This intimidation can show itself in many ways. I am sure some people have called your little one “dominant” and “bossy”, given the

behaviour you describe. Many smaller dogs learn it is better to act confident and defensive at first, but really, at the core of it is a lack of confidence. Think of a human “bully”. They are always the “wannabes”. Real dominance or confidence doesn’t have to be pushed in another’s face. It is there for all to feel. Dominant dogs are rarely (I want to say never!) the ones in a fight or strutting their stuff. So the bottom line is that your description of her behaviour makes me question her comfort in these situations. The fact that she behaves beautifully, with no aggression from what I am reading, towards other dogs while walking with you really makes me feel that the whole situation is too overwhelming for her. My suggestion would be to start up a walking group of friends with dogs and meet regularly for walks. This is great to build up relationships with no pressure. Then, if you really do think she is missing out on the off-lead play, try to end a walk at the park when there is no one there so your group (doesn’t matter how many) can have some off-lead time. And just to put your mind at ease, I don’t think she is missing out on anything. You sound like a thoughtful, loving owner. If we could ask any dog, I think what they would ask for is as much of their owners as they can get. Playing and interacting with YOU is what tops her list, Sherie!

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REPRODUCTIVE RISKS


SEPARATION WOES Dear Dogs Life, What is the best training method to help my dog overcome separation anxiety? Graham, via FB Peta Clarke says: Oh Graham, there is little worse in a dog trainer’s mind than these words. This is often a really tough problem to crack and it takes a huge amount of time and consistent effort from the owner. Separation anxiety can be exhibited by dogs in many different ways. Some will sit in the corner and shake, others will become so distressed they chew and claw through solid wooden doors in an attempt to get to their people. Just like us, different dogs have different social needs. We often find separation disorders being exhibited by dogs that are described by their owners as “great dogs 95 per cent of the time” because they have a strong emotional need and attachment to their owner. Recent studies into separation anxiety show us that there are three different subclasses of dogs that exhibit this disorder, depending on their behaviour towards their owner when they are at home. Some dogs are hyper dependent from birth and have to be with their owner always, following them wherever they go. Other dogs are not as “clingy” when the owner is at home, but still show a desire to be with their owner when they can from a young age. The third group are dogs that have developed the condition after a traumatic event when they were at home alone — anything from being in the house when a break-in occurred or a bad thunderstorm. The isolation triggers emotions and the disorder is established. Why am I telling you this? To help you understand why there is no easy answer to your question. Each of the classes of dogs described above will require different modification plans and each individual dog needs a plan custom-made for it. Your work situation, the people and animals the dog shares the home with, the dog’s age, health status, as well as the intensity of the separation anxiety should all be taken into account. Any trainer that tells you “just do this and that” without taking a full history and meeting the dog is not doing you or your animal justice. The old go-to was once to tie the dog up and force it not to follow you around. We have learned a lot since then and many of us have seen

Dr Michael Archinal

EXPERT PANEL DR MICHAEL ARCHINAL “Dr Ark” has been a vet for 25 years and runs three busy practices with more than 50 staff. For more than a decade, Dr Archinal has appeared regularly on Channel Nine’s Mornings and has been on ABC radio talkback for 15 years. He is passionate about the human– animal bond and gets invited to lecture around the world. He has also written a successful book on the subject. He has been married for 24 years, and has three boys and many pets with attitude.

Peta Clarke

PETA CLARKE

Dr Renee O’Duhring

Peta has trained animals professionally for 20 years. While her current focus is her lifelong love of working with dogs, she also has a long history training exotic animals for zoos and the film industry. Having studied psychology, Peta is a self-labelled nerd when it comes to the science behind training and is a regular lecturer for various canine associations and dog training clubs. Currently, Peta works as a consultant to zoos, vets and dog owners worldwide, helping better the lives of animals in human care.

DR RENEE O’DUHRING

Dr Kersti Seksel

Holistic veterinary expert Dr O’Duhring is the creator of the online holistic veterinary health service Roar Kingdom (roarkingdom.com.au) and an authority on natural diets for dogs and cats. She has been a vet since 2003 and has worked in small-animal and mixed practices, as well as a specialist emergency centre. Dr O’Duhring believes that integrating conventional and complementary therapies promotes health and wellbeing and can help treat disease.

DR KERSTI SEKSEL Dr Seksel is a registered veterinary specialist in behavioural medicine. She is the director of behavioural medicine at the Sydney Animal Behaviour Service as well as the Animal Referral Hospital (Sydney) and the Melbourne Veterinary Specialist Centre. She is a regular presenter on ABC radio and other media outlets, and speaks nationally and internationally on a regular basis.

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STINKY BREATH Dear Dogs Life, My dog has really smelly breath. How can I make it smell better? April, via email Dr Renee O’Duhring says: Firstly, I would suggest you have a vet check your dog for any evidence of dental disease. If there is tartar present or any gingival reaction, then smelly breath will result. If the teeth are white and shiny and don’t need a scale and polish, then the next thing to look at would be diet. If your dog is eating a processed- or cooked-food diet, the by-product of that is usually a clogging of the system and various symptoms depending on the dog’s individual weaknesses. Some dogs will get recurrent ear infections or skin rashes, some will get digestive upsets, some will gain weight and develop fatty lumps, and other more robust animals will just get smelly breath. I would suggest converting your pet to a simple raw-food rotational diet that includes a balanced offering of lean meat, organ meats, meaty bones (nature’s natural toothbrush for dogs) and some plant matter such as cooked sweet potato and ripe fruit. All of these food groups should be fed on separate days for ease of digestion and elimination, and this will promote a cleaner system, including sweeter-smelling breath. Fast days are

also important for a dog as this allows time for cleansing. There are products available that can be added to your dog’s water, such as Healthy Mouth, which reduce the buildup of plaque on the teeth and can be a helpful addition to your home dental care program, as can brushing your dog’s teeth daily. If your pet has good dental conformation (meaning its teeth are positioned well in the mouth with no crowding or malpositioning), converting to a natural raw diet is likely to be the most important change you can make.

sliced lemon in boiled water overnight, then discarding the lemon, will kill any fleas and act as a flea repellent as well. Feed your pet a raw-food diet so their system is as clean and healthy as it can be and flea bites will be less irritating for them. And if you are in a heartworm area, consider using Sentinel as your heartworm preventative. This is a monthly heartworm preventative that is well tolerated by most pets and includes a flea sterilising agent in it, so any flea your dog picks up cannot lay viable eggs. This reduces the reliance on additional chemicals for flea control.

FLEA FRUSTRATION

DISTRAUGHT DOG SITTER

Dear Dogs Life, my dog has fleas but I don’t want to use any chemicals to get rid of them. Is there a natural alternative? Rose, via email Dr Renee O’Duhring says: Most areas of Australia experience a perfect climate for the flea lifecycle so fleas can very quickly get out of control. Every female flea that jumps on a dog can potentially lay thousands of eggs in your environment that can hatch into new fleas, and in warm climates this happens very quickly. When dealing with fleas, it is important to understand that the fleas on a dog represent only five per cent of the flea population in your home; the other 95 per cent consists of flea eggs, larvae and pupae in the pet’s bedding, home and garden, which can all potentially hatch into new fleas and reinfest your dog. If you want to avoid using chemicals on your pet, then you will need to focus efforts on environmental control. Vacuum the house at least once a week, wash any pets' bedding weekly in hot water and dry in the sun. A dusting of natural products such as diatomaceous earth can be used in the home and garden and on pets' bedding. Electric flea traps can also be useful. Most flea-control products are touted as safe, but many of them can cause reactions and I generally reserve their use for pets that are highly flea-allergic. Instead of resorting to potentially harmful chemicals, try flea-combing your pet daily first and removing any fleas found. Weekly soaks in a lemon rinse made by steeping a

Dear Dogs Life, I’m house sitting right now and I am having trouble getting the dog to behave. How do I get another person’s dog to listen to me? Alice, via email Dr Kersti Seksel says: There are a number of reasons for how a dog behaves in any given situation. These reasons relate to the individual temperament (genetic predisposition) and past experience of the dog, the physical and momentary aspects of the environment, how you deliver your instructions (verbal and visual cues), and the interaction between all these factors. It may also include the relationship between the dog and yourself — the dog recognising that you are not the owner — but there are many other potential factors at play. As you have not stated what it is that you want the dog to do and what behaviours you want to change, here is some general advice. First, what is the dog’s temperament? Is the dog usually calm and assured or agitated, anxious and fearful? In an aroused state, a dog may have difficulty attending to the external cues, including your instructions — dogs, like people, need to be relaxed and calm in order to pay attention to what is asked of them. So if the dog is not calm, it will be harder for it to listen to you. Quiet praise can help relax dogs. Second, knowing the history of the dog is also helpful. For example, the style and intensity of attachment that the dog has with the owners may provide clues about the current behaviour. It is not uncommon for dogs to have separation anxiety, which means it may be more difficult for the dog to focus on you. Separation

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this one-size-fits-all method backfire and exacerbate the issue. Bottom line is you need a veterinary behaviourist to help you. Medication will potentially be required to help the dog when you have to leave it, and a systematic behavioural modification plan that is made just for your pooch is the best way to get your family through the hell that is canine separation anxiety. Best of luck.


anxiety and other anxiety disorders require treatment by a veterinarian or veterinary behaviourist. Another aspect to consider is the amount of socialisation that the dog has received in the past with people apart from the owners. A dog with limited prior socialisation may find it more difficult to adapt when the owners have left the house and its care to another person. This may also interfere with its ability to engage with you. The environment also plays an important role in shaping the response of the dog. You may want to investigate the immediate physical environment. Are the surroundings affecting the situation and the dog’s arousal level? Are there other dogs around or other people around when the dog is less likely to listen to you? See if you can change or manage those aspects to your advantage. There may also be more fleeting or situational aspects that can affect the dog’s behaviour. An example may be the weather — a thunderstorm, for instance, may dramatically affect the dog’s level of arousal and, hence, ability to attend to your cues. Of course, you also play a major role in the whole interaction. The key is to be clear and simple with instructions and reward the dog for following them. When good behaviour is followed up with treats, praise and positive attention, the dog will want to repeat it. This also creates a positive relationship between you and the dog — the more quality interactions, the more the dog associates you with positive experiences, providing further motivation to listen to you in future. If the dog is not anxious but just has not been taught manners, such as sitting or staying, then you can consider doing some reward-based manners training. Using the simple ABCs can be helpful. ABC stands for Antecedent, Behaviour and Consequence. Antecedent refers to everything that happens leading up to the behaviour. Paying attention to what is going on will provide valuable clues in identifying the factors that may be influencing the resulting behaviour. Once identified, you can then manage them. Behaviour refers to the response of the dog. It is helpful to have a clear definition of the behaviour you wish

to see in the dog. Consequence refers to what the dog experiences following the behaviour. Consequences are very powerful in shaping behaviour and are an essential tool for encouraging desirable behaviours. Creating a positive experience and rewarding the dog every time it acts in a way that is closer to the behaviour you ultimately want is one of your most powerful strategies. Avoid all punishment, even yelling at the dog, as it does not communicate how you want it to behave and may make things worse. To sum up, try to establish a situation in which the dog is able to listen to you, and then encourage behaviours that you want by using rewards. Managing a dog’s behaviour can be challenging, especially if the dog is not initially inclined to listen to you, but be patient and reward the dog when he behaves in a desirable manner, and you will achieve a real, positive change. Good luck.

SNOOZY SNUGGLER Dear Dogs Life, How do I get my dog to stop getting on my bed and sleeping without physically kicking her off. She is very small. Tom, via email Dr Kersti Seksel says: Thank you for sharing your challenge; this is a common question. As with most challenges, there are various approaches. Finding the right combination depends as much on your final desired outcome as it does on your dog. The first question is when does your dog sleep on your bed? When you are out or when you are sleeping there? I would certainly not encourage kicking her off as it does not teach her what you actually want her to do or where to sleep. The way to change her behaviour is never to punish her but always to redirect her to where you want her to go and reward her when she does what you would like. One approach is by changing the environment. In many ways, this is the quickest and most straightforward approach. Just by keeping your bedroom closed and off-limits will keep your dog off the bed. You could allow her access only when you are present and able to ask her to move off your bed every time she hops on. As she is very small, elevating your

bed may be all that is necessary to stop her access and prevent the behaviour. Adding an extra mattress is one way of doing this and increasing the height of your bed frame may be another. If her access to your bed is dependent on climbing onto surrounding furniture first, consider removing those stepping stones. Giving her a very comfortable place of her own to sleep also forms part of the overall solution. Encourage her to use her own bed by rewarding her every time you see her resting there. Use quiet praise and treats to reward her so she knows this is where you want her to sleep. You may also place some soft comforting items, such as a blanket with your scent, in her bed when it approaches her time to sleep. If she is getting on the bed at night while you are sleeping, you may also consider crate training her. A crate is a safe spot that the dog can retreat to whenever she wants to rest. The introduction of a crate has to be done slowly — never just put her in the crate and shut the door. Place treats or toys in the crate and encourage her to rest in it. Let her come and go as she pleases and then start shutting the door for very short periods of time. Over time, most dogs learn to love the crate as their special, safe place and she can sleep there at night with the door shut so she cannot get on your bed while you are sleeping. Last, consider what your own goals are regarding her sleeping habits. If you aim purely to prevent your dog from using your bed but not from accessing your bedroom, simply relocating her sleeping spot from your bed to her own may be satisfactory. If you want her to sleep in a different room, try gradually moving her bed further away, but remember to reward her for sleeping in her own bed every night. I am sure you will find a happy solution. DL

STRUGGLING WITH YOUR POOCH? Send us your questions for our expert panel to Advice/Dogs Life, Locked Bag 154, North Ryde NSW 1670, or email dogslife@ universalmagazines.com.au www.dogslife.com.au 77


BREEDS ED BRE RE: U T FEA AHUA U H CHI

Long before it was touted as an accessory to the rich and famous, the Chihuahua was a companion to our great ancestors, writes Helen Frost.

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MORE THAN AN ACCESSORY


AT A GLANCE Grooming: ##### Exercise: #####

In South America, figurines that resemble the Chihuahua were found in cities such as Colima. According to legend, when an Aztec Indian chief died, they were buried with their little dogs

because the Chihuahuas were holy and would guide their master’s soul to safety in the afterlife. There is also the theory that Chihuahuas were brought from China

Size: Small Lifespan: 12–16 years+. Some Chihuahuas have been known to live to nearly 21 years. Cost: $600-$1000. Most breeders will have waiting lists.

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ade famous in recent years by television commercials and Paris Hilton’s purse pal Tinkerbell, the Chihuahua is a dog with an interesting past. Some say the breed has been around since the Ancient Egyptians 3000 years ago, while other sources insist they are known as Chihuahuas because they come from a Mexican town with the same name. According to dogplace.com, the plausible theory is that the breed’s ancient roots are in Egypt or Sudan and that it migrated across the Bering Straits or was carried through the Mediterranean countries to Malta. The World Encyclopaedia of Dogs reports this happened in 600BC, when Carthaginian colonists took a few Chihuahuas from North Africa to Malta. This theory is supported by mummified remains closely resembling the Chihuahua that were found in an Egyptian tomb. Zoologists discovered a molera in the skull of the remains, which is a soft spot similar to that on the skull of a newborn baby. This is a trait that the mummified remains share with today’s Chihuahua. A variety of artworks show images of dogs closely resembling the pintsized breed. In around 1482, Alessandro Botticelli was painting them in Scenes from The Life of Moses in Rome’s Sistine Chapel. In Britain, the breed features in paintings by Edwin Landseer from London, who was famous for painting animals. Additionally, an oil painting called Alexander and Diogenes features a group of dogs with a Chihuahua standing in the corner.

CARE OF THE BREED Daily: A quick walk and plenty of stimulation is the Chihuahua’s main requirement. Fresh water is important and a shaded area is essential. They need to be fed a well-balanced diet. Remember your furry friend needs lots of attention and both mental and physical activities. Weekly: This breed has a short coat, which only has to be brushed once or twice a week to remove any knots. Being primarily an inside dog, it should have a bath once a week and will enjoy the attention of a bath and a brush. Monthly: The basic necessities of trimming nails, cleaning ears and eyes apply. Because we have a lot of dry grass in Australia, breeders advise to constantly check for ticks and make sure no grass seeds are stuck in their coats after they have been outside. It is also imperative they have their annual vet checks to keep them healthy. www.dogslife.com.au 79


to Mexico by Spanish settlers but no matter what you believe, there is one aspect consistent with every story: the Chihuahua was a companion dog and although small, has always been held in high regard.

OWNING A CHIHUAHUA Heather Healey from the Chihuahua Club of Victoria loves “being owned” by her 80

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Chihuahua and has been breeding for more than 30 years. “The perfect person for a Chihuahua is someone the Chihuahua can train to do everything their little hearts desire, to be a good cook, come with plenty of cuddles, have a lovely warm bed and, of course, be there for them,” she says. When you welcome a Chihuahua into your family, you need to

remember that this breed has staying power. Becoming a parent to a Chihuahua is a long commitment. “The lifespan of a Chihuahua is wonderful. My oldest dog lived to just five days short of celebrating his 21st birthday and I have been very lucky to have had a number of animals live to 16, 17, 18 and a couple to 19 years of age,” Healey says.

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BREEDS


Personality plus is one way to describe this breed, however, you will find that just like us, they all have different personalities. Intelligence is an attribute most commonly associated with these creatures and they are generally versatile and can adapt to most environments. You can always be certain of an interesting life when you own one of these humorous animals. Healey had one such experience at the prestigious Melbourne Royal Show. “One of the funniest moments I have had with this breed was when I was showing a particular dog at the show,” she recalls. “She strutted her stuff perfectly and walked back to the judge very proudly, but the moment the judge put his hand down, she immediately thought, ‘time for a tummy rub,’ so she instantly rolled on her back with all four feet in the air, much to the enjoyment of the viewing public.” DL

5 fast facts

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Personality: Gay spirited and intelligent, neither snappy nor withdrawn, the Chihuahua is an independent breed that is extremely loyal to its master. You will find a lifelong companion in a Chihuahua and you must prepare yourself for some fun as they are quite little characters and love to play the comedian. Their intelligent nature ensures they are inquisitive and their seemingly abundant supply of energy makes them fairly active as well. They can be easy going and are very affectionate. Suitability: Perfect for someone looking for a best friend, the Chihuahua loves to follow their mum or dad around for as much of the day as they can. This breed is suited to families with older children as smaller children often mistake them for toys. If you live in a small apartment or don’t have room for a big dog, then consider a Chihuahua as your next pet. Favourite activities: Anything involving their owner! The Chihuahua is happiest when with his master and will even put up with being toted around in a handbag. They are happy with a quick mad run around the backyard and will then be content with getting the rest of their daily exercise needs following the family around. Due to their compact size, you need to ensure they have enough food as they burn off energy quickly. Watchdog qualities: The Chihuahua makes an excellent watchdog and will hear things long before their owners. It has often been said the Chihuahua is a big dog in a little body and they don’t necessarily realise they are so petite in stature. They can be extremely protective of their owners and may take a while to warm to strangers. Hereditary diseases: Slipping patella is when the kneecap is not sitting in the correct position and, as the name suggests, slips out of place. If purchased from a reputable breeder, the Chihuahua should be fine and healthy as breeders have managed to breed out this condition. It should also be remembered that the breed originated from a hotter climate and needs to be kept warm in winter.

FOR MORE INFORMATION For more information on the Chihuahua or to contact a local breed club, visit your state canine council website via ankc.org.au. New Zealand readers can visit nzkc.org.nz for information.

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BREEDS its very own breed and granted a special place in The Kennel Club Stud Book (UK).

BREED : RE FEATU H S I L ENG ER G N I SPR L E SPANI

SPRING INTO LIFE With an unrivalled enthusiasm for life, the English Springer Spaniel enjoys every moment it has with its owner and loves getting into mischief on its own. Helen Frost reports.

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here has been much debate about the history of the English Springer Spaniel, but most clubs generally agree on the basics. One of the most reliable sources for the breed’s history is the English Springer Spaniel Club in the United Kingdom — and even that club only speculates on the exact origin.

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It is thought the birthplace of the Spaniel was Spain, due to the name of the breed. Documentation from the 14th century refers to a man by the name of Gaston de Foix, whose dogs were bred to act like the Springer Spaniel. In 1800, the dogs were split into two main categories. The larger animals were called Field Spaniels and English Spaniels,

while dogs weighing 25 pounds or less were called Cocking Spaniels as they were used mainly for hunting woodcock; the more affectionate name of “Cockers” was adopted for the smaller breed. It’s reported that by 1812, a pure strain of English Springers was beginning and, finally, in 1902, the English Springer Spaniel was officially crowned

One thing that can always be said of an English Springer is that it definitely has its own personality and likes to be included as part of the family. One person who knows how spirited Springers can be is breeder Kate Keely. She says they are natural comedians so most days they will do something to catch your attention or amuse or embarrass you. “We have one housedog, Jake, who, if he dislikes the program you are watching, will stand in front of the TV and loudly squeak his favourite toy until you change the channel. One of our girls, Brenda, will try to get around the back of the TV (to see where the noise is coming from) every time she hears a police siren in The Bill,” laughs Keely. Some have said that Spaniels aren’t the brightest dogs, but often their selective behaviour belies their intelligence. As with many breeds, there are some Springers that are exceptionally obedient and others that have such large personalities that they like to make their own decisions. They don’t always seem to understand “get off the couch”, but are perfectly capable of pushing the bin away from the wall and using

AT A GLANCE Grooming: ##### Exercise: ##### Size: Medium Lifespan: 10+ years Cost: $850 - $1500

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PERSONALITY PLUS


with all sorts of underwear after she’d pulled them out of the ironing basket or the drawers, but it wasn’t until she swallowed a lacy red pair that she learnt it wasn’t the brightest thing to do. Ruby had to go to the vet and get the item removed from her tummy, but she recovered very quickly and was back bouncing around in no time.

LEGENDARY SPRINGERS

TOP TIP You need plenty of space and toys to have a Springer. If you have a pool, it will need to be fenced as Springers love water. The yard does need to have secure gates and fencing as Springers excel at jumping. the step pedal to open it up. Keely explains that Springers have a great sense of occasion and will pick the time when the in-laws are arriving to festoon the hallway with underwear — and the important work phone call is always punctuated by a loud raspberry from a fluffy hedgehog. “The canine armchair critic, and its usually Keith, will turn on the TV by shoving his paw on the remote-control button to give you Metallica in Concert just when you are on a conference call,” she says. If you are after a companion as much as a family pet, you can always count on a Springer to be included in activities and follow wherever you go. “Jake loves fluffy, squeaky toys and always has to come with me at the shows to buy new ones,” Keely says. “Unfortunately, he has a ‘try before you buy’ mentality so he insists on going through the basket of toys, squeaking each one until he finds the one he wants. This

can take some time and means I have to buy about five of them just so I can get away!” Springers definitely have their own personality and will stamp their mark on whatever they do very quickly. “On a good day, Keith and Brenda can be content with rearranging the outside doormats — either changing the front one for the back one or piling them all in the middle of the driveway. On weekends, they hide them altogether. Keith is quite particular about the feng shui of the garden being just right!” laughs Keely. One factor affecting all Spaniels, and particularly the English Springer variety, is that they love to eat — and sometimes it isn’t necessarily food. One English Springer that Keely bred, called Ruby, went to a loving family home as a puppy and they discovered she had a penchant for knickers. Ruby’s mother, Pauline, had also been a kleptomaniac! On a number of occasions, Ruby’s owners caught her

There have been some notable English Springer Spaniels as they have a very strong sense of smell and can be easily trained to perform specialist tasks. Buster was a Royal Army Veterinary Corps

arms and explosives search dog and he served with the Duke of Wellington’s regiment in Iraq. He won the Dickin medal for finding an extremist group’s hidden arsenal of weapons and explosives. Keely explains that he is probably one of the greatestachieving Springers of all time and he’s known as Buster the bomb detection dog. The Dickin medal is seen as the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. “His achievements in the field of war are legendary,” says Keely. “It was an outstanding day for the breed historically, and great for mankind, showing the world how intelligent and brave Springers are.” DL

FOR MORE INFORMATION For more information on the English Springer Spaniel or to contact a local breed club, visit your state canine council website via ankc.org.au. New Zealand readers can visit nzkc.org.nz for information. www.dogslife.com.au 83


ED BRE RE: TU FEA PPET I WH

BREEDS

call them the ‘potato chip’ dog — you can’t stop at just one!”

TRAINING ROUTINES

SLEEK SNUGGLERS

Graceful, agile and highly adaptable, the adorable Whippet is the perfect fit for the right family, writes Michelle Segal.

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AT A GLANCE Grooming: ##### Exercise: #####

CARE OF THE BREED

Size: Medium

Daily: Because of its fine skin and coat, the Whippet needs to be well sheltered from cold conditions and given adequate shade in summer. Always provide fresh water and feed an appropriate diet. A daily outing — preferably a good run in an off-leash, well-fenced area — is important for your dog’s wellbeing. A daily cuddle on the couch is a must. Weekly: Check if nails need trimming. Wipe down the coat with a hound glove to get rid of dead hairs and debris. Like all dogs, some Whippets can suffer from teeth and gum problems so give your pooch treats to encourage healthy gums and teeth. Monthly: Whippets only need to be bathed when necessary. Too much bathing will strip the dog’s coat of essential oils. Other: Gastrointestinal worming every three months for adults, more frequently for puppies, heartworming and vaccinations.

Lifespan: 10+ years Cost: $800+

six-week-old Whippet pups, she says she was amazed at how unlike adult Whippets they were. “These little darlings were six weeks old and looked more like Bull Terriers, sort of chunky with broad, boofie faces and short legs,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘how on earth could this little fella turn into a long-legged, slim and elegant adult Whippet?’ I have since watched the legs get long, the nose come out, the waistline go up, the chest come down …” Eventually, Mitchelson brought a boy she named Tango home with her. “He was such a calm, gentle, affectionate puppy, hardly putting a foot wrong. I was so amazed at how laid-back and ‘bomb proof’ Whippets could be. Of course, once I had my first Whippet, it wasn’t long before I was looking for my second. We

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he versatility of the endearing Whippet will have it racing around the oval at lightening speed one minute and jostling for the best spot on the couch the next. While most people assume this beautiful hound was born only to run, the truth is it enjoys nothing more than lazing around the house with the family and grabbing the best spot on the sofa for a long, restful nap. Belonging to the sighthound group of dogs, which includes the Greyhound, Afghan Hound, Saluki and Borzoi, the agile Whippet is an adorable pooch that injects a huge amount of loyalty, fun and love into any household. They are extremely friendly dogs, which adapt well to their environments. They are particularly well suited to families because of their small, easily manageable size and easy-to-carefor coat. Self-confessed Whippet fan Rae Mitchelson, of the Whippet Association of Victoria, began her love affair with the breed more than 14 years ago. “I am besotted with this wonderful breed of dog,” she confesses. “I love their loyalty. I love their sense of humour. I love looking at them, as they are like porcelain statues. I love their calmness and when coming home after a stressful day at work, it’s such a joy and comfort to be greeted so warmly.” When Mitchelson first came across

The Whippet came to prominence in the industrial areas of England and Wales in the late 1800s and was owned predominantly by blue-collar mining families, who would race the dogs in the popular Sunday Whippet rag races. Some lucky people would come home with a stash of prize money, a welcome bonus for these struggling working-class families. It’s believed the lower classes were banned from owning the larger and slightly faster Greyhound, and the Whippet became known as the “poor man’s Greyhound”. Like most puppies, Whippet pups can be very active and mischievous, but they usually develop into calm, mature adults. As with all breeds, a good training routine in puppyhood will ensure you end up with a sociable and well-mannered adult. Contrary to popular belief, Whippets do get on with other household pets, such as cats. Whippets are fairly timid at heart and with the correct guidance, an inquisitive puppy will soon learn who the “boss” is.


5 fast facts

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Personality: The Whippet is loyal and friendly, but craves to be part of the family pack and will not be happy if relegated to the backyard. It is a playful and affectionate dog and promises hours of enjoyment with the right family. Favourite activities: Lazing on the couch and keeping warm in its owner’s bed are two favourites, along with a daily walk and a good run in an off-leash area that’s well fenced and secure. The Whippet also loves and excels at sports such as agility and obedience — and is the king of the Frisbee! Watchdog qualities: Whippets are most comfortable with their families and while they are not known for their watchdog qualities, they can be aloof with strangers and will alert you to anyone venturing near your property. Backyard requirements: It’s imperative you have a fenced, secure backyard as the Whippet, being a sighthound, will want to follow anything that catches its eye and will attempt to do so. Having been bred to run after small moving objects, the Whippet needs close monitoring when outside so it does not run onto the road. As long as your Whippet gets regular outings, it does not need a huge yard and can even live happily in an apartment Hereditary diseases: The Whippet is known to be a healthy breed and suffers from very few hereditary problems, other than complications from old age. Nevertheless, it is always wise to buy from registered and reputable breeders who screen their dogs for hereditary illnesses.

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The Whippet is a strong, hardy breed with few known hereditary diseases. While this dog loves nothing more than lazing around the house, put it on a field with a Frisbee and it will easily outrun every other dog there. The Whippet is even faster than the Greyhound over a short distance, despite the Greyhound being known as the fastest dog in the world. The Whippet is especially popular because it is an easy breed to care for. Its short coat, which does shed a little, needs only a regular wipe down to get rid of dead hair, and bathing only when necessary. The downside to its short, easy-care coat is that the breed will suffer in very cold weather if it does not have suitable shelter. Preferably, and particularly in winter, your Whippet should be allowed to live in the house with the family.

many elderly people who have them as companions because they are so gentle and easy to manage,” she says. “They do love to go for their walks but if the weather is too cold for humans, it’s too cold for Whippets, too, and they would much prefer to stay home by the fire or under the doona. I know many young families who have them — a Whippet will play ball or Frisbee for hours … I know people who live near the beach and their Whippets take pleasure in a swim because they have been brought up to enjoy the water. They will fit in with whatever you want to do, as they just love to be with you.” DL

FENCE YOUR YARD While it’s a misconception that the Whippet needs constant exercise due to its racing origins, a regular walk and preferably a run in an off-leash but well-fenced area will keep your pooch fit and healthy. However, never allow a Whippet to be unleashed near a road because its sighthound instincts will see it racing off after a moving object, with no consideration of traffic. For that reason, make sure your backyard is well fenced and secured. According to Mitchelson, the Whippet is the perfect all-round dog. “I know

FOR MORE INFORMATION For more information on the Whippet or to contact a local breed club, visit your state canine council website via ankc.org.au. New Zealand readers can visit nzkc.org.nz for information.

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STRONG AND HARDY Whippets are often compared to cats because of their hygiene habits; these pooches keep themselves extremely clean and are easy to housetrain as a result. They even eat neatly, claim some breeders! And if you think this canine’s slim, delicate frame means it is a fragile or neurotic dog, you couldn’t be more wrong. www.dogslife.com.au 85


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HEY KIDS! ADVICE FROM SOX

Fantastic food for furry friends

Hey kids! How have you been? Did you enjoy your Easter? I’ve just been reading my favourite column from Sox and now I’m feeling pretty hungry. I usually wait around to get table scraps from my humans (I love trying to get on their laps while they’re eating!), but they always know that their food is not for me because it might make me sick. Read more about what you should be feeding your pooch on page 86. Sox is also really excited because his friend Robyn Osborne has released a new book! Find out more on page 88. I’m really eager to read it because it follows the life of a rescue dog. I love to hear about dogs that are rescued as there are so many out there looking for their forever homes. Have you got a rescue dog? Let me know! Send me an email to dogslife@ universalmagazines.com.au with a picture of your pooch and what it gets up to. I’d love to see them! Until next time! Woof!

Rusty Kids Club coordinator dogslife@universalmagazines.com.au Twitter: DogsLifeMags Facebook: Dogs Life Magazine

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I’m the first to admit that most dogs are food obsessed (me included) and that the way to our hearts is through our stomachs. I also know that we are what we eat, and that a nutritious diet is important to our wellbeing and health. Unlike our ancestors, domestic dogs no longer chase down dinner, nor can we open cans with our paws. Luckily, we have you, our human friends, to help us out when our tummies start to rumble. Sox’s simple solutions Remember, dogs are carnivores so our diet should be mostly meat-based. Some dogs prefer kibble, others like the canned stuff. I can never decide on my favourite, so I chow down on both mixed together. Yummy! Also, consider your furry friend’s age. There is dog food specially made for puppies, adults and the more senior canines, like me. We want to live long, happy and healthy lives, so please buy the best-quality dog food you can. Regular raw meaty bones aren’t just a delicious treat for your canine chum, but the perfect way to help keep their breath fresh, gums healthy and teeth clean. No cooked bones, though, as these can splinter and cause us all sorts of problems. Yes, we do love human food, but leftovers are often too fatty, salty or sweet to be good for us. Some human foods are even poisonous to us, so put those scraps into the bin. To finish off these healthy meals, make sure your best friend has plenty of clean, fresh water to drink. Tail wags and licks, Sox

Q&A with Sox the Philosophical Dog Have a question about your favourite four-legged friend? Send it in to dogslife@universalmagazines.com.au with the subject heading “Questions for Sox” to get your poochy problems sorted.

Dog Logic Loving Sox’s advice? Then pick up a copy of Dog Logic by Robyn Osborne, where co-author Sox gives lots of tips and tricks for keeping your pooch happy and healthy!


COOL PET

gifts

Is your dog about to celebrate a birthday or do you just want to show how much your pooch means to you? Our friends at the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) have some really cool gift ideas for our furry friends. Just make sure to ask your parents first!

Dog tag & collar

A fancy dog tag and doggy couture collar will have your pooch looking like a million bucks. While microchipping increases the chances of your dog being returned to you if it gets lost, a name tag provides an additional source of identification.

Toys and accessories

A new Frisbee or rubber ball for your dog is a great way for both you and your best friend to not only spend time together, but also get some exercise. And if you’re out in the sunshine, why not put a new pair of Doggles (sunglasses for dogs) on your pooch to protect its eyes?

Pet loo

For the city dwellers, you can now buy a backyard in a box that offers a mini lawn. This is a great alternative for dogs living in smaller homes or apartments.

Personalised items

Many stockists can provide personalised items such as bowls, collars, beds and placemats. Or you could go all out and by a mini dog mansion! Source: AVA

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Atticus Claw Learns to Draw Author: Jennifer Gray Publisher: Allen & Unwin Price: $12.99 The world’s greatest cat detective is back and is on the hunt for some art thieves! Not only does Atticus Grammaticus Cattypuss Claw have to catch the robbers, he’ll also need to learn to create his own works of art to lure them in. This funny novel will leave you on the edge of your seat right up to the end.

Rainbow Magic: Heidi the Vet Fairy Author: Daisy Meadows Publisher: Orchard P Price: $12.99 P This latest book in the Rainbow Magic T series follows Rachel and Kirsty as they se help out at the local vet surgery. After he things start going wrong, the pair must th band together, along with Heidi, the Vet ba Fairy, to restore the surgery and save the Fai animals. anim

FOR TEENS Midget Bones’ Diary

Frankie Fox, Girl Spy: Ready, Set, Spy Author: Yvette Poshoglian Publisher: Lothian Price: $12.99 This new spy series follows 11-yearold Frankie Fox, who loves hanging out with friends and playing with her dog. After discovering she had been secretly trained as a spy, Frankie finds herself in some trouble when her billionaire inventor father goes missing. Will she be able to solve the puzzle and rescue her dad? Find out!

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Author: Robyn Osborne Publisher: Puppy Care Education Available at: Smashwords, Amazon and Kobo Price: US$2.99 (approx. AU$3.85) Suitable for: Teenagers to adults Robyn Osborne has released a fun new book that follows a feisty shelter dog from the pound and how she manages to find her forever home. Currently on sale as an eBook, the tale is written in a diary format and is loosely based on Robyn’s own terrier mix, Snowy. Definitely a must-read for those looking for a hilarious take on what rescue dogs think when they are adjusting to life outside the pound.
















Name____________________      

PetsandPeopleEducationProgram www.ava.com.au/petpep

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HOT PRODUCTS

Keep your dog’s teeth clean Aussie Antlers deer antlers come from Australian farms and are naturally shed, do not splinter and dogs love them. There are huge health benefits of feeding your dog deer antlers: they help keep dogs’ teeth clean; are full of nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and protein; and they stimulate a dog’s mind, body and jaws. Antlers are different to beef bones as they are much denser, do not splinter and do not have an odour or leave any residue. This makes them great as an indoor treat. For more information, visit dogwashcafe.com.au/foodtreats/gourmet-dog-treats

The Water Butler

Big Dog Pet Foods Turkey BARF Turkey BARF is an all-natural, raw, hypoallergenic diet for dogs. It contains turkey meat, ground bone, fruit, vegetables, fish oil, flaxseed, kelp, alfalfa, garlic and whole egg. Turkey BARF is considered a natural leader in raw, anti-allergy diets for dogs, encouraging optimal health and longevity. For more information, contact Big Dog Pet Foods at info@bigdogpetfoods.com or visit bigdogpetfoods.com.au

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The Water Butler is a great alternative to traditional pet water bowls and water fountains, providing constant, automatic refill. How it works is simple: a small and unique float valve delivers a constant fresh water supply to your beloved pet 24 hours a day. The modern design comes in a range of five colours, is non-toxic, will not overflow, is easy to install onto a garden tap, includes all fittings, won’t rust and doesn’t require any electricity. For more information on smart, fit-for-purpose pet solutions, visit cheekita.com.au


Turn your puppy into a SUPERPUP! Get the most out of your puppy’s training sessions with an Adaptil collar, which is scientifically proven to comfort puppies during stressful situations by releasing a pheromone to keep them relaxed. This equates to a puppy that responds better to commands and is more likely to socialise with people and other dogs. The collar leads to better performance and higher success rates during training, making it a must-have for puppy school. An Adaptil collar can help your puppy grow into a well-behaved, confident dog, ready for anything! For more information, visit adaptil.com.au

Interactive food dispenser

Compact ball thrower

Described as the most advanced and engaging dog toy, the Foobler is an interactive learning game that dispenses food for up to nine hours throughout the day. It keeps your dog entertained and having fun all day long. For more information, contact peter@ barkbites.com.au or visit foobler.com.au

Ever taken your dog out and struggled with bags and a ball thrower, cleaning up and trying to hold the full bag? Well, here’s your answer. Dogget is a compact ball thrower, which holds a roll of dog waste bags and scoops poop. Although it is small in size, one quick flick will throw the ball over 20m. Dogget’s flexible hollow head can pick up a ball and, with a bag inserted, becomes a great poop scoop. Don’t touch squashy bags or slobbery balls again! This product is clean, compact and hassle-free. For more information, visit dogget.com

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IN THE JULY/AUGUST ISSUE OF DOGS LIFE … IT’S OUR WINTER SPECIAL!  Winter

101: everything you need to know to beat the chills  Discover how to knit your dog a gorgeous jumper  Learn how your dog’s coat keeps him warm during the cooler months

PLUS!  Fun

indoor games to play with your pet  Check out some warm winter coats for your four-legged friend  Discover how you can help ease painful doggy arthritis

AND MEET EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL BREEDS …

Houndstooth Studio

Boxer | Husky | Pekingese

ON SALE JUNE 18, DON’T MISS IT!


Hi Dog Lovers, The Doggie Lovers Directory features some great products and services for your four-legged friends. From dog training to dog beds, we have what you need for your pooch’s health and wellbeing. Also check out our website www.dogslife.com.au for more fur-tastic products and services. Don’t forget to mention to our advertisers that you found them in the Doggie Lovers Directory as they would love to hear from you! Until next time, The Dogs Life team dogslife@universalmagazines.com.au

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Doggie Lovers Directory

Doggie Lovers Directory


Doggie Lovers Directory

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DOG HERO

MORE ABOUT AMRRIC AMRRIC is a unique organisation that uses an integrated approach to animal management, combining veterinary and community education programs. Desexing programs are the most humane and successful means of controlling dog populations. AMRRIC educators work with communities to share knowledge and skills about animal health and management, and this integrated approach produces healthier companion animals and communities.

Rural rescue

these in communities that AMRRIC has been invited into. I also organise the 100 or more AMRRIC member veterinary volunteers who assist and enhance the outcomes of each program annually.

Kylie Baracz speaks to Jan Allen about her involvement with AMRRIC and how she has helped increase the wellbeing of rural dogs in indigenous communities.

What inspires you to do your job? The almost immediate positive outcomes inspire me to do my job. These include keeping dogs in good condition with improved skin, less aggression and fighting, less scrounging for food and fewer starved pups, and owners gaining respect and pride for their animals.

H

ow long have you been working with dogs and how did you get started? I started working with dogs about 46 years ago. My first job involved Saturday mornings as a rouseabout at a vet clinic on Sydney’s Northern Beaches when I was in high school. From here, no one was more surprised than me when I gained a Commonwealth scholarship and was accepted into a vet science degree. My veterinary life has involved working in small and mixed practice in Hobart, various Sydney clinics, Coffs Harbour and Grafton and my own clinic in Nana Glen. A long-term aspiration came to fruition when I became an Australian volunteer with AVI (Australian Volunteers International) and took up a position in Western Samoa, working the only smallanimal practice and travelling clinics for the APS (Animal Protection Society Samoa, facebook.com/aps.samoa). The APS provides the only small-animal veterinary service for the whole Samoan population of 75,000 on the two large islands. During my time there, I developed an awareness of the bigger picture and the different aspects involved in dog population management — strategies, policies, education, animal welfare promotion, research etc. Two years later, on return to Australia, I attended an AMRRIC (Animal

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Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) conference and was introduced to dog health programs in remote communities at home in Australia.

What does your work involve? What is the most difficult part of I became a program manager with your role? AMRRIC in 2008. This position involves Staying in a remote community can be developing networks and relationships difficult and, at night, hearing dog fights — across Australia with key people in which usually involve male dogs fighting communities, regional councils, health over a bitch in season or an adolescent dog and environmental health, federal and trying to establish its territory. state government departments, Aboriginal corporations and veterinarians, veterinary What is the best thing about your role? students and vet nurses. The goal is to People that have never met before improve services to remote communities gathering together and working as a team, and enable local people to be able to often in extreme physical circumstances, manage their dog populations and health. within a different culture and in a remote The domestic dog quickly replaced the location, to create simpler, healthier, dingo as a companion, protector and calmer lives for dogs. It is a privilege to hunter for Australia’s indigenous people. work with AMRRIC and an even greater The side–effects are that domestic dogs one to work “and give back” to remote are better breeders but less equipped indigenous communities in Australia. DL to survive, hence the dog population problems in remote indigenous communities HOW YOU CAN HELP today. Dog health You can help AMRRIC keep remote indigenous communities programs generally healthy for dogs and humans too. Support the organisation’s involve desexing work by donating at app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/ and antiparasitic AMRRIC/donations.html AMRRIC is a DGR treatments. My work (deductible gift recipient) charity. involves facilitating



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