Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

The life of a 4 month old hawkshead puppy


Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

The Amber and Ollie story

Born on the 20th November, 2018

 Luna, Mika, Xena & Blue

What else can I say apart from the fact that they were an exceptional litter. Amber’s 4th litter and she remains to be the beautiful mother she is, Ollie is the most chilled out dog I have ever met and the combination between the two of them, I would not want to change anything.


Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Doing the Right thing at the Right time

This 1-4 month formative period is the time when we absolutely need to expose our pups systematically and positively to new experiences and situations. It is the time when our pup learns about their family’s needs and wants ( the family rules ), so a pup needs intense immersion in the family’s life and situations that they will be part of as they mature into an adult dog. We need to introduce them to a wide variety of other dogs, types of people, species and situations. Also ensure you expose them to lots of novel environments and circumstances so they get used to changing environments and don’t become sensitive to change. However, make sure you also teach them how to separate from you and be alone for periods of time so become ok with their own company. One of the most common mistakes we make is having our pup with us all the time when they are young, making them overly dependent on us, which can create separation distress issues later on.

Your puppy will be your most loyal friend and will stick by you no matter what, so please remember they need to become their own little self first.



Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Stress and Anxiety

Stress has an important role to play in the survival of any species, but it becomes a problem when it is severe or on going and an animal is unable to cope. Stress can impair the body’s ability to heal and impact on an animal’s quality of life. Stress and anxiety can predispose to a number of health issues including infections, allergies and skin problems.

Symptoms of stress can include behavioural changes, obsessive licking or chewing, aggression, depressed behaviour or hiding, barking and even diarrhoea to name but a few. A number of factors can cause stress and anxiety including extreme weather , fireworks, storms, moving house, changes in routine, feeling unwell, not getting enough exercise, overcrowding, the loss of another pet or owner, or even not knowing their place in the family ‘pack’ or being constantly badgered by another animal.

A vet check will help to identify underlying issues. A balanced approach is important ensuring that your pet has enough exercise, rest and relaxation, playtime and optimal nutrition. Sub-optimal nutrition is a huge factor undermining animal’s sense of well-being and their ability to cope with stress. Good nutrition with a well-balanced wholesome diet that is free of chemicals and preservatives and has optimal amounts of important micro-nutrients is an important first step in helping to take the edge off ( and sometimes alleviate ) behavioural disorders, stress and anxiety.

Nutrients such as B vitamins are well known for helping animals and humans deal with stress and reduce nervousness. Other nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids are helpful to moderate extreme behaviours and anti-oxidants can be incredibly useful to help an animal to ‘feel well in itself’ and thereby cope better with stress. The latter are also helpful to help boost the immune system and prevent infection.

Tryptophan, an amino acid, helps to bring about the feeling of calmness and well-being.

A ‘magic bullet’ that many animal owners make use of for themselves and their animals is Flower Essences, the most well known being Rescue Remedy. Individualized Bach Flower Essences can be wonderful at helping animals. Homeopathic remedies may also be useful. Calming herbs such as Skullcap, Valerian and Lavender have a calming effect are useful. Other herbs such as Ginseng and Astragalus are adaptogenic and help animals to cope better with stress.

There are many options to alleviate stress. Often a combination provides a highly effective approach and animals are transformed to enjoy improved health and vitality.


Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Rea the Labrador

As with humans, our animals need optimal amounts of various nutrients to stay healthy and to perform at their best. Omega 3 fatty acids which are found in high quantities in flax oil and fish oil are of utmost importance for normal function.

Omega 3 fatty acids are easily damaged by exposure to excessive heat, air and light, which causes them to lose their therapeutic effect and become rancid. Animals who eat processed food are likely to be deficient in these fats.

Omega 3s are used by the body for a variety of functions. Some indications that animals might be deficient include a dry coat, flaky skin, stiff joints, cracked hooves and claws, poor reproductive performance, temperamental behaviour, fatigue, slow recovery and lowered immunity.

These beneficial fats help to increase oxygenation, which is the supply of oxygen to cells. This is very important for just about every bodily function and can help to increase performance and markedly improve recovery from strenuous exercise. The higher levels of oxygen also make it difficult for infections to develop.

Another valuable attribute of these fats is their anti-inflammatory properties which makes them exceptionally helpful for conditions such as allergies, asthma and other inflammatory conditions like arthritis. In addition to this, they also help to cushion the joints bringing tremendous relief to many animals with sore and stiff joints within days.

Animals which consume optimal amounts of Omega 3s have good cell membrane structure which gives them a shiny coats and an added barrier of protection of their skin. Omega 3s are effective at helping with eczema, skin allergies and cracked hooves and nails.


Monday, August 6th, 2018


Obesity is an increasing problem for both humans and our pets. While it is easy to use the excuse than an overweight dog must be much loved, the ‘ extra love’ can have a big impact on quality of life and reduce life expectancy. Weight gain is a slow process, so often goes unnoticed by the household, until one day someone else points out that Buster is looking a bit chunky. This is exactly what happened when I returned home after 6 months, my mother was in charge and spoilt my 3 labs with an extra 5 kg’s. It took me 6 months to get my girls back on track. Having said that mum was happy, the girls were happy……. Mmmmmmmmmm

A cup of food depends on the cup

Dogs weights and measures on packaging refer to an actual measuring cup


It is almost impossible to keep children from feeding extra treats to the dog. ( dogs have no 5 second rule) or feeding the dog under the table with unwanted food. Games, obedience activities and grooming, are all low calorie ways to interact with your dog instead of giving treats.


De-sexing a dog has many health benefits. It can however, be associated with weight gain if owners do not make an adjustment to the amounts they feed their dog after the operation. Rule of thumb is usually and 10-15% less food to prevent weight gain. This can be hard for the household to adjust to, but it is easier to take steps to prevent weight gain, than to try and lose weight after a dog has become obese.

Slow Metabolism

Some dogs do not burn calories efficiently. This might be genetic or it might be the result of a disease such as Hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease

Control over what the dog eats

Put one person in charge of feeding the dog. Measure out the daily rations into a container so there is no temptation for anyone to give a little bit more.

Evaluation of weight

Because there is so much individual variation between dogs, giving an accurate ideal weight can be difficult. Instead we aim for an ideal body condition. To evaluate your dog’s condition, feel for a small amount of padding over the ribs. It should be possible to feel the ribs and it should feel like running your hand over your own fingers. There should be a waist between the ribs and the pelvis when looking down from above your dog, and there should be a small tuck in the belly where the hind legs meet the body.

Reap the rewards

For owners whose dog’s waistlines have got away on them, please don’t accept that your dog has to stay overweight. With some planning and commitment , you can make large improvements in your dog’s overall quality of life and enjoy a longer life together.


Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Cruciate Ligament Injuries

The cruciate ligaments are in the knee and act to stop the femur ( top leg bone ) and tibia (lower leg bone ) from sliding excessively  forwards and backwards. The cranial cruciate ligament and the caudal cruciate ligament cross over each other at ninety degrees creating a cross, hence the name. The cranial cruciate ligament is often damaged by sudden jarring of the back leg by jumping or by wear and tear.

Because of the way that some dogs are built, they are prone to cruciate disease and their ‘ good leg ‘ may also develop cruciate ligament damage at a later stage, especially if it takes the damaged kness a while to repair and they rely on their ‘ good leg ‘ to weight bear for an extended period.

When this ligament tears, it is very painful and when it ruptures completely it can no longer prevent excessive movement in the joint. Dogs typically present with ‘ toe touching ‘as if their foot is sore, as bearing weight causes them to feel the pain in their knee. Some animals also damage their meniscus, a cartilage pad that provides cushioning between the femur and tibia , which is also very painful.

The simplest surgery option is the placement of a Nylon suture which is aligned to prevent instability in the stifle and to stop excessive movement while healing takes place. Providing that the strict post – operative rest is taken with no exercise for the first few weeks to ensure minimal risk of the nylon breaking, the rate of success is high.

Other surgical options involve more invasive surgery with the placement of special plates to realign the knee joint and they allow for quicker return to function of the leg without the risk of breaking the artificial nylon ligament used in the simple procedure.

After surgery, rest for 4-12 weeks is important to ensure a successful outcome. During rehab a gradual return to exercise is imperative and physiotherapy and hydrotherapy are useful tools to assist recovery.

Providing optimal nutrition with wholesome food and avoiding excessive carbs as well as chemicals and preservatives helps to support the body’s healing process. Optimal amounts of nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants, vitamin c and glucosamine as well as herbs such as turmeric are helpful too. Weight management is very important and feeding lower amounts to dogs that are inactive so that they don’t gain weight is imperitive.

With the right strategy , most animals heal beautifully and even though it can be a long haul to recovery, investing the time and effort to support optimal healing is well worth it in the long run.


Monday, July 30th, 2018

Help your Dog to stay Mobile

OSTEOARTHRITIS is a debilitating progressive disease that is not curable. It is also a leading cause of early euthanasia due to loss of quality of life . Becoming aware of early signs, slowing the progressive, controlling pain and improving mobility of your dog is crucial. It’s all about prevention.

Early signs of Osteoarthritis

  • Licking feet
  • Wanting to be left alone
  • Decreased stretching, rolling, shaking
  • Pacing
  • Stiffness after lying down

A dog that is ‘slowing down’ is not necessarily just ‘ getting old ‘ and although muscle wastage can be age-related, early intervention is key to a pets quality of life.

Google – TECHNYFLEX – green lip mussel powder, in fact it is pure mussel meat, my Sasha at 15 has shed years, I just love this stuff


Monday, July 30th, 2018

Ever wondered about Canine Allergies ?

Canine Atopic Dermatitis is an allergic reaction to one or more environmental allergens – things like dust mites, tree, grass and weed pollens. The first signs of itching usually start between one and three years old. Itching can start in the armpits, groin, inside the earflaps and on top of the front feet. Some dogs will also get hay fever type symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes. Canine Atopic Dermatitis is more common in breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Terrier Breeds. The more the dog licks and chews the more the skin is damaged and the more likely infections will occur. The area will become raw and swollen. Untangling a dog’s allergy problem isn’t simple and often involves lifelong management. Bottom line is, there is no one-stop magic bullet to cure allergies !


Monday, July 30th, 2018

So…… You Want A Dog ?

A number of factors come to mind when considering the purchase of a puppy of any breed.

Please consider these important factors

  • Are my living arrangements conducive to having a dog ?
  • Can I afford a good quality dog food ?
  • Can I afford grooming fees ?
  • What happens when I go on holiday ?
  • Can I afford local council registration fees ?
  • Do I have the room for a good size kennel and warm bedding ?
  • Do I have enough time to contribute to training and exercising ?
  • Do I have a fenced area and who is going to be on poop control ?
  • Is my dog going to be too big for an inside dog ?
  • How much space do I have available ?
  • How much time can I commit ?
  • What kind of activities would my family involve the dog with ?

A dog is for life not just for Christmas