Dog Health
INFO & ADVICE

Allergies

We are specialists at dog allergies. It’s one of the main reasons people jump to feeding their dogs better food. Invariably, it begins with an owner of a dog with recurring skin, ear or gut conditions. You’re getting nowhere with your vets conventional approach (processed food and drugs). I have divided up our approach to dog allergies into FOUR sections below. If you want to understand WHY this is happening to your dog, you need to read and understand the first three articles.

Coat Conditioning

We all want a good coat but excluding perhaps the groomers, we are all a little confused as to what constitutes a really good coat and how to get one. First, it’s important to note that all dogs are obviously different. Some dogs have big, full, soft coats, like a golden retriever. Second, we must understand the organ that is growing your dog’s hair, that is their skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body. It protects us from the outside.

Fasting

Fasting In Dogs, Is It A Good Idea? You Betcha. But Don’t Worry, There Are Some Very Easy Ways To Do It… During your perusal of the forums you have no doubt encountered the recent trend of fasting in dogs. If like me, the sheer thought of their little face, sitting forlornly beside their food bowl, was enough for you to mentally switch off from finding out more about the practice, I understand. I’ve been there. But what if I told you fasting has some really good science behind it?

KENNEL COUGH

I used to be a trainer in Guide Dogs. We always dreaded KC running through kennels. We kept the dogs religously dosed up (no dogs see the vets more) and practiced all the usual best hygiene practices (the number one preventer of kennel cough in dogs). Despite this, every few years cough would sweep through the kennels. Multiples dogs affected. Asides the discomfort for them and the days of training they will miss an expensive clean up ensures. You ring the vets. They’d come down to our kennels and they’d hurry down with their steroids AND antibiotics (as these two MUST be given together in dogs, not in humans mind!) and a few days later the dogs would perk up.

OBESITY

Obesity figures are soaring in dogs, from approximately 22% of the dog population in the 1980s (Edney and Smith 1986, Donoghue et al. 1991) up to around 50% of dogs in Western countries today.
 
In December 2010, a study by MORE TH>N Insurance Company found over half of the cats in Britain will be too fat for the standard cat flap within the next ten years. Incidentally, in response to this trend, MORE TH>N developed a larger cat flap – The Fat Flap! It is twice the size of the standard cat flap, equipped with a conveyor belt to an automated door with paw recognition software. Seriously.

WEEPY EYES

There are many causes of weeping eyes in dogs such as food intolerance issues, chemicals stressors (often from products such as chemical flea and worm treatments or needless annual boosters), physical issues as a result of breeding, conjunctivitis and debris.

FLEAS, NATURALLY

There Is No Need For Chemical Flea Treatment For Dogs With No Fleas We hate chemical flea control. I just don’t understand why you would try to chemically control a dog WITH NO FLEAS!!! Think about it, would you treat your child monthly for head lice when she is yet to get them? With a chemical that if one bit her it would drop down dead?! Ever wonder why we don’t have these for humans?

KIDNEY DISEASE

Kidney Disease In Dogs Part 1/3: Why Dry Food Ruined Your Dog’s Kidneys…. This is a three parter guys so grab a cup of tea and settle in. This first part explains why dry food put your dog in this position. The second part of our kidney disease in dogs series of articles explains why the low protein dry food your vet is trying to sell you goes directly against the available science on kidney disease in dogs.

PANCREATITIS

Why Is There Is So Much Pancreatitis In Dogs?! The Answer Is Diet… Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. If it starts to malfunction as a result, with digestive juices leaking out into the surrounding tissue, the result will be acute pancreatitis in dogs. This is extremely painful as the body begins to digests itself. Pancreatitis in dogs and cats is all too common a feature and is almost certainly a result of dry feeding.

WORMS, NATUTALLY

Worms In Dogs Are Rare, Contrary To The Many Scary Adverts, And Most Are Relatively Harmless Anyway… Everyone knows our stance on flea treatments – they’re absolutely unnecessary and potentially very harmful for you and him. I strongly advise not dosing a healthy dog with chemical flea treatments. If your child was to get lice you deal with it. You don’t apply noxious chemicals that if a louse bit them it would drop down dead.

ARTHRITIS

Everyone wants the quick fix of “what can I put in to stop this happening”. Initially though for inflamed joints, what’s more important is what you take OUT. So many things taken as the norm today will cause inflammation in your dog, from highly processed, chemical-laden, cereal-based dry food full of joint rotting salt and bad fats (see Food Allergy in Dogs) as well as most pet store treats. 

CONSTIPATION

The Most Common Cause Of Constipation In Dogs Is Incorrect Diet…
A constipated dog will be visibly straining to go the toilet but nothing will be coming out. They might get a little distressed, licking at their bums, maybe doing some bottom scooting. If a dog does not poo for two days they need to see a vet because one possible cause of constipation is an obstruction in the gut. Nothing beats the advice of a good vet, never be afraid to use them. 

GUM DISEASE

Gum disease in dogs is bad news and it’s not simply what you see (and smell) on the surface that’s so worrying, it goes much, much deeper than that. You really want to avoid this happening in your pet. Still, 9/10 dogs have gum disease by three years of age. This is a shocking stat. Gum disease is a painful, immunologically-destructive disease of the mouth. How has it suddenly become a normal occurrence in dogs? 

YEAST INFECTION

A Yeast Infection In Dogs Can Cause A Myriad Of Issues… Many people see a dog constantly scratching his ears and go looking for something they can put IN to stop it happening when actually, more importantly initially, is what you take OUT. In this way you need to step back for a second. Is what you’re looking at the symptom of a yeast infection in dogs? Or something else?

Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea in dogs is one of the main reasons people end up on our page. And we’re often not talking about the occasional episode here! Most of us would not be trawling for answers after just one occasion. The occasional stomach upset can happen to us all, certainly with dogs who get their noses into all types of things. However, it is more than likely that you are here as your dog is suffering from recurring diarrhoea and that is something we are total specialists at fixing.

SKIN CONDITIONS

The Number One Cause Of Recurring Skin Conditions In Dogs Is Poor Diet… The number one reason for folk contacting Dogs First is recurring dog skin conditions. It’s a very common problem largely of dry fed dogs. The good news is we can very likely help you, quickly and easily, without the need for drugs and with bits you can find in the supermarket. Try our advice for a two weeks, you have nothing to lose and they have everything to gain.

EAR INFECTIONS

Ear infections in dogs are one of the top 3 reasons for visiting a vet today. They can be pretty uncomfortable, particularly if you allow them to fester. You’ll know he has one as he will be vigorously shaking or rubbing at his ears, often whining when he does as everyone knows ear infections can hurt. Dog ear infections, notably the yeast based ones, can be accompanied by a bad, cheesy smell.

TICKS

Ticks On Dogs: Be Wary, Groom Regularly, Prevent Naturally I hate ticks. Hate, hate, HATE. I have experienced first hand what Lyme disease can do to a person (and how woefully inadequate our own health sector was in the process), so I’m left with a healthy respect for ticks on dogs. In fact, if it was that bad in afflicted humans, using the best hospitals, imagine how far behind the average vet is. But it’s not just Lyme disease our vets might be confused on.

HYPERACTIVITY

Hyperactive Dog, The Role Of Nutrition

There is a rule in behavioural nutrition that goes “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t feed it”. This means, stay away from anything synthetic or processed, such as the many man-made chemicals now pumped in and on to our food daily. Even though they have been shown to have an unknown to negative effect on health and behaviour. But as always, it seems the most obvious nutritional lessons in the human world, such as the importance of fresh food, are all too quickly forgotten when treating dogs. Nowhere is this more apparent than feeding a hyperactive dog.

NEUTERING

DOG NEUTERING IS AN EMOTIVE SUBJECT FOR WELFARE AND POPULATION REASONS BUT LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE FACTS…

It is hard to find a vet today that would recommend anything but early dog neutering, certainly before they are sexually mature, often around six months of age. The reasons given are always the same, to prevent unwanted babies and long-term health benefits, including a reduction in cancer.

However, unlike the appendix where it’s absence is not noticed in daily routine, the reproductive (or sex) organs play a whole host of hormonal roles that stretch far beyond the manufacturing of babies. Like dry food, parasite control, annual boosting and casual steroid shots, these things are not without consequence for the patient and rarely are the consequences ever discussed with the owner. People should be able to make decisions based on all the facts available, not just some of them. So here they are. Best grab a cup of tea for this one!

NEUTERING ALTERNATIVES

Ovary-Sparing Surgery For Dogs

There is a rule in behavioural nutrition that goes “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t feed it”. This means, stay away from anything synthetic or processed, such as the many man-made chemicals now pumped in and on to our food daily. Even though they have been shown to have an unknown to negative effect on health and behaviour. But as always, it seems the most obvious nutritional lessons in the human world, such as the importance of fresh food, are all too quickly forgotten when treating dogs. Nowhere is this more apparent than feeding a hyperactive dog.

ITCHY DOGS

So, you have an itchy dog. We get this all the time. Itch in dogs is the third most likely reason for pet owners to see the vet. Itchy dog owners are one of the top visitors to this site (we’re top of Google for a reason). While it’s sadly all too common the good news is it’s easily treated without vets or powerful drugs, in the most part without any products at all.

FAT DOGS

It is not surprising that obesity causes the same health problems in dogs as it does in humans. The excess energy from fat stores, fuels growth in young dogs at maximal rates – as opposed to optimal. Their bodies cannot withstand maximal growth rates for long. Coupled with the greater load to carry and you get orthopaedic disease and ruptured cruciates.

VACCINATIONS

A debate has been raging behind the scenes on the ideal way to administer dog vaccinations. Well, not so much vaccinations, they’re great and vital. They’ve eradicated a number of terrible illnesses in humans and pets. What is in question is the annual boosting of your dog after they had their puppy vaccinations.

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Dogs First was established to give dog owners no-nonsense, well-researched, factual information on all things canine nutrition and natural health.

It’s clear there is today a terrible amount of bad information out there, much of it a result of the unregulated influx of corporate cash into our veterinary sector. We’ll do our best to protect you from the worst of it but for now trust absolutely nothing in a packet with a picture of a dog on it.