Thursday, 21 June 2018

Does Your Dog Have Problems With Car Journeys?

Now that Summer is here and  we all start to turn our attention to going on holiday.  Packing up the car for a day’s outing with our dog should be something to look forward to.  Unfortunately, for some dogs this isn’t the case.                                                                                

Problems of car travel mainly involve:
  • Motion sickness and feeling nauseous
  • Associating the car with an unpleasant experience (going to the vets or kennels)
  • Over-excitement
  • Movement chasing
So what can we do to help?
  1. If your dog salivates, pants and looks miserable, it’s likely they feel sick. Ask your vet about medication that addresses this problem. is a product that can help. There is also some useful advice on car travel on their website.
  2. For fear, associate the car with pleasant experiences. Give them treats in a motionless car. Play with them by opening all the doors and throwing a ball through the car for them. This encourages the dog to enter the car to retrieve it.
  3. Gradually build up their confidence. Follow step 2 but begin starting the engine.
  4. Work towards moving the car a short distance. Provided they do not show fear, slowly increase the journey time. Remember to continue with the rewards.
  5. For movement chasers- consider using a covered travel crate. Remember to follow the tips for crate training:
  6. Adaptil spray is a pheromone product that may help induce calm behaviour. It has also been shown to reduce stress and nausea. Spray it on a blanket in the car a few minutes before travelling or on to a bandana that your dog can wear during the trip.
  7. Avoid feeding before a car journey but make sure they have had a small drink half an hour beforehand. Don’t forget to take water with you.
  8. For over-excitement introduce car travel on the way back from a walk. You could also try taking them on short journeys but to nowhere in particular. This will help them stop predicting an exciting walk so they do not become over-aroused.
  9. For the dog that only usually goes to the vets in the car - try and take them to pleasant destinations too!
  10. Remember: Dogs should always be harnessed or secured during travel to prevent injury and interfering with the controls.
Caroline Clark is a consultant in animal behaviour counselling and you can find more information at


Monday, 11 June 2018

Cats Can Suffer From High Blood Pressure Too

At 7 years of age and above, most cats are still very playful and although they may appear youthful there is an increasing risk of feline age-related problems developing.

Hypertension (often referred to as high blood pressure) is a medical condition that most humans have heard of.  But did you know that cats over 7 years of age are at a higher risk than many other pets?  In fact one in eight cats over the age of 9 are likely to be suffering from what has been labelled “The silent killer”. 

Hypertension makes the blood in the vessels circulate at high pressure. This causes bleeding and damage to vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, nervous system and the eyes. Symptoms often go unnoticed by owners until the damage is done. Sudden blindness and kidney failure can be some of the more obvious results of the condition so prevention is very much better than cure in all cases.

Many cats presented to a veterinary surgeon with high blood pressure have an underlying disease. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the most common. This is followed by hyperthyroidism, a disease affecting the thyroid gland.

Rosanne Jepson, a specialist in small animal internal medicine at the Royal Veterinary College, said: “High blood pressure can cause severe damage to key body organs” “Unfortunately, it is a condition that develops without much warning for the cat owner; a cat may seem perfectly fine until either the blood pressure is checked, or other organs are damaged.”

Recommendations for cat owners with mature cats:

1.As advised by ISFM (International Society of Feline Medicine), owners of cats over 7 years of age are being urged to get their cat’s blood pressure checked at least once a year.
2. Ask your vet about having your cat’s blood pressure monitored routinely.
3. If the blood pressure is found to be high, there is treatment available. This will reduce the blood pressure and prevent damage to those vital organs.
4.Often your vet will advise that your cat has a full blood screening carried out too. This is to rule out any underlying diseases already mentioned.
5.Close and regular monitoring of your elderly cat is a sensible idea. Look out for other common signs of disease. This includes: weight loss, poor coat condition, changes in behaviour, appetite, thirst, urination, or general lethargy.

Caroline Clark is a consultant in animal behaviour counselling and you can find more information at

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Saturday, 2 June 2018

Some Interesting Studies Regarding Dogs And Children.

After reading a study that concluded children who were close to their dogs were also more likely to be closer to their parents and best friends. I decided to delve deeper into the relationship between dogs and children.

It appears that our canine friends are a far more positive influence on our kids than we may have realised.

Another study here showed that in a a test group comprising of pre-adolescents delivering a speech, the half of the group accompanied by their pet dogs showed a less stress-related response than the half that didn't. It seems that simply interacting with their dogs during a potentially stressful event allows children to feel calmer and more confident.

To further compound the stress-alleviating qualities of dogs around youngsters, another study showed that when left alone, with a parent or with a pet dog the children were less stressed and more relaxed around the dogs.

Factors attributed to the dogs in the aforementioned studies having such a positive influence in calming children could include the fact that dogs are non-judgmental or a good distraction from stress-related events. 

It appears that it wasn't just the fact that they owned a dog but the dog's interaction with the children that had a positive effect on the youngsters.

One thing is for sure, the myriad use of dogs in therapy is not without good reason and man's best friend is a good influence on men, women and children.