Bloat : is your dog at risk?

  • Bloat is one of the most serious emergencies in dogs that vets face
  • The life-threatening condition can kill a dog within hours without treatment
  • It causes the stomach to distend and twist, cutting off the blood supply and filling it with air
  • Symptoms include a swollen tummy, retching and signs of pain and distress and it is vital to get your pet to the vet immediately
  • Large breeds with big chests and dogs that are older or overweight are most at risk
  • It is rare, though, especially among breeds without a genetic predisposition to bloat
  • Steps dog owners can take to help prevent bloat include spreading meals across the day

What is bloat in dogs?

Bloat is a medical emergency and one of the most rapidly life-threatening conditions that vets treat in dogs. It involves the stomach but can quickly lead to life threatening shock if left untreated. But it is rare; Blue Cross has operated on 14 dogs with bloat in the four years between 2013 and 2017.

When bloat happens, the stomach fills with gas and often twists in a way that it cuts off the blood supply to the gut and stops gas and food from leaving. It can also make the spleen twist and lose circulation, and block vital veins in the back that transport blood to the heart.

Bloat is immensely painful for dogs and it can kill in a matter of hours without veterinary intervention, so it’s important that pet owners know the signs and ways to help prevent it. The condition is also known, more scientifically, as gastric dilatation-volvulus.

What are the symptoms of bloat in dogs?

Symptoms can appear quickly, and will usually include one or more of the following:

  • A swollen, hard belly
  • Retching but not able to vomit
  • Drooling
  • Pain in the abdomen when touched
  • Other signs of distress such as panting and restlessness

What should I do if I think my dog has bloat?

Take your dog straight to the vets. Bloat is a veterinary emergency, and minutes can make a difference to your pet’s chances of survival.

How will my vet treat bloat?

126857lpr_0 Bloat : is your dog at risk?

There are other potential emergencies that present the same symptoms of bloat, so a scan may be done first of all to confirm a diagnosis. Treatment will then be needed immediately.

Your vet will first release the build-up of gas and air inside the stomach to stop the tissue in the stomach from dying and take pressure off surrounding organs. This can be done using a tube and stomach pump, but surgery is sometimes needed. It’s possible to untwist the gut at this point as well, but not always.

At the same time intravenous fluids will need to be given to reverse the shock and slow down the heart rate to prevent heart failure. This will often require strong painkillers, antibiotics and medicine to correct the loss of blood flow to the heart caused by bloat.

If a dog can be made stable after this initial treatment, it will need surgery to repair the damage to the stomach, which will involve removing any tissue that is dying due to the cut off in blood supply.  There is a high risk that dogs that have suffered from bloat will have further attacks and so usually during the operation vets will try to fix the stomach to the body wall so that it can’t twist again ( an operation known as a gastropexy).

Are certain breeds more prone to developing bloat?

Slow feeder bowls may help prevent bloat as they stop dogs eating so fast.

Any dog can suffer bloat but larger breeds with deep chests, such as great danes, St Bernards, Weimaraners, German shepherds and Labradors are particularly susceptible. In breeds at risk a preventative gastropexy is sometimes recommended at a young age.

Slow%20feeder%20bowl%20and%20Hallie Bloat : is your dog at risk?

The causes of bloat are not really understood. It’s thought that feeding little and often may make it less likely and sticking to lower fat food is also recommended.  It’s also advised to avoid strenuous exercise after feeding. Eating rapidly is another risk factor, so it is a good idea to consider using a slow feeding bowl if your dog is a fast eater. Overweight and very underweight dogs are also more susceptible to bloat, so maintaining a healthy weight is also important.

84050220_10157162216887153_8245363049607725056_n Bloat : is your dog at risk?

Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash

“Exercise not only builds puppies’ bodies, it helps build their minds” is the motto that has been ingrained in us, though exercise that’s not appropriate for a puppy’s age and development can cause significant and irreversible damage.

An exercise that resulted in a simple sprain for an adult dog could leave a puppy with a misshapen or shortened limb, so the subject of age-appropriate exercise is one that should be taken seriously.

Understanding Puppy growth

The first concept to understand when it comes to puppy exercise is “growth plates.”  Growth plates are soft areas that sit at the ends of the long bones in puppies and young dogs.  They contain rapidly dividing cells that allow bones to become longer until the end of puberty.

Growth plates gradually thin as hormonal changes approaching puberty signal the growth plates to close.  In puppies, this closure is normally completed by approximately 18 months old.

zoom771x376z94419cw793 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash
zoom645x314z94419cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nashzoom470x313z61000cw793 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash 

Until the growth plates close, they’re soft and vulnerable to injury.

After sexual maturity, the growth plates calcify and the rapid cell division ends. The growth plate becomes a stable, inactive part of the bone, now known as an epiphyseal line.

A study published in the UN National Library of Medicine found dogs spayed and neutered at less than a year of age were significantly taller than those de-sexed after age 1.

Furthermore, the bones of pups spayed and neutered before puberty continue to grow. Dogs spayed or neutered at a younger age often have longer limbs, lighter bone structure, narrow chests and narrow skulls. This results in altered body proportions of certain bones relative to others. But, it isn’t just a cosmetic issue.

This disproportion often results in increased stress on ligaments, which can later easily cause injury. Another study published in the UN National Library of Medicine found that dogs spayed or neutered before 5 1/2 months of age were much more likely to develop hip dysplasia than those spayed or neutered after 5 1/2 months of age.

Also, dogs spayed or neutered younger than 24 weeks were more likely to develop infectious diseases than dogs who were spayed or neutered at ages older than 24 weeks. As for female dogs, there has been an increase in urinary incontinence in those spayed too early.

Early de-sexing can also have unwanted behavioural effects. A further study published in the National Library of Medicine showed that dogs neutered before 5 1/2 months of age had an increased incidence of noise phobias and unwanted sexual behaviours.

Also, recent research by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation found that when females were spayed too young, they were more likely to develop fearful behaviors while their male counterparts were more likely to show aggression.

Obviously, if you decide to delay your spaying and neutering of your newly adopted pup or kitty, please be responsible if they have reached sexual maturity and are able to reproduce. Make sure they are under your control at all times and don’t breed. I am in huge support of not contributing to the pet over-population crises. By providing these findings, I’m simply suggesting you do your research before you decide what age is best for your dog.

A dog’s bones are held together with muscles, tendons, and ligaments – soft tissue.  In an adult dog, if a joint experiences a stress such as bending the wrong way or rotating too much, the bones will hold firm and a soft tissue will be pulled, resulting in a sprain.

zoom588x401z76347cw793 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash
zoom493x336z76347cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash

In a puppy, however, his muscles, ligaments and tendons are stronger than his growth plates, so instead of a simple sprain, his growth plate is liable to be injured – the puppy’s own soft tissue can pull apart his growth plate.

Why this matters so much is that, unlike a sprain, injuries to the growth plate may not heal properly or not heal in time for the puppy to grow up straight and strong.  Injury to a growth plate can result in a misshapen or shortened limb which, in turn, can create an incorrect angle to a joint which can make the puppy more prone to yet more injuries when he grows up.

Puppies have Soft Bones

zoom474x467z61527cw793 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash

zoom397x391z61527cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash

In addition to having soft growth plates at the end of long bones, a puppy’s bones in general are “softer.” Dogs, like people, don’t reach their maximum bone density until after puberty.

Spiral fractures of the tibia (lower leg bone) are very common in puppies – 50% of all fractures occur in puppies under 1 year of age.  A spiral fracture is where the bottom half of the bone twists in one direction and the top half twists in the other.

This kind of juvenile injury is known as “Toddler Fracture” in humans, and it’s thought to be caused by the fact that the outside, fibrous layer of the bone (periosteum) is relatively strong in relation to the elastic bone inside.  So any exercise that puts torque on (twists) a bone puts the puppy at risk for a fracture.

Puppies are fit for short runs

Puppies don’t have the cardiovascular system for endurance.  Furthermore, until they mature, they’re probably not able to build much endurance no matter how much they exercise.

In human children, sustained exercise only increases aerobic capacity by up to 10%.  In adults, that kind of exercise can increase aerobic capacity by up to 30%.  Long walks and exercise sessions increase risk of injury and yield few benefits for puppies, so endurance training is better left until the puppies have grown up.

Puppies naturally exercise in small bursts of activity, not sustained walks.

Correct Exercise increases Bone Density

After reading about growth plates and toddler fractures, you may find yourself not allowing your puppy to move, let alone run and play.  Relax!  Not only is appropriate exercise not dangerous for your puppy, exercise has been shown to increase bone density in children. Furthermore, those children who exercised were a whopping 50% less likely to fracture a bone. There’s every reason to believe the same holds true for dogs, so appropriate exercise is key to building strong bones in your puppy and preventing adult fractures.  So let’s talk about guidelines for puppy exercise.

zoom645x448z100000cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nashzoom771x535z100000cw793 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash

Exploring low rock walls and gardens at their own pace is great mental and physical exercise for puppies.

Guidelines for Puppy Exercises

Self-directed play is an overriding rule for any puppy under 18 months old.  The majority of his exercise should be free play, exploring, roaming around. If he shows any fatigue, flops down, refuses to walk, you should listen to him and let him rest.

Do not underestimate the value of a good digging session. Consider digging up a soft patch in a corner of your yard and burying “doggy treasures” in it – great natural exercise for your puppy!

‘No’ to repetition exercises

Probably the biggest cause of growth plate and soft tissue injury is repetitive exercise with a young puppy.  So, until they are about 18 months old, long hikes and walks are out and lots of free-play sessions are in.

Sniffing and Strolling great for pups

While long hikes are out, strolling around in the backyard with you is great.  If no backyard, short, rambling walks are great.  Let your puppy sniff, explore and take it at his own pace.  You can use short training sessions in your walks to work on heeling/loose leash walking, but the majority of the time should be at your puppy’s own pace and discretion.

If hiking, you could bring your puppy along – great socialization for puppies under 12 weeks old & older puppies. But just like a small child on a walk, be prepared to carry your puppy a good portion of the way.  If you’re jogging or walking on a manicured trail or paved park road, consider investing in a puppy stroller to put your pup in for most of the walk.

zoom740x490z96000cw793 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash

zoom619x410z96000cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash

Long walks with a nice stroller are great for everyone.

Treat Trails

Kibble trails are also a great way to tire out a puppy both mentally and physically.  Kibble trails allow puppies to stay outside a long time and cover a lot of ground in a very natural way.  You can start with treats/ kibbles, etc only a few inches apart initially and later 2-3 m apart.

Always remember to deduct the amount of treats given from their daily feed so as not to over-feed.

zoom444x233z68862cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nashzoom531x279z68862cw793 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash
zoom618x617z95808cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by NashPuppy Mates

Play with a well-matched and gentle playmate.  Sometimes size can be a factor, as a very large dog, especially one that likes to play with a lot of paw whacks, can inadvertently injure a young or small breed puppy.

That said, a gentle giant may be a better playmate than a feisty small breed dog who likes to body slam.  Keep a very careful eye out and be prepared to throw handfuls of cookies down to interrupt any overly physical play.  Body slams and crazy rolls are spiral fractures waiting to happen!

zoom738x736z95808cw793 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash

A gentle giant may be a better playmate than an over-the-top small dog.





Soft Landings

Jumping off of beds and couches are major causes of spiral fractures in puppies – we are constantly on guard until our puppies reach two years old and keep them off furniture and beds unless we’re there to help them off.  Use heavy carpet pads and carpets around all furniture and beds to cushion impact, should a young (or old) dog slip by and get up on a high piece of furniture.

You can start training in agility but no jumping higher than wrist height until 6 months old, no jumping higher than elbow height until 18 months old.

Stairs not great for young hips

A study of 500 Newfoundland, Labrador, and Leonberger puppies found that puppies who climbed flights of stairs daily before they were 3 months of age had an increased risk of developing hip dysplasia. Although these breeds were selected for the study because of their relatively high incidence of hip dysplasia, the study seems to indicate that stairs represent a strain on any puppy’s joints, so consider ramps or carrying your puppy down stairs if possible.

Although climbing flights of stairs on a daily basis represents an inappropriate strain on puppy joints, doing one or two not-too-steep steps with a non-slip surface would not represent any risk to the puppy and may be a nice body awareness, coordination exercise.

zoom645x639z100000cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nashzoom771x764z100000cw793 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash







Interestingly, the same study found that off-leash, self-directed exercise on gently rolling, varied, and moderately soft ground for puppies under 3 months old decreased the risk of developing hip dysplasia.

And it’s important to get that exercise in early! Free play after 12 weeks old, while certainly beneficial in general, was not shown to decrease the risk of hip dysplasia in the study. So, once again, self-directed play in your backyard or garden is the best exercise for young puppies.

zoom645x482z100000cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nashzoom470x313z61000cw793-1 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nashzoom470x313z61000cw793-1 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash






Ground only toys and playing nice

A puppy chasing a toy will not stop until they are literally on top of the toy, causing both heavy impact and twisting on the bones and soft tissue.  Roll balls or drag toys on the ground for all puppies.  Tug toys should be held low and steady – don’t pull up or back on your puppy’s neck!

zoom394x263z61000cw668 Exercises for Young Dogs by Nash

Puppy necks are delicate! Hold toys low and allow the puppy to pull instead of you tugging on the toy.

Tiring Puppies out

Worried that you won’t be able to tire out your puppy without long exercise sessions? Try 15 minutes of mental exercise such as walking over poles. Have your dog work for their food – place your pup’s meals inside a toy and they have to roll it around in order to get the food to come out of the hole. Or you can use a puzzle toy or teach him a new trick like ‘sit’ etc. or a ‘follow your nose’ game! These will wear out your pup more than constant exercise, which can get them more excited and increase the chance of injury.

 Puppy Exercise General

  • The ages for growth plate closure are only general guidelines and will vary from puppy to puppy.  There will also be differences in recommendations based on your dog’s breed – giant breed puppies’ growth plates tend to close later and small breed puppies’ growth plates close earlier.
  • Sex hormones are what signal growth plates to close, so If your puppy was neutered before around 18 months old, he will have some delay in growth plate closure, and he will also have uneven growth in his bones resulting in joint angles that could be more liable to injury.  A more conservative exercise approach may be warranted with early spay/neutered dogs.
  • There are breed-specific orthopedic concerns which are not addressed here.
  • For any dog that you wish to enroll in a performance career, I highly recommend doing x-rays to confirm growth plate closure before proceeding with any intense training. dogs/



Common misconceptions

Ah, but my dog always looks GUILTY after he’s done something like this!

No. He’s reacting to your body language and emotions. When you come in and see the toilet paper all over the floor, you get mad. The dog can tell that you are upset and the only thing he knows how to do is to try and placate you, as the alpha. So they try and get you out of your bad mood by crouching, crawling, rolling over on their backs, or avoiding eye contact. You interpret the dog as acting “guilty” when in fact the dog hasn’t the faintest idea of what is wrong and is simply hoping you will return to a better mood. The important thing to remember is that if your dog finds that it cannot consistently predict your anger or the reasons for it, it will begin to distrust you — just as you would someone who unpredictably flew into rages.

This is why it’s so important to catch dogs “in the act.” That way you can communicate clearly just what it is they shouldn’t do. Screaming and yelling at the dog, or punishing it well after the fact does not tell your dog what is wrong. You may in fact wind up teaching it to fear you, or consider you unreliable. You must get your dog to understand you, and you have to work on the communication gap, as you are more intelligent than your dog.

Preventing your dog from unwanted behaviours coupled with properly timed corrections will go much further in eliminating the behaviour from your pet than yelling at it.

In fact, you should not yell at, scream at, or hit your dog, ever. There are much more effective ways to get your point across. Try instead to understand the situation from your dog’s point of view and act accordingly.

When dogs are mad at people, they do all kinds of spiteful things.

First remember that “undesirable behaviour” is in the eye of the beholder. To the dog, it’s perfectly alright to dig, to bark, to chase after other dogs, etc. This doesn’t mean you can’t control these behaviours, of course, but it does mean that the dog isn’t doing them “to spite you.” The dog hasn’t a clue that it’s not to do these things unless you train it not to. And it has to understand what you want from it!

We tend to think that dogs have the same emotions as humans – they don’t! Dogs live in the ‘here and now’ and are opportunists! Even the best well trained dog will very likely help himself to that joint of meat that you left tantalisingly on the worktop!

When dogs start undesirable (to humans) behaviour, its best to try to understand the source of this behaviour. Often it stems from the frustration of being left alone. Dogs are very social animals. One positive solution is to make sure your dog is properly exercised. Exercise is a wonderful cure to many behavioural problems and dogs just love it. Do check with your vet for the proper amount of exercise for both the age and breed of any dog. Another solution is obedience training. The point is, your dog needs your attention, whether it is by taking it out on a walk, training it, or both.

Hey, Rover would rather be outside all day than cooped up inside!

False. Dogs are strongly pack-oriented animals. They prefer best to be with their pack whenever possible. If you are inside, they will want to be inside with you. If you are outside, again, they will want to be with you. If you are at work, while they would still like to be with you, this is not usually possible. In this case, does it matter whether the dog is kept inside or outside? It turns out that many dogs behave well when kept inside; bark, dig, and whine while kept out in the yard. Why is this? Your home is the “den.” Dogs prefer to be closer to the centre of the den — the place where the pack’s smells are most acute. While some dogs are happy to stay outdoors during the day while the rest of the pack is gone to work, a great many dogs develop behavioural problems as a result of daily “expulsion” from the den.

In addition, a dog with access to a large territory may feel compelled to “defend” all of it, resulting in other types of problems: frantic barking at “intruders,” and so on. Restricting the amount of territory it has to protect may reduce this type of behaviour.

A good compromise for many dogs is access both to a restricted part of the house and a restricted part of the yard. The inside-outside access keeps him from feeling ejected from the “den” without having too much territory to defend. A dog that can’t be trusted inside and is destructive outside will probably benefit the most from being crated during the day. With most dogs, if you crate them through puppy hood (which also helps with housebreaking), by the time they are mostly adult (from 8 months to 24 months of age depending on the breed) you can start weaning them off the crate. Because they are used to spending the time in the crate quietly, they will form the habit of spending that same time quietly whether in the crate or not as adult.

Well, OK, but it’s different in the country, isn’t it?

It is an absolute myth that living in the country confers greater latitude in the dictum “thou shall keep thy dog constrained to the immediate environs of the pack.” Country dogs allowed to run free get shot by hunters or farmers protecting their livestock. They get into fights with other dogs over territory. They can kill livestock, fight and tassle and get disease from wild animals, and be hit by cars on the highway. They become increasingly aggressive as they vie for larger and larger perimeter boundaries to their territory, and they no longer relate to YOU as the leader of their pack. Also, don’t forget that intact animals will breed and add to the overpopulation problem.

This same misconception leads people to dump unwanted dogs “in the countryside.” Most such dogs die a painful death, either by slow starvation, injuries from being hit by a car or in a fight with another animal, or they are shot by farmers protecting their livestock. The countryside is not some sort of romantic haven for stray dogs.

Coping when your dog gets lost – from the perspective of one owner

SUKI – My beloved Doggie, was missing for 5 weeks.

The truth is I don’t know how I coped with Suki being missing for five weeks, but somehow I did.

From my brave, but skittish little dog I’ve learnt so much; that I have inner resilience, that I’m lucky to have a creative life that keeps me going during sad times (and there was MUCH sadness when Suki was missing),that feeling sad is natural sometimes, that dogs have their wildness and sometimes struggle to be pets, that some dogs need to take things very slowly indeed, and so much more.


Suki has had a complex life to date. She was a breeding dog up until May, when I re-homed her. She seemed to love her home straight away, and settled in well. But I didn’t realise how much Shiba Inu’s bond with just one person(me in this case, because I was caring for her), so when looked after by someone she didn’t know that well she ran away on Primrose Hill, and had an accident which involved lots of injuries.


Slowly, gradually, with lots of care she recovered well. And for that I’m deeply thankful to the Well Animal Clinic, my Mum and friends.


All seemed to be going smoothly for Suki this Autumn, but there was more adventure to come. I was directing a play, so was not at home as much as usual, and for two days a week employed a dog walker. Suki seemed to be really coming out of her shell, getting friendlier with other dogs, and generally bolder at this time. Unfortunately she spooked at a loud noise on West Heath and ran away in early October.


The things that kept me going were: My Mum’s support and help, the huge efforts the dog-walker put in to try andfind her, my imagination, Steph at Dogs Lost (who gave great advice), Sue at Tip Top who checked in with me,and put the word out to so many people (even though we’d only met her once), and some great friends Yael, Sasha and Andrew who helped me look on the Heath.


Before Suki was found I have to admit I was beginning to give up hope, and wondering whether I should try to move on from the loss, but I resolved to keep going with a few things: to respond to any sightings ASAP and to keep advertising for Suki. I also (probably for myself more than Suki) talked and sang to her which I know sounds a bit mad, but anything that helps I say do it!


I was trying to accept and hope that she was somehow okay, and being looked after, whether that was by me, herself or a stranger.


Myself, Mum and the dog walker did a lot of looking, postering, advertised Suki’s loss in the papers, phoned every dog charity, vets, rivers, the railways, police, hampstead heath constabulary – everything we could think of. We did some scenting for a while (see Dogslost website for further details) We even consulted an animal communicator (which I’m still not sure about…) but basically it felt better to do something rather than just wait.


I managed to keep working (only took one day off), directed a successful play and set up another project in that time – which I still find slightly incredible.


The morning I spoke to Terri, who found her, it was like a miracle.I could hear from her voice that she was genuine, and when she said Suki was wearing her collar with her tag with her name on I was pretty sure. She and her lovely rescue dogs had found her in a thicket, near Golders Hill Park, and lured her out with some sausage.


Suki is now safe and well and snoozing on a new blanket.


Thank you to everybody who helped bring her back! My advice to anyone who loses a beloved dog. Do everythingyou can to find them, but be gentle on yourself and try to keep the rest of your life going. If you do find them its a combination of luck and looking, and life is short – so don’t drive yourself mad if you don’t succeed. Dogs are pets but they also have a wildness – that’s just their nature.


Titania Krimpas.November 2011

What do do if you loose your dog –
Go to where you will ge all the help you will need.You can organise posters from there but you will need to be signed in.

Contact Dog Wardens’, rescues,some contact numbers of London rescues are listed below, vets and leave a poster . For contact details of vets in your area click on the light green logo “Find any UK Vet” on our website.

Dogs can be rehomed after 7 days, try and visit rescues do not rely on phone calls alone. If your dog is Chipped do contact the Chip Co and report him missing and check your details are up to date.

Please update us on who has been contacted i.e. DW’s etc and if you have started postering. You can leave a comment by typing in the Comments box.

Posters can be printed by selecting View Poster just below the dog’s details (you must be registered and logged in).

Suggestions for places to poster : –

Direct area of loss – veterinary surgeries – local pounds, and rescue centres – dog walking areas – dog bins – park entrances and exits – boarding kennels and catteries – re-cycling areas- petrol stations – pubs, and pub car parks – railway stations – bus stations – bus stops – post offices – newsagents – supermarkets and their car parks – pet shops, and animal food stores – corner shops – off licences – take away food shops – library’s – mobile library – schools, inside and out if poss, and school gates – inside rear side windows of car – taxi drivers – taxi offices – garden centres and nurseries – doctors surgeries – clinics – community centres – village halls – telephone boxes – riding centres and stables – dog groomers – town, village, and church notice boards – works notice boards and canteens etc etc .

Flyers :- Hand to dog walkers who will always spread the word – Postmen, plus a poster for the sorting office – bin men – street cleaners – milk men – paperboys – children and parents outside schools – pubs, ask to leave a pile on bar, and place on tables (dogs get sold on in pub car parks) – same with markets, fairs and boot sales, hand out flyers and poster the entrances (dogs get sold here too ) – hand out flyers at gatherings such as sports matches, fetes and concerts – post through letter boxes of neighbouring properties and business’s – pay to get flyers into the local newspaper , magazines and free publications.


Animal Rescue & Care (ARC)

PO Box 46, Twickenham, TW11WG

Tel: 020 8607 9902 Email:

Battersea Dogs Home

4 Battersea Park Road, London, SW8 4AA

Tel: 020 7622 3626 Fax: 020 7622 6451.

Battersea at Old Windsor

Priest Hill, Old Windsor, Berks SL4 2JN

Tel: 01784 432929 Fax: 01784 471538.

Dogs Trust – West London

Highway Farm, Harvil Road, Harefield, Uxbridge UB9 6JW

Tel: 0845 076 3647

Enfield Dog Rescue

Palmers Green, London N13

Tel: 020 8886 4117 (before 8 pm)or 020 8376 2363 (after 8 pm)


Harmsworth Animal Hospital(RSPCA)

22 Sonderburg Road



N7 7QD

Telephone: 0300 123 0712

Hounslow Animal Welfare Society

PO Box 234, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 2QG

Tel: 020 8560 5443

Mayhew Animal Home

Trenmar Gardens, Kensal Green, London NW10 4RE

Tel: 020 8969 0178. Fax: 0208 969 3221


Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals

Hendon Veterinary Centre

4 Church Terrace

Church End


London NW4 4JU

0208 203 2090

Putney Animal Hospital (RSPCA)

Clarendon Dr, Wandsworth, London SW15 1AA, UK

Phone: 0300 123 0716 24 Hour emergency service…&page=rspca.htm

RSPCA Hillingdon, Slough, Windsor and District Branch

Hillingdon Clinic, 123 Uxbridge Road, Hillingdon, Middx, UB10 0LQ

Tel: 01895 833417 Fax: 01895 834461

National Animal Welfare Trust Rescue Centre

Tylers Way, Watford By Pass, Watford, Herts WD25 8HQ

Tel: 020 8950 1320 (10am to 4pm)


Steph (Aunt Stef) Volunteer

Since Dog Lost began in 2003 over 13000 missing and stolen dogs that have been registered on the site have been reunited. Dog Lost is run by volunteers but your donations are essential to keep the web site running.

Help us to help others. Please make a donation today

0844 800 3220

Admin 0844 800 3220

People foods that can kill your dog

It feels good to treat your pet to human food every once in a while. Those puppy-dog eyes are hard to resist as they watch you eat and try to convince you that they are starving! It makes you want to give them a taste of everything you eat. But beware: Giving in to those eyes and giving dogs human foods can actually harm them.

Many foods we enjoy can be dangerous to animals. It’s best to stick to pet food and a diet recommended by your vet. Here are a few of the most toxic foods that can harm your pet:

Bad news foods

b27ab-avocado-748845 People foods that can kill your dog

They contain a toxic component called persin, which can damage heart, lung and other tissue in many animals. This fruit is very toxic to dogs, cats and most animals.


b04d2-beer-751415 People foods that can kill your dog

Alcoholic beverages can cause the same damage to an animal’s liver and brain as they cause in humans. But the effects can be deadly on animals since they are much smaller than us. The smaller the animal, the more deadly the effects can be. Even a small amount of alcohol may cause vomiting and damage the liver and brain.


61a82-walnuts-764842 People foods that can kill your dog

Walnuts and macadamia nuts are especially toxic. Effects can be anything from vomiting to paralysis to death. Within 12 hours of eating the nuts, pets start to develop symptoms such as an inability to stand or walk, vomiting, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), weakness, and an elevated heart rate. These symptoms can be even worse if your dog eats some chocolate with the nuts. The effect can cause kidney failure, often leading to death.


1872d-choc1-754308 People foods that can kill your dog

Chocolate contains theobromine, which can kill your pet if eaten in large quantities. Dark and unsweetened baking chocolates are especially dangerous. Giving your pup a piece of chocolate cake or even letting him lick the chocolate icing on the cake could cause him to become ill. Theobromine can also cause a dog or cat’s heart to beat very rapidly or irregularly, which could result in death if the pet is exercising or overly active. Please see “What is so bad about chocolate?” on the Tips page


53fe2-sweets-761686 People foods that can kill your dog

Sweets or anything containing artificial sweeteners as this can cause a sudden drop in an animal’s blood sugar, loss of coordination and seizures. If left untreated, the animal could die.


8ed35-coffee-755882 People foods that can kill your dog

Coffee, tea or any product that contains caffeine stimulates an animal’s central nervous and cardiac systems. This can lead to restlessness, heart palpitations and death, depending on how much the animal consumes.

Grapes and raisins

fb240-grapes-756072 People foods that can kill your dog

Grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure in dogs. As little as a single serving of raisins can kill them.

00745-raisins-760325 People foods that can kill your dog

And the effects are cumulative, which means that even if a dog eats just one or two grapes or raisins regularly, the toxin that builds in his system will eventually kill him.


0e4fd-onions-759111 People foods that can kill your dog

Onions are another common food that can be highly toxic to pets. They can destroy an animal’s red blood cells and lead to anaemia, weakness and breathing difficulties. Their effects are also cumulative over time.


f2493-medicine-757589 People foods that can kill your dog

Hide medicine from your pets just like you would from your children. The most common cause of pet poisoning is from animals ingesting a medicine or drug normally prescribed for humans.

And this is not just because furry pals are getting into their pet parent’s medicine cabinets. In many cases, pet owners give their feline and canine friends an over-the-counter medication to ease an animal’s pain. But acetaminophen and ibuprofen, the active ingredients in many common pain relievers, are extremely toxic to dogs and cats. They can cause gastric ulcers, liver damage, kidney failure and sometimes death.

Good news foods
There are a few things that you CAN give to your furry pal. However, you should always consult a veterinarian before introducing a new food item to your pet.

Although these foods are normally harmless, some animals have sensitive gastrointestinal tracts. So even these healthy treats should be avoided if they cause gastrointestinal upset for your pet. Keep in mind that these and other “extras” should not make up more than 5 to 10 percent of the pet’s daily caloric intake.

Lean meats
Any cooked lean meat should be fine for most dogs. High-fat meats, chicken skin and fat from steaks or roasts are not recommended. Ingestion may lead to gastrointestinal upset or even pancreatitis. This can be a very painful condition for dogs. In addition, most companion animals do not need extra fat in their diets. Never give your pet meat with the bone in it. Animals can choke on the bones, and they can splinter as well.


0a0fd-veg-763207 People foods that can kill your dog

Carrot sticks, green beans, cucumber slices and zucchini slices are all OK.


5b626-apple-748458 People foods that can kill your dog

Apple slices, orange slices,bananas and watermelon are all OK. Make sure the seeds have been taken out; seeds are not good for your pet!

Baked potatoes

fc2cb-potato-759512 People foods that can kill your dog

Plain baked potatoes are fine, but make sure they are cooked — no unripe potatoes or potato plants.


ecfd6-bread-752784 People foods that can kill your dog

Plain cooked bread is fine; just make sure there are no nuts or raisins added.

Rice and pasta

b522f-rice-761528 People foods that can kill your dog

Plain, cooked pasta and white rice are OK. Often veterinarians recommend plain rice with some boiled chicken when gastrointestinal upset is present.

In case of emergency
Despite all the precautions you take to keep your pet pals safe, accidents do happen. Common signs of poisoning include muscle tremors or seizures; vomiting and diarrhoea; drooling; redness of skin, ears and eyes; and swelling and bleeding. If you suspect your pet has consumed, inhaled or come in contact with a toxic substance, stay calm and call for help immediately. If you see your pet consuming anything you think might be toxic, seek emergency help immediately from your vet even if she or he is not exhibiting any symptoms.It is better to be safe than sorry.

What is so bad about chocolate?

32a04-dogchocyweb0912_468x303 What is so bad about chocolate?

Chocolate is severely toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine. This is a stimulant that effects the nervous system and heart muscle, as well as increasing the frequency of urination.

31489-images-784785 What is so bad about chocolate?

Dogs can’t metabolize theobromine as effectively as humans. This allows it to build up in their system until it reaches toxic levels of concentration. This may lead to a variety of health problems including death due to cardiac arrest.

6ade9-images1-785684 What is so bad about chocolate?

The less the dog weighs the more you should be worried because the toxicity levels are higher.

Here is a chart that has been published in the National Geographic Magazine that tells you the about the different types of chocolate and the effects it can have on your dog. your dogs’ weight against how much chocolate can cause symptoms from vomiting and diarrhea to death.

Cocoa Mulch is also toxic for your dog.Please click on this link for more information on the dangers of this cocoa-based garden soil dressing. to dog-owners.html


Lung worm

4e76b-pupandsnail-731301 Lung worm

Puppies and dogs are naturally inquisitive and put all sorts of things in their mouths.Snail and slugs can be plentiful at times in our gardens and you need to be aware of the dangers that they can pose.

13b5b-imagesnail-735302 Lung worm

The life-threatening lungworm A. vasorum is carried by slugs and snails.
If your dog comes into contact with these common garden pests there is a risk it could become infected.

75d70-lungworm2-732640 Lung worm

Please don’t forget that slug pellets also pose a danger to your dog so don’t use them.Try to find a safer way to deal with snails and slugs.

7794b-slugtrap-733725 Lung worm

1396b-slugbook-734817 Lung worm

Please go to this site for more information about lungworm and be guided by your vet regarding diagnosing it and treating it.

There are several types of worms that your dog will need treating against so do discuss your course of action with your vet.Please don’t leave your puppy in the garden unsupervised as there are so many potential dangers for them.

Kennel Cough

2d7e2-cough1 Kennel Cough

There have been several cases of Kennel cough locally.
Kennel cough is a bronchitis characterized by a harsh, hacking cough which most people describe as sounding like “something stuck in my dog’s throat.” It is similar to a chest cold for humans and some strains are worse than others ( just like different flu viruses)
It is very contagious and is spread by droplet infection.Incubation is between 2 and 14 days.
Young,old and ailing dogs and dogs who may be under stress ( e.g in kennels or away from home) are particularly vulnerable.Most dogs get over it very quickly but sometimes older dogs,or dogs with weakened immune systems may get secondary infections ( just like humans can with colds developing in to bronchitis)
If you are unsure if your dog has contracted Kennel cough we would recommend that you seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible but please do advise the receptionist your suspicions as they may not want you in a busy waiting room with other dogs who may then contract it.
You will be advised to not allow your dog to mix freely with other dogs for anything up to 10 days.The vaccine is administered up the nose as against injection but is quick and totally painless.

Note:Any vaccine takes days for immunity to develop.
Vaccinating on the day the dog is exposed may not be protective.Try to plan vaccination a few weeks before you need to put your dog in kennels to allow full immunity protection.

34e1b-cough3 Kennel Cough

Why we don’t use punishment or aversives.


At Tip Top Dog School we try to base all our training methods on reward-based motivational techniques.

The words “Aversive” and “Punishment” mean delivering a harsh correction to the dog.

We do not do the following :



Rub noses in urine or faeces

Lead jerk

Knee in chest

Throw discs or rattle cans

Spray water

Why not? – because there are humane and effective alternatives to punishment.

Here are a few of the main reasons why punishment can cause worse problems than the unacceptable behaviour one was trying to stop:

A punishment requires perfect timing and it has to be severe enough to stop the behaviour first time.

Most owners do not have good enough timing to deliver the punishment within 2 seconds of the undesirable behaviour.

If the punishment is delivered time and time again escalating in severity (as is not working ) it actually becomes ABUSE.

Punishment only teaches the dog what NOT to do.

Positive training teaches an alternative behaviour – if you teach your dog to “sit” he can’t be jumping up etc.

Punishment teaches any reasonably intelligent dog to keep away from you.

e.g Why should he come to you when called if you shout or hit him when he has ( at last) come back to you.

Any bad behaviour that is fear based can be made worse by using punishment.

e.g the dog that is barking at another dog because he is scared of it, is now afraid of you too if you hit him for barking at the other dog.

You do not earn your dog’s trust and respect by intimidation and physical abuse.

Only kind, fair and consistent training will make a dog regard you as their leader and guardian.

You don’t change the dog’s attitude by punishment.

e.g If you punish a dog for growling at you – it may not growl a warning next time – but go straight in and bite you.

Your dog may not understand the reason for the punishment.

e.g You may think you are punishing your dog for chasing a jogger – but your dog might think you were punishing him for not going fast enough to catch him.

Your dog cannot generalise or discriminate

If you punish him for chewing the chair leg he will still chew the table leg. If you allow him to have an old trainer as a chew-toy he will think it’s OK to chew your brand new ones

Punishment can cause a dog to shut down.

The dog decides that everything he does is wrong so he doesn’t try to do anything and he cannot learn

Punishment can seem like a reward to the dog.

e.g Touching your dog to stop him doing something can seem like a reward to your dog even if you think you were reprimanding him.

Punishment can physically and mentally damage your dog.

e.g Lead jerking can cause severe long-term injury to neck and spine, plus – why on earth should your dog want to walk next to you if you keep hurting him?

Punishment can backfire with horrific consequences in cases of aggression.

e.g You may punish the dog and he won’t bite you – but his anger could make him re-direct his aggression to another dog or even your child or grand-child

Punishment can become owner contingent.

e.g Just because you have suppressed an unwanted behaviour, rather than teaching the dog how you want him to behave, it does not mean the dog won’t do it when you are not present.

Punishment can be simply a way of the owner venting their own anger and frustration.

Please don’t get the wrong idea – positive does NOT mean permissive.

Dogs, like children are happiest knowing their boundaries and what is expected of them.

At Tip Top we believe in helping you to understand your dog’s natural behaviour and how to train your dog to behave acceptably in all life situations – not just in the classroom, which is why we explain what we are doing and why.

We do not just teach obedience exercises.

By some trainers’ criteria we at Tip Top are not 100% purely positive.

We do use “Time-Outs” occasionally and we will use a “No” if necessary.

We don’t allow doggy tantrums or temper biting (of you or us).

We won’t smack or shake the dog but we will restrain him until he calms down (and stops trying to sink his teeth into us!)

We do believe that all dogs must have enough trust and respect for their handlers that they will accept handling and restraint from an early age.

A New Puppy

Great Expectations!
An excellent article on getting the “ups and downs” of having a new puppy in your life by  Gillian Ridgeway
You think you are alone.  Everyone else sees your new little bundle of fluff as fun and exciting.  As the neighbours ooh and aah in delight over Oscar’s antics, you heart starts to sink.  What have you done?  How did you ever think that getting this puppy would add delight to your life?
It all starts with an image.  The image that we focus in our heads is one of the loyal, faithful companion.  The companion that is willing to dole out unconditional love to us after a hard day at the office.  We visualize ourselves tossing a stick on a beach just as the sunset is approaching.  We visualize ourselves sipping coffee at an outdoor café with our dogs patiently waiting at our sides and we visualize just how cool this dog will be as he lopes around the dog park, with only eyes for you.
And your journey begins.  You start to look for the breed of dog you think will suit your lifestyle.  You search for breeders and you comb the local pound in search of the ideal dog.  You decide on a set of criteria and you are determined to stick to it.  After all, if you stick to your criteria, the outcome should be great.  You hunt around for information at every place you stop.  The other dog owners are thrilled for you and more than happy to give out the name of their Veterinarian and trainer and your sense of elation gets even higher.
You are prepared, so this venture should be perfect.
The big day arrives and Oscar comes home.  You have done your homework, you feed him the best foods, you exercise and train him.  You are consistent with the house rules and wham…it hits you!  This wasn’t what you had visualized at all.
The initial honeymoon stage is over, the novelty has worn thin and Oscar becomes more of a nuisance than a companion.  He doesn’t seem to take to toilet training as quickly as your cousin’s dog.  He jumps more, chews more, barks more and digs more than you ever expected and now sometimes you wonder if you even like him anymore.
The fact is that almost everyone feels this same sense of doubt.  We worry about the choice we made, not the choice of dog but the actual choice to add a dog to our family.
Taking a closer look at the rest of our lives, all the big events in life seem to go through the same initial stages.  Not that comparing a new car is like the arrival of a puppy, but the stages are similar.
When I made up my mind to switch vehicles, the process was exciting.  I went to the car lots and got all the brochures.  I did my research and invested in the lemon-aid book, a guide to used cars.  All this preparation was part of the fun.  After laying out my criteria it seemed that I would never find a vehicle that had everything on my list.  Finally, the perfect vehicle was sitting on the lot, at the right price!  It was so perfect that it was difficult to say no.  After all, if I said no to this vehicle, then what was I looking for?  I signed on the dotted line and once again became excited by the prospect of my new van.  Upon picking it up, it was a delight.  It was peppy and had a great stereo system.  As I do a lot of traveling with my dogs, one of my main criteria was that the van had to have rear air conditioning.  Well, it did have that, but when I started to move the seats around to accommodate the dogs, I noticed a small glitch.  It was a bit more difficult to arrange them in the configuration that was originally planned.  This was a source of distress for me for a month or so.  I lamented over the fact that my old vehicle was perfect for the crate set up.  Eventually, I got used to the new van and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything else.
As previously stated, comparing dog ownership to van ownership is not the issue here.  The issue is that all big events have stages.  If the facts were told, most new moms face certain doubts, coupled with feelings of joy and all the ups and downs that are left in the middle.  While most new mothers know that this is normal during the adjustment stage, others need help during this difficult time.
Death causes stages of emotions and grieving.  This situation is so “normal” that these stages are documented.  It is a sense of comfort to people to know that their reaction during this process is considered normal.
It seems then, that it would be considered normal to experience some kind of emotional upheaval when a dog is suddenly living in your house.
The great news is that this is just what we thought it would be…a phase.  This phase seems to start at the beginning of the second month after getting your dog and lasting, on average, about one month.  While weathering out this storm, many dog owners feel stressed and then add guilt onto the stress.  As their relationship grows and changes, a routine starts to take place.  They may not be living with the dog they thought they would have, but they are living with the dog they now love and wouldn’t change their experience.  As time goes on, the memory fades and before long it is inconceivable that any other dog would be as perfect as Oscar.
“At first, I wanted to send her back.  I thought I had made a mistake.  After ten months, nothing and nobody could make me give her up.”