Cancer rates are through the roof in dogs. Highly processed dry food is seen as a major contributor by many proponents of fresh food. Purdue University did a study on the effect on rates of bladder cancer in Scotties with the addition of fruit & veg and concluded "that consumption of certain vegetables may prevent or slow the development of TCC (transitional cell carcinoma) in Scottish Terriers." Dogs don't need a lot of fruit & veg (5-10% max), but a little really does go a long way to a healthier life.
Dr. Conor Brady, PhD, Author, Blogger, Lecturer and all round expert in canine nutrition shared a recipe for home made power cubes at our Natural Dog Seminar in Montreux in 2019. Publishing an updated version here with his permission:
A large sweet potato boiled (with skin on) or some porridge oats can be added for hungry dogs. Lightly boiled courgette is also a good, healthy filler for hungry dogs. I play around with the ingredients depending on what I have to hand but roughly follow the principles and it will be great. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, blend using a hand blender, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Voila - just pop one on your dog's food daily for a tasty, easy vitamin and mineral boost.
A. Global Worming.... (so sorry)
Now, on to more serious stuff! First things first, and possibly most importantly, before blindly routinely treating dogs every month or quarter for worms that they may or (probably) may not have, please consider spending the money that you would pay for worming tablets on a faecal worm test instead. Then treat the dog for worms if they are present.
The faecal worm test* checks for the presence of roundworms, tapeworms and coccidia and involves collection of a little fresh poo collected over 5 days (keep refrigerated), posted off to a lab and the results come back very quickly. I have just gone through the process and it could not be simpler. Your vet should happily provide the collection tube and give you the results. It costs about CHF60. Assuming the worst, you need to treat for worms. You should take advice from your vet on what is best for your dog.
Signs that dogs may have worms include: diarrhoea and/or vomiting, fever, scooting/licking rear end (scooting can also indicate other issues), reluctance to eat, lethargy, dull coat, mucus coated stools, worms or “rice bodies” in poo. If you notice any of the above, speak to your vet, it would be a good idea to get a worm test done. Otherwise you could consider routinely testing annually.
If you decide to do preventative worm treatment throughout the year, perhaps because your dog is a scavenger (especially if he eats snails, slugs, fox poo or other animal poo), you live in a high risk area for worms and/or you'd rather not do routine faecal tests, here are some natural anti-helminthics (worm preventers) to consider:
*For heart/lung worm testing, a blood test is required. Incidence is low in Switzerland, I suggest discussing with your vet if you have specific concerns.
Dogs generally visit the vet for two reasons - vaccinations and illness. Neither experience is much fun, for dog or owner. Our new wellness days are designed to focus on dog's health and happiness holistically, to learn more about natural dog care and simple ways to keep our dogs in optimal condition throughout their lives, to meet happy dogs and their owners from the area and to have fun.
Our first Wellness Day will take place on Tuesday February 18th with the wonderful holistic vet Dr. Victoria Unt (Vet Equilibre). A UK native and now Swiss based, Victoria is a vet with an appreciation, training and expertise in both eastern and western veterinary medicine. Many of you know her from the Natural Dog Seminar where she teaches on TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine). Victoria will do a one to one health consultation with your dog* (by prior appointment with Aileen please). A range of services will be available on the day, depending on your dogs' needs - for example acupuncture, urinary analysis, blood & worm count tests, geriatric assessment, vaccicheck/antibody check - determined on a case by case basis and charged individually by Vet Equilibre. There is a cover charge of CHF60/dog for admin/travel/event costs.
*To protect all the dogs, both visiting and those staying in Happy Dogs Aigle, we can only offer this service to dogs that are not currently "actively ill" (chronic, non infectious and/or age related issues are ok).
Our second Wellness Day takes place on Monday March 2nd with veterinary herbalist Jo Arbon (Holistic Hound). A UK native living in Ireland, many of you also know Jo from speaking at the Natural Dog Seminar. She is a font of knowledge on herbs and essential oils for dogs and will offer:
(1) A class on herb selection for illness, focusing on how to breakdown an illness to match and blend herb choices, and subsequently feel more empowered to use herbs.
(2) Deep dive into 2 current “hot” herbs: Turmeric and Hemp/CBD for dogs. We will make golden paste, throat magic and a hot spot treatment (using turmeric) and discuss hemp to CBD and it’s many uses, then make a hemp macerate. This afternoon workshop costs CHF100/delegate with lots of goodies to take away afterward.
Needless to say, since fun and play is such an important contributor to canine health, it is included in our wellness days, along with coffee and cake for the humans. Should these wellness days prove popular, we plan to repeat them a couple of times per year with a variety of experts and subjects. Please contact Aileen with questions or to make an appointment!
As our Siddy gets older (he will be 20 in March), he is fussier about food and it's tricky to predict what he'll eat from one day to the next. Adding a little bone broth to his food seems to make everything irresistible as well as being so good for his health. With Perro's multiple knee surgeries and Gracie's recent serious health scare, we are going through bone broth at a faster rate than usual in our house! Luckily it is very easy & cheap to make using a slow cooker (ideally) and plenty of patience.
The health benefits of bone broth include:
Here is a good recipe to follow - be sure to consider the recommended additions such as kale and nettles. If you're short on time or patience, or simply want to try some before making it yourself, Jo from Archie's Bonbons makes & sells it fresh frozen in individual bone shaped portions (which makes life very easy!) so just message me for her phone number or you can pick it up from Happy Dogs Aigle. Happy broth-ing!
Tick season is already upon us, we live in tick paradise and I detest ticks, so I thought I would share some of the natural preventative measures I take with my own dogs. I do not give tick/flea/worm chemicals to my gang, just my personal preference, but if you do decide to, please read up on the very serious side effects of the newer generation treatments - just google 'FDA warnings and tick treatments' to be aware of the pros and cons of the latest treatments.
So here's what I do, in order of my preference:
1. Ticked Off - hand made by Veterinary Herbalist and friend Jo Arbon from Holistic Hound, Co. Kerry, Ireland, it contains garlic, echinacea and apple cider vinegar. Given daily (according to dog weight) on top of food, in my experience it takes 2-3 weeks to build up in the dog's system (maybe less in smaller dogs). I have seen a marked reduction in ticks since I started giving this to Gracie & Perro over the past 2-3 years. I give it all year round bar December/January.
2. Garlic: in size appropriate dose, is not harmful for dogs, in fact there are lots of benefits - including the fact that ticks (and worms) hate it. Takes about a week to build up in the blood. Not advised for dogs on blood thinners or certain other long term meds.
3. Homemade topical spray of Apple Cider Vinegar, water and almond oil with a few drops of quality essential oils (geranium, tea tree, lavender and cedar wood). Shake the bottle and spray onto legs before walking. Vinegar can irritate sensitive skin so important to dilute well. and/ or rinse legs off after walks. Speaking from experience(!) it is extremely expensive to make this up for one or two dogs (because of the cost of quality oils) so I always make up extra bottles and they are available to buy here, just send me a message and I'll hold one for you. I keep a bottle in the side pocket of the car and spray legs (including my own) before walks. Luckily it smells great thanks to the rose geranium oil!
4. Rose geranium & lavender oil drops on a bandana (not a collar) when walking in tick prevalent areas but really important to remove the bandana indoors (as the odour could be overwhelming to dogs).
I know some people swear by Baltic amber collars, I haven’t tried them myself, mainly because Perro plays so much with the guest dogs that It would be in the drawer more than on his neck and the electrostatic/odor benefit would be lost. If anyone has other tips to share it would be fantastic!
I'm not a gadget girl but I do love GPS trackers for dogs. We use them all the time, both for boarding dogs and for our own nose-to-the-ground hunting dog, Perro. Anyone who has ever walked a dog understands the fear when they disappear. We know they need to explore and sniff and have fun and be free, but it is terrifying when they are out of sight, even for a few minutes. And of course they should be trained so that they return immediately on command, but even the most perfect dog becomes selectively deaf from time to time.
We have trialled a number of tracker types over the past few years and the one we are most pleased with is the Tractive brand. The Tractive trackers are waterproof (not always the case with other brands as we learned to our cost...), neat and unobtrusive, come with 2 casing widths to fit on either thin or thicker collars, not too expensive (about €80/year) and, importantly for us, the customer service is excellent. When one of our trackers got damaged recently. it was replaced quickly and free of charge (we took their insurance for lifetime replacement and we're glad we did). If you'd like to order a tracker, the company have a refer a friend scheme offering the purchaser a 15% discount and the referrer a month free on their own subscription plan - here's the code and happy wandering!
I definitely talk about sardines more than your average person. I could even be described as slightly obsessed. It may sound fishy (sorry...) but it’s a fact - sardines are a superfood for your dog. Especially if they usually eat kibble or tinned dog food.
An easy, low cost weekly addition which provides protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, benefits the heart, brain and kidneys, can help with allergies, weight loss and seizures and is believed to enhance mood. And every dog I have ever met loves them.
So it stands to reason they will love you even more than they already do (if that’s possible) if you substitute some of their regular food with a weight appropriate serving of tinned sardines in water with no added salt. For more details and recommended serving information click here.
Credit: Planet Paws
My IT Manager (aka long suffering husband Ronan) has added a new feature to our website allowing our customers to manage your Happy Dogs account online - keeping all your details (and your dogs information) up to date. Even more importantly, you can check availability for future bookings and make reservation requests directly! Click on the "set up your account" button below. If you have issues registering, it could be that we don't have your email address on the system - please just send me an email or whatsapp and I'll make sure it's added. We hope you enjoy this new feature!
Welcome to the Happy Dogs Aigle blog! Renovating and setting up our dog boarding and daycare centre has occupied most of my focus and energy over the past 4 years but things are up and running now so it’s time for new projects and challenges. We have some exciting ideas in the pipeline, some longer term, others more immediate – like our monthly newsletter and blog.
My passion is dogs (I’m guessing that’s not a massive surprise). I’m lucky enough to spend pretty much all of my time with them. I never get tired of being with them. Dogs teach me personally a great deal about life, friendship, relaxing, fun, nature and an appreciation for the “little things”.
I also spend a lot of time talking about dogs to “dog people” – owners and professionals. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much about what makes dogs happy and healthy. That’s the main reason behind the blog and newsletter – to share ideas, tips and information to enable us all to have the happiest, healthiest dogs possible. I hope you enjoy the read!