Tag Archives: dog owners

I don’t understand…

I often chat with my human clients (the ones who pay the bills) when working on their dog. This week, one my clients and I were chatting about her dog’s nutrition plan.  She mentioned that her neighbor was feeding a cheap food that wasn’t balanced.  And more importantly, he didn’t seem to care.

She said “I don’t understand why people get dogs, say they love them, and then don’t bother to feed a quality food.”

I, of course, agreed.

And then I got to thinking about the other things I don’t understand:

  • I don’t understand why some people get a dog and then never let it live inside the house with them and their family.
  • I don’t understand why dog owners think ‘cheap’ anything is appropriate for their dog’s health and well-being.
  • I don’t understand why people adopt puppies and then don’t take them to puppy training classes.
  • I don’t understand why people adopt older dogs and don’t invest the time to train them.
  • I don’t understand why anyone things it’s okay to hit a dog, or neglect it.
  • I don’t understand why some dog owners don’t take their dog out for daily exercise and enrichment.
  • I don’t understand why some people don’t accept their lifetime responsibility to their animal.
  • I don’t understand why people don’t spay or neuter their dog (and then some put it up for adoption and expect the new owner to do it).
  • I don’t understand why some people have children and then say they have to re-home their dog because they are too busy – the dog was there first.
  • I don’t understand why, when their dog is in pain or injured, the owner goes onto Facebook for advice rather than taking their dog to the vet (with urgency).

Daisy in sunshine 2014IMG_0577

I have been lucky enough to have some incredible dogs in my life (above are Daisy (now deceased) and Izzy (my retired racing greyhound).  I proudly say that they have always come first.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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What a veterinarian and a dog massage therapist have in common

I came across an article recently which was a sort of a “Vets Tell You What They Really Think” piece.  It listed 50 things that the veterinarian would love to say, but can’t, because it would be either too forward or too unprofessional (or both).

One of these really stood out for me:

“Here’s a pet peeve: owners who don’t want to pay for diagnostic tests but then cop an attitude because you don’t know what’s wrong with the animal. Since you wouldn’t let me do the blood work or X-rays, how the heck do you expect me to know?”A vet in South Carolina.

I’m in total agreement with this vet.  If we don’t have a diagnosis how are we able to help?

Believe it or not, I get contacted fairly regularly from people who want me to come and work on their dog because they don’t want to pay for x-rays or other tests.  In such cases, I tell them politely that I need a diagnosis to be able to confidently work with their animal.  The risk is too high that, for example, if the dog has spinal injury I can make it worse rather than better.

Costs for veterinary care can be high, but you pay for the skills and the tools that are available to a veterinarian.  The vet is your dog’s equivalent of the Family Doctor/General Practitioner and sometimes the Emergency Room Doctor combined.  Your dog needs them!

dog and vet

There are times I’ve been caught.  Such as the case where the owners said x-rays had been taken and we worked for quite a few weeks on the dog only to suffer setbacks.  The owners were getting frustrated.   I suggested other things within my scope of practice and I recommended they go back to the vet.

That’s when I found out that the owner had only allowed the vet to take a single x-ray to save money.  The x-ray didn’t reveal anything in the lower spine and so the vet  assumed a partial tear of the cruciate based solely on symptoms.  And that’s the diagnosis I was working with, too.

When the owners returned to the vet, they were persuaded to do more scans and that’s when the problem (and a totally different diagnosis) was determined.

In the end, these owners probably spent more money than they saved.  And  their dog walked around with an injury that was even more difficult to address.

My advice to owners is to only bring a dog into your life when you are confident that you can pay for their care (and that’s means more than just vaccinations, food and flea treatments).  And if you have concerns about your ability to pay for injuries and illness – get pet insurance.  Some policies even cover costs of complementary care such as dog massage when these treatments are recommended by your vet.

I know that some owners like the idea of setting aside money regularly; my concern is that you would have to be setting fairly large amounts aside regularly for a bank balance with compounding interest to reach into the thousands.  And that’s what some of my clients face when surgeries and special procedures are needed.

Your vet is an essential part of your health care team.  We all need a solid diagnosis to help your dog feel better.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Wet wipe management in dog care

Hitting the news this week has been an announcement from a number of local authorities in New Zealand warning about the disposal of wet wipes.  I and many other dog owners use these wipes; I’ve particularly found them useful for senior dog care when little accidents and dribbles happen on a regular basis.

I admit that I have dutifully bought wipes labelled ‘flushable’ like these thinking they were safe to flush.

wet wipes

And now I find out that wet wipes are clogging the public sewer system, increasing the costs to maintain the system and potentially raising the costs which will ultimately come back to us as ratepayers.

The problem is that, once flushed, these wipes aggregate together and clog around pumping systems and piping.

Clogged sewer pipes - thanks to wet wipes

Clogged sewer pipes – thanks to wet wipes (photo by Marlborough District Council)

Wet wipes clogging the pumping system (photo by Marlborough District Council)

Wet wipes clogging the pumping system (photo by Marlborough District Council)

 

 

 

 

 

So I’m putting up this blog post as part of the educational process.  All wet wipes -for babies, dogs and cleaning – shouldn’t be flushed no matter what the label says!

If you are buying ‘flushable’ wipes, maybe you can write to the company and ask that they stop marketing their wipes as ‘flushable’ since this description is misleading.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

The benefits of being dog-friendly (Christchurch take note)

Here’s more research that backs up my position on dogs and the Christchurch rebuild.  Hopefully the CCDU and CERA will take note…

A study from the University of Liverpool has recommended investing in dog owner education and facilities as a strategy to target physical inactivity and problems such as obesity in both people and their pets.

The research team reviewed scientific papers published since 1990 (31 studies from the UK, USA, Australia and Japan) and found that access to dog-friendly walking environments and better education about dogs’ physical needs could all motivate people to get out and take more exercise with their pets.

An exercised dog is a healthy one, less likely to be obese, and who is less likely to develop behavioural problems like aggression and excessive barking. 

Among the most common findings of all studies was that dog owners have a varied understanding of how much exercise their dog needs. This affected how much they took their dog for a walk; something that could be addressed with education programs.

People without access to high quality local areas that support dog walking, for example parks where dogs are allowed off-leash and poo-disposal facilities are provided, were less likely to walk with their dog and missed out on the associated health benefits.

There are a large number of reasons why people do or don’t walk their dog and it is worth considering how we can address this when designing strategies for reducing obesity, or when planning urban areas and public open space. Not being able to let their dog off the leash is a particular put-off,” said Dr Carri Westgarth, co-author of the study.

Study authors Dr Carri Westgarth and Dr Hayley Christian take an off-lead walk (photo courtesy of University of Liverpool)

Study authors Dr Carri Westgarth and Dr Hayley Christian take an off-lead walk (photo courtesy of University of Liverpool)

The study also found that some people are worried about their dogs’ behaviour and may be less likely to take it out to the park – potentially out of embarrassment or worry about how it might act – but lack of walks may also be causing this bad behaviour, due to boredom, frustration or lack of socialisation.”

When I submitted to the CCDU in November 2012, I made the point that by having greater accessibility, owners have more opportunity to take dogs out – and that increases opportunity not only for exercise but also socialisation.   We want good ownership to be more visible in our communities – thus making it the norm.  Poor ownership would also be more visible – and subject to peer pressure combined with enforcement approaches.

Let’s have a dog-friendly central city with walking accessibility from one end to the other!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Source:  University of Liverpool media release

 

Service dog fraud

There’s a worrying and growing trend in the United States.  It’s Service Dog Fraud – when dog owners purchase fake service dog vests and then take their dogs into public places.

Under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with service animals must be allowed access to public places.  This is the Department of Justice’s definition of a service animal:

“Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.”

Yet, the sale of fake service dog products is unregulated.  On a recent flight through Los Angeles International Airport, the volunteers in their PUPs programme told me that they regularly see fake service dogs at the airport.  They can be spotted a mile away – dogs that are clearly pets with behaviors that are not characteristic of true service dogs doing things like jumping on people or stealing food.

CBS News has covered this type of fraud, which is causing people with genuine disabilities to be questioned about their right to enter establishments with their service dog:

Canine Companions for Independence is asking dog owners to take a pledge to stop service dog fraud.  You can take this pledge by clicking here. 

I encourage you to sign the pledge and circulate it to your friends and relatives.  If you know of someone who is illegally passing their dog off as a service dog, please ask them to stop and help them to understand what problems they are causing.

See also my earlier post on the sale of fake service dog products

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Trends in US travel for dog owners

DogVacay, the online site the connects dog parents who need home dog boarding, pet sitting and day care with qualified caregivers, has released its second annual State of U.S. Pet Travel survey.

dogs and travelIt shows that dog parents still face obstacles when needing or wanting to travel.

For example:

  • 60% of dog owners say arranging accommodation for their dog adds complexity to travel planning
  • 34% of owners say they often struggle to find a pet sitter when they need to travel at short notice
  • 22% of owners have delayed or skipped a planned vacation because of challenges in arranging care for their dog(s)
  • 50% say finding a good kennel or pet sitter has affected planning for their vacation
  • Another three in ten (27%) say financial challenges such as kennel fees or paying a pet deposit at a hotel have impacted their vacation plans

Also, 46% of dog owners agree that worrying about their dog(s) while they’re away makes it harder to enjoy their trip (I admit that I worry about Daisy when I have to travel for work or vacation, even when I have made arrangements for her care with reputable caregivers).

What’s your travel story?

 

Is Your Veterinarian Being Honest With You? | Video – ABC News

One of the things I try to do through this blog and my column in NZ Dog World magazine is to educate dog owners.  This item, from ABC News in the United States, gives you some food for thought.

The key messages are:

1) Be an educated dog owner about health care

2) Ask knowledgeable questions about recommended procedures (including vaccinations)

3) Understand that some practices market procedures (up-selling) to increase sales

And the subtle one for me is really to develop a working relationship with your vet.  I believe that most vets are ethical and are willing to have an intelligent conversation with you.  But, it’s up to you to be the steward of your dog’s care.  You are the one who says ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to all treatments given to your dog.

Is Your Veterinarian Being Honest With You? | Video – ABC News.