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Monthly Archives

July 2019

All you need to know about Flyball

By | Training | No Comments

Notts Supadogs Flyball ClubIs your dog full of energy, great with other dogs and do they love to engage in physical activity?

If you enjoy team sports, meeting other people and travelling with friends, then a sport like Flyball might be ideal for both of you.

What is Flyball?

Flyball is a race where two different teams of dogs run side by side over a 51-foot course. Each team is made up of 4 dogs and each dog must run over jumps, trigger a Flyball box (which releases a ball), retrieve the ball and then return over the jumps.

The next dog is then released in a relay fashion until all dogs have crossed the finish line. Fastest wins! 

What qualities does a handler need to have?

  • Be highly motivated
  • Make everything positive
  • Have a good recall skill
  • Have a good bond with their dog

Can any breeds make up a Flyball team?

Yes, any breeds can make up a team and they can all run together!

What is the age restriction?

All dogs must be over 12 months to compete in a team.

How many times a week should they train?

Training is ideally done once or twice a week and competitions/open tournaments take place all year round.

What kind of tournaments are there?

There are Open Tournaments, Multibreed Tournaments, and Intermediate and Starter racing. The first two are BFA sanctioned tournaments which run in accordance with the BFA rules, and all dogs and handlers must be registered with the BFA to enter the ring.

Intermediate and Starter racing is more suited for younger dogs because in this race, dogs don’t have to trigger the box and boxloaders can give the dogs plenty of encouragement. Younger dogs benefit from lower jumps irrespective of their own height here too.

Top tips:

A lot of practice is key for this sport! As a working dog, your dog shouldn’t be easily distracted but it’s important to ensure your dog always wants to come back to you. Using their favourite treat or toy can help with this and teach them to zone everything out.

Milestone Awards:

BFA points are also awarded to each dog racing if all four dogs complete the leg without error. Milestone Awards are awarded to dogs throughout their Flyball career!

If Flyball is a sport you think you’d like to get involved with, search to see where your nearest team play.

Notts Supadogs

Alpha is proud to be the current sponsor of Notts Supadogs Flyball Club, who are a great team, achieving many successes and having lots of fun whilst doing so! Find out more about them on their Facebook page.

Recognising and preventing heat exhaustion in your working dog

By | Dog Welfare | No Comments

retriever, dog, drinkingWorking dogs often spend more time outside than regular family dogs. This means that it becomes particularly important to keep them well hydrated and safe in the summer heat.

Dogs of course have the ability to pant and sweat through their paw pads to help them cool down, but this is only minimally effective when temperatures continue to rise and their environment doesn’t change.

How to recognise heat exhaustion

Working dogs should be closely monitored in hot weather.

If you notice any excessive panting, excessive drooling, incoordination, sickness or reddened gums, then it’s important to act quickly and provide your dog with immediate care.

If your dog is physically struggling or falls unconscious, follow these steps to help cool them down:

  1. Using cool water (not ice cold), cool down your dog focusing on the back of their head and neck, under their forelimbs (armpits) and between their hind legs (groin area). Using a wet towel is a good method to lower their temperature, or a cool shower.
  2. Call your vet or the nearest emergency clinic and tell them your dog’s symptoms, they will advise you on what to do next.
  3. When they wake up, let your dog drink water, but don’t force them to drink if they’re uncomfortable. If they can’t keep it down, simply wet their tongue instead.
  4. Check for signs of shock and keep bringing the temperature down as long as possible.
  5. Seek immediate veterinary attention because heatstroke can cause unseen problems.
  6. If travelling in a car make sure to keep windows open or turn the air conditioning on.

The best ways to prevent heat exhaustion

The best thing to do is to avoid being in direct sun during the hottest parts of the day. Seek shade where possible, as often as possible and apply dog-friendly suncream to light coloured dogs. Make sure plenty of water is always available to help your dog stay hydrated too.

Remember that your dog’s paw pads can also suffer on hot surfaces. If you can’t keep the back of your hand flat on the floor for more than 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

Higher risk breeds

Dogs with short hair or white coats or coats with large areas of white such as White German Shepherds, Whippets, Greyhounds, Weimaraner,  Pointers and Jack Russells are more prone to sunburn as their skin tends to be paler than dogs with dark coats.

Stay safe this summer and help your dog avoid heat exhaustion.

The importance of providing the right nutritional diet for working dogs

By | Alpha Feeds | No Comments

Although quality nutrition is important for all types of dogs, working dogs require the best quality nutrition available in order to endure a higher amount of exercise.

Just like with humans, canine nutrition is closely connected to both their physical wellbeing. The right kind of diet helps them not only run faster and for longer, but will help them to avoid fatigue, it will help to keep their muscles working hard and their blood flowing too.

Working dogs are more prone to accidents

Due to the high-risk nature of their working day, working dogs benefit from a stronger immune system. They face much higher amount of physical stress due to demanding activities, and a quality nutritional diet will help them to recover quickly from any injury or illness.

Working dogs need to be alert more than regular dogs

A nutritional diet also helps dog build a better nervous system. When a nervous system benefits from nutritional support it can help to promote alertness and improve concentration levels of the working dog.

Working dogs need their energy levels to last longer

Due to the long hours and endurance they face during their working day, working dogs need a significant amount of protein in their diet, the recommended minimum is 18-25% of protein to feel good, but this can go as high as 32% depending on the type of work they undertake.

Working dogs need to be fed well from an early age

Nutritional support from a young age can help a dog to develop everything they need for their working life. This includes well-developed muscles, bones, and joints, which are all particularly important for a working dog. Alpha Sporting Puppy food is ideal for young working dogs and puppies – https://www.alphafeeds.com/product/alpha-sporting-puppy-15kg-and-3kg/.

How much should you feed your dog?

This varies depending on breed and size of your dog, but the easiest way to determine how much to feed your dog is to adjust their food intake to maintain their optimum body weight and condition. Always refer to the recommended portion size on the back of the packet as a useful guide.

A leaner build is best for a working dog. In general, this means that ribs should be easily felt but not obviously seen, and there should be a waist visible from the side and above. Lean dogs also live longer and have fewer joint problems.

Browse our range of working dog food here to give your working dog everything they need from their nutrition – https://www.alphafeeds.com/product-category/dog/.

If you have any questions about any of our dog food products, please get in touch on 0844 800 2234 and we’ll be happy to help.