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Monthly Archives

July 2020

Kennel Cough – treatment and prevention

By | Dog Welfare | No Comments

Synonymous with the summer holiday season, and particularly common around this time of year, kennel cough – highly contagious in nature – travels quickly around a busy kennelling yard.

At its best, kennel cough can be an aggravating for your dog, but at its worst – this virus can kill. In this week’s blog, we take a look at this common disease, and at methods for treatment and prevention.

What is kennel cough?

Similar to a chest infection in humans; kennel cough is a form of infectious bronchitis. Multiple types of viruses and bacteria can cause the condition, which brings with it a broad scope of severity. The virus causes inflammation of the trachea and bronchi.

This airborne virus exhibits itself as a slightly high temperature combined with a continuing hacking cough. The coughing sound is often mistaken for sneezing, retching, gasping for breath, or a choking fit. The cough usually worsens with exercise and is accompanied by white foam.

Fit and healthy dogs will fend off the illness, usually within a few weeks. However, in the case of old, or vulnerable animals, the illness can morph into something more sinister, i.e., pneumonia.

What to do if your dog contracts kennel cough

  • Avoid contact with other dogs – This virus is HIGHLY contagious! As much as possible, avoid other dogs during this time. Alternate your dog walking route if necessary.
  • Keep your pets living area well ventilated – Humid, still or warm conditions can further irritate your dog’s windpipe; causing discomfort and possibly prolonging the illness.
  • Avoid getting your dog too excited – Lengthy bouts of physical activity can exacerbate the condition – especially in the crisp morning air. Keep your pet as calm as possible.
  • Use Harnesses, rather than collars for walks – Collars tend to ‘throttle’ a dog with a tendency to pull on the lead; this can have an aggravating effect on the cough. A harness exerts way less pressure on your pet’s throat, making it a kinder option, with or without kennel cough!
  • Vet etiquette – Bearing in mind how infectious the virus is – be sure to keep your dog away from other animals as much as possible. Avoid spreading the illness around the waiting room!

Can my dog catch kennel cough multiple times?

Just like the human common cold – there are many different strains of kennel cough – so your pet can catch the infection multiple times. However, if your dog has contracted the Bordetella bronchiseptica strain, they’ll typically be immune to reinfection for six to 12 months.

Veterinary treatment

Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to kill the Bordetella bacteria if they consider it necessary, although most healthy dogs will recover from kennel cough without any intervention.

Cough suppressants and anti-inflammatories can alleviate the discomfort for your pet on their road to recovery. A healthy dog should recover within seven days.

Preventative measures

Vaccinations are the most effective method of protecting your dog from the virus. Not only do vaccinations protect your dog from sickness; they also help to prevent the spread of kennel cough.

Vaccinations are available for the most common bacteria – Bordetella bronchiseptica – which causes kennel cough. However, due to the myriad viruses and bacteria that can cause the condition, the vaccine doesn’t guarantee full protection.

To keep your dog healthy from the inside, out, visit https://www.alphafeeds.com/product-category/dog/ to view our full range of dog food and training treats.

Dog Agility: Our top tips for training

By | Training | No Comments

Agility training is important to dogs for a number of reasons. Not only does it give your dog plenty of mental and physical stimulation, it helps to keep them well-trained, reactive and teaches them best behaviour practices too.

Developing your dog’s agility can also help to solve separation anxiety issues, as well as promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

What is a good age to start agility training?

Eighteen months old is the minimum age for competing in agility, but it’s good to start agility training at just under a year old.

What kind of agility is best to start with?

Starting with jumps at a low height is a good place to start. Remember to make every activity fun for your dog, so training bit-by-bit is best. Even when your dog matures, training should be done little and often for best results.

What is the peak age for dog agility?

On average, dogs are at their best in this sport from four to six years of age, but that’s at a professional level. Dogs of all ages can benefit a lot from this kind of training.

What are the trickiest agility exercises?

The weaves are one of trickiest manoeuvres to teach, but incredibly rewarding. They’re an ambiguous obstacle to a dog and require a lot of patience and great accuracy. Teach them slowly and try to keep training interesting to help them along.

What can I do to help my dog?

Never underestimate the importance of your positioning on the agility course, this will help your dog’s flow throughout the course.

How to get started:

If you want to take agility classes, watch an agility trial, or simply find local people who can introduce you to the sport, then finding a training club is your best bet.

Here is a useful list of all agility clubs in the UK: https://agilitynet.co.uk/activepages/clubs.asp. We hope that helps!