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A common topic vets get asked about is how to get rid of fleas on dogs. “Why is my pet’s flea treatment not working? What’s the best way to get rid of fleas?” Often followed by: “I heard there’s a resistance issue with some flea treatment for dogs”.

If you’re finding fleas on your dog despite using a flea treatment, here’s some of the most common reasons before considering you’ve picked up a new strain of drug resistant super flea!

Medication choice:

There’s a bewildering array of products out there for getting rid of fleas; collars, flea spray, spot-on medications, shampoos, flea powder, even flea bombs! Which works? The short answer: ask your vet.

Prescription flea treatments tailored to your pet’s needs and circumstances are far more effective than many ‘over the counter’ products, many of which frankly don’t work.

Application error:

With spot on treatments, application of liquid to the skin is crucial. If most of the vial is squeezed on the coat rather than the skin by carefully parting the hair, then it won’t be as effective. Or only effective for a short period of time, leaving your pet prone to fleas before their next dose is due.

Wash off effect:

Have you washed your stinky hound after they’ve rolled in something pungent recently? Maybe they’ve had a dive in the river, or a dance in the rain? If you applied flea treatment just before, there’s a high chance it’s now been washed off before it can be fully absorbed.

Environmental flea burden:

Maybe you’ve suddenly noticed your dog scratching, and found fleas. But every day you’re finding more despite treating. Surely that must mean it’s not working? Actually, adult fleas on dogs are the tip of the flea iceberg. Chances are there’s hundreds more flea eggs and larvae in the environment, which continue hatching out weeks after an infestation is first noticed.

Using a suitable spot on or tablet from your vet AND treating the environment at the same time is the only reliable way to tackle a sudden or heavy infestation. Even with effective flea prevention for dogs, you might see dead or dying fleas for a while afterwards.

Resistance?

Most suspected cases of flea resistance can be explained by one or more of the above issues. If you’ve addressed all of those and are still battling a flea problem, speak with your vet about using a different product to help your specific set of circumstances.

The post Five reasons flea treatment for dogs might not work appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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Brought to you by Tractive – GPS trackers for dogs.

As dog parents, we like to keep our furry family members safe. So how can we ensure their well-being and safety? Here are the best safety tips for you and your dog.

Basic commands and training

Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, training your dog to learn these basic commands is important. You can easily teach your dog these important commands. Just remember, the key is encouragement and regular practice. Here are the top training commands your puppy should definitely know:

For your dog to learn these commands we’d recommend daily practice until they’ve learnt them. Make time for regular refreshers too.  

1. Sit: This is one of the easiest and most important dog commands. It is very useful in calming your dog down, especially when guests visit you or when someone is at the door.

Time required for “Sit”: 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per day.

2. Stay: Make sure your dog has already mastered the “Sit” command, before going on with this one. Be patient with puppies and highly-active dogs, since they will most likely require more time before getting used to the “Stay” command.

Time required for “Sit”: 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per day.

3. Come: This means that your dog should stop any other activity and return to you. “Come” is a really important command when your dog is off the lead. It’s helpful in keeping your dog away from other dogs, wild animals or just leave other people alone.

Time required for “Come”: 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times per day.

4. No: This command is mostly used for stopping unwanted behavior like chewing, jumping, or biting.

Time Required for “No”: 3-5 minutes, 2-3 times per day.

Dangers of walking the dog in the dark

In the Autumn and Winter, daily walks may often take place in the dark. Don’t forget your outdoor trips, but at the same time, be aware that walking your dog in the dark poses a few extra watch outs. Here’s some helpful hints and tips:

  • Be more visible: get a flashing dog accessory such as a light-up dog collar, an LED leash, a reflective dog jacket or harness could be a good idea. Wear clothing with reflective elements for you as well.
  • Keep your dog on a lead most of the time.
  • Walk your dog off-leash only in areas with less traffic and people.
  • Don’t take new routes in the dark. Dogs are most comfortable in familiar places.
  • Take extra care of puppies and untrained dogs, since their behaviour might be unpredictable in new scenarios.

Avoid toxic dog food

The truth is, most people think that dogs can eat everything. But human food isn’t usually dog-friendly, and some food types can pose a serious threat to your dog’s health. Are you aware of them all? Here’s a guide from tails.com on toxic food for dogs.

Travelling with dogs

While this might sound like a fun adventure, travelling can be a challenge for some dogs. Whether by car or by plane, some dogs get travel anxiety or suffer from motion sickness, just like humans. But don’t worry: these tips will help your dog to enjoy your travel adventures:

First trips by car: Turn your first trips together into a fun adventure for your dog. This way, they will associate car travels with a positive experience.

Dog travels by car: We’d advise using a dog car crate for extra safety. The dog travel crate should also be secured and stable.

Get your dog familiar with the cage: Present the travel crate in a positive way and get your dog used to it before the ride.

Exercise: Go for a longer walk with your dog before long drives. This will tire your dog out and further help him to relax during the drive. It will also ensure

Feeding schedule: Avoid feeding your dog right before the car ride. This will ensure your dog doesn’t need an immediate break to do his “business”.

Pack dog supplies: You’re not the only one who needs to pack. Your dog’s travelling time will be nicer by placing his favourite toys, blankets and water in his travel crate.

Flying with a dog: Prepare your dog for air travel by getting him used to the flight carrier before your trip. Choose a large carrier, so your dog feels comfortable in it and decorate it with his favourite toys and blankets to keep him busy. 

Your dog’s safety kit 

More than just a nice-to-have item set, a dog first aid kit can be really helpful. Here’s what you can include in it :

Emergency vet contact info: Your dog is sick? Make sure you know where the nearest 24-hour vet is. Also, equipp your dog with a microchip and add the essential contact information (phone number, address) on his collar.

Gauze and non-stick bandages: Small but very helpful in case of cuts and other wounds. Your dog aid kit should have only pet-friendly bandages.

GPS tracker to know where your dog is: Do you find that your dog has a tendency to run off? A GPS tracker for your dog can easily show you where your furry friend is – in real-time, anywhere in the world. Tractive GPS is a light, very easy to use, and convenient tracker that works through an app directly on your smartphone. Discover more benefits of Tractive GPS for dogs!

The post Top 5 safety tips for your dog appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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You’ve bought a lead. You’ve stocked up on poo bags. You and your puppy are ready to go. Exercise is an important part of your energetic puppy’s routine, but too much can increase their chances of suffering from issues like joint pain later in life. So what’s the right amount? Head Vet Sean is here with his top tips.

How much exercise does my puppy need?

Puppies are naturally energetic. But growing takes lots of energy too, so it’s important your puppy doesn’t use up all their va-va-voom in the park. To strike the right balance, watch your puppy’s behaviour. When they start to look tired, it’s time to rest.

Related blog: Mental & physical exercise for your dog

What kind of exercise is best for my puppy?

Exercise isn’t just about keeping your puppy active; it’s also a chance to socialise with other people and dogs. Getting out and about lets your puppy experience new sights, sounds and smells – all great for their mental development. Just make sure your puppy’s vaccinations are up to date before you start exploring. Vaccination schedules vary, so always ask your vet when it’s OK for you and your puppy to hit the park. It’s likely to be somewhere around the 11-week mark.

How do I avoid over-exercising my puppy?

An active puppy is generally a happy puppy, but over-exercising your dog when they’re young can lead to mobility problems later. Follow these tips and give your puppy the best possible start.

  • Let your puppy set the pace – they’ll show you what they’re comfortable with. Spritely dogs like Springer Spaniels are likely to be much more energetic than laid-back breeds, like Shih Tzus.
  • Limit high-impact exercise – like long walks, running, jumping or playing on hard surfaces
  • Stop when they’re tired  – keep your eyes peeled for signs your puppy’s worn out.
  • Give big dogs lots of rest – large and giant breeds are more prone to joint issues, so if your dog is a German Shepherd, Great Dane, or similar-sized breed, it’s important to build up activity slowly.
  • Let them rest after dinner – getting exercise within 30 minutes of eating can cause your puppy to bloat.
  • Let them nap – puppy looking snoozy? Leave them to it: sleep lets their body grow, cells repair and brain develop.
Is my puppy’s food making them hyperactive?

It’s unlikely your puppy’s food is the reason they’re always so full of get-up-and-go. Puppies have lots of mental, as well as physical, energy. If your hyper puppy’s still wired after physical exercise, try adding some extra mental exercise to their day:

  • Interactive play – swap fetch for a problem-solving game, like hiding a ball under cups
  • Toys – especially challenging ones like Kong toys
  • Training – master ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘roll over’ then try some more creative commands
  • Adventures – new experiences will get your puppy’s brain working overtime
  • Socialising – great for mental stimulation and mastering doggy manners

Related blog: Socialising your puppy

How much should I feed my active puppy?

Puppy foods already include the extra calories your puppy needs to grow, play and generally fill your life with fun. If you’re giving them a bit extra because it seems like they’re always on the go, you could be doubling up, and that’s not good for them in the long-run.

Related blog: How much should I feed my puppy?

As a tails.com customer, this isn’t something you need to worry about. We work out what nutrients and energy your puppy needs, based on the exact information in their profile. Then we adjust their recipe every two weeks, so it keeps up with your puppy as they grow.

Help us keep your puppy’s nutrition accurate by:

  • Updating your puppy’s weight regularly so we can keep track of their growth
  • Telling us their activity level – for the first few months, your puppy shouldn’t be doing enough exercise to need lots of extra calories. Once they hit 14 weeks this can change, so we’ll ask you to update your puppy’s activity level in their online profile. Remember their activity level doesn’t include their general bounciness – just the exercise they do on top.

Related blog: 10 tips for new puppy owners

Got a question about how much exercise your puppy needs? Contact us hello@tails.com – our vet and nutritionist team are practically puppy personal trainers, and they’re always happy to help.

The post Puppies and exercise: finding the right balance appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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tails.com Dog Blog by Tails.com - 7M ago
Treats count

You’ve worked out your dog’s daily food allowance. But did you remember to count treats? If you didn’t, it could be time to re-do your sums. Treats can add more to your dog’s daily calorie intake than you realise, which can put your dog on the path to weight gain.

Why do I need to count treats?    

Too many treats can mean too many calories. What’s a calorie? It’s a unit of energy. In practical terms, it’s how much energy each food gives your dog. If they don’t use it all, they’ll store the extra as fat.

Some foods are calorie dense – they contain a lot of calories in each gram of food. These high-calorie foods aren’t necessarily bad, but give your dog too many too often, and they can quickly lead to doggy obesity.

How many calories does my dog need?

It’s easy to look up the recommended daily calorie allowance for humans, but less straightforward for dogs. That’s because every dog is different. Things that can affect how many calories your dog needs include:

  • Age – puppies generally need more energy than older dogs
  • Activity level – the more they exercise, the more fuel they need
  • Weight – adding or cutting calories can help under or overweight dogs reach a healthy weight  
  • Body condition – the amount of muscle and fat your dog has can affect the amount of energy they need each day
  • Neutering – neutering can slow your dog’s metabolic rate by around 5%.

At tails.com, we use all these factors in our calorie calculator. This lets us accurately work out how many calories your dog needs. If you give food that’s not in your dog’s tails.com feeding plan, we’ll take that into account too. Make sure you tell us about any treats your dog gets regularly, so we can keep their diet balanced.

Is giving dog treats healthy?

Treats can be a healthy part of your dog’s diet, especially as part of their training routine. Dental chews can also help keep their teeth clean. But remember the golden rule: moderation, moderation, moderation. The occasional ‘unhealthy’ treat can be OK, as long as it’s not the norm. Here are our top tips for treating healthily:

  • Use kibbles from your dog’s daily allowance as treats – so you’re not doubling up on calories
  • Give healthier options – look for low-calorie dog treats
  • Know your snacks – some human favourites have too many calories for dogs
  • Know your dog’s weight goals – not sure if your dog’s overweight? Here’s how to measure their body condition score.
How many treats can I give my dog a day?

The exact number depends on your dog’s daily calorie allowance and the type of treats you give. Choose the healthiest dog treats, and you can treat several times a day. Giving human food to dogs is more restrictive – these choices are often energy-rich, but don’t deliver all the nutrition your dog needs. That makes it hard to serve up a healthy, balanced dog diet without going over your dog’s recommended calorie allowance.

What are the best treats for dogs?

Calorie-controlled treating can keep your dog in top condition and help them live longer, by  keeping the health-damaging effects of obesity at bay. To help you count, here are the calorie contents of some common dog snacks, and how much of a dog’s daily calorie allowance they use up: 

  • Big Dog – Labrador (1439 kcal/day)
  • Small Dog – Terrier (440 kcal/day)
Healthy treats
Energy in kcal Calories per serving Big dog % daily intake  Small dog % daily intake
Healthier treats
Blueberries (50g) 28.5 kcal 2% 7%
¼ a Banana 27 kcal 2% 6%
Carrot baton (50g) 15 kcal 1% 3%
Green beans (3) 4 kcal 0.3% 1%
Medium calorie treats
Energy in kcal Calories per serving Big dog % daily intake Small dog % daily intake
Medium – calorie treats
Digestive biscuit 71 kcal 5% 16%
Dental Chew 44 kcal 3% 10%
Slice of cooked meat 30 kcal 2% 7%
High calorie treats
Energy in kcal Calories per serving Big dog % daily intake Small dog % daily intake
High – calorie treats
Hot dog 250 kcal 17% 57%
Buttered toast  167 kcal 12% 38%
4 cocktail sausages 100 kcal 7% 23%
Chunk of cheese 80 kcal 6% 19%

We’re big fans of treating here at tails.com, and we know dogs love it too. But we wanted to give treats that looked after our dogs’ health. That’s why we developed Good Dog Treats – low-calorie bone biscuits that are rewardingly rich in chicken, for guilt-free treating, every day.

Looking for a more indulgent treat that fits into your dog’s balanced diet? Try our hand-baked salmon biscuits.

How many dog treats should I give at a time?

It depends what kind of treats you’re giving, but in general, dog treats should be just a few bites. That may seem stingy, but remember most dogs’ stomachs are significantly smaller than ours – a small human snack is a full-on meal for your dog. Dogs generally love food, so will eat whatever you treat. That can lead them to gain weight. Don’t feel mean for keeping portion sizes small – you’re doing the best for your dog.

Got a question about doggy treats and treating your dog right? Our veterinary and nutritionist team is here to help  – get in touch at hello@tails.com.

The post Treats Still Count appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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We’re regularly told to watch the salt level in our diets. Our Head Vet Sean often gets asked if salt is something we need to be wary of in our dogs’ diets too. So, is salt bad for dogs? In general, salt isn’t bad for dogs – in fact, it’s an essential part of their diet. The trick is to manage the amount of salt your dog gets, as too much salt in dog food can be harmful (as can too little). Dogs with certain health conditions may need a low salt dog food, and we’d always recommend you avoid giving your dog overly salty foods like crisps and savoury biscuits.

The benefits of salt in dog food

Salt, or sodium chloride, is a core ingredient in dog nutrition: our dogs need it to keep their cells working properly. A healthy amount of sodium in dog food is between 0.25g/100g and 1.5g/100g. At these healthy levels, salt helps maintain cellular functions like fluid balance, acid-base balance and nerve signal transmission. Your dog needs the ‘chloride’ in sodium chloride to produce the stomach’s hydrochloric acid, which helps with digestion.

Salt is also used as a natural preservative, and has been for thousands of years – it’s very good at drying food out and preventing spoilage.

So among all these good things about salt, what’s the fuss about?

Can dogs eat too much salt?

With salt, as with so much of dog nutrition, it’s a case of moderation. Too much salt in dog food can cause problems for your dog, including dehydration and more serious conditions if they consistently eat too much. Unfortunately, salt is delicious to dogs, so it’s best not to give them a taste for salty snacks – that way, you won’t have to deny it to them later.

Related blog: can my dog eat human snacks?

Which foods are too salty for dogs?

If you want to make sure your dog gets a healthy amount of salt in their diet, there are some foods which are definitely off-limits. Foods that are too high in salt for dogs include:

  • Crisps
  • Savoury biscuits
  • Processed meat, like sausages and burgers
  • Chips
  • Cheese
Should I give my dog a low salt diet?

As a general rule, you should aim for a healthy level of salt in your dog’s food – the magic numbers are between 0.25g/100g and 1.5g/100g. That is, of course, unless your dog has a specific health condition that requires a low salt diet. Health conditions that require low sodium dog food include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease

At tails.com, we always take your dog’s health conditions into account as part of our nutritional consultation – keep your dog’s profile up to date, or request a low salt diet, and we’ll do the rest. It’s important to look at all the food your dog gets, so check the salt content of any treats you use, and be really careful before sharing any human food with your dog.

If your dog needs low salt dog food, or if you have any more questions about how much salt is healthy for dogs, get in touch. Our veterinary and nutritionist team is here to help – send us an email at hello@tails.com.

The post Myth Buster – Is salt bad for dogs? appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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Dog lovers reading the news in recent days may have seen a story showing that vets in the USA have suggested that there could be a link between dogs developing heart disease and grain-free diets.

Well we want to put your mind at rest. Grain-free food is not bad for dogs if, like tails food, it is balanced and nutritionally complete. All of our blends are formulated to contain everything your dog needs to be at their happiest and healthiest, so there’s no need to worry.

If you’re interested to find out more, we’ve put together some FAQs below.

What’s sparked this?

The US Food and Drug Administration released a statement saying they’re investigating a potential link between dog food and a series of unusual cases of heart disease in dogs. A similarity uncovered during the investigation was that these dogs were all fed grain-free diets, using potatoes and legumes (beans, peas, lentils etc) as the main carbohydrate source.

Could diet cause heart disease?

Maybe, but not due to being grain-free if it’s nutritionally balanced and complete like tails.com.

If a diet lacks taurine, an essential amino acid necessary for cardiac health, this could lead to a problem over time. Also, certain ingredients can block the body’s ability to digest and absorb essential nutrients. Legumes such as beans, and pulses like peas or lentils contain natural plant chemicals in their raw, uncooked form that can interfere with the digestion of certain other nutrients.

But when we cook these foods (for ourselves as well as our pets), we destroy these chemicals, making these ingredients digestible and nutritious. In most dry dog food, including tails, the process required to make the kibble itself renders these chemicals harmless.

Is grain-free food bad for dogs?

Grain-free food is not bad for dogs if it is balanced and nutritionally complete. When formulated by qualified animal nutritionists to contain everything an individual dog needs, then that dog should thrive on the diet in question.

Why would I feed my dog grain-free?

Most dogs don’t require grains to be excluded from their diet, as allergies or intolerances to grain are far less common in dogs than in humans. There are cases though where the exclusion of wheat is necessary, for example a small proportion of Irish Setters have a wheat allergy in the same way that coeliac disease occurs in humans.   

So grains are good for my dog?

Yes, they can be very nutritious as part of your dogs’ diet. Whole grains offer a range of important nutrients for dogs as part of a balanced diet in conjunction with high-quality animal protein sources. Grains provide an excellent source of complex carbohydrate for energy, essential amino acids from plant protein, B vitamins as well as fibre for intestinal health.

And are potatoes and legumes nutritious ingredients too?

They are useful and nutritious ingredients, but the importance of how all the ingredients in a diet interact with each other is often more important than a single ingredient. The overall nutritional composition of a pet food relies on all ingredients making up a balanced diet when mixed together. This can be achieved carefully with an ingredient mix containing meat, vegetables and grains just as much as a diet substituting grain for another carbohydrate source such as potatoes or legumes.

Do we use potatoes and legumes in our food?

We use a variety of vegetables in our foods for taste and health benefits, including legumes and potatoes. Vegetables are rich in insoluble fibre, vitamins and minerals and are a great source of protective antioxidants too.

We add peas to our food as they provide vitamin C and phytonutrients, whilst potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrate to keep dogs feeling full and give them energy. Sweet potato contains unique flavonoids that help with blood glucose control and can help support your dog’s immune system as they get older, whilst potato contains carotenoids (such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and violaxanthin) which are powerful antioxidants.

Should I change my dog’s food?

Not if you are feeding a complete and balanced food like tails.com. All our blends are developed and formulated with vets and qualified animal nutritionists, and individually tailored to your dog’s needs.  

The post Grain-free pet food: is it breaking our dogs’ hearts? appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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When it’s hot outside, keeping your doggies occupied can be tricky. At Tails HQ we’ve been in the kitchen again rustling up some of our favourite frozen treats that double up as brilliant boredom busters. Dog toys have never been so delicious.

Dog-friendly ice balls

Packed with all their favourite foods these ice balls provide plenty of entertainment and are great for cooling hot dogs down.

ice ball - Vimeo

There are endless possibilities as to what you can include in these pawsome balls, if you’re unsure check out our guide as to what to avoid here.

Our current favourites include:

  • Chopped banana
  • Peas
  • Carrot
  • Tails.com kibble – this is a great way to spread out your dog’s recommended serving throughout the day, ideal for doggies who need to lose a few pounds but you still want to give them a treat
  • Good Dog Treats or Salmon Treats
  • Peanut butter (xylitol and palm oil free)

Simply pop a mixture of goodies into the ice ball casing (we found these on Amazon), put the lid on then fill up with water or low salt chicken stock and freeze for 6-8 hours. Then remove from the casing and give to your doggy for plenty of entertainment.

Frozen Kong toy boredom buster

This one really is extremely simple yet incredibly effective at keeping dogs entertained, great if you need to keep them inside to avoid the midday heat.

All you need to do is fill up a Kong toy with some of your dogs tails.com wet food then freeze for 6-8 hours and then expect to have one very entertained doggy.

kong popsicle - Vimeo

Let us know if you give these a go. Share your snaps using the hashtag #tailsdotcom or #tailsdogfood on Instagram or tag us @tailsUK on Facebook.

We cannot wait to see your doggies enjoying your creations. If you didn’t catch part 1 take a peek here for more frozen treat ideas.

P.s. As with all treats please give under supervision and remove once they have lost interest.

The post Homemade frozen dog treats part 2 appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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From the dogs we know, cheese is definitely in the ‘delicious’ category – but can dogs eat cheese? You probably suspect the answer already: dog’s can have cheese, but it’s high in lactose, fat and salt, so it isn’t great for their digestion. But then cheese isn’t great for humans either: it’s all about knowing the facts, and weighing up your options.

Is cheese bad for dogs?

The short answer is ‘it can be’ – while we don’t recommend you give dogs cheese, some owners do use small amounts of cheese as a treat. Cheeses with added ingredients can be actively harmful, like garlic and certain blue cheese moulds, so definitely keep your dog away from the Boursin or the Christmas cheese board. Most other cheese can be OK for dogs in small amounts – but there are lots of healthier options for delicious doggie treats.

Perhaps a better question is ‘how bad is cheese for dogs’? You might decide to use cheese for training, or to help your dog take medication. But there are other delicious ways to help the medicine go down – check our handy guide, based on habits, disguise and reward. And when it comes to training, there’s a whole range of dog-specific treats you can use, which will be just as effective and much better for your dog’s digestion.

Alternatives to cheese for dogs

There’s certainly no way we’d say cheese is good for dogs: it’s a high calorie food, and because most dogs are lactose intolerant, it can be hard for them to digest. Healthier treats they’ll enjoy just as much include:

Meat – cook it plain, and go for lean meat

Vegetables – green beans, carrots, and sweet potato are all great alternatives to cheese

Peanut butter – a small amount of peanut butter makes an excellent indulgent treat. Just keep the quantity low, and make sure it’s xylitol-free.

Cheese and your dog’s diet

We don’t recommend including cheese as a regular part of your dog’s diet – especially if your dog needs to lose weight. There are many other alternatives that are both delicious and nutritious. At tails.com, we create a bespoke feeding plan for your dog, based on their nutritional needs. We include treats in their feeding plan too – so if you do decide to use cheese as a treat now and then, make sure you record it in your dog’s tails.com profile so we can keep everything up to date.

Got more cheesy questions? Our veterinary and nutritionist team is here to help – get in touch at hello@tails.com.

The post Can dogs eat cheese? appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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We’re used to our dogs being a source of happiness, so it can be heartbreaking to see them appearing sad – especially if this lasts for a long time. Could your dog be depressed?

There’s no definitive answer to whether dogs suffer from depression the same way we do. That can make it a tricky problem to tackle. The best approach is to rule out other factors that could explain the signs of depression in your dog, and go from there.

Can dogs get depressed?

While we’re not sure dogs get depressed in the way we do, lots of owners report seeing behaviour in their dog that resembles depression in humans. These reported dog depression symptoms include:

  • Lack of appetite or interest in food
  • Lethargy
  • No interest in playing or exercising
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Seeming withdrawn or interacting less

Is my dog depressed?

When it comes to your sad dog, the picture is complicated. We can’t say for sure that your dog isn’t depressed, but something else can often account for their sudden lack of wag. Things to consider include:

  1. They’re bored

Every dog reacts to boredom in their own way. It can sometimes look a lot like depression. Signs include:

  • Destructive behaviour
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety

Try adjusting your dog’s routine to see if some extra mental stimulation helps get them back to their old self – anything from taking a different route on your morning walk to introducing interactive games and puzzle feeders can make a big difference.

Related blog: Is my dog bored?

2. It’s winter

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is well documented in humans. And a study by the PDSA showed our dogs might suffer from it too. Shorter days and darker walks can leave your dog producing higher levels of melatonin, a hormone that can make them feel sleepy and lethargic. Getting less natural light also reduces the amount of serotonin your dog produces. The result? Changes in appetite, mood, and sleep patterns – a lot like depression. 

3. They’re growing up

If your pup is on the cusp of adulthood, they may suddenly seem a bit lethargic after the everything-is-awesome excitability of their early months. This can look a bit like depression at first, but don’t worry; it’s a normal part of the transition into adulthood. A bit of moodiness and disobedience is also to be expected – think of it as the dog equivalent of a stroppy teenage phase. It generally won’t last longer than a year.

4. They’re adapting to change

A new addition to the family or a change to the household routine can be enough to knock your dog off their game. Think back to when you noticed the change in your dog’s behaviour, and you’ll likely uncover the cause – then you can tackle it directly.

5. They’re in pain

Our dogs want to please us, so they’ll often try to hide it when they’re in pain. If your dog’s suddenly irritable or less keen to move around, it could be a sign of physical, rather than mental distress. A check-up at the vet is the best way to find out for sure.

6. They’re getting old

Life gets more difficult for your dog as they get older. Joints get sore, energy levels dip, and even food becomes less exciting than it once was. Combined, these things can look a lot like depression. But there are lots of ways you can help ease your dog’s transition into old age. Gentler exercise, and food tailored for their senior years to name just two. A tails.com feeding plan adjusts with your dog throughout their life, to help your dog cruise into their later years.

Older dogs can also suffer from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) – a condition with symptoms that overlap those of depression. CDD is a bit like dementia and can leave your dog confused and withdrawn. They may start bumping into things or barking at inanimate objects. If your dog’s behaviour change includes signs of disorientation, it’s a good idea to get your vet’s input on what’s going on.

Do dogs grieve?

When a family member or another pet dies, it can seem like our dog feels the loss with us. Perhaps they do. Understanding our dogs’ emotions is tricky, so it’s hard to know for sure – especially as our grief can influence how we interpret our dog’s behaviour. An alternative theory is that dogs don’t process loss quite like we do, but respond to the immediate, unsettling change in their environment or social structure. Or that our dogs pick up cues from us, so it’s our grief that’s making them seem sad. Whatever the explanation, if your dog is showing signs of depression after a family loss, we recommend giving them some time, and lots of love, and seeing if things improve.

How can I help my dog’s depression symptoms?

Depression symptoms in dogs are wide-ranging and overlap with lots of other conditions. If you’re struggling to tackle your dog’s depression, help is at hand:

  1. Ask a dog behaviourist

Interpreting dog behaviour is complicated – but can be easier with an objective eye. Dog behaviourists are experts in decoding your dog’s signals, so can help you narrow down what’s wrong.

2. Visit your vet 

If you’re still concerned about your dog’s wellbeing, speak to your vet. They can help you pinpoint any underlying issues that could be causing your dog’s out of character behaviour. In severe cases, they might suggest medication to help. 

Got a question about dogs and depression? Get in touch with us at hello@tails.com – our vet and nutritionist team have all the information you need to put your mind at rest.

The post My dog seems sad – is it depression? appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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Fruit: that’s got to be good for your dog, right? The answer is yes and no. Exotic fruits contain lots of vitamins and antioxidants – great for dogs. But they can also have a high sugar content and cause digestive issues and other problems. Not so good. Our Lead Nutritionist, Dr Samantha Ware, explains which exotic fruits are OK to give your dog.

Which exotic fruits can dogs eat?

When prepared in the right way, some exotic fruits are a tasty, low-fat snack for dogs.

1. Can dogs eat bananas?

They can! Bananas cram a lot of nutrition into a small dog-friendly package. They’re full of potassium, fibre, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, lutein and selenium. Always remove the peel, and serve in moderation to avoid giving your dog too much sugar.

2. Can dogs eat coconut?

Coconut oil is often recommended for dogs because it has antibacterial properties. But can dogs eat coconut flesh? You bet. Coconut contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are a great source of energy, may have anti-inflammatory benefits, and can help keep your dog’s coat in good condition as well.

3. Can dogs eat kiwi fruit?

Yes, this tasty superfruit is packed full of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, and potassium. Remove the skin and seeds though – these are edible for us, but not so digestible for dogs.

4. Can dogs eat melon?

Occasionally, yes. Melon is packed full of fibre and vitamin C, and is a good source of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD) – an enzyme that reduces the number of unstable, cell-damaging atoms in your dog’s body. But melon is also high in sugar, so it’s definitely a treat to avoid if your dog is diabetic.  For other dogs, small portions of melon can be a tasty treat – remove the rind and seeds before serving.

5. Can dogs eat mango?

Small servings of mango make a great sweet treat for your dog. It’s bursting with nutrients: vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus B6, folate, riboflavin and choline.

It also contains minerals: iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, copper, zinc and selenium. And antioxidants, carotenoids, polyphenols and vitamin C. Phew! Preparing mango for dogs is the same as it is for us – peel it and remove the stone before serving.

6. Can dogs eat papaya?

As long as you remove the seeds first, papaya is a dog-friendly source of fibre, and vitamins A, E, C and K. These antioxidant vitamins help support your dog’s immune system. Papaya also contains folate, potassium, magnesium and calcium, and is a good source of the enzymes papain, chymopapain, caricain and glycyl endopeptidase. These enzymes support healthy digestion in dogs and are thought to be beneficial for their dental health too.

Recipe idea: Try these breath-freshening papaya flapjacks

7. Can dogs eat pineapple?

Pineapple is a great sunny day snack and a good source of manganese, which helps keep joints healthy. And thiamine, which aids digestion. It also has plenty of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Planning to give pineapple to your dog? Remove the core and skin, and serve a small portion of the soft flesh.  

8. Can dogs eat watermelon?

Watermelon is over 90% water, so it’s great for keeping your dog cool in summer – see our post about frozen watermelon treats. On top of that, it’s a great source of vitamins A and C, and some B vitamins too. It also gives your dog a boost of minerals including copper, potassium and magnesium. As with other fruits, make sure you remove the rind and seeds before serving.

What about other fruits? Read our blog: Can dogs eat fruit?

Which exotic fruits are harmful to dogs?

While some exotic fruits are OK to give your dog as an occasional treat, some are important to avoid.

1. Can dogs eat acai berries?

Nope. These popular superfood berries contain theobromine (the same stuff that makes chocolate a no-no), and ficin and ficusin, which can cause serious allergic reactions.

2. Can dogs eat kumquats?

While we can eat these sweet and sour fruits whole, the rind is bad for our dogs, so they’re best avoided.

3. Can dogs eat jackfruit, breadfruit, rambutan and noni?

These, and other fruits that are new to the market, haven’t been studied in enough depth to be certain they’re safe for our dogs. On the whole, there’s no evidence these fruits are harmful – but some dogs may react differently.

How can I introduce tropical fruits into my dog’s diet?

Like any change to your dog’s diet, it’s important to introduce tropical fruit gradually and monitor your dog’s digestion or overall wellbeing. Here are some tips for adding exotic fruits to your dog’s menu:

1. Moderation

Exotic fruit is packed with healthy nutrients but is also high in natural sugars. That means indulging your dog with too much could lead to digestive issues and weight gain. Keep those portions small.

2. Not all at once

When you add anything new to your dog’s diet, you should keep an eye on how they react. If they end up with an upset tummy, you need to be able to identify the culprit – so stick to one new fruit at a time.

3. Avoid fruit that’s past its best

Avoid feeding your dog fruit that’s spoiled or past its best. If you don’t want to eat it, your dog shouldn’t either.

4. Keep them away from fruit trees

Any fruit you feed your dog should be carefully prepared to remove skin and seeds. That means it’s important to keep fruit trees out of bounds for your dog, as they could easily nab a bite of something that’s fallen off or spoiled.

Got a question about serving exotic fruit to your dog? Our vet and nutrition teams are always happy to help. Get in touch at hello@tails.com

The post Can dogs eat exotic fruits? appeared first on The Inside Scoop.

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