Run Into The Ground

exhausted dog It beggars belief that, as temperatures and humidity have soared over the last few days over much of England and Wales, people are still forcing dogs to go running.

Owners may think that the dog enjoys it and is getting wonderful exercise, although many of them wouldn’t even notice if their dog turned belly up as they are too far ahead and too busy being preoccupied with the muzak pumping into their ears and the digits ticking by on their exercise monitors. The attitude seems to be to combine two chores into one. They have no interaction with their dogs and – more importantly for other people – no control over them either.

Dogs that are forced to run often appear aggressive to other dogs as they have no choice but to rush past in order not to be left behind. They have no options to stop and sniff or even eliminate – the most important part of any walk. Of course, if they are desperate and do stop, the owner won’t pick up because they are blissfully ignorant and uncaring. Fearful dogs hang back caught between the Scylla of the dog that frightens them and the Charybdis of their owner’s oblivious back disappearing into the distance until they eventually make a panicked dash for it. Owners may pamper their own sore muscles afterwards but don’t even consider that their dog is suffering too.

Even sled dogs that are bred to run would not be worked in the spring, summer or early autumn when temperatures are simply too high for them to be able to cool down efficiently. They are also not running on hard, hot urban surfaces which jar joints and stress muscles, not to mention inhaling deeply of the toxic cocktail of pollutants.

If you get masochistic pleasure out of running in hot weather, don’t inflict it on your poor dog and don’t shave him to within an inch of his life so that he has no protection against the elements just because you can’t be bothered to look after his coat.

We’re Having A Heatwave

dead dog in car One swallow may not make a summer but more than one snowflake in Britain makes a blizzard and two days of sunshine make a heatwave.

One of the problems with living in a maritime climate is that the weather is inherently unpredictable and can change very quickly. Extremes are rare and so we do not plan for them. Even so, hot days are not that uncommon and it beggars belief that dogs are still dying in hot cars, including dogs owned by professionals such as the police and security guards.

Even on a warm day, the temperature inside a car can be much higher than outside where there are mitigating factors such as wind and precipitation. Even parking in shade can be a problem: 22 degrees outside can equal 47 degrees inside. Dogs have a higher body temperature than humans and a less efficient cooling system. We have also bred dogs with severely inhibited mechanisms for natural cooling, especially brachycephalic dogs. So many owners cannot be bothered to look after their dog’s coat so shave most of it off, thereby removing heat deflecting ability and exposing skin to potential damage. These dogs are more at risk from heatstroke (and skin cancers) even outside.

If you do find a dog in a hot car and cannot find the owner immediately, establish the dog’s condition. The dog may be suffering from heatstroke if:

  • It is panting heavily
  • Drooling excessively
  • Appears lethargic
  • Appears drowsy
  • Appears unco-ordinated
  • Is vomiting.

If there are any signs that this is the case, find a telephone and call 999 immediately, asking for the police. Write down the registration number and any other things of note and take pictures if you have a camera available. If possible, establish how long the dog has been in the car, for instance by checking for a pay and display parking ticket. If you are at an event or near a shop or similar, ask the staff to make an announcement over the public address system. You may need to send someone else for help or get them to monitor the dog while you go.

If the situation appears critical for the dog and the police have not arrived or will not attend, you may have to decide whether to break into the car. This could be classed as criminal damage and may land you in court. If you decide to go ahead, try to do so in presence of witnesses and tell the police what you intend to do and why. Obtain contact details for the witnesses.

The Criminal Damage Act 1971 Section 5(2)(a) states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.

If the owner returns but you still feel that the situation was dangerous for the dog, you may still report the incident to the police.

Once the dog has been released, emergency first aid may be necessary before the dog is moved. The highest proprity with heatstroke is to lower body the temperature gradually. Take the dog into the shade or to a cool area. If possible soak towels and lie the dog on one with a fan directly on the dog whilst using the other to douse the dog. Use cool rather than cold water to prevent shock. Continue until the dog’s breathing normalises but stop before the dog begins to shiver.

The dog may drink small amounts of cool water.

Once the dog is cool, veterinary help should be sought urgently.

Doggy Daycare or Doggy Nightmare?

dog walking Following yet another incident with dogs stolen from a careless dog walker, the time has surely come for much stricter controls to be brought against so-called professional dog care and walking organisations.

STOP PRESS: After writing this yesterday, another dog has disappeared whilst being walked off lead by a ‘professional’ dog waker, this time in west London.

The list of incidents is long:

Four dogs have gone missing after their walkers van was stolen…

Teddy was stolen when he was taken out by his dog walker…

“Because we are walking groups of dogs and there’s been loads of thefts going on, we are always worried about being a victim…”

White fiat transit van full of dogs has just been stolen…

Dog walker killed six dogs after locking them in hot truck for 45 minutes… then lied and said they had been stolen…

A heartless thief stole six dogs out of a parked vehicle Tuesday while the dog walker went to use the washroom….

…cockapoo went missing while out with a dog walker … what is believed to be the remains of the two-year-old cocker spaniel-poodle cross had been found severely decomposed off a public footpath…

… dog walking company has running tab at local vet…

…a specialist was injured while out walking his own dog when two dog walkers appeared with eight dogs … he suddenly found himself thrown into the air and onto the floor. When he asked the professional dog walker if he was covered by insurance he said he was not, but gave him the owners’ number. The owners said “You tripped/placed yourself down on the ground, over your own dog.”

Thieves stole a van and 11 dogs when a professional walker stopped to pick up a dog and left the keys in the ignition…

… dog killed on road after dog sitter left front door open to chase another dog that was allowed to escape…

Every morning when walking my dog I see a fleet of vans from one company and another van from a second company doing the rounds and picking up dogs.

How long do they spend in the van? How hyped up/stressed do they get? How many incidents of bites and other injuries are there?

This is a lucrative industry with no regulation whatsoever. Even if the dog walker is negligent, the owners may be found responsible in the event of an incident. How many owners check the insurance policy of the walker, their experience, qualifications, knowledge of specific breeds?

dog walkerEveryone needs a little help sometimes but dumping your dog on a walker all week because you are at work is not acceptable. The chances are, most of these dogs are untrained, allowed to run riot when with the walker and, frankly, there is no guarantee that they will be safe.

Vets Call For Ban On Homeopathy

ban homeopathy A group of veterinary surgeaons has written an open letter to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to ask them to blacklist homeopathy from the treatments veterinary surgeons are allowed to offer animals and their owners. They believe that the current position of allowing veterinary surgeons to prescribe homeopathic treatments, which have been proven not to work, is both an animal welfare issue and fails to meet the standard required for scientific veterinary practice. This is a disservice to the animals and their owners. They state:

“We believe the RCVS should not allow members to prescribe homeopathy because:

  • It is an animal welfare issue
  • It undermines public confidence in mainstream medicine
  • It would further differentiate veterinary surgeons from unlicensed healers
  • It devalues conventional treatments
  • It devalues conventional qualifications
  • It would allow the veterinary profession to take the lead, forging the way for our human medical counterparts to do the same.

There is also an online petition that you can sign.

CReDO and DogsNet fully endorse this stance. Disagree? Post a comment!

New Fines Proposed For Dog Fouling

dog poo bin overflowing A bill is currently going through the House of Lords proposing to amend the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

The new proposals would add the following clause:

“In Chapter 1 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (controls on dogs), insert—
“55 Dog fouling: offence
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he or she allows a dog for which he or she is responsible to foul in any place to which this section applies and does not dispose of the dog waste.
(2) This section applies to any place in the area of a principal litter authority which is open to the air and accessible to the public.
(3) No offence is committed under subsection (1) where the dog fouling is—
(a)authorised by law; or
(b)done by or with the consent of the owner, occupier or other person having control of the place where the fouling occurs.

The maximum fine allowable will also be raised from £80 to £100.

It is also proposed that dog faeces be added to the cigarettes and chewing gum as item regarded as litter under Section 98(5A)(b) of the Environmental Protection Act.

If the Bill is passed, as looks likely, a duty will also be imposed on local authorities to provide a minimum number of waste bins, but alas only for cigarettes and chewing gum. Cuts to local authority budgets have already seen a decline in all types of waste bin as well as fewer collections. Beats me why councils haven’t used dog poo compost bins; they could then sell the results to gardeners.

Picking up and disposing of dog waste responsibly is vital to prevent the spread of disease from dog to dog as well to other animals, including humans. An increasing number of dogs are fed a raw diet or may be given raw bones, raising the chances that they will shed bacteria such as salmonella, giardia and campylobacter into the environment. Additionally, some diseases only spread when faeces are a few days old. Dog feces may contain parvovirus, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, threadworms, campylobacteriosis, giardia and coccidia. If left unattended, parasites can contaminate water and soil and result in infection in dogs and humans. Neosporosis and sarcocystosis can spread from dog faces on grazing land and cause, respectively, abortions in cattle and neurological disease and death in sheep.