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Utterly butterly for your dog & you

Paw Butter & Hand Butter … both silky smooth and a tiny bit goes a long way.

In general, butters are oil-based products, which means they don’t contain water. There are also different types of butters like whipped (Hand & Paw Butter), with bees wax or even the bar type. Butters with bees wax in them are firmer and harder to absorb, whilst the whipped butters are more easily absorbed into the skin.

Every butter is a combination of carrier oils and butter. In Vita Canis butters you will also find essential oils. Carrier oils are oils that hold and deliver the essential ingredients into the skin. When applied they retain moisture, lubricate and nourish the skin. Depending on skin type they are quickly absorbed or they may leave a slight oily barrier. It feels like a soft, silky film on your hands … you can even feel it after washing a dog or doing the dishes.

Constant dryness and cracked skin on my hands was the reason I created the Hand Butter. By then I was using different creams, sleeping in gloves covering a thick layer of cream, but nothing had a lasting effect. Later I learned that creams are water based, so some part of it evaporates from the skin pretty quickly which is why we get the feeling to apply the cream more often on the dry skin.

At the same time, I switched the shampoos in the salon and found 2 brands that were kinder to our hands: Wildwash and For All Dogkind. We now also use Eurona’s Natural Shampoo for dogs which is kind not only to our dogs but also our hands. This shampoo contains antibacterial peppermint and lemon balm essential oils, together with moisturising glycerine and plantain extracts which leaves the coat looking beautiful and glossy.

I stared applying a small amount of the Hand Butter before every bath, and I could feel the smooth silky barrier on my hands even after finishing bathing the dog. And I could see and feel the difference on my hands immediately.

For years I didn’t connect how constantly bathing and drying dogs in the salon, using chalk when hand stripping, etc. was causing the harshness on my skin, and I just thought that it was part of the love for my job. But I think deep down inside I knew I couldn’t forever a part of my job, and that there must be a solution.

I also used to get dog hair stuck under my nail cuticles causing inflammation and pain; it stuck into the skin on my elbows, between my fingers … it was very uncomfortable and sore.

This all stopped once I started using the Hand Butter. When my skin was dry and cracked it was like an open gate for dog hair to come in. And they did. Once my skin, including the cuticles, was moisturised, supple and elastic it didn’t let any hair in. I think when the skin has its own elasticity the hair kind of bounces off instead of burying into the skin. That’s my explanation anyway 😊

The same effect occurs with the Paw Butter. The Paw Butter has the same soft silky feeling as the Hand Butter, and the Paw Butter contains neem oil which is an antifungal and is deadly to 14 different types of yeast. It also has antiseptic properties, and together with lavender and German chamomile essential oils it has a pleasant smell too. Shea butter also helps to reduce irritation and redness.

Paw butter can also be used on cracked skin on the dog’s nose and elbows.

But it has other uses as well:

“Bella attends hydrotherapy sessions every two weeks but the necessary chemicals in the water have stripped her skin and coat of its natural oils and she often bites and scratches herself causing red patches and baldness! I spoke with Jitka who suggested trying Vita Canis Paw Butter to create a barrier before swimming and to help soothe the skin after swimming. Paw Butter has made such a difference to Bella, when the wax has been applied Bella’s skin doesn’t rage red and if we see her nibbling we apply the butter and she stops. This has allowed her coat to grow again and much improve her quality of life. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Vita Canis Paw Butter.”
Dawn Inett, Carradine Cairn Terriers. Carradine Cairn Terriers The Dog House, Fernhill Heath Breeding happy Cairns! Dog Grooming & Home Boarding www.carradinecairns.co.uk www.thedoghousefernhillheath.co.uk

Homemade spa idea’s for your dog.

I’m a big fan of spas and spa treatments … the warmth, light relaxing music, bubbling jacuzzi where I could easily fall asleep, hot sauna followed by a cold shower that makes me want to scream and wakes up all my senses … and of course massages, facials, and if a delicious lunch is included I would call it a perfect day.

But what about our dogs? How would they feel about it?

I’m not talking about taking them with you to Hoar Cross Hall … but would your dog appreciate a little bit of different attention?

Here are some ideas what you can try:

1// Relaxing massage

There are a few reasons to give your dog a massage.

(To be clear, I’m not talking about deep tissue massage – that should be done only by a qualified massage therapist or physiotherapist.)

Relaxing massage can reduce stress and anxiety, ease tension, relax and comfort your dog. It also benefits by:
Increasing circulation of blood & lymph, strengthens your dog’s immune system, improves breathing & promotes overall wellbeing
Another way to bond with your dogs

What to do:
Do the massage when your dog is calm, maybe after a nice long walk.

  • Start gently by stroking your dog all over … slowly and gently.
  • Stroking is soothing and has a calming effect on the body
  • Stroking should be done in a relaxed manner, applied lightly with no pressure. You can stroke with the tips of your fingers or palms of your hands.
  • Stroking should be done in the direction of hair growth, or along the length of the muscles.
  • By stroking one stroke every 3-6 seconds, this massage will give your dog a soothing relaxing sensation.
  • Start stroking from the neck, down towards your dog’s shoulders, then move to the chest, then the front legs, then massage your dog’s back on both sides of the spine, and then the back legs. Make sure you work on both sides of the body.
  • You may experience that your dog will enjoy the massage on one side more than the other, or one part of the body more than another.
  • Relaxing massage is also a good way to give your dog an all over body health check, and feel if there are any lumps, warts, etc.
  • Do not massage your dog if he has skin problems of fungal origin, infectious disease, suffering from shock, during colitis, diarrhoea, pregnancy, has tumours and cysts of cancerous origin.

If you want the atmosphere to be even more relaxing you could spray the Calming Floral Spray into the air, or onto your dog.​

2// Honey and sugar scrub

Honey is packed with micronutrients and minerals: magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamins B1,B2, C, B6. Honey is also a natural antiseptic.

Sugar is a crystalline carbohydrate and comes in many forms. I would suggest you use brown sugar that contains certain minerals, like calcium, potassium, iron…

Honey & sugar scrub
3 portions of local organic honey
3 portions of raw or brown sugar
All mixed together until smooth, with no lumps.

First wash your dog twice in your favourite shampoo, and rinse well so the coat feels squeaky clean. Apply the scrub with your fingertips and gently massage. No pressure needed, in this case, less is more. By applying the scrub in gentle circular movements we will remove dead skin cells and unblock skin pores.

You can leave the sugar scrub on for 3-5 minutes for maximum effect and then rinse well with cooler water. Warm water could kill the beneficial enzymes in honey.

You can also add the scrub to your diluted shampoo and make sure you use it immediately, and use it as a third shampoo wash.

If you are using the scrub on your dog’s feet as part of a ‘pawdicure’ you can finish the whole procedure with a gentle massage with

Paw Butter after drying the paws.

Jitka xx

How to help your dog cope with stress & trauma.

We all experience some kind of trauma in our lives at some point; personal, emotional, and/or physical.

Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience; emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may lead to long-term neurosis. In medical terms, trauma is also a physical injury.

I’m not going to talk about the deep traumas that happen in some dog’s lives, but more about situations that may occur occasionally during your life together, and how you can help to reduce that stress for them.

We can’t ask our dogs about what happened to them in the past, and why they react the way they do in some situations? There are some situations that may cause distress in some dog’s lives while other dogs will fly through these experiences with a wagging tail, hardly acknowledging the situation at all.

As the autumn is here, the thought of fireworks has started to spring into peoples’ minds, especially those whose dogs are frightened by the loud noises and the flying lights and bangs. You are not alone, there are a lot of dogs that suffer from the fear of fireworks. I’m very lucky that none of mine are scared of them, and actually, they get very excited, jumping and barking, trying to catch the lights. But in the past, I’ve had 3 dogs that were terrified of the fireworks and it’s heart-breaking to watch them go through this experience. This fear can lead a dog to run away, hide, bark, howl, or be destructive, and more.

To help your dog deal with this stressful situation, you can create a safe zone at home, close windows and curtains, leave a TV or radio on, you can also distract your dog with toys, and games and aromatherapy can help to calm and balance the nervous system, and restore peace. Over the years, two products from Vita Canis have proven to be very helpful when it comes to the fear of fireworks. The Calming Floral Spray and Comfort Blend both have natural calming and balancing qualities, providing ultimate relaxation for stressed dogs.

Some situations in our lives can be happy, joyful and fun for us humans but not so much for our four-legged family members. For more sensitive souls, a New Year’s party, moving house and even the arrival of a baby can be traumatising. My friend’s Lakeland terrier, Cassie, got really upset when she got her first ferret, Norbert. She was wining, crying, and shaking, but with a little help from the Comfort Blend she relaxed over a few days and now she can be in the same room as him, without any stress. However, he is in the crate just in case Cassie’s killer terrier instinct pops up!

Having a party and people coming through the door can also be stressful for some dogs. If your dog is not easy going, or doesn’t like too many people, you can place him in a crate or in a separate room, away from the crowd. Place a few drops of the Comfort Blend on the blanket, some chews, toys, and a soft bed will help to make your dog feel safe and relaxed. If you are planning a particularly loud party you can even ask your neighbour, a dog walker, or pet sitter etc. to look after your dog while you party. (Sometimes even overnight is a good idea as the next morning can be rough!)

A dog that experiences anxiety when his lifestyle is drastically altered will also find it difficult to deal with a new pack member … a baby. You can minimize your dog’s stress by gradually getting him used to the changes in advance. As life can be hectic and unpredictable with the new arrival, it helps if you prepare your dog for a less consistent daily schedule. Try different feeding times for your dog, change the walking routine, play time… you can even start hiring a dog walker to take care of your dog’s exercise after your baby’s arrival.

It is our responsibility, as dog owners, that our dogs are not only fed and walked, but that we make them feel safe, and give them space to display normal behaviour, and avoid mental suffering.

Dogs make us smile more, they teach us compassion, and patience, they make us exercise more, and also help us to deal with our own life traumas. We are here for each other, as Doris Day said, “I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.”

Jitka xx

Dog and Owner Etiquette

Dogs also follow certain ‘guidelines’, or social etiquette, to greet each other, to be with each other, and to live with each other. Us as the owners need to understand and respect this ‘doggie etiquette’ and combine with our etiquette.

1. Dog walking etiquette on streets, beaches, in parks etc.

Pick up the poo! Seriously, not picking up poo is one of the biggest faux pas of dog owners. In my opinion, it’s one of the main reasons why dogs are not allowed in some places. It doesn’t take much effort to clean up. Just remember the poo bags … and please put it in a bin, don’t hang it on a tree branch! Have you ever sat on a beach, enjoying the sun, listening to the sound of the waves and all of the sudden a ball of wet fur runs towards you and shakes on your towel? So close that you don’t need another dip in a sea! In my opinion, it’s funny … in other people’s opinions, it’s not so funny. If your dog loves swimming and also loves greeting other people, you better keep him on a lead to avoid arguments, shouting or embarrassment.

2. Saying ‘hello’ to strangers.
It’s non-believable (to me) but there are some people who don’t like dogs. You and I don’t get it, but we have to respect it. And so do our dogs. And it is our responsibility not to let them sniff, lick, or jump on other people. It’s always better to assume that other people are not interested in our dog (really?!) and act accordingly.

3. Not every dog is friendly.
The same rule about greeting strangers applies to greeting other dogs. We have to respect other people and their dogs and understand that not every dog is friendly. So, if you have your dog off the lead and you see another dog on a lead, the best thing to do is to just call him back as you don’t know what might happen. This has happened to me so many times with my Kerry Blue, Kimi, who in her early age wasn’t a big fan of other dogs. So I would always keep her on a lead just in case. Normally, what would happen is we’d suddenly see a bouncy ball of fur heading towards us … me shouting, “please call your dog …”, the other owner shouting “he’s fine and friendly …”, me shouting “mine is not …”

Nicci & me & our dogs visiting The Bakery in Newcastle – under – Lyme

4. Pubs, restaurants, and public transport.
I love taking my dogs to different places, to experience something new and exciting. A few weeks ago I took our then 7-month old Airedale, Richard, to Trentham Gardens to Rawr café. I didn’t know how Richard would react to his first restaurant experience, so we first had a nice walk in the gardens, around the shops and then eventually we walked into the café. I was impressed with how confident and good he was. He gently wagged his tail, saying hi to the other people, without invading their space, and then when I sat down he checked the space around the table to lie down by my legs. He stayed there until I finished my latte and delicious slice of cake (read about Pet-friendly Shopping & Cake in Trentham Gardens here). Considering how hyper Richard can be, I was very impressed. He wasn’t in the waitress’ way, he wasn’t barking at other dogs or people, and it felt like he’d be a great ambassador of a well-behaved youngster! It’s always easier to go to places with a small dog, as you can pick him or her up, they can sit on your lap, or stay people watching from a bag. But where ever we are, whether it be in a café, pub, or train, we should make sure our dog doesn’t take too much space so other people are uncomfortable around us.

Do you have any other doggie etiquette guidance or tips to share? Do you agree or disagree with mine? I’d love to hear your viewpoint.

Jitka xx

Do you know which common foods are not good for your dog?

My dogs are all raw fed and they are thriving on this diet.

My old girls, Rosie, 14 and Kimi, 14.5, don’t even look close to their age .. still ageless! Apart from Kimi now being completely deaf, so we have both needed to learn a new ‘sign’ language. Rosie is also now becoming hard of hearing, and I only recently noticed this when she didn’t respond to the fridge door opening.

My dogs, especially my Welshies, are real scavengers. They will eat anything they find, hunt, or steal … and there have been a few times when they’ve really made me worry. Once, around Christmas, Rosie and Jasmine snuck into our grooming salon kitchen, they somehow opened the cupboard, pulled out a large box of Thornton’s chocolates and managed to eat a few pieces before being noticed … luckily (although still worrying) the chocolates were all milk chocolates, containing a smaller amount of theobromine. Theobromine is toxic for dogs and other pets at certain doses as dogs can’t metabolize theobromine as effectively as humans and this allows it to build up in their system until it reaches a toxic level.

If you ever suspect that your dog might’ve eaten chocolate, contact your vet immediately. Rosie and Jasmine didn’t have any of the warning signs of poisoning which are: extreme thirst; diarrhoea; too much energy; pacing; panting; shaking; seizures.

Another time my dogs made me worry was when Rosie ate a few Brazil nuts which I didn’t know. She skilfully pinched them from my handbag. I could see she wasn’t herself at all, and her winds… uuuuh, horrible!! I thought she’d eaten something dodgy on our walk, but she was still eating, and drinking normally at home, so I didn’t panic and just observed her. After around 2 days she vomited out the undigested, slightly fermented, and rather smelly Brazil nut! After the culprit was expunged and identified, I did my research and found out that, thankfully, Brazil nuts are not toxic to dogs, but are high in fat and not easily digested, so a dog that eats Brazil nuts may experience an upset stomach. Yep, that was my greedy Rosie!!

When you are nuts about nuts like me, make sure you keep your Macadamia nuts away from your dog. These nuts contain an unknown toxin that can lead to neurological issues and are very, very high in fat, which can put your dog at risk of serious gastrointestinal distress or even lead to pancreatitis.

Other common foods we need to avoid feeding our dogs are:

Grapes and raisins – both can cause kidney failure and can be fatal
Onion – causes anaemia and should not be fed in any form. Signs of poisoning include diarrhoea, vomiting, lethargy and difficulty breathing
Avocado – extremely healthy for us, but not for our dogs. Avocados contain Persin, a substance that is also found in the leaves and the bark of the avocado tree. Persin is harmful to dogs, however in a different degree depending on the size of the dog and some other factors. Some dogs are not affected by Persin at all, while some may get mild nausea, may vomit and/or other more serious problems
Tomatoes – in large amounts can cause coughing, seizures, blood clotting
Garlic – it is questionable, but I like this article about why and how to feed garlic to your dog: https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/garlic-for-dogs-poison-or-medicine/

In general what is healthy for us is not always healthy for our dogs. We have to keep in our minds that a dog’s digestive system is different to ours, and we have to respect and feed our dogs according to this.

And keep your cupboards closed, or even better locked… and hide the key!! Dog’s can be very crafty and determined when it comes to food 😊

Jitka xx

Ps: Check this  Ultimate Pet Nutrition Guide for lot of useful advice.

What People Say...

Used you’re Calming Floral  Spray yesterday was so impressed with it . I had a dog in my salon that has dryer seizures and gets anxious. I sprayed it around her and was remarkable the difference in her behaviour. It actually worked so well I had to check dog was okay she was very relaxed snoozing I’ve tried other remedy’s with no real effect shall be sticking with your calming spray from now on 😍
Lisa Addison