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All Spring Creatures

The days are getting warmer and the little creatures that were hibernating over winter are starting to appear – bumblebees, hedgehogs, frogs, and also the not so cute, ticks and fleas.
The first bumblebees you’ll see in March are the Queens which have survived winter. They’ll be very busy buzzing about seeking pollen from spring flowers. When you watch them, you’ll notice that they aren’t bothered by us or our dogs and all they’re doing is just minding their own business keeping busy with pollination. Now with wasps, that’s a different story… I don’t get that feeling with wasps. I don’t know if I’m paranoid, but I always feel like they are waiting and ready to attack me 😱.
Back to bumblebees… same as bees, these little flying, fluffy balls are some of the hardest workers you’ll meet. They tirelessly transfer pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part of the flower. About one-sixth of the flowering plants rely on pollination by bees to become the beautiful plant they are 🌺. I’m sure if bumblebees were included in this study, we’d see they are just as important. We need to appreciate both the bee and bumblebee and what they do by protecting them. The world would be a completely different place without them.
I’ve never been stung by a bumblebee, but when my dogs try to chase them and catch them I’m always worried that the poor, stressed bumblebee will sting their nose or mouth.
Queen and worker bumblebees have stingers, just like bees and wasps. It’s a defence weapon, and when they sting, poison is injected into the body. Unlike bees, bumblebees stingers have no barb, so once they attack they can withdraw the stinger back from the skin and fly away. Apparently, there is only a 1% chance you can develop an allergic reaction to bumblebee venom. I’m not sure about dogs… I think the sting would definitely make them jump and cause a bit of discomfort though. I tried to do a bit of research on whether a bumblebee sting is alkaline or acid but I couldn’t really find anything.  Do you know?
A bee’s sting is acidic and a wasp’s sting is alkaline, that’s why you should supposedly put bicarbonate of soda on a bee sting and vinegar or lemon juice on a wasp sting if you want to neutralize it and take away the pain. If my dog were to ever get stung by a bumblebee, I would first cool the area down with cold water and then perhaps even massage it with an ice cube for a few seconds. If it’s not on the mouth, I would apply Skin Relief to further cool down the area and treat the allergic reaction on the skin. If you are not sure what to do, you can always ask your vet for advice 👍🏻.
Other creatures that also start to peep their heads out at this time of the year are tick and fleas – not so cute at all! Unlike bees and bumblebees, it seems ticks and fleas are just here to annoy us and our dogs. Because of the disease they carry, it’s easy to forget that they’re actually also an important source of food for some reptiles, amphibians, and birds… perhaps some other woodland creatures too 🤷🏻‍♀️. This, however, doesn’t change my mind towards them and I can’t find any part in me to be sympathetic towards them.
Both fleas and ticks have different strategies on how to land on their host. As soon as a young flea hatches she is looking for a host. Fleas notice vibration and body heat and as soon as the potential host approaches they’ll jump straight on, bite and then feed on the blood whilst being hidden in warm fur.
Ticks don’t jump like fleas. They have a different approach…they wait, patiently in the grass, or bushes, or other vegetation and when their target approaches they just drop themselves on. They’ll then suck on the blood for weeks until we find them or if not, once they’re full, they’ll just let go and then lay their eggs in a nearby suitable area.
Ticks have a front pair of legs called Haller’s organs which detect smell, temperature, movement and carbon dioxide. This is how they know if a potential ‘victim’ is coming. They love warmth and moisture and are just waiting for a warm, moist environment to call home… such as your dog. A great discovery I made is that, for some reason, they are not attracted to the scent of some essential oils!

Certain essential oils smell so disgusting to ticks (like the smells of food you don’t like or something even worse… cooked tripe… blegh!), that they would rather go hungry than come any closer to your dog! These include geranium, grapefruit, cedarwood, rosewood, lemongrass.  All of these are in Vita Canis Tick Off, of course!

The active ingredients found in lemongrass essential oil are also very unpleasant for fleas. It won’t kill fleas but it can convince them to leave a pet host and stay away from your house.

When the sun is up, enjoy watching the flying bumblebees and bees and appreciate their hard work 😊 but at the same time… don’t forget to protect your dogs from ticks and fleas.

Jitka xx

Spring has sprung

According to astronomical definition, today is the first day of Spring 2019. How exciting is that! Finally! It’s felt like it’s been raining forever because of the last few weeks and don’t even get me started on the wind.
I’m really hoping the weather will be nicer over the weekend as I’m planning to do some gardening. 🌸
If you also like gardening and dogs you can spend a lot of time together outside, however, there are a few things to be aware of (apart from the fact that he or she may steal your tools, pots, or gloves!)
I have a raised plant bed behind the salon that I need to get ready with some good quality potting soil or compost. The raised plant bed was John’s idea as we don’t have a lot of space and I love my gardening. The best benefits are that I don’t have to bend when I’m gardening and mostly that the dogs can’t jump into it and pee on my plants. How good is that?! 😂 What’s also great is that when I’m outside playing with my little garden I can have my boarding dogs running around without worrying that they might try and help.
Does your dog love to help you in your garden too?
If you’re using fertilizers and mulch I think it’s better to keep your dog inside. To stay on the safe side rather keep your dog away from the garden or lawn until the fertilizer is absorbed by the soil. If it’s a spray on product wait until it dries or if it’s a pelleted product wait ‘til it’s absorbed into the grass after the rains or a good water. Don’t forget to always follow the instructions on the label.
Surprisingly, organic fertilizers can be more dangerous to our dogs than other fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are fertilizers derived from animal matter, animal excreta, human excreta and vegetable matter. Some of the organic fertilizers are by-products from the meatpacking or farming industry like bone meal, feather meal and fish meal. You can imagine these smells are so delicious to our dogs and are often highly palatable.
Picture an unsupervised greedy dog (I could see my Rosie doing it) easily digesting a large amount of bone meal.  You can imagine what it would do to her digestion! Vomiting, diarrhoea, foreign body obstruction as the bone meal would congeal into ball-like concretions or even severe pancreatitis. If you catch your dog munching on your organic bone-based fertilizer, seek veterinary care immediately. Your vet will do a thorough examination, induce vomiting to empty the stomach and maybe even do an X-ray and prescribe fluid therapy.
I usually use horse manure as a fertilizer.  When I drag the bags around my dogs always follow me with piqued interest. They would love to munch a little bit of horse poo💩😂.
It never bothered me too much when we were on walks and the dogs picked at a horse poo ball here or there until I learned that there’s a risk of toxicity due to chemicals in worming medications that are passed in the faeces. Horse worming treatments often contain a chemical called Ivermectin, which is effective against many different parasites across a range of species. It’s also used as a de-wormer in cattle and sheep. There are certain breeds with a gene mutation which predisposes them to toxicity from Ivermectin at low levels.  These are Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, Old English Sheep Dogs and Merle Pomeranians.
I feel safe to use horse manure for fertilizing my gardening patch for a few reasons. It’s too high for my dogs to reach it and thanks to the composting process the Ivermectin residue disappears.
If you catch your dog munching on manure, watch for these signs:
 * slobbering
* excessive drooling
* diarrhoea
If you see any of these seek veterinary help immediately.
If you’re using mulch in your garden be aware of what kind of mulch you are using. Pieces of mulch can be attractive to dogs and they like to pick it, toss it and chew on it. This may result in a foreign body getting stuck in your dog’s digestive system.
Mulch is usually shredded tree bark and comes in different forms that we need to be aware of.
  Pine Bark – a versatile mulch that decomposes slowly
Waste Wood – This brightly hued mulch makes for an attractive garden landscape
Cocoa Mulch – (made of shells or hulls of the cocoa beans) – has a lovely chocolatey smell which can result in dogs being tempted to eat it. There can still be a small amount of theobromine, the chemical that causes chocolate poisoning in dogs however a dog would have to ingest a really large amount of the cocoa mulch to cause chocolate poisoning.  I feel it’s better to be safe than sorry though.
Recycled tires – not sure I would have this in my garden…

Jitka xx

The beautiful Lakey

There are a few facts about this lovely breed that you might not know…

I couldn’t help myself… I had to write about the Lakeland Terrier again. The reason is simple, we did really well with two Lakeys on Saturday at Crufts. Saredon This is England, aka Banjo, won Best of Breed and his daughter Polly, Saredon Finest Things, won Best Puppy. It was only their second show for both of them and they performed exceptionally well and made us proud.

I think between the people, the lights, the noise and the heat, Crufts can be quite tough on dogs. The shows outside are much easier on them, especially when the weather is nice 😊.

As I mentioned in my last blog, Banjo is a 5th generation of Lakeland terriers winning BOB at Crufts and we really hope this streak continues.  It definitely looks like Polly is on the right track!

Lakeys are cheerful little rascals, hardy and agile. They can be obsessed with water, and very often you can see them standing in water bowls and digging and dunking their heads in it.  They have so much fun doing this!

Did you know Lakeys come in different colours?

  • Black and tan – similar to the Welsh Terrier, but the colours are not that rich. The tan is more biscuit like and the black is more charcoal black than intense, rich black.
  • Blue and tan – personally, I’ve never seen one.
  • Wheaten – very often called red. The intensity of the colour depends on breeding but also on grooming technique.  Hand stripped dogs have richer, darker colours while clipped dogs are paler, more wheaten.
  • Red – looks like darker wheaten colour
  • Grizzle – grizzle is a very interesting colour. It is a colour pattern that appears as mixed hair on the dog with no discernible pattern. The colour appears blended together, making it look like just one color until you look a it closely. Grizzle colouring may mix black hair with some tan or brown hairs, or white with black, making it appear grey.
  • Red grizzle – this is the most common colour and together with red, my favourite. The shades of red grizzle vary, and basically, it’s red hair with a few or a lot of brown and black hair in between. This occurs only on the jacket though as the legs, head, front and back end are wheaten.
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Sometimes we can see small white tips on the feet and chest. It is undesirable but permissible in breeding.

Did you know the Lakeland terrier is one of the vulnerable native breeds?

In June 2003 the Kennel Club tried to identify the breeds which had declined most in popularity. As a result, 300 British and Irish breeds with 300 and less annual registrations were considered vulnerable. Looking at the registrations, Lakeland Terriers were pretty popular in the late ’40s, ’50s and ’60s but after that, the number of registered litters started to decline. Last year there were only 196 registered pups. So sad, isn’t it?

Back to Crufts… did you know that the first Lakeland Terrier Best In Show winner (back in 1963) was Ch Rogerholme Recruit, handled by John’s grandfather Les Atkinson? The second Lakeland to win was Ch Stingray of Derryabah and he went on to win the famous Westminster show in the USA the following year.

There’s something so special about these flashy little rascals, isn’t there?

Are you a proud Lakey owner? Or would you like to be one?

I’d love to hear from you 😊

Before I go, just a little reminder about Style To Rescue. If you’d still like to make a difference and donate, please click here. Thank you.

Jitka xx

Crufts – the most exciting time of the year.

Adele at Crufts 2015
It’s that time of the year again. Is everyone as excited about Crufts as I am? 
Crufts is the most iconic dog show in the world. Some of my friends are so excited to go they call it Cruftsmas 😂. You’ll still find others who are dreading it because it gets very busy, especially over the weekend, but everybody feels a buzz of excitement inside nonetheless.
I remember spotting Crufts in our dog magazine when I was growing up and was mesmerised by the green carpet and the spotlights in the main arena. It looked incredible! I never thought, in a million years, that one day I would get to go there.  Luckily enough, however, the day came in 2005 when I attended my first Crufts, and I was wowed. The space, the number of dogs and people, the stands, all the things to buy, and of course, the expensive food and drinks 😂!
At that time, I was showing Denis, the Lakeland Terrier, CH. Broccolitia Reality at Saredon, for John’s mum Judy. He was such a sweet boy and we had an amazing relationship. We first went into the ring and won our class which was then followed by the CC (Challenge Certificate). This is a title awarded to dogs and bitches at the championship level dog show. It’s a document signed by a dog show judge, stating that the judge thinks that the dog has what it takes to be a champion (which means the dog meets the breed standard). We then went for Best of Breed and Denis and I found ourselves standing there against John and the girl Beryl that he was showing. I remember the pressure as if it was yesterday. And then… we won! My first Crufts and my first (and so far, the only) Best of Breed. Denis was made champion at this show so it was a double celebration.
It was because of Denis that I fell in love with this breed which I had never seen before moving to the UK. He started an amazing line of Lakeland terriers. His daughter Ginger, CH. Saredon For Your Eyes Only, won Best of Breed (BOB) at Crufts 2009. She then went on to win Best in Show (BIS) at the National Terrier show which is very well-known amongst terrier people. Following in her mum’s “paw steps”, Ginger’s daughter Adele, CH. Saredon Don’t Stop Me Now, also won BOB at Crufts in 2015. Two years later, in 2017, Adele’s son Alan, CH. Saredon Enigma, won BOB and then went on to win the Terrier Group. He was the first Lakey in 50 years to win the group. Alan then went on to the next show, National Terrier, and won BIS. Just like his grandma Ginger!
This year John is showing Alan’s nephew Banjo, Saredon This is England… no pressure. We really hope he enjoys the day (he is a such a poser). It will be amazing if he can follow in the “paw steps” of his ancestors, but if not, there is always a next time.
We are showing in Hall 1 at Crufts on Sunday. If you’re there come pop past and say hi.

Before I go I’d also like to remind you that you have till Sunday the 10th Midnight to get 20% off Vita Canis 100% natural products in the  Vita Canis shop. Happy shopping!


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