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A Visit To The Vet…

As if Martha hasn’t been through enough in the last few months with the c-section and looking after her puppies…

I received a message from Zoe, who was looking after my dogs and the kennels while I was at Premiergroom a few weeks ago, saying Martha didn’t finish her food. This was really odd as she’s usually a pretty good eater – not like Richard who is sometimes too busy to eat. I then received another one saying Martha was sick a little later.
When I got home that evening I could see she wasn’t herself and was definitely a bit quieter. She was drinking at least, I thought, but the next day she wouldn’t eat and she was sick a few times again. I remember thinking that she might have eaten something outside as her tummy was upset, so I decided to give her a charcoal tablet.

We’ve been using charcoal tablets in our family for as long as I can remember. When it comes to diarrhoea, sickness or flatulence, charcoal tablets are 100% natural tablets which contain the charcoal. They can also be used to treat the symptoms of indigestion, wind and heartburn. In fact, years ago our vet in Slovakia told me that activated charcoal tablets are the best first aid for accidental poisoning, as it absorbs toxins. 
But back to Martha… unfortunately, the charcoal tablets didn’t work and Martha began getting sick even after she only drank water. At this point, I was worried she would become dehydrated so first thing in the morning we went to the vet.

Our vet, Julie from Abbeyfields vets in Rocester https://abbeyfieldsvetsrocester.co.uk/, put her on a drip to keep her hydrated and later scanned her which revealed a blockage in her intestine. I had no idea what it was! I’ve heard stories of dogs getting blockages from bones, toys and socks and even though my dogs are on a raw diet, the food is still well balanced.

My other dogs were absolutely fine so was I perhaps overfeeding her? I gave her much more food than the other dogs, as she had lost weight when she had her puppies and was putting it back on very slowly. Did I cause the obstruction with too much food which she couldn’t digest quickly enough? No toys were ‘killed’ recently, none of the beds were ripped and no toys were missing… so I had no idea what it could have been.

Julie kept Martha on a drip overnight and in the morning, we scanned her again. The mysterious object had moved towards the ‘exit’ so it all looked promising and I was allowed to take her home to monitor her and give her a bit of TLC. I still thought that if I walk her it would get everything moving and she would feel better. She actually did poo afterwards and became a bit perkier but was still not keen on eating. I thought perhaps that her tummy was upset from the anaesthetic, medications or barium 🤷🏻‍♀️.

She then started drinking and was holding it in which made me so happy but then… she got worse again😞. She refused to eat and vomited a few minutes after having a drink but then pooped again so I was really confused as to what was going on!

Back to the vets 🙈. Ella, the vet, kept Martha in again and put her on a drip to investigate what was causing her being sick. She eventually rung me in the afternoon saying that they had to operate as there was still a blockage that was too big to move out the natural way.

I wasn’t worried as I knew Martha was in good hands and I believe worrying is praying for things that don’t actually need to happen but there was a tiny part of me that was concerned because she was still a loved one of mine.

At 17:30 I went to pick Martha up. She was awake and looked so tiny and fragile 😞. The nurses then showed me the object that was causing all the drama! Perhaps fluff from bedding or toys but it was so hard to tell as it was mixed and covered with poo. It was about 9-10 cm long and about 2-3cm in diameter. How long it was in her system… I had no idea. She hadn’t shred any toys recently and all her bedding was in one piece so I assume it had been there for quite some time and it was just moving around 🤷🏻‍♀️.

I stayed up all night with Martha monitoring her drinking, peeing and movement as well as watching her that she didn’t pull the catheter out of her leg (the vet kept it there just in case she would need to go back on the drip). She still wasn’t interested in food but she held the liquids down and that’s always a good sign.

I sprayed her wound with Soothing Antiseptic Spray and treated her with tuning forks to speed up her recovery. The next day we went for a check-up and to get some painkillers to keep her comfortable. Julie was pleased with her progress and said it may take a couple of days until she poops. I fed her very small amounts of food – a little bit of cooked chicken, a little bit of cheese and a tiny bit of scrambled eggs every three hours but she still wasn’t keen on eating. I didn’t blame her as it’s understandable that she didn’t have an appetite after what she had been through.

Sunday was a bit better. She was livelier, eating a bit more and on Monday morning she had a poo. Happy days!! Easy peasy, no pain and no discomfort… I WAS SO HAPPY! After this magic moment, her recovery sped up and she is now back to her normal herself. She’s still eating only a small amount of food, a few times a day, as I don’t want to put too much pressure on her digestive system.

Have you experienced a blocked intestine in your dog? What was the cause and how did you deal with it?  

Essential Oils for Green Cleaning.

Remember when I called essential oils powerhouses?

When it comes to the power of essential oils we can use it to not only look after ourselves and our dogs but also in our home. They can be very powerful helpers when it comes to keeping your home clean and smelling fresh.

Just as we try to avoid harsh chemical’s in our cosmetic products and pet care products, we should do the same with our cleaning products.

Synthetic fragrances in cleaning products can irritate both ours and our pets respiratory tracts. If you want to go eco-friendly but you don’t want your house smelling of vinegar while also missing the different fragrances of commercial cleaning products, then essential oils can come to the rescue. They not only smell nice but they also have antiseptic properties, are very good de-greasers and have other beneficial properties.

When using essential oils for cleaning we use larger amounts of oils than for therapeutic purposes which is why you can use a cheaper range of essential oils. Summer naturals is a very good supplier. Click here to view their range online. 

So where can you use what?

Dishes 🍽

Lemon essential oil is a very good choice when it comes to washing dishes. Freshly smelling lemon can be used for handwashing as well as for dishwashers. If your dish sponge or cloth isn’t particularly fresh and feels a bit soggy, put three drops of lemon essential oil on the sponge. This can also be done if you want to increase the disinfecting properties. Why not add tree tea oil for a BOOST!

Did you know that you can even make a ‘regenerative bath’ for your sponge:

You’ll need…

🍋 A bowl of boiled water
🍋 1 teaspoon of bicarb soda
🍋 A few drops of lemon or tea tree oil

Soak the sponge for 30 min then rinse under warm running water. Your sponge will feel and smell like new and will thank you for the spa treatment 😊.

Bathroom 🛁

You can keep a mixture of tea tree, pine and eucalyptus essential oils (1:1:1) in a dark, glass amber bottle and add the blend to a gel made of soap nuts.

Another benefit of this blend is if you use it in the early stages of a cold, blocked nose. The aroma of these oils will clear your nasal cavities and helps you to breath easier.

Soap nut concentrate:
🧼 Grab a full handful of soap nuts (buy here) and add 4 cups of water to a pot.
🧼 Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes.
🧼 Let the concentrate cool.
🧼 Drain the nuts and add them to your compost bin.
🧼 Store the liquid concentrate in the fridge for when you need to use it.

Floor cleaning 🧽

When it comes to floor cleaning pretty much any essential oil is suitable… pine, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus or even sweet orange. Whichever one tickles your fancy 😄. For a bucket of water add max 30 drops of essential oils and the fresh aroma will make the cleaning more enjoyable. A great blend is eucalyptus, orange and lavender which has degreasing and antiseptic properties. The plus is that it’s also a repellent so is an ideal combination for spring and summer.

Eucalyptus, lemon and sweet orange also have strong degreasing and antiseptic properties. It’s recommended that you use a blend of 6 drops of eucalyptus, 12 drops of sweet orange and 12 drops of lemon.
  Let me know how it goes!
Jitka xx

When The Struggle Is Worth It.

The Three Peaks Challenge was the hardest physical challenge I have ever done in my life. OMG!

Inspired by my friend Tasha Anderson, I booked the challenge on the 3rd of August 2019. My thoughts were that August is usually nice and warm, and it was. We were very lucky with the weather. It was sunny and warm but not too hot with a few light showers at night while climbing Scafell Pike. To be honest, at that point I didn’t really care what was falling from the sky 😂.

For those who don’t know, the National Three Peaks Challenge is an event in which participants attempt to climb the highest mountains of England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours. This event is frequently used to raise money for charitable organisations and in my case, I was raising money for Vita Canis Style to Rescue. I’m happy to report I raised £840.

Thank you to all who supported me!!

So during the challenge, the walkers climb each peak in turn and are driven from the foot of one mountain to the next. According to Wikipedia, the total distance walked is estimated at 42 – 44 kilometres (26 – 27 miles) with a total ascent of 9800 feet (3000m). To be honest it felt more like a zillion km!

I prepared for the challenge by running, training at the gym, exercising at home and I thought I was pretty well prepared as I’m an active person anyway. Well… I needed to train harder. I actually needed to go out into the mountains and train there as the road run and gym equipment does NOT prepare you for the uneven surface, slippery rocks, and crumbling gravel. At least I know this for next time.

The first mountain we climbed was Ben Nevis (1345m) in Scotland. I could see the mountain from my B&B window and was thinking to myself… gosh, I’ll be there tomorrow.

We started the morning with a meeting at 8 am at the train station at Fort William. The mountain leaders introduced themselves, the whole process and itinerary was explained and our equipment was checked. When you sign up, you get a list of equipment you must have, like a head torch, hiking shoes, water, hat and gloves and waterproofs – as the weather in mountains can change quickly.

The coaches then took us to the bottom of the Ben Nevis and off we went. I really enjoyed Ben Nevis, the sun was shining, the view was amazing and I didn’t know how but I went up pretty fast and ended up at the top with the first group – the fast guys 😀. I was well chuffed and thought this challenge wouldn’t be as hard as I thought. How wrong I was!!

When we got back to the bus, coffee, tea and cakes were waiting for us and after a quick change and stretching, we were heading to England to climb Scafell Pike in Lake district. The 6-7 hour journey didn’t help my muscles. My legs became stiff, my feet began to swell and my back was hurting from sitting. I then got so angry with myself because I left my roller and my muscle pain-relieving gel in my suitcase in the trailer 🙈.

We got to Scafell Pike just before 10 pm, and it was already dark. My legs weren’t moving as easily as before but I thought I’d be able to shake it off and that with more walking they would loosen up. Another mistake… they didn’t loosen up and the walking didn’t become easier but, in actual fact, harder. I tried to keep up with the fast guys but I couldn’t, tried to convince myself… you can do it… mind over body… one step at the time…quitters never win… winners never quit… and other mantras and self-talk of which some I can’t publish 🤣. Well, I didn’t quit. I was just told to take a break and wait for the 3rd group. I gratefully accepted and I enjoyed the 10 minutes sitting in pitch black dark on the mountain, in complete silence. Tasha told me it would be magical, and it was ✨.

I had thought that Scafell Pike would be the easiest one as it was the smallest. Another mistake! Already tired after Ben Nevis, with no sleep, except dosing off on the bus and then walking up steep rocks in the middle of the night for 2 hours is NOT what I would call easy.

We had warm porridge and drinks waiting for us at the bottom of Scafell Pike and then and we were driven to the last (YAY!) challenge, the Snowden in Wales. We got there at about 7 am. Did I, at this point, feel like walking anywhere at all nevermind climbing another mountain? NO AND NO, but off we set towards Snowden top.

At about 20min from the mountain top, our group was turned around as we were running out of time which was frustrating as the last bit seemed pretty flat. I was disappointed, but on the other hand, was glad it was over. At this point, even walking downhill was a challenge and I was ever so grateful to my two new friends, the faithful walking sticks, who stood by my side the whole time. I will never forget you ❤︎!

The recovery after the challenge took a few days and I used everything I could to ease the muscle pain: the roller, essential oils, tuning forks, massage… and it did work I must say.
I’m so glad I did it and now, fully recovered, I know I will do it again to improve my time.

If you’d like to join me next year, that would be great!!

Here’s some advice for those who would like to do it:

⛰ If you think you’ve trained enough, think again and train harder.
⛰ Do as much hiking as possible and get yourself comfortable on rocky roads and paths.
⛰ Get walking sticks!
⛰ Get a really, REALLY powerful head torch.
⛰ Take salty and sour snacks as well as sweet ones. I was sick of sweets by the end of the challenge!
⛰ Get a good quality camel bag. Mine broke so I was given a 2l plastic water bottle which kept falling down from my rucksack, adding to my frustration.

In conclusion… if you want to do the challenge just do it!! I don’t regret it for a second and it was one of the most incredible, unforgettable experiences!

Jitka xx

The Powerhouse That Is an Essential Oil

As I mentioned in my newsletter this week I’m very grateful to every single person who took their time and completed the survey.
Thank you so much, once again ❤︎.
So many of you mentioned that the products smell lovely. I am, of course, a bit biased but I agree 😊. That, however, wasn’t my intention but it worked out really well. How come, you may ask?

Many people associate essential oils with a nice smell. Odours can not only influence our mood and evoke emotions but can also counteract stress and even reduce high blood pressure.

Only a few essential oil molecules are needed to recreate memories, associations and feelings.

When we inhale essential oils our olfactory nerves send a signal to our brain that results in a perception of smell followed by a hedonic response. This means that the odour perception causes an emotional response, which can be positive or negative. A positive response will make us feel good, be calming or even uplifting while the negative one is alarming, so we pull away, hold our nose, or it can even make us feel unwell. There is more though to essential oils than just a nice or interesting smell that makes us feel a certain way.

All essential oils are powerhouses with many amazing therapeutic properties and here are some of them: Anti-inflammatory – able to decrease swelling and inflammation. German chamomile in our Skin Relief and Paw & Hand Butter works this magic!Analgesic – relieves and diminishes pain. The local anaesthetic action of Peppermint essential oil is significant and can be found in Vita Canis Skin Relief.Expectorant – promotes the discharge of phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tract. When we inhale essential oils, about 93% of the particles travel to the lungs then into the bloodstream and other organs. Very effective expectorants are pine, eucalyptus, fennel, and more. That’s why you can find these aromas in commercial inhalers, cough medicines and cough sweets, etc.Sedative – reduces nervousness, distress or agitation. Our Comfort Blend contains lavender, neroli and other essential oils to achieve just this. Essential oils are not a one-trick pony but more like a Jack of all (many) trades. Let’s use lemon essential oil as an example 🍋.

The smell of lemon can boost your energy, alertness and help you overcome mental fatigue. It’s like a breath of fresh air and I think that’s why it’s been used for decades for household cleaning products – to give us the freshness and good feeling associated with a clean home.

Lemon is not only a nice smelling and uplifting oil, but it also has many other properties namely:

🍋 Antimicrobial and antiseptic
🍋 Acts as an astringent contracting and binding tissues
🍋 Carminative action by settling the digestive system and expels gas from the intestine
🍋 Rubefacient by warming and increasing blood flow

Because of its antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, lemon essential oil is an important part of Vita Canis Ear Cleaner. It’s also an immunostimulant so it helps strengthen the body’s immune system. Lemon essential oil is an effective cleanser and that’s why it’s so easy to remove excessive wax and dirt from dogs’ ears.

Let’s also not forget that lemon essential oil is an insecticide meaning it drives away many insects and even kills some of them. It’s also the main reason why it’s one of the main ingredients in our Insect Repelling Citrus Spray.  

Do you perhaps have any recipes to share with us that you use essential oils in?

Puddles of Fun!

And here we are again… summer is in full blast! Personally, I love it! I love the sun and the warm weather, and I actually even cope well in hot weather too. Maybe it’s because I used to live in Slovakia where we used to have, and still have, very hot summers (and I’m talking months not just a few days). I know it’s not for everyone… but like anything else, you (or the weather) can’t make everyone happy.

Last year, in one of my July Blogs, called Awesome Summer Activities to Do with Your Dog, I wrote about different summer activities you can do with your dogs. Amongst them were paddling and swimming, making frozen treats, twist with the Kong, and few more.

For me, summer and swimming go hand in hand. When I was little, we spent a lot of time at public pools, lakes, rivers and even took a few trips abroad to enjoy the ocean. The times spent near water became even more fun when we got out first dog, a Mini Schnauzer named Ajo.

Ajo loved swimming so much!!! We used to throw balls to him for what felt like hours and he never got tired. He would run, jump into the water, grab the ball and swim back… again and again. He’d also love jumping into the stream to fetch floating sticks. Our other dogs, Hovawarts, Cherry and Blondie, weren’t that keen. They wouldn’t fetch anything from the water. They’d wait for Ajo to fetch the ball, then corner him, take the ball and proudly present it to us. Crafty girls! 😂 They did join me when I went swimming though and would circle around me like guard dogs. I’d end up with a few scratches when they came a bit too close but I thought it was very sweet how they looked after me and protected me.

Swimming is an excellent way to get fit, not only for humans but also for dogs and other animals like horses. Swimming provides an aerobic workout that strengthens the heart and lungs, tones and builds muscles and it’s good for their joints. Let’s not forget it’s also heaps of fun!

Mr Tank is the only dog of mine that enjoys water at the moment and in any form or shape too. Since he was small he’s loved playing in puddles as well as with the water hose and jumps in every stream. I’ve even had to rescue him a few times from being stuck in the mud… not easy with them short legs 😊.

Many dogs know how to swim from the first moment that they even step foot into a pond or a pool. Dogs are natural swimmers and don’t need to be taught to swim. Over the years though a few people have told me that Scotties can’t swim but on the other hand I’ve also heard that they can and actually enjoy it!

Do any of you have any experience with this?

Mr Tank is a water baby but can’t swim well and I think if left unattended, he would drown. This was proved twice in his life. The first time was when I was walking him with Martha by the quarry lakes near our house. I had kept them on flexi leads as I knew they would run straight into the water but I took them quite close so that they could paddle and have some fun. While I was watching Martha rolling in the mud like a happy piglet (not paying much attention to Mr Tank – I know bad right), he went too far and out the corner of my eye I saw him turning to one side, struggling to keep his head above the water. I dragged him out of the water but luckily he was absolutely fine and wasn’t distressed. Tough cookie my Tanky 😊.

The second time he experienced a ‘proper’ swim was at Dogs Unleashed last year. They always have a few swimming pools there for dogs to cool down and have some fun in. I stood for ages with an over-excited Mr Tank in the cue. When our turn came we followed the procedure you would follow when you introduce your dog to water and swimming. I picked him up, held him with one or both hands under his belly and watched and waited for him to start stroking on his own when he hit the water. After a few minutes, I pointed him in the direction towards the guide and released him. Bless his little heart, he couldn’t even swim straight 😳. Every time the guide let go Mr. tank started turning to one side.

Even though he couldn’t swim properly he really enjoyed the experience and was buzzing afterwards. That made me think, why is it that he can’t swim? Is it that he’s heavy and has a barrel-like trunk (not fat by the way but solid and strong). Is it short legs that can’t paddle fast enough to keep the body above the water? I think the best solution would be to get him a little life jacket and put it on every time we are near water.

Have you experienced the same or something similar with your dog? I’d really love to hear about anyone else’s experiences with this 😊

Until then go grab your fur-baby and go have some fun in the sunshine while the weather is still in our favour!

What People Say...

Just to let you know we LOVE the Comfort Blend we got from you at Crufts. The girls love the smell and try to lick it, and I find walks are a lot calmer these days. THANK YOU!! Calming Floral Spray is next on my list and maybe a burner with some stones.”
Savannah and Jasmine are  two lovely Italian Greyhounds, and you can find them on Instagram @sister.iggies.ig