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Ticks – There’s more to them than just Lyme Disease.

It seems that ticks and fleas are just here to annoy us and our dogs… am I right? This is especially true when it comes to ticks because of the diseases they carry. Yes, there are more than one. It’s not only the well-known Lyme disease that we need to worry about but tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) too. There are a few others, however, these are the two most prevalent in Europe.

With all the negative associations it’s easy to forget that ticks are also an important source of food for some reptiles, amphibians and birds. Perhaps even for some other woodland creatures too 🤷🏻‍♀️. This fact though doesn’t change my mind when it comes to them and try as I might, I just can’t find any positive feelings that I might have towards them.

Ticks were always very common in Slovakia but here in the UK ticks have become more abundant and have extended their distribution in Europe during the last two to three decades. Changes in farming, global warming, more animals moving around and across the borders, all contribute to this.

Years ago, you might have only come across ticks in rural and wood areas but these days we’re at risk of tick bites when spending time in public areas like parks, beer gardens, picnic spots, gardens, while camping, cycling, running, or doing any outdoor activities.

During our holiday in Slovakia, I heard on the news that the numbers of tick-borne encephalitis have risen. From the end of April till the end of June they reported 26 cases of TBE. Most of them being in the central Slovakia where we were staying. Yay! NOT!

According to the CDC TBE occurs in some forested areas in Europe and Asia, from eastern France to northern Japan and from northern Russia to Albania. TBE is caused by the TBE virus, a flavivirus that is closely related to Powassan virus. The TBE virus has three subtypes: European, Siberian, and Far Eastern and is primarily transmitted to humans by infected Ixodes species ticks. It can also be acquired by ingesting unpasteurized dairy products (such as milk and cheese) from infected goats, sheep, or cows.

We’ve all been very concerned about our dogs catching ticks but we need to protect ourselves as well. When walking in woodlands, the perfect habitat for ticks, make sure you keep to the middle of the path and try to avoid overhanging vegetation. 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.

Wearing pale long trousers, tucked into your socks will help when it comes to prevention. Why pale? Well, if a tick is crawling on your leg, you can see it better and you can brush it off. I always spray my clothes with Tick Off, to provide extra protection.

After a nice walk in the woodlands be sure to always check not only your dog but yourself as well.  If you find any ticks feeding, remove the tick promptly and clean the bite site with an antiseptic such as Soothing Antiseptic Spray. Keep an eye on the area, watch for any symptoms of Lyme disease  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/ and if you feel unwell contact your GP immediately.

How likely is it that you’ll get Lyme disease from a tick?

According to the NHS website, the chance of catching Lyme disease from an individual tick ranges from roughly zero to 50 per cent. The risk of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite depends on three factors: the tick species, where the tick came from, and how long it was biting you for.

How long does a tick need to be attached to transmit Lyme disease?

In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours. Or even more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny (less than 2 mm) and are difficult to see. They also feed during the spring and summer months.

How long does a tick stay attached on you or your dog?

The length of time a tick stays attached depends on the tick species, tick life stage and the host immunity. It also depends on whether you do a daily tick check. Generally, if undisturbed, larvae remain attached and feeding for about 3 days. Nymphs for 3-4 days, and adult females for 7-10 days.

What happens if a tick isn’t removed?

If you don’t find the tick and remove it first, it will fall off on its own once it’s full. This usually happens after a few days but it can sometimes take up to two weeks. Just the same as a mosquito bite, your skin will usually become red and itchy near the tick bite.

I hope this doesn’t spoil your woodland walks.

Protect your dog, protect yourself and enjoy 😊

Holidays – Where should you leave your dog?

Are you planning on going on holiday? Is it with your four-legged friend or without? I know that he’d rather be with you, but that’s not always possible. Reality is that there are times when you have to leave him behind. Holiday or no holiday.

If there’s no other option and you have to leave your dog behind, you have to make the right choice for him. Here are a few options…

Family Members.

If your kids are old enough (or your parents young enough) to take care of your dog then that’s a bonus! Your dog knows them and they can carry on with the same daily routine, PLUS… you usually don’t have to pay them. Bingo! 😂

Boarding your dog.

Boarding your dog at a kennel is a good choice (especially when you choose mine lol) if your dog is friendly and sociable. Dogs can adapt to staying at a kennel really well and quickly especially if they were introduced to this environment from an early age.

When we’re expecting a new dog that’s never been to a kennel before I always recommend bringing him for a short period of time before he comes to stay. Easing them into it for a day or weekend before leaving them for a longer period makes a big difference.

Finding a suitable kennel.

Ask other dog owners, your groomer or your vet for recommendations. Sometimes your breeder may even have facilities for boarding dogs. Once you’ve got a list together call them, visit them and ask questions. Examples of some questions are:

·      How many dogs are there per assistant?

·      How often will your dog be exercised and for how long?

·      Will he get individual attention?

·      Will your feeding instructions be followed?

·      Can you leave your dog with a favourite toy, his bed, or a piece of clothing with your scent? (although this one has changed, because of the current situation. Please note: LEAVE BELONGINGS AT HOME)

One of the precautions that we at Vita Canis have in place is to reduce any transfer of the virus onto belongings which is why we won’t accept any personal dog bedding, toys or items. We’ll provide all of these items ourselves. You may still bring your dog’s own food if you prefer.

Once you’ve made your choice, book your dog’s stay well in advance of your holiday or work trip. Kennels normally fill up during holidays and peak vacation periods (everything’s different at the moment, however). It’s always good to think and plan ahead… even if your plans change last minute.

Professional Dog sitters.

Another option is to arrange a dog sitter. If you choose this option you’ll have to decide whether you’d prefer that your dog stays at home or stays in the sitter’s home. You know your dog best so you know where he will be the most comfortable.

The advantages of keeping your dog at home with a dog sitter are that he will remain in familiar surroundings and the dog sitter can also bring in post, water your plants, and watch over your home. The only disadvantage is that your dog will be alone a lot of the time if the sitter doesn’t stay in your house.

If you’re looking for a dog sitter, ask for references beforehand. You need to be sure that the person is reliable because you’re leaving them with your dog, in your house. You have to be able to trust them. It’s also a good idea for him/her to take some time to get to know your dog before you go away.

On another note… are you getting anxious about leaving your dog? Try our Calming Floral Spray or put a drop of Comfort Blend on your wrist. It works wonders!

5 Amazing Dog Facts.

As dog owners, we know that our dogs are our most loyal companions. We usually know a lot about the breed we own and we’re also curious about anything dog related. Here are 5 interesting dog facts that I recently found and some of them are actually quite hard to believe!

1) A dog’s nose is wet to help absorb scent chemicals.

We don’t really know why is our dog’s nose is wet but we worry when it’s dry. Healthy dogs have a wet nose, not? We’ll chat about this another time but for now, we’ll focus on why a dog’s nose is wet.

A dog’s nose is wet because it enhances the absorption of scent chemicals. The moisture on their noses is not just water but is, in fact, a special mucus that helps to absorb the chemicals of a scent. Dogs then lick their nose to “read” the message which helps them understand what’s going on around them.

Wet noses are also one of the ways that dogs can regulate their body temperature and cool down because they don’t have normal sweat glands like we do. Dogs also sweat from their pads and use panting as a means to lower body temperature.

2) Three dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic.

I never knew about this one and found it fascinating. According to Vetstreet, there were dozens of dogs on board the sinking ship and three of them made it. These lucky three survivors ravelled in first class. They were all small and kept in their owners’ cabins instead of in the onboard kennel. Lady, a Pomeranian puppy, was saved by her owner, Margaret Hays, who wrapped the dog in a blanket and sneaked her onto a lifeboat (apparently, people assumed she was carrying a baby.) The other dogs who made it to land were a Pekingnese named Sun Yat-sen, owned by Henry and Myra Harper, and another Pomeranian, owned by Elizabeth Rothschild.

Unfortunately, the rest of the stories don’t have such happy endings… for dogs as well as people.

3)  A greyhound could beat a cheetah in a long distance race.

Most of us already know that the fastest land animal is the cheetah which can reach a speed of 70 mph (113 km per hour). Even though the cheetah is an amazingly fast runner she can only maintain that incredible speed for about 200 to 300 yards (274 meters).

The really fast dogs are greyhounds, whippets, salukis, and afghan hounds. They are called sighthounds since their job is to spot their quarry by sight and run it down. They have a characteristic shape: a huge chest to accommodate large lungs to gulp oxygen and their oversized heart as well as a narrow waist that allows them to bend their body so that every stride carries them more than a body length.

The greyhounds’ ability to reach top speed quickly is amazing! At maximum acceleration, a greyhound can reach a speed of 45 mph (72km/h) within its first six strides from a standing start. No other land animal (except the cheetah) has that degree of acceleration.

Did you know that a greyhound would actually beat a cheetah in a long distance race! According to Psychology Today, greyhounds are excellent long distance runners. They can keep their speed up to 35 mph for up to 7 miles. Although Cheetahs are incredibly fast, they can only keep the speed up for about 200-30 yards.

4) The saluki is the oldest dog breed.

Did you know this? I thought it would be one of the hounds like the Pharaoh hound (only maybe because of the name lol), or another hunting breed. I guess I I wasn’t that far of.

According to The Guinness World Records, the world’s oldest known breed of domesticated dog is the saluki. It is believed to have emerged in 329 BC. Saluki dogs were revered in ancient Egypt, being kept as royal pets and being mummified after death. There are carvings found in Sumer (present-day southern Iraq) which represent a dog, closely resembling a saluki, which dates back to 7000 BC.

5) A Bloodhound’s sense of smell can be used as evidence in court.

According to PBS, a Bloodhounds sense of smell is so accurate that it can be used as evidence in a courtroom. The Bloodhound has an outstanding ability to read terrain with its nose. It is primarily due to a large, ultrasensitive set of scent membranes.

Researchers have estimated that a bloodhound’s nose consists of approximately 230 million olfactory cells – scent receptors. 40 times the number in humans. Our olfactory centre is about the size of a postage stamp. And a dogs can be as large as a handkerchief! How cool is that!!

Here’s another amazing fact about Bloodhounds…. they can follow tracks that are over 300 hours (12.5 days… so you don’t have to count) old and can stay on a trail for over 130 miles! Amazing!!

What People Say...

Hi Jitka, I contacted you about your Skin Relief Spray and your Hand Butter about a week ago as my 89-year-old mum suffers from terribly itchy skin. We’ve tried almost every skin product from the usual chemists and have resorted to antihistamines after checking they are okay with mums other atrial fibrillation tabs.

Unfortunately, these can cause nose bleeds so a new remedy was required. We’ve been using the Vita Canis Soothing Antiseptic Spray for thee days and her back is no longer driving her mad with itching. The Hand Butter has been applied to her feet with the same excellent results. We will continue using the spray and butter and I will give you another update next week but things are looking promising.
Jenni Owen