Why Dog First Aid?

By Tash Myers

As I was training to be a qualified Canine First Responder Instructor, I had quite a few people asking me ‘why do you need dog first aid?’ and ‘Why would I need a certified course?’. Once upon a time I was one of those people asking those exact questions. To me it’s a very simple answer. If you have a dog, work with dogs in any profession (dog walking, dog sitting, working in a dog rescue centre, dog trainers or groomers) or have a beloved dog as a pet, what if something happened to a dog in your care? If it collapsed, stopped breathing, had a serious bleed, would you know what to do?

It’s not until someone asks you that question until it makes you think. Calling the vet is the obvious answer, but what if you were not minutes from a vet and your dog needed assistance before you could get to a vet, what would you do? Would you know how to reduce a serious bleed? Would you know how to help your dog breathe again? Our certified courses are very much there to give you the knowledge and skills to provide first aid to the casualty whilst the professionals are on their way to you. Most businesses have their own human first aid responder let’s make it the ‘norm’ for the pet industry to have their own canine First Aid Responders too!


That time of year has come round again when we are starting to find ticks on our dogs that we walk. So why are they such a problem?


  • With changes in temperatures, ticks are starting to feed earlier and earlier in the year.
  • With the introduction of pet passports and the increase in international pet travel, not only ticks but other parasites, are able to easily introduce new diseases to countries where they did not used to be present.
  • Very serious diseases can be transmitted via ticks such as Canine Babesiosis and Lyme’s Disease as well as commonly causing localised infections around the entry site.
  • Treatment

  • Have a chat with your vet about preventative methods. There are many products on the market which if used routinely during the tick’s active months can keep ticks at bay.
    Check over your pet frequently and remove any ticks that you find. This is not always easy with longer haired pets!
  • If you find a tick on your pet, you should ideally remove the whole tick including the head which bury inside your pet, with a special tick removal hook which can be brought from most vets or pet shops. This should be rotated until the whole tick comes away.
  • Don’t try and remove it by pulling it off or burning it as parts of the tick can remain inside your pet leading to either an infection of the site or another disease that the tick was carrying.
  • If the area is very swollen or red, do not be afraid to get your vet to give your pet a quick check over.
  • Tickhook DogTicks

    When Becca went to the APGAW Dog meeting at the House of Commons at the end of 2016, some Veterinary researchers gave a talk about The Big Tick Project run by Bristol Veterinary School. It is running again this year. If you want to find out more about it then please see http://www.bigtickproject.co.uk/ This site contains some great pictures of the different ticks you might find on your pets too!

    Our Top 5 Dog Walking spots near Bradford-on-Avon, Corsham and Atworth!

    Our Bradford-on-Avon and Corsham dog walking team are lucky to have some fantastic dog walks to take their clients on! Here are some of our favourites:-
    1. The Kennet and Avon Canal Path- A gorgeous dog walk along the towpath that stretches all the way from Reading to Bath. The dog walk passes through Bradford-on-Avon and is a good flat path for buggies and wheelchairs too.
    2. Corsham Court and Lake- A great dog walk near Corsham with plenty of variation for your dogs. There are parts with water, woods and fields. You are able to let your dogs off in parts but just be careful to keep them on the lead and under control when sheep are present. There is a free car park too!
    3. Slaughterford- Not far from Corsham, a dog walk with lots of variety- woods, fields and a little beach with a pond for dogs to play in. Lots of great places for some off lead playtime and some lovely dog friendly pubs in the area too to make a day of it!
    4. Box Woods – Not far from Corsham and Atworth, with some incredible views stretching over Bath and Box, this is a beautiful dog walk through bridlepaths and woods. Occasionally livestock are present in fields along the way so please remember to keep dogs on the lead and under control for everyone’s safety.
    5. Woods and Fields around Neston- a quiet, pretty dog walk around Neston, between Corsham and Atworth. Lots of places to let your dogs have a run off the lead but please keep them close and under control re is plenty of wildlife in the area.

    If you would like your dog to join one of our dog walkers on one of these gorgeous dog walks please get in touch with Sarah on bradfordonavon@friendsforpets.co.uk or 01225 667245

    10 Great Dog Walks in the Vale of Glamorgan!

    The Barry and Vale of Glamorgan dog walkers that provide dog walking services in Penarth, Dinas Powys, Llandough and surrounding areas are lucky to have some gorgeous walks to take the four legged friends on! Here are some of their favourites:-

    1. Lavernock Point – Very close to Penarth for our dog walkers. Provides a gorgeous coastal walk and amazing views across the channel. Parking can be difficult especially on more pleasant days.
    2. Bryngarw Country Park – Gorgeous park for a dog walk near Bridgend. Convenient (paid) parking and café on site, parts of the walk are along a disused railway and although you are allowed to let dogs off keep them close as there are plenty of cyclists around on warmer days.
    3. Llanwit Major Beach – This is a lovely spot for a dog walk during the winter months (dogs are banned from the beach during the summer months). Convenient car parking too near the beach. A lovely little town to have a wander around as well.
    4. Dinas Powys – With stunning countryside there are lots of beautiful places to explore on a dog walk around Dinas Powys including the lovely Salmon Leaps Walk. There are some wooded areas and open fields. If you are lucky you may see some wildlife with kestrals, buszzards and pheasants commonly seen. At some times of year there may be livestock in the fields so please keep dogs on the lead and under close control to keep livestock and dogs safe when our dog walking.
    5. Porthkerry Country Park – Beautiful footpaths and woodland to explore whilst dog walking in Barry. With a car park on site, this is great dog walk for the warmer summer months when you are trying to avoid hot tarmac and missing the beaches!
    6. Watchtower Bay – a lovely beach walk in Barry. The beach is close to the town so parking is usually quite easy and there are also toilets on site.
    7. Cosmeston Lakes & Country Park – Can be an extended dog walk to incorporate a countryside and coastal walk. The actual park has two lakes, good footpaths making it a good choice for wheelchairs and pushchairs as well as dog walking. Due to the amount of birdlife around the lakes please keep dogs under close control at all times.
    8. Knap Gardens – A great place for a dog walk in Barry all year round. Beautiful gardens around a lake visited regularly by birdlife. A good walk for buggies and wheelchairs as well as being popular with dog walkers.
    9. Jacksons Bay – This is a quiet secluded sandy beach and the locals best kept secret. It is popular with dog walkers due to allowing dogs on it all year round. You can also walk round the Coastal Path to Barry Island though that does have dog restrictions at certain times of the year.

    10. Merthyr Mawr – This walk is easy to find from the M4 and again dogs are allowed here all year round. Start by exploring picturesque historical cottages before wandering the wilds of the sand dunes. Dogs
    will love running up and down the dunes including the Big Dipper! Reach the top of this one and be rewarded with all the surrounding views.

    If you would like your dog to join us on one of these gorgeous walks then please get in touch with Catherine on barry@friendsforpets.co.uk or 07502 316670

    Introducing our Barry and Penarth Dog Walking Team!

    At the end of 2016 we launched our new Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan

    DogWalking Penarth Barry DInasPowys

    Catherine and Tess

    dog walking team. Our dog walkers and pet sitters are now able to provide dog walking and pet care services in Penarth, Barry, Dinas Powys, Sully, Llandough and the surrounding areas.

    Our small team of fantastic pet carers are managed by the wonderful Catherine. Catherine lives locally and, as well as being a busy mum of two young children, has her own lovely rescue dog Tess who is frequently seen out assisting Catherine with her dog walking services.

    Our Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters in Penarth, Dinas Powys, Barry and the Vale are able to provide a wide range of pet sitting services from a dog walking service tailored to your dog’s requirements, doggy day care, dog holiday care, cat sitting and small pet boarding, as well as a variety of options for house sitting.

    As with all of our Friends for Pets teams, our dog walkers and pet sitters are:-
    · Fully Insured.
    · Do not arrive in marked vehicles announcing your empty home.
    · Are DBS checked.
    · Are able to provide references.
    · Undergo our pet sitter award scheme including training in dog behaviour, nutrition, health and disease and much much more!
    · From summer 2017 all pet carer will undergo pet first aid training.

    Our team over a tailor made service to suit your pets needs rather than you having to fit with us. For all dog walking and pet sitting enquiries in Barry, Penarth, Dinas Powys and the surrounding areas of the Vale of Glamorgan please contact Catherine on barry@friendsforpets.co.uk or 07502 316670.

    What dog breeds are susceptible to what health conditions?

    For us as Dog Walkers and Pet Carers it is really important to know what breeds are more susceptible to certain conditions. Some have known genetic links, other conditions are just found to occur more frequently in certain breeds. Below discusses some breeds and some common conditions found within them (this list is only a guide and of course not every dog of that breed type will have this condition. Always get a Veterinary Professional to examine your dog if you are in doubt over any health issue).

    Husky – With their thick coats small skin problems can sometimes be missed leading to larger sores on their skin and hair loss in the affected areas. Eye problems such as glaucoma and cataracts can be common in older dogs as well. These can usually be helped with veterinary intervention.
    Bull dog – With very pure breeding lines, certain features of dogs have become more pronounced. These smaller dogs with flatter faces, small nostrils and narrower internal respiratory structures can develop breathing difficulties particularly suffering in very hot weather as panting and an increased respiratory rate is used to cool the body. If the dog is physically unable to pant then they can become overheated and overtired leading to potentially life threatening problems.
    Pug – With their flatter faces and bulgy eyes, Pugs can suffer from a condition where their eyes can pop out of their socket ie. When rough playing with another dog. If this occurs then cover the eye with a damp cloth and get them to the vet asap!
    German Shepherd – Again with very pure breeding lines sometimes the ball and socket joint of the hips don’t fit together properly. This can lead to pain, arthritis and problems walking. In German Shepherds this can be screened for as there has been a genetic link determined.
    Labrador- With their kind nature, persuasive eyes and ‘always hungry’ personality, labradors can easily become overweight so they need lots of exercise and healthy snacks such as raw carrots or apples.
    Beagle – Epilepsy and fitting as been shown to occur more frequently in beagles than other breeds.
    Boxer – Have been shown to have a slightly higher risk for certain types of cancer ie lymphoma and mast cell tumours (skin cancer) which can cause secondary cancers in internal organs. However both types are treatable if caught early and the dog is otherwise healthy.
    Dachshund – With their long bodies they run the risk of back injuries and spinal disk problems. Limiting jumping up and down on things and keeping at a healthy weight will help prevent injuries.
    Doberman – Occasionally the chambers of the heart are bigger due to the cardiac muscle being stretched out and therefore not being able to pump blood as effectively. Due to the known genetic link, screening and medication can help regulate the heart’s rhythm in known sufferers.
    Cocker Spaniel – With their ear shape and that they are hairy, this can lead to ear infections. Prevention can be helped with regular cleaning and allowing the air to circulate around the inside of the ear as much as possible. Ask a veterinary professional for advice relating to your specific dog.
    Rottweiler – and other large breeds are at risk of joint problems as they are fast growing puppies and sometimes their joints to fully finish developing until they are around 18 months old. Being very careful with the amount of exercise, surfaces they are exercised on and maintaining a healthy diet can all help joints develop correctly.
    German Shorthaired Pointer – Can suffer from a heart condition caused by the narrowing of the main blood vessel from the heart causing strain on the heart as it struggles to pump enough blood around the body. This can be quite common in other larger dog breeds too.
    Maltese – can suffer with tremors caused by inflammation of the cerebellum (the part of the brain that helps with movement). The tremors can be helped with corticosteroids.

    Indoor Games for your dog.

    It’s that time of year when sometimes it’s more difficult to take your dog out for a long walk. To help keep you dog fit, active and entertained you could play some indoor games with your dog. Here are some ideas for fun boredom busters for you and your dog..

    1) Hunt the treat – Hide some of your dog’s favourite treats around your house and get your dog to sniff them out! They may find it difficult at the start so hide them in sight of your dog. With practise you may be able to hide them without your dog seeing so they start to utilise their sniffing rather than their sight to detect them. If they struggle with finding treats within a room to start with you could just make them choose which hand the treat is in. You could use a choice of upturned cups with a treat hidden underneath as well for them to sniff out.
    2) Toys and treat dispensers – such as Kongs or Nina Ottoson can entertain whilst you can’t!
    3) Family Circle – If you have children and your dog is happy and safe with them, get everyone to sit in a circle with some treats and then they can take it in turns to call the dogs name. When the dog comes to the right person calling them, they receive a treat. Make the circle bigger and bigger as the dog gets better at the game. You can eventually end up in different rooms. This really encourages rapid recall.
    4) Tug of War – Although there is a lot of different views on playing this with your dog (i.e. If they win then they perceive you as being submissive), a recent study (http://www.npr.org/2011/05/26/136497064/the-new-science-of-understanding-dog-behavior) has shown that actually the more you play with your dog and let them win at a game, the more they like you. The more you win, they less they want to play with you. Just ensure that you halt the game if they get a bit over enthusiastic with the tugging!
    5) Obstacle course – If you don’t have ‘proper’ agility equipment to hand (as most owners won’t!), you could make a DIY course for your dog by rolling up towels or blankets for little jumps. Walk them through the course first and then let them have a go themselves. This is also a good way to get your dog to stretch certain soft tissues in the joints without over exerting them on a walk i.e. After surgery etc. Always follow your vets instructions for how much exercise and what type of exercise your dog can do though. Kitchen chairs or a coffee table could be used as a tunnel, a stool to balance on etc.
    6) Name Game – Studies have shown that dogs understand around 200 words. If they like to play with toys, you could give a name to each toy and teach it to them, giving a reward when you say the correct toy and they bring it to you. Teach them one toy at a time and keep repeating the name until they associate it with the specific toy.
    7) Basketball – Teach your dog to drop their toy or ball into a washing basket. Ensure they know the ‘drop’ command first and then show them first what you would like them to do and then reward as they start performing the desired behaviour. Once they can do this you could expand on this to get them to tidy up all their toys into a basket (please send them to live with me when they can do this!!).

    Christmas 2016 Newsletter!

    We have had a very busy year at Friends for Pets providing lots of high quality pet services to our clients big and small! We have opened up a new branch of Friends for Pets in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan which is run by the lovely Catherine Clarke. The launch has been very successful so far with lots of clients already using our small team of pet carers in the area. Thank you for your support and custom through 2016, we really do appreciate it and are working hard on continuing to improve all of our services that we offer. If you do have any suggestions to help us improve please get in touch with your local manager or Becca at head office on becca@friendsforpets.co.uk. Instead of sending Christmas cards we have given a donation to the charity Hounds for heroes (please see their website http://houndsforheroes.com/ for more information about them).
    We wish you and your pets a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Best Wishes
    Becca and the Friends for Pets Team x

    Bradford-on-Avon & Frome Manager’s charity work

    Charity DogsSarah, one of our lovely managers, has been doing some work with the Swedish non-profit organisation during her stays in Sweden. Here is a little bit about her work…
    “As a team-leader at Friends For Pets I am passionate about animal welfare. Last year I went to Sweden and volunteered with a Swedish non-profit organisation, Hundar Utan Hem, which rehabilitates and rehomes abandoned dogs from Sweden and Ireland. This year I have returned to Sweden to help more dogs in need and I am currently fostering a beautiful one-year-old German shepherd called Jessica. Like so many other dogs, Jessica was dumped outside a pound in Ireland when she was just a few months old and would have been destroyed if it were not for the tireless efforts of Irish dog rescue organisations and Hundar Utan Hem. Now she is safe and happy and has a bright future ahead of her. This Christmas, remember how much joy your pets bring to your life and please do what you can to support your local animal welfare and rescue charities. For more information about the work please visit http://www.hundarutanhem.se/English/.”

    Dog charity collections

    We have been collecting equipment and food donations for the charity Dogs Friends (http://dogsfriends.me.uk/) throughout the year and matching donations with a monetary donation from Friends for Pets. This year we have raised £150 with matched monetary donations. Thanks to Axe Valley Vets and the Pet Shop in Cheddar who allowed us to place our collection bins with them as points for people to drop goods off as well as everyone who donated through the year, we really are very grateful.

    Dog Agility Classes

    This Summer we started our Leap Dog Agility classes in Pucklechurch. We held Introductory courses, young handlers and Intermediate sessions. All dogs and handlers had lots of fun, learning agility techniques and playing lots of games at the same time. Our agility will start again in the Spring, we will be taking bookings in the New Year so if you would like further details, and to be added to our mailing list, please email Julia on bath@friendsforpets.co.uk


    We have had a successful year from the business side of things being made a finalist for Customer Service Excellence in the Sedgemoor Business Awards and our Bath Franchise owner, Julia, was made Franchisee of the Year Award winner of the National Mum and Working Awards. We are very honoured to have been part of these awards.

    Christmas Office Hours

    Although we are carrying out pet care everyday over the Christmas holidays we will be ‘shutting’ our offices from 5pm on Wednesday 21st December and reopening on Tuesday 3rd January 2017. This is just so our managers can have a little break over the Christmas period. Email and voice messages will be checked over this time and anything urgent dealt with otherwise we will get back to you on Tuesday 3rd January.

    Pet Carer Award Scheme

    Our Pet Carer Training and Award scheme has been rolled out this year with much success and we have developed this even further ready for launch in 2017. Pet carers will now receive training in Pet Nutrition, Behaviour and Communication, Health and Disease, Common Behavioural Issues, Handling Skills, Dog Law, Pet First Aid Skills as well as common traits, health and behavioural issues of different dog types. We hope this will continue to improve the quality of our services by having an even more knowledgeable and experienced team.

    Franchise Opportunities

    In 2017, we are preparing to relaunch our Franchise opportunities with different options to help grow the Friends for Pets brand. If you or anyone you know are interested in launching your own pet care company or would like further information sent to you on relaunch in the spring please email becca@friendsforpets.co.uk. We are also keen to hear from people currently running their own pet care company wanting support in doing this.

    Find us on Social Media at:

    If you have any social media accounts we have lots of extra info, pictures of our clients and lots of news through out social media pages. If you would like to follow us our details are:-
    See you on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsforPets?ref=hl
    See you on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/company/friends-for-pets
    Follow and Tweet us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/FriendsforPets

    Team Contact Details

    Other Enquiries or Franchise Enquires – becca@friendsforpets.co.uk

    All the Best from

    Friends for Pets

    The Power of a Partnership…

    When we first started out in the pet care industry, nearly nine years ago, there were very few pet-related businesses around. Over the past few years we have seen the rise of an enormous number of competitors in the pet care industry. Different companies now offer a huge variety of services from grooming, training, pet care and transport services. This is great for the pet industry but due to the number of companies starting up and the work being much more demanding than people first anticipate, so many companies fail to keep going past the first few years or trading. This is a real shame for smaller companies that could have offered so much to pet owners.

    Unfortunately for pet owners most trades within the pet industry are unregulated i.e. Dog walkers, pet sitters, dog trainers. For dog walkers, a membership with the Pet Services Association, part of the Pet Industry Federation, although not mandatory, shows a commitment to carrying out as professional job as possible. Currently there are no set dog walking or dog training standards or qualifications so anyone can start their business up. At Friends for Pets, we think it is so important for the welfare of pets in our care to ensure workers in the industry have suitable qualifications experience and knowledge. For all of our new pet carers that work with us they are able to undergo our in house training pet sitter award scheme covering aspects of pet care such as:-

  • pet nutrition,
  • pet behaviour,
  • dog walk management,
  • pet first aid,
  • Dog Law,
  • Dog types and breed traits,
  • pet health and disease as well as many other aspects of pet care.
  • Different companies set their own standards of work many that although start with the best intentions, end up money-focused rather than animal-focused, for example dog walkers walking dogs in groups larger than six (the maximum number to be walked together in a group covered by most dog walking insurance companies) so they are able for less time. The welfare implications for animals is very upsetting and many times the pet owner is unaware that the dog will be spending more time being transported around collecting and delivering dogs back to their homes than actually walking. It is a huge responsibility for that one dog walker to have if something goes wrong either with one of the dogs in their group or from a reactive third party dog. It is so important that standards are developed for our industry.

    Friends for Pets are supporting an All-Party Parliamentary Group to develop standards for different trades within the pet industry which once set, should filter out some of the less animal-focused companies and therefore enhance animal welfare through the pet care and training industries. Friends for Pets is currently one of three pet care companies in the UK that are associate members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare which works to keep MPs informed about Animal Welfare issues and to produce potential legislation in the UK to improve Animal Welfare Standards.

    Over the past couple of years Friends for Pets have linked up with individuals offering pet care services who have the same ethics and values as us. This benefits smaller companies hugely as they get to refocus their efforts back to the animals due to having more time. We help enhance their knowledge through our training schemes, help with the business side of things and offer a back up support for their regular clients. Not only does this help strengthen the animal welfare focused individuals, it weakens the more money-focused companies which improves animal welfare standards in the pet care industry. Improving pets welfare is why most people start their pet business and if professionals in the industry work together rather than ‘against’ each other we can make this happen. Collaboration of professionals also benefits the local pet owning communities by giving pet owners peace of mind knowing the pet is going to be safe and cared for by someone knowledgable, reliable and experienced.

    If you would like to share you experience of working in the pet care industry or understand more what we do here at Friends for Pets get in touch on becca@friendsforpets.co.uk.