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10 dog nutrition & fitness tips you both need in your life

Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when you are trying to lose weight or just live more healthily. At AllPets Vets we love dogs, and we love helping owners improve their dog’s health and happiness. Our team have put together some proactive dog nutrition and exercise tips to help you make a plan.

You can help other dog owners in Prestatyn and Rhyl by sharing your dog wellness tips on our Facebook page:

Share your dog tips

10 top tips for creating a dog nutrition & fitness plan

  1. Choose a good quality, nutritionally complete, dry dog food that will support your dog’s health, life-stage, activity levels, and dental health.
  2. Some owners like to add wet food, look for one with good quality ingredients.
  3. Measure/weigh your dog’s food portions to ensure they are getting the right amount for their daily needs. Remember that more exercise may need more food. Ask us if you are unsure.
  4. Ensure your dog drinks plenty of water, you can always put some in with their food.
  5. Reduce treats and switch to healthier options like carrots and cooked green beans.
  6. Write down the exercises you want your dog to do and when, so you have a clear guide to keep you bothon track.
  7. Even if weight loss isn’t the focus, it is a good idea to write down weight goals (lose/gain/maintain) and measure changes every 2 – 4 weeks. This way, you can adjust the exercises or nutrition quickly if any issues arise. Pop into our practice to get your dog’s starting weight. We can also do a body condition score to understand where your dog is at on the scale – just request a Nurse appointment.
  8. Increase the time, speed, and/or incline of your dog’s daily walk to burn more calories, give muscles more of a workout, and mix-up their regular routine.
  9. Try something new like dog agility if your dog is up to the challenge – be careful with older dogs and take it slow to start with.
  10. Consider a dog fitness app that lets you track routes, activities, and achievements.

Now you are ready to create your dog’s ‘healthier in 2022’ plan.

Don’t forget to make time for rest and recovery in your plan to avoid injury, burnout, or loss of interest for you both. Dogs do need daily exercise, so it is a good idea to do standard walks on some days (or all days if you have a very energetic dog) and try something more up-tempo on others. We hope you enjoy your new plan as much as your dog will!

Call us if you would like more advice or to book a body condition score appointment with our Vet Nurses on 01745 853 366.

Help your friends and family, and other dog owners by either sharing our article on your social media profiles or,

Share your own dog tips on our Facebook page

Richard Ryvar talks overweight dog problems and eco-friendly treats

We’re all for new year resolutions that will help pets and planet. Head Vet Richard Ryvar and the rest of our dog-loving team in Prestatyn and Rhyl, have some thought-challenging ideas to share with you on the topic of dog treats.

Before we dig in, if you think your dog could be overweight, our nursing team can help. Book a weight check and get a body condition score, advice, and support for your dog’s weight-loss journey ahead.

Book a weight check

What are overweight dog problems

Carrying excess weight will affect your dog’s health and quality of life. Overweight dogs can struggle with mobility, sore joints, and injuries. They are also at risk of developing diabetes and other serious health complications. A large contributing factor to weight gain is treats – to be more accurate, people giving dogs treats.

As January is a common time for new year weight-loss resolutions, we thought we’d encourage pet owners to focus on their dog’s weight too… whilst trying to live more sustainably of course. Read Richard and our team’s top tips below for better treat options.

Seven dog treat ideas for 2022

  1. Dogs don’t ‘need’ treats; there’s an interesting thought! Here’s another – your dog won’t love you any less if you don’t give them a treat. Be more purposeful with them i.e., use treats in training and to reward positive behaviour, such as recall on walks. Keep an eye on how many you’re giving as they quickly add up when you’re having fun.
  2. Your dog will still enjoy a treat if it’s not of the high-calorie, artificially coloured variety. Choose a low-fat dry kibble to use as treats, or, switch to carrots, cucumber, apple (not the core), and other healthy fruit and vegetables that aren’t toxic to dogs. Here’s a guide on fruit & veg your dog can eat from the PDSA.
  3. When buying dog food and treats from a shop check for eco-friendly packaging. Is it recyclable? Is there a better option? Also ask yourself, “does my overweight dog need it?”
  4. Avoid the pick & mix stand in your local pet shop as you can’t always check the ingredients and fat/sugar content and it’s easy to get carried away. If you do use it, take your own tubs.
  5. If you’re switching to carrots and other healthy veg & fruit treats, buy loose items without plastic packaging. Alternatively, why not buy some seeds and grow your own in Prestatyn and Rhyl?
  6. Can you walk to the shop for treats? Lower your carbon footprint and give your overweight dog some exercise. You could also take a backpack to avoid plastic shopping bags.
  7. Have you thought about making dog treats at home? You’d be in control of the ingredients and baking goods often come in recyclable packaging (flour, eggs, etc.). Search for ‘healthy dog treat recipes’ and grab your apron.

If you have any more tips for switching to healthier and more sustainable dog treats, we’d love you to share them on our Facebook page to help other dog owners. Share on Facebook.

Not sure if your dog is overweight? Book a weight check with our Prestatyn and Rhyl nursing teams and let us help you make 2022 a healthier year for your dog.

Book a dog weight check

Christmas foods that are toxic to dogs – a Vet’s guide

Should you give your dog human foods like roast dinner, mince pies, Christmas pudding, and trifle? No, is the short answer, as our team of Vets will tell you.

If you think your dog may have eaten something concerning, call us for advice or to arrange emergency care straight away.

Call us on 01745 853 366

Many foods and drinks we consume over Christmas are toxic to dogs. Depending on the item, amount consumed and how long ago, combined with the size and health of your dog, the situation could be life-threatening. To put it into context, a single raisin could potentially kill a dog – they are that toxic.

To help you avoid harmful foods and find treats your dog can have this holiday season, our Prestatyn and Rhyl Vets have created these lists to help you.

Christmas foods your dog SHOULD NOT eat:

  • Christmas roast dinner – Skinless, plain turkey is fine in small quantities. However, most festive dinners are laden with fat and can include onion (gravy), chives, garlic, pepper, and lots of salt – none of which will do your dog any good. Likewise, your dog shouldn’t chew on cooked bones as these can splinter and damage your pet’s mouth and gut.
  • Pigs in blankets – The sausage meat may contain onion and spices, and along with the bacon will be very fatty. Eating foods high in fat can lead to a painful condition called pancreatitis.
  • Mince pies and Christmas pudding – These usually contain dried fruits like raisins and sultanas, which are highly toxic to dogs and consumption can be fatal.
  • Chocolate – All chocolate is toxic to dogs. However, dark and cooking chocolate are the most toxic as they contain the most theobromine per gram. Call 01745 853 366 immediately and keep the wrapper if they didn’t eat that too.
  • Trifle and other sweet treats – Many dogs are lactose intolerant, and an overdose of dairy cream can cause an upset stomach. Fatty and sugary foods can cause weight, dental, and other health issues so it’s best to just avoid these types of human foods as dog treats.
  • Other harmful Christmas goodies include macadamias and other nuts, bread dough (yeast), cookie dough, grapes, corn-on-the-cob, alcohol, and anything containing Xylitol – an artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs.

Treats your dog CAN have:

  • Dog treats! It might sound simple, but dog treats are typically made to be nutritionally balanced, tasty, and safe for dogs. You can usually buy festive-themed treats at most pet shops in and around Prestatyn, Rhyl, and Bodelwyddan, or make your own!
  • Safe human foods like raw carrots, cucumber, banana, and blueberries, and cooked butternut squash, green beans, and plain pasta in small amounts can make excellent dog snacks. They can also be heathier alternatives to some manufactured dog treats.

Try to remember that your dog won’t love you any less if you don’t give them some of your food, or if you swap cream cakes for carrots. And most importantly, dogs are cunning enough to help themselves if you leave them and food unattended…

Some final tips from our Prestatyn and Rhyl Vets – Always research new foods online to check they are safe for dogs – if in doubt, leave it out. Give new foods in small amounts first to check they agree with your dog.

If you have any dog food health scares over the festive season, contact us straight away.

See our contact information

Richard answers FAQs on dog pregnancy

If you are thinking about breeding your female dog for the first time, or there has been an ‘unexpected incident’, you’ll need to know some facts about dog pregnancy.

AllPets Vets’ head vet Richard Ryvar, is here to help. Read Richard’s answers to frequently asked questions on the subject, from pet owners in Prestatyn .

Book a dog pregnancy consultation

How did my dog get pregnant? – Besides the obvious ‘birds & bees’ explanation, it’s helpful to know that female dogs can’t get pregnant all the time. An unneutered female’s ‘heat’ season typically starts between 6 – 36 months of age, lasting 3 weeks at a time, about twice a year.

Female dogs ‘in heat’ can be impregnated by an ‘in-tact’ male dog when you least expect it i.e., out on a walk, visiting someone’s home, doggy day-care, and even in your home or garden. Unneutered male dogs are known to stop at nothing to reach a female.

How long are dogs pregnant for? – A dog pregnancy can vary between 56 – 70 days. Typically, puppies should arrive about 63 days (just over 2 months) after conception.

Are there any tell-tale dog pregnancy symptoms? – Like humans, some dogs can suffer from ‘morning sickness’ and will vomit in the early stages of pregnancy. Other early dog pregnancy symptoms can be subtle including changes to appetite, slightly enlarged nipples, clear vaginal discharge, increased tiredness, and more affectionate behaviour.

During the latter stages, expect weight gain, increased appetite, and behaviour changes. Her teats may become darker, stand out more, and produce a semi-clear discharge. An enlarged abdomen with visible puppy movement is a great sign that puppies are on the way.

Can I buy a dog home pregnancy test?

There is no shop-sold home dog pregnancy test available, like those you can buy for humans. One of our experienced vets may use a hormone test, ultrasound, or a physical examination of the abdomen, to confirm whether your dog is pregnant.

How can I prepare for my dog giving birth?

  1. Create a nest: Make a quiet, relaxing, and private space for your dog to give birth and nurse puppies in. Line a large cardboard box or whelping box with puppy pads and clean bedding. Add her own clean toys/bedding to get her used to it.
  2. Prep in advance: Gather clean towels, nail scissors, and small blankets. Microwavable bean bags can provide warmth if you need to move puppies away from mum for any reason.
  3. Talk to our experienced vets: Know the signs of labour and distress to look out for. You should be as hands off as possible, but always there to support and intervene if needed.
  4. Be ready for an emergency: Dogs often give birth at night, and sometimes an emergency caesarean is required. Richard recommends a) popping our emergency contact information in your phone, b) having transport available, and c) packing anything you’ll need to take with you (wallet, keys, blankets, puppy carrier etc.), in advance.

How long is a dog in labour?

Depending on the number of puppies, labour normally lasts between 3 – 12 hours. When you book your dog pregnancy appointment at our Rhyl practice, ask us about the three stages of dog labour.

Think your dog could be pregnant? Book a vet consultation so we can run some tests and help you understand what happens next.

Sara’s 10 steps to treating car sickness in dogs

Not all cases of travel sickness in dogs result in car seats being redecorated. There are other symptoms that show your dog is feeling unwell on your journey, and even before you start. Our experienced head vet, Sara Wreglesworth, explains what to look out for, and how you can help your dog cope with car travel.

Visit our Vet Nurses for advice

Causes and symptoms of travel sickness in dogs

Travel, or motion sickness in dogs is more commonly seen in puppies and young dogs because the ear structures used for balance aren’t fully developed yet. Most puppies should outgrow motion sickness by the time they are about 12 months old.

Some older dogs, however, will start to fret as soon as you open the car door. A common reason for this is stress. If your dog is only ever in the car for a trip to somewhere they have associated with a negative experience, anxiety can lead to nausea and vomiting.

When it comes to the symptoms of motion sickness, Sara advises dog owners to watch for any signs of inactivity, yawning, whining, excessive drooling, smacking or licking lips, and vomiting.

10 steps to treating motion sickness in dogs

If your dog suffers from sickness while travelling, don’t panic. There are plenty of steps you can take to minimise suffering.

  1. Take your pet back to basics to build up their tolerance level. Try just sitting in your car with them for a while, before embarking on a trip to the end of the road and back. Gradually progress a little further each time and give them extra praise after each session, so they associate car travel with a positive experience.
  2. Make the car journey as comfortable as possible; ensure your dog is facing forwards while travelling rather than looking out of side windows. Buy a dog seatbelt to keep them secure.
  3. Keep your vehicle cool and well ventilated. Lower windows slightly when the car is moving to balance air pressure in the car.
  4. Limit their food consumption before travelling.
  5. Give them their blanket and favourite toy in the car to try and pacify them.
  6. A natural remedy you can try for dog car sickness is placing a cotton ball with a few drops of lavender or chamomile oil on, inside your car 30 minutes before you set off. This fills the car with a soothing aroma. Be sure to remove the cotton ball so your dog doesn’t eat it.
  7. Spray a small amount of Dog Appeasing Pheromone inside the car. Ask us about this.
  8. Vary destinations so your dog doesn’t just associate car travel with vet visits, or wherever else they are uncomfortable. Why not throw in some trips to an exciting new park?
  9. Try using desentisation techniques at the places where your dog seems nervous (if it’s safe for them). For example, you can bring your dog to our Grange Road clinic just to get a treat and some fuss from our team. Weigh-ins make good interim visits too. Several positive experiences in a row will help your dog learn that not all vet visits involve a thermometer up their…
  10. If your dog’s travel sickness isn’t improving, talk to Sara or one of our vets about whether a prescription tablet could help. Never give your dog human travel sickness tablets.

Good luck, and we hope you enjoy an incident-free journey with your dog soon. If you need any further advice or support, we recommend making an appointment with one of our friendly Vet Nurses by calling 01745 853 366.

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