Quick guide to understanding your dog.

Learn the language of your dog 

A dog communicates through body language. The most important signals are the calming signals They tell us, if a dog feels pressed, stressed, or uncomfortable. These signals include:

  • licking their mouths
  • a smacking sound
  • winking their eyes
  • turning the head to one side
  • pulling the ears back
  • wagging with the tail lowered

If you observe your dog giving any of these signals, consider what is going on in that moment and act accordingly.

For many dogs there is too much going on in their daily lives. A grown dog should sleep around 14 hours a day. A puppy needs about 16-18 hours of daily sleep!

Read more about puppies and exercise here!

Stimulating the body and mind

The stimulation of a dog will to be different according to its  race and age. It can therefore be hard to observe general rules here. Certain activities are, however, more stressful than beneficial.

When you throw something to fetch, it increases the pulse and stresses the dog.

Do not:

  • throw a stick
  • throw a ball
  • play any kind of wild tug of war games

Certain kinds of toys also stress the dog. Dogs have a hearing ability thats is up to 4,5 times what humans do; so a little “squeak” can be really loud for them.

Watch a movie about why fetching should be avoided!

Stop playing with squeaky toys or remove the part of the toy that makes the sound.

The sniffing walk

Always use a harness and a loose leash.

Collars apply unnecessary discomfort and can lead to damage in the neck and throat. The harness should allow the dog free movement in the shoulders and front leg.

This harness is sitting in a correct maner.

If your dog pulls on the leash the constant pressure from the collar will stress the dog even more, which worsens the situation. If you need to have a tight connection with your dog, a harness provides you with a safer grip.

The dog needs a loose leash for it to choose where it wants to sniff. Flex lines are not allowed. By using a flex line your dog feels a constant pressure from a tight leash and it feels restricted throughout the whole walk. Flex lines feel like steel wire and often cause damage to both dogs and humans.

The daily exercise has to be on the dog’s terms. We humans tend to rush and let the dog follow us. Slow down, walk slowly. Give your dog choices. Let it decide, where it wants to sniffle and for how long.

Some dogs are highly sensitive. Even smaller inputs can feel very disturbing. That’s why not all dogs thrive in an environment of much activity and noise.

Not all dogs are happy greeting other dogs.

Read more about meeting other dogs here!

Calm and relaxing activities

Relaxing activities are important for the well-being of your dog.

Intensive sniffling reduces the level of stress. The dog uses its nose; let it feel free to do that as much as possible.

Let your dog search for treats during the walk: throw a fistful of treats over a large area and let your dog calmly search for them. It lowers the pulse and feels good. Searching for treats can also be done at home and is a meaningful and calming way to end the walk.

Calm chewing on a bone or a “kong” is another relaxing and joyous activity for everyone!

Watch a movie about good activities to enjoy with your dog!

The dog’s space 

Give the dog the opportunity to withdraw when you are at home. When it rests, leave it alone and do not disturb it. Family and guests should respect that the dog is not up for endless cuddling and talking to, just because WE want to pet our dog. We also need to teach our children to respect the dog’s withdrawal and its need to be free from social contact.

Little tools for communicating

Our body language says more than a thousand words. If the dog does something you disapprove of, ignore the action and keep QUIET.

The behaviour we want we reward, the behaviour we disapprove of, we ignore.

Obtain a good connection with your dog with a simple tool: use a smacking sound. When the dog looks in your direction, reward it with a treat within three seconds. Right then you give the dog a treat, you reward the correct behaviour.

Learn the hand signal: turn the palm of your hand towards the dog. That is the signal for “it’s okay”. This signal can be used in many situations, when you wish to tell your dog not to worry:

  • When you pass people, dogs and things, that seem to upset it.
  • When the doorbell rings and the dog runs towards the door.
  • When the dog begs or tries to jump up and down.

“Get in the way”: If e.g. a situation of conflict is about to occur, physically move in between your dog and the challenge. Lead your dog away from the situation.

 

Walking in a curve / curving:   When dogs meet in nature, they walk in a curve toward each other.

If meeting other dogs is a challenge for your dog, practice to walk in a curve. You can also cross to the other side of the street.

If contact with other dogs should be practiced, walk in parallels. I.e. you and your dog walk in a parallel with another dog and human. Keep a good distance and practice moving closer gradually.

If you learn to implement these practices/habits in your daily lives, you are offering optimal conditions for your dog’s well-being.

Read the Danish version here!

Afterglow

Yesterday the vet clinic  got a phone call. Once again it was time. A little dog called Mille, was to be sent on her final journey.

I had known the owner, Mrs Green, for many years, but she had not been at the clinic for quite some time.

She lived a little distanced away in a small apartment. Outside the apartment was a small terrace, where the dog had been let out for some time as there lately had not been energy to do more – neither for Mille nor Mrs Green. Mrs Green herself was very old.

Little Mille was lying on the sofa on a skye blue blanket with twinkeling stars on it. She slept heavily, when I came in.

I talked to Mrs Green about the fact that Mille, considering her illness, looked surprisingly healthy. She has had a good, long life.

Mrs Green told me, that she felt she could no longer care for Mille, as she herself was very ill.

Like Mille, Mrs Green looked quite healthy to me, but looks can be deceiving.

Mille got a wee injection for her to fall asleep. Mrs Green and I held hands as the dog dozed off. When Mille slept heavily, I gave her the medication to stop her heart from beating, and heaven received yet another little, shining star.

“Can I please have some of that as well?” Mrs Green asked.

For Mrs. Green there was nothing left to live for, now Mille wasn’t there any more.

At that moment I really wished I could do something for Mrs Green. The way she held my hand and the look in her eyes told me that when Mille was gone, Mrs. Green has not much left to live for.

The contrast between what we can do for our beloved animals, and what we cannot do for a beloved person, when life is at its end, seems huge.

Knowing that I cannot give Mrs Green the same medicine as Mille, maybe I can do something else?

Maybe the void after Milles passing can be filled with happy memories of her? Maybe talking about what the dog meant and the happiness, she represented right to the very end would make life more bearable for Mrs. Green?

It takes a particular ‘dog-heart’ to understand what kind of loneliness that strikes, when you say goodbye to your little shadow. Not all people have the privilege to be surrounded by friends and family when they need them.

Can we start up a network that can make a difference to some of our elders who lose their pet? You help by making a phone call, go on a visit, talk to them.

An action that can help keeping the memory of the animal. Other people may not understand how your fury friend has made life so much more fulfilling – and now that it is gone – nothing can replace it.

Within the framework of this story, Artemis’ Volunteer Visitor Service has been created. Read more here!

Read the Danish of the story here!

 

Follow up on Mrs Green

At last I got in touch with Mrs Green. The first three times I called her up after we had said goodbye to Mille, she didn’t pick up her phone. Finally she answered.

It took her a minute to find out, who I was. She told me that she normally didn’t pick up her phone. You never know who is calling. I had to agree; I usually didn’t pick up my phone either, so that was quite all right.

She told me, that she was sad, and that she had no heart for anything, since Mille passed on. Now she had no reason to open the door to the terrace. No little muzzle woke her up in the morning anymore. No little shadow who followed her around, just an empty mirror.

We discussed this. She would really like to have company, but these days she wasn’t in the mood for visitors. A call would be better. We arranged that I should call her back in a couple of weeks. I told her, I had not given up hope to come and see her.

The challenge is big, but not an impossible one. The people, who need to have you call on them, are also the ones who don’t have the energy for it. 

Nobody wants their loneliness exposed. How is it possible to resolve the matter with dignity? For Mrs Green to feel that we are here for her because grief is universal for us all, when we love our pets? Both the ones we have, and the ones we have lost?

An effort has to be made to share the knowledge of this project. So that you know throughout the dog’s life, that when the time comes and you have to say goodbye, it will be followed up by a little visit and thereby the acknowledgement of your sorrow.

As powerlessness is not rational, people grieving their pet’s illness or passing can be very unreasonable. It can easily lead to the surroundings withdrawing or getting upset.

Don’t lose touch with your pet!

These days an add is running for a glove, that’s meant for grooming your pet.

The glove has spikes that help effectively to remove the hair, and the add says: ”your pet loves it”.

I don’t like the use of gloves like these, neither does your pet.

Yes, a dog needs grooming. How much and how often depends on the breed and it’s need for grooming.

The grooming amount shouldn’t be designed after how much humans are annoyed by the shedding, but after what’s right for the animal.

If you use a glove, you LOSE the sensation with the animal.

A calm grooming ritual is a very nice thing to share with your animal.

It gives you a unique opportunity to feel the animal.  You can hereby notice, if something is not right when you calmly go through your pet with a brush and your hands.

You definitely don’t have the same sensation using a glove with spikes.

If you look closely to the video you see a large dog in the beginning being brushed with the glove.

The dog has his ears back and the dog is in pain, not relaxed and enjoying. All calming signals, showing the animal is NOT comfortable with the situation.

Knowing a video sometimes just shows a wee moment in a larger content, I believe animals prefer a human contact with a calm hand and brush.

Stay in touch with your pets, don’t get lost in fancy tricks and “quick fixes”.

 

 

Link for the video add!

 

Cluck – the hen

Last weekend a message popped up, which made me rush to the vet clinic faster than the speed of sound. The sweetest hen, Cluck was  in trouble. A fox had been so cheeky to catch it, but thanks to a observant owner, the fox was caught in the moment of the crime and the poor hen was safe for now.

The hen was a highly valued member of the family along with its 3 comrades, so if the hen was not too seriously injured, then it should have the chance – assuming it should not undergo unnecessary suffering.

The hen was safely brought to the clinic in a large cardboard box, where we started by taking a glance at the damages.

A hen is undeniably covered with feathers. If we were to inspect the hen probably, some of the feathers had to go. A significant amount had fallen in the heat of the battle, but blood made it difficult to assess the severity of the damage.

The feathers were gently removed and the blood wiped off.

The grim jaws of the fox had been around the neck of the hen and had left several open wounds. Fortunately, they were not particularly deep into the muscles. The hen proudly kept her beak up and had great movement of the neck and head.

We assessed for now that the hen would make it.

Everyone was concerned that the great ravages of the fox had been so severe that we had to kill the hen right away.

Surgery!

Some of the wounds were so deep, they had to be closed with a few stitches. Little local anesthetic was laid and with the owner’s safe hand as loving support for the hen, the bird was sewn together in 3 places and groomed for recovery at home.

The next few days Cluck must have peace, tranquility and warmth. She must have medications that are given with a small pipette in the mouth. In the event of loss of appetite, which is naturally taken into account, she must be fed with “Powerfood” with a small syringe.

No one can predict the outcome. But for now we are cheering on Cluck and believe she is gonna make it.

 The bigger picture!

If we look at the whole situation from above:  Most of us associate chickens with the chicken fillets from the refrigerated counter. More families today, however, keep hens in the garden for the enjoyment of all. The hens live as members of the family a lovely free life with space, care and good food.

Unfortunately, such a life is not the reality of the country’s many slaughter chickens that end their lives for human consumption.

There is no doubt that the hen is not given enough credit for being a living creature with intelligence and emotion. Cluck was clearly conscious throughout the séance. Feelings like fear, pain and security are part of the hen’s reality.

When I think about the conditions which the chickens are living under , it hurts all the way into my soul.

The meeting with Cluck at the clinic gives the reflection: When we recognise the soul and consciousness of animals, we must do better for the animals all the way around!

Tuesday the 20th. February!

This afternoon, a long-awaited message came:

The announcement that Cluck is doing well!

Our hen has overcome the brutal attack of the fox!

The large open wounds that were sewn together a Saturday morning, heals!

Cluck thrives!

It’s a nice reminder: Yes, it’s good to fight for life!

Some may have thought it would have ended with another chicken filet?

I’m glad we followed our intuition and gave Cluck a chance.

Check list for your ’pet pharmacy’ at home

Most pet owners do once in a while experience that their animal gets unwell or hurt. Naturally you should ALWAYS see your veterinarian if you suspect illness.

Some things are good to have ready in your ‘pet pharmacy’. It is good to be prepared, in case the damage is done and you can take immediate action – preferably after consulting the veterinarian.

Check list for your ’pet pharmacy’ at home

  • Thermometer for checking your pet’s temperature. The temperature is taken in the pet’s behind
  • Cotton sock to e.g. protect a paw that has had a cut. Use sport tape to keep the sock in place
  • Salt water solution from the pharmacy to rinse eyes. The same kind that you would use for your own eyes
  • Ear rinse for cleaning the ears. Do a daily smell check of your pet’s ears. Do they smell – or are they dirty? Clean with ear rinse on a cotton pad or a soft gauze tampon
  • Mild soap to clean paws and scars
  • A cone to prevent the snout from coming in touch with the body. This way you can prevent your pet from worsening the injury. You can buy a so-called ‘swim ring’ or a funnel shaped plastic collar
  • Psyllium seed  can be bought in most supermarkets. A little ‘seed’ in the food can help your pet if it has a light diarrhoea
  • Frozen light fish, canned cod roe, and rice can provide your pet with a special diet in case of vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Special diet you can buy at the veterinarian’s office – as dry or wet food
  • Disposable syringe to spurt a little food mixed with water in your pet’s mouth, if it does not want to eat
  • Active coal if a poisoning is suspected
  • Zinc ointment for smaller cuts and irritated skin
  • Chlorhexidine wound cleansing for cleansing small wounds
  • Chlorhexidine powder for smaller cuts
  • Canned asparagus is given to the pet if it has swallowed a pointed object such as a bone or a shard of glass. The asparagus wraps itself around the object and helps it out through the alimentary canal
  • Bag put in the freezer can be used as a cold compress (skal der noget I posen?)
  • Tick remover to safely remove ticks from the animal
  • Small scissors with blunt ends for cutting fur safely
  • Prokolin/Zoolac/Diapaste can be bought over the counter and at the veterinarian’s office. A paste with lactic acid bacteria, which help overcoming stomach trouble
  • Fluid nutritious food you can buy at the veterinarian’s office, useful if your pet has a small appetite
  • Common sense when in doubt: bring your pet to the veterinarian. Common sense cannot be required online but is a result of real thoughts and objectivity. If you daily look and feel your animal you will know when it’s not well and if are not sure? Ask the vet, not google!

 

If you have one or more of these items at home, you are well prepared, if an accident occurs!

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Raising for Rada!

This is a joyous day despite a little sadness because Rada has left. She has gone to the most loving, best family that from now on will provide her with a good home.

This afternoon Rada was handed over after a long introduction to her physical needs and a talk about her nature.

The life on three legs calls for a lot of love, care, and a special attention to her needs.

Rada is a radiant light in sharp contrast to the dark shadows of the Russian shelter. She got out and has enriched everybody she has met in so many ways.

Taking her past into consideration she has more guts than most… I will definitely follow her closely in the future! I can say the same for Thomas Rathsack.

Rada will in the future be the symbol for the raising money for the shelter in Russia.

“Raising for Rada” will monthly support the shelter in Russia where Rada came from.

 

 

From Russia to Denmark!

Through the organisation “Fra snude til snude”, three-legged Rada has moved to Denmark!

“Snude til snude i a charity project, read more here!

We have raised money for a shelter in Russia. Through the shelter we have adopted a three-legged dog Rada to Denmark!

Monday January 15th 9 pm!

How does it feel to sleep on a soft blanket in a warm room for the first time, after having slept on the hard floor of a shed for years? 

What do you think when your food is served nicely diced in a bowl, when you used to eat old meat directly from the pot? 

What feelings flow through your body when loving strokes in endless amounts replace the fight for attention in the pack?

 Whether three-legged Rada has those kinds of thoughts, we have no idea.

 

Arrival in Denmark!

Hopefully she feels the care and love she was met with when she arrived in Denmark from the cold shelter in Russia late last night. Chelina came in, rolling Rada in her pet carrie. Chelina’s lovely family, Thomas and I stood there in exited anticipation.

 

The trip from Russia to Denmark is undeniably a stressful journey for a dog.

That is why it is so important that the first period in this new country is as calm as possible. The impressions as seen from the snout are overwhelming as it is.

To begin with she was stressed.

In the car home from the airport, Rada sat at the backseat – i.e. she sat in the lap of Lise as she would rather sit with her muzzle resting on a shoulder.

She had been barking from the moment she landed and that continued throughout the ride.

At the arrival at Artemis, she was let out at the parking lot. She lifted her head, and then she wanted to go for a little walk.

On three legs!

Rada I challenged by her lack of one foreleg, which complicates her sniffing. In that way she is different from most dogs. Her leg was wounded in an accident and got amputated below her shoulder.

In the beginning we therefore decided to spare her from dealing with stairs.

It was the plan that she should have a thorough check-up by the veterinarian, when she arrived in Denmark. We need to know her psyche and overall state of health to provide her with the optimal settings for her to have a good life.

Rada stayed at Artemis for the night. She should not be moved more than necessary.

After a short walk we returned to the clinic where a bed was made for Rada.

She was shown the soft blankets, and when Thomas Rathsack sat down with her, she finally relaxed. She slept right there all through the night. She had to do without Thomas as I took over the watch.

 

That’s how Rada and I spend the night in the consulting room. Snout to snout.

She definitely slept more than me. More than once I stroked her to make sure she didn’t feel lonely or sad!

 

What’s next?

Today we have run a series of tests on her. She takes some short walks and relaxes in between.

Rada’s stress and alertness needs to be removed. Up till now it has worked well.

The right home for Rada is one with an endless, loving warmth. And there are the challenges with her motor skills to take into consideration.

A dog can live a fulfilling life on three legs, but it needs the family to pay attention to its special needs.

To adopt dogs from abroad is not just a simple matter.

Rada is one of many dogs from the Russian shelter, Rada has had  the chance of a new life.

It makes a difference to help one dog – also even though you cannot save them all!

Our donation has created a local awareness.

Chelina has been on local TV, which has put focus on the shelter, and now more people have adopted dogs and cats.

Respect for life!

Rada is – apart form being a lovely dog – also a symbol for the fact that it makes a difference when we help. The respect for life, no matter the circumstances and challenges, is important. The respect also entails choosing the alternative, when that is the best for the animal.

Seen from the outside some people may think “Three legs? Is that a life worth living?”

YES, it is. If you pay attention and provide the proper care, life on three legs isn’t bad at all.

To put it bluntly – for the perspective: A lot of dogs suffer from severe osteoarthritis – sometimes in only one leg. It can end up being so debilitating that the dog puts all weight on the other leg to ease the pain.

Just as when you only have one leg, your body needs to compensate for the balance that is no longer working. These dogs live good lives, provided with proper care – until the day life no longer is a good life for the dog.

Rada’s handicap is obvious. A lot of dogs suffer from conditions not apparently visible for us.

No matter what happens, what is best for Rada is what sets the course.

We don’t yet know exactly what the coordinates are, but we are on our way to find them.

Tonight Thomas watches over Rada. Or is it the other way round? In any way she could not be in better hands.

When Tuesday arrives we will see what the day brings. Until then we just need Rada to feel good and get used to her new life.

Everyone surrounding Rada is again reminded that a dog is not “just a dog”, but just about the most trusting and life affirming presence, you will meet.

Raising for charity for pets all over the world!

 From one pet to another!

Follow our Facebook page “Fra snude til snude” meaning “from one pet to another”.  The page will show our activities in relations to collecting items, which will be donated to animals in need worldwide. The page will to act as a place for coordinating events that collect money for specific projects!

Find the site here!

Help us help others

Pet owners in Denmark love their animals. They shall not want for anything. That’s why it is quite common that we have collected a lot of “equipment” during the life of our pets. That “equipment” may at some point no longer be of use to us. Our pets outgrow their harnesses, they do no longer play with certain toys, they get new dog baskets etc. The “old” items are not in use anymore.

These items may be in perfect order but we are used to throwing away things we no longer need. “Snout To Snout” wishes to change that approach and put them to good use, so that animals all over the world can benefit from them.

When we say goodbye!

A different scenario unfolds the day we say goodbye to a beloved pet.

Often there will be bowls, harnesses, leashes, toys and more left over from a long life. Throwing these items away seems wrong, as they represent fond memories. Some items can be saved, of course, but in many cases it is nice to start afresh.

Project “fra snude til snude” helps passing on used items. We continuously support hot spots, such as animal shelters in Denmark and abroad, and we give donations to projects that need help. We cannot always know, when that happens.

Where can I leave my things?

We are collecting for projects supporting animals in need, so they can benefit from what surplus we have. We are collecting at Dyreklinikken Artemis, Gersonsvej 2, 2900 Hellerup, and at Fuglebjergvej 9, 3400 Hillerød.

Do you want to help?

Please get in touch through the facebook page, if you would like to be a pick-up point.

Do you have a project in need of help?

If you have an association or a project that needs help, send us a message and you will be put on our list of projects. Our opportunity to help depends on how many donations we are in possession of. “From one pet to anothert” is a continuous event.

Who is behind the project?

Veterinarian Lise Rovsing runs the project with the support from former Special Forces Soldier Thomas Rathsack. Through our network we wish to put focus on helping animals in need by utilising existing resources.

“From one pet to another” has already helped:

  • We have shipped donations to an animal shelter In Rumania
  • We have shipped a huge donation to help homeless dogs
  • In December 2017 we have send money to buy forage for a shelter in remote Russia

The advice that will save your dogs life!

What do I do, if my dog eats a bone from a fish or a piece of glass?

The dog owner will most likely see it happen and it is too late: the dog has eaten its catch!

What do you do?

Give the dogs some canned asparagus. Those who are white coloured and slippery.

The asparagus will wrap them self around the object in the stomach.

Thereby the stomach and intestines are projected, and won’t be damaged by the foreign object.

The foreign object will pass through the digestive system without damaging the dog.

Always visit the vets if your dog is not well!

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Take good care of your dog in the cold!

Are you the owner of a puppy or a senior dog?

Then you should be particularly aware that the cold temperatures and the gusty wind could create discomfort for your dog.

You see, our pets do also feel the cold!

Are you in doubt, whether your dog should wear a coat when the temperature drops?

YES, it should.

Our pets are used to being indoors in a lovely heated home. The dog is domesticated and does no longer live outside in natural temperatures. The dog’s fur does therefore no longer function as if it belonged to a wolf, wandering around in the woods!!

The undercoat does seldom develop so that it can keep the dog warm when the cold bites.

Who needs a coat?

If we look solely at different breeds, the flat coated and thinly furred dogs need a coat.

That goes for breeds like Whippets, Beagles, French Bulldogs, and Boxers. Other breeds with no undercoat, such as Poodles, Bichons, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers etc. also need to wear a coat.

Tiny breeds too – like Chihuahuas, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Dachshunds need that extra layer to keep them warm.

Senior dogs tend to have osteoarthritis and will benefit from a little extra warmth.

Do you have a puppy; it HAS to wear a coat outside. And if your dog is somehow ill, it too needs to be kept from being cold.

But my dog isn’t cold, is it?

Many clients tell us that it’s not their impression that their dog is cold. Maybe it shivers slightly, but it doesn’t seem cold.

Physiologically a larger animal loses less warmth than the smaller one.

This means that the amount of generated heat the animal produces and the amount it loses is more favourable to the larger animal. Which is why smaller tend to get colder.

If the dog shivers, it suffers from hypothermia. The body gets cold and the muscles tremble to generate heat. This signals to the brains that the dog should look for somewhere warm.

As a dog owner you should always react if your dog begins to shiver.

Denmark and a lot of other countries are both cold and windy. Even though the temperature is not particularly low, a cool gust can be reason enough to bring out your dog coat!

Dressing your dog in a coat when it is cold is by no means the same at dressing it up.

It is a sign of affection and caring for your best friend 🙂