Enjoy the weather safely with your dog

Heatstroke in dogs

As we approach the summer time and increase in temperature, it is important to remind ourselves of the ways we can enjoy the weather safely with our dogs. Heat waves and temperature extremes are becoming more prevalent and subsequently the Veterinary industry are seeing an increase in heat stroke victims.

There are some dogs that are higher risk of overheating and should be carefully managed in the heat

-The young and elderly. These dogs fine it harder to regulate their own temperature and may not be experienced, or mobile enough to move to a cooler area themselves

-Brachiocephalic breeds, like French bulldogs, Pugs, Shih tzu. Their shortened noses and elongated soft palletes reduce their ability to cool themselves and they overheat significantly faster

-Overweight dogs and those with a pre-existing medical condition

-Dogs with an untidy, matted coat and thick coated dogs.


  • Don’t walk your dogs in the day time. Wait until the temperature has dropped significantly before taking them for a walk, consider this walk being on a lead and reduced in length
  • Allow access to shade and indoors. Many dogs can over heat in the garden if playing with toys or another dog. Encourage indoor time. A lot of dogs will be more lethargic in the warm weather and there are lots of indoor enrichment games that can be played without the need to over exert. Many of these games can be more tiring than a walk if played correctly. Provide adequate ventilation such as a fan
  • Cool water can be used to cool the feet and body of a dog that is too warm. Ice can be offered in a water bowl or with veg and treats inside for them to play with and eat, there are lots of frozen treat ideas
  • Wet towels can be put out for your dog to sit on. Do not lay wet towels over the dog as this can have a warming effect as it traps air
  • Keep your dogs coat groomed and free from dead hair. Clipping a long coated dog only exposes their body to more direct heat from the sun. As long as a coat is maintained well, the air can still get to the skin to cool it, and the hair helps block the UV rays

Signs of heat distress;

Consistently panting without being able to close mouth

Staggering / unsteady on feet


Vomiting and/or diarrhoea


Less known signs of heat distress in dogs;

Squinty eyes

Pulled back ears

Drooling, thickened saliva

Wide mouth panting (back teeth showing)

Not listening to instructions when they normally would

Pacing / restless

Racing heart

Bright red gums and tongue


This is a veterinary emergency and it is critical you get your dog to the vets in a timely manner to give them the best chance of a full recovery.

If you do need to transport your dog to the vets, the new advice is to cool first, transport second. Do your best to cool the dog down before transporting in an air conditioned vehicle

Summer is a great time to enjoy time with your dog, and can be done safely and enjoyably.

Rebecca Wilkinson RVN


Christmas with the Older Dog


As the festive season is upon us, plans are being made for family and friends, but how much do we need to think about our canine friends.

Although some dogs can relish and enjoy the excitement of Christmas and all it brings, many dogs do not. Now is the time to consider your dog and how they will cope with the festivities to come. Older or infirm dogs have different needs and considerations. They may have pain, reduced mobility or impaired senses. These can reduce the tolerance for changes and cause distress or anxiety.


  • The decorations are up! and often furniture gets moved around to allow for the tree. Dogs eyesight can deteriorate as they age and they will have a mental map of their some and immediate surroundings. Try to make changes to the outlay of the home minimal and keep the floor as clear as possible so there are less obstacles to navigate


  • Visitors, human and animal. With friends and family traveling to see you they may bring their own pets with them. Your dog may not appreciate this, especially if they are not used to having other pets in the house. Allow space for both pets to get away from each other. Utilise baby gates, crates and breaks from each other. With all the other fuss going on, don’t expect a usually sociable dog to welcome another into it’s home. The extra stress of the season may heighten anxiety and create behaviour changes. A dog that is not used to noise or young children for example may be frightened. Ensure quiet time and try to keep fuss to a minimum – it’s their home too


  • Travelling – if you are the one travelling with your dog, ensure there is a safe, comfortable area for them to reside in the vehicle. A firm memory foam mattress is ideal for the boot, and a non slip surface if they are on the back seat. Lifting in and out of the car can help avoid arthritis flare ups. Ensure there are comfort breaks on long journeys. Familiar bedding from home would also be appreciated


  • All the food! – With the extra food around at Christmas, try not to adapt their diet too much. A few extra’s here and there are to be expected, but foreign foods can often cause tummy upsets which is less than ideal if you are travelling or visiting. Try to stick to the same feeding routine and food best you can. Don’t forget about the Christmas foods that are toxic to dogs. If in doubt…leave it out!


  • Routine routine routine – as dogs age they thrive on a daily routine. You hay have noticed your older dog knows exactly when feeding time is and may put themselves to bed! Their tolerance for change reduces so try to ensure their routine is stuck to as much as possible to reduce distress


  • Exercise – again with their routine, they will be used to a certain amount of exercise. During the holidays this often changes. Dogs that suffer with arthritis need little and often exercise, a big beach walk on Christmas morning may sound romantic but it could be detrimental to your dogs condition. On a cold day also consider a coat to help keep the muscles and joints warm

Christmas should be an enjoyable time for all so while considering all of the above, both human and animal can have a pleasant experience.

Rebecca Wilkinson RVN NCert(AnBeh) ICH

Canine Massage – why, how and who?

How does massage help your pet?

Massage increases circulation throughout the skin, muscles and joints –helping to bring fresh blood and nutrients to the area, which is needed to keep the bodies tissues healthy, the increase in blood flow helps bring up the tissues temperature, which helps to relax muscles and aid circulation.
Along with helping to bring fluid to the soft tissues massage can influence lymphatic drainage – which removes toxins and waste from the body and helps to stop infection.
When muscles become tight and restricted this has a knock on effect on the rest of the body. It can cause poor mobility, pain and exercise intolerance. By working to release areas of tension and increasing muscle fibre length massage can help improve many aspects of a pets life and create a positive cycle.
Many pets enjoy massage treatment, as it is a calming environment, which can help them to relax, reducing tension, slowing the heart and breath rate, while releasing feel good endorphins.

Who benefits from massage?

Many of the dogs I see are senior pets that are starting to feel the effects of aging. 1 in 5 dog’s has arthritis that can cause discomfort when moving, inflammation in joints and compensatory changes tightening their muscles.
Massage therapy can help to release muscle restriction allowing better mobility in limbs and joints. Along with the physical effects it can be a relaxing experience for older pets, helping to release endorphins and lower pain responses.
Another condition that benefits from massage is dogs with hip and elbow dysplasia, which can cause reduced range of movement and compensatory issues in other areas of the body. Using massage and simple exercises alongside other therapies such as hydrotherapy can help improve muscle tone and target areas of unbalance (such as increased loading going through a limb) improving rehabilitation outcomes.
Many more conditions such as;

  • Soft tissue injuries
  •  Pre & Post surgical cases
  • Luxating patella
  • Spondylosis
  • Stiffness
  • Skin issues
  • Palliative care
  • Sporting and working conditioning

How often should my pet have massage?

Initially I advise 3 treatments around 7-10 days apart. During the 1st treatment we will discuss your pets needs, home environment, exercise and any other information that will help my treatment plan.
At every session I will complete a massage treatment on your pet. Though I believe in giving the dog a choice and will never restrain a patient causing them distress. Most patients accept the treatment, though this can take a little time- I try to make massage appointments a calm and relaxing experience for the dog (& owner!)
Along with the massage treatment, I can advise owners on simple techniques to do at home, exercises that will help with the pets progress and changes that can be made at home to improve their comfort and well being.

‘Treating the whole dog, includes the owner.’

At Yorkshire Canine Massage I believe in working closely with owners to achieve the best possible outcome for their pet. This includes looking at changes they can make at home to enable their pets
to stay independent and mobile (such as putting in ramps and mats). We can also talk about enrichment ideas for pets that aren’t able to exercise like they used to, this can include using food puzzles and training for mental stimulation.
I also like to give clients techniques they can use at home on their pet in-between treatments – these are simple but effective massage techniques thatcan help relax your pet, reduce discomfort and strengthen your bond with your pet! For more active pets there are several ‘functional exercises’ that I can show you that can help with targeting how they move and increase body awareness

Please contact Freya at Yorkshire Canine Massage to discuss your dog’s needs or if
you are unsure whether they would be suitable.

Clinics are available at Operation K9 and home visits also available


Laser Treatment – A Game Changer for Arthritis

Lasers have been used for many years in many different formats, intensity and wavelengths. Class 3 and 4 lasers are used medically and can penetrate cells of the body to create a chemical reaction called photobiomodulation.

This process of using carefully created medical lasers helps relieve pain by releasing endorphins, stimulating injured cells to regenerate, increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation. There is a lot of evidence in human medicine that it can reduce chronic pain, as well as reduce joint inflammation and promote healing. There are few studies yet confirming this same effect in dogs, but it is now a well recognised treatment option for conditions such as wounds, arthritis, muscle strains and sprains and pain

In this simple treatment, a laser wand is used on the affected arthritic area. As the light is emitted across your pet, they often enjoy the experience. The laser gives a warm, comforting sensation and can potentially give instant relief.

A hand-held wand delivers the treatment (goggles protect the eyes of practitioners and patients) and the dosage is applied with a sweeping motion or by using back-and-forth movements as though following a grid while treating one small area at a time. Ideally the pet is sat or laid down on a comfortable mat.


  • What about the other medications my pet is on?

Laser can be used safely alongside any other medications. You may even find pain medication can be reduced once the effects of the Laser kick in

  • How do I know if my pet is in pain?

Pets don’t show pain symptoms like we do, they rarely cry out or moan. Some signs to look out for are lameness/limping, changes of behaviour and/or appetite, difficulty settling, and changes in body posture. If in any doubt please see you vet.

  • Does my pet have to be shaved?

No, the laser can be used over the coat. Different setting are used for different coat thicknesses and colour to apply the correct dose

  • How long will a session take?

This depends on the size of the pet, coat type, areas treated and dosing. It can be between 5 minutes for a small wound to 45 minutes for a large dog with multiple areas to treat

  • Will my pet insurance pay for it?

Most pet insurance companies will pay out for Laser but check your policy before booking


Laser treatment is often started with 2-3 weekly sessions then dropping in frequency as the patient responds. Many patients can then be ‘maintained’ less frequently to maintain the results.

Each patient will be assessed and a treatment plan will be created to achieve the best results. Laser should only be carried out by a Vet, RVN or trained animal therapist

Contact us today to book in 


Dog Activity Monitor – no more guessing

When starting a new exercise regime or a change in activity due to illness or recovery, it’s very useful to know information regarding your dogs activity

Ever wondered what your dog does when you’re out? You could be surprised to find out they are more or less active than initially thought. This date can help towards adjusting exercise and diet to best compliment a rehabilitation or weight loss plan.

Running, swimming, scratching, rolling. The PitPat Dog Activity Monitor is designed to be incredibly robust, so it can take (nearly) everything your dog can throw at it.

The PitPat Dog Activity Monitor is small and light enough for any collar, making it perfect for dogs of all shapes and sizes from Chihuahuas for Great Danes.

Track exercise, rest and play, as well as distance travelled and calories burned

Get personalised feeding recommendations tailored to your dog

Track their weight over time and take guided body condition scores

Earn fun badges for hitting activity goals, covering long distances and much more


The monitor can also be kept on during a hydro session so we can track the calories burned and distance traveled.

Use our discount code to get £5 off! Click either of the links below



Fireworks and your Dog

It’s getting to that time of year again where we can expect to start experiencing the effects of fireworks on our dogs.

During the global pandemic, some owners may have used the opportunity of spending more time with their dog to start a desensitisation programme months ago. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be in the forefront of your mind 3-6 months ago when desensitisation should have started.

Around 45% of dogs are scared of fireworks so I hope you can get some useful advice from this article to help your pet have a better experience this year.

More at home displays?

There could be more at-home displays this year with people avoiding going to busy, organised events. This can become trickier to predict regarding timing and locality. Try reaching out to your neighbours and villagers to ask if they can let you know if they are having a display, and when to expect it to start and finish so you can be more prepared.

The Basics

Draw the curtains, close doors and windows and put the TV on louder than usual. Reggae and Classical music helps calm dogs down so set Alexa on with a playlist for the evening. Dogs look to you for your reaction to a potential risk. Try to not react and fuss around too much as this can worry a dog further. Be there to provide support and reassurance but be a calming influence.

Create a safe space

Dogs like to hide when feeling anxious. Make them an area of their own by covering over a dog crate, or draping a blanket between two sofas or under a table. A comfortable, dark space where they can choose to spend time. Set this up a few days before the expected event to get them used to it and encourage them to use it by giving a chew treat in there. It’s likely they will want to be close to you so preferably in the same room as you.

If you shut a dog into a cage or a room when they are feeling stressed they can hurt themselves if they panic and try to get out. Some dogs take themselves off and hide under the bed for example, if this is the case then leave them there if they feel safer.

Day time walks and escape routes

There is always an increase in lost dogs at fireworks time. Even the best trained dog can bolt when scared. Exercising your dog well during the day will help them settle better in the evening. Make sure microchip details are up to date and ensure your house and garden is secure to avoid a stressed dog escaping. Consider keeping them on a lead in the garden if you need to toilet them after dark. Otherwise avoid outside time after dark during the firework period.

Calming supplements, pheromones and medication

There is a variety of over the counter supplements available to help reduce stress and anxiety. Some work best when started months to weeks before the event, some can be given days and hours before. These can have a good effect, depending on the severity of the behavior, but it may be a case of trial and error to see what works best for your dog. If you know your dog will need the help of stronger short term medication for noise phobia, then contact your Vets in good time for a Veterinary prescription.

Enrichment and chew toys

Dogs can often loose their appetite when stressed so consider feeding them earlier in the day. Providing tasty long lasting chews and treats can be a great was to distract a stressed dog. For example snuffle mats, activity feeders, filled Kongs or a safe chew can keep their minds off the noises. Enrichment activities that promote licking and chewing encourage dopamine release in your dog’s brain offer a calming, tasty distraction during stressful events

Now may be the time to introduce a new exciting toy or play their favourite indoor game.

Noise phobias are treatable, but it takes time and commitment. Start planning for next year as soon as you can. A noise desensitisation programme can be used to gradually expose your dog to the sounds at a very low level while having positive experiences of food, praise etc. This is a gradual counter-conditioning process to help them accept the sounds long term. To get help with this contact a qualified animal behaviourist.

Free Desensitisation Programe click here

Rebecca Wilkinson RVN NCert (AnBeh)

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