Puppy life that flies by

Despite my intentions of keeping a daily dairy of Coopers life, I failed. I had a feeling I would – and my brain and gut agreed. Sadly.

The time is flying by. One day Coop is a shy little pup scared to get out of his plastic bed – and before you know it, the boy is stomping up the stairs (yes, I know!), barking like a pro, running around parks and gardens and losing his teeth.

As of today, our routine is pretty straight forward. Get up at 5 for a toilet break, sleep until 6:00, then get out for a walk, come back for a shower and blow-dry, have breakfast followed by a quiet play time (doggies do need their 30-60 minutes of post meal calm as nature intended, after all), nap, play, lunch, play, nap, training, play, nap, dinner, walk and proper run, shower, little play and bed time.

I must admit, the walks are such a blessing. Cockers are naturally mad, sweetly mad, but mad… Multiply it by 100 and that’s a kind of energy bust a cocker pup is dealing with on a daily basis. Being house-bound meant a constant and intense search for ways to burn that energy up. It was exhausting… I didn’t think I’d last much longer. Luckily, the quarantine was over and we ventured out. For us it was a much-needed relief. For him, a happy way to tire himself out, release that energy and explore the world.

Coop adores being out very much (still doesn’t really do his business outside and waits to get back to the garden, but hey, he doesn’t do it much indoor either, brilliant pup!). He also loves his shower after each walk and is now happy to be blow-dried. The latter took me a few baby steps to make sure that he is happy and comfortable, but we got to the point where the boy finds it rather relaxing and almost falls asleep by the end of each “session”.

He also lost his first two teeth and is going through the chewing stage, so some furniture had to be sprayed with bitrex and Cooper got a fresh supply of toys to destroy: his favourites are definitely the rope (the hemp one failed, but cotton is brilliant), his Giraffe and Owl (I had to re-order these two), Kong Bear and chews with a plastic bottle inside. I also ordered him Wild Duck – fingers crossed he will enjoy the textures. Admittedly, Coopers interest in toys changes every day, if not every hour, so I have to be constantly inventing new games and rotating everything he’s already got.

And this is pretty much it for now. Oh, yes, and he does sleep next to me at night – shoot me, I know it’s wrong, but I love seeing his little face (and sometimes his bum) just before I close my eyes and as soon as I wake up in the morning.

leo, the lion, simply fido organic dog toys | best toys for puppies | www.perfectcockerspaniel.com

We Love | Hear them Roar

One of my conscious decision about raising Cooper was the choice of toys. They had to be safe, beautiful, but also organic or natural, free from toxic colourings or nasty artificial fibres. I honestly thought it would be a difficult task considering that nothing like that existed half a decade ago. Surprisingly, they were out there and so sweet I had to stop myself from buying every single one!

Leo, the Lion, is on my wish list right now. He is from Simply Fido and absolutely gorgeous. Considering that Coop is in love with his little Simply Fido Bunny, the Lion will be very welcomed in our household whenever he arrives. Most likely, I’ll give it a few more months, though, until we get the grown-up teeth and stop chewing everything to shreds.

Plants that can be toxic for dogs

Cooper and the garden plants. That’s a whole new story of a curious pup mouthing on pretty much everything that grows. He finds them exciting. I find it stressful. As a result he runs around the garden like an insane bunny on speed (something that happens daily at 7AM and 7PM) while trying to nip on the leaves here and there.

Every time it happens, I want to die yet have to get myself together and run along with him sticking my fingers in his tiny mouth and pulling out bits and pieces of greenery. To be fair, it’s not as bad as it sounds. We moved some of the plants away. Coop lost interest in the others. There are days when he completely ignores his favourites. Then there are days when the pup cannot wait to bury his little face in a lavender bush, pull out a few fragrant stems and chew, chew, chew! For him, it’s an adventure, a game, a normal daily activity of discovering the world.

I remind it to myself daily whilst doing my best to distract him from the garden flora with his favourite toys. Still, I am constantly checking every plant and every leaf to make sure my boy is safe and also be aware of the symptoms, so it was good to come across a list of dangerous plants in the Book of Clinical Nutrition for Dogs (yes, being a human nutritionist makes me somewhat of a nutrition geek).

Instead of listing specific names only, it grouped the plants by their families, which, I thought was brilliant because while the common names may differ, the Latin IDs are always the same. Besides, this list makes a lot of sense when it comes to the actual substances that are dangerous for our pooches. In a way, it also gave me a peace of mind by listing the symptoms – lets face it an online source that lists everything as “lethal” isn’t exactly helping whilst knowing that some plants are not immediately life-threatening and the dog can be saved puts you in control of the situation.

Calcium-oxalate-containing plants (Araceae family): Anthurium, Arum, Caladium, Dieffenbachia, Monstera, Philododendron, Schleffera, Begonia

Toxic effect: stinging and irritation of the lips, mouth, tongue and throat, oedema of the mouth and respiratory tract, produce salivation and difficulty swallowing. Occasionally vomiting and diarrhoea.

Soluble oxalate-containing plants: Rheum (rhubarb leaves), Amaranthus, Oxalis (wood sorrel), Calendrinia, Portulaca, Rumex (docks), Digitalis purpurea (foxglove)

Nerium oleander (contains digitalis-type glygosides) highly toxic, dogs (especially puppies) are likely to consume dry leaves

Ricius communis (castor oil plant, especially the seeds containing ricin)

Toxic effect: nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, diarrhoea with blood, rapid weight loss, heart failure, changes in behaviour, death.

Solanine-containing plants: green (sprouted) potatoes, nightshades (Solanum dulcamara and Solanum nigrum), ornamental pepper, Japanese cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)

Toxic effect: depression, vomiting, diarrhoea, salivation.

Allium species: onion and garlic.

Toxic effect: haemolytic anaemia if eaten in sufficient quantities (15 to 30g per kg or more than 0.5 % of pets body weight – source + source +  source).

Laburnum (Cytisus laburnum or Laburbum anagyroides, all parts)

Toxic effect: vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle tremors

Cyanogenic plants: Nandina, Acacia, Aquilegia, Euphorbia, Hydrangea, Lotus, Nerium oleander, Passiflora, Prunus, Trifolium.

Toxic effect: excitement, salivation, convulsions, racing heart, pale gums, vomiting, death.

Brunfelsia species

Toxic effect: convulsion, neurological disturbances, constipation

Cycads, e.g. seeds of Zamia floridiana

Toxic effect: vomiting and jaundice (yellow eyes and skin is one of the first signs)

Rhododendron & Azalea (grayanotoxin found in Ericacecae family of plants)

Toxic effect: salivation, vomiting, weakness, seizures, slow heart beat

Delphinium (larkspur)

Toxic effect: digestive upset, heart problems, behavioural changes

Tobacco plant (nicotiana tabacum usually ingested in a form of cigarettes)

Toxic effect: depression, salivation, shortness of breath, diarrhoea

Cannabis sativa (marijuana)

Toxic effect: muscle tremors, weakness, “glassy eyes” – often spontaneous recovery within 24 hours

Microcystis aeruginosa & Anabaena flosaquae – blue-green algae and contaminated water, most likely to occur in dogs licking their coat after swimming or drinking contaminated water / plus Oscillatoria species

Toxic effect: vomiting, weakness, muscle tremors, liver failure, paralysis, death.