Benefits and risks of raw honey in canine diet / dog nutrition and healthy home made treats for dogs / canine nutritionist in UK / perfect cocker spaniel / dog blog about English cocker spaniels, tips on grooming, hand-stripping, diet, nutrition, food, health, raising a cocker spaniel puppy (C) Natalia Ashton

Can my dog eat… honey?

“Honey” may be one of the sweetest names for a golden cocker spaniel puppy, but it is also one of my favourite “superfoods” and natural ailments.

Nutritionally, about 40% of honey is fructose, 40% – glucose, 15% – water and 5% – other sugars plus 80 trace vitamins and minerals including B, C, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper, manganese, zinc, boron, silver and silica. Manuka honey also contains some proteins and fatty acids.

No wonder that honey is praised for its antibacterial properties, source of energy, and an ability to maintain healthy digestive, nervous, immune and skeletal systems, support haemoglobin levels, improve memory function and aid natural detoxification.

Studies that were done on humans or rats linked manuka honey to the blood sugar control, reduced risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and several cancers.

In dogs, a 2016 pilot study concluded that medical grate manuka honey could be used for treatment of ear infections (but please do discuss this with your vet before going ahead!)

But can the dogs really eat honey?

The answer is… IT DEPENDS.

Whilst a little honey may be beneficial for healthy adult dogs without underlying health conditions, it should not be given to overweight and obese dogs, dogs who have diabetes, and must never be fed to puppies under 12 months of age or any dog with the weakened immune system.

Raw honey may contain botulism spores (two other common sources are raw meat and carcasses of dead animals) and be potentially fatal. Adult dogs are resistant to the bacterium, but neither puppies, nor ill dogs have enough natural defences for protection.

The spores cause paralysis, extreme salivation, vision problems, runny eyes, difficulty swallowing and breathing and death due to either paralysis of the heart or lungs. If a dog does recover, he requires maintenance therapy for life. First symptoms may take between a few hours to up to 6 days to develop and often begin with weakness in rear legs that appear within 24 hours after ingestion of the spores.

For this reason, all puppy parents must check any foods or treats for presence of honey and avoid them until their dog’s first birthday. It is also essential to check that grooming products, especially balms and creams, you use for a puppy are free from both honey and beeswax (cera alba).

The good news is dogs naturally love honey (because they do love anything sweet) and honey may provide some goodness for all healthy grown-up canines, so treat them to a 1/4 tsp (cocker spaniel size) of good quality raw honey a few times a weeks without worried.

Adapted from Beyond the Doughnut: 30 meals & treats your dog will love.

Photo credit: Karsten Masden and Florian Kurz via pixabay

Are dried, raw and dehydrated treats safe and good for my dog / Bully sticks, pizzles, rabbit ears, pigs ears, rawhide treats, liver treats, fish skins for puppies / Nutrition advice for dog owners / How to choose dog treats safely? / Dangers of raw and dehydrated dog chews / Fanconi syndrome in dogs / Perfect cocker spaniel (C) dog blog, cocker spaniel advice, health tips, grooming tips, puppy training, diet, questions / Natalia Ashton

Faconi’s syndrome: the tricky aftermath of dog treats

Have you heard of Fanconi’s syndrome? If you ever thought of feeding your dog any dehydrated treats or chews, you need to keep reading.

Faconi syndrome is a defect that alters the ability of the kidneys to absorb and retain certain nutrients, electrolytes and water. It can be a hereditary disease that would only affect certain breeds such as Basenji.

However, over the past decade (it was first reported in 2007), the acquired form of the syndrome caused serious problems in many dogs, particularly toy, small and medium-sized ones.

The dogs would start urinating more than usual. They’d loose weight, appetite and become lethargic. About 60% had digestive symptoms, 30% showed signs associated with kidney function, and the remaining 10% developed tremors, convulsions and skin irritation. Some dogs were affected much more than others.

Upon examination, all these dogs had one thing in common. All of them regularly ate jerky treats or chews.

At first, the unsafe treats thought to be from China, but later on it was established that the country of manufacturing did not matter, and the reports on acquired Fanconi’s syndrome came from all over the world including the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Singapore.

Additionally, the treats were made from various ingredients – not just the chicken as it was originally thought – and included poultry, beef, glycerine and vegetable base (dried sweet potato chews and certain dental chews).

The root case of the illness is yet to be established, so please think of all the uncertainties and potential problems if you choose to give your dog any chew- and jerky-type treats.

The symptoms are not very easy to spot and if a dog develops them and is taken to the vets, the other causes need to be ruled out first, and the Fanconi’s test may take up to 2 weeks. This means that unless the dog is diagnosed fast, he may not always make it or will be left with chronic kidney problems.

Even thought these cases are rare, a few minutes of chewing bliss aren’t worth the risk. So it’s a good idea to consider a safer and healthier options including dog’s main food, fresh chopped carrots, cucumbers or apples, or even making your own treats at home.

Anal glands health, issues, risks and potential problems in English cocker spaniel and how to prevent them (C) Perfect cocker spaniel, dog blog, canine nutritionist, all about English cocker spaniels, puppy tips, guide, grooming - copyrighted image

Things about anal glands every cocker spaniel parent must know

I think it took me longer to compose a title of this post than to write the actual story. Because no matter how hard I tried, it’s impossible to prettify the subject or make it spam-proof.

But hey, the perks of being a dog mum are always supplemented with conversations about poops and, as you can see, anal glands.

The little glands should be familiar to all cocker spaniel parents because cockers are one of the breeds that may experience problems in the area.

I’ll start with the latest study that looked into the non-cancerous anal sac disorders (ASD) in dogs. According to the results, cocker spaniels were among the affected dogs.

The study considered several parameters including weight and diet, and it seemed that at least some of the dogs needed to either lose weight or change food as a part of their treatment.

Which, to me, means that one of the ways to prevent issues is yet again helping your dog maintain slim physic and feeding him a complete and balanced diet. It can be easily achieved by keeping an eye on your spaniel’s weight, quality of food, portion sizes, amount of treats and activity levels. You know the drill…

Feeding meals that provide correct amount of fibre is one of the simplest ways to maintain healthy anal glands. This is when you should think of commercial complete formulas containing healthy grains instead of choosing grain-free options or experimenting with various types of diets.

You also need to remember to never ever express anal sacs as a part of routine grooming! Nature can do it for you as long as your dog’s diet is balanced.

Unless medically required, squeezing the glands against their will can only lead to injuries, traumas, inflammation and the need to manually express the sacs over and over again. Squeeze them once – and you will have to do it over and over again, first – every few months and then having to pay regular, often monthly, visits to the nurse clinic or a grooming salon.

I often hear dog parents say that they need to express the glands because of the fishy smell. However it is vital to remember that the odour is not always a sign of a physical problem (i.e. impacted glands), but a natural involuntary response to stress or fear. Re-assessing the situation, checking if your dog is happy and content, avoiding stressful events and helping your pooch if he suffers from reactivity or nervousness would eliminate any need to give the glands a squeeze.

And when your spaniel turns nine, you will also need to keep an eye on any odd symptoms that may suddenly appear under the tail and overall because some English cockers carry a specific gene that puts them at risk of anal sac carcinoma. It is important to ask your vet for regular checks and take your cocker to the clinic if he starts to drink or urinate extensively, develops a tiny odd mass or thicker skin under his tail at 4 or 8 o’clock mark, you see blood in stool or bleeding near your dog’s anus, he seems constipated or starts to scoot on his bum. Some dogs may also lose appetite, vomit and become lethargic. The outcomes of the treatment will depend on the stage when the cancer was caught.

So as un-pretty as the subject is, knowing about it can potentially save your dog’s life. Definitely a little lesson worth learning, right?