A dog’s life

Collage-Dogs

MUNICH: How does your dog look and feel? If he does not answer that question with a smile, just take a close look at his or her fur, eyes, tail and state of mind. We asked our office dog Polly who is named after the fashion icon Polly Allen Mellen and spends her days at our office mostly sleeping, but once she is out in the park close by, it is hard to see a glance of her as a beagle feels free as a bird once you let him from his lead.

We are happy with Polly (follow her @ polly_the_beagle on Instagram) and I think Polly likes us. We had no clue how to take care of our dog but we got her from one of the best breeders you can find in Europe to get a beautiful Beagle girl, just like Polly.

Read our interview with Ms. Susanne Wiegand who has been breeding beagles since 1996 under the name THE VISION OF HARMONY and who is a member of the Beagle Club Germany. She also specializes in homeopathy for animals and helped Polly from the first hour to be a very healthy and balanced dog.

IRMA: What is the best food for a dog to keep him healthy and happy?

SUSANNE WIEGAND: The question about healthy, appropriate food for dogs has caused lots of discussion. What is appropriate for the species? I don’t want to speak out in favour or against certain forms of dog nutrition, since there are absolute defenders as well as opponents of BARF (which is feeding raw food and stands for either Biological Appropriated Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food) or proceseed dog food. BARFing requires knowledge about which food and how much energy your dog needs, since this differs from one dog to another, even when two dogs of the same breed live in the same house.
Giving a dog processed food makes feeding easier for the dog’s owner. But here too the dog needs to be watched closely: is the dog getting too fat? Or is he too thin? Then the rations need to be adjusted. The advantage of ready-made dog food is that it is industrially processed, usually offering a good balance of nutrients. It is also easy to digest and has an unvarying level of quality.

IRMA: Are there dietary supplements or certain oils and vitamins which you add to the dog food either occasionally or even daily?

S.W.: I personally feed my dogs only with dry food. I have been using dog food without any grain supplements for years. My dogs are healthy and become 14 to 15 years old. I don’t need any dietary supplements. The dry food includes all important nutrients that a dog needs. Anything else might even be harmful to their health. It’s different with pregnant or lactating dogs who have heightened energy requirements, or dogs who do competitive sports.
BARFed dogs on the other hand need certain supplements as the meat ration alone is not appropriate and the dog would be lacking in vitamins, minerals etc. One can also support dogs when they change fur by adding oil to their food on a daily basis. You can get this in specialty stores, but a quality germ oil is often adequate.

IRMA: What sort of daily care does a dog need to be happy?

S.W.: For a happy life a dog needs, in addition to food and walks on a regular basis, most of all love, attention and respect. Not to forget regular doctor’s visits to keep the dog healthy (vaccinations, anthelmintic therapy, if necessary).
Dogs are pack animals and should see their family as their pack and be accepted as a partner within the family. If the dog can sense that role and acceptance, he will feel comfortable.

IRMA: What is the best way to care for a dog’s oral hygiene?

S.W.: Oral hygiene starts with the puppy. If you massage the pup’s teeth and gum with a small, soft toothbrush (without toothpaste is fine) or a micro fiber cloth, the grown dog will bear this routine without any problems. If dental calculus still develops, you should visit a vet so he can clean the teeth with ultrasound. Calculus can cause serious illness, including infections of the heart valve.

IRMA: If a dog is nervous and anxious and it has nothing to do with the specific breed, is this something that can be treated with homeopathic globule?

S.W.: It’s not easy to treat nervous, anxious dogs. It would be easy to say that a nervous dog can simply be treated with globule or Bach flowers. First you need to find out why the dog is nervous and if he was already like that as a pup. Was there a frightening experience? Or hormonal changes (in heat, castrated)? Maybe a death in the family? Or a fellow dog that passed away?
All these could be factors that cause a change in the character of the dog. But often it is simply a lack of sleep. We humans often overdo it when it comes to playtime and keeping the dog busy. We tend to forget that dogs sometimes sleep half of the day. Nevertheless there are dogs that react nervously, anxiously or even freak out in certain situations (New Year’s fireworks, driving in a car). This is when certain globule or Bach flowers can in fact help. I suggest you refer to specialist literature.

Renate Edelmann: Mit Bachblüten unsere Hunde heilen
Hans Günter Wolff: Unsere Hunde – gesund durch Homöopathie
A.H.Westerhuis: Homöopathie für Hundebesitzer

IRMA: You are also a homeopath for animals. Can you name a few globule that one should always have at hand.

S.W.: There are some homeopathic remedies and Bach flowers that a dog owner should have at home as first aid remedy. A full fledged homeopathic treatment should always be done by a fully trained homeopath.

Bach flowers: Rescue drops are give to overcome shock or in situations of terror, in order to avoid sustained fears.

Homeopathy:

  • Aconitum napaellus   – Against shock
  • Arnica                        – Against the consequences of a blow or thrust, spraining, bruises, sore muscles
  • Apis                            – Against bee, wasp or hornet stings (you need to see a doctor immediately in cases of anaphylactic shock)
  • Calendula                   – Promotes wound healing
  • Chamomilla                –  Against teething diarrhoea, stomach ache with cramps
  • China                           – Against exhaustion after blood loss, or fluid loss in cases of vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Cocculus                     –  Can help against motion sicknes
  • Colocynthis                 –  Against colics
  • Euphrasia                    – Against pink eye ( in case of purulent discharge or lack of improvement, a doctor should be consulted)
  • Rhus toxicodendron    – Overstrained joints, pulled muscles, strains

All these remedies should be used by the layman in a D6 or D 12 potency.

IRMA: How can I create a fun walk for a Beagle?

S.W.: It’s not a science to create a fun walk for a Beagle. Just drive to a forest with deer and rabbits, take off the lead (please refrain from this during breeding season) and let the Beagle act out his passion as a scent hound. He will run through the forest for hours as soon as he has rooted out a deer or a rabbit, only to return later exhausted but laughing. At least for the Beagle this is the biggest joy. Unfortunately, most dog owners and tenants of a hunt are less thrilled, so the owner of a beagle should find compromises: long walk on a loose lead through fields, meadows or woods, giving the dog ample opportunity to sniff, will do too.

IRMA WALKSTHE DOG

IRMA travels the world, writes and illustrates the life she lives.

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