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Beginners guide to… Agility get started today!

Beginners guide to… Agility get started today!

Is your dog playful, energetic and full of fun? Then Agility is for you!  Agility can become a real addiction. It’s fun, friendly and keeps you and your dog in tip-top shape.

Most people’s first view of agility comes from the coverage of Crufts each year and the agility competitions held in December in conjunction with Olympia Horse Show. However, there are more than 300 licensed agility shows held annually, not to mention the numerous special sponsored events which take place nationwide.

Agility Shows are fun competitions designed for the enjoyment of competitors, and to appeal to spectators. All sorts of dogs can take part.



Agility is action–packed, rollercoaster excitement for you and your dog. Comprising various obstacles for your dog (not you!) to run through, jump over, and weave in and out of – and all against the clock! Not only does Agility test your dog’s fitness, it also measures your ability as a handler to direct your dog over the course.



  • Get Fit with Fido! Agility is terrific at helping you and your dog shed those excess pounds.
  • Meet new friends – there is a great social scene to be enjoyed.
  • Your dog does not have to be a pedigree – all dogs can do Agility.
  • Show off your dog’s new skills to your friends and family.
  • It is one of the fastest growing canine activities in the world.
  • Simple for both Pedigree and Crossbreed dogs.
  • Possibility of taking part at CRUFTS!



  • Your dog must be registered with the Kennel Club on the Breed Register or the Activity Register.
  • Competitors taking part in any Kennel Club licensed event must familiarise themselves with the Kennel Club Rules and Regulations beforehand. The Agility Regulations can be found in the Agility and Flyball Regulations booklet, which is available from the Kennel. Club Publications Department.
  • Dogs can only enter Agility shows when they are 18 months of age and, for small and medium dogs, have been officially measured and placed in the correct height category. Large dogs do not have to be measured.
  • There are seven grades of competition from one – seven, with beginners starting at Grade One.
  • For safety’s sake it is recommended that dogs do not start training on equipment until they are at least a year old.
  • Make sure you buy an Agility Record Book in which to record all your competition wins and clear rounds.
  • No previous experience necessary so use the Kennel Club’s ‘Find a Dog Club’ service today




Attending your first Agility show may cause your dog to behave differently than it does in training. Young dogs in particular can be bothered by crowds and if this is the case you can move a little way from other competitors and officials. Just remember it is a new experience for you and your dog and should you have any concerns there are always Stewards/Officials available to speak to.



Preparing your dog to be able to compete successfully will take a little longer than the formal requirements. It is essential that your dog is fully socialised and that you have effective control at all times, especially as your dog will be competing off-lead.



The Course:

Each obstacle will have a number in front of it. Make sure you go round the course in the correct order or you will be eliminated.

In every class you will have an opportunity to ‘walk the course’ beforehand so you know which route through the obstacles you and your dog will need to take.

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Weaving Poles

Always enter the weaves from the right hand side and do not miss any out or your dog will be faulted.

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‘A’ Ramp & Dog Walk

Make sure your dog touches the contact points at the beginning and end of these obstacles or he will be penalised by the judge.

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Rigid and Collapsible Tunnels

Dogs love these obstacles so much that sometimes they fly through and are difficult to control at the other end. Training will help here.

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The Hoop (Tyre)

The hoop, or tyre obstacle, as it is commonly known started out as a life buoy, which you would normally see in a swimming pool! It has moved on a lot since then and is now made of soft material so the dog won’t hurt it itself. The dog must jump through the tyre which takes lots of training to make it clear the dog must go through it, not over it!

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See Saw

Take this carefully – faults can be incurred if the dog does not touch the contact points and you need to make sure your dog is safe when the see-saw tips, the see-saw must be touching the ground when the dog alights.

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Other Jumps include:

 The Long Jump

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 The Picket Wing

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The Facial

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The Wall

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To find a list of clubs or training classes near you visit www.findadogclub.org.uk

Are you ready for your first agility show?  Visit www.kagility.org.uk or email agility@thekennelclub.org.uk to find out all you need to know about entering shows and the next steps to becoming an agility champion!


Understanding A Dogs Needs

Understanding A Dogs Needs

Understanding dogs needs; owning a dog is great fun and immensely rewarding. But, dogs have complex needs and each dog is unique. There is no one ‘perfect’ way to care for all dogs, but our expert advice will help you ensure your dog is healthy and happy.

There are approximately eight and a half million dogs kept as pets in the UK. There are many different breeds and types of dog, all varying in size, body shape and personality.

Looking at the world from a dogs point of view can help you understand your pet better, which is why RSPCA launched our #DogKind campaign! Take a look around and get to know your dog a little better…

Dogs have highly developed senses

  • Dogs have an incredibly well-developed sense of smell, far superior to humans.
  • At certain frequencies, dogs can detect sounds up to four times quieter than humans can hear.
  • Dogs can also hear in ultrasound, which is sound with a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing.
  • Dogs can see better than humans in dark and dim light.

Dogs are diverse

Dogs are extremely diverse in both size and shape. For example, there is over a 110-fold difference in weight between the Chihuahua (1kg) and the St Bernard (115kg).

Dogs use a range of methods to communicate

  • Communication is very important in helping dogs form and maintain social groups.
  • To transmit scent information, dogs use urine, faeces and secretions from special scent glands.
  • Dogs produce a range of sounds, often in complex combinations, including whines, whimpers, growls, barks and howls.
  • Many dogs can use their body, face, tail, ears and limbs to communicate with other dogs.

Dogs are athletic

The fastest recorded speed for a greyhound is 42 miles per hour, similar to that of a mounted racehorse, which can reach speeds of around 43 miles per hour!

Dogs are naturally inquisitive

Dogs actively seek information about their surroundings and will spend much time investigating and exploring.

Feral dogs will naturally roam for great distances in search of food.

Dogs are omnivores

Dogs eat both meat and plant food, so are called omnivores.

Dogs’ teeth are adapted to this diet. Whilst dogs do have teeth designed for tearing meat, compared to other carnivores dogs have more molars, which are used for crushing and grinding plant food.

Dogs are highly social

Many dogs enjoy the company of other dogs, but they will also form strong social bonds to humans, becoming very attached to particular individuals.

 Dogs are intelligent

Dogs can learn the names of their toys. For example Rico, a border collie, learnt the names of 200 toys and can reliably fetch the correct toy when asked to.

Dogs are playful

Dogs use special signals to show they want to play. When inviting others to play, a dog crouches on its forelimbs, remains standing on its hindlimbs and may wag its tail or bark. This behaviour is called the ‘play bow’.

Dogs really are man’s best friend

In addition to companionship, some dogs help their owners in really special ways. Assistance dogs can help blind, deaf and disabled people, whilst some dogs can even help alert owners before an epileptic fit starts.

Dogs can be trained to detect drugs, explosives, termites, and even some diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Epilepsy In Dogs

Epilepsy In Dogs

Epilepsy is a chronic condition that causes repeated seizures (which may be described by terms such as ‘fits’ or ‘funny turns’), and is the most common chronic (long term) neurological disorder in dogs, affecting an estimated 0.6-0.7% of all dogs in the UK alone (around 1 in 130 dogs).

In most cases epilepsy is a lifelong disease. A seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain which leads to sudden but short-lived changes in a dog’s behaviour and/or movement. Some breeds may be more predisposed to epilepsy than others and their prevalence may be higher than others. Epilepsy may run in some families and pedigree studies have demonstrated a hereditary basis for some types of epilepsy in a number of breeds.


What are the signs my dog may be epileptic?

Your vet may suspect that your dog has epilepsy if they have at least two unprovoked epileptic seizures more than 24 hours apart. It can be difficult for vets to tell the difference between seizures and other health problems, so providing them with a thorough description of the abnormal event, or ideally a video recording, can help them in their diagnosis. Three main characteristics of epileptic seizures are:

  • Loss of voluntary control, often seen with convulsions (jerking or shaking movements and muscle twitching)
  • Irregular attacks that start and finish very suddenly
  • Attacks that appear very similar each time and have a repetitive clinical pattern.


Are there different types of seizures?

There are several types of epileptic seizure, but how they affect one dog can be different to how they affect another. Some dogs have more than one type of seizure, and not all seizures involve convulsions). Most epileptic fits usually happen quite suddenly without warning, last a short time (often only a few seconds or minutes) and stop by themselves. Injuries can happen during seizures, but most dogs do not hurt themselves and do not need to go to the vets unless epilepsy has not been diagnosed.

The names of the seizures used here describe what happens during the attack.

  1. Focal seizures

These only occur in one half of the brain and within a particular region. How these types of seizures present themselves depends upon where in the brain the abnormal electrical activity started, and the function of that part of the brain. Focal epileptic seizures can present as:

  • Episodic movements (“Motor” signs) e.g. facial twitches, rhythmic blinking, head shaking or repeated muscle contractions of one extremity
  • Autonomic signs (arising from the autonomic nervous system) e.g. excessive salivation, vomiting, dilated pupils
  • Behavioural signs (episodic changes in the dogs behaviour) e.g. restlessness, anxiety, attention seeking, unexplainable fear behaviour
  1. Generalised seizures

These occur within both sides of the brain.  Generalised seizures may occur alone or may start as a focal seizure and evolve into a generalised seizure (see below – point 3). In most cases of generalised seizures the dog loses consciousness, and salivation, urination and defecation may occur. Motor movement occurs on both sides of the body. Aspects of generalised seizures are often termed tonic, clonic, tonic-clonic and myoclonic. These terms are defined below:

  • Tonic: Increase in muscle contraction (stiffening) lasting from seconds to minutes
  • Clonic: Involuntary rapid and rhythmic contractions of muscles (jerking)
  • Tonic-Clonic: A sequence of a tonic phase followed by a clonic phase
  • Myoclonic: Sporadic jerks usually on both sides of the body

Generalised seizures can also be non-convulsive, such as atonic seizures (also called drop attacks), which result in a sudden and general loss of muscle tone which usually causes the dog to collapse.

  1. Focal seizure evolving into a generalised seizure

This is when a generalised seizure follows on from a focal seizure. This is the most common seizure type observed in dogs.  The focal seizure is often very short (few seconds to minutes) and the secondary generalisation follows rapidly.  The focal seizure may be difficult to detect due to its brief nature and it is important to tell your vet what happened before convulsions started, to help them determine what type of seizure your dog is having.


What causes epilepsy?

A number of different underlying diseases and other factors can cause seizures leading to epilepsy. Generally, epilepsy can be classified as ‘structural’ (where an underlying cause can be identified in the brain) or ‘idiopathic’ (where no underlying cause can be identified, and a genetic predisposition is often presumed or the cause is unknown).

A reactive seizure usually occurs in response to a temporary problem in brain function, which may be as a result of metabolic changes or poisoning – which is reversible when the cause or disturbance is rectified.


What should I do if my dog has a seizure?

It is important that you stay calm. Most seizures are brief, and dogs are usually totally unaware of them.  Affected dogs are not likely to suffer during the seizure, even if they appear violent. Make sure you and your pet remain safe by moving any furniture out of the way so that your pet cannot hurt themselves.  Under no circumstances should you put anything in your pet’s mouth, including your hands.

Your vet may prescribe ’emergency medication’ to reduce the length of an epileptic episode. Most seizures only last 1-2 minutes, but it is a good idea to time the seizures so you are sure of its length. It is very helpful to carefully observe the seizure. In particular, what were the first signs? Was one side of the body affected first? What sort of movements did your pet exhibit, e.g. paddling movements, shaking, chewing or chomping? Records of these observations along with your seizure diary will be very useful information for your vet.

How often a dog with epilepsy experiences seizures can vary greatly between dogs and over an individual dog’s lifetime. Recording how often your dog has seizures is important to track how well their treatment is working, and so your vet can alter their treatment if necessary. Some dogs experience seizures very close together in time (e.g. more than one in a day), seizures that are very long, or seizures that immediately lead to more seizures, which they do not return to normal in-between. These types of seizure pose a particularly high risk to your dog’s health, can be life-threatening and an emergency:

  1. Cluster seizures

A cluster seizure occurs when a dog has two or more seizures within a 24-hour period. Cluster seizures occur in around one third to three quarters of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Some breeds of dog may be more prone to cluster seizures including the German Shepherd Dog, Border Collie, Boxers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Labrador Retriever. If your dog has cluster seizures, emergency medication may be prescribed by your vet for home use. These medications are administered if a cluster seizure occurs, to try and stop the seizure and to prevent more from occurring. You should never attempt to put anything in your dog’s mouth, including your hands during a seizure. Although cluster seizures can be treated at home with medication, such as rectal diazepam or levetiracetam pulse therapy, you should also contact your vet for further advice and/or changes in treatment to try and avoid clusters occurring in the future.

  1. Status epilepticus

Status epilepticus is classed as either (a) a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes, or (b) where two or more individual epileptic seizures occur, between which the dog does not return to ‘normal’ and regain full consciousness. Immediate treatment is necessary because status epilepticus can cause permanent neurological damage or even death. If status epilepticus occurs in your dog, immediately contact your vet for emergency treatment. Emergency treatment includes your vet administering high doses of medications that try to stop the seizure and minimise damage to your dog’s brain and body. Although seizures are distressing to witness, you should always try to stay calm when a seizure starts and time how long it lasts, so you know whether a seizure is lasting a particularly long time, and are prepared to contact your vet if status epilepticus occurs.


What can trigger my dog’s epilepsy?

Some dogs may appear to have ‘triggers’ that lead to a seizure, while others do not. Identifiable triggers may differ from dog to dog. In people with epilepsy, common triggers include tiredness and lack of sleep, stress, and not taking medication. Stress is a trigger commonly reported by owners, and may be caused by a variety of situations including changes in the environment, changes in routine, car rides, thunderstorms, and visits to the vets to name a few. Other owners report certain foods or medications seem to trigger seizures in their dog. Keeping a seizure diary may help identify triggers in your dog.


What treatment options are available and can epilepsy be cured?

In most cases, epilepsy in dogs cannot be cured. Maintaining a seizure-free status without causing unacceptable side effects is the ultimate goal of antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy. This balance is achieved in 15-30% of dogs. The goal of medical treatment is therefore to improve your dog’s quality of life by minimising how frequently the attacks occur and how severe they are.  Additionally, the medications chosen for this should not cause serious side effects.

If your vet recommends commencing AED therapy, ensure you discuss this thoroughly so that you understand the importance of this treatment and why it is necessary. Your vet will be able to support you with this treatment, and regular health checks should be arranged so you can both monitor for adverse effects of the idiopathic epilepsy or the medication. Once started, AED treatment is continued indefinitely, in most cases for the rest of your dog’s life, with periodic health checks and blood tests to ensure correct drug dosage, treatment efficacy and minimal treatment-related side effects.


Where can I find further support and resources?

  • RVC Pet Epilepsy Tracker is free to download and available on Android and Apple devices.
  • RVC’s Canine Epilepsy Research Facebook Page can keep you up to date with new research and studies in this area, found here.
  • A Veterinary Neurology specialist can help you to help your pet with epilepsy. In Europe, ECVN accredited neurologists can be found here, and in the US, ACVIM accredited neurologists can be found here.

For more information on canine epilepsy, the International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force (IVETF) have come together to set out a unified and standardised set of guidelines for the research, diagnosis and treatment of canine and feline epilepsy for the first time ever in veterinary medicine.

The Royal Veterinary College have recently published a review paper on the impact of epilepsy on canine quality of life, accompanied by a free to access podcast


This article was written by Dr Rowena Packer and Professor Holger Volk, both from the Royal Veterinary College.

Dr Rowena Packer is a Clinical Investigations Postdoctoral Researcher at the Royal Veterinary College. Her current research focuses on the treatment of canine epilepsy and its impact on canine behaviour and welfare.

Professor Holger Volk is Clinical Director of the RVC Small Animal Referral Hospital and Professor of Veterinary Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Royal Veterinary College. His main research interests are Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia and the treatment of canine and feline epilepsy.

The full article is available on The Kennel Club Website  – https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/for-owners/epilepsy/

A dog owner’s guide to autumn

A dog owner’s guide to autumn

How much do you actually know about this golden season, and what does it mean for your dogs?

  • Fallen leaves are a lot of fun for you and your dog to play in, but don’t forget that piles of leaves can hide all kinds of hazards, from stones, to broken glass, dog poo, even hedgehogs, so be careful!
  • Shorter days means dog walking times need to be altered, as you no longer have the luxury of bright early mornings and long, light evenings, but your dog still needs just as much exercise.  If you have to walk in the dark, look out your reflective clothing, dog leads, and collars, and maybe invest in a collar that lights up, and also a good torch.
  • The first is an early autumn hazard and that is the dreaded harvest mite. Almost invisible, these tiny orange specks can be seen if you look very closely between your dog’s toes. They are responsible for intense itching and chewing, and can cause your dog untold misery. If your dog is chewing his paws, take him to your vet, as while these mites drive your dog crazy, they are easily treated (although sometimes surprisingly persistent).
  • Autumn is also a time for mushrooms and berries, some of which are poisonous to dogs. If you think your dog has eaten something he shouldn’t (especially mushrooms), take a photo of the item he has eaten (if he’s left any), and contact your vet immediately.
  •  The changing of the season often brings rain, and, of course, mud! Make sure you have looked out your wet weather gear and your wellies, and check these for leaks before the rain starts; you don’t want to discover these when you are knee-deep in a puddle. Make sure you have some mild dog shampoo and washing facilities for your dog, too. If you put protective clothing of any kind on your dog, to keep out the rain or the cold, it’s time to dig it out from that cupboard, and check it over.
  • Colder nights and frosty starts can mean icy roads, which means the gritter trucks will be out to try to prevent slippery (or even snowy) roads. This grit and rock salt can injure paws, causing pain and irritation, especially if it becomes compacted with snow or ice as well. It can also be toxic to dogs if they lick it off their paws, causing everything from thirst, to vomiting, lethargy, and, in severe cases, kidney damage. If you’ve been walking anywhere where there is salt on the road or pavement, make sure you wash your dog’s paws, legs, and stomach when you get home. If you think your dog has eaten any rock salt, contact your vet.

Every time of year can be enjoyable for dog owners, but there is something magical about autumn, so get out there and have some fun!

Why Dorwest Turmeric Tablets?

Why Dorwest Turmeric Tablets?

This superior supplement contains and inceadible pure and high potency extract of turmeric consisting of 95% curcuminoids (the active ingredient of the herb). Alongside piperine to increase bioavailability of nutritional compounds.

We are delighted to now offer this quality source of turmeric herb (Curcumin) which is extracted from the whole root and contains 95% curcuminoids. Turmeric is extremely well documented and is widely used to support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory processes. The turmeric extract in these tablets is traditionally grown in its native region of Southern India using sustainable small farming methods and it is renowned for its purity and full traceability.

The natural bioavailability of turmeric is unfortunately quite low, however can easily be improved using two methods. The first is to give turmeric with a fatty substance, and as all balanced dog food contains fat this is easily solved by ensuring it is given with their meal. Secondly, absorption is easily improved by taking it with a compound found naturally in black pepper called piperine. One study has found that taking piperine along with curcumin can increase bioavailability by an incredible 2000%.

A patented form of piperine called Bioperine is included in this formulation to ensure bioavailability is maximised. Turmeric has grown in popularity and there are a number of ongoing studies into numerous other potential benefits of this exciting herb.

Ingredients: Ingredients per tablet: Turmeric extract 175mg (Equivalent to 7175mg dry roots), Cellulose, Calcium phosphate tribasic, Magnesium stearate, Cellulose coating, Black pepper extract (Bioperine ®)

Administration: Small dogs and cats <10kg: 1 tablet, Medium dogs 10 – 25kg: 2 tablets; Large & GIant dogs >25kg 3 tablets. Recommended to be given for a minimum of one month. For the first week it can be advisable to start at a lower dose and build up

Can be uses during pregnancy?: No

Can be used during lactation?: No

Product Finishing: Film Coated

Special Warnings: Always consult your vet before administering if on medication, especially anti-coagulants

Are Dogs Colour Blind?

Are Dogs Colour Blind?

Is everything in a dog’s world black and white? That idea has been widely accepted for decades, but new understanding of canine anatomy and behaviour have shown that, while they can’t see the same colours humans do, dogs are not colour blind.

Technicolor may be beyond their comprehension, but research shows that the dog’s eye can see much more than shades of grey.


The Myth About Colour Blindness in Dogs

The notion that dogs see only in black and white has been attributed to Will Judy, a lifelong dog fancier, writer, and founder of National Dog Week. He claimed to be the first to declare that dogs had poor vision, able to see single shades and tones and only general outlines and shapes.  “It’s is likely that all the external world appears to them as varying highlights of black and grey,” Rudy wrote in his 1937 manual, Training the Dog.


Are Dogs Colour Blind or Spectrum Challenged?

In the last few decades, examinations of the canine eye structure have revealed some differences in basic design between humans and dogs. The differences were driven by function and evolutions.

Dogs developed their senses as nocturnal hunters, tracking and catching critters at night. Their eyes are adapted to see well in the dark and to catch movement. For the purpose of hunting in the dark, canine eyes have a larger lens and corneal surface and a reflective membrane, known as a tapetum, that enhances night vision.

The retina is where scientists have found the key to the difference in colour perception between dogs and people. The retina is composed of millions of light-sensing cells. These include:

  • Rods, extremely sensitive cells that catch movement and work in low light;
  • Cones, work in bright light and control colour perception, and,
  • Photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, newly discovered cells that have no apparent impact on sight but appear to be involved with regulation of circadian rhythms.

It’s the composition of the cones that make the difference in colour perception. Humans and a few other primate species are trichromatic, which means they have three kinds of cones. Dogs are dichromatic, having only two.

Each type of cone registers a different light wavelength. The one for red and green gives humans their appreciation for a red rose or a Granny Smith apple. Dogs, and some colour-blind people, are missing red-green cones.

Dog Vision, a web site devoted to canine colour perception, printed this side-by-side comparison of how the two species register the colour spectrum.

Dog Colour Spectrum
Dog Colour Spectrum

So What Colours Can Dog See?

Scientists now believe that a dog’s colour vision is similar to that of a person who has red–green colour-blindness, according to research conducted by Jay Neitz, who runs the Neitz Colour Vision Lab, in the department of Ophthalmology, University of Washington.

Dogs can make out yellow and blue, and combinations. This renders a lot of the world greyish-brown. That lush green lawn? It probably looks like a field of dead hay. That royal red velvet cushion? Still comfy, but it probably comes across as a dark brown blob to the dog.

Dog Vision also offers an online tool to help you see things as your dog sees them. There are also apps that you can use to see what your dog is seeing at any time.


What Does This Mean to Your Dog?

Knowing that dogs don’t see certain colours, it would make sense to choose products that may be less aesthetically pleasing to you, but will be an eyeful for your dog. This knowledge may help explain why some dogs go crazy over yellow tennis balls, but are apathetic about the same ball in pink or red.

Writing in Psychology Today, AKC Family Dog columnist Stanley Coren offered this observation: “One amusing or odd fact is that the most popular colours for dog toys today are red or safety orange (the bright orange red on traffic cones or safety vests). However red is difficult for dogs to see. It may appear as a very dark brownish grey or perhaps even a black. This means that that bright red dog toy that is so visible to you may often be difficult for your dog to see. That means that when your own pet version of Lassie runs right past the toy that you tossed she may not be stubborn or stupid. It may be your fault for choosing a toy with a colour that is hard to discriminate from the green grass of your lawn.”

Other facts about dog vision

  • Dogs have better peripheral vision. Since their eyes are placed more towards the side on the head, they may see 240 degrees wide depending on the breed. Humans normally can see about 200 degrees wide.
  • Dogs also have better night vision, whereas humans see better in daylight.
  • Dogs are better motion detectors. If a prey animal even slightly moves, your dog will probably notice before you do.

Interesting trivia or handy for dog training?

Information courtesy of Kristin Kaldahl, dog agility instructor and competitor with 20 years in the sport.

You may be thinking while knowing a dog’s colour spectrum is an interesting piece of trivia, it really doesn’t matter from a dog training perspective. After all, we aren’t training dogs to drive, so it doesn’t matter if they can see red stop signs or green lights.

However, when you and your dog take part in the fast-paced canine sports, the dog’s colour vision becomes a very important piece of knowledge that can help keep the dogs safe.


Why Does a Dog’s Colour Eyesight Matter in Canine Sports?

Let’s think about the sport of agility, where a dog runs at top speed through an obstacle course. The dog must take the obstacles in a certain sequence, and each course is laid out differently. A handler has only a millisecond to communicate to the dog which obstacle is next. Poorly timed communication can not only result in the dog taking a “wrong course” obstacle, it can result in the dog miscalculating a jump or obstacle, “crashing,” and possibly injuring him or herself.

To ensure that the millisecond communication between handler and dog is clear, handlers work for years to train their dog to read the slightest physical cues such as hand signals, deceleration of forward motion, proper shoulder placement, footwork, and much, much more. These cues are perfectly placed and timed for the exact moment the dog will need that communication. Yet, if a handler is dressed in brown and is running on brown dirt in a horse arena with dull tan walls, all of the handler’s hours and hours of preparation may be for naught if the dog cannot clearly and quickly visually distinguish the handler.

This information from the handler is coming at the dog fast and furious. Except for occasional verbal information, almost all of the cues are non-verbal. The dog needs to respond to this information immediately. Fast dogs cannot take a second glance to see if they read that information properly. To help the dog, handlers must stand out visually from their background so that a fast-moving animal can see them.


Wear Contrasting Clothing

Kristin usually competes in horse arenas on brown dirt with dirty white walls and fencing and noticed from videos of her runs that when she wore tan agility shirts her fast dog Asher wouldn’t see some of my physical cues. He wasn’t intentionally ignoring them. He appeared to simply not see them. Yet, when she wore shirts that contrasted with the background, he appeared to see all of her physical cues.

She concluded if she was going to be showing in an arena with dirt surface and dirty white or grey walls, I will choose shirts that are in the blue spectrum. This can include bluish purple shirts. Also wear black and avoid reds, oranges, yellows and greens as they will become shades of yellow and brown. She also avoids solid whites as they can blend with the white walls. If competing on green turf with white walls or walls covered in advertisements, choose blue shirts unless the turf is a bluish green. Remember, green looks like yellow to a dog.

A handler also needs to pay attention to the colour of their shorts or trousers. They may even want to think about wearing long trousers if they’ll be running on dirt, as all colours of human skin could blend easily into the colours of a dirt agility surface. By wearing trousers, handlers can make themselves stand out better from the background.

This clothing contrast concept would be important not only for agility, but for almost all dogs sports from obedience to field training. Anytime a handler gives the dog a visual cue, it will help if the dog can see that cue clearly the instant it is delivered.


Dog Training Equipment Colour Matters Too

When it comes to understanding colour contrast for the dog. Training equipment must also be taken into consideration.

For agility, this also means that agility clubs and schools need to have a full understanding of what colours dogs see when choosing paint colours for their equipment. Many agility titling organizations have rules on colour options for contact zones, and most clubs go with yellow. If going with yellow, then the other colour on the contact equipment should be a shade of blue. This way, if a dogwalk sits on a dirt brown surface, the yellow contact zone may be harder for the dog to see, but the rest of the dogwalk’s up-ramp will be easily seen. Conversely, if a dogwalk painted yellow and blue sits on a bluish rubber surface, the dog may not see the blue part of the dog walk as easily, but it can very easily determine the yellow contact zone, allowing it to safely find the up-ramp.

However, using contact equipment painted yellow and red on a brown or green running surface will cause the equipment to easily blend into the background as everything will be shades of yellow and brown. Remember, dogs don’t see red. Instead they will see shades of yellow and brown. Kristin believes contact equipment is best if painted the usual, albeit boring, yellow contact zones with contrasting blue bodies. Then, no matter the surface and background, some part of the equipment will pop out to the dog as it heads to the up-ramp.

Coloured agility jumps must be considered, too. Red, yellow and green jumps will all be shades of yellow and brown. If they are located on a brown or green surface, the dog is seeing it all as shades of yellow and brown. The white bars do help, but solid white jumps with contrasting blue tape or bright blue jumps with white bars would probably be among the best colour choices.


The Problem with Yellow Tables in Dog Agility

Kristin also points out a trend in agility to paint pause tables yellow. This is causing many dogs to run by the tables when the tables are placed on dirt surfaces as the yellow will “blend” into the brown. Handlers are often befuddled as to why their usually consistent dog avoided the table when the simple fact is that the dog just didn’t see it.

Dog safety is the most important consideration for any dog agility handler

Other dog sports need to take dogs’ colour blindness into consideration as well. From Flyball to obedience competitions, teams can gain an edge by paying attention to contrasting colours from the dog’s perspective.


Understanding Colour Vision in Dogs is Important for All Types of Training

Even when training a house dog, this knowledge is helpful. If asking a house dog to learn to fetch a stick on winter brown grass, it will be harder for the dog to see where the stick is thrown. Instead, use a toy in shades of blue on that winter brown.

For the house dog, it might be wise to make the dog’s “things” colour contrasting to the environment. From dog bowls to beds to toys, having them visually stand out to the dog will make them easier for the dog to identify and might make them more engaging to the dog.

This information becomes a bit obvious once it is pointed out, but paying attention to contrasting colours in dog training can help your dog learn faster and stay safer as you both play together.



Survival Guide To Dog Cage Rest

Survival Guide To Dog Cage Rest

Having your dog confined to a crate following injury or surgery can seem like a nightmare, so here’s some top tips to help you and your pet get through.


  1. Safety First

Ask your vet for specific advice about crate rest, and how much movement your dog is allowed. Dogs on crate rest should normally be on leads at all times when taken outside for toileting, and may need to be carried down steps or helped back inside. Seek veterinary advice before commencing any of the activities in this feature to ensure that nothing will impede your dog’s recovery.


  1. Keep Calm

Create a peaceful environment so your dog doesn’t become over-excited – particularly when you take him in and out of the crate. Keep your movements slow and your voice quiet, kneeling down to his level so that you don’t encourage him to jump up. Playing soothing music during the day can help to relax him when you are not around.


  1. Home From Home

Invest in the best quality crate that you can afford and position it in a draught-free spot where your dog can enjoy watching family activities. You could even place alternative crates in different rooms so that your dog experiences a change of environment throughout the day.


  1. Softly, Softly…

Place a non-slip pad in the bottom of the crate and cover with soft, clean blankets. Wash, dry, and change these regularly and consider putting a blanket over the top of the crate for when you want to encourage your dog to sleep. A lot of physical and emotional healing occurs during sleep so his bed needs to be as comfortable as possible.


  1. Puzzle Toys

Some dogs love playing with puzzle toys such as ones they have to touch with their nose to access a treat, or you can create your own scent games by hiding treats under a selection of upside-down pots and encouraging him to sniff out his prize. Make sure all games are calm and don’t risk injury by allowing him to become over-excited.


  1. Bowl Over

Help to alleviate boredom by scattering food inside the crate or feeding by hand. Ask your vet for specific dietary advice, as a dog on crate rest may not need as many calories as normal. Make sure that your dog always has easy access to fresh water, clipping water dishes on to the side of the crate so that they don’t get knocked over.


  1. Take A Trip

If your dog is used to travelling in the car in a crate or wearing a harness, and is guaranteed to remain calm then he may enjoy short car journeys. Going somewhere new and smelling different smells from an open window as he watches the world go by, followed by a quick on-lead toilet break and a steady journey home may help to lift his spirits. Ensure that your dog doesn’t attempt to jump into the car though, encourage him to use a ramp or pick him up and gently place him inside.


  1. Two’s Company

Although crate rest may signal a temporary end to long walks and fun outdoor activities you can use this as an opportunity to really bond with your dog. Spend as much time together as possible, doing gentle grooming and massages to help pass the time and aid relaxation. Stroking your dog will be good for both of you, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce stress levels.


  1. Chewing It Over

Offering your dog a toy that is filled with kibble or treats will help to keep him occupied. A Kong stuffed with a variety of tasty morsels such as peanut butter, cream cheese, or pieces of sausage will pass the time and encourage him to relax. Tying the Kong to a side of the crate can help to reduce your dog’s body movement as he works out how to release the food.


  1. Brain Games

Use some of your dog’s daily food rations to use as rewards for teaching low-energy tricks to keep his brain active. Keep your voice and movements slow and use a clicker or verbal cue such as ‘yes’ to teach fun activities such as guessing which hand a treat is in, touching your hand with his nose, crossing paws, turning his head to the left and right, toy discrimination, and picking up objects on command and dropping them into a box. Use your imagination and you will be amazed at what you can achieve.


Visit Millie’s Paws in-store or online for a wide range of treats and toys, don’t be affraid to ask the friendly staff for any help or advice, their always happy to help.


Article courtesy of YourDog magazine

Kronch Pemmikan

Kronch Pemmikan

A high energy supplementary feed, Kronch Pemmikan is comprised of the essential levels of fat, protein and glucose to provide almost instant usable energy in dogs. It has also proved successful in overcoming and preventing the effects of Hypoglycemia in dogs worked under extreme conditions.

Kronch Pemmikan allows you to give your dog large amounts of easily digestible energy from a small volume of feed, without overfilling the dog’s stomach and has proved useful in helping dogs recover from bouts of illness and operations.

Suitable for hunting dogs and guard dogs, Kronch Pemmikan fills your dog with energy and allows them to perform at a constant high level all day long, especially in the cold spring and winter months. Kronch Pemmikan also makes your dog more alert, counteracts stress at exhibitions and in similar situations involving long waits, making your dog easier to manage.

The effect of Kronch Pemmikan sets in after about half an hour and reaches its peak after about an hour and a half. Because of this, it may be advantageous to divide the daily ration into many smaller portions. Doing so allows your dog to perform at its best all day long.

Kronch Pemmikan is suitable for lactating females, that produce too little milk for their young as it can help increase their milk production, and removes the need to bottle feed their puppies later on. Kronch Pemmikan also prevents weight loss in lactating females. The lactating female is fed from half a piece to 4 pieces of 50 g on a daily basis. The amount fed depends on the dog’s race, size, and the number of puppies it has.

100 to 200 grams per day (depending on the dog’s weight and activity level before lunch) is fed to highly active working dogs, such as show dogs, hunting dogs, guard dogs, sledge dogs, police dogs, and dogs entered in competitions. The daily ration is divided into 3 parts: morning, midday, and evening. It is recommended not to feed the female too many and/or too large portions, as doing so may lead to the female getting loose stools.

It is also very good in building up bitches after a litter of puppies.


Additional Information

  • Ingredients: Lard, vegetable fat, fish meal, dextrose, corn, barley, brewer’s yeast, rice, sugar and garlic. Kronch Pemmikan contains 24% protein and 59% fat.
  • Nutritional content per 100g: Energy 2485 kJ/600 kcal, Crude protein 24 g, Crude fat 59 g, Crude fibre 0.5 g, Crude ash 6.8 g, Water 4.1 g
  • Additives per 100g: Calcium (Ca) 1.5 g, Sodium (Na) 0.3 g, Phosphorus (P) 1.0 g, Magnesium (Mg) 0.2 g, Potassium (K) 0.5 g, Iron (Fe) 0.1 mg, Zink (Zn) 22.5 mg, Cobber (Cu) 1.0 mg, Manganese (Mn) 6.7 mg, Iodine (I) 0.5 mg, Cobalt (Co) 0.0 mg, Selenium (Se) 0.8 mg


Kronch Pemmikan was developed in cooperation with the Sirius Patrol.

The Sirius Patrol was in need of a highly concentrated yet compact source for energy to feed their sledge dogs when on patrol in arctic Greenland. Many hunters and dog sports people have tested Kronch Pemmikan as an energy supplement in a number of situations. It was found that the dog’s level of performance remained high all day long in demanding and/or stressful situations, such as on hunts, at exhibitions, and during tests.

Kronch Pemmikan was part of the feeding program on the Sirius Expedition in 2000 and is now used with great success in Fly-Ball, Agility, Herding, Canix, Racing and working, field trialling. A test carried out on six Hypoglycemic dogs in 2012 on the grouse moor proved 100% successful.

What Is Hypoglycemia

Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia ( low blood sugars ) is normally a syndrome that occurred with puppies or young dogs and may be induced by stress, travel, new home etc and looked a little if you can imagine like a stroke so no real life, very weak, open-mouthed shivers normally in the face area.

It is basically like the human version a critical drop in blood sugar to the brain meaning seizures occur and eventually the pup, untreated would slip into a coma. No real early signs in a pup but generally due to not eating, travel or over playing with another dog or toy for example. They can also be triggered by enteritis when body levels, of course, become depleted.

In hunting or working dogs the condition is different in that it is triggered by excess workload and inadequate feeding or fuel to last the day.

Hypoglycemia in hunting/working dogs develops when the dog’s blood glucose levels go under 50. Blood glucose is the most important energy source, and in hunting/working dogs the dog’s brain will become deprived from it. The difficulty seems to occur when the dog ‘s body is unable to convert glycogen to glucose in a timely matter to satisfy the dog’s energy needs. In simple terms we ask the dog to work beyond the levels it can convert adequate amounts of glucose. Most dogs will appear to be disoriented and act like something is not right hence people have reported the dog looking drunk, staggering, confused etc. Others may have a full course of seizures laying on the ground, panting furiously and glazed eyes that will leave them very exhausted. Coma and death are not that common but it can occur in severe cases without treatment as well as cases of brain damage can occur. Luckily, the condition can easily be treated and corrected. Treatment consists of providing the dogs with the glucose manually that they are not producing fast enough or normally have run out of fuel to convert.

This can be accomplished by providing the glucose orally as fast as possible. Most dogs recover rapidly after rubbing some Honey or Glucose, syrup etc on their gums and this needs to be rubbed all around the mouth. Be wary that some confused dogs may snap or bite. They do not need to actually swallow it, their gums will absorb the glucose promptly straight into the bloodstream.

Prevention of Hypoglycemia in Hunting Dogs

The blood glucose crisis is a scary experience for both dog and owner, so handlers should take measures to prevent this from happening again. Stopping the dog every now, rest, leaving a drive out and then and offering some high energy food may help prevent this disorder from happening. Pemmican has been designed for this although all will have different options. Pemmican delivers warmth, energy and glucose and is tested in harsh conditions from Alaska to the Grouse moor. As the season progresses the dogs will, of course, get fitter and the less likelihood of an attack but understanding the early signs are important like laying in water, not being able to drink due to excessive panting and of course the familiar staggered walk. A good diet, of course, will help and working dogs generally operate better when they are no more than 10 percentage points between protein and fat with protein being between 20 and 25%.

It is also important to take along an emergency kit like honey straws for example which easily dissolves or the good old small jar of hotel honey.

For dogs with tendencies porridge, just a small bowl of honey in the morning helps and then pemmican of similar at lunchtime will all help.

In a study of 12 hypoglycemic history dogs with Edinburgh University, veterinary dept on the grouse moor pemmican stopped any recurrence of the condition.

Remember the terrain gets harder, the birds get bigger, the guns get better, the bags get larger but the dog still has the same engine.

Extremes of hot and cold compound the condition and any dog will become susceptible if overworked which they do to please you.

Conkers and Dogs

Conkers and Dogs

A question we regularly get at this time of year, are Conkers dangerous to dogs? Well, dog owners have been warned that this autumn’s crop of smaller conkers poses a higher risk to their pets than in previous years.

Conkers are hazardous for dogs because they can block airways, leading to asphyxiation and they also contain a chemical called Aesculin, which is toxic to dogs and can cause internal damage if ingested.

With conkers much smaller in size this year due to the summer heatwave leaving the chestnuts shrivelled, the risk to canines is greater and vets have warned dog owners to be particularly alert.

Conker poisoning in dogs

Conkers are the seeds of the horse chestnut tree, also known as the Aesculus Hippocastanum, which is widely found in the UK.

They appear in late summer and autumn when they ripen and fall to the ground. In some areas, they’re popular with school children who put them on strings to enjoy playground conker fights.

Conkers and dogs don’t mix as they contain a poison called aesculin, which is found in all parts of the horse chestnut tree, including the leaves. Dogs normally need to ingest several to suffer severe poisoning. In autumn, our emergency vets regularly see cases of conker poisoning in dogs. While serious cases are rare, they do occur.

If you are you worried your dog has eaten conkers contact your vet now


Signs and symptoms of conker poisoning in dogs

Clinical signs are usually seen between one and six hours after ingestion, although they can be delayed for up to two days.

Symptoms of conker poisoning include vomiting, which may contain blood, diarrhoea, drooling, abdominal pain, increased thirst and reduced appetite. Signs of restlessness, wobbliness and muscle tremors may also be seen.

Conker cases can also cause intestinal blockages in dogs


Treatment for horse chestnut poisoning in dogs

Dog owners are advised to contact their vet, or out of hours their nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or hospital, if they suspect conker poisoning. It’s likely the vet will give the dog medication to make them vomit and they may also perform gastric lavage (wash out the stomach).  This is designed to ensure as much of the poison is removed from the dog’s system as possible. They may also use intravenous fluids (a drip).

No known antidote exists for conker poisoning in dogs. As a result, treatment is supportive and symptomatic, in other words it eases the symptoms without addressing the cause of the disease. Beware that conkers and their cases can also cause intestinal blockages, particularly in smaller dogs, which may require surgical removal.


How to stop dogs eating conkers

It’s worth keeping a close eye on your dog when you’re out and about in the autumn. There are an estimated 470,000 horse chestnut trees in the UK and the vast majority of those are found in parks, gardens, streets and village greens.

Try to encourage your dog to play with toys rather than conkers and never throw them for your dog to fetch.


Visit Millie’s Paws today in-store or online and discover our vast array of toys to keep your furbabies entertained for hours.


We would like to thank Vetsnow for an informative and important article.

Kong Classic – Recipes

Kong Classic – Recipes

The KONG Classic is the gold standard of dog toys and has become the staple for dogs around the world for over forty years. Offering enrichment by helping satisfy dogs’ instinctual needs, the KONG Classic’s unique natural red rubber formula is ultra-durable with an erratic bounce that is ideal for dogs that like to chew while also fulfilling a dog’s need to play. Want to extend play time? Be sure to stuff with tempting bits of kibble and entice with a dash of peanut butter. Add to the fun by adding KONG Snacks and topping with KONG Easy Treat.

  • Mentally stimulating toy, offering enrichment by helping satisfy dogs’ instinctual needs
  • KONG classic red rubber formula for average chewers
  • Unpredictable bounce for games of fetch
  • Great for stuffing with KONG Easy Treat, Snacks or Ziggies
  • Recommended by veterinarians and trainers worldwide
  • Natural rubber
  • Freeze with your dog’s favourite tastes for extended play
  • Available in six sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL




½ cup canned or puree pumpkin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons KONG Cheese Spread

2 large KONG Snacks (crushed)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Split mixture between two KONGs and freeze.




1/2 Cup Dog Kibble

1/2 Cup Apple Sauce

1 Tsp KONG Bacon and Cheese Easy Treat

Spread half the Bacon and Cheese Easy Treat in the bottom of the KONG. Mix kibble and applesauce together and stuff into the KONG. Top off with remaining Easy Treat and make your dog’s day. Adjust recipe as needed for other KONG sizes.



This recipe was inspired by KONG office dog, Pawesome.


Canned or Puree Pumpkin


Natural Yogurt

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Stuff into the KONG.



This recipe was inspired by KONG office dog, Critter.


Canned or Puree Pumpkin

Apple (ensure you do not get any of the seeds as these are extremely poisonous for dogs)


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Stuff into the KONG.


*Please contact your vet to find out what foods and quantity is right for your pet. Always give treats in moderation.