Older pets, like older people, tend to feel the winter chill a bit more acutely than the rest of us. But, we can make it easier for our old pets in winter. Here are a few things we can do:

  1. Clothes – if your dog or cat will wear a jacket, put one on when it is chilly. (I know this is near impossible with cats…)
  2. Make sure your pet’s shelter is waterproof and windproof. The sleeping area should ideally be lifted off the ground and have plenty of soft warm blankets.
  3. Start a joint supplement, if you notice any signs of stiffness. (We recommend Joint Formula :)) Cold weather exacerbates joint problems.
  4. Prebiotics as well as a general multivitamin are a good idea for old pets in winter. These will boost immunity and help to keep your pet healthy throughout the winter. (Ours is called Everypet Formula.)
  5. Warm food will help to warm your pet from the inside. For the oldies, it is worth the trouble.
  6. Feed a little extra during winter. In order to avoid loss of condition, I recommend increasing the amount of food you feed by about 10%. Your pets metabolic needs increase during winter because they expend energy keeping warm.
  7. Groom your pet regularly. A well groomed coat is a better insulator.
  8. Towel dry your pet if he or she gets wet. Dry the feet as well and rub the pads with a little Natura Paw and Snout soother after a cold walk.



Vondis Chicken 500g

Dog with Petstages Playing toy


My four dogs have been solely on Vondis, diatomaceous earth and the supplement powder for over a year. They were not particularly overweight or unhealthy but they have all slimmed down and are looking so healthy. Their coats are shiny and they are looking lean and muscular. Bentley had skin allergies and often came up in little welts which have now disappeared completely. They all love their food and eat it without any of them turning their noses up at it.

They have a few of CK Quality pet products toys and are always so excited to get new toys. One of their favourites is the Petstages Wooden stick and the shark toy. They have many hours of fun with them.


Karine Fenton

Vondis Special Chicken 500g


Good Day CK Quality Pets / VONDIS KZN

Just want to thank your team for such an excellent service.

I have a Boston with special dietary needs.

Since we have fed the Vondis Special chicken we have not looked back.

Our dogs are thriving off Vondis.

I would really recommend anyone with dogs with sensitive tummys or skin issues to give the Vondis products a try.


Thank you.

Have a lovely day.

Kind regards,

Melany Wood

Vondis Vegan Food 500g


Client review – ROMY COLLINSON  Westville Durban

“I have to tell you – I have 2 pitties and my big boy who was a rescue had really bad hip issues – I prefer non-surgical and natural healing and since I have put him on Vondis he is absolutely striving, it’s a brilliant product.  I mix the vegan into the meal that has meat to maximize their veg and it’s been great!   He would always turn his nose up to anything that was not raw meat (they were previously on barf diet) and now he will eat any fruit that I am eating…. Just shows how their tastes change and the fact that they are in fact omnivores.  No sign of any hip or joint issues whatsoever and at one stage he could not even walk!!!

I am very particular about what I put in my babies mouths so I actually tasted the vegan meal and jokes aside, it is very nice!! – You could honestly give that to someone and they would not think otherwise!!!  I am vegan myself so did not try the ones that have meat!



This article I found very informative and certainly provides handlers of canine athletes with information on how we can assist our dogs to remain injury free.

by Amie Lamoreaux Hesbach, PT, DPT, CCRP, CCRT

Empower Physio PeT, Maynard, MA

The number of dogs and owners involved in canine sports in the United States has grown exponentially in recent years. The American Kennel Club reports that, in 2011 alone, there were one million entries for agility trials and 22,000 athletic events.(1)

For the purposes of this review, the canine athlete is considered to be a dog that “works”:

in herding, hunting, sledding, Search and Rescue, assistance, law enforcement, etc., or one that plays” in agility, track racing, rally, freestyle, obedience, fly-ball, dock diving, Frisbee, field trials etc.

Unfortunately, more dogs involved in “work” or “play” with more entries and trials, and longer careers, means there are also more injuries.

A survey of agility handlers in the United Kingdom in 2005 reported a 19% injury rate either during training or competition.(2)

These injuries were due to:

direct contact with obstacles






on the surface of the agility ring.

Injuries were predominantly of soft tissues (muscle or tendon strains or ligament sprains) and related to the back or shoulder joints, though “non-specific lameness” accounted for 48% of reported injuries.(2,3)

Another survey reported lameness in gundogs at a rate of 25% per season, with a higher rate of tail and shoulder injuries.3

As injury rates increase, so do the costs of competition and veterinary medical care. Not only might a canine athlete’s career be limited by an injury, but his lifespan and quality of life in “retirement” might also be limited.

Experiencing this firsthand, owners of working (and playing) dogs ask the question:

“How can we reduce the risk of injury in the canine athlete?”

  • As well, we should ask the owner:
  • Are your expectations for your pet’s performance in his sport appropriate?
  • Are they appropriate given your pet’s breed or age?
  • Are they appropriate given the time, energy, and money that you are able or willing to invest in training and veterinary care? (4)

 This article will explore these questions through review of the following pertinent topics:

  • The veterinary medical evaluation of the canine athlete
  • Training, cross-training, over-training, and rest
  • Warm-up and cool-down
  • Stretching and the role of flexibility in injury prevention
  • Additional suggestions for injury prevention


  1. The veterinary medical evaluation of the canine athlete

Ensuring that a dog has a healthy career in his owner’s chosen sport goes beyond an unremarkable annual veterinary exam. It starts with the puppy’s first visit, when the owner might first suggest an interest in a given sport.

Prior to initiating serious training in a sport, a puppy should not only have a thorough veterinary exam, but also an eye examination and elbow and hip radiographs.(5)

The veterinarian should determine that the dog is skeletally mature (with growth plate closure) prior to advising that the owner initiate any conditioning or training program with impact, repetition, or forced exercise.(5,6)

Experts suggest that this delay continue until at least ten months of age and extend to nearly 18 months of age in any dog neutered or spayed at, or younger than, six months of age.(6)

To reduce risk of injury to growth plates, enthusiastic owners of skeletally-immature puppies might consider limiting early training to low-impact, ground-level activities with recalls, low obstacles and jumps, and with minimal activity repetition.(6)

In subsequent visits, the veterinarian might pro-actively suggest a pre-season evaluation for the athletic dog, not dissimilar to that of a high school or collegiate athlete’s “physical”, asserting a clean bill of health prior to competition.(7)

A thorough musculoskeletal assessment will check that the athlete’s body is symmetrical in static postures and that it has adequate strength and motor control in dynamic movements to tolerate the demands of the sport. The balance of muscle flexibility (or length) and strength has been shown to reduce the risk of muscle strain injury in human and animal athletes.(8)

Additionally at this visit, the veterinarian can assess for any deficits in range of motion, flexibility, or muscle development and objectively document baseline data. The veterinarian might suggest that the owner share a video of the dog at a recent trial or training session, so that she might have a deeper appreciation of the dog’s level of competition and fitness. Alternatively, a physical therapist with canine rehabilitation certification and experience in sports medicine might complete this assessment.

This pre-season meeting also encourages an open conversation with the owner, who is and will continue to be the expert regarding this dog and his sport, and who might vocalize concern regarding the dog’s performance in training or competition. Such concerns, which should neither be overlooked nor dismissed as inconsequential, might include the following:

  • “He’s ‘popping out of weaves’.”
  • “She knocks down bars when jumping.”
  • “He can’t run a straight line when tracking the bird.”
  • “She hesitates when coming out of the cruiser after riding for a few hours.”
  • “He consistently misses contacts when coming off the A-frame.”
  1. Training, cross-training, over-training, and rest

Training is essential for adaptation of the dog’s body to the demands of the sport and the first step by which we can avoid injury.

Training activities should focus on enhancing the athlete’s cardiorespiratory function, muscle strength, motor control, endurance, flexibility, and coordination.(5)

Though it seems obvious, what happens outside the performance ring (and prior to the athlete’s arrival to the ring) can be more important in reducing the risk of injury to the athlete, than what happens inside the ring.

Consideration of the SAID principle, in that the body undergoes “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands” during training activities, requires owners to focus training regimens on the requirements of the specific sport and based on the individual athlete’s needs and expectations.(4,5) or example, training activities for a sprinting athlete will be very different from those of an endurance athlete.(5)

Cross-training activities, such as hiking or swimming, are important to help the owner and athlete avoid over-training, stress, and boredom. These activities should be complementary to more sport-specific training activities and benefit the athlete by allowing a focus on developing strength and cardiorespiratory endurance.(7)

Studies show that more injuries occur during the final trial or run of the day, when the athlete is most fatigued.(7) Relative rest should not only be encouraged in the minutes between runs and in the days following trials, but rest periods should also be incorporated into the athlete’s season.

Periodization is integral to injury prevention, allowing for an “off-season” and “pre-season” with altered foci of training activities so as to avoid fatigue and injury. Periodization allows for rebuilding, not only of the athlete’s mind, but also of his body.

  1. Warm-up and cool-down

Though the utilization of a warm-up and cool-down are not yet standard practice in canine sports, there is a need to educate trainers, owners, and handlers regarding the benefits of their inclusion in both training and trials.(2)

Incorporation of a warm-up into the training routine reduces the risk of muscle injury or strain as a “warm” muscle has improved flexibility and a higher tolerance for stress and strain forces than a “cold” muscle.(8)

The warm-up, increasing the core body temperature by 1-2°F, results in an increased heart rate and blood pressure or flow, improved oxygen and energy availability, and faster propagation of nervous impulses.(5,7)

Though warm-ups of 5-15 minutes are recommended for agility competition, only 26% of respondents in the 2005 agility survey warmed-up for longer than six minutes and only 12% performed a warm-up specific for agility.(2)

Studies suggest that warm-ups are comprised of two portions — a general warm-up and a specific warm-up.

The general warm-up focuses on larger muscle groups through activities such as jogging or off leash play.

The specific warm-up is similar to the actual athletic activity, and might include jumping over obstacles at reduced speed, reduced height (for a lower impact), or reduced frequency.(2) This specific warm-up activity allows for rehearsal of the activity to improve skill, coordination, and focus of the athlete.

Warm-up activities should be performed within thirty minutes of a “run” so as to maximize the benefit of the warm-up and minimize the risk of injury.(7)

Warm-ups are intended to be low intensity activities, at less than 60% of the dog’s maximal oxygen consumption or 70% of the maximal heart rate for less than fifteen minutes. If the warm-up activity is excessive, it can fatigue the athlete by depleting the body’s energy stores, causing a build-up of lactic acid, and raising the body temperature to an undesired level.(8) The intensity and duration of the warm-up, however, will always be dependent on the individual athlete, and should be modified based on the environmental conditions of the event and its facilities.

Following training or competition, the owner should lead the dog away from the area of competition at a trot slowing to a walk and finally to a slow walk.

The cool-down is recommended to last from 10-20 minutes and will flush out metabolites to prevent muscle soreness, dissipate excessive heat, and shorten recovery from exercise.(5,7,8)  The cool-down should be a low-intensity exercise at 30-65% of the maximal oxygen consumption.

This is also an opportune time to give the athlete a post-trial massage.

  1. Stretching and the role of flexibility in injury prevention

Stretching is a contentious issue in the fields of canine and human sports medicine.5

Though stretching prior to training exercise or competition has not been proven to significantly reduce the risk of exercise-related injury, stretching should be an integral part of the athlete’s training program.(8)

If muscles lack flexibility and are “too tight”, they provide abnormal stresses on bones and joints, as there is not enough joint range of motion (ROM) to perform the required athletic activity.

If there has been a past injury, especially a muscle strain, stretching is necessary to restore more normal flexibility and to preserve normal joint ROM. Injured muscles tend to heal with inflexible, fibrous scar tissue, thus restricting flexibility and range of motion even more.

Studies do show that stretching immediately prior to performance of an activity which requires maximal strength (for example, a forceful sprint) actually negatively affects the strength of that muscle group which had been stretched. Alternatively, if the owner has been instructed to stretch, it should be performed after the warm-up but not too close to the start time of the run so that the muscle can recover from the stretch.

Stretching should always be performed after athletic activities, during the cool-down, and should be held for thirty seconds.(5)

An alternative to passive stretches are “active stretches” in which the dog performs specific dynamic turns or static postures, such as play bows and crawling. These stretches are ideal in the warm-up period as they allow the owner to assess for symmetry, range of motion, and flexibility prior to the trial.(7)

  1. Additional suggestions for injury prevention

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) cites five common causes of muscle injuries, including:

  • poor flexibility
  • inadequate warm-up
  • fatigue
  • a sudden forceful contraction
  • and forced flexion or extension of a joint.

Injury may be due to muscle length-strength imbalances of agonists and antagonists, intense interval training, insufficient rest breaks, or over-training.(8)

The following are additional suggestions for injury prevention

  • Owners of canine athletes should maintain a regular training program in order to avoid overexertion in under-conditioned dogs.(8)
  • Chronic or recurrent injuries tend to be due to insufficient rehabilitation, inappropriate progression of activity after injury, and premature return to competition. For this reason, rehabilitation post-injury, even when obvious lameness has resolved, is essential.
  • Fatigue, over-training, and excessive repetition should be avoided.
  • A proper warm-up and cool-down is essential.
  • The surfaces upon which training and competition are performed can influence the athlete’s performance. Wet, slippery, and uneven surfaces increase the risk of injury. Traction and impact interactions between the paws and the flooring surface or ground will influence injury risk. To encourage further adaptability in the canine athlete, the owner might consider doing training activities on varied surfaces, such as rubber, dirt, grass, sand, or carpeting.(4,5) In the same way, regular inspection of the dog’s paws, pads, and toes, and maintenance of nails and fur at an appropriate length will help to avoid slipping.
  • The athlete should not be allowed to be a “weekend warrior.” Training and cross-training on a consistent, regular schedule will maintain his consistency in competition.
  • Owners should not be discouraged from “scratching” the athlete from competition if he is under-conditioned or subtly lame. Canine athletes are “masters of disguise” and their injuries, especially of soft tissues, are challenging to diagnose. Running a dog with a suspected minor injury will more likely lead to a more serious injury and more time off from training and competition due to injury in the future.

The pressures and torque placed on an agility dog exiting the tunnel at immense speed can also be a high risk situation for injuries to occur.


American Kennel ClubHolmes L. Canine agility trials – survey of dog breeds, injuries, and the role of “warm up”. Proceedings of the 3rd annual Royal Veterinary College Veterinary Physiotherapy Conference. September 18, 2005; North Mymms, Hertfordshire, UK;2005, pp. 36-8.  Edge-Hughes L. Reports of injuries in dog sports.

Gillette RL. Optimizing performance and preventing injuries of the canine sprint athlete. Proceedings of the North American Veterinary Conference; 2007, pp. 1324-7.

Edge-Hughes L. Canine treatment and rehabilitation. In: CM McGowan, Goff L, Stubbs N, editors. Animal physiotherapy: assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of animals. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell; 2007, pp. 207-37.

Edge-Hughes L. Training your puppy for sport and concerns about growth.

Canapp D, Zink C. Preventing Injuries. Clean Run 2008;July:60-2.

Steiss JE. Muscle disorders and rehabilitation in canine athletes. Vet Clin North Amer Sm Anim Pract 2002;32;267-85.






PlaqueOff Animal comes in a 40g and 180g jar, which is filled with a fine green powder.

Packed in the tub is a small scoop which you use to measure out the correct dosage of PlaqueOff Animal.

Because PlaqueOff needs to be ingested, the simplest way to do this is to take a scoopful from the tub and sprinkle it over your pet’s food.

The mixture smells, as you might expect, like the sea and tastes a little like salt and pepper. Dogs and cats eats it quite easily.  When we tested this product, our dog actually really enjoyed the taste and ate it straight from our hand!

For finicky cat eaters, mixing it with a little brewers yeast does the trick!

How Long Does a Tub Last and When Will I See Results?

The first thing you will notice when you get your tub is how small the dosage is!

One scoop (the average dose size for most dogs) is such a small amount that your tub will endure months of usage. One scoop a day will last almost 6 months. After about a month, you should start to notice some real results, although it can vary depending on the dog and the severity of the plaque.

If your dog isn’t afraid of the toothbrush, after a month is up, try gently brushing at his or her teeth and you will likely see some of the softer, porous plaque come away from the teeth with ease. Otherwise, his favourite chew tow also does the trick.

Why ProDen PlaqueOff?


ProDen PlaqueOff has been clinically proven to reduce bad breath, tartar and plaque. ProDen PlaqueOff was originally created for humans but is now used for animals too!

On the ProDen website, they boast:

For once – a product that has been tested on people first!

It’s not just backed by scientific proof.  Myself and many other users of the product are blown away with the results!

PlaqueOff Animal has managed to create an extremely happy fan base and many clean mouths.

PlaqueOff can be used for dogs and cats!

Other Methods of Maintaining Oral Hygiene

The best way to maintain oral hygiene is twice-a-day brushing as this prevents the build up of bacteria and therefore, plaque and tartar in the first place. But brushing your dog or cat’s teeth twice a day can sometimes be near impossible.

ProDen PlaqueOff is a great way to reduce and prevent a build up of plaque, but what about preventing plaque build up without the need for PlaqueOff Animal?

The best way to otherwise maintain oral hygiene is to use some of the dental chews, treats toys available for sale.

  • Soft chew treats which tries to stimulate teeth and gums
  • Specially shaped chews that try to act as a toothbrush
  • Specially formulated foods with odd shaped kibble  that try to promote oral health
  • Dental Toys, which are longer lasting than chews, but work in a similar way by stimulating teeth and gums and acting as a toothbrush.
  • Specialised Toothbrush & Toothpaste

From personal experience, I found that these products aren’t useful for reversingplaque growth but are more useful as preventative measure, likewise toys and toothbrushes are also preventative.

ProDen PlaqueOff Animal is the only product I have used which has reversed plaque growth.

Don’t forget that you can always visit your vet to get a build up of plaque removed, but this can often be a costly experience – as most often your dog requires general anaesthesia.

Why Oral Hygiene is Important

Oral hygiene is as important for dogs as it is for humans – and for the same reasons your dentist tells you.

Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum pain, gum inflammation or disease and in some extreme cases, the loss of teeth. Not only this, but a build up of plaque will lead to unpleasant and constant bad breath and dogs aren’t known to use chewing gum.




Here’s a recipe for Golden Paste to assist you dog with pain management!

You may have heard of the benefits of turmeric for your dog which includes:

  • It’s a powerful antioxidant
  • It’s a natural and effective anti-inflammatory
  • It may help prevent and assist with certain cancer treatments
  • It protects the liver from toxins
  • And much more!

How to Make Turmeric Golden Paste for Dogs

Australian veterinarian Dr Doug English has seen great results with a turmeric recipe he developed called Golden Paste. Here is his recipe:

Golden Paste Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic turmeric powder (Make sure it’s organic turmeric powder to be sure it contains lots of curcumin)
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups filtered water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (Grind organic black peppercorns in a coffee grinder or magic bullet)
  • ¼ cup organic cold pressed virgin olive or coconut oil (Coconut oil is a great choice because it also has great health benefits)

Golden Paste Directions:

Mix the turmeric with the oil in a pan.  Heat slowly allowing the Turmeric to infuse with the oil.

Start with 1 cup water and add more only if needed.

Stir the liquid on medium/low heat and in about 7 to 10 minutes, it should form a thick paste.

If your paste looks watery, just add a bit more turmeric and heat it for another couple of minutes.

Once you’ve got a paste, add the pepper then stir it very well.

Allow the mixture to cool, then place it in a jar with a lid and store it in your fridge. Ideally, you should store the paste for no more than two weeks … after that; you’ll want to make a fresh batch.

Giving Turmeric Golden Paste to Your Dog

You can add the Golden Paste directly to your dog’s meals by mixing it with some water. Most dogs don’t mind the taste at all!  Start with about ¼ to ½ tsp., depending on the size of your dog. You can increase the amount from there, up to about a Tablespoon per day for larger dogs.

TIP: Turmeric leaves the body quickly, so it’s best to feed smaller amounts a few times a day. 

However – please note the following cautions when giving Turmeric paste to your dog

~ Talk to your holistic vet first if you have any concerns about whether turmeric is right for your dog.

~ While it’s generally considered safe, there are a few things to consider.

~ It can interact with other medications, especially NSAIDs and blood thinning drugs.

~ For a patient undergoing cancer treatment, it may interfere with certain cancer drugs.

~ High doses have also been known to cause liver problems so please do not exceed the dose in the hopes of a better result.

~ Turmeric should not be used during pregnancy as it may cause premature uterus contractions leading to miscarriage.



Turmeric, that bright orange spice that makes curries yellow, has many health benefits.

One area in which it’s coming to the fore is in treating arthritis or joint pain.  The good news is that now there’s scientific testing that confirms its effectiveness.

An exciting clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging tested the effects of turmeric compared with ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory available at pharmacies) in treating people with knee osteoarthritis.

Don’t ever give your dog ibuprofen!

First of all, let’s stress that ibuprofen should never be given to dogs. It can be highly toxic for them; the margin of safety for canine use is much narrower than it is in humans. So please don’t ever give your dog ibuprofen of any kind.

Then why are we talking about it?

Ibuprofen is one of the more popular pain relievers for over the counter pain relievers. Despite the number of adverse effects (including toxicity to the heart, according to the medical journal The Lancet), the US consumes over 100 billion tablets per year! So we can conclude that ibuprofen’s probably a pretty effective pain reliever.

But what about turmeric? How does it compare?

The difference between turmeric and curcumin

Turmeric and curcumin are two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same thing.

The Latin name for turmeric is Curcuma domestica; turmeric contains curcumin. Curcumin is the active constituent in turmeric that provides most of the health benefits.

Turmeric is the name for the spice that is used in cooking; the name curcumin is often used when discussing the health aspects of that spice.

What the study found

The study, titled “Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicentre study”, compared the effects of ibuprofen and turmeric in 367 patients over a four week period.

All patients had a pain score of five or higher at the beginning of the trial; in other words they experienced moderate pain that was bad enough to interfere with tasks or possibly even concentration.

Patients were randomly assigned into groups given either Curcuma domestica extracts (185) or ibuprofen (182).

The study measured:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Function
  • Total scores

The conclusion:

The study reports that both C. domestica and ibuprofen were successful in reducing pain and discomfort

However C. domestica patients scored better on tests of stair climbing and a 100 meter walk.

All scores showed significant improvement over the baseline scores in both groups; 96-97% of subjects in both groups were satisfied with the treatment and two thirds rated themselves as improved.

The number of adverse events, primarily abdominal pain or discomfort, was significantly higher in the ibuprofen group that in the C. domestica extracts group.

Another similar study done in 2012 found remarkable results using curcumin to treat the very painful disease rheumatoid arthritis, and in that study the group who received only curcumin showed the highest percentage of improvement.

How is this good news for dogs?

This spice has great promise for dogs too, with favourable results against ibuprofen.  It may be just as effective as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) offered by many conventional vets, but with far fewer side effects than these medications.

If your dog suffers from inflammation pain and you haven’t given him turmeric, you may want to give it a try.  It’s best to buy organic turmeric at a health food store (powder or capsules) rather than buying grocery store turmeric which usually only contains 2%-4% curcumin by weight and may be grown using pesticides.

Look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids.  Important to know is that turmeric is not readily or easily absorbed into the body.  It is important to buy a product that contains black pepper or piperine (that’s what gives black pepper its pungency) which may assist with absorption.  Fresh turmeric root may be crushed, in which case simply add turmeric paste to your dog’s food.

The recommended dose for dogs is 30 to 40 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, or more simply put, ⅛ to ¼ tsp. per day for every 5kg in weight.

As curcumin in turmeric is a binding agent, give your dog access to plenty of water which will help avoid constipation.

However – please note the following cautions

Talk to your holistic vet first if you have any concerns about whether turmeric is right for your dog.

While it’s generally considered safe, there are a few things to consider.

  • It can interact with other medications, especially NSAIDs and blood thinning drugs.
  • For a patient undergoing cancer treatment, it may interfere with certain cancer drugs.
  • High doses have also been known to cause liver problems so please do not exceed the dose in the hopes of a better result.
  • Turmeric should not be used during pregnancy as it may cause premature uterus contractions leading to miscarriage.

Other benefits

In addition to helping with pain and inflammation, turmeric does offer many other health benefits in humans.

It may support heart health by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and thinning the blood; it is a detoxifier; it is an antioxidant that has anti-cancer properties; it can help treat epilepsy, relieve allergies, kill parasites and prevent the formation of cataracts. Since it is a binding agent you can also use it assist with diarrhoea.



No, not the OCD that compels your dog to keep checking on his buried bones. In this case, OCD stands for Osteochondritis Dissecans. It’s a painful joint disease affecting shoulders, elbows or knees.

OCD is more common in large-breed dogs. It is often found in Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Rottweiler’s, Boerboels, Great Danes, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Saint Bernards.

Not all big breeds are vulnerable. OCD is less likely to affect Doberman Pinschers, Collies, and Siberian Huskies.

Most often, the cause is rapid bone development. As such OCD is usually found in puppies between four and eight months old. However, OCD may also occur in older dogs and smaller breeds, affecting males about five times more often than females.

The inflammation and lesions on the smooth cartilage causes pain in the dog’s joints.

Most times small pieces of the cartilage break off and float free in the joint. Those bits of cartilage, known as “joint mice”, don’t die; they keep growing. Once floating free, fluid builds up and calcification occurs. The joint gets inflamed and swollen, nerves get irritated, and the pup is in pain.


No one’s quite sure what causes OCD. Heredity may be part of the problem.

Some factors include:

  • Too much stress on a young dog’s bones
  • Restricted blood flow to the cartilage
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Weight problems

Exactly how much or how preventable the condition might be isn’t known.

When it’s time to see a vet

It’s fairly easy to notice if your dog has OCD. First, be aware if your dog is one of the large breeds prone to the condition. If so, watch for any of these signs:

  • Limping
  • Favouring one paw or leg while walking or even when lying down
  • Swelling at the shoulder or, more rarely, the elbows and knees Pain when trying to extend a swollen joint

A vet can make a solid diagnosis with an exam and some X-rays.


There are two kinds of treatment for OCD: conservative and surgical.

Conservative treatment is used for mild cases and the youngest dogs. Treatment is approximately four to ten weeks of very restrictive “bed rest”. Walking is restricted to bathroom trips.

That means no running, no romping – as difficult as that can be to enforce. The cartilage will then heal on its own in about 60 percent of cases, and the dog can get back to playing.

During this time it is beneficial to supplement. A good joint supplement, such as Sashas Blend will assist with pain, inflammation and cartilage protection.

OCD requiring surgery

Surgery is used for more severe cases, or where the conservative approach hasn’t worked.

In the surgery, the vet will remove the joint mice and repair the lesions. After surgery and a couple of weeks of rest, most dogs make a complete recovery and return to 100 percent function.

It’s very rare for the condition to recur.

Help you dog before and post-surgery. A complete joint health supplement will aid in recovery of the joint capsule and cartilage, bring down inflammation while assisting with pain management.


Prevention is an iffy proposition. People believe that an overweight growing dog is more prone to develop OCD – but there isn’t much evidence yet.

Although there is a link between weight and conditions such as hip or elbow dysplasia, including the malformation of cartilage in weight-bearing joints. For this reason alone, it is very important to manage the weight of your large breed puppy.

It is common sense to protect a young pup’s limbs from unnecessary physical impact. Avoid movements such as repeated jumps off a deck or out of a car and jogging.

Diet plays a role – ensure your puppy eats a good food that promotes healthy muscle and bone growth.

Ensure that you grow your puppy slow so as not to place too much stress on those delicate, soft joints too quickly.


Walking your dog should be a daily activity for you and your dog, unfortunately a large percentage of dog owners do not walk their dogs due to time constraints and another common factor is that it is not enjoyable because the dog pulls or is overly excited on the walk.I am going to give you a few tips to help improve your walk and bring back the fun so you want to take your dog for a walk.


When you are getting ready stop all verbal communication with your dog.   Yes, that’s right, so humans that means we are not going to tell your dog “Let’s go walkies”.  The latter 3 simple words will often get your dog in a frenzy and super excited.

Guide them to their bed or an area close to where you are going to leave from make them sit and put on their dog walking equipment; a flat collar or obedience collar or a harness and your lead.


Wait for your dog to become calm.  [You might need to put on their walking equipment 10mins to 30mins before your planned walk to help them get in that clam mode]  They will know from your walking shoes and their walking equipment that an adventure is about to take place, so this is when you develop that calm routine so that when you do leave home you leave on a calm note.

Your dog does not need to march like a soldier next to you for your entire walk.  Mix it up do a combination of loose lead walking where your dog has the full length of the lead and slightly ahead of you with no tension on the lead and then heel walking where your dog is on your left side on a short lead.


Your dog pulls? A few things to try firstly change direction when they pull and gently tug on your lead to guide them closer to you. Alternatively if your dog pulls you come to a complete stop and you only move forward when there is no tension on the lead.  [If you are not successful with the latter then call your local professional dog trainer to have a session with you to help you on your way]