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Unforeseen dangers (2)…Heat Exhaustion!

Its getting hot and many people do not realise the dangers of exercising their dogs in the heat and how quickly a dog can overheat especially if its humid as well as hot!

Of course, our dogs cant hibernate during summer and do need exercise so let’s look at how to do it safely,

Keep in mind that dogs can potentially overheat much quicker than humans. Here are a few reasons why they can overheat:

  • They have fur! Imagine running with a fleece on in the heat!
  • They lack the rapid heat loss from sweat (e.g., as they only have sweat pads in their paws).
  • They don’t know how to pace themselves  (e.g., they’re so excited they are running all over the place initially):
  • Lots have extra insulation. My Labrador certainly does and while I want you to exercise him, I am very conscious that I need to be careful.

People with pups, seniors, over weight dogs or brachycephalic dogs really need to be especially careful. We are very careful at the SPA not to exercise dogs when it above 30 degrees and even when less than that we choose who can cope with the temperature on any given day!

Lots of us will be off on holiday with our dogs so how are we going to keep them cool but still get out and about?

I am just back from a week in Spain and it was hot. My doggies are oldies and so I was very careful not to overdo it. We walked in the mornings on planned walks with lots of little coves where there was shade and of course they could swim.  We always planned to be back for about lunchtime and the dogs slept in the air-conditioned apartment in the afternoon. They were then happy to have a little stroll when the sun went down in the evening.

So, when in doubt, exercise during non-peak heat hours… very early in the morning or late in the evening. Take plenty of breaks and frequent water stops. Also limit the amount of off lead madness if necessary. If you are lucky enough to live where your dog can swim, then let them have frequent dips in and out…this really helps them stay cool.

Heat stroke can be deadly, so if your dog shows any of the symptoms below, get him to the vet asap.

·         Vomiting or diarrhea

·         Excessive panting or difficulty breathing

·         Dark red or dark pink gums

·         Elevated heart rate.

·         Reluctance to move

·         Staggering drunken gait

Don’t forget that it’s very easy to underestimate how hot the pavements can become. Have you ever tried to walk over hot sand on the beach? It can be agony so do make sure that you test the pavements with your hand…if its too hot for the palms of your hand, then it’s too hot for doggy paws! Burnt pads are very uncomfortable!!!!

So, summer exercise should be shorter early morning / late evening walks and if your dogs must be out and about when its hotter look for walks with water and shade to keep them as cool as possible!

Exercise in the morning or evening when its coolest!


Adoption of Cliona and Fynn is back home!

Lots of you will remember Cliona, the dog who arrived in a terrible state, covered in lumps and bumps and in dire need of lots of vet care. A campaign was launched to cover these fees and after several months of tlc you would not have recognised her as the same dog.

We were delighted when she was adopted by people who regularly walked her but were devastated when she came back after 5 months!

Cliona had without doubt not had an easy life before she arrived at the SPA. She was suspicious of new people, especially men but once you had gained her trust she was fine. It takes a very special person to adopt a dog who will need lots of time, patience, and careful management. But today she left and we all have our fingers crossed that all goes well!

Cliona adopted!

We are also delighted to report that Fynn, who escaped from his carers on Thursday is back home! We were all very worried as it took 7 months to catch him and get him to the SPA and although he has come on in leaps and bounds he is still a wee bit wary of people. His mum and friend went to the area where he had been seen very early this morning and on hearing her familiar call he came out of hiding and right to her!  This is fantastic news and I am betting that tonight he is being spoilt rotten!

Fynn is home!

Adoption of Flute..

After two days without any adoptions we are delighted to report that Flute has been adopted!

On Monday Darcey blogged about the adoption of Ficelle who arrived a few weeks ago with her sister Flute. These two unidentified pups certainly have lady luck looking over them as both have left with super families.

Its very lucky for two adolescents to arrive as ‘strays’ yet be really sociable with dogs and cats as well as have great lead manners. It just makes you wonder why someone would put so much effort into their dogs, yet not have them identified or reclaim them!

Without a doubt being female helped and had they had been young males their fate may have been very different, despite being great dogs.

Gender still makes such a difference even although all of our dogs, male or female always leave sterilised. The most common request from prospective adopters is ‘a nice medium sized female’.

Is it a myth or not that females are easier then males? Not in my personal experience  but I know lots of you will think otherwise.

Tell us what you think re gender. Our opinions are usually based on personal experience but what is it that makes us prefer one sex to another when choosing a dog or cat?

Flue,,adopted 3 days after her sister Ficelle!




Scalibor Appeal…

Last nights blog was all about ticks and Piro and tonight follows on with our annual Scalibor appeal.

A Scalibor collar protects against ticks borne diseases as well as the dreaded sand fly transmitted, leischmania.

We would really love ever dog to have a collar but with so many dogs and such a turnover of dogs this is something that the SPA cannot fund. At about 18 euros each, this would be an enormous expense and we need to spend our pennies on essentials!

If you could donate a collar you can simply pop in with one, order one online and have it sent directly to us (SPA Carcassonne, Chemin de la SPA, 11000 Carcassonne) or make a donation via paypal (website@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk) with SCALIBOR in the narrative and we will buy one!

Sometimes people want to donate a collar to a specific dog and that is no problem…just send us a message or tell reception if you are handing one in and we will send you a photo of the doggy of your choice proudly sporting his new collar.

So, should a dog become infected by a sand fly bite what can you expect? In most dogs who have become infected, the first sign of disease appears about 2-4 months after the initial infection. Symptoms may include sores on the skin, peeling, ulcers, loss of weight, bald patches, conjunctivitis, blindness, nasal discharge to name but a few.

The good news is that many dogs can be treated and the symptoms kept at bay by a drug administered daily.  If you suspect your dog has been infected then take them to the vet asap, early detection gives your dog the very best chance !

Scalibor collars are needed to protect our dogs!

Unforeseen dangers (1) …

There has been a spate of unforeseen doggy deaths so we thought that over the coming weeks we would deal with some of them on days when we don’t have any adoption news.

Recently we had news that one of our ex SPA dogs had died and as he had previously been healthy this came as a huge shock to his family and to us.

He went downhill very rapidly and despite vet intervention nothing could be done. What did he die of?


Lots of  people coming to France as well as new doggy owners are often not aware that many of the French ticks carry a parasite known as Piroplasmosa Canis, which causes a potentially fatal canine disease called piroplasmosis or ‘piro’. These ticks are more active in warmer, wetter weather, so spring and autumn tend to be the danger periods.

So, what are the symptoms of Piro?

Different dogs react to the infection in different ways, and symptoms will differ according to the individual dog and the stage of the disease, but the most common signs are:

  • lethargy and loss of appetite
  • fever, shivering and elevated temperature
  • dark urine
  • anaemia (to test for this, press a finger against your dog’s gum. When you release the pressure, the blood should return immediately. If the spot stays pale for a few seconds, it can indicate a problem).

Dogs bitten by an infected tick typically start to show symptoms within 24 – 48 hours, and the disease can be rapidly fatal. The dog’s kidneys try to filter out the infected blood cells, and are themselves damaged in the process. It’s important to catch the disease as quickly as possible to limit the possibility of kidney damage, so play it safe and take your dog to the vet.

How can you prevent Piro?

  • If your dog is long-haired, keep him trimmed and well-groomed. The best prevention is to find and remove the ticks before they can bite. All French vets and pharmacies sell a tick removal tool.
  • Wait several days after bathing your dog before applying the anti-tick treatment, and don’t bath him for a couple of days after application.
  • Make sure the treatment is applied directly to the skin, not the hair.
  • Keep a close eye on your pet.

In addition to applying the anti-tick treatment, we also advise a Scalibor collar. This is impregnated with an active ingredient that gives many months of protection, and can be used with the Advantix without fear of overdosing to give maximum protection. ( do check this with your vet though)

If you catch the infection very early, there should be no long-term consequences but time is of the essence and there are no guarantees!

So prevention with Advantix, a Scalbor  collar and quick action should you notice the symptoms, keeps your dog safe and sound.

Protect against this…

Adoption of Ficelle

Today was yet another bank holiday here in France, so the SPA was closed. However as is becoming more and more common, several volunteers came to keep  the dogs and cats company, which is wonderful. The animals love spending time with humans, even if they have to share the love a bit more than if they had a home of their own.

And as promised in yesterday’s blog, we had an adoption. Lovely Ficelle arrived some three weeks ago, supposedly having been found with her sister, Flûte. Both dogs are delightful; sociable with dogs and cats, and extremely affectionate, as well as being great on the lead. Apart from being a bit thin on arrival they were in great health; but they were not identified, so the SPA could not track down their owner.

Dogs like this tend not to have too long to wait, and sure enough Ficelle caught the eye of a couple last week. They are none other than Imogen and Kate, the owners of Le Jardin Châmpetre They were looking for a dog to spend long lazy days with in their nursery, and take long active walks with in the surrounding countryside. The dog had to be good with other dogs and people of all ages, as she will be with her owners when they visit clients. A fabulous life awaited the lucky dog.

Last week several dogs were put through their paces, but it was Ficelle who ticked all the right boxes. A busy weekend was forecast at the nursery, however, so it was decided that Ficelle would leave today to allow her to settle in calmly.

brown poiner cross

Ficelle (now renamed Jenka) – ADOPTED

We look forward to news and photos. And if anyone likes the sound of Ficelle, then why not come and see her sister, Flûte, who is every bit as wonderful!

dark brown lab cross

Lovely Flûte is still looking for a home

The SPA will be back to business as usual tomorrow, of course.

Save the Date for Summer Fun!

As many of you have remarked, it has been a quiet week at the SPA and that of course means a quiet week on the blog. But don’t worry, we have not been idle! We are already busy planning the next fundraising event, which is due to take place next month; on June 17th to be exact.

This will be third annual Yard Sale and Barbecue to have been hosted at Chateau Miaou, and this year it will be even bigger and better. As well as books, DVDs and a tombola we will once again have a barbecue courtesy of our hosts Willie and Sharon, who together with Mr Saussice, will be serving up wonderful British-style bangers. There are also rumours of some bacon butties! This year vegetarians will not be left out, either, thanks to Kim’s astounding home-made marmalade.

There will also be an opportunity for those who couldn’t make it to Fanjeaux to buy any of the amazing clothes and accessories. This year we will have a bric-a-brac stall, and  plenty of fun to be had for all.

Everyone is welcome; parking is available and there are just no excuses for not joining us. Come and say hi, grab yourselves a bargain and help Dog Rescue Carcassonne support the animals at the SPA Carcassonne.

Come and join us and bring your friends!

The refuge will be closed tomorrow for Pentecost, but we know that one lucky dog will be leaving. We do try to be flexible, especially when it means a dog being in his new home as soon as possible. So see you tomorrow night when you can read about the week’s first adoption!

Adios Elios!

I think everyone felt very sorry for Elios when he was brought into the SPA for rehoming just over three weeks ago. A purebred braque francais, he arrived due to his owner’s illness. And whereas we see plenty of people leave the refuge dry-eyed, that was not the case here. Elios’s owner really loved him, but was going into long-term care and had no one to look after his dog.

This should serve as a cautionary tale to anyone who just assumes that their family will take over should old age take its toll, by the way. And is one of the reasons that the SPA is rightly cautious when elderly people wish to home puppies.

Elios did not have long to wait, however, despite being over eight years old. Yesterday a family came to test him with their dog, and all went well. The cat test went fine as well, and today Elios was off to his new home.

Many thanks to his new family for offering Elios a home. He is a very affectionate boy, and we are sure he will reward your kindness a hundred-fold

braque francais


Fingers crossed for more adoptions this week.

Adoption of Zelda

On our blog of May 4th we told you about the adoption, amongst others, of Sultan. Today was the turn of his sister, Zelda. In fact Moira and I had just returned from a walk with this fabulous beauceron cross and her kennel mate and were remarking on what a calm dog she was, when she caught the eye of a a family who were looking to adopt.

Sometimes you meet a dog and just know that she will be easy to home, as long as you can get people to look at him or her. Zelda walked beautifully on the lead and is fine with other dogs; she has made enormous progress since arriving thin and nervous last month. Little did we know that she is also fine with cats, and this is what clinched the deal for her today.

We hope that Zelda has a wonderful new life and we look forward to news and photos of her in her new home.

Let’s hope that this is the first adoption of many this week. A couple of other people were at the SPA looking for a new companion, so fingers crossed!

beauceron cross


Didn’t we have a lovely time!

Many thanks to everyone who came along to the fashion show in Fanjeaux yesterday. It was a fabulous afternoon in every way apart from the weather. But of course that didn’t matter, as we were in the warmth of the foyer, watching our team of supermodels strut their way down the catwalk.

The clothes they wore, as well as many others, were on sale afterwards, and there were plenty of people there to snap up a bargain. Where else can you find Boden, Russell and Bromley and even Whistles (beloved of Princess Kate Middleton) at such prices? There were other stalls, too: A tombola, colour therapy, Neil’s Yard, and other local crafts including cupcakes, marmalade and many other goodies. Plus of course the DRC stall, with photos of the SPA dogs and selling accessories, just to remind us of why we are doing all this fundraising.

Many thanks to Sabine and her team for all their work making the day such a success.

Of course as well as having huge amounts of fun, the goal of the day was to raise money for the dogs at the SPA. No doubt you want to know how much was raised. Wait for it…

We raised a whopping €2190.

Thanks to everyone who came along to support us. And if you missed out, don’t panic, we will be having more opportunities to join in the fun later on in this Year of the Dog.

Here are just a few photos of the afternoon’s festivities. We will add more to the DRC Facebook page tomorrow, I am sure.

Jane and Gill strutting their stuff

Shelfie made some wonderful cupcakes to raise cash

And here is (most of) the Team! Thanks lovelies!