Drink driving


The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone.
Rule 95

Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities.

In England and Wales you MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

In Scotland the legal limits are lower. You MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 22 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 50 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

Alcohol will

  • give a false sense of confidence
  • reduce co-ordination and slow down reactions
  • affect judgement of speed, distance and risk
  • reduce your driving ability, even if you’re below the legal limit
  • take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening.

The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. If you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport.

Check out this drug-driving film

Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis can be as uncomfortable for our dogs as it is in humans, but there are ways of managing the disease to ease your pet’s pain.

Firstly! What is arthritis?

Arthritis simply means ‘inflammation of the joints’ and is a common problem for many dogs. Inside a dog’s joints, bone surfaces are normally covered with a thin layer of a very smooth cartilage, lubricated with a small amount of joint fluid that allows the two surfaces to glide freely over one another with minimum friction. In dogs with arthritis, cartilage within the joint undergoes change or damage, c=becoming less smooth and resulting in the bone surfaces rubbing together. This causes discomfort to your dog, as well as further dame to cartilage. As a direct result of this increased friction, new bone starts to form around the joint making the joint stiffer, which limits its movement even more – a condition known as degenerative joint disease.

Continue reading “Arthritis in Dogs”


Is your dog vaccinated?

Vaccination is one of the most notable modern medical advances: it’s also one of the most common procedures undertaken in both cats and dogs.

There is no question of its importance in preventing and controlling infectious diseases.

Ourselves and pets absorb daily toxins such as polluted air, polluted food and water sources, even our homes are full of possible health stressors like chemicals Did you know over use of flea treatments and chemical sprays, wormers, over medication and over vaccination are also considered as ‘toxic stressors’ that can pose a risk to the health of your pet.

A vaccine is a biological preparation of either modified live or killed pathogens (viruses, bacteria or parasites) that is introduced into the body in order to promote immunity to a particular disease.

Vaccination has undoubtedly saved more animals lives than any other medical advance. It has significantly reduced canine distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus as well as eliminating rabies in Europe. As the UK is rabies free, the only time we need to vaccinate against rabies is when the travelling abroad under the PETS passport scheme.

For more information, talk to your vet and make sure you pets vaccines are up-to-date.

Pet poison of the week – Caffeine

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe/life-threatening
Common signs to watch for:
• Hyperactivity
• Restlessness
• Vomiting
• Elevated heart rate
• Hypertension (elevated blood pressure)
• Abnormal heart rhythms
• Tremors
• Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)
• Seizures
• Collapse
• Death

Humans continue to drink and use more and more caffeine, making pets more frequently exposed to this dangerous chemical. There are several sources of caffeine in the house: in coffee, coffee grounds, tea, soda, energy drinks, weightlifter supplements, OTC pills (e.g., NoDoz), and diet pills. Theobromine, a cousin chemical to caffeine is also found chocolate. Dogs and cats appear to be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people. While 1-2 laps of coffee, tea or soda will not contain enough caffeine to cause poisoning in most pets, the ingestion of moderate amounts of coffee grounds, tea bags or 1-2 diet pills can easily cause death in small dogs or cats. When ingested, clinical signs of hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, an elevated heart rate, hypertension (elevated blood pressure), abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), seizures, collapse and death may be seen.
Poison type: Foods
Alternate names: chocolate-covered espresso beans, milk chocolate, Baker’s chocolate, white chocolate, cocoa mulch, caffeine, theobromine, methylxanthine, xanthine, Vivarin, tea, coffee, cacao mulch, cocoa powder, Halloween candy, weight loss supplements, theobromine, dietary supplements, coffee beans, energy drinks, green tea, guarana, NoDoz, No-Doz



Parasites in Cats

Did you know that cats are exposed to a number of different parasites through:

  • Rodents are intermediate host for T.taeniaeformis and paratentic hosts for Aelurostronglus abstrusts
  • Up to 50% of infesting fleas can be found in cat faeces (Fleas are intermediate hosts for Dipylidium canimum
  • The outdoor environment is a habitat for certain parasites (Cats may come into contact with other infested animals including wildlife and other pets.
  • More than 1 in 2 cats carry parasites – 30% ectoparasites and 25% gastrointestinal worms

Internal Parasites

  • In cats internal parasites often do not cause visible signs, but may impair their health and induce:
  • (I) Digestive disorders
  • (II) Cardio-respiratory signs
  • For owners, worms such as Toxocara cati represent a zoonotic risk can cause ill health and even blindness. It is estimated that 26% of cats are infected with this parasite and suggests the need for greater awareness of the need for repeated treatment.

External Parasites

  • In cats external parasites can induce skin disorders and anaemia.
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • For owners, diseases such as cat scratch disease and lyme disease can spread to humans too,

The solution

Speak to your vet about spot-on treatments with no need for tablets, delivered using an innovative applicator for ease of use.

Remember your pets will need treatment regular, including winter, don’t buy any old treatments on the internet, they could be harmful to your pet, get the right treatment, by speaking to your local vet.

Dog Care

Over the past three years Fitzcharles Training has had the most wonderful time teaching Canine and Pet First Aid throughout Scotland, using our Training manikins. However there is a lot of confusing information out there about Dog Care in general. 

Fitzcharles Training has teamed up with a sister company to offer an online Dog Care course, using videos, and an online assessment, awarding you a qualification and certificate to be proud of, especially if you will be taking on the responsibility of a new pet. At the same time why not go on or one of our Canine or Pet First Aid classroom Courses?

To register for Dog Care On line Courses, or one of our Canine or Pet First Aid courses, you need to register on our booking system, we will then be able to log you on to one of the dog care courses presently £6.00, however we can give you a special introduction 10% discount.

Book Online

Continue reading “Dog Care”

Therapy Dogs Nationwide

The lives of thousands of people are improved every single week by Therapy Dogs Nationwide.

Therapy Dogs 2017.1We are a comparatively new charity run entirely by volunteers, many of which have an enormous amount of expertise with therapy dogs.

Our much loved pets bring comfort, companionship, happiness and Therapy to those in need.

Therapy Dogs Nationwide volunteers visit a diverse range of establishments including: Stroke Units, Cancer Wards, Hospitals, Hospices, Nursing Homes, Care Homes, Mainstream and Special Needs Schools, Prisons, Remand Centres and even some Secure Hospital Wards.

Therapy Dogs 2017.2

Currently we are assisting in over 50 schools helping to improve children’s literacy skills with our ‘Paws and Read’ programme.

Children who have previously found it difficult to read are now doing so happily because of the interaction of our Therapy Dogs.

We are currently running an interesting pilot scheme in Libraries. Each weekend children come to meet our Therapy Dogs and read stories to them as part of our ‘Paws and Read’ programme. This is receiving enormous praise from both teachers and parents.

We also visit special needs schools where children may be in a wheelchair and have multiple problems. Here we use our Therapy Dogs to encourage responses from the children and to calm them if they are stressed.

In order to increase the work of Therapy Dogs Nationwide we need more people to register their dogs and volunteer to visit an establishment on a regular basis.

Visiting with a registered Therapy Dog is just about the kindest gift a dog owner can give, by sharing their own happy, friendly dog with people who are unable to have their own dog in their lives.

Therapy Dogs 2017.3

Make that next step, visit Therapy Dogs Nationwide website, TODAY!


Pet poison of the week – Bread Dough

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally mild to severe
Common signs to watch for:
• Drooling
• Retching
• Vomiting
• Distended stomach
• Elevated heart rate
• Weakness
• Collapse
• Hypotension (low blood pressure)
• Coma
• Hypothermia
• Death

Unbaked bread dough can be poisonous to dogs and cats. When ingested, the unbaked bread dough expands in the warm, moist environment of the stomach and can result in a bloated stomach (called “bloat”); this can then progress to a gastric-dilatation volvulus (GDV), which is a twisted stomach. Signs of bloat or GDV include vomiting, non-productive retching, a distended stomach, an elevated heart rate, weakness, collapse, and death. Secondly, when the yeast in the unbaked dough is fermented, it results in the production of carbon dioxide (causing the bloat) and alcohol. Alcohol from the fermenting yeast is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and results in alcohol poisoning quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated dogs and cats can experience seizures and respiratory failure.
Poison type: Foods
Alternate names: unbaked bread, yeast, alcohol poisoning, sourdough starter, pizza dough, raw bread dough



Facts about Older Dogs Nutrition

Have you ever questioned, what is in pet food, and how healthy is pet food for our pets?

I know I have, and very confused about misleading information and facts out there about our pet food.

Firstly, what happens when our dogs become senior.

  • Metabolism and energy levels can slow down and their need for calories generally decreases, due to a loss of lean tissue mass and a gain in fat mass, which can lead to weight gain if the amount of food or diet fed is not adapted accordingly.
  • Senior dogs may show a drop in activity levels and may sleep more. This could be down to a natural slow down or it could be as a result of arthritis or joint problems, which can be common in older dogs. Weight management is very important for addressing this.
  • The immune system may need some extra support
  • Dental issues can pose a problem, making chewing more difficult.
  • The senses of smell and taste can become affected and, as dogs depend very much on these senses, affected individuals may eat less because their food may appear less tasty to them.
  • A senior dog may experience a decrease in appetite and it could be as a result of some of the above changes, but the first step is to rule out any underlying health issues with your veterinary surgeon. Several health conditions more associated with old age, such as kidney disease, arthritis, heart disease and cancer, may result in weight loss.
  • Many veterinary practices run senior care programmes, which can help to pick up on any health issues at an early stage. As with every life stage, nutrition can play a key stage, nutrition can play a key support role as a dog goes through physiological changes.

Continue reading “Facts about Older Dogs Nutrition”

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People trains dogs to respond to important sounds and danger signals such as the doorbell, alarm clock and smoke alarm.

Deafness can be incredibly isolating leaving many deaf people without the confidence to leave their homes, avoiding social situations and feeling cut off from the world. Hearing dogs provide companionship and help to reduce these feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety, and build their recipient’s confidence.

Our highly-trained dogs alert a deaf person to a sound by touching them with their paw or their nose and then leading the person to the source of the sound. In the case of danger, such as a smoke alarm, each dog is taught to lie down so their owner is aware that there is a hazard.

A hearing dog’s training takes up to 18 months including a year living with a volunteer puppy socialiser, followed by their specialist ‘soundwork’ training at one of our centres.

Hearing Dogs 2017.2 Continue reading “Hearing Dogs for Deaf People”