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

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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”

Pet poison of the week – Blue Green Algae

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs, Horses, Cows, Birds
Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe
Common signs to watch for:
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Blood in stool or black, tarry stool
• Pale mucous membranes
• Jaundice
• Seizures
• Disorientation
• Coma
• Shock
• Excessive secretions (e.g., salivation, lacrimation, etc.)
• Neurologic signs (including muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis, etc.)
• Blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes
• Difficulty breathing
• Death

Cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) are microscopic bacteria found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and brackish water ecosystems. They can produce toxins (such as microcystins and anatoxins) that affect people, livestock and pets that swim in and drink from the algae-contaminated water. Blue-green algae grow and colonize to form “blooms” that give the water a blue-green appearance or a “pea soup” like color. It also looks like blue or green paint on the surface of the water. Because the algae float, they may be blown by the wind into thick, concentrated mats near the shore, thus making them easily accessible to livestock, pets and people. Algal concentrations vary throughout the year, but are most abundant during periods of hot weather in mid- to late-summer months and are most likely to be found in nutrient-rich water. While most blue-green algae blooms do not produce toxins, it is not possible to determine the presence of toxins without testing. Thus, all blooms should be considered potentially toxic. Very small exposures, such a few mouthfuls of algae-contaminated water, may result in fatal poisoning.
Dogs that enjoy swimming and playing in lakes and ponds may be exposed to blue-green algae. Hunting dogs are especially predisposed due to increased exposure outdoors. Clinical signs of poisoning are dependent on the toxin involved. Microcystins can result in liver damage or failure. Signs of liver injury include vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stool or black, tarry stool, weakness, pale mucous membranes, jaundice, seizures, disorientation, coma, and shock. Death generally follows within days as a result of liver failure. Blood work changes include elevated liver enzymes, a low blood sugar, a low protein, and even abnormal clotting. Aggressive, immediate treatment is necessary to help treat this quick-acting, potentially fatal poison!
Anatoxins result in neurotoxicity evidenced by excessive secretions (e.g., salivation, lacrimation, etc.), neurologic signs (including muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis, etc.), blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes, and difficulty breathing. Death follows within minutes to hours of exposure as a result of respiratory paralysis. Livestock that graze around affected ponds or lakes and are able to drink from them are often found dead near the water source. Treatment includes anti-seizure medication, oxygen, and aggressive care by your veterinarian.
Unfortunately, there is no antidote for the toxins produced by blue-green algae. Immediate veterinary care is imperative. If you suspect your dog was exposed to blue-green algae, contact Pet Poison Helpline immediately for guidance.
Poison type: Plants
Alternate names: Cyanobacteria, algal, Microcystis, Anabena, Aphanizomenon, cyanotoxin, anatoxin



Blood Donation For Canines

Nobody can disagree how important donating blood is, but did you know that there is a shortage of blood for our Canines, when they need it.

Here are some facts about Blood Donation For Canines!

What happens at a blood collection session?

The comfort and health of donor dogs is of paramount importance and the donation process should be as relaxed and enjoyable as possible for all involved.

  1. The appointment is split into two parts:
  • Health and suitability check with a fully qualified vet
  • Donation

2. The vet will go through the following process with your dog prior to any donation going ahead:

  • undertake a physical examination of your dog and takes its health history
  • carefully clip and clean a small area of your dog’s neck
  • microchip your dog if it not already microchipped

If all is well, you dog will go through to the donation room where a fully qualified phlebotomist will draw about 450ml of your dog’s blood.

Once the donation is made your dog will be brought to the refreshment area for a well earned drink and snack.

You are then ready to go home, some dogs may want to take it easy for a little while, but many will get on with their normal routine.

In total, you should allow around 40 minutes for your appointment, although the actual donation process only takes 5 and 10 minutes.

Continue reading “Blood Donation For Canines”

Making a 999 or 112 Call

This is something we get wrong often, have a think now, would you know what information you may be asked, and simply what to expect, we make a 999 or 112 call. To make things worse there are a few myths surrounding making an emergency call.

Lets keep it simple, and here are the facts.

Firstly 999 or 112

In the UK the numbers 999 or 112 can be used interchangeably. 999 is the traditional UK phone number, and 112 is the standard European Union emergency number. The 112 number should work in any country that is part of the European Union, 999 will only work in the UK.

Emergency calls are free

There is no charge for making a call to an emergency number (999 or 112). It doesn’t matter whether you are using a payphone, or landline, or a mobile. This is a requirement of UK law, so no operator will charge for these emergency calls.

Emergency calls for non-English speakers

The emergency service operators can engage a telephone translation service for non-English speakers. The first thing the operator will try and do is to establish the language that the person is speaking and then join in a translator.

Know where you are!

When making an emergency phone call you need to know where you are. If you are making the call from a land-line, and in particular using the emergency phones on the motorway, then they can trace your location from the phone, but they do not have the same accuracy with a mobile phone. If you do not know where you are, try and use a land-line phone, or find a street name. If using a mobile phone from a motorway or major A road, look for the market signs which indicate your exact location (every 100 metres).


HOW TO MAKE A 999 OR 112 CALL Continue reading “Making a 999 or 112 Call”

Bridging the science-policy gap, one conference at a time

Scotland's Nature

Amanda Trask, a research ecologist at the British Trust for Ornithology, is our guest blogger today. Here she reflects on a great experience attending the Scottish Ecology, Environment and Conservation Conference (SEECC) at the University of Aberdeen in 2017.

A key part of being a successful scientist is being able to effectively communicate and discuss your research findings with fellow scientists and policy advisers.

For researchers working in the ecological, environmental or conservation sciences, the latter group is a ‘must reach’ one to infleunce. Scientific conferences provide an ideal venue for such communication. For researchers at the start of their scientific career, conferences like the SEECC, held at the University of Aberdeen in April 2017, are ideal.

Blog 1 Networking over coffee at the SEECC 2017. Photo by Svenja Kroeger.

What makes the SEECC different from other conferences?

The SEECC is that rare type of conference that manages to be small and…

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