Cavaliers as Companions
October / November 2020
Edited by Dennis & Tina Homes

Rock CavalierVW Cavaliers
Rock Star Cavaliers!


Late summer and early autumn can be a most beautiful time. Ripening fruits and berries add extra colour to the burnished golds and tints of aging leaves and vegetation. The once fresh green grasses are now turning into golden meadows.

This time of year can be a perilous time for our dogs. Fleas and ticks are much more numerous, as they have had the warmer months to proliferate. The other perils at this time are wayward grass seeds. The most common is for a seed to enter the ear canal. The symptoms of this are for the dog to hold its head at an angle, with intermittent head shaking, and scratching furiously at the affected ear. Unfortunately, the seed hardly ever surfaces but only works its way further down into the orifice. This will of course require a visit to the Veterinary Surgery for treatment.

Feet, pads and the fleshy webbing between the toes are the other areas that seeds seem to find their way, by burrowing into the skin. These foreign bodies will create swellings, and very often the entrance sites will become infected and full of pus. It is not unheard, that in some cases these seeds can travel great distances inside the animal, and end up in the internal organs, with sometimes fatal consequences. Seeds have been known to go beyond the ear and into the brain.

These seeds are often those which are of the variety of perennial grasses which dry out and look like barley heads. Small sections break off, and because the barbs are backward facing, the seeds travel only one way, they act like an arrow and they are difficult to remove. It is so important to try to keep your dog away from long grasses, but if they should stray, do make sure that you very keenly inspect your dog after each and every walk. Check the feet and pads, under the ear flaps and check the ears. Don’t forget the armpits and groin area. The skin is rather fine here and very prone to sharp grasses. A true saying ‘to be for-warned is to be forearmed’.


Late summer and autumn is the time when harvest mites can become a problem. This six-legged harvest mite larva feeds on tissue fluid and may cause considerable skin itch and discomfort to dogs. It’s at the larval stage when it attacks warm blooded animals – and humans. In other stages of their life they are not parasitic. The larvae congregate on small clods of earth or on vegetation. They are active during the day and particularly in dry sunny weather. When a warm-blooded animal comes into contact with the larvae they swarm onto it and attach onto skin particularly in sparsely haired thin skinned areas. The larvae feed for two to three days and they then drop off onto the ground to complete the life cycle. The larval mite is orange and only just visible to the naked eye.

Harvest mite larvae feed by thrusting their small hooked fangs into the skin surface. The larvae do not burrow into the skin or suck blood. They inject a fluid containing powerful digestive enzymes which break down the skin cells. The resulting liquefied skin tissues are then sucked back into the digestive system of the larva. The larvae will inject and suck for two to three days at the same site until it is full and has increased in size three to four times before dropping off the host, leaving a red swelling on the skin that can itch severely.

The itching will usually develop within 3 to 6 hours of exposure, but can continue for several weeks afterwards. This can lead to rubbing, biting and scratching, and can lead to scurf and hair loss in a few cases. If the skin is damaged due to scratching, these areas can also become infected with bacteria. The fluid injected by the mite is very irritant. Irritation causes the dog to scratch, bite and lick which may result in extensive self-inflicted injury.

You may need to wash any clothes that you were wearing when the mites started to cause a problem. Going through long grassy fields is likely to result in a harvest mite problem, so whenever you do go into one, always wash everything straight afterwards.

Harvest mite larvae are only active during the day, therefore in areas where they are abundant it is best to exercise your dog early in the morning before they become too active, particularly in warm weather. The worst infestations are when sitting in the sun in middle of the day!

There are insecticidal sprays available from your vet that can be of help, but it is more important to thoroughly wash your dog with a good insecticidal shampoo. Thornit is said to be effective against mites. It is a remedy that we generally use for ear mites, but it also seems to be very effective for a variety of mites. Thornit is a powder that is based on Iodoform. The powder can be lightly dusted on to the itchy areas, or in to itchy ears. Relief usually comes within 2–5 days. If your pet has been in contact with harvest mite larvae, and is now itching and scratching, Yumega Plus for dogs can help to relieve the itch as it has a combination of Omega 3 EPA from fresh salmon oil and Omega 6 GLA help to calm the skin, relieving itching and scratching, whilst the Omega 6 Linoleic Acid helps to support the skin’s natural moisture barrier, supporting the skin’s health. The addition of natural Vitamin E supports the skin’s defenses


We all know that young puppies shouldn’t be walked until around two weeks or so after its final injections, and thinking sensibly about this, these youngsters first introduction to the motor car is when they are taken from their mother and siblings to their new home. They are then taken two or three times to the Vet for some nasty needles and then we wonder why that strange metal box association is made with all things not nice. Therefore we really need to start training from the time the pup leaves its breeder. Do take it out in the car if only for short trips, visiting friends and family, (as long as there are no other un-vaccinated dogs around). Also it is a good idea to tuck the youngster under your arm and take it to the local shopping centre where it can watch people and see and hear cars driving past, you might get an achy arm but by the time all the injections are finished the puppy will be quite a socialised little dog. Do try collar and lead training in the house and garden, where there are no other distractions.

Let’s get back to car travel. It should be enjoyable for you and your dog, so very early training is most important, with lots of little trips and to return home with a small treat or their meal awaiting them. All this will only build the dogs’ mind into good things happening at the end of the journey. Never feed your dog before embarking on a car trip, having a full stomach will only increase the odds that what goes down can surely come up too. However, if your dog already has an aversion to the car, well then perhaps there could just be time for a little behaviour modification therapy.

Put the dog’s bed in the car with some of its favourite toys and sit him in there. You, of course will need to keep him company so take a good book to help pass the time. With him seeing you calm and relaxed it should help him. Also try giving him his dinner in there. Once you have gained his confidence and he appears to be a little less stressed, turn the ignition and let the engine idle for 2 to 3 minutes whilst calmly talking to and praising him. (I daresay that the conservation brigade will have something to say about this). Do build up to taking him on very short journeys to the park or woods so that he knows there is something to look forward to. Hopefully, with time and patience he will learn to associate good things. Travelling in cars can be a nightmare if you and your dog are not properly prepared.

Never put your dog loose in the car. Get him used to travelling in a crate, and do make sure that it is properly anchored by seat belts and straps. Should you be unlucky to be involved in an accident your dog will not be thrown around causing further damage to him, to you and your travelling companions, and of course should you open a door the dog cannot make a sudden dash out of the car. If you feel that a crate is not for you or your car there are some very good seat belts which are manufactured for dogs of all sizes, these are further secured via the car’s own fitted seatbelts.

Do make sure that your dog is wearing a collar and name tag, and do make sure that the lead is to hand in an emergency.

Don’t ever let your dog get near to an open window, apart from the fact he may just attempt to jump out of it, also whilst the car is moving at speed pieces of grit can be blown into the dog’s eyes causing much pain and discomfort.

Lastly, if you have to stop, never leave your dog unattended in the car. We have all heard of dogs dying by over-heating on hot summer days. But we hear now in this ever-shocking shameful world, dogs have been stolen from parked cars, something I can’t begin to imagine how I might feel if I should lose my dogs in this way.


John Ruskin

This painting from 1822 by James Northcote is of the great art critic John Ruskin when he was three and a half years old. John Ruskin was married to Effie Gray who later divorced him and then married the pre-Raphaelite artist John Everett Millais and they became the grandparents of Amice Pitt, one of the main founders of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed.


Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


A Dog Bed
This can be any clean surface such as a white bedspread in the guest room or the newly upholstered settee in the living room.

A Lead
The strap that attaches to your collar enabling you to lead your person where you want them to go.

Waste paper basket
A dog toy filled with envelopes, chocolate wrapper and paper. Whenever you are bored you can turn the basket over and rip up the contents and take them all over the house until your owner comes home.

This is what you do when your person has food and you don’t. To do it correctly you need to be seated as close as possible to your person and look sad and let the drool fall on the floor, or better still on to their lap.

These are doggy napkins. After eating it is polite to rub your face all along the front of the sofa to make sure that your whiskers are nice and clean.

A social custom to use when greeting other dogs. Place you nose as close as possible to the other dog’s rear end and inhale deeply. Repeat several times until your person makes you stop.

A container that your neighbour puts outside each week to test your ingenuity. You need to stand on your hind legs and try to push the lid off with your nose. If you do it correctly you are rewarded with food wrappers to shred, chicken bones to eat plus some lovely stale bread.

An ailment that affects dogs when their person wants them to come in and they want to stay out. Symptoms include staring blankly at the person and then running in the opposite direction or lying down.

Every good dog’s response to the command "Sit". Very effective if the person is all dressed up in their evening finery for a posh night out.

The best way to gain your person’s attention when they are drinking a cup of tea or coffee.

A feeling of deep affection, given freely and without restriction. The best way to show love is to wag your tail. If you’re lucky, your person may even love you in return.


Why are dogs such popular pets? And why do some people develop such strong bonds towards their dogs? Is it because dogs have a capacity for affection, love and friendship? When you come home from work the dog comes running to greet you with his tail wagging. He jumps up on you; he is so happy to see you! His feelings are so visible! A dog is able to speak without words, his actions speak for him. They tell what their true feelings are. With people, their true feelings are best discerned by watching their actions. Forget their words, just watch what they do. It’s like the proverb "Actions speak louder than words". One lesson that the dog can teach us is that it is not words that reveal true affection, rather the affection itself. What is it that makes us love a dog? It’s their simple and honest love. There is no deception or dishonesty with the dog. He has a loyal heart with affection and friendship that will remain true throughout his life. This can give us all a lesson in the power of honesty and love.


The Dog: A Natural HistoryThe Dog: A Natural History
by Adam Miklosi
Publisher: The Ivy Press
ISBN: 9781782405627

The Dog is an accessible, richly illustrated, and comprehensive introduction to the fascinating natural history and scientific understanding of this beloved species. Ádám Miklósi, a leading authority on dogs, provides an appealing overview of dogs’ evolution and ecology; anatomy and biology; behaviour and society; sensing, thinking, and personality; and connections to humans.

Illustrated with some 250 colour photographs, The Dog begins with an introductory overview followed by an exploration of the dog’s prehistoric origins, including current research about where and when canine domestication first began. The book proceeds to examine dogs’ biology and behaviour, paying particular attention to the physiological and psychological aspects of the various ways that dogs see, hear, and smell, and how they communicate with other dogs and with humans. The book also describes how dogs learn about their physical and social environments and the ways they form attachments to humans. The book ends with a section showcasing a select number of dog breeds to illustrate their amazing physical variety. The only one thing that I dispute in the book is when giving details to would be pet owners about the care of both Cavaliers and Shetland Sheepdogs is when it recommends grooming them weekly. Owning both these breeds I know for sure that being long coated breeds they need to be groomed daily. But apart from that it is a wonderfully in-depth book, beautifully designed and filled with surprising facts and insights, this book will delight anyone who loves dogs and wants to understand them better.

Think DogThink Dog: An Owner’s Guide to Canine Psychology
By John Fisher
Publisher: Octopus Publishing Group
ISBN: 9781844039098

In the 1980s and 1990s John Fisher revolutionised dog training, first in England, then in the US. With his self-deprecating manner and ‘Oh! So British’ sense of humour, he taught us to ‘Think Dog’. In this seminal pet psychology book, he examines the mind of the dog with examples taken from his practical experience, explaining to owners how the world appears from a dog’s point of view.

The first section of the book traces the ancestry and inherent behaviour of dogs, from their origins as pack animals related to the wolf or the jackal. The second part examines what most people describe as problem behaviour, which is just normal canine behaviour exhibited in the wrong place. The book concludes with an A–Z of common problems, their causes and cures.

Older DogOlder Dog? No Worries!
By Sian Ryan
Publisher: Veloce Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 9781787113664

As your dog grow older they need change, and they may not be as mentally, physically, or emotionally robust as they once were. Older dogs are a joy and a privilege to care for, with opportunities to further strengthen your relationship as you adapt to their changing needs. This book, part of the No Worries! series, encourages you to consider your dog’s individuality, and adapt or introduce activities that help maintain their mental agility, emotional resilience, and physical health. Drawing upon the latest research to provide ideas for maximising your dog’s well-being as they age, the individual chapters allow you to develop your own care plan for your dog, to incorporate new or amended ideas into your daily routine, and to make simple changes to your home, garden, car, and walks, to ensure your older dog is happy, safe, and invigorated.


Halloween CavalierCavalier with Pumpkin

Carved PumpkinCarved Pumpkin


Agility Cavaliers
"These four sporty and energetic Cavaliers belong to Tracy Chapman from Barrow-in-Furnace.
Mindi is the Blenheim on the far left and Lily the Blenheim on the bottom.
Milly is the Black & Tan and Scarlet is the Ruby."


"Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well"
Bonnie Wilcox


For further online Cavalier news and stories don’t forget to read some truly inspirational articles by logging on to the Pawz and Pray page at


If you have any questions about owning a Cavalier then click on the envelope to email Dennis and Tina who will only be too pleased to try and help you.

However please remember that we are not Vets or Lawyers so questions on these topics should be addressed to the professionals for advice.

Questions and answers that are of interest to other owners may be published on this page.

The Cavalier Club is not responsible for external website content.
Back to Top
This document maintained by the
Material Copyright The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club