“He walks a mountain every day to keep up the strength around his hips.”
Between training, competing, and enjoying the great outdoors with her dogs, we caught up with Bronagh to hear about her dogs, their training, and how she supports their long-term mobility.
Q: Thanks so much for joining us, Bronagh! Could you introduce us to your dogs?
Bronagh: Absolutely. I have four dogs. Two Shelties, one of whom is Zeus, my competing dog, and then the wee puppy. Then I have 2 Miniature Schnauzers who are 14 and 16.
Q: And what do you do with them mostly?
Bronagh: Mostly agility with Bronagh, as well as some obedience. He competes at agility grade 7, which is our championship level. The older two are too old now, and my youngest is a pup, just starting out.
Q: We know you give them Antinol to support their mobility and joint health. When did you decide they needed some extra support? Did something happen that made you consider their mobility more?
Bronagh: Yes. Zeus had a hip score done for breeding. The results weren’t great, so obviously, he doesn’t breed, but it has made me conscious of supporting his hips. He has physiotherapy and regular health checks. Then we feed Antinol to support his joint health.
Q: Oh no! How did you feel after getting his results?
Bronagh: Oh, I was pretty gutted! At the time, I thought I was going to retire him from agility. I thought he was done with his agility career. But I spoke to various specialists, and they said he needs to keep active to maintain his joint health. So we’ve just been monitoring everything. I’m a bit over the top! Physio, lots of checks, just to make sure everything is fine.
Q: What does it mean for his agility career?
Bronagh: He went in at grade seven, which is our championship level. So he’s holding his own. Despite his hip score, he isn’t showing any signs of mobility problems. We do lots of strengthening. I don’t think we would have known he would need extra joint support if he hadn’t been hip scored for breeding.
Q: What were you advised to do to support his normal joint health and mobility?
Bronagh: The vet said just keep him really strong. So we work with a really good physio, Siobhan Menzies from Holistic Pet. She’s a vet and a physio.
Sometimes he gets some muscle tightness, so she checks him for that. He has acupuncture and laser therapy. Then I do strength training with all the dogs. I’m “FitPAWS” trained, using yoga and peanut balls to improve balance and strength. He also mountain walks every day to build strength around his hips.
Q: Had you tried any other joint supplements before you found Antinol?
Bronagh: We used one for a while but didn’t see much difference. We tried some other omega-3 ones, and we use some herbs. It was Holly Barker, the sports dog nutritionist, who recommended Antinol. She used it herself. Before that, it was completely new to me. Then I did some research and saw some posts about it.
Q: What were your expectations of Antinol? What made you try it?
Bronagh: Holly’s recommendation helped. I like the long-term joint support it offers. And it’s green-lipped mussel, which I know is hard to get a good extraction of.
I wasn’t expecting much, though. Zeus is relatively young. My older two Schnauzers are doing well with it. Striker is only 1, so I’ve just started him on it, for long-term support.
Q: What difference have you seen with Antinol?
Bronagh: Within maybe 11 days of the initial double capsule period, I saw a difference in Niger. He’s 16 and had some joint stiffness, especially in the mornings. He’s running like crazy. At 16, he thinks he’s a bunny rabbit running across the fields. It’s really doing him good.
Then for Zeus, it’s supporting his long-term mobility. Agility dogs are basically athletes at the end of the day. They run and jump, doing quite a lot of high-impact work. So you need to be supporting them the whole way through their life.
Q: Is there anything you would recommend to someone else on a mobility journey with their dog? Perhaps someone like you, who is supporting their dog’s joint health after a hip score.
Bronagh: Just take it slow. Everything has to be slow. You can’t rush it. You have to go at your own dog’s pace, follow advice from your vet and physio, and keep watching them to see how they are doing.
Q: What advice would you give someone just starting out in agility?
Keep your dog really fit and really strong. Treat them to regular physio and rest periods—make sure they're not overworked.
Don’t put too much pressure on them or yourself. I think some dogs crumple under the pressure of competing. Zeus likes an audience, but I think my puppy would struggle with pressure, which is why I’m so relaxed with my dogs and don’t set them high standards. At the end of the day, you want to keep them happy.