Category Archives: Pets world

Pet Health Diary – Monthly Check-Up

Pet Health Diary – Monthly Check-Up

First of every month marks my monthly pet check-up. Why the first you might ask? Well, it is easy for me to remember. I do my monthly invoices on the first, I pay my credit card bill, the month changes and it is one of those tasks I always do on the first of each month.

All pet owners know that even a low maintenance pets need some care. When it comes to cats and dog they need much more attention than a fish or a turtle for example. There is quite a lot of things which need monitoring and checking up on, on a regular basis.

I have a list (kept safe in my head) which I run through during my monthly pet check-up.

Body mass

This is related mainly to Lilly. She has a weight problem, so my monthly check-up on how she is doing is a must. There is a great body condition tool on the Purina website, which can be a tremendous help for any dog owner.

Skin, coat and nails

This one is especially important for Bunk. He gets hot spots and despite petting him daily sometimes they get missed. A full body check-over of the skin is a necessity for me. This also applies to our cats. They aren’t happy with the check-ups but I simply need to know if they are all ok.
As for nails – I don’t trim nails myself but I monitor them monthly and take the dogs to the groomer or vet if needed.
This is also the best time for some preventing treatments. I treat all my pets with Frontline in order to keep them tick and flea free. The treatment is easy and as long as you have the correct product from your vet, you can easily do it at home. You can read more about fleas and ticks here.

Ears

The first of the month is also the time when my dogs get their ears cleaned. No matter if they are dirty (they shouldn’t be) or not, they get cleaned. Keeping your dogs ears clean is very important as an untreated infection can lead to a hearing loss 😦

Eyes

I buy an eye cleaner for my dogs. In most cases it is used if / when needed. Bunk is a very messy pup and from time to time things get into his eyes, things like his dinner for example. Then he rubs his eyes with his paw, making the irritation even worst. A few drops of eye cleaner and a cotton wool pad and done, shiny healthy eyes.

Mouth

Smelly breath isn’t nice. We have a no kisses policy anyway as standard behaviour in the house but as bad breath can suggest something more serious is going on with your pets health I like to check if their breath is still acceptable. At the same time I have an opportunity to check their teeth and gums; this is how I know that Lilly needs a trip to the vet dentist for some fang cleaning.

This is our standard monthly routine. Every three months I am adding some worming tablets to the mix just to keep things on the safe side.

Do you perform any health check-ups on your pets?

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Why all pet owners should use PetsPyjamas?

Why all pet owners should use PetsPyjamas

Ok, I know what you are thinking now… “Why on earth would I need pet pyjamas?”… You wouldn’t but you might need PetsPyjamas – the website where smart pet lovers go 🙂

PetsPyjamas is the number one lifestyle website for smart pet owners – putting you and your pet at the forefront of everything we do, from providing the very best products and services to arranging your next pet friendly holiday.

There are a lot of aspects to the PetsPyjamas website. It is not just your average online pet shop. You can find in there all sorts of information that you may need relating to your pet, including pet-friendly travel, pet services and a lot of well written articles covering all sort of pet related topics like travel, wellbeing or current trends.

To make PetsPyjamas even more attractive they run a PetPoints scheme. For every purchase you make you are rewarded with points which you can then swop for goodies. I know that a lot of shops run reward schemes like this but here you can actually get something useful without the need for collection your point for ages and ages. You will get 10 PetPoints (more or less) for every £1 spent and the rewards can be redeemed starting for as little as 500 points, which means that your £50 purchase could already yield a free gift…

PetsPyjamas rewards

Actually you get 400 points as a joining bonus so… you do the math 😉

The PetPoints scheme is one thing which makes me want to shop on PetsPyjamas but there is something else which in my humble opinion beats it – shopping by breed. Bunk is giant (as a generic breed only… as an individual dog he is actually on the skinny side), which makes shopping for him rather difficult. So many times I have spotted something I would love to buy for him, only to find out that this particular item is not available in his size. PetsPyjamas gives you an option to shop by breed – for both cats and dogs – which will bring in your search results only items suitable for your selected breed.

PetsPyjamas advanced search

No more getting excited about that nice new collar, which is only available for “cat” sized dogs.

But this isn’t all the things I like about the website. I also like all the additional bonus information which you can find on the PetsPyjamas site, especially all the Pet Services. Currently they have a selection of both pet friendly services and pet friendly places covering:

PetsPyjamas and Pet Services

Every vendor on the website is described in detail and has a review page, so you know exactly what to expect. This really makes life easier, doesn’t it? No more hours of internet searching and checking forums for feedback on that new sitter or groomer you found… now all you need to do is open PetsPyjamas and pick your location.

Have you ever used PetPyjamas?

Did you know that they offered so much more than just an online pet shop?

* Post written in collaboration with PetsPyjamas

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Top tips for walking your dog in the dark

Top tips for walking your dog in the dark

The days are getting longer now but still most of us are walking our dogs in the dark… It might not be a problem if you are based in the city and have well lit roads all around you but out in the countryside winter walks aren’t as peachy as one might think.

I got caught out one morning when I decided to go for a quick walk at 6am in the pitch black… black morning, black dog… you can only imagine where I am going with this… I got scared… re-call didn’t work and Bunk was nowhere to be found… he did come back finally (after a few minutes which felt in that moment like a lifetime) but by this time the seed of fear was deeply implanted. It was time to re-think my walking in the dark routine.

So I sat down and I thought about how to improve our safety, so I read a lot, I did my research and I come across a few pointers I would like to share with you.

Walk route

Darkness is not the best time to go exploring. Pick a well known route which is familiar both for you and your dog. Walks along the side of the road are not ideal but if you don’t have any other options and this is the only walk route with lights along it – then pick it. Remember to walk against the flow of traffic and keep your dog on the side furthest from the road (i.e. your right hand side). Alternatively if you have a bit more time on your hands and have some well lit place which is away from home, then jump in the car and drive with your dog to that walking spot.

Walk routine

Keep control of your dog and do not let him/her off the lead unless you are in a well lit area. Your dog might be well trained but you never know what will happen and there is always a chance of something unpredictable happening so why be tempting fate? Unless your dog is extremely well trained avoid retractable leads. They are dangerous in daylight and can be deadly in the darkness (yes, I am not a huge fan of retractable leads and if you want to know why please read 10 Reasons Why Retractable Leashes Are Dangerous) Also if you are going to let your dog off the lead make sure you have your pockets well stocked with some yummy treats which will help you with that quick re-call if needed.

Human clothing

Walks in the dark are as much about your safety as your dog. If you are walking along the road make sure you wear something reflective. It might not be sexy but a high visibility vest is cheap and will make you stand out for all others road users. Yes, you can and should dress up your dog as well but if you are going to walk along the side of the road you are much bigger than your dog therefore much easier to see 🙂

Dog clothing + accessories

Nowadays there is a huge choice when it comes to reflective accessories for your dog. Pick something both you and your dogs are comfortable with. It might be a high visibility dog jacket or maybe just a reflective neck band; if clothing isn’t really your thing invest in a reflective collar, harness or a lead; if these choices aren’t “speaking” to you either at least get a safety light for your dog. A safety light is small and will clip onto any collar or harness. It will illuminate or flash depending on the program and it will help you easily locate your dog in the darkness.

Be cautious

Stay alert and wary of your surroundings. Listen to what is happening around you. You might follow all these tips and be ready for a walk in the darkness but you can also be sure that someone else might not be so well organized. Don’t be scared! If you are scared your dog will feel it and you really don’t want to be projecting fear into your companion.

Other Equipment

First of all take a torch with you. I use a small LED head torch. The batteries last what seems like forever, it gives a really great bright light and most importantly of all it still allows me to have both my hands free.
Secondly take a phone with you. I bet most of us don’t go far without the phone but walking in the darkness is for sure not the time to forget it. You never know how the walk will end and you might need it to call for assistance.
Third – don’t go wondering in the darkness without anyone knowing you went out. Again you might not think it’s that big a deal in the city but there are many dangerous and risks, just watch the news if you doubt me. If you are going out for a walk in the countryside make sure someone knows you went out in case you get lost or injured and it could be hours before someone finds you to help.

These are my tips.

If there is something you would add to the list please share it with me.

Safe walking!

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30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 2-3 – One down, one still going

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 2-3 – Lilly and Bunk

So we are now just over three weeks into the challenge and I only have one dog left in the running.

My big boy is out.

Just after I posted my last post, I began to notice a few hot spots returning on Bunks skin. I am not absolutely sure if this is the foods fault but I am not going to take any chances. He was eating a grain free food before the challenge and his skin problems were almost none existent… but then it was also summertime and therefore there was much less moisture in the air… so who knows… anyway he is out and I am getting him back onto his old food or to be specific on a senior version of it.

So this is leaving me with only Lilly who is still following the advised food regime.

Last Wednesday we went back into our local Pets at Home store for a check-up. To our huge surprise and confusion Lilly had put 2kg on yet she looks much slimmer. Both her visual and hand examinations showed a lot of improvement – she has one more rib “sticking out” just as she should have… yet she is heavier… The only answer we could come up with for this strange development with the lovely people from Pets at Home was the fact that muscle is heavier than fat… so maybe she has lost some fat and gained some more muscle…

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 2-3 – Lilly at the Groomer

As it was just us girls out shopping, we stopped at the groomers and Lilly had her nails trimmed. Normally we do it at the vet… clip, clip… down on the floor… few minutes and all is done. At the groomers it was a totally different story. Lilly went onto a proper grooming table… for the first time… I think she was a bit scared but she kept a happy face 🙂 She was nicely secured and the trimming began. I was tempted to check her weight again afterwards but I guess that a nail trim wouldn’t make a lot of difference.

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 2-3 – One down, one still going

Lilly runs a lot more these day; especially since Friday, as we have Barnie staying with us again. The extended exercises are doing her good and she looks much healthier. She likes her new food, but I am not sure if she isn’t a bit hungry…

So you see picking the right food isn’t so easy. Like I said before I do not necessarily blame the food for Bunks skin problems, after all he is prone to hot spots, though it is a little coincidental that the new hot spots started just after the new diet started and thus if the food is indeed aggravating it, it is time for a change… again…

Have you ever had or have a pet with any food related health problems?

Do you feed your pet grain or grain free food?

If you feed a grain free diet I would love to hear your recommendations.

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Hungry on the new diet?

Lilly and her stickLilly and stickLilly and the stickLilly with a stick

Normally Lilly would run and fetch the sticks, but lately she just lies down and chews them…

Do you think she is hungry on her new diet?

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30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 1-2 – Transition to the New Dog Food

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 1-2 – Transition to the New Dog Food

It’s coming up for two weeks now since our initial nutrition visit at Pets at Home and we are almost entirely on the new food now. From now on I should be able to see if the new food makes any difference to how my dogs behave or look.

Why does it take so long, you might ask… well… changing dog food is a slow process. Dogs don’t take well to changes in food, so it can’t be done overnight. The balance of the bugs in their digestive tract need time to develop so that they can digest the new foods.

Most vets advise changing your dog food over a period of at least 7 days. You are starting with 75% of the meal in their old food and 25% in the new one and increase the new food as the days go by. To make things easier, Rachel (the lovely advisor from Pets at Home) suggested doing it over the 10 days period, increasing new food intake by 10% each day. We liked this plan and it seemed to us much easier, taking the complicated math calculation into consideration 😉

When changing your dog food it is very important to examine the maximum feeding guidelines very carefully. You have to know exactly how much your dog should be fed. And if you are feeding a mixed meal, such as adding fruit or veggies on a regular basic, this also has to be taken into account. Ideally you should put on paper everything your dog eats, count the total intake and reduce some of the main food to make space for all the additional bits and pieces.

Let’s take our Bunk as an example.

He eats dry kibbles mixed with:

+ He gets about 10 treats a day (doggie milky bones, quite small in size but he really likes them).

He weights 62kg and according to Arden Grange Senior feeding guide he supposed to get 670g of dry kibbles a day. This would be perfect if he didn’t eat anything else. Now, because he gets all these additional foods, his daily allowance of kibbles had to be reduced. Taking into consideration all the additional things he eats his daily amount of dry kibbles eaten has dropped to 420g. Quite a big difference, isn’t it?

I think this is the main reason why there are so many overweight dogs.

Normally we just look at the back of the food bag, make our calculations and then just stick to them. Most of us have never even considered reducing the amount to make “space” for all the extras we feed our pets.

To be honest I didn’t know that a carrot or some apples would have to be taken into consideration too, but they have to… they contain sugars and are not calorie free (I wish they were).

What do you feed your pets?

Do you feed just one brand of food or like to mix it up?

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How to minimise or maybe prevent joint problems in dogs

How to minimise or maybe prevent joint problems in dogs

Joint problems aren’t limited to humans only; animals suffer from them as well. They can cause your pet to feel uncomfortable and even pain. As responsible pet owners we are supposed to do all we can to prevent this from happening; it is however, and most importantly, much easier than dealing with the consequences later on if we don’t.

So, what can cause joint problems in dogs?

Age – The older your dog, the more chances there are he or she will suffer from this condition.

Breed – large and giant breeds have to support more weight and are much more prone to joint problems than smaller dogs. This is why it is very important to think about the future and start protecting your dog as soon as possible.

Weight – Overweight dogs, a growing (no pun intended) and serious problem here in the UK, have a much greater chance of developing joint problems than their slim cover-girl friends. Remember, you can really hurt your dog with love. That extra sausage given as a treat just for being sooo cute will go straight to their hips.

Accidents – Unavoidable usually, but is your house safe from slippery floors or heavy things knocked over with an excited tail?

Infections – Significant reductions in the chance of this occurring can come from a good diet and exercise.

Genetic predispositions – Check out the parents if you can especially if you dog is a “mutt”. If it’s a pure breed then the breeder should be able to give you some history and advise you on the likelihood of problems in the future.

These are some of the main factors that play a big role in our beloved pets potentially developing joint problems.

Can we prevent this from happening?

Of this I am not sure. I am tempted to say no, but I believe that we can greatly reduce the chances of it occurring just by following some basic steps.

Knowing what can cause joint problems and knowing what to do in order to minimise the chances of it happening will help give your pet a better life and potentially save you and your pet a lot of problems in the future.

When we got Bunk, we knew what sort of breed we were getting, we were aware of the increased chance of problems it might hold for us in the future and yet we still got him. We started then and still do try our best to give both him and Lilly the best chance of a pain free life in the years to come.

So what can we do to prevent or minimise joint problems in dogs?

Correct diet

Just as with humans it can be argued that diet is very important, if not the single most important factor in determining what if any health problems we will incur in the future. A lot of people don’t really pay too much attention to what they are feeding their pet, often subconsciously driven by a marketing campaign created to make profits not the best for your pooch, which is a really scary thought. We have to pick the right food for our dog. It is extremely important that they eat what’s right for them and that the food contains all the necessary ingredients. When picking the food, do your research. Do not just pick a random pack from the shelf in the store because it is on offer! Make sure that the food is balanced and that it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which help protect the joints. If you have the time, skills and willingness you can always cook something special for them, like jellied pigs trotters 🙂

How to prevent joint problems in dogs - fish oil

Whilst we are on the subject of diet I would also recommend adding some fish oil. Research shows that it can reduce joint discomfort as well as promote healthy development. Fish oil contains omega-3 & 6 fatty acids that have greater benefits; it benefits their skin and coat, it improves the immune system, decreased inflammations, helps with energy levels, reduce risk of heart problems etc etc… Fish oil is not expensive, it will not break your bank and it will give real benefits to your dog.

Weight control

As stated above the more overweight the dog, the greater the chance of developing joint problems. Keeping your dog slim is extremely important, simply because their weight affects so much more than just joints. I featured a post about Pet Obesity some time ago, so please read it if you want to know more on the topic.

Exercises

Regular exercising of your dog is a must. Walk your dog as it will encourage movement and the flexibility of the joins and help them stay in better condition for longer. It also stimulates their minds and is their natural state which helps in a holistic way, It will also help with weight control. But like with everything in life moderation, exercising has to be done in moderation; too much or too little isn’t going to benefit your dog in fact it will be most unbeneficial.

How to minimise or maybe prevent joint problems in dogs - swimming

Swimming is highly beneficial for dogs as it doesn’t put any pressure on their joints and helps them relax. I am not suggesting that you have to take your dog to hydro therapy but if you have the sea, a lake or even a stream nearby and your dog likes to get wet, let them. Yes, I know it might not be ideal at times, your dog is all wet, your house stinks like a wet dog, your dog needs a bath… very time consuming but highly beneficial.

Sleeping conditions

Imagine how you would feel after an 8 hour long night on the cold hard floor, this is how your dog feels every morning, afternoon and evening. Dog beds are not just an aesthetics exercise, they are necessity! Every dog needs to have a good dog bed. Something warm and comfortable, large enough so he or she can stretch and roll over if desired but most important it has to offer a good lever of support for their joints, back and body, something like this Scruffs Hilton Orthopaedic Bed.

Bunk thinks it is a giant pillow

Bunk thinks it is a giant pillow

but Lilly knows better...

but Lilly knows better…

Sleeping on the cold hard floors of modern households is not natural, they are designed to sleep on the soil or grass which has some give and retains the bodies heat; something our tiles and wood veneered floors cannot offer, as such they are not ideal and not recommended. I know that sometimes it is hard to get your pet to sleep in the bed, but this is one of the reasons why people started dog training. Buy a good dog bed for your pet and make them sleep in it. Or if you own a dog like our Lilly you can take the easy quick option and sacrifice your own bed through the day and evening for he own personal use…

I am done. This is my list.

I would love to know if there is anything else you would add to it.

*Lilly and Bunk received 1 bottle of Salmon Oil and a new bed from Pet Shop Bowl.

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