5 Benefits of adopting a pet

Please take me home

There are so many benefits of adopting a rescue pet, not least because you will be saving lives and also have a friend for life.

When you adopt a shelter pet, it really can be a life changing moment. Nothing can beat the excited wag of dogs tail, a happy purr, or a long cuddle at the end of your working day.

There is a serious pet overpopulation in the U.K and not every pet is lucky enough to find a new home, which results in healthy cats and dogs being put to sleep. The following are five good reasons to adopt from a rescue group, or shelter.

Save money

Did you know that the majority of rescue centres will microchip, and neuter your pet before they are rehomed?  They will also worm and vaccinate and some shelters will even test cats for  FeLV and in some cases, dogs are checked for heartworm.  They also receive a veterinary check and will hand out advisory sheets, outlining the best care.

Saving lives

Pets in shelter are all deserving of a second chance and contrary to some beliefs are not there through bad behaviour.

They can be lost, abandoned, the result of a divorce, or their owners could have died.  Whatever the reason, it is rarely the result of unwanted behaviour.

By adopting a pet, not only are you rehoming an animal, you are also not supporting puppy mills, which is an industry that thrives on making money, by churning out endless puppies and kittens.  These poor animals are often inbred and suffer hideous health defects and illness.  Not to mention mothers and fathers who are kept in confined spaces, with little food, proper housing and human companionship.

You will also be making room for another poor unwanted animal, thereby giving them the chance of a loving home.

Help break the cycle of overpopulation

Sadly, there are just not enough homes for animals who are born each year and adopting from a rescue centre helps to lesson this cycle.

An estimated 47,000 dogs alone were abandoned last year.  Some found their way into rescue, while more than 5,000 were put to sleep.  Across Britain, it has become so desperate that both dogs and cats are now being euthanised at a rate of one every couple of hours and the situation is now in crises.

Every day, rescue centres are struggling to cope and the ‘throw away’, mentality is being blamed.  Charities are hoping that this number will start to reduce, following the legal requirement to microchip your dog, which came into force in 2015.

Health benefits

Having a dog is a wonderful motivation to go out walking.  A dog that relies on its owner for their daily walk, with help you to get moving.

Owning a dog will also reduce isolation and help making new friends. They also provide a sense of purpose as well as a faithful companion.

Research also shows that pet owning victims of heart attacks, are far more likely to make a speedy recovery.  They are also instrumental in reducing anxiety and relieving stress.  Stroking a cat can also give warmth in the winter and reduce blood pressure and playing with them can increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine, helping you to relax and reduce stress and depression.

Improve your social life

Owning a dog, can especially be beneficial at facilitating interactions with other people that you meet on your walks.  Often talking with other dog owners or people, may even help you find love, since they can instigate confidence when approaching someone you are attracted to and even cat ownership, can be more appealing to those of the opposite, or same sex.

Seriously though, owning a dog will at least help you to make friends and they can often act as an ice-breaker at your side.

 

I have just covered a few benefits here of adopting a pet, since there are too many to mention, like returning home from a hard days work to find an excited dog or cat that can provide the companionship and support that we desperately seek.

Other pets also have positive effects, so consider your lifestyle and be sure that your chosen pet will fit into your routine.

 

 

 

Does your dog belt up!

Keeping within the law!

Did you know that rule  57 of the Highway Code, stipulates that your dog must be restrained when travelling in a vehicle?  In fact not only could you be fined £2,500, but you can also receive penalty points on your licence and in some cases,  a ban and even a compulsory re-test!

Insurance companies may not even approve a claim, if you are found to have an unrestrained dog in your car and are involved in an accident.

Tips for securing your dog

In order to keep your dog safe while travelling in your car, consider the following:

  • Fit a dog harness to your seatbelt
  • Attach a zipline harness
  • Fit a dog guard in the boot
  • Provide a dog crate

Making the journey comfortable

It is not just good old Fido, who may be using your car.  Even small furries and cats may require securing, for example, if you are moving and need to transport them to a new location, or more commonly, when visiting the vets.

  • Start young: Animals are far more inclined to tolerate and even enjoy car trips, if your start from a young age.  Have them sit in your vehicle while it is stationary and then start the engine.  Later once they are acclimatised to the running engine, try taking them on short trips.
  • Regular breaks:  If you are making long journeys, ensure that you take regular breaks in order that they may enjoy a short walk, where they can have a toilet break and a drink.
  • Remember to keep them cool in hot days.  If you do not have air conditioning, invest in a cooling mat and keep a good stock of cold water.

Dont!

  • Allow your dog to sit on your lap.  IT IS AGAINST THE LAW AND CAN BE DANGEROUS.
  • Allow your dog to lean out of an open window.  This is distracting for other drivers and a dog could easily bang their head, or in worse case scenarios, fall out and suffer serious injury or even death.

Keeping dogs safe

You would not allow your baby or young child to travel unsecured, so please be mindful of your pets.  They, like your children, can suffer injury and can also affect any passenger travelling with them, if they are not safely restrained.

5 Ways To Spend Valentines Day With Your Dog

1. Enjoy a break together

Dogs love interaction with their owners, so a weekend away would be a fun treat for both. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll on the beach, or an amble through leafy forests, dogs are a wonderful ice-breaker and taking a cute dog on a weekend break, could also land you the perfect mate!

2. Donate to your local rescue centre

Valentine’s Day is all about caring for those you love, so why not donate to your local rescue centre and spread some love to those animals who need it most.

3. Bake your dog a home made treat

 

 

Dogs adore food and what better way to say ‘I love you’, than a homemade treat.

4. Play their favorite game

What dog doesn’t enjoy playing a good game of ‘fetch’ and exercise is also great for reducing your waistline!

Playing and interacting with your dog is a wonderful way to keep them stimulated and you physically fit and they thrive when they are able to engage in these types of activities.

5. Watch a film together

Dogs simply love affection and snuggling with their owner is a delight shared by both. Put some popcorn in the microwave, open a bottle of Prosecco and snuggle down with your dog with Marley and Me, but don’t forget the hankies!

Calling Retired Animal Lovers!

5 Christmas Gifts For Your Dog

Bling & Sparkle

If you are looking for a little bit of bling and sparkle for your dog/cat this Christmas, look no further than these beautiful rhinestone collars/pet jewellery that will certainly not break the bank.

The large size start at £9.00, with the small costing as little as £7.00 and can be purchased from our very own store at Nina’s Nannies for Pets.

It is wise to remember however, that these collars are not to be used with a lead.

Ruffle Snuffle Treat Ball

We love this treat ball, since it has been created to provide enough of a challenge, but deliver rewards quickly to your dog.

It is made entirely from fleece so no rubber to chew in the middle.

It is also machine washable for easy cleaning.

Again, very reasonably priced at £5.50 and can be purchased from Ruffle Snuffle

Tetford Chesterfield in Heather Tweed

This is one of the most expensive Christmas offerings, but it has been hand crafted and made of the finest Heather Tweed. They really are a quality dog bed, that will fit into anyroom.

Retailing at between £350 – £528.00 this is a product to last and can be found at Lords and Labradors.

 

 

Kong Balls

This is a must toy for everyone with larger breeds, such as Staffordshire Terriers and German Shepherds.

These are the best bouncing and most durable balls on the market and perfect for the dog that loves to fetch and chew.

Made from Kong’s classic durable rubber they come in various  sizes, small, medium and large and retail at approximately £10.49 for the small, depending on where you buy them.  We found some on Amazon that start at £6.00

Dog Coats

Last but not least comes the classic dog coat and if you really want to splash the cash on your pooch this year, what about this quilted little number straight from Harrods!

As you would expect from a high end retailer, these are quilted Barbour coats which come in all sizes, from the tiniest, to the giant breeds.  As you would expect, they do not come cheap and start from £44.94 for the tiny size.

It boasts a slick quilted design, classic corduroy collar and adjustable buckle, with a Velcro closure for easy fastening.

You can find them on Harrods main site.

We hope you have enjoyed our five suggested dog gifts for Christmas and whatever the size of your budget, there is something for every purse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mystical World of Cats

Anyone who has ever lived with a cat knows that they have a certain amount of magical energy and people often refer to them as having ‘psychic powers,’ in their ability to understand our emotions.

Of our three cats, one in particular, Edna, who is our eldest rescue, has a really strong connection to my husband, who has Multiple Sclerosis and this manifests itself, when he is having an attack, or is feeling particularly poorly.  For the most part she is welded to his side and her loyalty to my husband is steadfast.

Magic

There is an old saying, that when a cat rubs against us, it is because they are sharing their magic and not only do they protect us from evil spirits, but also the negative energies that some houses harbour from previous owners.

Cat Burglars & Invisibility Cloak

Have you ever wondered why some people are referred to as cat burglars? Maybe its because they are adept thieves stealing at every opportunity.  From the scraps on your plate, to the milk in your fridge and then they disappear, just like magic!

Evil Spirits

How many times have you watched your cat as they constantly return to the same space in your house, staring at something that just is not there!

We know that cats have amazing senses and will often see things that you miss, so perhaps our cats really do see something that we miss and since they seem more curious than dogs, this could explain their sometimes erratic behaviour.

Healing

Just stroking a cat can release people from their mental and emotional stress and in the winter, they make the most wonderful hot water bottles.

Petting has been proven to lower blood pressure and this can reduce the risk of heart disease. A recent study also shows us that cat owners have a 40% less risk of having a heart attack.  Even a cats purr has proven to be therapeutic and has also shown, that owning a cat lowers your cholesterol and cuts the risk of having a stroke by 33%.

Athletic

Cats have the capability to squeeze into any small space, however small. They almost defy the law of physics as they twist and contort in the air, falling from great heights with no problem at all.

Have you ever tried shutting the windows and doors, to prevent your cat escaping outside.  Within minutes and without any explanation, they miraculously appear in the garden!

Telepathic

Well, they can predict earthquakes, know what you are thinking and even comfort the dying and  is it just a coincidence, that cats are never to be found when a vet trip has been arranged!

Our vet appointments just do not work and it is not because their carrier suddenly appears from the garage. They seem to sense  that I have just made the appointment, so does this really mean that there is a telepathic bond between us and that they are indeed clairvoyant?

As well as tuning into their owners thoughts, they also seem to know when an owner is expected home, regardless of them returning at unpredictable times.  In my early days of pet sitting I had no set time of my arrival and yet just before I was due home, all three would be dutifully waiting on the window ledge mewing as I walked through the door.

So cats have improved our lives in so many different ways.  We have fewer medical visits and live longer by owning a cat.  The psychic powers of cats may yet still to be proven, but for all of us owning and sharing our life with these creatures, is any further proof really necessary!

 

Pedy Water Fountain

Description

The fountain is made of ABS plastic which is safe for your cats and the charcoal filter promises to keep the water clean and healthy.

It is extremely quiet and the automatic circulating water and 1.6 capacity helps to ensure that your pet drinks regularly.

Package

1 x Pet Water Fountain

1 x Flower Mat

1 x AC Adaptor with a UK Plug

1 x Charcoal Filter

Instructions

There are numerous water fountains on the UK market, each providing a continuous stream of fresh water.  Since all three of my cats are used to drinking water on a high surface (away from  our dog), I wanted something that was not bulky and would fit onto our kitchen ledge.

It has has a steady trickle of water which our cats love, it is easy to assemble and takes up little room.  It also ensures that the water is clean and there is a maximum line which helps to prevent overfill.

The silicone mat is easily foldable for smaller spaces and brilliant for spillages and its little yellow petal makes it quirky looking and attractive to look at.

Summary

Pedy is easy to take apart and clean and you can buy the filters separately, which are available online. It has three different settings which are ideal for picky drinkers and offers maximum oxygenation for fresher, better tasting water.

This fountain retails at £18.99 on Amazon with free UK delivery, which compared to other similar fountains of the same specification, is extremely reasonable.

I would definitely recommend this product which can be purchased from any reputable pet store, or online.

 

 

Caring for your senior dog

Caring for your senior dog

Caring for your senior dog

Just as with humans, our senior dogs suffer from age related problems and senility.  The problem is however, is that they cannot always show us what is wrong.

Common health problems in senior dogs

  • Deteriorating eyesight and hearing
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Senility/Dementia
  • Kidney disease
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Dental problems

How do I know if my dog is in pain

There are certain breeds like German Shepherd Dogs, who are extremely stoic and will often hide their pain, so it is important to look for signs of discomfort and agitation. Senior dogs with arthritis, can be sensitive to touch and resent normal handling.

Sudden snappiness or aggressive behaviour is a sure sign that your dog is feeling out of sorts, or hiding away instead of coming to greet you.  Changes in their eating pattern, excessive drinking and sleeping throughout the day are all indications that your dog is unwell.

Our eleven year old German Shepherd is now heavily panting, even though is had no exercise and is noticeably stiff when he awakes from a nap.

When to get treatment

Senior dogs do not have the reserves of a younger dog, hence time is crucial. It is far better to err on the side of caution and get your dog checked out as soon as you can.

You may also want to take more frequent trips to the vet, based on your dogs symptoms and be careful to administer the correct dosage of medication when prescribed.

Adjust their living conditions

For senior dogs with joint problems such as hip dysplasia or joint issues, you may want to consider giving your dog a ramp, to enable them easier access to the stairs or your car. Keep their foot and water bowls within easy reach and provide non slip mats on wooden floorboards or slippery floors.  Heat pads can relieve a senior dogs achy joints, but check them regularly, to ensure that they are not too hot and follow the instructions carefully.

It is extremely difficult to see your once playful puppy turn into a senior dog with health problems and know that their time with you may be limited. They may have their ailments but they still feel as much love and loyalty as they did in their younger years.

The final goodbye

Sudden death is a rarity and it is more likely that they will give clues that they are nearing the end of their lives. There is a strong possibility that you may be faced with a heart wrenching decision about when to say your final goodbye.

Dogs that have been ill for sometime may fall peacefully to sleep, but it is more likely that their quality of life will diminish rapidly, forcing you to make a painful decision.  It is important to remember that the rapid advances in veterinary technology may prolong your dogs life, but it is not always in their best interest to do so.

Your last loving act may be that of euthanasia, setting your dog free from their pain and suffering.  Only you know what decision to take.  When you see the suffering in your dogs eyes and their inability to cope with the smallest things, like eating and drinking and when their quality of life has completely diminished.

The final breath

Having your dog put to sleep is the most difficult decision you will make for your dog and I would implore you to stay with him until his very last breath. Try to stay calm, remain strong and if possible, hold them until they quietly slip away.

Take time to grieve

Just like losing a human family member, you must take the time to grieve.  The loss of your pet can have a severe impact on your health so consider counselling or a support group.  Dogs are with us through tears and our happiness and often are there when our family are not and their passing can leave a huge void in our lives.  Acknowledge your grief, since it is an essential part of your healing.  Take as long as you need and cry when you feel the need.

 

 

 

Is it time to ban cats?

Killer cats

Should cats be banned?

The view of cats being murdering menaces, is shared by people who continually call for cat owners to keep their animals inside, or at least ensure that they are fitted with bell – collars to help prevent them from hunting and killing wildlife.

Dr Peter Marra, a world bird expert was recently interviewed on on radio 4’s Today programme and stated that cats were killing billions of birds each day.  For this reason, he stated that cats should be banned from going outside.  He also stated that all free roaming/stray cats, should be euthanised if homes could not be found!

Cat population

There are thought to be approximately 8 million cats in the United Kingdom and it is thought that they kill around 55m birds a year, but they mainly predate on the sick, the weak and the young.

As a cat owner, I cannot dispute that of all three of my rescue cats, the eldest, will take any opportunity to desimate our local wildlife.  Predation is an inherant trait but it is their purrs and snuggles, which is a side that makes cats the perfect companian.

Noisy cats

So aside from keeping our cats indoors, what other  measures can we take to give our wildlife a fighting chance.  Well, you could fit a bell to a quick release collar. Theoretically, the sound of an approaching cat will alert their pray and help them to ellude capture, however, in practise it makes little difference.  Cats are too clever!

In short I see little evidence that our cats are responsible for driving our wildlife to extinction.  The RSPCA also state that they see little evidence to suggest that cats are responsible for our declining bird population.

How can you help

Many of our cat clients are turning to cat proofing their gardens.  The solves the dilemma of keeping cats in a safe environment and allowing them to enjoy the outdoors.  Outdoor cats are also at risk from traffic dangers and sadistic people who relish the opportunity to injure and kill domestic pets. It will also prevent other cats from entering your garden, which can be a source of stress for many cats.

Cat proofing your garden will limit your cats access and you will need to work harder to enrich their surroundings and keep them entertained.

Plant dangers

A bored cat will be tempted to nibble your plants, so you will need to ensure that there are no toxic plants in that area.  Slug bait and poisons used to control pests are extremely hazardous and should never be used near your cats.  Planting some cat nip and erecting a few platforms, will ensure that your cats remain happy and content while outdoors.

Helping a Dog Lose Weight – Weight management

Health implications for overweight dogs

There is an old saying with regard to overfeeding your dog and that is quite simply, ‘killing your pet with kindness’, or what you perceive to be kindness.

Of course dogs relish the opportunity of a cooked sausage or two and look at those eyes when they see you reach for their treat jar.  Sadly the reality of too many sausages and treats, can be an overweight dog causing lasting damage to your pets organs, bones and joints, leading to heart disease and high blood pressure.

Less calories – weight management

You can start by consulting your vet, who will advise the best diet for your dog and work with you to ensure that weight reducing and management, will be controlled and done in the correct manner.

They will also take into account your dogs exercise regime and calorie intake. It could be that just cutting treats altogether is all that your dog needs to shed those extra pounds.  If this is the case and once your dog reaches their ideal weight, a slightly longer exercise regime, is all that is required to maintain a healthy weight.

Don’t give in

It is so important that you hold firm when Fido offers those pleading eyes. Remember it is for their own good and if you are serving the correct portions, giving more food/treats will only add to more weight issues.

Begging is a trick that they will quickly learn to exploit, so put them away while you are eating.

Exercise

Increasing their exercise alone, is not enough to reduce a dogs weight, although it is very helpful.  You will need to start gradually, little and often, being mindful of older pets, especially in hot weather.

If your dog enjoys playing, outdoor activities such as hiding a favourite toy, will also stimulate their mind, as well as reducing their waistline.

Treats

Treats do not have to be like those found in a local supermarket packet.  Pieces of carrot, small slices of cooked liver, or chicken can be ideal, but remember to adjust their main meal accordingly.

Neither are treats essential and should always be given in small quantities such as the size of a fingernail.

Patient

Be patient with any weight loss/weight management program.  It may take a few months before your dog reaches his/her target weight and be sure to seek veterinary advice and guidance before a diet is agreed.

Having more than one dog

The best solution for someone who has more than one dog, is to feed them separately.

Do not leave food out when you are away from the home, since you cannot control who eats what when you are not around.

Weight loss success

For the majority of overweight dogs the key to weight loss success is commitment from their owners.

Dogs do not understand the implications of being overweight and rely on us for their well-being and safety.  By overfeeding our canine companions we are inadvertently contributing to a premature death or developing a debilitating disease.