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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rescue Dogs / Bringing a Rescue Dog Home

Bringing a Rescue Dog Home

There is nothing quite so rewarding as rehoming a shelter dog and with  thousands in rescue centres up and down the country, not only are you offering them a loving home, but you are also making room for another dog who is equally deserving.

Under resourced

Rescue centres are under resourced and often overcrowded and some shelters only have a limited time before euthanasia is considered.  Older dogs and those will health issues are often overlooked and it is they that are most likely put to sleep if homes cannot be found.

What to consider before adopting

Taking on any dog is a huge commitment and taking on a rescue dog can be a little more challenging.

The majority of dogs end up in rescue through no fault of their own.  Breakdown of marriages, moving overseas, ill health of their owners or in some cases, they just may not go with the furniture.  Yes it can be as heartbreaking as that!, but in some cases dogs can have been left alone for long periods of time and have therefore developed some issues, but nothing can cannot be overcome.

Things to consider

If you live in rented accommodation, you should first check the terms and conditions of your lease.

  • Does your landlord allow pets
  • Is your home pet friendly
  • Do you have an adequate exercise area
  • Are you at work each day and if so, can you afford the expense of a dog walker each day
  • Vet fees.  Veterinary care can be expensive, but necessary when your pet(s) become ill

A good rescue center will undertake a home visit to check that your house is a suitable environment and you will need to consider that some dogs may not have been house trained meaning that your carpets may become soiled and your furniture may be at risk until they are fully trained.

Which rescue centre to choose

There are rescue centres up and down the country, but it is important to choose the right one.

Reputable shelters will:

  • Give each dog a health check before being collected
  • Be neutered or spayed
  • Vacinanted
  • Evaluate your circumstances and suitability
  • Match you to a suitable dog
  • Provide guidance and support if required

The decision to take on any dog should be considered carefully and the whole family should be in agreement.  By rehoming a rescue dog you are taking on their history and they must be given time to adjust.

Dog ownership in an enormous responsibility.  You are also offering the dog a second change at happiness and deserve to be rehomed in an environment where they will be loved and cared for and they will reward you a thousand fold.

 

 

 

Summer safety tips for your pets – Must read guide

 

Summer is a wonderful time to be out and about for your pets and here’s some summer safety tips for your pets, when the temperature rises.

Symptoms of overheating in pets

These can include excessive panting and difficulty breathing.  Pets with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are extremely susceptible to overheating as they struggle to pant effectively, so these types of dogs and the elderly should be kept cool whenever possible.

Always ensure that water bowls are topped up with fresh clean water and hutches are either brought in out of the hot sun or moved to the shade.

Swimming Pools & Salt Water

Do not leave pets unsupervised around a swimming pool – contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers and do not forget to remove the chlorine/salt from their fur, so rinse well after a swim.

Sunscreen

Just like us, dogs and cats require protection too and sunscreen is especially important for dogs/cats with white/thin fur.

Pet owners should remember to avoid any sunscreen that contains para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), since this can be toxic if ingested.  Quite simply, never use sunscreen with zinc oxide on your pet.

If you are unsure what products to use, please contact your vets who will be only too happy to advise.

Cars

Have you ever sat inside your vehicle on a summer day in the searing heat, with the windows and doors closed?  Try it!  I doubt you will last for five minutes with feeling unwell, so PLEASE do not leave your dogs to swelter.

Walking

Dogs should never be walked in hot temperatures, so avoid the hottest times of the day.

Make sure your walks are done in shaded areas and take plenty of water with you.

Snakes

Don’t forget that even the UK has snakes, most of which are harmless. However, Adders are poisonous and should be avoided where possible.

Adders are primarily found in heathland, dune grasslands and other naturally grassy areas, so do not allow your dog off leash in these areas.

Try to keep to designated trails and if your dog does get bitten, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Summer insects

Ticks are a common problem during the warm summer months, so check your dog regularly, especially when walking through wooded areas.

A good groom following walks, checking for any lumps and bumps. If one is found, they can be a bit tricky to remove, so twisting them off with a tick remover should do the trick, making sure that its head does not get stuck to your dog.  If you are unsure, contact your vet for advice.

Paws

When the sun is at its hottest, surfaces such as sand and paving get extremely hot.  Not can it only burn your pet’s paws, it can also increase body temperature.  If it is too hot for bare feet, it is also too hot for your pet’s paws.

Hopefully, these tips will help both you and your pets to stay safe and enjoyable summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pet Sitting – A Day in the life of!

Living the dream! A day in the life of!

 

Snuggle time!

As house and pet sitters working with Nina’s Nannies for Pets, we have been told we are living the dream, staying in numerous beautiful homes across the south of England.  I suppose to a point that is true, well at least as far as the lovely homes we get to stay in, but people who make these comments, forget that pet sitting, can be extremely hard work.

My wife Jacky and I, come from a background of years of animal rescue and rehabilitation in Spain:  often caring for large numbers of furry friends at any one time (up to 20 puppies at one time from birth, to rehoming them across Europe).

For this reason, we are known for taking on the larger and more intensive pet sits, ranging from cats and dogs to poultry, horses and occasionally sheep or cattle.

So what does an average day in a pet sitter’s life consist of, for one of this larger multiple animal sits?  The answer is, that every pet sit is different. Needing to be mindful of the requirements not only for the animals but looking after the home you are in temporary control off. It doesn’t matter if the homeowner says” just “Make yourself at home”, you never do, just in case, if you know what I mean!

We have been on sits where the owner is so organised that there is a detailed set of instructions for every day and possible situation we could think of, ranging from meal times to bedtimes. Recommended walks for the family pet and yes, you can take a cat for a walk on a lead!

A working day

Perhaps an example of one day at one of our busier regular sits may show you that sitting is not the high life but can be intensive and still very rewarding.

Four dogs ranging in age from one-year-old terrier, with bundles of energy, 2 older terriers and a fourteen year Great Dane Labrador looking cross (no one is really sure), who likes to do his own thing on walks. One Burmese cat who brings you presents, some are even alive (fun chasing them around), several ducks and chickens, a new forest pony and not to mention a large herd of prize cattle that varies depending on the time of year.

Luckily on this old Mc Donald’s farm, there is a herdsman who works on site during the week and visits twice on Saturday and Sunday. Thank god for him as can you imagine having to walk 40 plus cows every day even if there are two of us. Throw into the mix that the farmhouse is over 400 years old and heated by up to three wood burning fires that in the winter have to be kept going 24/7 to keep the house warm for both us and the animals and you start to get the picture. Did I mention the cat is allowed anywhere in the house but not allowed upstairs just in case?

The dogs (all of them have different characters) sleep downstairs but are always there to greet you in the morning waiting for the first bathroom walk of the day, a good 20 minutes later it is food time all have different dietary requirements, by the way is the cat still in by the fire I ask, he needs to go out.

Whilst I watch the dogs feeding and checking out each other’s bowl if given the opportunity to have someone else’s food Jacky checks the fires are still lit and any ash removed.

Ten minutes later pony who we have spoken to earlier lets us know she wants to be moved to the grazing field, that done the very vocal ducks let us know they want to be let loose, in a blur of feathers as we open the pen whilst ensuring the chickens stay put. I swear the ducks are laughing at chickens stuck in the pen as they make their escape into the garden for the day.

That done its back indoors for a well-deserved cup of tea and shower before taking the dogs out again.  We are lucky that with many fields to walk them we do not have any traffic or roads to contend with only the odd curious cow.

On our return, the herdsman is in attendance and we check with him that all is well.  By now the animals have been fed and are now resting and happy and we can have breakfast and still only 10 am. Check the fires are still okay before ensuring the house is still tidy and other cleaning chores such as our washing.

Now nearly midday the postman has been which woke the dogs, so they need to go out again after the excitement of his visit. The dogs love the cleaner who comes twice a week, so mayhem ensures on her arrival until she has spoken and fussed them before getting on with her work. Mayhem again when she leaves. The dogs then need to have a short walk before we can go out to run our errands. We are allowed a maximum of 3 hours away from the sit but we do not like to be away from out charges for very long as we never know if they are behaving.

We return to the welcoming chorus of dog barks and excitement, anyone would think we have been gone for all day. After the excitement settles down all will need a toilet break again after first making sure the house and the fires are still lit and in order.

As it is winter and just starting to get dark its round-up time for the ducks, checking the chickens are fed and the water trough is not frozen. Collect any eggs; pick up a carrot for the pony before returning her across the farmyard to her stable. Say goodbye to the herdsman having ensured everything is in order with the cattle. Although there is a herdsman in attendance during the day once he leaves the safety and security of the cattle and the farm now becomes our total responsibility. Luckily, I am happy to take on this responsibility.

Now dark but not yet 5 pm and the dogs require their evening meal again, under supervision.      The fires are checked again and the woodpile supply for them has to be replenished.

That sorted we can get our evening meal before taking out the dogs once again. All the dogs are very eager to be taken out so often as being on a farm it is both unsafe and unwise just to let them out on their own for many reasons. About 8 pm we can all sit down to watch a little TV, joined of course by three of the four dogs as the big old boy has his own resting place. The only disagreement between the dogs is who can get on whose lap for fuss. The third dog usually the youngest purchases himself on the back of the settee usually also on a human shoulder whichever one is free.

This makes the daily animal and human love in on the settee all worthwhile; we get our animal fix and is also a testament to the care we always endeavour to give having the animals except us so well that they are happy to snuggle up with us.

Bedtime arrives with a final walk by torchlight for the dogs; ensure the cat is also in. Stoke up the fires for the night, a security check of the house, making sure the dogs are safe and settled down and then we can retire: another day is done and another to follow.

Repeat Clients

Jacky & friends!

Both Jacky and I started pet and house sitting not only for our animal fix, having returned from Spain, but also because we believe in what Nina’s Nannies for Pets are trying to do. We have now just about completed 2 years as sitters and love it. We have a lot of repeat clients who are happy to put their pets and homes in our charge. All of our clients are lovely to work with and there is not a single pet we do not enjoy looking after.

Do we have our favourite houses and pets to look after? The answer is we love all our charges;  all are different and keep us on our toes.

As to a favourite client, the answer is the same and that would be telling anyway!

For information about pet/dog/home sitting as a profession, Become a pet sitter

Pet Loss – Pet Bereavement – Help Guide

Saying Goodbye

The death of a much-loved pet can be devastating and saying goodbye can be an extremely tough and emotional time, especially for the elderly for whom their pet is often their only companion.

Just like the death of a human family member, losing a pet can result in the same set of emotions and in some cases, the devastation and pain can be worse!

What if!

All too often the death of our pets will make us question our decisions and the guilt can be unbearable.  Was there more that could have been done?  Should I have picked up on illness sooner?  What if I had been home when my pet fell ill!

It is all too easy for us to focus on self-criticism and find guilt where there is none and distorted conclusions can plague us for months, even though such feelings are completely illogical.

Euthanasia

This is never an easy decision, but we should never prolong a pet’s suffering.  It is often said that your pet will know when it is time, but it does not lessen the burden of guilt.

A good veterinarian will help you decide when the time is right and should never allow your pet to suffer needlessly and they will assist you through such a difficult time.

Unexpected death

There are two schools of thought when your pet dies unexpectedly.  The first being that it is in some ways easier and the second that some people may think that they should have detected symptoms earlier.

For some pet owners, an unexpected death is thought easier since they do not have to make that difficult decision to have their pet put to sleep.  We all hope that our pets will die peacefully, but this rarely happens.

Children

The finality of death is a difficult concept to explain to a child and they need to understand the finality.

We should remember the strong connections that are formed between a child and their pet and holding a burial, or having a memorial, will help to reinforce the importance of their lives.

Children may not immediately show their emotions, but this does not mean that they are severely affected by the loss.  Very young children may not fully understand the concept of death and reading age-appropriate books about death may prove extremely helpful.

Emotions

There can be a period of denial following the death of a pet, followed by anger, which can be directed at either yourself or even the vet.  Invariably, there will be times when you avoid returning home since this is confronting the reality of an empty home.

We may feel irritable, self-critical and fall into depression and pet parents realised that their loss is permanent.

Coping with loss

Speaking with others who understand your loss and are supportive can help.  The Blue Cross has a Pet Loss and Bereavement line 0800 0966606 or visit their website https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-and-pet-loss

Sometimes recalling memories of your happy life together, rather than a snapshot of your pets last days/hours can help.  The pain may feel intolerable now, but YOU WILL GET THROUGH and there will be a time when those beautiful memories will bring happiness and laughter instead of pain and sorrow.

 

A Pet Sitter’s Diary

October 2017

A Pet Sitter’s Diary

Magic the puppy

So peaceful.    And then  ….  the baby alarm sounded.  Moses the poodle pup (4 months old) had started to stir.  I dashed from the bed throwing my dressing gown around my shoulders as I ran into the kitchen and opened the cage door to extract the most adorable puppy ever born.    As I picked him up he started to pee, and continued to pee down my dressing gown until I reached the back door and then he stopped!

It was so difficult to put him down onto the cold garden slabs.  He was adorable and like a living teddy bear.  His pleasure at seeing me was so touching but his pleasure at suddenly seeing his partially sighted brother was indescribable.   Poor Magic was subjected to repeated attacks from this little ball of ginger fur, huge eyes and a never-ending licking tongue.

The days were filled with regular play times in order to tire out the puppy and lots of cuddles for Magic so he wouldn’t feel left out.   Moses slept regularly in his cage as he needed his sleep for his development.  Watching Moses was a constant job when he was out of the cage as any lack of movement in his legs usually meant he wanted “out” but didn’t quite get the message to wait. Making sure Magic was cuddled and soothed and placated was also a necessity.

Walks were an experience.  Magic being elderly was slow and meticulous in his smelling of every corner and paving slab.   Moses, on the other hand, spent most of the walk standing on his two back legs and waving his front paws trying to win the attention of all passing walkers.  Which he did.

This pet sit was such a pleasure.  During the week I noticed Moses’s improvement in toilet training and routine.

January 2017

Moses – partially blind poodle

Three months later and the gorgeous poodles are even more gorgeous. Magic is still partially blind but may be considered a suitable candidate for eye surgery very soon.  Moses is now seven months old, still as adorable and a lot cheekier.  Night time cage is no longer needed and both dogs like to lie on their own blanket, on the floor, at the base of my bed.   Their gentle snoring is actually comforting and soothing.

Walks were determined by Moses whose furry face, huge brown eyes and wet nose would suddenly appear over the edge of the bed.  Whilst putting on Moses’ harness and Magic’s lead, Moses would grab the lead and excitedly pull Magic towards to door to hurry things along. Magic put up with a great deal of bullying from Moses but the playfulness will decrease in time.   Or will it?

My meals were taken in the kitchen whilst the dogs were eating.  This worked very well as they didn’t hurry their food in order to follow me around the house.

Evenings were spent sitting on the sofa with a poodle lying across each foot…

Pet sitting is an adorable hobby and job.  Why on earth didn’t I do it sooner?

Maggie with another furry client

Maggie Lennie

Tabcat – A review

Finding cats when you can’t

Having worked in the pet care industry for the last twenty years, our clients and anyone associated with our company will be aware of the importance of using microchips to help identify your cat/dog if they go missing. Indeed since April 2016, having your dog microchipped has been mandatory and anyone failing to comply with this legislation may face a penalty fine of up to £500.

Although cats are exempt they remain much-loved family members and although microchips allow us to identify our pets, they cannot help us find our beloved pets if they get lost.

When I heard about Tabcat, which comes with a directional handset, two lightweight homing tags and waterproof cases, I was keen to test it and I can honestly say it works!

Now I have three cats, two of which are cat potatoes and rarely venture out of our garden.  Ed, however, loves to roam and when we lost her for almost a week six years ago, we were completely devastated and if like us, you have a cat that likes to wonder, this could be the ideal solution.  I should mention that it was a temporary loss, for she returned after posting copious amounts of leaflets through doors and informing our local neighbours.

Collar

My main concern was trying to get her used to wearing a collar.  Being a rescue cat, she was micro-chipped as a matter of course and therefore was unused to having anything around her neck, so getting her used the device has taken time, patience and a few of her favourite titbits!

Device

We live in an extremely rural area, surrounded by woods, open fields and a forest, so it was not unusual for me to be shaking her biscuit tin each evening and calling her name like the local village idiot when she failed to return for her dinner.

Before using this device I had assumed that she was too far out of range and therefore did not hear me calling, but with Tabcat her position was easily pinpointed which showed that contrary to our belief, she rarely ventured too far from our home.

It is important that you follow the directions when first using the device, which activates a low beep when you press the locate button.  This gets louder the closer she is and I am still using the same batteries that came in the box, proving that they are durable.

Since our cat has an allotted time outside of our home, she has learned to associate wearing the collar with going out, so we no longer struggle to attach it around her neck.  We now know that her territory is much less than we thought and have discovered her favourite hiding places, much to her annoyance!

Summary

Although we have only been using this product for a couple of weeks, I would certainly recommend it to our clients.  The batteries seem durable and the device is easy to use.  I have always been impressed with its ability to locate our cat even in a garage, with a metal shutter, so it does seem surprisingly accurate.

Setting up the device took me approximately 20 minutes (assembly and syncing the unit to the the collar).  The range states 400 feet but I have yet to test its full accuracy.   In essence, however,  I would say that it is reasonably priced and works PURRfectly.   A product that I would definitely recommend.

For full details visit the TABCAT website.

#AdoptDontShop – For the Love of Jenson

Celebrity!

Why caring for a rescue dog is such a pleasure and why we offer discounts for adopted pets.

We recently cared for a beautiful little Staffie called Jenson and it turns out that this little fella is quite a celebrity! Having just received a five-star review from his owner, we have learned that he was recently featured in Paul O’Grady’s programme ‘For the love of dogs’, where he was looking for his forever home.

Dog relaxingJenson enjoying his bench in the garden.

Andi, his Pet Nanny, had already featured Jenson on her Facebook page, having become totally smitten.

He was adopted by his now owner Kate, after only two weeks fostering and at the princely age of 8 ½ is still as spritely as ever.

When Kate came to us looking for the ideal pet sitter, she explained that Jenson was adopted, but there was little information about him. She knew that he had two previous owners and discovered that he was not keen on cars, could not be left alone without destroying the furniture and barked quite a lot!

Paul O’Grady

Jenson was featured in episode 5 in October 2016, when Paul was seen taking on the role of doggie masseur. Jenson has suffered accidental, permanent scarring on his back, which had left his skin dry and itchy. Jenson was really struggling with kennel life, until he found his forever home with our client Kate who initially foster him before falling for his charm.

Both Andi (his Pet Nanny) and his owner, have both said that he is a complete star. He now loves his car journeys and has shown no desire to shred the furniture, in fact he is a glowing testament to the real nature of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and not the demon dog that some of our media would have you believe!

There are so many advantages of adopting a rescue pet and Jenson is a shining example of the joy they bring into our lives. Not only are you re-homing a pet, you may also be saving the life of another by making room. They say that you cannot buy love, but you can buy it from a rescue centre!

Review

We would thank to thank Jenson’s owner Kate, for the wonderful review left on TrustPilot We so appreciate client testimonials and the fact that they take the time to show how much they and their pets have enjoyed our service speaks volumes about our service.

Please note our discounts for adopted pets. #AdoptDontShop

Why do dogs eat grass?

Dog sitting on grass

There are many theories as to why cats and dogs eat grass, the most common being that it is medicinal to help them vomit. However, statistics show that less than 25% of cats and dogs that eat grass are actually sick!

Most cat and dog owners have regularly witnessed them eating grass, especially in the summertime, although it is much more common in dogs than cats, here are a few theories as to why are canine and feline friends chomp on the green stuff:

Digestion

There does not appear to be any nutritional value.

Cats can regurgitate when they eat grass since they lack the enzymes which break down vegetation. This could be a way of eliminating indigestible matter from their stomachs.

Natural laxative

It is thought that grass could act as a laxative, helping your cat with regular bowel movements.

Toxic

Cat in long grass

While researchers find that grass eating is relatively common in cats and dogs, it is rarely associated to illness. However, it is extremely important that dog and cat owners are particularly careful about using pesticides or fertilisers on or near your garden plants since they can be extremely toxic.

Diet deficiency

To conclude, research has found that grass eating is extremely common that usually occurs in healthy animals and is not necessarily associated with illness or dietary deficiency.

So, these are just a few reasons why our feline and canine friends may eat grass, but there is another.  Perhaps they both just enjoy the taste!

PET SITTING JOBS

working with animals

Do you love pets?

If you are an animal lover with at least fifteen years caring for domestic pets, live-in pet sitting could be the ideal job for you!

In order to join our award-winning team, you need to answer yes to the following:

  • Do you have at least fifteen years’ experience caring for domestic pets. This can include caring for your own?
  • Are you a non-smoker?
  • Do you have your own transport and a clean driving license?
  • Are you active, since most of your assignments will include exercising dogs on a regular basis?
  • Are you honest, trustworthy and reliable?
  • Do you have pets of your own? they cannot accompany you on assignment)
  • Are you willing to travel and free of family commitments?
  • Are you level headed and able to cope in an emergency?
  • Are you willing to provide a police disclosure?
  • Are you a resident in the U.K and do you have a permanent U.K. address?

If you have answered yes to all the above questions, we would love to hear from you.

Nina’s Nannies for Pets have a team of mature, responsible people working either alone, or as a couple.  Our priority is first and foremost the care and welfare of clients pets and maintaining home security.

Duties will include:

  • Maintaining home security at all times
  • Not exceeding three hours away from the client’s property (dog walking duties are not included in your three-hour leisure time)
  • Coping with emergencies as and when they arise
  • Administering medication when required
  • Keeping the pet’s routine
  • Watering client’s tubs, hanging baskets (although heavy gardening is not part of your job description)
  • Lots of tender loving care to the pets in your charge

We are unable to consider people who already have work commitments, or pets of their own, since they cannot accompany sitters on assignments.  For full details please visit Become a pet sitter