Can your dog give blood?

 

When I was approached by Pet Blood Bank UK, to enquire if we may be interested in including a blog article on pet blood donation, I was eager to help spread the word.

Just like us, dogs often require blood transfusions if they are sick or injured, which is why in 2007 Pet Blood Bank UK was formed and they are the first and only animal blood bank charity in the UK.

Can your dog give blood?

 

How many dog owners consider offering their dogs as blood donors? In all my years of dog ownership, it really is nothing that I had considered before.

Emergencies that require blood transfusions

  • Surgery
  • Ruptured spleen
  • Rat poisoning
  • Anemia
  • Sepsis
  • Hemorrhage
  • Bleeding in the stomach
  • Low platelet count
  • Gastric torsion

Criteria for blood donors

  1. Your dog should ideally be aged between one and eight years old
  2. Be fit and healthy.
  3. Not be taking any medication.
  4. Be up to date on both flea/ worm treatments and vaccinations
  5. Have not previously received a blood transfusion
  6. Weigh more than 25kg
  7. Have a good temperament
  8. Easy to handle
  9. Never travelled abroad.

 

How long does the procedure take?

Once your dog has received a full veterinary check, a small amount of fur will be clipped away from the needle site on the neck. The area is cleaned and some local anesthetic cream will be applied to minimise the needle sensation. During the process, your dog will be comforted and stroked and if at any time, they seem under duress, the procedure will be stopped.  It takes 5 – 10 minutes for a dog to donate 450ml of blood.

Different blood types

Different blood types

Like us, dogs have different blood types and in the UK we test for DEA 1 positive and negative.  With only 30% of dogs having a negative blood type, keeping up with demand can be challenging.  Research by Pet Blood Bank shows that certain breeds of dogs are more likely to be negative blood type and it is these dogs that the charity particularly needs to come forward.

The breeds are:

  • Airedales
  • American Bulldogs
  • Border Collies
  • Boxers
  • Dobermans
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Bull Terriers
  • Flat-Coated Retrievers
  • German Shepherd Dogs
  • Greyhounds
  • Lurchers
  • Old English Sheepdogs
  • Pointers
  • Weimaraners

Following the procedure

Once the dog has given blood, they will be given a snack, water and time to relax. The blood is then taken to the charity’s center, where it is processed and stored until it is required.

Your dog is then presented with a red bandana to show that they have donated. A lovely touch, which when worn, could help to encourage other owners to put their pooches forward.

If you would like further details, please contact Pet Blood UK on the link provided at the beginning of this article.

Keeping your pets cool in hot weather

Exercise

There is a simple trick to help determine if it is too hot to exercise your dog and that is to remove your shoes and walk on the pavement barefoot.  If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog.

Dogs can suffer heatstroke within minutes and the signs include excessive panting and collapse.  It is important to remember that once a dog shows signs like these, the damage can be already done, which is why we must prevent it.

Keeping a dog cool

  • Keep a cold damp towel under your dog if possible and keep replenishing it as it dries.
  • Ensure that he has access to cold water throughout the day, keeping it topped up at all times.
  • Only walk your dog first thing in the morning and last thing at night
  • Remember that flat-faced breeds really suffer in the heat, so be vigilant and ensure that there breathing is not affected.
  • Try making cooling treats by putting their favorite food in ice-cubes.
  • NEVER leave your dog in a car during hot days.  Open windows will not prevent them from overheating.
  • A paddling pool will help your dog cool down and what dog doesn’t enjoy a good splash
  • Provide a cooling mat, but ensure that it is purchased from a reputable store and follow instructions for use.

Hutches

It isn’t just your dog that can suffer heatstroke.  Outdoor hutches should be moved inside if possible, to a cool part of the house.  Free running on cold tiles will help them to keep cool and if this isn’t possible, move them to a shaded part of the garden and use a cold damp towel to drape over their hutch/cage.

Also, be sure to keep replenishing their bottles with cold water and check on them regularly throughout the day.

Horses and livestock

It is important that your horses and livestock have access to shade and freshwater, which can evaporate during hot weather.

Fans can be provided to cool livestock, ensuring that they receive adequate ventilation.  Sprinklers will also as a coolant during extreme temperatures.

Wildlife

Wildlife can also struggle during severe heat, so leaving water in your garden will help to quench their thirst and keep them cool.

Birdbaths are a welcome attraction for birds and will help them to clean their feathers, before finding a sunny space to dry.

Finding regular food can be a struggle for wildlife during hot periods and some wildlife trusts recommend leaving food for the hedgehogs, such as tinned cat or dog food (not fish).  Specialised food can be purchased from wildlife food suppliers, but NEVER feed them milk, since this can cause severe tummy upset.

Cats

As with dogs, cats should have access to fresh cool water.  While they love the warmth,  intense heat can see them can suffer so keep them out of conservatories.

White cats are particularly susceptible to sunburn, so apply suncream to their ears and faces and when the sun is at its strongest, keep them indoors.  They can also benefit from a cooling mat and if they do show signs of heatstroke :

  • excessive panting
  • increased heartbeat
  • lethargy
  • panting

If you are worried about any animal, please seek veterinary treatment immediately.

 

Saying goodbye!

Last breakfast

Who could have known, that I would be giving my old boy his last breakfast that day!

I had noticed a marked decline in Luika’s health and he was undoubtedly slipping into dementia, so much so, that we now worried about allowing him alone time with our three rescue cats, when only last year, their relationship was mutual respect and harmony.

The day started like any other, but as it progressed, I noticed that my old boy was reluctant to leave the comfort of his bed.  Even when the biscuit tin was rattled.  When finally he did open his eyes, they seemed dim, almost like the light was diminishing before me.  He suddenly looked like a little old man and my heart sank, as I knew that the time was coming for me to make the choice that all pet owners dread.

After lunch

I ate a small lunch and for the first time, did not have to wave Luika back to his bed.  Despite his training, we never did break that ‘please can I have some’ look at feeding time.  He just wanted to sleep

Mid afternoon and he suddenly sprang to his feet and lunged at our youngest cat, who was over in the far corner of the lounge.  It was terrifying and completely out of character.  The attack seemed to last for minutes, when in fact, in could only have been seconds and I knew immediately that I needed expert advice.  This was not the Luika that I knew.

Vets

The appointment was made for 6 pm and the drive to the surgery was done in a complete haze.  I had made the journey so many times, since it was next to our local shop, yet I remember nothing.

Luika struggled to get out of the car and needed my support into the surgery.  When the door closed behind us, I knew that he would not be coming home.

Our last cuddle

Luika’s dislike of the vet seemed to summon his strength and he had to be muzzled. For a brief moment, I had hoped that this may be a sign that he would be coming home.  I cradled him in my arms to strop his struggle and looked into his eyes, that were sunken and gaunt.  It was just like the life was already leaving him and the vet’s examination confirmed that his body and heart were closing down.

I held him tightly and while the injection was administered and with uncontrollable tears, I promised him that he would soon be free of his pain.  I thanked him for all the wonderful years that we had shared and as I felt the life leave his body, I knew that I had made the right decision.  He was gone and a part of me went with him.

Alone

The vet and nurse left the room, leaving us time together.  Just Luika and me.  I sobbed of course, for Luika and for all the other pets that I had loved and lost and when I eventually left the room, I felt utterly bereft.

Memories

Driving home I recalled our first training class together.  I had already taught him the basics, so the down stay and sit were a breeze and we came away with two ribbons and a puppy bone.

I remember the frustration with him constantly emptying our bin.  We tried every make and model, but still he mastered the lids and within minutes was tucking into its contents.

I recalled him romping in the garden with our three cats and teaching our middle cat Harriett to bark.  Yes, she can actually bark, albeit cat like.  They would sit together waiting for the postman, before their morning chorus began!

I relived his whole life in that twenty minute journey home and wept inconsolably on my return.

Euthanasia

This is the last kind act we can do for our pets.  Knowing that we can stop their suffering.  It is a decision that will inevitably be wracked with guilt, but I try to take comfort in knowing, that he is now in a better place.  I just hope that he is behaving himself up there in heaven and not leading others astray.  I also hope that God has those waste bins firmly closed, or my Luika will have the contents out within seconds and a feast will be had by all!

Travelling with your dog

Dog holding his suitcase

Brexit

There is a lot of confusion surrounding travelling with your pet if and when we exit the European Union. Under the current Travel Scheme, pet owners can travel with their pet to Europe if they hold a valid passport and if we do ever leave, as long as we strike a deal, nothing will change.

Journey check list (not by plane)

  1. Medication.  It is really important that your remember your dogs pills and a little extra would tide them over, in case your journey home is delayed.
  2. Water bowl.  If your are travelling abroad, or just enjoying a stay-cation in the UK, you should remember to keep your pet(s) hydrated.
  3. Up to date chip.  Hugely important, since if your pet does get lost, an up to date chip will inform the dog warden/rescuer, of your address and contact telephone number.
  4. Shampoo and towel.  Readiness for bad weather.
  5. Check local veterinary practises in the area where you are holidaying.
  6. Blanket
  7. Poo bags
  8. Food (water for the journey)
  9. Treats
  10. Lead.
  11. Favourite toy
  12. Brush or comb

Plane trip

  1. Always check with the airline that your pet(s), details/passport is up to date and that you have the correct documentation.
  2. Keep your pets current medical history with you.
  3. Ensure that your dog is fed and exercised before your journey.

Remember:

  • Airlines can delay or cancel your pets flight if they are deemed to be stressed, ill or aggressive.
  • Crates must be appropriately sized.
  • No wire crates are accepted.
  • Crates must have appropriate ventilation.
  • Crates must have carry handles.
  • You must have fed your pet no longer than four hours before they fly
  • A health check must be undertaken by a veterinarian and a rabies injection given well in advance.
  • There should be no lead or muzzle in the crate.
  • Dogs should be older than eight weeks old and fully weaned from their mothers.
  • Live animal should be written on the crate.

Taking your dog on holiday can be stress free if you plan ahead.  Weather your taking your dog here in the UK, or overseas, any paperwork, documentation can be organised weeks in advance.

If your going in your car, make a habit of regular stops on your journey. You will both appreciate a toilet break and the chance to stretch your legs, but be sure to keep your dogs leashed to prevent an escape.

Leaving your dog at home

Not all dogs are suitable for travel.  Some may be nervous (have a history of anxiety during confinement or travel).  Some dogs may have ongoing health problems or just too old to undergo a long journey, so you should plan ahead for your pet care.

There are all kinds of care depending on your budget, but booking ahead will ensure that your dog will be cared for while you are away.

 

Litter tray etiquette

How to chose the best litter tray

During my time as a pet sitter, I have seen a plethora of cat litter trays.  Those with hoods, large ones, small ones, the downright silly ones, self cleaning ones and I could go on!

Firstly, I would suggest that even an outdoor cat should have a litter tray.  The reason being that if your kitty is ill, or you need to keep him in, they are litter trained and able to use a tray.  It will also save on any little accidents that may occur as a result of a bad tummy.

The cat litter boxes I have attended have all, without exception, been plastic, so which does your cat prefer?  Well, unless you are Dr Dolittle, we must rely on your cats preference.  For example, kittens will be fine with a smaller tray, but an adult cat will almost always prefer a larger space to do their business.

Hooded trays provide a good degree of privacy, while others would prefer an open space, especially if you have more than one cat.  Why not buy one of each and watch to see which one is preferred.

I have three cats and three jumbo size trays.  Two are hooded, one is open and of the three, the two hooded ones seem  to curry favour.

Where should l place the trays?

I would strongly suggest that they be placed apart in different areas of your house.

Your cats need a safe and quiet safe space, so place them in a quiet corner or adjacent to walls.

Toilet sites should be kept away from areas in the home where food is prepared and eaten.  Never place them in busy thoroughfares, or near cat flaps, which could come under threat from neighbouring cats.

What litter should l use?

Of all the types I have cleaned, by far the easiest is the ‘clumping’, litter.  It is also (in my opinion), the most economical, since litter made of crystals are non absorbent, messy and a large area needs to be removed in order to clear all the waste.

I particularly dislike shredded newspaper, which some of our clients favoured.  It may be a free source of litter, but the print when soaked is particularly messy and is certainly not good for your cats.

What about litter liners?

While these plastic liners were designed to protect the tray and contain the mess of urination and defecation, in reality they leak badly from the punctures and tears.  It makes removing the soiled contents extremely messy, hence I would never recommend this type of product.

Neither do I like scented deodorants, since they are overpowering and cannot be good for cats wellbeing.

How often should l clean the trays?

I clean my cat trays at least twice a day, with a complete change once a week.

I would also strongly advise against the use of disinfectants, since they can be toxic to your cat.  Whatever cleaning product you do use, ensure that they are safe for your cat.

I hope that the above helps you to choose the best litter tray for your cat(s).  Remember that like us, each cat is different, so it may be a little trial and error until you find one that is best suited.

If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

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.