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

 

 

 

Which pet is best for me?

So you have taken the decision to welcome a pet into your family for the first time, so what pet is best for you?  Little four-year-old Peter is desperate for that beautiful fluffy bunny he fell in love with in the pet store window, while five year old Mandy has been pleading for a little kitten just like her friend Abigail’s.  Decisions, decisions, what do you do?

Pet ownership is extremely rewarding and I have long been of the opinion, that animal welfare should be part of the school curriculum, but back to the question in hand.

Please do NOT buy or adopt on impulse and do your research before welcoming any animal into your home.

At Nina’s Nannies for Pets, we are keen advocates of #adoptdontshop and would always suggest visiting your local animal shelter.  Pet stores are biased to selling their animals and in my opinion, are not best placed to offer the advice required, such as dietary requirements, socialisation and the correct feeding.  In my capacity as a pet sitter, I have seen countless Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and small furries (with the exception of Syrian Hamsters), being sold separately. This is heartbreaking given that those mentioned are community animals and should never live alone.

Over the eighteen years I have been in business, I have shuddered at the inappropriate housing of some animals in our charge, such as tiny Rabbit hutches with little space for them to maneuver, Chickens kept in tiny pods which are completely inadequate, even for the pets for which they were intended and Ducks with just a bowl of water in a small garden.

Impulse buying

When buying or adopting any pet, this should be a thought out, will prepared process.  If in doubt ask a pet professional such as a vet, or visit the Blue Cross/RSPCA website, which are awash with information about all manner of pets.

Consider your home circumstances.

  • What size is your garden?
  • Do you work all day?
  • Finances-can you afford the expense of owning a pet?

Which pet

In order to decide the above, you should consider your reasons for wanting a pet.  If it is primarily for your children, I would look to the small furies such as rabbits, guinea pigs or another hutch/cage dwelling creature.  My particular favorite are fancy rats.  Of all the little furries, fancy rats are by far the most intelligent.  They are extremely affectionate little creatures and far happier if kept in pairs.

As with all pets, please consider adopting, but if you really want a pair of young rats ensure that you go to a reputable breeder.

If you are looking for a more energetic companion, then of course a dog would be ideal.  However, if you work all day and require a more independent addition to your household a cat would be a purrfect fit.  Again, there are dogs and cats of all ages and sizes in rescue centers up and down the country, but if it is a pure bred that you desire, PLEASE, ensure that you chose a reputable breeder and remember to:

  1. Never buy from a pet store or answer an advert in the local paper. These are often the window for puppy mills and should be avoided at all cost.
  2. Remember that the Kennel Club provides details of accredited breeders with registered puppies for sale and look on their website for contact details.
  3. A good breeder with be happy to welcome you to their home, where you can see mum interacting with their puppies.
  4. Ask the breeder for the KC registration certificate and worming information. A good breeder will ask their own questions and their premises will be clean and the dogs happy.

A good breeder will always do the following:

  • Health test their breeding stock
  • Take excellent care of their dogs
  • Provide information and follow up care for those people buying their puppies
  • Offer a lifetime of support to those who buy their puppies
  • A good and considerate breeder, will have no more than three litter from a female in her lifetime and steer clear of any breeder who has different breeds of dog.

If you are still unsure, contact The Kennel Club who will be only too pleased to help.

I would strongly advise that your children are totally committed to caring for pet, since forcing a child into pet ownership will not teach them responsibility and you should be prepared to do all the caring yourselves.

Cost

Animals should be for life and not just an impulse buy.

Apart from the initial cost of buying your pet, be it from a store, breeder or shelter, pets are a huge financial commitment.

They have dietary requirements, suitable housing, grooming, holiday care and most importantly, health care.

Insurance is vital to the well-being of your pet and some can live for many years.  The average lifespan of a cat is around 12 – 14 years and we have cared for some who have reached 20 and above!

Small furies

Rabbits, mice, gerbils and rabbits make wonderful pets, but they need to be handled regularly.  Rats especially, make wonderful companions for small children, since if socialized they are extremely interactive and affectionate, in fact  I liken them to little canines in a rodent form.

All furies require regular cleaning and for some children this can be monotonous once the novelty of pet ownership has worn off.  In this case, parents must be prepared to carry out these duties and where possible encourage children to continue with their routines.

Rabbits in particular can fall prey to the dreaded fly strike, a truly gruesome condition which occurs when flies lay their eggs on the rabbits rear ends.  It is therefore imperative that their living quarters are kept clean and they are checked daily, especially during the summer months.

Dogs/Cats

The above are the most popular choice of pets, with thousands of families welcoming them into our homes.

The majority of dogs are both loyal and affectionate, forming close bonds with their owners.

When choosing a dog, you should insure that he/she is the right breed, type for your family, which is why it is so important that you research your breed before making your decision.

Puppies and kittens need a lot of training and socialisation and may not be appropriate for young children.  Adopting a calm friendly adult dog/cat however, who has been temperament assessed, may be a far better companion for your family.  

As with all pet/child introductions, it is so important that you help your child to see the world through their eyes.  Children would react if they were poked or prodded unexpectedly, so you should explain that animals must be treated with respect and kindness.

So have you done your research?  If so, which pet did you get and did you adopt?

 

 

 

Best dog treats!

When I was training my German Shepherd Dog Luika, these biscuits were recommended to me by my trainer.  Being a vegetarian, they were not the easiest biscuits I had ever made, but trust me, your dog will love them and they make training a whole lot easier! I wore kitchen gloves and vegetarians, you may want a peg handy since they smell awful, although my dog slavered the whole time they were cooking, but I found that these were by far, the best dog treats for training.

Liver cakes 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450g) lamb or pig’s liver
  • 1 lb (450g) whole wheat flour (gluten free for dogs with allergies)
  • 2 – 3 organic eggs
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • water

Method

  1. Crack the eggs into a measuring jug.
  2. Add an equal volume of water to the measuring jug and whisk.
  3. Blend the liver and garlic in a food processor.
  4. Add the egg mixture and blend to a cake-like consistency.
  5. Empty contents into a lined baking tray.
  6. Bake at Gas Mark 6 or 180 degrees for approximately 45 – 60 minutes (when cooked the cake should bounce back when pressed).
  7. Remove from the oven and peel off the lining paper
  8. Allow to cool.
  9. Divide into cubes and freeze.

German Shepherd Dogs have extremely thick coats and during the summer months he absolutely adores activities involving water and in order to cool him further I decided to look for some nice ice lolly treats.

You can use the normal ice-lolly moulds or yogurt pots, but do NOT use lolly sticks since your dog could easily choke on them. Please remember to use only natural ingredients in small amounts, avoiding anything toxic

Yogurt Ice treats

ingredients

  • 1 Cup of natural yogurt
  • 1 Cup of peanut butter

Method

  1. Mix the peanut butter and yogurt together.
  2. Place the mixture in a freeze proof container and place it in the freezer.
  3. After a couple of hours, you have some delicious ice treats for your dog!

Please remember to wait 10 – 15 minutes before giving them to your dog in order to avoid freezer burn on their tongues.

Ice lollies

If you want to make ice lollies, chose something that your dog particularly loves such as chopped carrot, cooked meat, banana etc. just pour water into your container of choice (remember to use a container unique to your dog) and add your ingredients.

Please remember that some fruits are toxic to dogs such as grapes and raisins, so PLEASE do your homework before selecting your ingredients.

Being the owner of three extremely spoilt cats, I thought I would include a recipe for your feline family and tuna toast is a real hit with mine.

Tuna toast

  • Lightly toast a slice of bread
  • Cut the toast into cubes
  • Brush the toast with a little fresh fish oil
  • Sprinkle the toast with some tuna flakes
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown

Leave to bool before serving Your cats will find this absolutely PURRfect 😊

Please note: Some animals have allergic reactions to foods just like us, so PLEASE do your research and beware of inadvertently feeding your pet toxins.

When feeding treats be mindful that they have different calorie values and adjust their regular food accordingly.

 

Alabama Rot – Stop Alabama Rot

 

 

Our pet sitters were warned to be vigilant about this awful disease when first reported in 2012.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Alabama Rot are skin lesions, ulcers and or sores, which can appear on a dog’s legs, body, mouth or tongue and within days this can lead to acute kidney failure.

We continue to liaise closely with vets in all areas of the country where our dog sitting team work and receive regular updates as and when new cases are reported.

Origins

This potentially deadly disease was first identified in the USA in the 80’s in Greyhounds and has been reported in at least 27 counties in England and Wales, while some cases in Scotland and Northern Ireland are yet to be confirmed.

It is a growing worry for both dog owners and professional pet and dog sitters. Since the health and well-being of our client’s dogs are paramount, we remain alert at all times.

Areas of confirmed cases

From the information we have received, it appears that Alabama Rot is understood to be more prevalent in wet weather, especially in muddy woodland and particularly following heavy rainfall.  There have been confirmed cases as far North as Scotland, The New Forest in Southern England and more recently Devon.  In fact, we understand that one New Forest veterinary practise reported in March 15, that there had been over 102 suspected new cases in the UK, including 51 deaths, which were confirmed by postmortems.

Stopping the rot

Our dog sitting team are keen to identify any reported cases, or areas affected by Alabama Rot,  so knowing the warning signs are vital. If Alabama rot is caught early enough, your vet can evaluate if he/she has contracted the dreaded disease.

It is advised that you keep dogs under close supervision when walking in muddy woodland, cleaning them thoroughly following their exercise.

Can my other pets contract Alabama rot?

To date it is not thought to affect other animals and we must keep this outbreak in context.

There are approximately 8.5 million dogs in the U.K, with only a small proportion having been affected by this disease.  However, vets are now asking us to take extra precautions when walking our dogs,  in order to help combat the disease and to contact your practise immediately, if you suspect that your dog may be affected.

 

 

The best that you can be!

Last night I received an email from a client with a little blind Poodle. It wasn’t a long email and I have included it for your perusal, but it meant so much to both me and the sitter who cared for him that it prompted me to include it in my blog.

When Nina’s Nannies for Pets was formed, it was done through love – a love of animals that I believe was inherent from birth.  I have always found it easy to connect with animals, who were my constant companions as a child. Being an animal lover inevitably drew me to the veterinary profession which soon became a long held dream.  I was going to save every poorly pet on my planet and help rescue and re-home every orphan!

I felt sure that all I required to become a successful Veterinarian was love, but  I was soon to discover that I could not actually handle the not so pretty side of this profession, which was euthanasia and not forgetting that I was never really academically minded, or able to achieve the required qualifications.

When I left school at the age of fifteen, I decided to follow in my beloved dad’s footsteps and join the family painting and decorating business.  For a young female donning a pair of white overalls and venturing up a ladder to paint the outside of a house, was still a source of amusement in a largely male dominated world and yes I did look for the left handed screw driver and the tub of elbow grease, much to my workmates amusement.  I did not however, fall for my boss’s insistence that the woodchip wallpaper I had just spent an afternoon hanging, was upside down!

When I left the building trade, I spent several years doing secretarial work and a further six manning a switchboard, before my life was to change dramatically.  My husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when he was just forty two years old, but his determination and zest for life was unwavering and undoubtedly helped my recovery when fate was to strike once again six months later when I suffered a brain hemorrhage.

Without going into detail, it made me even more determined to attain my dream of working with animals.  Being away from the office made me realize how stressful and unhealthy it was and just how much I hated the work and so my venture into the world of pet sitting began.

After thoroughly researching the American pet care industry (it was largely unknown in the UK at that time), I decided that this would finally realize my dream of working with animals.

Meanwhile the phone is left unanswered since I am spending a considerable amount of time trying to help re-home a client’s dog whose owner is emigrating to Australia! When I have finally secured a place with a local rescue centre, it is time to address Mrs Smith’s SOS.  Her niece can no longer care for her hamster, three chickens, and her three legged pooch and she is flying out to Italy the following day!  I explain that a preliminary visit must be undertaken before an assignment is accepted, but she insists that she is so desperate she will accept anyone!  After almost half an hour of explaining our procedure and the benefits of meeting your prospective sitter, she agrees and I replace the receiver only for it to ring again.  This call is from a client desperate to excel the virtues of their regular pet sitter and why they must be available for a short notice wedding that is taking place that weekend!  My colleague had spoken to her earlier in the day, to explain that her regular sitter has already been booked, but she is insisting that little Bertie will only accept Susan and after all, she has used our services for over eight years!

So yes, I feel that I have realised my dream.  I am also extremely thankful that despite my setbacks, I have been able to help educate pet owners, but I will always feel that I could do more!

Serious illness does have a massive impact on your life, but for us it has been in a positive way.  Last night, when I received that email, I knew that you should never stop trying,  to be the best that we can be!

 

 

 

Fireworks have no place in the modern world!

 

With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, it is time for pet owners to focus their attention to the safety and well-being of their pets over the New Year celebrations.

We continue to be appalled by the bombing atrocities caused by terrorism and yet every year at the end of November, the UK happily celebrates a failed bomb attempt to blow up the houses of Parliament! The connotations of which I find simply astounding.  What other country would pay homage to a historical terrorist!

I continue therefore, to be astonished that fireworks are legally sold to the general public.  They are explosives and by their very definition, can be lethal in the wrong hands.  They wreak havoc with our countryside, causing stress to our wildlife and livestock and should only be used in the hands of trained Pyrotechnicians.

Pet owners are constantly warned to keep their pets indoors during the Bonfire and New Year celebrations, but what of our livestock and wildlife!  We cannot bring our  horses into the safely of our living rooms and even the calmest can be spooked during this time.

Horses

It is heartbreaking to recall incidences of horse fatalities.  More recently Nelly Shell, who was left heartbroken when her beloved horse suffered  severe injuries having become terrified and ran into barbed wire surrounding his paddock.  His injuries were so severe that she had to make the heart wrenching decision to have him put to sleep.

Karen Mills is also calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the general public, following the tragic death of her beloved horse, Shiloh.  He was found dead in his field, tangled in wire fencing.  His owner believes he was spooked by fireworks which led to the accident.  She also stated that there were nearby displays taking place!

Environment

What of the dangers to our environment.  November 5th is  the most polluted day in the UK calendar.  Rockets contain residues of unburnt propellants and colourants and some of this finds its way into our lakes and riviers.  Researches have collected airborne particles which were found to deplete lung defences which exceeded those from traffic sources which suggests a far greater toxicity.

It is common knowledge that the basic ingredient of fireworks is gunpower, however, it is the cocktail of chemicals and heavy metal that pose the most concern.  Barium  is the ingredient used to produce the vivid green colour, which is both poisonous and radioactive.  Rubidium, cadmium and other toxic components are used which can cause respiratory and other health issues.

In short, fireworks can unleash a shower of toxins into our atmosphere, soil and water.  Yet another good excuse to ban them completely.

Domestic pets

The worse fear case I have seen during my years as a pet sitter, was a beautiful young Staffie whom we walked on an ad hoc basis.  He was a big lad, with a soft heart and a tail that wagged for England.  Imagine my shock to hear from his owner that on the lead up to bonfire night, he suffered a heart attack following what she described as supersonic booms and died shortly after.  Despite her best efforts at calming him, he failed to respond and I doubt she will ever fully recover from his loss.

Instances of animal cruelty also soar in the run up to Bonfire night and one cat was forced to have his leg amputated following what was described as a twisted attack.

Should we really be investing in products such as thunder shirts, and drugs to make fireworks more tolerable to our domestic pets?  My answer to that is no, since this is easily avoidable by restricting them to organise displays and minimising the noise that they generate.

Let us also look at the example set by country who are now insisting that fireworks are restricted to one day celebrations and are therefore using ‘silent’ ones. The Italian town of Callechhio, who employs a ban on loud pyrotechnics.  This was following a bid to ease sufferers of post traumatic stress, pets, livestock, children, wildlife and those of a nervous disposition).  Edinburghs famous New Year celebrations could also see a switch to a silent fireworks, an example that I hope will see many cities following.

Chinese Lanterns.

I would also like to add the dangers of Chinese Lanterns, which have proved extremely harmful to our wildlife.

Lanterns are long been a symbol of beauty as they light up our night skys but they pose a significant threat and can cause fires.

In 2011 a roof fire was caused as a result of one falling onto a family home.  The fire spread to within feet of sleeping children, who were thankfully evacuated when a neighbour was alerted by the flames and called the emergency services.

These lanterns can carry for miles before they land and when ingested animals can suffer internal bleeding, leading to a slow and painful death.   Birds can become entangled in fallen frames, suffering stress and injury in their attempt to get free.  This can lead to starvation and marine life can be endangered by the debris falling into the sea.

Landowners are now calling for a complete ban following cases of injured livestock and fire authorities have united in their support.

The U.K is known to the rest of the world as being a nation of animal lovers, so please think twice before using fireworks and Chinese lanterns to celebrate the New Year.  If you simply must use fireworks, please consider the silent ones.