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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.