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.

Calling Retired Animal Lovers!

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

Keeping Pets Safe In The Winter Months

We all know that dogs and cats are happiest and healthiest kept indoors, but even cats who have access to outside require protection from extreme weather conditions such as cold, wind and extreme heat.  With the temperatures set to plummet this week, it is time to spare a thought for all those animals who are kept outdoors.

Although snow may be a great source of fun for the family, you should always be prepared for the hazards it may bring, especially for our outdoor pets, so here are a few  tips for keeping them safe during the cold winter weather.

Doggie do’s and don’ts during the winter months.

  • Short haired dogs such as Greyhounds and Chihuahuas can be really sensitive to cold weather and benefit greatly from wearing coats during exercise.
  • Pavements are usually salted during snow fall, so remember to wash pads and feet  since it can be an irritant.
  • NEVER exercise off lead near rivers or lakes. They can become frozen and although the majority of dogs are strong swimmers, prevention is better than cure!
  • Be mindful of slippery conditions. The elderly should refrain from putting themselves and their dog at risk.  You can always entertain them inside until conditions improve.
  • Wearing bright or reflective clothing is advisable for both dog and owner to be seen by motorists, during dark winter evenings.
  • If your dog is under active during the winter months do not forget to cut back on his calories. Extra weight can cause health problems so please do not kill with kindness!
  • Dogs should NEVER be left outside in freezing conditions.

Cat’s survival guide

  • The majority of cats like to remain inside during the cold winter months, but if your cat does enjoy snowy conditions ensure that they have access to indoors. If there is no cat flap, keep them inside as cats can suffer from hypothermia and develop frostbite.
  • If you are keeping your cats inside, a litter tray should be provided.
  • Cat flaps can become blocked in heavy snowfall, so if your cat does venture outside,  ensure they are checked and cleared regularly.
  • Cats adore warm places and often gravitate to the warmth of a car engine to keep warm. This can cause them to be trapped without food and water so check before making your journey.

Hutches

  • If you really cannot bring your little furies indoors during the cold winter months, hutches should be positioned so that extreme snow/rain cannot get in and covered with an old blanket or sacking. Many of our clients use an old tarpaulin under a hutch to provide extra warmth, but remember when covering with any material, to leave the front clear in order that your pets can still enjoy daylight.
  • If a garage is to be their winter home, ensure that they have good ventilation (by a window) and an area that is damp and draft free. Fumes from your car can be fatal so do not use a garage that is used by a car.  Out of sight should not mean out of mind, so do not forget them.
  • Pets enjoy a thicker coat during the winter months, which can moult with constantly changes in temperature. Please therefore do not bring them inside at night to be put out again during the day.  This could also cause stress and further vulnerability to the cold.
  • Remember to add extra bedding and change it regularly.
  • Water bottles can often freeze over when left outside, so these should also be checked on a regular basis to ensure that your pet(s), can still drink.  Insulation sleeves can be purchased from good pet stores and if the water does freeze change for another as defrosted water can cause tummy upsets.
  • For those people who think ‘well wild rabbits live outside’, should be mindful that they have underground burrows which are dry and draught free and are able to snuggle up to other bunnies!
  • You can line the floor of your hutch with a layer of newspaper and extra hay/straw and you can now purchase a heat pad, but please remember to read and follow the instructions fully before use.
  • Hutches should be kept clean throughout the year whatever the weather.

It is worth remembering that rabbits are communal animals and should never be kept alone. Kept in pairs they will be able to enjoy the warmth and comfort of each other, but check the sex of each one before pairing to ensure that you are not over run with their offspring.

Pets rely on us for their well being and safety, especially during harsh weather conditions, but if in any doubt, please contact your veterinary practice who will happily offer advise without charge.