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.

 

 

Caring for your senior dog

Caring for your senior dog

Caring for your senior dog

Just as with humans, our senior dogs suffer from age related problems and senility.  The problem is however, is that they cannot always show us what is wrong.

Common health problems in senior dogs

  • Deteriorating eyesight and hearing
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Senility/Dementia
  • Kidney disease
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Dental problems

How do I know if my dog is in pain

There are certain breeds like German Shepherd Dogs, who are extremely stoic and will often hide their pain, so it is important to look for signs of discomfort and agitation. Senior dogs with arthritis, can be sensitive to touch and resent normal handling.

Sudden snappiness or aggressive behaviour is a sure sign that your dog is feeling out of sorts, or hiding away instead of coming to greet you.  Changes in their eating pattern, excessive drinking and sleeping throughout the day are all indications that your dog is unwell.

Our eleven year old German Shepherd is now heavily panting, even though is had no exercise and is noticeably stiff when he awakes from a nap.

When to get treatment

Senior dogs do not have the reserves of a younger dog, hence time is crucial. It is far better to err on the side of caution and get your dog checked out as soon as you can.

You may also want to take more frequent trips to the vet, based on your dogs symptoms and be careful to administer the correct dosage of medication when prescribed.

Adjust their living conditions

For senior dogs with joint problems such as hip dysplasia or joint issues, you may want to consider giving your dog a ramp, to enable them easier access to the stairs or your car. Keep their foot and water bowls within easy reach and provide non slip mats on wooden floorboards or slippery floors.  Heat pads can relieve a senior dogs achy joints, but check them regularly, to ensure that they are not too hot and follow the instructions carefully.

It is extremely difficult to see your once playful puppy turn into a senior dog with health problems and know that their time with you may be limited. They may have their ailments but they still feel as much love and loyalty as they did in their younger years.

The final goodbye

Sudden death is a rarity and it is more likely that they will give clues that they are nearing the end of their lives. There is a strong possibility that you may be faced with a heart wrenching decision about when to say your final goodbye.

Dogs that have been ill for sometime may fall peacefully to sleep, but it is more likely that their quality of life will diminish rapidly, forcing you to make a painful decision.  It is important to remember that the rapid advances in veterinary technology may prolong your dogs life, but it is not always in their best interest to do so.

Your last loving act may be that of euthanasia, setting your dog free from their pain and suffering.  Only you know what decision to take.  When you see the suffering in your dogs eyes and their inability to cope with the smallest things, like eating and drinking and when their quality of life has completely diminished.

The final breath

Having your dog put to sleep is the most difficult decision you will make for your dog and I would implore you to stay with him until his very last breath. Try to stay calm, remain strong and if possible, hold them until they quietly slip away.

Take time to grieve

Just like losing a human family member, you must take the time to grieve.  The loss of your pet can have a severe impact on your health so consider counselling or a support group.  Dogs are with us through tears and our happiness and often are there when our family are not and their passing can leave a huge void in our lives.  Acknowledge your grief, since it is an essential part of your healing.  Take as long as you need and cry when you feel the need.

 

 

 

Is it time to ban cats?

Killer cats

Should cats be banned?

The view of cats being murdering menaces, is shared by people who continually call for cat owners to keep their animals inside, or at least ensure that they are fitted with bell – collars to help prevent them from hunting and killing wildlife.

Dr Peter Marra, a world bird expert was recently interviewed on on radio 4’s Today programme and stated that cats were killing billions of birds each day.  For this reason, he stated that cats should be banned from going outside.  He also stated that all free roaming/stray cats, should be euthanised if homes could not be found!

Cat population

There are thought to be approximately 8 million cats in the United Kingdom and it is thought that they kill around 55m birds a year, but they mainly predate on the sick, the weak and the young.

As a cat owner, I cannot dispute that of all three of my rescue cats, the eldest, will take any opportunity to desimate our local wildlife.  Predation is an inherant trait but it is their purrs and snuggles, which is a side that makes cats the perfect companian.

Noisy cats

So aside from keeping our cats indoors, what other  measures can we take to give our wildlife a fighting chance.  Well, you could fit a bell to a quick release collar. Theoretically, the sound of an approaching cat will alert their pray and help them to ellude capture, however, in practise it makes little difference.  Cats are too clever!

In short I see little evidence that our cats are responsible for driving our wildlife to extinction.  The RSPCA also state that they see little evidence to suggest that cats are responsible for our declining bird population.

How can you help

Many of our cat clients are turning to cat proofing their gardens.  The solves the dilemma of keeping cats in a safe environment and allowing them to enjoy the outdoors.  Outdoor cats are also at risk from traffic dangers and sadistic people who relish the opportunity to injure and kill domestic pets. It will also prevent other cats from entering your garden, which can be a source of stress for many cats.

Cat proofing your garden will limit your cats access and you will need to work harder to enrich their surroundings and keep them entertained.

Plant dangers

A bored cat will be tempted to nibble your plants, so you will need to ensure that there are no toxic plants in that area.  Slug bait and poisons used to control pests are extremely hazardous and should never be used near your cats.  Planting some cat nip and erecting a few platforms, will ensure that your cats remain happy and content while outdoors.

Helping a Dog Lose Weight – Weight management

Health implications for overweight dogs

There is an old saying with regard to overfeeding your dog and that is quite simply, ‘killing your pet with kindness’, or what you perceive to be kindness.

Of course dogs relish the opportunity of a cooked sausage or two and look at those eyes when they see you reach for their treat jar.  Sadly the reality of too many sausages and treats, can be an overweight dog causing lasting damage to your pets organs, bones and joints, leading to heart disease and high blood pressure.

Less calories – weight management

You can start by consulting your vet, who will advise the best diet for your dog and work with you to ensure that weight reducing and management, will be controlled and done in the correct manner.

They will also take into account your dogs exercise regime and calorie intake. It could be that just cutting treats altogether is all that your dog needs to shed those extra pounds.  If this is the case and once your dog reaches their ideal weight, a slightly longer exercise regime, is all that is required to maintain a healthy weight.

Don’t give in

It is so important that you hold firm when Fido offers those pleading eyes. Remember it is for their own good and if you are serving the correct portions, giving more food/treats will only add to more weight issues.

Begging is a trick that they will quickly learn to exploit, so put them away while you are eating.

Exercise

Increasing their exercise alone, is not enough to reduce a dogs weight, although it is very helpful.  You will need to start gradually, little and often, being mindful of older pets, especially in hot weather.

If your dog enjoys playing, outdoor activities such as hiding a favourite toy, will also stimulate their mind, as well as reducing their waistline.

Treats

Treats do not have to be like those found in a local supermarket packet.  Pieces of carrot, small slices of cooked liver, or chicken can be ideal, but remember to adjust their main meal accordingly.

Neither are treats essential and should always be given in small quantities such as the size of a fingernail.

Patient

Be patient with any weight loss/weight management program.  It may take a few months before your dog reaches his/her target weight and be sure to seek veterinary advice and guidance before a diet is agreed.

Having more than one dog

The best solution for someone who has more than one dog, is to feed them separately.

Do not leave food out when you are away from the home, since you cannot control who eats what when you are not around.

Weight loss success

For the majority of overweight dogs the key to weight loss success is commitment from their owners.

Dogs do not understand the implications of being overweight and rely on us for their well-being and safety.  By overfeeding our canine companions we are inadvertently contributing to a premature death or developing a debilitating disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rescue Dogs / Bringing a Rescue Dog Home

Bringing a Rescue Dog Home

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

Under resourced

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

What to consider before adopting

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

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

Things to consider

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

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

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

Which rescue centre to choose

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

Reputable shelters will:

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

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

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

 

 

 

Summer safety tips for your pets – Must read guide

 

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

Symptoms of overheating in pets

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

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

Swimming Pools & Salt Water

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

Sunscreen

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

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

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

Cars

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

Walking

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

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

Snakes

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

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

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

Summer insects

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

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

Paws

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

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