Friday, 25 November 2011

Dog Pheromone Diffusers and Collars - Helping To Calm Your Dog

In mammals, all lactating females release substances called pheromones, within three to five days after giving birth. The purpose of which is to reassure their newborns. The mother creates pheromones that give their puppies a feeling of well-being and reassurance. Research has shown that the reassuring properties persist, even into adulthood. The diffusers contain an artificial version of this pheromone, which has been developed by vets known as appeasing pheromones. It works by the pheromones being picked up and detected by an animal's sense of smell producing certain responses. It helps to control or prevent fear related reactions in puppies and adult dogs. It is a natural, convenient and unique solution to canine stress. The various dog pheromone products on the market all claim to help comfort and reassure puppies and adult dogs in difficult situations, and prevent or reduce stress-related behaviour. These include destructiveness, vocalisation and house soiling brought on by nervousness or anxiousness.

So when is it appropriate to use pheromone diffusers?

Bringing a new puppy or adult dog home. Puppies between one to four months are at their most sensitive and of course are coming home to a whole new life and family. Being separated from their mother and siblings will be very stressful for them. An adult dog will benefit from a pheromone diffuser too. If you are rehoming a rescue dog then this will aid them in relaxing into their new life.

Travelling. The pheromone dog collar can really help with motion sickness as well as giving reassurance to the dog if the journey is a long one. Also take it with you in spray form so that you can use it in the car. It can be sprayed directly on to their bedding, inside dog baskets, indoor kennels, or in the car. However never spray directly on a dog or near a dogs face. It is not a scent that humans can detect or be affected by so is safe to use.

Vets. For a dog, going to the dreaded vets is no different to you having a dentist appointment. Putting the collar on them the day before and during the visit to the vet is ideal this should help calm them down. Alternatively put the diffuser on the day before and during the previous evening to help soothe your dog before their trip to the vets.

Older dogs As your dog gets older and their agility and health is not what it was using a pheromone product may bring them reassurance. They may suffer from arthritis or other physical ailments that stress them out so why not give them a bit of extra comfort whilst they are dealing with pain.

Fireworks. A definite must on Bonfire Night and New Years Eve. The noise for a dog is extremely frightening. They have no idea where the noise is coming from and why it's happening. It's strongly advised to use a plug in the month before and during the firework season. Most diffusers last for about 30 days. You could also combine the diffuser with a C.D for dogs - Fireworks & Noises Desensitisation.

Separation anxiety. You may find this can help your pet when you're going on holiday or if they are going into kennels. I know of a dog that was extremely stressed when the child of the household went to a two week camp in the summer school break. The dog responded very well to the diffuser and they continued to use it whenever the dog was parted from his favourite member of the family.

Pheromone diffusers are species-specific, as it is a chemical version of what the lactating mother produces. So the dog version won't effect your cat and vice-versa.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Pet Shop Promenade - Cat Toy, Dog Toy, Dog Collar, Cat basket -

Pet Shop Promenade - Cat Toy, Dog Toy, Dog Collar, Cat basket -

Can Fleas Survive On Your Pet In Winter?

As a pet owner, I thought I knew pretty much everything when it came to cats and dogs.Having flea problems in the summer was something I was used to dealing with. Flea treatment prevention in the spring and extra grooming in the summer months helped to keep the little blood suckers off my beloved pets. However, I didn't anticipate a flea breakout in the winter. This particular winter in my London home was freezing with a long spell of snow ahead, so naturally the central heating was on full blast! I had never had a flea infestation in the colder months so I was a bit confused as to how they had survived and what they were living on? I found out they usually they lie dormant in winter but with the central heating on these little pests came back to life with a vengeance. To combat fleas during the winter season, it is vital to treat both the pet and their environment, because fleas live a large part of their life cycle off of the pet and in the environment (house, bed, garden etc). Fleas need warm and humid temperatures to survive. The inside of your house provides a warm environment to allow fleas to live all year round regardless of seasons. I didn't have carpet, floorboards only, so I thought that apart from my pets bedding etc I had cleaned everything at the end of that summer and all would be fine. WRONG!

Your first step is getting down and dirty with the vacuum cleaner. Carpet and floorboards are a great place for the eggs and larvae to hide as they can easily survive in the cracks and crevices. Then, when you or your pet walks by, they latch on. Have you ever noticed when you have a flea infestation, that you have bite marks around your ankles more than anywhere else. That's because of the flea problem in your floor corners and cracks. Fleas will bite you once and then fall off as they can't live on humans, but will happily feed off your pet forever.

Those little sneaky places your pet likes to hide in, under the bed, a cosy corner, in a secret cupboard are all breeding places for fleas. Not only do you have to hoover and treat the floor in your home you have to hoover and treat your mattress and bedding. Fleas are known to come to the surface when they feel the vibrations from a vacuum cleaner, then straight after, you hit them with the flea household spray treatment. Keep your pets out of the rooms as you individually treat them and close the door for as long as you can. House flea spray is not to be used anywhere near an animal, spot on treatments for them will do the trick. Hoovering will also collect the eggs, so you'll be starting to break the cycle. Regardless of whether you allow your pet on your bed or not it is advisable to spray both sides of the mattress as soon as it has been hovered. Throw away all of your pets toys, beds and play stands. Harsh, I know but they'll soon be just as attached to the new toys you buy them as they were to the old flea ridden ones. Make no mistake, fleas and flea eggs are made of hard stuff. They will survive and survive, so be ruthless.

Breaking the flea cycle will only happen if you treat your pets on the same day that you treat the home. 80 - 90% of fleas and eggs are not on your pet but lying dormant in your carpet, furniture and bedding. Eggs become larvae, larvae become pupae so the more of the pupae you vacuum up the better. The pupae stage is them developing into adult fleas and the cocoon surrounding the developing flea is water tight and immune to insecticides. So vacuum up as much as you possibly can before spraying. Be vicious about it, they will multiply and come back again and again. When you start spraying make sure you get into all the tiny cracks and gaps as well as all of your furniture, curtains and rugs. Also get rid of the hoover bag when you have finished. Yes the little pests will happily survive in the warm vacuum sack.

Now even in winter I thoroughly groom my pets and keep flea treatments to hand at all times. After I had vigorously tackled my home and pets I had only one further very mild problem, which has since never returned. The key is to break the cycle and the only way is to treat your house and pets at the same time, thoroughly!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Caring For A Stray Cat

Years ago my aunt, a huge animal lover, started to receive late night visits from a gorgeous ginger stray cat. Due to disgusting abuse by his previous owners he had no teeth or claws left and was very under nourished and extremely frightened. My aunt being very sensitive to animals saw that he was so hungry that his fear was overridden by a desperate need for food. He would let no one else near him except for her and if food was left out by someone else, he would know and leave it to go stale. She really had an amazing gift with animals.
Eventually he trusted her enough to allow her to stroke him, but nothing more. He was content to live a wilder life if it meant he was safe from humans. We really are a disgrace to this planet.

So how do you help stray cats? How do you gain their trust?

First of all you need to know the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat. It’s not always easy to tell because in time a stray cat will revert back to its natural instincts, which is the same as a feral cats behaviour.
Obviously a stray cat will have been abandoned by their owners or may have got lost. They might have a collar, but if not you should be able to tell by the quality of their coats if they have recently become strays, rather than being a feral cat. If you can, take a photo of it and check with your local vets if anyone has lost their cat. Don’t just assume you can take someone else’s cat, in a lot of areas it is illegal. Also there could be a very good reason for them getting lost and there may be a family trying to find them. Usually you can take responsibility and become a stray cats owner after about two weeks of notifying the local animal shelters, vets etc.

A feral cat will be much less inclined to engage with you and will be more likely to show you aggressive, wild behaviour. You’re also less likely to see them for any length of time, as any sign of a human and they’re off. Can’t blame them for that!
Feral cats have been born into the wild from either feral parents or stray cats that have become pregnant. They tend to live together in casual family colonies and are able to survive in urban and rural areas. They aren’t always popular as like other wildlife they will rummage through your bins for food. So be warned, your neighbours may not take kindly to you starting a feeding programme for them.

So, if you want to help a stray cat the first thing to do of course is feed them.

An adult stray that is under nourished will build up quickly on kitten food. However switch back to adult food as soon as you see an improvement. They will need the nutrients from adult food once they have initially recovered.
Try wet food as well as dry. See what their preferences are.
Buy new cat bowls as they won’t like the scent of other pets.
Always provide fresh water every day.
Feed them at night to start with, but leave dry food out in the daytime in case they start to gain courage and come to your garden more often. They need to feel they have a safe place to come to.
After a while try to be present when you know the stray is going to turn up. Place the food down, step back and speak in a soothing tone. Don’t attempt to stroke the cat. Let it feed and leave if it wants to. The main point is to slowly gain trust. You know you can never rush a cat.
On the next occasion offer some food from your hand. They may or may not take it, persevere and try again next time.
If no one claims the cat and you decide to rehome this stray then capturing it in the most humane way is your next step. You may not be able to do this, so it’s a good idea to contact your local animal shelter and they may be able to send someone to help.
Once you’ve done that go straight to the vets for a thorough check up. Deworming, flea and ear mite treatments and neutering must all be done.
If you have other pets keep the new cat in one room until they’ve settled down and slowly introduce them.

Once you’ve taken responsibility of a stray cat and brought it into your home, be prepared for the settling in period to take some time. You don’t know what they’ve suffered, be patient. They will probably want to stay by your side as much as possible. In time this should calm down but remember they may be a little apprehensive of this new home.
Pamper them with new cat toys, cat bed and stand. You may want to try using a feline facial pheromone spray or diffuser to help calm their nerves.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Massage For Your Cat

If I wasn't human I would love to be a cat. What a hard life they have. Sleeping, eating, sleeping, washing, sleeping, eating. You get the gist. So what better product for your pampered pet than the CatIt Senses Massage Centre? Or if your cat is not keen on this type of product perhaps you can learn kitty massage.

So Is Massaging Your Cat Beneficial?

There are people who will think that massaging a cat is stupid. They get stroked, that's enough isn't it? Well, just like humans all animals benefit from massaging for psychological reasons as well as physical. Massage stimulates the nerves in the body, the muscles, circulatory system and lymphatic system. It enhances range of motion, increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells, relieves muscle spasms and helps to flush away toxic compounds, such as lactic acid, that cause pain. The other point is this is a lovely way to bond and gain the trust of any new pet you bring home and you will also feel a great sense of relaxation too. Obviously not all cats will want you trying out your amateur massage skills on them, but if you take just a few minutes a day when your cat is relaxed but not sleeping, you will soon find out if this is for them or not.

You probably already have a rough idea of certain techniques. Don't forget, it's the masseurs intent that makes massage different from just simple stroking of your cat, and any animal can sense if you're really interested. A good way to begin is to talk to them in a soothing tone, stroking them in their favourite places so that they feel relaxed and comfortable with you. Then start from the top of their body working your way down and apply a small amount of pressure using the palms of your hands or your fingertips on the areas that you usually stroke your cat. For example - the back of the neck, the shoulders, the base of the tail and down their spine. In time, if your cat grows to like being massaged you can move to the sides of the stomachs and their legs. This will take time and trust and I would suggest only doing a few minutes a day. Just like humans have different preferences so do your pets. They may like firmer pressure in one area and lighter in another part.

Cats either love having their tummy's stoked or they hate it. If they allow you to massage their stomachs do it very gently and be prepared for them to suddenly change their mind and swipe your hand away. Even with you they may feel too vulnerable to let the massage progress to the belly area. Another place to avoid is the hind legs. Cats hate to be touched there, but if in time they become relaxed enough to allow this, do it very lightly and for a small amount of time. Watch for their reactions and remember their favourite spots.

You may find that it's easier to use a massage centre first. It will show you which areas your cat prefers and what kind of pressure they enjoy. Of course they may ignore it completely and play with the box that it comes in instead. The Catit massage centre comes with catnip to entice them to use the centre. I found that my cats needed more to start off with. We all know how untrusting cats can be until they're good and ready, so extra catnip is a good idea. The Catit Massage Centre should appeal to your cat's sense of touch. It comes with a variety of massage pads, so why not pamper your cat with a purely luxurious experience.

For any animal with joint pain and arthritis you should always consult your vet first and of course don't massage your cat if she is pregnant or sick.

Vertical Forest

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Helping Hedgehogs

The UK hedgehog population is in difficulty. They are becoming an endangered species that are facing many problems. The destruction of their habitat, as well as becoming roadkill means their numbers are dwindling. Hedgerows and grasslands are in decline and the use of pesticides means that the prey hedgehogs live off are disappearing too.
So if you are lucky enough to have one in your garden, please take care of them.
Here are some tips for feeding and housing your little garden visitors.

Using slug pellets is a big health problem not just for hedgehogs but other wildlife too, like birds and your pets. Usually they are made up of cereal and metaldehyde, which is extremely toxic. A hedgehog is an ally for gardeners. Even though hedgehogs may not eat the pellets they will eat slugs and snails. I have tried the beer trick to stop slugs from ruining my garden and it has worked every time. Also hedgehogs aren’t interested in eating your flowers and plants so show them a bit of consideration and try the eco way first. It’s good for all of the cute mammals that may pass through your garden.

The majority of a hedgehogs diet consists of insects, worms and other small mammals. Slugs and snails only feature in about 5% of their food. Never feed hedgehogs milk and bread. Their stomachs can’t digest bread and cows milk gives them diarrhoea which can dehydrate them and eventually cause death. They are actually very fussy eaters and will probably turn their noses up at cheap cat or dog food. I have found that plain flavours like chicken are their favourite and they don’t like fish flavours at all. Left over mince and chicken is good for them, but be sure to cut everything up as small as possible. Of course the neighbourhood cats may help themselves, so you can always try unsugared museli, weetabix or raisins. Also leave fresh water out for them with their food. As winter weather freezes cat food quickly you can also feed them cat and dog biscuits and crushed unsalted peanuts. Hedgehogs should be fed all year round and even though you may think they’ll be hibernating, they may wake up and need a quick feed.
Your garden is big enough for the both of you. All a hedgehog would require from you would be a little thought. If you have a pond make sure you cover it or at least ensure the sides aren’t too slippery. Hedgehogs can swim but if they can’t get out they will drown. A small piece of wood fixed to the side should help them to grip and climb back out. Any drain holes should be covered over.
If possible leave a few small gaps under your fences so that they can easily move from garden to garden.
Bonfires are very attractive to hedgehogs for nesting, please check them before lighting. That would be an extremely cruel way for any animal to die.
If you can, let a small part of your garden grow. They will love to nest and forage in the long grass and leaves. You can of course buy hedgehog homes which will most definitely attract some spikey visitors.
As humans we have a responsibility to help the food chain wildlife around us survive. We seem to be poisoning and destroying so much natural habitat that now species that were common in my childhood England are disappearing. We need the eco system to keep its balance, so do whatever you can for the wildlife around you.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Tips On Feeding Birds In Winter

You don't have to wear binoculars or an anorak and a dodgy hat to appreciate the beauty of birds. A simple bird feeder in your garden will attract many different breeds like the Robin, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Chaffinches and many more. You will have continual visits from your winged friends if you can provide them with the right bird food for winter.

Water is another necessity for birds that people tend to forget in winter. With the cold weather we all assume water will be readily available but cold winters can mean dry winters and water of course freezes. So make sure there's a fresh, ice free, bowl of water in the garden every day for them to drink from and bathe in. Never feed them milk as they can't digest it. However cheese (grated if possible) is perfectly fine for birds and may attract new varieties of wildlife to your garden.

Selecting the right bird table is your first job. Not all birds will use the perches on the stand, some will prefer to peck at fallen seeds or feed from individual hanging feeders. The more attention you pay to your visitors the more you will find out their habits and favourite feeding areas. If you do buy a bird stand then I would suggest a sturdy one that isn't going to wobble. Birds tend to fly off at the first sign of an unstable stand. Place your table away from fences and walls, birds won't thank you if a feline intruder pounces whilst they're eating. Their survival instincts will alert them to any danger of movement and they will be put off returning.

Next is the food. As insects aren't available to birds in the winter, seeds become their staple diet. There are a lot of mixed bird seeds on the market which are bulked up. I tend to avoid anything with unnatural coloured lumps in them as they're usually dog biscuits which can't be eaten unless softened by soaking. A good mixture should contain millet, sunflower seeds and flaked maize. I also like to feed the obvious choice of peanuts as they are high in fats but don't feed them salted peanuts, it could kill them. As small birds can choke on whole peanuts, I usually crush them before putting them out.

Black sunflower seeds are fantastic all year long as well and they have a higher fat content than the striped sunflower seeds. It's advisable to put the richer seeds like Nyger and sunflower in feeders as they will be more expensive and you will lose a lot to the weather and other animals if you just scatter them on the ground. The Nyger seed contains more oil than your average seed and is high in calories, so perfect for winter feeding. As they aren't a cheap variety of seed you can always mix them in with others. You should find the number of Goldfinches in your garden increases with Nyger seeds.

Wet dog and cat food is a good substitute for earthworms in the cold weather and kitchen scraps can be used as they contain fats and carbohydrates that won't be found in bird seeds. However don't feed them cooking fat that has hardened from your Sunday roast as it will contain bacteria and salt that is unsuitable for birds. Instead use lard or beef suet. It's strongly advised from the RSPB not to leave the suet fat balls in nylon meshes as birds can get themselves caught. Instead put them in hanging feeders and keep them off the ground as you may attract unwanted mammals.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Bringing Home a New Kitten to an Older Cat

Introducing a new kitten to your family cat can be a bit of a worry. I've had both female and male kittens when I've had an older cat of the opposite sex and it's always been stressful. There are people who say that once a cat has been neutered it won't matter there sex. Maybe that's true for some people but it didn't work for me. Other theories suggest that they will get on better if they're opposites but I have found that on two occasions this hasn't worked. When I had an old male cat and brought home a female kitten he was terrified. As tiny as she was she made it clear that she was in charge from the start. Poor old man. So when he passed away and I looked at getting a friend for her I thought I'd do it the other way round and look for a male kitten. That didn't work either. She soon put him in his place. However, now that he's a big boy and has fallen head over heels in love with her they get on great. Of course she will still pin him down when he's missed a bit when washing, but other than that they both enjoy each others company. 

So what steps can you take to give the new member of your family a head start with the resident cat. 

First of all make sure you have some time to devote to settling them in. They will be very stressed if you're not around enough. Remember they've just been separated from their mother and this new home is dauntingly large and has new smells they don't recognise. 

Then choose a room for the kitten to stay in for a few days. Buy a new litter tray, bed, scratch post and cat toys. It's not advisable to use anything from the other cat as the kitten needs to start off establishing his own scent on his toys. Also use new cat bowls for food and water. Don't allow your other cat in the room. They will be able to sense that the other is there and that will be enough for them to cope with in the beginning. It will also allow them both to get used to the others scent without having to meet straight away. 

Try and act as normal as possible with your other cat. Of course when they come to you a lot of affection will be needed and the occasional treat will be greatly received. They don't want you to forget that they are top cat. It will also make it easier when the kitten is introduced as the other cat will feel more secure that you love them just as much as you did before. 

After a while you can bring an item to your cat that your new kitten has been playing with and vice versa to help with scent swapping. 

Now, for the introduction.... 

Leave the door ajar and let them meet in their own time. Be present for this first meeting. If you can, take a few days off to be around as much as possible, if not try to do this over a weekend. 

They will hiss at each other, don't interfere. They will probably growl and paw at each other, don't interfere. There may even be a bit of fur flying as well, only separate them if it gets nasty. 

Never shout or punish either cat, this is normal behaviour in the feline world, they will just be sorting out cat rank and house position between them. 

Keep the kitten bowls, beds and litter tray in their room as your cat will be very upset if his or her pattern is messed up. Territory is being mapped out between them at this time. It is also a safe place for your kitten to retreat to if it all becomes a bit too much. 

After a few days try to encourage them to play together. Nothing complicated a simple ball or string game. Chances are your older cat will watch, stretch, yawn and walk off, but at least it's some interaction between them. 

As cute as this little bundle of fur is don't forget to give your other cat equal attention, jealousy in a cat is a scary thing! Don't think your older cat will forgive you. 

They can take months even a year to get used to each other. Remember cats are very independent and are used to being the bosses in life, so they will get there when they get there. 

Of course you can try and follow every tip in the world, but there is always the chance that they won't get along simply because their characters clash. There are so many tips out there, my personal one, which I have tried and tested, has worked for me. Most people will completely disagree and pretty much every pet site will say the opposite to me, but whenever I've had two neutered cats of the same sex it has worked every time.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Should You Give An Older Dog A Home?

Do you question why animals of a certain age are in a rescue centre? Do you think that they may have behavioural problems and you aren't prepared to take on that responsibility? Of course each animal has their own history as do we, but that's not to say an older animal shouldn't be given a lovely retirement life with you. There are so many cases of older dogs ending up in rescue centres because their previous owner has passed away or have had to relocate abroad. There is also the sad fact that humans can be disgustingly cruel and a shelter animal may very well have finally been rescued after years with an abusive owner. It is not always the case that an old dog has bad habits or an aggressive temperament, however their character will be fully developed and probably like you and me they're a bit set in their ways.

So what are the pros and cons of adopting an older pet?


They will already be house trained. You won't have to deal with leash training, toilet training, socializing them or choosing the right diet. All of that will be well established. They will already know the basics like sit, stay etc.

They're most likely to have been neutered. Even if their former owner didn't do it the rescue centre certainly will as it's usually their policy.

No puppy bills. This is always a big cost when you take home a puppy. The vaccinations, worming treatments, annual boosters and neutering all adds up.

Obviously being older they won't destroy the house by chewing everything in sight. They'll be happy with their favourite dog toy or bone and won't be interested in such naughty puppy behaviour.

Their adult size will already be established so there'll be no question of how big will they become.

A puppy tends to need lots of attention and will be full of energy. Your older dog will still enjoy love and affection but will be used to having their own space and won't need to be fussed as much.

Their character will already be established so if you want a calm dog or a more energetic type then you'll be getting exactly what you see.


How are they with children? Older dogs can be extremely patient or very snappy. Find out their history as a lot of dogs won't tolerate screaming toddlers pulling and poking at them and may get a bit nippy. It will be your responsibility to do your homework, you never know if a particular dog has had a bad experience with children.

Medication costs. The older dog may have age related illnesses that will be an expense. However any animal will cost you a trip or two to the vets at some point.

The older years mean of course you will have to deal with losing them at some point. Even though sad things can happen to a puppy, your mature pet is obviously going to pass on sooner rather than later.

Obesity can be a real problem for the older dog, so diet and exercise is crucial. Incontinence can also be an issue too, so be prepared for that.

Any animal will be so happy to have a second chance at a second home. You're saving their life it doesn't get more positive than that.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Which is The Best Type of Dog for Your Child?

Choosing the right family dog is an important decision. On the one hand you may want security with a guard dog type and then if you have children you'll want peace of mind that they will be safe if playing with the dog. First of all whichever breed you have or choose please remember that leaving a young child alone with any type of dog is not advisable. Not only do you have to take into account that the dog, however placid, could turn aggressive, there is also the worry that your child could provoke and annoy him enough that he then attacks.

Of course you probably look at your child as a complete angel, but there is always going to be something they haven't tried yet. Pulling the dogs ears, feeding it crayons, trying to see if he likes hanging by his tail, the list could go on. Naturally children want to explore and learn so teaching them animal care and pet responsibility from a young age is a great idea. Over time your dog will begin to see your child as part of the family if he is on the receiving end of care and attention like being watered and fed. Don't expect your dog to tolerate having their sleep or bone chewing time interrupted by anyone. It is your responsibility to teach your child these things.

Personally I wouldn't have a small dog around children as they can be quite snappy and a child may be tempted to pick them up and play with them as they're a manageable size.

I'm a big believer in rehoming rescue animals, but this could pose a problem if your dog has been through an abusive past. However docile and calm they may seem, if they're poked by your child with their latest toy you never know how they will react. That's not to say rescue animals shouldn't be in the company of children, just that you should supervise and be aware of these factors at all times. So let's look at the different breeds of dogs and what their traits and characteristics are towards children.

Golden Retrievers and Labradors.

Both of these breeds have similar temperaments, loyal, protective and kind. The Retriever tends to be a bit smaller than the Labrador, other than that they both love to play and are usually calm by nature. They also love affection which is good for children who want to cuddle their dog. Labradors are more likely to be a bit more aggressive towards other dogs where as Golden Retrievers aim to get along with everyone. Labradors have shorter hair so are easier to groom but are more likely to get overweight as they get older. They will be patient with children which is good for when your child is learning about their grooming routine. Both love exercise which is great for kids and families.


Nicknamed "natures nanny" this dog breed has a huge reputation of being very loving towards children and is also extremely protective. They're big enough to withstand rough and tumble playtime and docile enough not to get too bothered when your kids get out of hand. These gentle giants are also excellent guard dogs and usually get on with other animals too. They do need a lot of exercise and combing and also drool a lot so be prepared.

English Bulldog

Maybe not the most energetic of dogs, but definitely one of the most affectionate. They have a strong tendency towards protection of anything that is smaller than them. If you tell your kids off you might find that you're in the doghouse for a while as they will feel you're attacking something more vulnerable than them. They are very sensitive so don't let their easy going nature fool you, if you're upset they'll come to comfort you. They're at their most content when they're owner and family is happy. Not top of the list when it comes to guard dog behaviour though.

Great Dane

They're big softies when it comes to children. They are very patient with little ones and will tolerate kids wanting to play with them. They tend to forget their size and will most likely try to get comfortable sitting on your lap. They love to exercise (and need it) which is good for kids and are another breed that is very protective of their families and home. Sadly their lifespan is usually under ten years, so bear in mind how that may affect your family as well.


Full of energy and fun this breed is perfect for a young family. They love cuddles and are extremely affectionate. Being a sturdy dog they can handle rough housing at playtime but like any animal they won't tolerate children poking or hurting them. Beagles are social animals by nature they won't be loyal to just one member of the household but will enjoy time with all the family members.

Obviously every dog is different and a lot has to do with how the dog has been socialised from being a puppy. So always do your homework and check the history of any animal before you bring it into your home. One last note as mentioned earlier, train your children too, they need to respect the animal member of the family and not treat them as a toy to throw around.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Tips On Rehoming a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Unfortunately Staffordshire Bull Terriers have gained a bad reputation that will be hard to shift. They often get mistaken for Pit Bull Terriers which are banned in the U.K. I recently visited Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, as my mum was looking to rehome a rescue dog. Sadly the majority of dogs we saw were Staffs or Staffordshire crosses. Their name has now been blackened by the gangs and yobs using them for fighting weapons and gang credibility. The truth is very different from the image they have, as generally they are big softies. This is one of the main reasons they end up being dumped because they don't always become the fighters that their owners have bred them to be. Many are extremely child friendly and very protective of little ones, they love to be part of families. Their boisterous nature and bulky physique often confuse and threaten would be owners. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. Don't judge a breed of dog because of stupid human behaviour.

Below are some points on rehoming a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Firstly prepare your home and garden. Secure fencing and gates are a must. They love to play and can get carried away when they're having fun. Obviously a strong built dog will carry a lot of power and weight behind them if they go running and jumping around. Don't think you're housing a delicate little Chihuahua, these dogs will give you so much love, loyalty and affection but do need to be secured in their home. They are by nature impulsive and enthusiastic, therefore keep in mind that some obedience training is advisable. They are usually quick learners and aim to please their owners.

They won't have road or car sense due to their spontaneous characteristics and leaving your front door open is a no no. Also don't expect them to walk off the lead on the street, they love to chase and seeing a smaller animal to run after will be too difficult to resist.

Always keep them on a strong lead when out walking and invest in a good dog collar. Usually leather or nylon collars are best as they are much more durable than material collars. The Staffordshire Bull Terriers basic instinct is to investigate and explore, so it's a good idea to have him wearing something that will withstand his foraging.

They are a breed that tends to prefer human company to other dogs so make sure you spend time playing with them and have plenty of toys to keep them occupied. Chew toys are a must. Buying a range like the Extreme Kong toys will be fun yet durable for even the toughest chewers. They make a variety of balls, bones and throw toys to keep them occupied.

They can suffer badly from separation anxiety so it's best to think carefully about your home life and if there's enough company for them in the daytime. Give them lots of attention and love when you are with them, they are big softies that will crave for your affection and give you it back ten times over.

As soon as possible get them to interact with other dogs in a calm, controlled environment. They don't naturally get on that well with other dogs and definitely feel more in tune with humans. If you get a Staff as a puppy it's a great idea to start them off socialising with other dogs immediately, maybe enrol them in puppy obedience classes.

And lastly, never forget that if you are taking on a rescue dog you won't know their full history or the suffering they may have gone through. Obviously the rescue centre will have some knowledge but the dog will never be able to tell you what life they've truly experienced before you.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Dental Hygiene Tips For Your Dog

Studies have shown that 4 out of 5 dogs are showing dental problems before the age of 3. There are many varieties of biscuits on the market that claim to stop the build up of plaque which eventually becomes tartar. Dogs do suffer from gum disease, which in time can mean them losing their teeth. Dental biscuits alone aren't enough and brushing should be a twice weekly, or preferably daily routine.

Now, the idea of trying to get your dog to put up with you shoving a toothbrush in his mouth isn't an easy one. That's why it's advisable to start them off as young as possible. It is also a good idea to begin with a trip to your vet to have a thorough clean and to discuss which is the easiest and most effective way. Selecting the right toothpaste is also very important. You should look for a paste that has enzymes in it which will help to control plaque. Whatever you do don't use human toothpaste as they may contain salt, baking soda or detergents of some kind. Also many of the dog pastes now come in flavours like poultry etc. Using a child's toothbrush isn't a good idea either as that can even be too hard for doggie gums.

Start off by approaching your dog when he's relaxed and has had his daily exercise. Sit calmly next to him and let him sniff the brush to get him used to the scent and shape of the new object. Then begin gently brushing your dog's teeth without any toothpaste to allow him to experience this new, strange treatment. Then next time use only warm water on the brush, eventually progressing to a small amount of dog paste.

There are various brushes and toothpastes that are available on the market. These will be helpful in combating dental hygiene problems for your pet.

There are silent toothbrushes that obviously have the benefit of not stressing your pet out with noise. A lot of them come with bristles angled at 45° towards the teeth and gum line so it can clean the inside and outside surfaces of the teeth at the same time. Allowing for a quicker cleaning routine for both you and your dog.

Dual ended toothbrushes are ideal for brushing the teeth of most pets. The different sized brushes mean you can do the back as well as the front teeth. The long handles and angle heads help to reach the back teeth as well.

Pet veterinary cat dog finger toothbrushes are designed for massaging gums, cleaning the mouth cavity, gums, tooth rim and pets teeth. The brushes are usually made of soft rubber silicone for comfort and are molded in a single piece for safety.

Virbac enzymatic toothpaste is specifically formulated for dogs and cats (fish and poultry flavour available). It is a highly palatable toothpaste based on the patented C.E.T. Dual Enzyme System which enhances the natural defence mechanisms of the mouth, no rinsing required.

Beaphar toothpaste contains fluoride to strengthen their teeth, it contains special enzymes to break down plaque, as well as chlorophyll to help combat bad breath.

So make sure you look after your dog's teeth as it's a very important factor in pet health and happiness.