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What do I take on Holiday for a dog?

I love going on holiday. The new friends, the new smells and the increased chances of a stray sausage falling my way but I can find it rather stressful, particularly in the run up when routines are all out of whack and everyone is getting excited. I get excited too but I don’t always understand what is going on.

As in increasing number of humans take us pets on holiday and as holiday companies wake up to this fact and offer more pet friendly holidays we need to ensure that our pet’s needs into account.

Imagine, for a moment, being your dog. He is probably asking himself what is going on. Why is everyone so excited, what do the big suitcases mean, and most importantly, what about me? Find time to reassure your pet and use the following list to ensure you are prepared with all the essentials for a great holiday.

  • Food – stock up on his normal food so you don’t run out when you are away
  • Stake and longline – the feeling of freedom without the worry!
  • Travel bowls for food and water – collapsible for easy storage
  • Travel water bottle – sightseeing is thirsty work
  • Seatbelt restraint/harness or crate – better safe than sorry
  • Bed and/or blanket – the smell and feel of home can be very reassuring
  • Toys – for those relaxation moments
  • Treats and chews – well it’s a holiday!
  • Natural calming/travel sickness remedy – because we can get overexcited

But above all remember to enjoy your holiday and quality time with the WHOLE family!

 

Nelson the Schnauzer

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What to consider when taking your dog away with you this Bank Holiday

HOLLY PIC 1With summer almost upon us, many of us are thinking about what we’re going to do with regards to our holiday this year. The weather has been kind to us so far, and this means that excitement is starting to brew knowing that walks on the beach or in the countryside are only just around the corner. It is a great time to start thinking about your plans so that you can book your holiday for summer 2017.

If you have a dog, you may wish that you could take them with you – yet many people don’t know how to make this wish a reality. If you leave them at home, whether with a family member or in kennels, not only would you miss them, but you are also likely to take time out of your holiday to get in touch with people at home and ask about how they’re doing. Not only would it put your mind at rest if you took them with you, but you would also be able to save money on kennel fees too, which is an added bonus.

Holiday Preparation
When you’re taking your dog on holiday with you, preparation really is key. You need to make sure that you are both ready for anything that might happen. This is even more important to consider when you remember that your dog is going to be experiencing an unfamiliar routine, in strange surroundings, so make sure to use this to your advantage to pack for anything which may cause a hurdle in your break away:

- The weather makes all the difference. Have a look at the forecast before you go, and think about what you would do to keep your dog entertained if the weather decided to take a turn for the worst. Nothing is worse than a bored and energetic dog in a confined space.

- Take a look at the facilities that are available. Is there somewhere dedicated to dog walks on site? Will you be given food and water bowls?

- Make sure you have enough of everything. Running out of bags whilst on a walk makes for embarrassing and sometimes costly situations. You should also make sure you have a spare lead and collar in case something should happen to your only one whilst you’re out for the day. Take plenty of towels and sponges, as seaside trips always urge the temptation for a quick dip.

- Don’t forget your dog’s medication if they have any. It can be easy to let this slip your mind, but it is important that they are able to keep up to date with any treatment that they might be having while they are away.

- Ensure that you take enough food with you for your dog. A change in food could result in your dog having an upset stomach, which will put as unpleasant spin on both of your holiday.

Safety and Security

When you and your dog are at home, you will be confident that they are safe, and you will be knowledgeable about any potential dangers that could be in the vicinity. However, when you’re on holiday you don’t have this knowledge to your advantage, and this means that you need to take extra care to make sure that they’re safe. Dog’s love to explore new surroundings and this comes with the risk of them getting lost or wandering out of sight.

Before you leave, you should be confident that your dog comes back to you when called – no matter what might be distracting them at the time. If you’re not completely comfortable in the knowledge that they will come back to you, it might be a better idea to put your dog on an extendable lead if they are a smaller breed, as they will still be able to roam, but you will know that they are still within your control. If you have a larger breed of dog, make sure to let them off in an enclosed area, large enough to have a good run around but without running the risk of losing them. Make sure to take a photo of your dog with you, so that if he or she decides to run off, you will be able to ask for help to find them.

Many of us forget just how hot our British summers can get and how this heat can affect our dogs. When out for the day, you should take a water bowl with you for your dog, and make sure that you always have some bottled water with you on walks in case they need a drink. This will help to prevent dehydration.

Additionally, in the countryside, particularly in summer, there are lots of things around that could sting your dog. Therefore, you should pack suitable treatments prior to your trip so that you have them to hand if this happens.

When you’re planning your routes, you should take a look at main roads, dangerous cliff edges, and anything that could catch you out. Remember that your dog is completely new to these surroundings, and may not understand where they should and shouldn’t go.

Making the most of your time away

It often seems as though the build-up to a holiday drags, but then the event itself is over in a heartbeat. It can be frustrating to get home and realise that you hadn’t made the most of the time you had – so for this reason you should make a plan.

Doing some research about where you’re going is essential. You should think about any days out that you’d like to go on, and make sure that anywhere you’re visiting allows dogs. It’s a good idea to pinpoint dog-friendly pubs in the area, so you will always have somewhere to go if you need a break. There will be many different events going on during the holiday season, lots of which your dog will be able to enjoy by your side. For this reason you should make sure that you have done your research, as this will mean that you won’t have to miss out on anything.

A dog is very much a member of the family, and for this reason they often add a huge amount of enjoyment to your holiday while you’re away. You will be able to enjoy watching them explore their new surroundings – something that is very exciting for dogs – and you won’t have any of the worry about what might be happening while they’re at home. With a little bit of forward planning, you should find that you can have a wonderful holiday with your dog, that you will all be able to enjoy.

 

Kindly written for The Pet Shed by Holly Barry | Digital PR Executive | Distinctly PR

Twitter -@HJBarry

127 High Street, Rickmansworth, WD3 1AN

01923 728191

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How much does a dog cost?

We have been seeing a lot of new faces in the park over the last few weeks. Puppies and new friends fortunate enough to find their forever home after a rough start in life. Dogs are not just for Christmas, as they say, but what people often forget, in the throes of puppy love, is the on-going cost of the new member of the family.

The average annual cost of owning a dog is over £1,000 when you take into account food, toys and treats, grooming, vets bills and insurance. And this is without taking into account the original purchase price. Some pedigree breeds can cost over £1,000! This all adds up to a staggering average of £16,900 for the lifetime of a dog.

Cats are a little cheaper each year but as they tend to live longer the total cost over their lifetime is very similar

Costs do increase as pets get older as vets bills increase. Advances in veterinary medicine will mean that our pets live longer so it is very important to ensure you have adequate insurance to cover costs as your pet gets older.
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All that said, having a pet in your life is one of the best things you can do for your health. They are loyal, love unconditionally, make us get out and about and exercise. They make us more sociable and they make us laugh, and they do say laughter is the best medicine.

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Why chocolate is bad for you

Spring is in the air which can only mean one thing, actually make that 2 or 3. Lots of new sights and smells, longer walks in the day light and plenty of family time over Easter when the kids and the grownups take some well-earned time off.
There are lots of tempting goodies around at Easter but much of it, unfortunately, is not designed for dogs or cats. Chocolate is the biggest culprit as this contains two substances that are toxic: caffeine and theobromine. Because caffeine is a stimulant, when your pet ingests it, his heart could race or he could have a seizure. Theobromine, an alkaloid present in cocoa beans, acts as a diuretic, stimulant and even a relaxant for people, but is highly toxic to most animals.
If you discover or suspect your pet has eaten chocolate always take him to the vets. Symptoms can include extreme thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle rigidity, agitation, hyperactivity, excessive panting, pacing and seizures. As a rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate the more theobromine it contains and the more dangerous it could be.
So, always keep those chocolate eggs out of temptation and if you want to treat your pet grab a bone, chew, toy or some treats from your local pet shop. The Pet Shed has an amazing range of natural treats, food and accessories and will be open over Easter, only shutting on the bank holidays.

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Flea and Tick prevention

Something has been bothering me lately. No, not the US election or the impact of Brexit but those pesky little critters called fleas. Even the cleanest of households can’t escape the odd visitor hitching a ride and as they can thrive all year round I want to tell you my top tips for prevention of fleas.
First, check to see if your pet has fleas by standing him on a light towel or piece of paper and combing him. Pay special attention to the base of the tail where fleas particularly like to hang out.
If you find fleas you can use various treatments to kill them. Ask your vet or local pet shop for advice and remember to treat the home as well as fleas will spend most of their life in your carpet or cracks in floorboards only hopping on your pet for dinner!
Even if you don’t find fleas a natural preventive can help you keep them at bay. Look for products that contain neem oil, and always follow the instructions.
Ticks are also a problem and can be picked up from walks in long grass. If you find a tick use a specialise tool to remove it to ensure the whole tick is removed. Most flea treatments will kill ticks too.
Finally, do remember to use the right product for the right pet. Some flea and tick products formulated for dogs are highly toxic to cats so always check.

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Rescue Centres and other musings

Whilst playing in the park with my friends the other day I got to thinking about where we all came from and how much we are loved. I am reliably informed that as a nation of animal lovers 40% of homes have a pet with just under 1 in 4 households having a dog and 1 in 5 having a cat and last year £6bn was spent on us!
More than ever we are seen as members of the family we are a huge responsibility both in time and cost, with a dog or cat costing an average of £17,000 during its lifetime.
The biggest one off cost of a dog (ignoring vets bills) is likely to be the original purchase price so if you are planning on buying a puppy from a breeder do make sure that you get your puppy from a reputable source by visiting the breeder and are not unwittingly funding puppy farms. Check out the RSPCAs guide to buying a puppy for more information www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/puppy
Many of my friends have been rescued and this is a cheaper options with payment usually in the form of a donation. Lots of organisations, such as Allsorts dog rescue (http://www.allsortsdogrescue.org.uk/) foster in people homes so the fear that “you don’t know what you are getting” does not have to be a worry.
Whatever route you choose always welcome your dog into your home with lots of affection and be prepared to fall in love with us!

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REHOMING A RESCUE DOG: AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING GUIDE

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Written by Vetsure

It’s estimated that in 2015, there were roughly 8.5 million dogs in the UK. Whilst the vast majority

of these dogs are much-loved members of their families, it is a sobering fact that thousands of dogs

find themselves in dog pounds and rescue centres each year. The Dog’s Trust Annual Dog Survey

for 2015 found that there are roughly around 110,000 dogs needing rehoming at any one time. With

rescue centres across the country consistently running at or above capacity, should you be looking

to bring a dog into your life, it makes sense to, at least, consider adopting a rescue dog instead of

buying a puppy.

We’re all familiar with the slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’, and we know that behind

that slogan lies the unfortunate fact that many people don’t realise that bringing a new dog into their home takes a huge amount of preparation, perseverance and patience. For those adopting a rescue dog, the challenges can be much greater, and it’s vital for new owners to do whatever they can to ensure that their rescue dog adapts well to its new and loving home as quickly as possible.

By choosing a rescue dog, you are saving the life of a creature who depends upon humans for care and shelter. You are giving them a fresh start and a new home, and in return, you will be given unconditional love. By following the simple steps in this guide, you can make the process of rehoming your dog as smooth and stress-free as possible for the both of you.

Key points and advice

One of the simplest things to consider before rehoming a rescue dog is whether now is the right time for you to rescue. If you are planning a holiday, a house move, a new baby or a new job within the coming months, it might be a good idea to postpone your adoption until all of these distractions are out of the way. When a new dog comes into your life, whether a rescue or not, it’s really important that you can give him your full attention at all times. Rescue dogs, in particular, can be very nervous in their new environment, and a busy household with no routine can be terrifying for some dogs.

If you do have enough time to give to a rescue dog, the next consideration should be what type of dog is right for you. Consider how much exercise you can offer your new dog, what level of dog- handling experience you have, and whether you need a dog that is comfortable with other pets or small children. For example, if you live in a busy city with small children and other pets, adopting a Border Collie that has only ever lived outside on a farm is likely to be a very bad idea! A rescue centre can talk through all of your needs and match their available dogs to your exact requirements.

Don’t be afraid to take your time when choosing a rescue dog, and if you don’t think there are any suitable dogs when you visit the rescue centre, don’t be tempted to settle for something unsuitable, in the hope that you can ‘fix’ the issues. It’s far kinder, to the dog and to your family, to walk away and wait for the right dog for you.

Making your home ready for your rescue dog

Spending some time preparing for your dog’s arrival can help him settle down as quickly as possible, and can make life a lot easier for you too. It’s inevitable that you and your new pet will feel nervous when you get home on the first day, so make life easy for yourself with some forward planning.

The rescue centre should be able to advise you on what food your new dog has been eating, and it’s a good idea to stick with that for a week or two at least, to avoid any upset tummies. Treats are also a good idea, as they are invaluable as rewards when teaching dogs new behaviours. Don’t go overboard, though, as it’s easy to overfeed dogs. Decide where they are going to eat and keep that consistent. The place where you feed him should be quiet and safe – without the distraction of otherpets or children.

As well as food and drink, your dog also needs a safe space to call his own. This space is where he will sleep, but is also where he can learn to go when he wants some quiet time. Not everyone likes the idea of using a dog crate, but when used sensitively and responsibly, crates can be an effective tool in training your dog to be a balanced and happy pet. Most dogs actually love their crates and see them as their own ‘den’. Try covering the top of the crate with a blanket for added comfort and security.

Pet insurance should be next on your list and the final things you need to buy before you bring your new dog home are a collar and lead, a plentiful supply of poop bags, and perhaps one or two dog toys. Rubber ‘Kongs’ are great for dogs, as they are virtually indestructible and can be filled with tasty treats to keep your dog entertained.

Lastly, before you bring your new dog home, make sure that you talk about his arrival with all members of your family. It’s important to explain, to children in particular, that the dog will be very nervous about coming to a new home, and will need plenty of time and space to settle in. A house full of over-excited children, or visitors dropping in to see the new addition, can be overwhelming for a dog. Explain that there will be plenty of time to get to know the new dog once he’s had time to settle in.

What to expect from the dog on arrival

Hopefully, you will already have spent some time with your new dog as most rescue centres will ask you to visit them several times before releasing a dog into your care. Usually, you’ll also be asked to take your dog for a few walks, to get to know him and to be 100% sure that you are right for each other. Even with all of this careful planning, your new dog may still be frightened by the rehoming process, and may even be travel-sick on the journey home.

Once you get home, take the dog out of the car, put him on the lead and allow him to walk around the garden briefly, to go to the toilet and to get his bearings. Then bring him into the house, and show him his bed and food and water bowls.

Make sure that your dog understands where his safe place is, so that he can go there whenever he needs to. If you’re using a dog crate, it can be a good idea to feed your dog in the crate too, so that he associates the crate with the positive experience of being fed. Don’t try shutting the door of the crate until the dog has come to see it as his own space.

Only feed a light meal on the first evening, whilst your dog settles down. Don’t try to fuss the dog too much, and simply let him relax, whilst you sit quietly or go about your routine.

With the sensory overload that comes with entering a new home for the first time, your dog may not be particularly responsive and may not want to be stroked or handled. On the other hand, he may bewildly over-excited and try to tear around the house. Let the dog go at his own pace, but try to control the environment so that he settles as quickly as possible.

Introductions

When the time comes to introduce children and other pets, it’s important to take a softly-softly approach, to avoid distressing your new dog. Explain to your children that they should sit calmly on the sofa and wait for the dog to approach them. Tell them to sit quietly, without shouting or making any sudden movements. This will allow the dog to approach carefully and to assess these new and curious creatures on his own terms.

With other dogs, it can be a good idea to have the first meeting take place outdoors, ideally, take them on a walk where there is more space for each animal to feel safe in. Let the dogs introduce themselves, but keep a close eye on them, in case you need to intervene.  Until the new dog is fully settled, make sure that mealtimes are closely supervised, and don’t leave your rescue dog alone with your other dogs.

When introducing your new rescue dog to your cat, it can be a good idea to keep the dog on the lead, even if sitting in the lounge. That way, the cat can approach the dog and introduce itself in its own time, while you maintain full control of the dog. Always make sure that a cat has a safe space to escape to, if the introductions don’t go perfectly.

Building a bond with your dog

It can be tempting to try to rush the process of bonding with your dog, by constantly stroking him or even picking him up. To a dog, all of this can be quite intimidating. It’s far better to take things slowly and allow the dog to come to you – just by spending time in the same room together, sitting quietly and speaking gently, the dog will soon come to realise there is nothing to be fearful of.

Once you’ve got over the first hurdles of the dog being confident in your presence, you can work on building that special relationship through a variety of techniques. It’s important that your dog sees you as a provider of fun, so play freely and enthusiastically with him. However, be sure to let your dog know that you control when and how play time goes, this is important for training a well- mannered dog. Other things that can help to build trust include regular grooming and handling. Take this very slowly, and allow the dog to get used to you touching all parts of his body, including ears, feet, tail, head and muzzle. This can be a very long process with many rescue dogs, but with time, it will build a solid relationship between you.

Housetraining

It’s inevitable that there will be a few ‘accidents’ when introducing a new dog to your home, but there are ways to make sure that these are kept to the minimum. Try to ensure that your dog is let outside to go to the toilet on a regular basis, and particularly before bedtime. Tune into when the dog is trying to tell you that he needs to go outside – he may whine, or sit by the door, for example. A crate can help with housetraining too, as dogs do not like to soil their sleeping area, so he will learn quickly to go before bedtime and to strengthen his control, to allow him to last until morning.

If you do have any accidents, avoid cleaning products that contain ammonia as these can actually encourage your dog to pee in that place again. Try white vinegar instead.

Establish daily routines. Dogs are creatures of habit, and like things to follow a routine. By providing consistency, you’ll help him understand what his new life involves and he’ll grow into a relaxed pooch. Try to walk the dog at the same times each day, and keep mealtimes regular too. Don’t move the dog’s bed around, as he needs to be sure of where that safe space is.

It’s easy to cut a rescue dog some slack at the beginning, telling yourself that he is just settling in. However, by allowing bad habits, such as jumping up, pulling on the lead, or using his mouth when playing, you could be doing more harm than good. These behaviours soon become entrenched, and it is much harder to train bad behaviour out of a dog than to train good behaviour in.

Dogs usually learn things very quickly, so with some patience and calm perseverance, you should see the results of any training undertaken before long.

Veterinary care for your rescue dog

It’s very important to try to get your new friend used to visits to your veterinary practice. The veterinary team need to be established as friends and associated with positive experiences as much as possible – not just times of illness. With this in mind, ask your veterinary team whether they would be happy for you to pop in for a free introduction – just an opportunity for your dog to visit the practice and be pampered by the staff – not examined, prodded and poked! So, if a veterinary examination or vaccination is due, maybe do this on a separate occasion. In an ideal world, your dog should have visited the vets on several occasions for a good pampering and maybe a treat before any more ‘practical’ visits are required. Most caring veterinary teams will be happy to oblige with this as they know how important it is for dogs to feel comfortable coming into the vets – particularly rescue dogs who may have had previous bad experiences.

Conclusion

Dogs can find themselves in a rescue centre for all sorts of reasons. It’s easy to write off these animals as being ‘too difficult’ or ‘problem dogs’. However, with some forward planning and plenty of patience and gentle, positive handling, a rescue dog can be every bit as rewarding as any other dog, if not more so! If you’re considering bringing a new dog into your life, why not consider adopting a rescue dog?

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It’s cold out there…

It’s been very cold out there but luckily for me I have a nice range of warm jumpers and coats to keep me snug and warm.

Not that every dog needs a coat. Some of my friends in the park (particularly the Huskies and Alsatians) would rather be seen playing with a cat than wearing a coat but each breed is different, and short haired dogs with no undercoat (like my friend Bourbon from The Pet Shed) or dogs with little body fat, like greyhounds, can get cold quickly.

If you are unsure if your pooch needs a parka check to see if they get shivery outside or are keen to come in as soon as they go out. If they don’t get particularly cold but do have the sort of fur that likes to get wet and attract the dirt you could also consider a thinner waterproof jacket that may help save your carpet and soft furnishings after a winter walk!

Dog’s paws also need protecting in the winter as they can crack and become sore particularly when the gritters have been out with the salt. A good habit to get into is to wipe your dog’s feet after a walk and apply some soothing paw balm.

If long winter walks are the furthest thing from your mind do remember not to leave your dog out in the garden for long stretches particularly when it is below freezing. You could also try exercising in doors with your dog; set up mini obstacle courses or work on obedience training to keep boredom at bay.

Nelson was talking to Hannah James, dog translator and owner of The Pet Shed, 100 Preston Drove, BN1 6EW. Tel: 01273 554164

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Nelson the Schnauzer’s Christmas List

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As a young pup I am getting very excited about Christmas, the lights, the smells, seeing friends, the smells, trying to unwrap the Christmas presents under the tree, the smells…

This year, more than ever there is an abundance of toys, treats, outfits (not forgetting the obligatory Christmas jumper) and gifts available for your four legged friends so I thought I would share with you my Christmas list. (I am also hoping that Father Christmas gets a copy of the Fiveways Directory!)

  1. Billy and Margot Christmas Crackers. Available with either a Venison Marrow Bone, Venison Treats, Biscuits or an antler
  2. Lilys Kitchen Three Bird Festive feast for dogs (or Turkey Feast for Cats)
  3. An Antler, I particularly like the split ones!
  4. Alfie and Molly’s Grain Free and Wheat/Gluten Free Christmas biscuits
  5. Kong Festive Balls
  6. Lilys Kitchen Fabulously Festive Biscuits (Fabulously Festive treats also available for cats)
  7. Glow in the dark Chuckit Balls
  8. A Christmas Bandana
  9. The Little Pet Biscuit gingerbread biscuits with festive spices
  10. A Christmas Stocking!

On a more serious note, to all the doggies out there, do stay safe this holiday season. Wrap up warm when outside, make sure you wear your light up collar or light every time you go out in the dark and be careful when sampling any food left around. Never eat those chocolates, however tempting they look as it’s a guaranteed trip to the vets. The same goes for Christmas pudding and if you do fancy a bit of Turkey, make sure you take the bones out first!

Happy holidays to all!