<![CDATA[Dog Blog]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog Tue, 20 Mar 2018 08:09:43 GMT Tue, 20 Mar 2018 08:09:43 GMT LemonStand <![CDATA[About dog blood donors and how to become one]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postabout-dog-blood-donors-and-how-to-become-one http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postabout-dog-blood-donors-and-how-to-become-one Tue, 15 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT Did you know more than 1000 dogs need a blood transfusion every year? Did you know every blood donation a dog makes can save as many as four dogs' lives? The Pet Blood Bank UK is Britain's only canine blood bank charity, and they work with vets across the nation to improve animal health and welfare. Thanks to them, if your pooch is injured or ill and needs a transfusion, your vet can get the blood they need.

Just like human blood donors, there's a network of dog owners who bring their beloved dogs to give blood. Dogs can donate blood 3-4 times a year. Your dog won't realise what's going on, and they won't feel a thing since the vet applies a local anaesthetic cream first. Everyone concerned gives them lots of love and fuss, which means donor dogs end up genuinely enjoying the whole thing.

Can your dog donate blood?

If your pooch is under eight years old, healthy and fit, not on medication and weighs 25kg or more, they can give blood. It's also important they have a calm temperament and have had all their vaccinations. And they can't give blood if they've travelled abroad.

Dog blood donor sessions held at vets throughout the UK

Verts hold sesions all over Britain, and you can use the Pet Blood Bank UK blood session locator  (http://www.petbloodbankuk.org/pet-owners/blood-session-locator)/ to find one near you.

How does the process work?

The 40 minute process has dog comfort and relaxation at it's heart, starting with a health and suitability check, where the vet examines them and takes their medical history. If all's well the vet will clip and clean a little area on your pet's neck, and microchip them if they haven't already been chipped. Then a specialist called a phlebotomist takes around 450ml of blood, taking 5-10 minutres.

Your doggie gets a tasty snack and a drink of fresh water afterwards, then you're OK to go home. He or she might feel a bit sleepy and want to rest for a while, but otherwise – just like us when we give blood - they'll be fine.

What happens to the blood?

The blood is taken straight to a special processing centre in Loughborough, Leicestershire, where it's  separated into red blood cells and plasma before being stored ready for use.

About dog blood types

Dogs have different blood groups, like us, but when a dog only gets one blood transfusion in their life the type doesn't matter so much. This means any dog can donate blood to any other dog. Having said that, one particular dog blood type is crucial for every transfusion, once called Dog Group A and now called the DEA 1 blood group. The vet will establish your dog's blood group, if it isn't already on record, before taking blood.

It's always a good idea to know your dog's blood type, whether or not they are going to give blood, just in case they ever need an emergency transfusion themselves. Knowing beforehand saves valuable time, so can save their life. 

Can you donate blood to save your dog?

Humans don't usually donate blood for animals. But back in 2014 new research revealed people can donate a blood serum protein called albumin. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in Nashville gave human serum albumin to dogs with two particular health issues, inflammatory bowel disease and protein losing enteropathy. The transfusions turned out to be safe and surprisingly effective, with the same success rate as ordinary dog-to-dog transfusions.

Does your dog give blood?

Has your dog ever given blood? If so, how did it go? We'd love to know. Join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/poochandcompany, if you haven't already, and share your experiences. 

Posted in: Dog Health, Dogs, Service Dogs

<![CDATA[12 things to think about before buying a puppy]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/post12-things-to-think-about-before-buying-a-puppy http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/post12-things-to-think-about-before-buying-a-puppy Thu, 07 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT There are 215 different officially-recognised doggie breeds, and there's bound to be one that suits your family, personality and lifestyle perfectly. But before you start looking for a puppy to buy, you need to carry out a few essential checks to make sure the dog is legal, well cared for, socialised and healthy. 

There are many cases of false medical reports, with puppies ending up either blind or with organ failure before they reach adulthood. So how do you make sure you get a healthy, happy little dog without built-in medical problems? Here's some sensible advice.

1.     All pedigree dogs fall into one of 7 categories, seven 'breed groups'. Every breed has its own unique set of characteristics, needs, likes and dislikes. Choose a breed that suits your way of life, home and circumstances

2.     Inherited diseases like GPRA (generalised progressive retinal atrophy, an eye disease that causes blindness) are a risk with pedigree and cross-breed puppies. DNA tests for diseases in purebred dogs are available for some common medical conditions, and there's a number of special veterinary screening schemes that dog breeders can use. Before you decide on a puppy, ask the breeder what they've done to test and check for diseases like GPRA. You can find out about any breed-specific health issues online, or by asking your vet

3.     Pick a reputable breeder. The best way is word of mouth, so ask fellow dog owners and your vet for recommendations.

4.     A good breeder will follow strict breeding guidelines, test puppies for health issues, check the puppy in situ with its mum to see how it behaves and answer any questions you might have, openly and freely. The best breeders also provide information about training and socialisation, and will be there for you in case you need them, throughout the dog's life

5.     Responsible breeders give you a host of handy information without being asked, including background on socialisation details, diet, exercise, jabs and immunisation, feeding, worming and more, plus recommendations for the on-going socialisation and training you need to do at home.

6.     A good breeder will also give you a pedigree document with the puppy's ancestry, plus copies of its mum and dads' health certificates, and they'll let you know which vaccinations the puppy has and which he or she still needs. Ideally you'll find out which breed the grandparents fall into, and be shown the hereditary disease list if there is one

7.     It makes a lot of sense to get any medical tests repeated by an independent vet as a second opinion, to be certain your puppy really is in the best of health

8.     It's important to see the puppy interacting with its mum, because it lets you check the mother and baby's temperament and personality. But always ask to handle the puppy as well as looking at it

9.     You might want a crossbred puppy, bred privately at home. If your home is noisy and lively, try to buy a puppy from a similar environment. If your home is quiet and chilled, or you also have cats, the same goes. Then you're most likely to get a dog that fits in with your family's way of life, a dog that'll fit in with your lifestyle

10.  Crossbred puppies often come with a combination of traits from each parent. If you don't know what breeds were crossed to create the puppy you're thinking of buying, ask the owner or breeder

11.  If your puppy isn't from a breeder or comes from a rescue centre, they might not have had all the early advantages a properly-raised puppy gets, like early socialisation. Not to worry, dogs are clever and love learning new things. Start the socialisation process as soon as you get home and he or she should soon catch up

12.  Buy pet insurance straight away, as soon as things are confirmed and you know the puppy's yours

Follow these guidelines and you stand the best chance of getting a loving, healthy, lively puppy that'll fit right into your home and join in with the family from the offset.

What's your advice?

If you've taken on a puppy, what's your best piece of advice for new owners?  Follow us on Facebook and join the conversation (www.facebook.com/poochandcompany). 

Posted in: Dog Health, Dogs, Training

<![CDATA[Dogs make us happy, we make dogs happy]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postdogs-make-us-happy-we-make-dogs-happy http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postdogs-make-us-happy-we-make-dogs-happy Tue, 01 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT Your relationship with your pet dog is probably one of the most rewarding relationships you'll have as a human being. And it goes both ways. We love dogs, and they love us. As Christmas approaches, we thought it'd be nice to look at how dogs make us happy and vice versa, a seasonal celebration of mankind's very best friend. 

It's a love thing - As a dog owner you know how dogs respond to affection. In that way they're so like us - like humans, dogs flower and thrive when they're loved and cared for. Being loved makes them happy, and it's a two-way thing. The unconditional love of a loyal pooch is something incredibly special, and it's a privilege being loved by them.

A social thing - You're never lonely when you have a dog. It's a great way to meet people. When two dog walkers meet it's natural to strike up a conversation while your pets get to know each other. How many new friends and interesting people have you met while walking your dog? Let us know.

A lifestyle thing - When you're a dog owner, it's impossible to become a couch potato. Humans are naturally inclined to lounge around. We're programmed to conserve energy at times of plenty, when we're not under pressure to hunt for food or gather resources. The closest most of us get to hunter-gathering these days is a trip to the corner shop.

Thanks to our dogs, we are forced to get out and about in every kind of weather, from delightful to dreadful, in an effort to keep them properly exercised, fit and healthy. The benefits go two ways, with most dog walkers naturally getting their minimum 10,000 steps per day, seven days a week, all year round. Getting that level of exercise without a dog in tow is beyond most people. Thanks to your pooch, you're in better shape.  

An entertainment thing - Dogs are clever and funny, witty and wise. They do the funniest things. They actually grin at you, and a dog smile is pretty hard to resist. They're extremely eloquent too, with highly expressive faces that make it easy to understand what they're feeling and thinking. 

The whole doggie package is tremendously entertaining and fun, bringing light and life to the dullest day. Even quiet old dogs have a sense of humour. And because it's easy to communicate with a dog, the entertainment value goes both ways. There are very few things more enjoyable than playing with an enthusiastic, appreciative dog, and laughter is excellent medicine.     

A health thing - Research proves having a dog helps build up a child's immune system. Children from pet owning families tend to be healthier, with fewer allergies and less asthma. The scientists say it's something to do with coming into close contact with a wide variety of microbes, bacteria and so on, which helps the immune system develop strongly. In effect your immune system gets plenty of practice, and practice seems to make perfect. 

But there's more. Dogs play a vital part in old people's homes and hospices, where they soothe and calm the ill and injured to a remarkable degree. Some animals, dogs included, can be trained to 'smell' cancer, playing an important diagnostic role. People who engage with dogs feel calmer, happier, easier in their minds. It's magical, really - such a powerful and positive relationship.

A safety thing - Dogs keep us safe. They rescue children from lakes and drive intruders off. They defend us and our homes, rescue people in distress and find us when we're lost and injured. Dogs identify landmines and carry messages in wartime, carry us home, get help, support us in looking after farm animals and, in some societies, still help us find and catch food. And they adore us – it's in their DNA.

Definitely not just for Christmas - A dog is a lifetime friend, a partner and colleague, a companion and playmate, providing affection and support, exercise and amusement, security and safety, love and loyalty. As the Dogs Trust says, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.  And they enhance our lives every day, in their millions.

What does your dog give you and your family? - We'd love to know what role your dog plays in your family. Do you have an amazing doggy story to tell us for the festive season? You can hook up with us on facebook/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dog Health, Dogs, Festivities

<![CDATA[Lost and stolen dogs – How to find your beloved pooch]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postlost-and-stolen-dogs-how-to-find-your-beloved-pooch http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postlost-and-stolen-dogs-how-to-find-your-beloved-pooch Mon, 02 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT Your dog has got lost or been stolen. You're at your wits end, having trawled the area looking and asked everyone you can think of. What can you do next?

The importance of micro chipping

For a start, assuming your dog has been micro chipped, if your pet has been found and handed into a vet or animal shelter, they'll be able to read the microchip and let you know where to pick up your pooch. If you haven't had your dog chipped, now's the time to get it done. Your vet will do it for you, it's painless and literally takes seconds.

The lost dog notification procedure

What's the the procedure about filing a report on a lost dog? There's a national organisation called Lost Dogs UK, (http://www.doglost.co.uk) and it's the UK's biggest dog rescue company for lost, stray and stolen pets. It's free to register, then you can add yourself to the community and add your dog to the site if he or she goes missing.

You can even pre-register your pooch so they're safely on the database just in case, and you don't have to think about doing it when you're in a panic. Better still they connect with Facebook and Twitter for a really wide reach.

 As they say on the site:

            “Dog Lost is run by volunteers and headed by Jayne Hayes. Any lost or stolen dog registered on the site will have great chance of being reunited with its owners, 1000's of volunteers work really hard every day to support its efforts in reuniting dogs with their owner.”

Facebook and Twitter

Plenty of counties have their own lost dog Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts, for example Brighton's https://www.facebook.com/brightondogwatch. As you can imagine, account holders on all the networks are usually more than happy to share and re-Tweet appeals for lost dogs, and it's a great way to spread the word. Search the networks for a lost dog finder page or account near you, and follow them.


The RSPCA Tweets regularly about lost dogs, too. It's another really handy way to get the word out and find your pet faster.  Here's a link to their website, a page specifically about lost dogs. http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/straydogs

Private Investigators

Some dogs are lost for months and months. We've seen desperate owners turn to Private Investigators to help track their beloved pet down.

What to do if you lose your dog

If your dog goes missing, bear in mind it's surprising how often lost dogs are eventually found and returned to their owners, even after having been missing a long time. There are plenty of common sense things you can do to afind your pet.

·     Report your dog missing at www.DogLost.co.uk, where supporters will help distribute posters and spread the word

·     Report it to your local animal rescue centre, local vets and local RSPCA office

·     Contact your local animal warden, just in case your dog has been picked up as a stray

·     Ask local businesses to display posters, which you can create free at DogLost when you register

·     Talk to your neighbours in case anyone has seen or noticed anything

What to do if you find a lost or stray dog

Report it to your local council warden

·     Ask vets, the RSPCA and rescue centres near you if the owner has been in touch

·     Notify DogLost

·     Check if the dog is wearing a tag on their collar 

·     Ask a vet to scan the dog to see if they're chipped 

·     Stick up 'found' posters locally 

·     Check missing pet websites like Pets Located www.petslocated.com/

·     Spread the word on social media, including local groups, pages and accounts dedicated to lost pets

You can't legally keep a stray dog. If you want to give it a home, you need to give your details to your local dog warden and see if you're accepted.  

Covering Costs
Check your pet's insurance policy. Many policies offer various types of 'pet reuniting' services in the event of loss or theft and many offer a certain amount towards covering the cost of rewards and advertising as well.

How to keep your dog safe

  • The law says your dog must wear a collar and rag with your contact details

  • Microchipping is an excellent idea and it'll be the law from spring 2016 in England and Wales. This includes keeping your pet's details in the microchip database

  • Keep your dog within sight at all times, even when they're off the lead

  • Train your dog well so they will always come when you call

  • Teach your dog an emergency recall command which means they MUST come to you straight away  - here's some guidance http://dogs.about.com/od/dogtraining/a/emergency_recall.htm

Your lost dog stories

We'd love to hear your lost dog stories, and hope you found your popoch again. Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PoochandCompany.

Posted in: Dog Safety, Dogs

<![CDATA[Support and Service Dogs Around the World]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postsupport-and-service-dogs-around-the-world http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postsupport-and-service-dogs-around-the-world Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT Pets make people feel good. But that's just the start of it. There's much more to a pooch than meets the eye. These days there's a growing number of service dogs being specially trained for all manner of purposes, to help a wide variety of people. Guide dogs for the blind are just the start of it. Here's how humanity's best furry friend is getting more and more involved with our lives.

Hearing dogs 

Hearing dogs alert deaf children and adults to all sorts of vital sounds and danger signals around the home, including doorbells, fire alarms and telephones.  They help people gain more independence, raise confidence and provide the unique kind of companionship you only get from a loving, loyal pooch.

The dogs alert their owners to danger by nudging with their nose or paw.  When you ask your hearing dog 'what is it?' using a voice or hand command, the dog leads you to the source of the sound. If your dog lies down it means there's danger.

Dogs trained to help autistic children

Special autism assistance dogs help autistic children and their parents achieve independence as well as making the child feel secure. It means the entire family can enjoy things they might never have otherwise been able to do together, simple stuff like shopping and country walks.

The dog has a harness connecting it to the parent and child, and takes instructions from the adult. The child walks next to the dog, ensuring their safety and stopping them from 'bolting', a behaviour which affects  many autistic youngsters. If the child tries to run off, the dog simply sits down.

By helping the family introduce routines, interrupt repetitive behaviour and support the child in unfamiliar surroundings, autism support dogs make a great many families' lives a whole lot easier, as you can see online – many of the organisations offering trained dogs have long waiting lists. 

Dogs in court to help calm nervous witnesses

Court dogs are currently in use in the USA, Canada, Chile and Finland, and may eventually appear on our shores, too. As you can imagine appearing in court can be terrifying, especially if you're a key witness. In the USA there's a trend for court dogs, specially trained animals who accompany witnesses into the courtroom to help them stay calm under terrible emotional stress.

Court dogs are trained from young puppyhood until the two-year-old stage, and only the best performers are chosen for court work. Assistance dogs for court witnesses are typically quiet, calm and emotionally available for the witness, can sit or lie quietly for long periods of time, are so well trained they don't distract anyone in the courtroom and available throughout the entire process.

Dogs in hospices

There's something about caressing a loving, friendly animal that makes humans feel better. Nobody really knows why, but the reasons aren't that important when dogs have such a profound positive effect on our emotions.

Dogs who visit hospices provide comfort, unconditional love and companionship, all of which enriches the lives of people who are dying. The sight of the dogs plus the feel of their fur brings peace and joy to people who once had animals of their own, and the physical contact alone has a magical calming effect.

Therapy dogs help combat loneliness and often become an invaluable part of a hospice team.  They can even learn to sense impending death, and their natural compassion for and empathy with humans means they can extend great comfort to the families of dying people. Sometimes a therapy dog will lie at the end of someone's bed as they die, providing peace and calm in the final moments.

Diagnosis dogs who 'smell' diseases way before doctors can diagnose them

There's all sorts of research proving dogs can detect cancer in people's breath. Scientists are busy trying to come up with a machine that can do the same thing, so far without success. It's no small task replicating the animals' remarkable sense of smell.

Training dogs to smell cancer is the same as teaching them to sniff out bombs, missing persons and drugs.  The dogs are trained to ignore healthy breath as well as the scent of every other disease apart from the one they're being trained to diagnose. They can also be trained to smell dangerous drops in our blood sugar levels, and more doggy diagnosis applications are on the way. 

Dogs for wounded servicemen and women

Pooches can be trained to look after people with disabilities, including service dogs for ex-soldiers. They're trained to work with people in powered or manual wheelchairs, have lost limbs or have issues with  balance. 

Dogs can retrieve out-of-reach objects, open and shut doors, turn the lights on and off, bark to signal visitors, to get help, find someone specific and even help people walk more easily by giving essential balance and counterbalance.

Dementia service dogs and more

Specially trained dogs help dementia sufferers in much the same way, supporting people in their everyday life and raising alerts when necessary. They also work closely with people with Down Syndrome, epilepsy, diabetes, allergies, seizures, cerebral palsy, Tourettes, ADHD, FASD and Aspergers.

Any more to add to the list?

If you've heard of a dog doing amazing things for their human, something we haven't covered, we'd love to share it with our community. Here's a link to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/poochandcompany.


Posted in: Dogs, Service Dogs, Training

<![CDATA[Help...my dog needs first aid!]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/posthelp-my-dog-needs-first-aid http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/posthelp-my-dog-needs-first-aid Tue, 14 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Your pooch gets a cut on their paw, or a bruise. Or they strain their leg. Sometimes there's no need to pay an expensive visit to the vets when you can treat a minor injury easily, just like you can with a small child. Here's some insight into dog first aid courses and kits, plus links to sensible advice about what to do in a doggie health emergency.  

Doggie first aid kits

Dog first aid kits are widely available and contain a load of basics you need to handle minor injuries to your dog, things like cuts, bruises and strains. Some kits include special skin creams and dog booties to help keep wounds clean, dry and free from nasty infections, all products you can also buy separately at any reputable pet shop.

It's a good idea to take your basic dog first aid kit with you when you go out and about. Make sure the kit you buy is Veterinary Approved which should contain a host of specially-designed basic bits and bobs, such as below;

·       Saline solution for washing dirt and debris from your pet's eyes, cuts and scrapes and other areas

·       Special dressings with ties to cover injuries

·       A foil blanket to keep your pet warm and help combat shock

·       Gauze swabs for mopping up fluid and cleaning up saline solution

·       Microporous tape to keep dressings in place

·       Conforming bandage designed to immobilise sprains

·       Latex gloves

·       Plastic pouches to keep cover foot injuries

·       Alcohol free wipes to clean wounds

·       Scissors and tweezers

Dog first aid courses

The best doggie first aid courses are specially designed and veterinary approved, and they're very popular with people who work closely with dogs, whether it's the Police or Search and Rescue, dog trainers, groomers, breeders and even dog walking professionals. But there's no reason why you can't take a course as an ordinary dog owner.

A good Dog First Aid course will leave you with all the knowledge and confidence you need to act quickly, calmly and wisely in an emergency situation, and they'll bring all the latest techniques, research and insight into play.  Take the Dog First Aid website (http://www.dog-first-aid.com/), which says:

“Our Dog First Aid Courses all comply fully with The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 and are approved by veterinary professionals with the course content and materials being regularly reviewed. We aim to not only teach you life-saving emergency dog first aid skills, but to instil the confidence in you to use these skills in real life scenarios that you could be faced with at any time.”

How do you find a doggie first aid course near you? Your best bet is to either search on Google or ask your vet for a recommendation.

What to do in an emergency?

Unless you've taken a dog first aid course it's often difficult to know what's serious and what isn't. We're not qualified to give advice about whether or not your dog needs to see a vet, but there are some excellent resources online:

·       The PDSA website includes an excellent diagnosis tool. You're prompted to answer a series of questions and the site delivers advice about the probable cause, which helps you decide whether a vet visit is necessary. Here's a link to the PDSA online symptom checker. (https://www.pdsa.org.uk/vet-services/your-pets-symptoms) 

·       The Vets Now website includes a long and very detailed look at the most common dog emergencies they encounter, how to identify what might be wrong and when you need to see a vet. Here's a link to the most common pet emergencies (http://www.vets-now.com/pet-owners/dog-care-advice/emergencies-in-dogs/)

·       There's another handy symptom checker here on the Mewes Vets website (http://www.themewesvets.co.uk/symptom-checker-dogs/)

·       You can pick up a copy of the Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Owners-Veterinary-Handbook-Howell-reference/dp/0876052014) and generating rave reviews. As one dog owner says: “The best book of its kind in print! A Masterpiece in the field of dog care.... Mercifully clear and readable. If you own a dog and love it, you must keep a copy on your handy reference shelf!"

·       The law comes into it, too, namely the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966. There are strict rules under English Law concerning who can and can't legally give medical treatment to animals. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons provides details, a sensible thing to get to grips with before you attempt to treat a sick or injured dog yourself. Here's a link to a summary on the RCVS site (https://www.rcvs.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/code-of-professional-conduct-for-veterinary-surgeons/supporting-guidance/treatment-of-animals-by-unqualified-persons/).

·       And here's a link to an article detailing 12 dog emergencies that definitely need veterinary attention (http://mom.me/pets/dogs/19930-dog-emergencies-need-immediate-veterinary-attention/).

Do you have any dog injury tales to tell?

If you have any advice about dealing with basic injuries in dogs, or you know of a good resource, we'd love to hear about it. Why not share them via our Facebook page? We're at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dog Health, Dog Safety, Dogs, Training

<![CDATA[Beach adventures with your pooch – What you can and can't do]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postbeach-adventures-with-your-pooch-what-you-can-and-cant-do http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postbeach-adventures-with-your-pooch-what-you-can-and-cant-do Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT The beach is such fun for dogs, a place they love to run wild and free, packed with exciting things like sand and rocks, pools and waves, full of thrilling smells and new things to discover. But there are a few key things you should know before you let your pooch loose on your nearest beach. Here they are. 

Is there such a thing as dog-friendly beaches?

Some beaches have very strict restrictions about what dogs can and can't do. On some beaches dogs are banned throughout the spring and summer, from May to September, and on others they're banned all year round.

The reason for dog bans on beaches is usually very simple – it's a dog poop thing, which is fair enough when so many dog owners either don't poop and scoop at all or poop, scoop then ditch the poo-filled bag on the beach instead of taking it home (!). With a beach full of children in summer, the last thing parents need to see is dangerous doggie poo everywhere.  

Luckily there are plenty of official dog-friendly beaches in Britain, listed here in alphabetical order on the Nearest Beach website, complete with a map. In fact there are 351 beaches that allow dogs and a further 450 beaches with various dog restrictions. The website even includes a list of beaches where dogs aren't allowed, to make things completely clear. 

The National Trust - Beach Walks with your pooch 

Many National Trust beaches welcome dogs at every time of year, although at some times of year – for example when birds are nesting – there are sometimes restrictions. Click this link to the National Trust beach guide, where you'll find the nitty-gritty details about beach dog walking opportunities and restrictions.

The Dog Friendly Britain website

The Dog Friendly Britain website is full of essential information about off lead walkies out on beaches throughout the nation, revealed on a convenient county-by-county basis.

Top 10 dog-friendly beaches for fun holidays with your pooch

Good Housekeeping has created a list of the top 10 dog friendly beaches in Britain,  to help you pick the best dog friendly Staycation.

Beach walks etiquette for dog owners

Most of the guidance for dog owners is just common sense. Here are the main points about dog walking on the beach:

 - Promenades are busy and exciting, so it's best to keep your pooch on a lead, especially if they're likely to get over-excited, dash about or run off

 - If your dog is overly-excitable it also makes sense to keep them on a lead on the beach itself

 - Poop, scoop and most importantly, put it in a poop bin or take it home – never just chuck it on the ground. If you don't do the decent thing, you could face a fine or even   prosecution. In fact there's a special Poop-Scoop by-law making it illegal not to clean up after your dog and it applies to all beaches and promenades, all year round

 - Look out for poop bins before you go walkies so you know where they are. You are allowed to use ordinary bins, too, if there isn't a special poop bi

 - Steer your dog away from dropped ice creams, unwanted chips and any other inappropriate discarded seaside snacks

 - Don't let your dog go to far out into the sea, especially if you're not certain they can swim wel

 - If the sea is rough, keep your dog away from the waves – it's tragic how many dogs drown every year in stormy seas, and how many dog owners drown trying to rescue them

 - Steer clear of cliff edges, which are sometimes eroded and highly dangerous. If in doubt, keep your dog on a lead when walking on the cliffs

 - Keep an eye on the tide so you and your dog don't get stranded. Ideally, take a local tide table pamphlet with you so you know when you need to retreat – seafront shops and hotels usually sell or give away local tide tables

 - Don't let your dog eat rubbish that's been washed up by the sea. All sorts of awful toxic things get thrown away into the world's oceans, and it's better safe than sorry

 - If there are jellyfish on the beach or in the water, keep your dog safely out of their way

 - If your dog loves chasing birds, keep him or her on a lead so they don't disturb the beach wildlife

Dog float coats – Life jackets for dogs

If you have any doubts whatsoever about your pet's swimming abilities or their safety in the water, you can buy special dog float coats, designed to act as a dog life jacket. They act just like life jackets for humans.

The dangers of palm oil

Look out for solidified palm oil on the beach, which looks like white candle wax. It might smell horrible but dogs still like to eat it, and it makes them very ill. If you see anything that looks like palm oil on your local beach, report it to the council asap. As the Brighton Council website says;

"The Veterinary Poisons Information Service has reported: “We have received a number of emergency enquiries about dogs that have eaten it (palm oil). The main problems are vomiting and diarrhoea and these can lead to dehydration, particularly in young or small dogs. We do not think it is the age of the oil that is causing this, as fresh oil would cause the same problems.

There is also a potential risk of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) which can result in vague, non-specific signs including vomiting and diarrhoea. This is a risk in dogs that eat a large amount of any fatty or oily food substance. There have been reports of blockages of the gut in dogs that have eaten palm oil washed up in Cornwall.

We would suggest anyone with a dog that has eaten palm oil to contact their vet for advice, particularly if the dog is already unwell. There is no specific treatment, but the dog may need medication to control vomiting and intravenous fluid to treat or prevent dehydration. The main thing owners can do is prevent exposure."

Dogs in beach cafés and restaurants

Some cafés, pubs and beach restaurants are dog-friendly, others are not even through they might leave bowls of fresh water out for thirsty passing pets. Unless there's a notice saying dogs are welcome, it makes sense to ask first. 

What about your own tips for doggie beach fun?

Have you any top tips for safe, fun, enjoyable doggie fun on the beach? Why not share them via our Facebook page here www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dog Safety, Dogs

<![CDATA[5 Freedoms – The 50th Anniversary of Animal Rights for Furry Friends]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/post5-freedoms-the-50th-anniversary-of-animal-rights-for-furry-friends http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/post5-freedoms-the-50th-anniversary-of-animal-rights-for-furry-friends Thu, 30 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT It happened fifty years ago, and Britain never looked back. The five freedoms, also called Brambell's five freedoms were inspired by a 1965 government report on livestock welfare. It's a collection of basic rights for animals under human control, those we farm for food and those who perform tasks for us, for example working horses and dogs.

The research was led by Professor Roger Brambell, who explored the welfare of intensively farmed animals, partly in response to a shocking book brought out in 1964, Ruth Harrison's Animal Machines.

The freedoms it lists are used by vets, farmers and anyone who owns, breeds, raises or works with animals, and they've been adopted as best practice by a host of organisations including the World Organisation for Animal Health, the RSPCA and more.

The Brambell Report said the animals we interact with deserve the freedom to "stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs", an extremely clear, short, simple and transparent set of rules to follow, one everyone can understand. 

The Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee was born shortly afterwards to keep an eye on the livestock production industry, later replaced by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, whose website says:

                  “The welfare of an animal includes its physical and mental state and we consider that good animal          welfare implies both fitness and a sense of well-being. Any animal kept by man, must at least, be protected from unnecessary suffering.

                  We believe that an animal's welfare, whether on farm, in transit, at market or at a place of slaughter should be considered in terms of 'five freedoms'. These freedoms define ideal states rather than standards for acceptable welfare. They form a logical and comprehensive framework for analysis of welfare within any system together with the steps and compromises necessary to safeguard and improve welfare within the proper constraints of an effective livestock industry.”

Britain leads the animal welfare way

By December 1965 Brambell's 5 freedoms were transcribed into a short, sweet list and the lives of animals in Britain changed for the better, forever.

The RSPCA is dedicated to the five freedoms, believing that “anyone responsible for looking after animals should try to give them the five freedoms”.  Which means our pets are involved, not just farm and working animals. 

Fifty years after the freedoms were drafted, Britain is still known worldwide for its excellent animal welfare record, a nation of animal lovers dedicated to their pets, compassionate towards the creatures we eat and – unlike far too many other countries - aware of our fellow creatures' feelings.  

The five freedoms all animals should enjoy

1.     Freedom from hunger or thirst – Easy access to fresh water plus a healthy diet to maintain full health and vigour. In the case of your dog, a top quality dog food designed to include all the nutrition they need without additives and other rubbish. Our premium natural dog food is an excellent example!

2.     Freedom from discomfort – An appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. For your dog that's a safe, comfy, warm bed where he or she can rest and relax undisturbed.

3.     Freedom from pain, injury or disease – Preventing disease, giving a rapid diagnosis and treatment. In the case of a pet dog this means keeping an eye on them and taking them straight to the vet if they show signs of feeling poorly, and taking your vet's advice.

4.     Freedom to express normal behaviour - Providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind. Dogs love other dogs, but they also adore human company. As long as your pooch isn't lonely and bored, and you provide plenty of walks, exercise and play, you're doing the right thing.

5.     Freedom from fear and distress - Ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. Dogs are very like humans: they hate to be alone, love company, enjoy play, and now and again they might feel nervous, threatened, scared or wary, in which case they need plenty of reassurance and love.

Reading the list, it really isn't a lot to ask. It's sad to think about the conditions the animals we rely on suffered before the Government of the time took action. And it's great to know that in the UK in 2015, these basic animal rights are set in stone. 

Your ideas on doggie rights

Aside from the five freedoms, which extra 'freedom' do you think is most important for your pooch? How about play, or love, or company? Why not join us on our Facebook page and share your feelings? You'll find us at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dog Health, Dog Safety, Dogs

<![CDATA[Safe car travel for dogs - How to protect dogs in cars]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postsafe-car-travel-for-dogs-how-to-protect-dogs-in-cars http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postsafe-car-travel-for-dogs-how-to-protect-dogs-in-cars Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT You wouldn't let a baby travel loose in your car... or hopefully not! Even if you're going slowly, a sudden stop can kill your pet, effectively turning them into a lethal projectile. If you crash at thirty miles an hour and your dog isn't restrained, they'll keep going at 30mph... with awful consequences.

An airbag can kill a dog easily, with its violent opening action. And a frightened or injured dog can be dangerous in itself, more likely to attack people, get run over or run away.

Bearing all this in mind, we thought it'd make sense to take a look at dog safety in cars.   

Dog mesh cages and doggie car seats

Metal mesh barriers are all very well. But they're not much use in a crash, when your dog will be thrown about inside the cage, just as bad as being thrown around the car without a cage. The same goes for those sweet-looking doggie car seats for little dogs like Yorkies, the ones that let short dogs see out of the window. Because they don't strap a dog in properly they're basically window dressing, no good for safety. 

You can buy special dog crates for vehicles, of course, but they're often nothing more than a big box, not always built for safety. The trick is to fix it firmly so it doesn't get thrown around. A good quality dog car cage will specify the size of dog it's suitable for, sometimes by breed. They come in different sizes to suit different vehicles too, and it's wise to measure your car before buying one.  

How to protect your dog when driving

How about harness-style restraints? They work a bit like a human seatbelt. Look for a harness with wide, padded straps for comfort. The strap that runs down the dog's chest is particularly important, since it protects the heart and ribs. A nasty, thin strap will cut into their flesh in a crash but a nice, thick strap will support them properly.

Our second tip is to keep the tether part of the harness short. After all, the shorter the leash bit is the less distance your dog can fly if you have a car accident, and the less serious their injuries. And, of course, never tether a dog by his or her neck in the car. Fasten the lead at their back instead.

Many experts recommend a well-made, properly fastened harness because it's safer than a dog crate. But if your pet is used to travelling in a box, buy the best quality, most sturdy one you can find. Put the long side of the crate against the back of the seat for support. Secure it with a seatbelt and, for extra safety, anchor it with a couple of wide, strong luggage straps.

12 more car travel safety tips for dogs

There's much more to dog travel safety than harnesses and crates. Here are 12 more doggie safety tips for the next time you travel by car. 

  1. It looks like huge fun, but it's best to prevent your dog from hanging their head out of the window while you're driving. They'll only get dust and dirt in their eyes and nose, which can cause injuries and illness

  2. Never leave your dog alone in the car. Leaving a dog in a car can be a killer, as we hear on the news every year. If you can't avoid leaving the vehicle, park in the shade whatever the weather. Leave the car windows cracked open, and come back as quickly as you can since heat builds up in cars ridiculously fast even when it's only warm, not hot outside. Cars also get cold very quickly in cold weather, which can be equally dangerous, especially for wee dogs

  3. Take regular breaks to stretch your legs. It'll keep your pooch happy as well as making your journey more enjoyable

  4. Carry bottled water wherever you go, so your dog doesn't have to drink from uncertain sources. It's much better than letting them drink water that's been lying around outside, like puddles and ponds, which can cause tummy upsets

  5. If your dog hasn't travelled in a box or crate before, take them on a few short trips to get them used to it.

  6. What about food? Give your dog a light meal 3-4 hours before travelling – never feed them in the car, even on a long drive. Stop for snacks instead

  7. Take food, a bowl, lead, poop scoop and bags, grooming supplies, any medication they need plus a special pet first-aid kit, available from good pet shops

  8. Take their favourite toy or pillow to help them feel safe

  9. Either microchip your dog or keep his or her collar on for identification in case something goes wrong. You could even make a special travel tag for their collar including your phone number, email and street address

  10. Never, ever put a choke collar on your dog while they're in a car. Stick with an ordinary flat collar

  11. If you do frequent doggie travel you can buy special rubber floor protection and waterproof seat covers, perfect in case your pooch has a little accident

What about the law?

It's actually illegal in Britain to let your dog travel loose in a vehicle. As the RAC says:

"More than one in four (27%) dog-owning motorists unwittingly break the law when it comes to transporting their pets by not keeping them restrained when their vehicles are on the road, new research has found*."

The RAC Pet Insurance study also revealed that 4% of pet (2% dog and 2% cat) owners have had an accident, or a near miss, as a result of a cat or dog being loose in their car.

According to the Highway Code dogs or other animals** should be suitably restrained in a vehicle so that they don’t distract the driver or injure them if the vehicle stops quickly. Official advice from the RSPCA is that dogs are both secure and comfortable during transport.

While the majority agree that it is a hazard to allow a dog to be loose in a vehicle, 28% said they would let their dog move freely, even in a vehicle full of luggage. Also of concern is that 21% usually leave their dogs unsecured on car seats while 6% let them travel in passenger footwells.”

What about doggie car sickness?

Dog motion sickness is more common in young dogs, but they often get over it as they age.  If your dog is used to feeling sick in the car, he'll equate car travel with throwing up. Not nice. Stress doesn't help, and if the only time your dog goes in the car is to the vets, they can literally worry themselves sick on the journey.

Doggie motion sickness can involve them being inactive and listless, uneasy and yawny, whiny and drooly as well as actually being sick. The best way to prevent dog travel sickness is make the journey as comfortable as possible. It's best to face forwards, since it makes dogs (and us humans) feel less sick. It's best not to look out of the side windows, and you can actually get special pooch seatbelts which make sure they face in the right direction.

If your poor pet throws up every time they get in the car, a crate might be a better idea than a seat belt or harness, since most of the sick should stay in the cage. Or travel a different way, by bus or train instead. 

What about your doggie car travel tips?

Have you any top tips for safe, fun, enjoyable doggie travel? If so we'd love to hear them. Why not woof your way over to our Facebook page and share your wisdom? You'll find us at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dog Safety, Dogs

<![CDATA[Is Your Dog Bored? 15 Top Tips for Indoor and Outdoor Fun]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postis-your-dog-bored-15-top-tips-for-indoor-and-outdoor-fun http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postis-your-dog-bored-15-top-tips-for-indoor-and-outdoor-fun Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT The Dogs Trust says no dog should be left alone for more than four hours. They know all dogs need companionship and play. Just like small children, when dogs are bored they can get horribly destructive and naughty, resorting to attention seeking behaviours like barking, licking, tail chasing and pacing as well as tearing your home and garden to bits. 

As you can imagine, dogs find boredom very distressing. Here are 15 top tips for making sure your beloved pooch is always happy, stimulated and properly entertained.

15 tips to prevent doggie boredom


  1. Problem solving to find food is natural doggy behaviour. To help keep your dog entertained and happy, you can devise all sorts of fun games to play based on finding food. Just bear in mind it isn't a good idea to actually let you pet go hungry, since hungry dogs can get very frustrated and sometimes even aggressive. Provide a meal he or she can just eat without working for it first, so they're not forced to search for food on an empty stomach... which is no fun at all for them

  2. Get an interactive Kong, Havaball or Buster cube toy, all of which can be filled with food or treats. Because your dog has to work to get at the food, it's entertaining for them

  3. Alternatively, grab a clear plastic bottle, clean it and cut holes in the sides. Fill it half way with little treats or dry food and let your dog roll it around so the treats fall out. Simple but great fun! Just remember to remove the bottle top so your dog can't tear it off then chew or swallow it

  4. Fancy a game of foodie hide and seek? Dogs love it. All you do is de-poop your garden then scatter dry food and treats around for them to find. You can do the same indoors, hiding treats and dry food under cushions and in other places your dog can access easily.

  5. This is a good one. Put your pooch's food under an upturned dish and see how long it takes them to flip the dish over and find it. If your dog starts getting frustrated, show them how to remove the dish and keep going until he or she 'gets' it

  6. Fill a big cardboard box with layers of crinkly newspaper and cloths or rags, hiding treats or dry food between the layers. The idea is that your dog has loads of fun digging the food out and pulling the stuffing out of the box. Messy, but worth it for that big doggy grin!

  7. Capitalise on your pet's legendary sense of smell with scent tracking games. You can teach your pet to follow a scent trail by filling the toe of an old sock or tights with particularly smelly food while they're not looking. Drag it around the house and garden then hide it, say behind a cushion, and your dog will have a brilliant time following the scent to reveal a lovely-smelling treat. Start with short trails so he or she doesn't get discouraged. I they're having difficulties, you can make the trail more obvious by putting chunks of food part-way along so they can't miss it. When your dog finds the hidden tights or sock, plenty of praise helps embed good behaviour and make the game memorable. You can increase the length and complexity of the trail over time to make it even more enjoyable

  8. Does your dog love digging up the garden? If so you can capitalise on their enjoyment by building a doggie sand pit, or just a pit filled with earth. Just like a garden pond it can either be built up off the ground or dug down.  As long as it's big enough for your dog to get into and play in with ease and comfort, that's fine. Add plenty of buried toys and treats and they'll spend hours happily playing and digging. And they won't be quite so interested in digging your flowers and plants up, either

  9. Chewy toys are excellent, since more or less all dogs love to chew things. Stop them chewing things they shouldn't by keeping a good supply of pet-safe chewing toys handy, combining synthetic bones with massaging dental chews, dried pig ears, big raw bones from the butcher.  Check first with your vet, since some chews aren't suitable for some breeds. And rotate the chew toys throughout the week so your dog doesn't get fed up with them.

  10. Training your dog is a great way to stop boredom. Why not try clicker training, which encourages dogs to learn tricks? They love it. You can buy good books on the subject or try your local dog training group.

  11. Give your god a good, long run in a safe place at least once a day. It's good for dog to be able to explore on their own, off the lead. Ideally he'll meet other dogs, which will let him hone his excellent doggie social skills. Even better, going for a run with a doggy friend will make your pet really happy.

  12. Bring some of your dog's favourite toys on your walks, encouraging active play and making every walk extra special. Again, active play is more tiring and fun than just walking, and doing so with a canine companion is even better. Can you arrange to walk your dog with another dog owner instead of going on your own?  

  13. Play hide and seek together. Just like young children, dogs adore hide and seek, getting a big doggy thrill out of the whole thing. Find a safe place with bushes or trees then, when your dog isn't looking, hide. Call your dog and wait until he or she finds you. When they find you, hand out treats and praise so it soon becomes a thrilling game they'll look forward to

  14. There's no reason why you can't combine walks with training for a fun double whammy. Recall training is particularly good fun as well as really useful for safety and obedience, where you call your dog and give them a treat when they obey

  15. You could always join a canine activity club, since most dogs are very sociable and love playing in gangs. It's also a great way to meet fellow dog owners, potentially arranging group walks between a bunch of you. Agility, flyball, obedience training, tracking, field trials and heelwork to music are all popular with dog activity clubs. To find a club near you, try the Association of Pet Dog Trainers website at www.apdt.co.uk

 Remember,  never leave your dog unattended with toys, chews or treats.

 How about your own creative ideas about preventing dog boredom?

You might have dreamed up a brilliant game to play with your pooch, something they adore. If so would you share it with us? Join the fun on Facebook: www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Image Credit: Victoria Caleffa

Posted in: Dog Food, Dogs, Training

<![CDATA[Chocolate and lambs...scary! Keep your dog safe at Easter]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postchocolate-and-lambs_scary-keep-your-dog-safe-at-easter http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postchocolate-and-lambs_scary-keep-your-dog-safe-at-easter Mon, 02 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMT Easter is on the horizon, and at which point millions of us Brits - religious or not - will fill our homes with chocolate eggs and have a jolly good four day scoff. Even if you don't do Easter eggs you might have the family round for a feast, an increasingly popular event for the Bank Holiday weekend. In which case there might be chocolate cake lurking around, or boxes of posh chocs. 

But that's then... and this is now. In the meantime it's lambing season, something young dogs who haven't seen lambs before can find almost unbearably exciting. With a bit of luck your pooch won't take much notice. But if they haven't encountered lambs before and you come across some while you're out on walkies, it makes sense to take care.

We thought it'd be handy to look at the dangers of chocolate for dogs and give you some sensible advice about dogs and lambs while we're at it. Plus some guidance about other seasonal dog toxins to look out for.

Here's wishing you and your dog a happy, safe spring! 

Chocolate and dogs don't mix – it's a killer

Just like Christmas, every Easter vets are flooded with poisoned dogs who have either been given chocolate by their unsuspecting owners or stolen it, completely unable to resist. But chocolate can easily kill your dog and it's one of the commonest causes of canine poisoning.

How much chocolate can my dog eat?

Easy. The answer is none. Not a single chunk. Just don't go there. The worst offenders are dark chocolate and baking chocolate, the safest is white chocolate but all chocolate is a doggie no-no.

What makes chocolate so poisonous for dogs?

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which are full of caffeine as well as a very similar chemical called theobromine. Dogs metabolise theobromine much more slowly than humans, so the 'buzz' they get from it lasts for hours and hours.

It's poisonous to cats, too, but they don't tend to like chocolate much so vets don't see anywhere near as many cases of feline chocolate poisoning.

Even tiny amounts of chocolate can make your dog throw up and give him or her the runs. Large amounts of chocolate lead to hyperactivity, tremors, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, seizures, respiratory failure and – worst of all – heart failure. 

What about chocolate dog treats?

They're formulated to be safe, of course, but it's probably better not to feed choc dog treats to your pooch so they never get a taste for the stuff in the first place and are less likely to want to eat it if they find some within reach.

Keep chocs in a safe place

The best way to stop your dog from eating chocolate is to stash it somewhere safe, either too high up for them to reach or in a cupboard or drawer so they can't get at it.

What to do if your dog eats chocolate?

Get them to the vet as soon as you possibly can. Don't delay.

Keeping dogs out of trouble at lambing time

  • If you don't know how your new dog will react to sheep, keep him or her on a lead to be on the safe side.

  • If your dog doesn't usually take any notice of adult sheep, take care anyway because lambs are a different matter: smaller, faster-moving, more playful and much more exciting.

  • Sheep are very easily stressed, much more so at this time of year. When a ewe is pregnant she's particularly vulnerable. Even if your dog just gets a bit too close or chases a pregnant sheep for a few seconds, it can easily bring on stress and cause a miscarriage.

  • A dog doesn't need to actually attack a sheep physically to kill it. The terror of being chased is often enough.

  • It's always a good idea to keep your dog on a lead when there's livestock around. It's probably wise to keep them on a lead whenever you're in the countryside or farmland, unless you know for sure there won't be any sheep or lambs around. 

More Easter doggie dangers to avoid at Easter?

There's more to Easter than chocolate and lambs. Here are some more things to keep your eye open for:

Foil Easter egg wrapping – never let your dog chew or swallow the foil wrapping Easter eggs come in. It's impossible to digest and can cause terrible problems inside your pet's digestive system. If they eat some of it, get straight to the vet – your pooch might need surgery

Easter lilies are lovely but they're one of the most poisonous plants for pets, especially cats and dogs. The flowers can give your dog kidney failure in less than two days, for which there's no cure

The same goes for daffodils. The bulbs, leaves and flowers are all nasty, containing a toxic substance that makes dogs drool, vomit and get the runs. It can also cause an increased heart rate, abdominal pain, abnormal breathing and even an irregular heartbeat.

Hyacinths and tulips, both  popular Easter favourites, can cause the same kinds of problems if eaten. If your dog has eaten any of these, it's straight to the vet.

Humans love hot cross buns but raisins are moderately to severely toxic to dogs and the dough – particularly if you make it yourself – is toxic, too:

  • Raisins can cause dogs to vomit and get the runs, as well as being responsible for abnormal drinking and weeing, lethargy, a poor appetite, bad breath and dehydration.

  • Unbaked dough can be poisonous. It expands in the warm, moist stomach environment where it can bloat up, which can lead to a twisted stomach. The signs are clear: vomiting, retching, distended stomach, high heat rate, weakness, collapse and sometimes death.

  • Unbaked dough can also ferment to produce carbon dioxide and bloat your dog's tummy even more.  Alcohol from the fermenting yeast is absorbed into the bloodstream, which comes with the risk of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol gives cats and dogs low blood sugar, low blood pressure and low body temperature, seizures and respiratory failure. If your dog eats dough or raisins, take them to the vet straight away.

Fake Easter grass is all very well but dogs love to chew it and it's very bad for them, often causing a 'linear foreign body' – in other words a long string of stuff they find very difficult to poop out of the other end! But seriously, if you spot it coming out of the mouth or anus, never try to pull it out yourself. You could kill your pet. If you can't see any signs but they're having trouble defecating, straining to do so or have an obviously sore abdomen, it might be a sign they've been at the Easter Grass. The same goes for Easter decorations in general – keep them away from your dog.

Duck fat, turkey, pork and duck skin. Fat isn't good for dogs either, since it can affect their pancreas and heart and it's notoriously difficult to digest and cause canine pancreatitis.  If your dog eats a small amount of fat or skin, they maybe OK, anything more then it's time for a vet visit.  Cooked bones makes bones more brittle, therefore are never a good idea for dogs since they can splinter and cause internal injury to your dog and break their teeth!

Macadamia nuts are highly toxic to dogs. The clinical signs usually arrive within 12 hours and include weakness, an inability to walk (especially the hind legs), vomiting, staggering, depression, tremors and a high body temperature. Again, zoom them to the vets as fast as you can. 

Let's talk...

Do you have any Easter dog stories to tell or photos to show us? If so feel free to join us on Facebook. We're at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dog Food, Dog Health, Dog Safety, Festivities

<![CDATA[New Year Resolutions for You and Your Pooch]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postnew-year-resolutions-for-you-and-your-pooch http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postnew-year-resolutions-for-you-and-your-pooch Thu, 08 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT It's that time of year again, when millions of us make New Year resolutions. You might have decided to eat less, exercise more, learn a musical instrument, visit Peru, buy a bicycle, bake more cakes... but what about your dog? Here are a few cool ideas for pooch-related New Year fun. 

Lots more walkies!

It's freezing outside, blowing a hooley, dark and totally horrid. But your pooch needs a nice, long walk all the same... and so do you. Scientists have discovered that walking is ridiculously good for humans. It helps clear our minds.  It helps us shed the extra pounds. It strengthens our bodies. We get a nice little 'high' from the adrenaline. It helps us stay healthy. If you walk often enough, far enough, you'll end up as fit as a flea.

Next time you feel you'd rather eat worms than venture outdoors, think again. No matter how desperate the great British weather gets you'll feel better for it. And so will your dog.

Playtime makes dogs extra-happy

Dogs are really, really clever. And just like children, they get bored. When they're bored they get frustrated and tetchy. Sometimes they get destructive too, tearing up your sofa cushions or chewing the curtains. If you've ever been bored out of your mind, you'll know how it feels. It's awful.

The secret is having fun with your dog. You might get home from work completely knackered. All you want to do is flop in front of the telly. But spend half an hour playing games with your dog and you'll both get so much out of it. You'll feel closer, you'll both feel more appreciated and the bond that holds you together will be even stronger.

How about dreaming up a new game every week? In no time you'll have a store of amazing games to play together. And if you don't usually go home for your lunch break and your dog is home alone, make a resolution to head for home every day and spend time together.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Yes, you can! Scientific research proves mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in older dogs. It looks like keeping your older dog's brain active can actually make it healthier, another way in which we're remarkably similar to our pets.

Teaching your doggie fun new tricks and practising the tricks they've already mastered is a brilliant way to keep those old neurons firing. How about puzzle feeders, for a start? They make your dog work carefully through a task to get a tasty reward, a great way to keep them alert and interested in life. And, of course, happy dogs are usually physically healthier as well as in better emotional shape. 

A healthy diet for you and your dog

If you're reading this you'll already know that good quality, healthy dog foods are best for your pet. And they're economical. The best dog foods are properly balanced to give your pet the exact balance of nutrients they need, while cheap dog foods are a false economy.  Here at Pooch & Company we provide some of the very best doggie recipes available, all carefully balanced to suit every dog type and breed. If you haven't already, why not give it a go? Here's more info 

You might have spent the last few weeks eating whatever you like, whenever you want. That's what the festive season is about: feasting, celebrating, letting it all hang out.  If so you'll know how you feel when you've eaten too much rubbish: bloated, tired, lacking energy with absolutely no va-va-voom left. If you feed your dog food that's less than the best, they'll probably feel the same. So make it your resolution to spend less but buy better quality food. It makes sense all round.

It also makes sense to buy age-appropriate food for your pooch. Younger, middle aged and older dogs all have different dietary requirements.

Treat your pet like a toddler

If you've had children you'll know it: telling them off just doesn't work. The same goes for dogs. But teaching your kids using praise instead, when they get things right, works a treat. If you've got in the habit of yelling at your dog, which far too many dog owners do, make a resolution to use kindness and positive feedback instead. You'll both enjoy life much more and you'll train him or her into a state of brilliant obedience in no time.

Know when your dog's happy

Once you know a dog it's easy to tell when they're happy. Keep your eyes open for the things that seem to make your dog happiest and do more of them. By the time 2018 rolls in you'll have a wonderfully close relationship based on love, respect and consideration. Once you hit that sweet spot, you'll be in dog owner heaven... and so will your beloved pooch.

What about your doggie new year resolution?

Have you made a new year resolution with your dog? If so we'd love to hear about it. You can catch up with us on Facebook and join the fun. We're at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dog Food, Dog Health, Festivities

<![CDATA[Do dogs and bones really go together like fish and chips?]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postdo-dogs-and-bones-really-go-together-like-fish-and-chips http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postdo-dogs-and-bones-really-go-together-like-fish-and-chips Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT Dogs and bones go together like fish and chips... or do they? It turns out a bone isn't always the best thing to give your pooch, even big bones. At Christmas, with all those lovely turkey and ham bones around, it's important to know how to keep your beloved pet safe.  

According to Carmela Stamper, a vet at the USA's Veterinary Medicine department, part of the FDA, "Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian's office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death." She recommends throwing bones from cooked meats away or stashing them temporarily where your dog can't get at them until you can dispose of them safely.

Apparently cooked bones are more brittle than fresh, which means they're more likely to splinter. Cooking also removes a lot of the bones' nutritional value, so they're not even that good for your dog.

Here are 7 reasons why cooked bones and dogs should be kept apart

1.   Bones can damage a dog's teeth, which can cost a fortune to fix as well as being very painful. The splinters can also injure their soft mouths, tongues and gums

2.   If a bone gets stuck around your dog's lower jaw it can be very scary for both of you, and you'll probably need to see your vet straight away to get it removed safely. Bones can even get stuck in the throat, blocking it and making your dog gag, again needing an expensive and stressful visit to the vet

3.   A bone stuck in the windpipe is a real emergency because it might impede your pooch's breathing

4.   Taking things further, a bone in the stomach isn't a good thing because it might get stuck there, too big to find its way through the intestine and out of the other end. If this happens your dog will probably need a complex operation involving nasty things like a long tube with a built-in camera and a variety of scary grabbing tools

5.   If the bone gets stuck in the dog's intestines it can block them – another time when he or she will need an operation to get it out

6.   Bone fragments might get stuck in the bowel and cause constipation, also scraping the intestinal, bowel and rectum surfaces, which is severely painful and also needs a vet to sort things out. Bones can even cause rectal bleeding, horrid for your best friend as well as messy and very dangerous

7.   Peritonitis is a real risk, a difficult to treat infection brought about by bone fragments making holes in the stomach or intestine walls – another emergency situation where a vet's help is essential

Are raw bones safe for dogs?

Raw bones are healthy and safe, as long as you follow some simple advice.  After all, wild dogs eat the bones of the prey they kill and puppies actually need the nutrients in bones and bone marrow to get a healthy start in life, giving them exercise and fun as well as health-giving ingredients.

Many vets recommend treating raw bones in different ways, as edible bones and bones to play with. The edible type of bone is classified as the hollow bones of birds, usually stuff like chicken wings and turkey necks. They're soft and bendy, don't contain bone marrow and you can crush them up easily before giving them to your pet. And they're rich in essential calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals.

Play bones, on the other hand, are big chunks of raw cow femur or hip bone, rich in marrow. They're great for gnawing on but the low nutritional content means they're not an essential part of a doggie diet. It's all about fun, entertainment, exercising the jaw itself and oral health, since the bones act like a good brush and floss and help prevent gum disease.

Tips for recreational bone safety

·     Always supervise your dog while he’s chewing on a bone, so you can react fast if they choke or you see blood, and you can see when they've chewed it down to the hard, brittle bit that can splinter. Take the bone away before it gets so small your dog can swallow it

·     Dogs can get territorial about bones , so if you have more than one dog keep them separate when there are bones around

·     Never give play bones to a dog with dental work or if they're prone to pancreatitis, since the rich marrow can make the condition flare up. If you scoop the marrow out it's less rich, so more suitable

·     Steer clear of recreational bones if your dog likes to eat it in big chunks or wolf it down whole

·     Don't give a hungry dog a play bone – they're more likely to want to eat it

·     Avoid small bones that break easily, cut bones like leg bones (which are more likely to splinter) and pork or rib bones, also more likely to splinter than cow bones

Where can you find recreational bones? Try your local butcher. They're often called 'soup bones'.

Is there an alternative to raw bones?

Yes, and they're called dental bones. A good quality, natural dental chew or Antler helps control plaque on your pet's teeth, very like eating raw foods in the wild. But even the best chews can't be broken down by your dog's body and you still risk intestinal blockages. But there's more. Most dog chews contain unnatural ingredients like gelatin, sweeteners, additives and preservatives, some of which have been tipped as causing cancer.

You need the best quality dental bone, 100% natural with NO corn, soy, gluten, extra fat, sugar or nasty animal by-products. But there's another caveat: always monitor your dog when they're chewing a product they haven't chewed before just in case, and if something doesn't look right see the vet straight away.

Born to chew!

Dogs are born to chew. It's what they do, and it's good for them. Just make sure you give them the right things to chew! Do you have any stories to tell? If so feel free to join us on Facebook. We're at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dog Food, Dog Health, Dog Safety, Festivities

<![CDATA[Special care for large and giant dogs]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postspecial-care-for-large-and-giant-dogs http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postspecial-care-for-large-and-giant-dogs Mon, 29 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT Like all dogs, large breeds make fantastic pets. But simply because of their size, they sometimes need special care. Here's how to keep your big dog happy, fit and healthy. 

A really good diet

Big dogs thrive best on high quality foods specifically designed for large breeds, full of the nutrients they need and specially balanced for the metabolism of a large mammal. Food for big breeds usually contains specific additives for good joint health, and the chunkier chunks they contain promote proper chewing.

Large breed puppies need special food, most importantly for the first 18 months of their lives since as well as growing bigger, they mature more slowly than little dogs. As a rule big dogs achieve half their adult body weight at about five months old while little breeds tend to hit the 50% mark at about four months old. Large breeds also reach old age sooner than little ones, so when he or she reaches the age of 5 or 6 they'll need special senior dog food.

Growing at the right speed

Puppies should grow at an average speed, no faster. Compared to smaller breed puppies, young big breed dogs should be given restricted levels of fat and calcium to keep their growth in check. It takes a little longer for them to grow to their full adult size but because it has taken longer, their bones and joints have had the time they need to develop properly and support the adult dog's weight.

When choosing food it helps if you bear your dog's age, weight and activity levels in mind. If you're uncertain, ask your vet for advice. 

Big dogs can get fat... and it's dangerous

Just because a dog is big it doesn't mean he or she can't get fat. Obesity is harmful whatever your pet's size but it can have even more of a harmful effect on bigger breeds because their joints are already under pressure from their weight. They're also more at risk of heart disease than smaller breeds. So it helps to measure the amount of food they get, being strict with portion control as well as taking care when handing out treats or scraps. 

Decreasing fat and calcium intake for big breed puppies

Too much fat, ie. a high calorie diet, can cause big dogs to put on weight too fast. Because the bones and muscles aren't strong enough to support the extra body weight, the puppy can grow into an adult dog with joint and bone issues. Too much calcium can mean skeletal problems, and it's important not to give large breeds calcium supplements.

General veterinary care for bog breed dogs

All dogs, whatever their size, need regular check-ups. But big dogs' sheer size and the way they've been bred can cause specific problems. See your vet once a year so he or she can check for medical conditions that are more common in a big dog, for example:

·       Hip dysplasia, an hereditary condition giving dogs unstable hip joints, painful degeneration of the joint itself, stiffness and difficulties walking.

·       Osteoarthritis, which happens simply because the sheer weight of the animal's body stresses the joints.

·       Bone Cancer, which is almost exclusive to large breeds, developing in the legs first and causing limping before spreading to other organs.

·       Hypothyroidism, when an under-active thyroid gland causes lethargy, hair loss and weight gain.

·       Heart disease, where both aortic stenosis and dilated cardiomyopathy are more common than average in bigger breeds.

·       Bloat is commonest in big, deep-chested breeds, caused by the stomach filling with gas and fluid. It can be lethal, happens within hours of a feed and can be prevented by giving your pooch several smaller meals a day instead of a couple of really big meals. It also helps not to feed your dog before or straight after exercise, leave at least an hour and you should be OK. Drinking a large amount of water immediately after eating can also cause bloat.

Using an elevated dog feeder

Your big dog will appreciate an elevated dog feeder rather than a bowl on the floor, because it makes eating more comfortable and helps stop them gulping air, which can give him or her bloat. 

Getting the right amount of exercise

Exercise helps with all sorts of common big dog medical conditions as well as helping them stay slim and fit. Frequent exercise also helps prevent your big girl or fella getting bored and restless, which can make then anxious and destructive. While big dogs don't suffer from any more or less boredom than smaller dogs, they can cause a lot more damage!

Great training is even more important for large breeds, and obedience classes are a really good way to train him or her to be polite, calm and biddable. Good training helps prevent the dog injuring himself as well as teaching good manners towards other humans and animals. It might not matter if your poodle jumps up at a passer by but when a Great Dane jumps on someone, it's much more alarming and can even knock you over! 

Being unusually sociable

Most large breeds are extra-sociable and really do crave company.  They adore regular interaction with people, love being a close member of the family and are totally miserable when left alone.

About big dog walks, baths and toys

·       Big dogs are strong, so buy an extra-tough and strong lead and collar while making sure the collar is broad enough not to cut into their skin.

·       Unless you have an absolutely enormous bath or sink, you'll probably need to wash your pet with a hand-held spray in the shower or even outdoors with a garden hose.

·       Big dogs need big toys! But them large, durable toys and chews that they can't choke on. If the ball is smaller than tennis ball size, it's probably too small.

Do you own a large or giant dog? We'd love to see a photo! 

We'd love to see a photo of your great big dog! And we'd love to hear your tips for keeping a big dog happy. Why not join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dog Food, Dog Health, Dogs

<![CDATA[Special care for tiny, weeny dogs – Chugs, Jack Shih, Schnoodles and more]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postspecial-care-for-tiny-weeny-dogs-chugs-jack-shih-schnoodles-and-more http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postspecial-care-for-tiny-weeny-dogs-chugs-jack-shih-schnoodles-and-more Fri, 29 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT Perhaps it's because British homes are getting smaller, with less space available per person as our population grows. Maybe it's because we have less time than ever to walk our dogs. Maybe the recession had an effect, with bigger dogs too expensive for people to take on. Whatever the reason, miniature cross breed dogs are big business, and the genetic combinations dreamed up by breeders are getting more and more interesting. 

Some of the most popular mini-breeds include the delightful Schnoodle, a cross between a poodle and a Schnauser.  The Puggle is a mix of Pug and Beagle, and the Horgi is a ridiculously cute blend of Husky and Corgi. The Pugapoo is a Pug and Poodle cross, and a Chiweenie blends the genetics of a Chihuahua with the popular short legged Daschund. Then there's the Siberpoo, a mix of Siberian Husky and Poodle. And the gorgeous little Fourche Terrier, part West Highland White Terrier and part Yorkie. 

Say you give a home to one of the new mini-cross-breed dogs. Is there anything you need to know? Do they need special treatment, special care or special food? Here's what we've found out.

Wee dogs tend to be tough little customers

On the bright side, very small cross-breed dogs are often physically tougher than pure-breeds, full of what the scientists call hybrid vigour. While pure breeds carry forward less-than-helpful genetic traits down the generations, often making them more acute with each generation, cross-breeds have much more diverse genes and are less vulnerable to disease and illness as a result, as well as avoiding awful things like breathing difficulties caused by squashed noses, congenital back problems and weak legs.

Perfect for small homes

If your home is small, wee dogs take up less space. It means people who couldn't have a dog before are able to give a loving home to someone very small and discreet.

Walkies with small dogs

Tiny dogs with short legs also need shorter walks than bigger, leggier dogs. You need to watch your little friend carefully to establish the right length of walk so you don't exhaust them, especially if you're used to caring for a bigger dog.

Just like humans, dogs get grouchy when they're tired. He or she might even growl at you because they're feeling tired and emotional. In which case don't worry, all it might take to restore their good temper is a nap!  Dogs can also go all hyper when they're tired, just like little kids.  If your pooch is running around in circles in a frenzy, it could be a sign they've worn themselves out. All you do is let them sleep in peace, with no interruptions, somewhere quiet. 

Another great thing about wee dogs is they can fit through a cat flap or a small doggie door. Which means they can go in and out when the mood strikes them, and get plenty of exercise even when you're not taking them for a walk. If yours has run around the garden for two hours at full pelt, they might not fancy going for a walk. So don't force it.

If you take the lead off, keep a close eye on your little dog. If a bigger dog takes a dislike to your pooch while you're out and about, you need to be able to come to the rescue quickly. 

It's also important to look after your little dog's interests. Just because you're tiny and cute, it  doesn't mean you want to be petted by strangers all the time. If your dog doesn't like being fussed by people he or she doesn't know, it's your job to stand up for their rights and keep strangers at arm's length.

Bear in mind that little dogs are closer to the ground, closer than potentially-alarming stuff like weird plants, doggie smells, rocks, other animals, traffic, people's feet and legs.

It's also wise to remember that small dogs have tiny bladders and need to wee more often than bigger dogs.

Keeping warm and staying cool

Wee dogs can suffer more than bigger dogs when it gets hot or cold. That's why you see so many of them wearing little jackets in the winter... and why wearing one on a very hot summer day isn't always the best idea.

Small dogs are more economical

It's common sense – small dogs eat less. And their poops are smaller too, which is great if you're squeamish about poop scooping. They don't need such a big bed either, and a cat bed will often do the trick. All of which means, as a rule, they're cheaper to keep. And there's more. Smaller dogs tend to shed less fur, they're often easier to control and they can enjoy longer lifespans, too.

Your dog isn't a baby – so don't treat it like one

Because of their size, small dogs are easy to control. But there's a downside. Instead of controlling them through obedience training, some owners of wee dogs find it easier to lift them up, pull or push them and generally manhandle them. This is rarely a good idea: it often makes dogs aggressive and over-sensitive to being touched.

Carrying a small dog brings them into closer contact with people and other animals than they might feel happy with. If he or she is on the ground, they're in control of how close they get. If they're being carried, they have no choice. Expert advice says don't treat a small dog like a baby. It's a dog, and should be treated like any other dog.

How to solve behaviour issues in small dogs

Many behaviour issues can be managed, reduced or prevented with reward-based training, in other words focusing on fun and motivation. Telling a dog off never, ever works, and most small dogs are keen to learn simple obedience and tricks when there's a treat in the offing.

Preventing injuries

Some toy cross-breeds are so wee that they can easily injure themselves running about, jumping onto furniture or in and out of your arms. They can even be stepped on. If they're at risk, teach them to use a stool to jump on and off sofas and beds. 

Do you own a small cross-breed? If so we'd love to see a picture

We'd love to know how you're getting on with your tiny, weeny dog! Why not join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PoochandCompany

Image Source: Huffingtonpost

Posted in: Dogs

<![CDATA[Pooch welfare – Don't let your doggie die on a ferry journey]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postpooch-welfare-dont-let-your-doggie-die-on-a-ferry-journey http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postpooch-welfare-dont-let-your-doggie-die-on-a-ferry-journey Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT It's absolutely tragic. A little pug called Merlin died last year during a ferry journey over the channel, on the hottest day of the year so far. Poor little chap. 

Merlin was apparently travelling between Calais to Dover with his owner Kirsty Wallace, aboard the Spirit of France ferry. But despite temperatures soaring to 30 degrees, he wasn't allowed out of the car to cool down on the passenger deck. 

So far more than six thousand people have signed a petition created by Kirsty's friend Nina Gadsdon. She'll be giving it to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to “ensure animal welfare is taken into account.”

It has been proved that temperatures inside cars can be twice as hot as outdoors because a car, with all that metal and glass, acts like a greenhouse. The ferry operator P&O has called Merlin's death 'very distressing', but is unrepentant, insisting the proper procedures were followed. At the same time the government says that dogs should never be left alone, never mind in a car, when the temperature exceeds twenty five degrees. There's clearly a serious disconnect going on.

While P&O Ferries don’t allow dogs out of the car on shorter crossings, they do provide kennels on longer journeys. But what about the other ferry operators? The moral of the story is to find out what the ferry operator allows, and choose your operator accordingly.

Taking your pets abroad via Eurotunnel

EuroTunnel is suppose to be a better option. On their site they say, “We know you treat your pet as part of your family, that's why they get to travel in your vehicle with you for the short 35 minute journey time to France”. Over a million pets have made the journey safely so far and 68% of all pets entering Britain do so via Eurotunnel Le Shuttle+, who  are “ constantly working with key pet transportation partners to improve how we deliver our first class pet service.” Here's a link to Eurotunnel's Travelling with your pets page.

Taking your pooch on Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries runs between France and Spain from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth. As one of our Twitter followers says, "On the new Brittany Ferries Economie boat from Portsmouth to LeHavre, your dog comes into your cabin”. And this is what Brittany Ferries says: From just £16.50 your cat or dog can travel on any of our routes to France, in the comfort of your own car. If travelling to Spain the cost is £69 return which includes kennel accommodation. We think you'll agree it's a small price to pay for so much added enjoyment.”

Here's a link to the Brittany Ferries Travelling  with pets page

MyFerryLink pet policy

MyFerryLink is a new ferry service offering 16 crossings a day between Dover and Calais on two state-of-the-art ferries. It's a very short crossing, at just over 20 miles, and there doesn't seem to be a pet policy on their website. Perhaps you can find one, or if you want to use their services, ask and let us know.

DFDS Seaways and pets

DFDS is a cruise ferry sailing between the UK and France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Poland, Norway and more. They say: “As part of the DEFRA Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), we provide simple and safe transportation for your pets onboard all of our ferries. You can enjoy your time on board knowing that we're taking great care of your pet, and on our overnight crossings you can even visit them during the journey by arrangement with the onboard crew. ”

Here's a link to their pets policy page. 

What if your dog is getting too hot on board a ferry?

It makes sense to insist your pooch is looked after properly, kept healthy and alive. If your dog is too hot, uncomfortable or unhappy on a ferry crossing, stand up for their rights. Remember the guidelines ferry operators give are not the law, they are just rules... and your pet's welfare is much more important than a set of rules.  The ship's crew can't throw you off the boat. All they can do is disapprove if you take your dog out of the car. And that's much less distressing than losing your pet.

What about your experiences travelling with your dog?

We'd love to hear your experiences and any advice you can provide... why not join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany.

Image Credit: Emilio Labrador

Posted in: Dog Health, Dog Safety, Dogs

<![CDATA[Keeping your dog safe in the summer heat]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postkeeping-your-dog-safe-in-the-summer-heat http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postkeeping-your-dog-safe-in-the-summer-heat Mon, 30 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Humidity is just as dangerous as heat

The ambient temperature is important. But humidity can also affect your pet. Dogs pant to evaporate moisture from the lungs, which in turn removes heat from their body. If the humidity is too high, they can't cool themselves and their core body temperature can soar horribly quickly. 

How do you know when your dog is too hot? The best way is to take their temperature. If it goes above 104 degrees they're at risk of heatstroke, so act fast. Just in case you need it, here's a link to our post about heatstroke in dogs. 

Fur doesn't cool dogs down

It's an old wives' tale. Long fur doesn't actually cool a dog down. The truth is, it heats up. Imagine yourself wearing a fur coat on a summer's day and you'll know exactly how an overheated dog feels! As a general rule if you're too hot, your dog is probably too hot. 

The pros and cons of fans and cooling mats

Fans aren't much good. Because dogs sweat primarily through their feet, fans don't cool them as much as they do humans.  But dog cooling mats are excellent. Here's an example. They stay cool and are a lovely place for your pooch to chill, indoors and out. 

Dogs and cars – heat kills!

Every summer we hear awful stories about dogs dying in cars, left in the sun with nothing to drink and no fresh air. Everyone knows it's dangerous to leave a dog in a vehicle. Ideally you'd avoid it altogether. Even short journeys in hot cars can make dogs poorly.

If you really can't avoid leaving your pooch in the car for a short while, crack the windows open so cool air can get in. Or turn on the air conditioning. Park the car in the shade. Leave a dish of water for them to drink and check on them regularly. 

Monitor hot weather play and activity

Dogs adore to play. But in hot weather they can soon get overheated. Being too hot means they risk heatstroke, sunburn and dehydration, which can make them very ill and can even kill. 

When it's hot it's best not to play hard and fast games with balls and sticks, or run about too much. A nice, steady walk is much safer, and early morning / late evening walks are much cooler. Walking early morning and evening will also protect their feet from getting burned on boiling hot pavements.

Always take a bottle of water and a dish with you. If possible take a shaded route under trees or walk near a stream. You can take an old washing up liquid bottle full of cool water to squirt on your pooch if they overheat. The best places to cool a dog down are the neck, foot pads and tummy.

If your dog wants to slow down, let them. If they want to jump in water they're probably too hot, so let them do it. But it's better to stay cool in the first place, since pond, lake and river water often contain nasty parasites and bacteria.

Avoid deadly conservatories

A conservatory is one of the hottest places in the home on a sunny day, and one of the worst places to leave your dog if the forecast is for hot weather. Even on days when it's warm but not sunny, a conservatory can heat up alarmingly fast. It's best not to put your pooch in there at all but if you absolutely have to, make sure you open all the windows and leave plenty of water... and only leave them there for the shortest possible time.

Dog house blues

If you need to leave your pet indoors in a crate, make sure it's in a cool spot and again, leave plenty of fresh water for them to drink.

Flat-faced dogs are at extra risk

Flat-faced dogs like bulldogs and pugs should never be left out in the heat, or even exercise in it, unless your vet advises otherwise. Because they usually have a small trachea and a long soft palate, they're less able to cool themselves.

Muzzle no-no

A muzzle is a big no-no when it's hot. Because dogs cool down by panting, muzzles prevent them from staying cool.

Summer garden fun

Do you leave your pooch outdoors? If there's no shade in your garden, create some. A basic wooden roofed structure with no sides will help them stay cool, a bit like a doggy car port. Make it big enough for them to lie under in comfort without having to screw themselves into a ball. It's also good to leave a bath of water, for example a child's paddling pool, to sit in and play in or a garden sprinkler that can spray themselves down with.

Cool baths

If your dog gets too hot they'll appreciate a lovely, cool bath.

Steer clear of crowds

Crowds increase the chances of injury, dehydration and exhaustion in dogs, so keep away from crowded places in hot weather.  

Doggie sunscreen

Yes, you can buy sunscreen for dogs. What a good idea. It can help protect dogs against skin cancer, as reported in the Daily Mail.

What about your tips?

Do you have any good tips for doggie summer safety? Join the fun on Facebook at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany.


Posted in: Dog Health, Dog Safety, Dogs

<![CDATA[Cool doggie tales – Our favourite pets in the news]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postcool-doggie-tales-our-favourite-pets-in-the-news http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postcool-doggie-tales-our-favourite-pets-in-the-news Fri, 30 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT We love hearing about what dogs and their humans get up to. Here are a few of our favourite doggie tales for May.

27th June 2014 is 'bring your dog to work' day

Yes, it's true. June 27th is Bring Your Dog to Work Day. It's great news, especially since the benefits of having a dog's company are so well known. On the big day hundreds of British businesses will be welcoming dogs into the workplace. If you run a dog-friendly business you can donate £50 to the cause to join in, and individuals can donate £2. The proceeds will be shared between a collection of three well-respected and hard-working dog charities: All Dogs Matter, Animals Asia and Pup Aid, all of whom make a huge difference to doggie welfare.

If you'd like to join the fun, you can find out more here on the Bring Your Dog to Work Day website.

Cockapoodle, anyone? Or maybe you fancy a Chug?

Are you the proud owner of a Puggle, Jackhuahua, Poochon or a Chug (potentially one of the planet's cutest dogs!)? Apparently the trend for interesting cross-breeds is heating up, with thousands of dog lovers choosing hybrid vigour over pure bred pets.

The first on the scene was the Labradoodle, specially bred by the Australian Royal Guide Dog Association for a visually impaired dog lover whose husband had a dog allergy, a mixture between a Labrador retriever and a standard Poodle. Since then the Cockapoo, a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle cross, has become a very popular hearing dog for the deaf. The pet insurer PetPlan says they've noticed a 400% hike in Cockapoo ownership, and new cross breeds are springing up all over the place. 

Do you have a new type of cross breed? If so we'd love to see a picture – join us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/poochandcompany.

Clever Border Collies keep disease-carrying seagulls at bay

Border Collies, AKA sheep dogs,  are incredibly clever creatures. They love nothing better than performing useful tasks, keeping busy. And it looks like their talents are going to be used in an unusual way, as a highly effective weapon against gull-borne seaside E. Coli infections.

Researchers  have discovered that the breed is particularly good at scaring off seagulls, whose poop is a well known source of the bacteria. If humans ingest E.Coli we can end up with nasty abdominal cramps and, even worse, diarrhoea... the last thing you need after a lovely day on the beach.

E. Coli is causing all sorts of issues at the moment. High levels of the bug are becoming a prime cause of beach closures across the world, including Britain. While they are usually found in human and animal poop they frequently end up in the sea, brought there by rain, natural water run-off and raw sewerage.  But research indicates gulls are responsible for the spread of resistant versions of E.Coli, which can easily survive more than one type of antibiotic. 

The dogs' job isn't difficult. But their unusual intelligence means they're particularly good at disturbing gulls, simply following their natural herding instincts to keep the birds from landing on affected beaches.

The results are promising: according to a BBC report, “They found that the bacterial counts were significantly lower on those sandy stretches where the dogs had kept the gulls at bay.”

Welsh dog craze – 35% of Welsh households include a dog

Are you from Wales? If so, maybe you can help explain why so many Welsh households include pooches. Apparently, according to a BBC report, the Welsh people there are dog mad, with an impressive 35% of families in Wales keeping a pooch. It's the second-highest level of dog ownership, only beaten by the north east of England, and it's the first time in 21 years that dog ownership in Wales has beaten cats.

Beloved family pooch survives deadly tornado

In April the small town of Vilonia, in Arkansas, USA, suffered a massive tornado hit. Lizzy the dog belonged to the family of Dan Wassom, who died in the disaster trying to protect his five year old daughter from the deadly winds. When Lizzy went missing, it delivered a second hard blow to the already-devastated family.

A full  month later Lizzy turned up out of the blue, outside a neighbour's house, in good health but full of ticks. As you can imagine, the Wassoms were ecstatic to have their beloved dog back home. Has your pooch ever gone missing... and  returned home unharmed, out of the blue? 

Britain's dangerous dog laws tightened up

Dog owners whose pets attack people now face tougher penalties, with maximum sentences for fatal attacks in England and Wales increasing from two years to fourteen years and sentences for injuries rising from two years maximum to five.

The new laws also make it a specific offence for dogs to attack guide dogs and other assistance dogs, with owners facing as long as three years in prison. Dog owners can also be prosecuted if their pooch attacks someone in their home or on any private property, but trespassers are excluded from the new rules. 

What's your favourite piece of dog-related news?

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Posted in: Dog Health, Dog Safety, Dogs

<![CDATA[25 fascinating facts about dogs – A 30,000 year love affair]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/post25-fascinating-facts-about-dogs-a-30000-year-love-affair http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/post25-fascinating-facts-about-dogs-a-30000-year-love-affair Thu, 01 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT 1.     We’ve loved dogs for at least 30,000 years, as revealed by mitochondrial DNA testing of a Palaeolithic dog's remains.  

2.     Newfoundlands have water resistant coats and webbed feet, bred to help fisherman haul nets in and rescue drowning people.  

3.     According to Plato, dogs have “the soul of a philosopher”.  

4.     Research proves that petting your lovely pooch lowers your blood pressure.

5.     Ozzy Osborne saved Sharon’s Pomeranian dog from a coyote. Apparently he rugby tackled it and wrestled with it ‘til it let go.

6.     In Ventura County, California, cats and dogs can’t legally mate without a permit.

7.     Dr. Roger Mugford’s splendid 2003 invention, the wagometer, measured doggie moods based on how their tails wagged.

8.     Dogs chase their tails for fun, out of curiosity, to get extra exercise, because they’re worried or because they’re totally flea-ridden.

9.     Who was the biggest dog ever? He was called Zorba, he was an English mastiff and he weighed twenty four and a half stone, just over eight feet long from nose to tail.

10.  The oldest dog on earth was Bluey, an Aussie cattle dog, who reached the grand old age of twenty five and a half years. If he was a human he’d have lived to 160. Wow.

11.  The phrase “raining cats and dogs” came about in the 1600s when, during heavy storms, homeless animals would drown and float around the streets. Poor things.

12.  Dogs curl up when asleep, driven by a primitive instinct to protect their vital organs and tummy from predators.

13.  When the Romans left Britain and the Roman Empire eventually fell, things went a bit pear-shaped and human survival became a challenge. As a result people abandoned their dogs, which roamed in packs. Eventually legends of werewolves arose as the creatures became wilder and more aggressive.

14.  Kubla Kahn owned more than 5000 mastiffs. Blimey. But did he remember their names?

15.  72% of dog owners think their pet can predict stormy weather.

16.  In Palding, Ohio, the police are allowed by law to bite a dog to calm it down.

17.  Why does your pooch kick the ground after going to the loo? It’s to mark their territory using the scent glands on their foot pads. “I peed here, so it’s mine”.

18.  In Iran, it is illegal to own a dog as a pet. You can only keep a pooch for guarding or hunting.

19.  The average dog can run at around 19 miles an hour. Average bicycle speed, taking it easy, is around 12mph. Greyhounds, the planet’s fastest dog breed, can run as fast as 45mph.

20.  45% of dogs sleep in their owner’s bed. Lucky things! We wonder how many humans sleep in their dog’s bed…?

21.  The ancient South American Mbaya tribe were convinced that humans lived underground until dogs came along and dug them up. That’s just weird.

22.  Dachshunds might look little and mild-mannered. But they’re fierce and brave at heart, originally bred to fight badgers underground.

23.  The loyal, loving, intelligent Labrador is Britain’s favourite dog breed.

24.  Dogs can see colour. They can discern blues, greenish yellows, yellow and greys.

25.  Puppies have 28 teeth. Grown up dogs have 42. Humans have 32.

What’s your favourite doggie fact?

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Posted in: Dogs, Pooch News

<![CDATA[Getting a rescue dog versus buying a puppy – Which is best?]]> http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postgetting-a-rescue-dog-versus-buying-a-puppy-which-is-best http://poochandcompany.co.uk/dog-blog/postgetting-a-rescue-dog-versus-buying-a-puppy-which-is-best Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT Buy a puppy or take on a rescue dog? It’s a common dilemma, so we decided to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both. 

The pros and cons of buying a puppy

First off, never buy a puppy from a puppy farm or from a breeder without the proper credentials. Some experts also recommend you steer clear of poet shops and puppy dealers, too. Here’s what the Dogs trust says:

“Dogs Trust totally condemns puppy farming, the practice where dogs are bred purely for profit, often with no license and with no concern for the health or welfare of the dogs. Our overriding priority is the welfare of the dogs, both puppies and their mothers. The best advice that we can offer the public is to never buy puppies through advertisements in local papers and on the internet or from pet shops. Once the demand dries up, the puppy farms cannot provide the supply.”

But what about buying a puppy from a proper Kennel Club Assured breeder? That’s fine. The Kennel Club have a list of registered breeders they know for sure have the animals’ welfare in mind. Here’s a link.

Checklist for buying a puppy

1.     You need to see the puppy interacting with its mum, brothers and sisters, and it also helps if you can meet its dad

2.     If the breeder shows you just one puppy from the litter, ask to see the rest

3.     Handle them and play with them to see how they behave and react

4.     Make sure the puppies have plenty of regular human contact with different people, so they’re properly socialised

5.     If a puppy is raised in a home environment rather than a kennel, they’ll already be familiar with what’s OK and what isn’t OK in your home, and they won’t be frightened by being indoors

6.     Puppies should stay with their mums until they’re at least eight weeks old. If you’re offered one any sooner, it’s too soon

7.     View the puppy you’ve chosen at least twice before you pick them up

8.     If you’re not sure, see if your vet will check the puppy for you and give you a second opinion

9.     Check the breeder’s premises is clean and fresh, and that the puppies seem healthy and alert

10.  Make sure you get all the paperwork including vaccination certificates, a health check report from a vet and, if you’re buying a pedigree animal, their pedigree or Kennel Club certificate, plus evidence they’ve been wormed. Kennel Club registration and pedigree certificates don’t mean you’re guaranteed a perfect dog, but it certainly helps

11.  Reputable breeders provide insurance cover against illness for the first six weeks you own them. Make sure it’s in place

12.  Ask the breeder for a diet plan

13.  Check the puppy’s eyes and nose for discharges, making sure they’re not balding, scabby, have sores or coughing. If they don’t seem 100% fit when you’re due to pick them up, arrange an alternative collection date

14.  If you’re in any doubt whatsoever, find another breeder

The advantages and disadvantages of taking on a rescue dog

Every pooch deserves a loving home and dog shelters are full of lovely furry people desperate for a ‘forever home, especially older dogs.

Most rescue dogs are lovely and make wonderful, loyal pets. Some arrive at shelters because their owner has died, others have behavioural issues. Most dog behaviour problems are owner-generated, and with patience and love they can be changed. The results are heart-warming: a dog who will love you truly, madly and deeply forever because, unlike their previous owner, you have taken the time to understand them and made the effort to make them feel welcome, loved and happy.  

Here are some tips to help you make the right decision for you and your new pet.  

1.     Decide which type of dog you want before visiting the rescue centre: size, type and temperament. You don’t want to adopt a reserved dog, for example, if your household is noisy and crowded with a constant stream of visitors. And you won’t want a lively young big dog if you live very quietly, somewhere small. Big dogs need lots of space and long walks, so if you’re elderly they’re far from ideal. You get the picture  

2.     Do your best not to be influenced by all those cute little faces looking at you through the bars. Stick with a dog you know will fit in with your home, family and lifestyle

3.     Make sure the dog has been at the rescue centre at least three days and settled in properly. Then you know you’re seeing their ‘real ‘ personality, not an uncertain dog who’s under stress

4.     There are some things you won’t know until you try. Your new dog might hate car travel or be scared of loud noises. But these are things you can work on together, as part of a loving relationship

5.     Take the whole family to the dog shelter so you can see how the dogs react to everyone concerned

6.     Take toys, treats and a brush so you can see how the dogs react to playing and being groomed. This should help you figure out how easy they’ll be to train, or how well trained they are already

7.     See how they react to other dogs – are they sociable or scared, aggressive or playful? You should be allowed to take your shortlisted dogs for short walks to experience it for yourself

8.     Ask the dog shelter staff for all the details they have about the dog’s background. If you have kids, it’s useful to know whether the previous owner had children. If not, how does the dog react to your children?

The Canine Concepts website has a comprehensive and finely detailed guide to making the most of dog shelter visits and establishing rescue dogs’ personalities. Here’s a link.  

What about your story?

We’d love to hear your rescue dog and puppy breeder stories. Let us know at www.facebook.com/poochandcompany

Posted in: Dogs