Looking after a pet is a big responsibility. Not because it’s difficult or requires lots of time – neither of those are necessarily true – but because a pet is a living thing. It will rely on you as its friend and carer, its source of food, warmth and shelter.
If you can provide those things, keeping pets is without doubt one of life’s great pleasures. There’s often a big stumbling block though. If Mum, Dad or another well-meaning adult at home says you can’t have a pet, what’s the best way forward?
You could always accept it, of course – and maybe there are good reasons why, in your particular household, keeping a pet just isn’t going to work. For example, if you’re under 10 it’s not recommended that you should take full responsibility of a pet – you will need an older person to help out.
However, if the adult in question has simply not stopped to think about it, you’re in with a chance. For many of the commonest anti-pet arguments there are simple, practical facts that may help you change your parent’s mind.
Arm yourself with these, and you could soon be the proud owner of a new furry or feathered friend!
1 – Mum says: “Pets take too much looking after.”
You say: “It doesn’t have to be something that needs lots of training and walking, like a dog. A cat is pretty independent and easily house-trained. A small mammal like a gerbil or hamster only needs cleaning out once a week, and feeding them every day is simple. The same goes for budgies and finches.”
2 – Dad says: “We can’t afford to keep a pet.”
You say: “Small mammals are very cheap to buy. Or we could get a pet from a pet rescue centre. They’re always looking for new owners, and we’d be helping out an animal in need, and supporting a very important local service. As for pet food, even a big dog will only cost a few pounds a week, and a small pet will spend a month nibbling through a $5 bag of food.”
3 – Mum says: “Yes, but what about those huge vet’s bills?”
You say: “Gerbils and hamsters don’t usually have many health problems in their short lives, and don’t need vaccinations and microchips like dogs and cats. And there’s also pet insurance – for a fairly low monthly premium, a pet can be covered for all kinds of potential problems. That way we can avoid unexpected vet’s bills.”
4 – Dad says: “Pets are too noisy.”
You say: “Okay, dogs are noisy, but they can be trained not to woof too much. Chickens are quite noisy, but we could run it past the neighbours, and I’m sure the promise of a few eggs would win them round! Pet birds make a lot of noise, but how about the gentle squeak of a guinea pig, or the soft purring of a cuddly cat? And rabbits, gerbils and hamsters are pretty much silent.”
5 – Mum says: “They make too much mess.”
You say: “Cats are very neat and tidy. Small mammals make their mess inside their enclosures, and I can clean that up every week.”
6 – Dad says: “Pets are smelly.”
You say: “Not if their cages are cleaned properly every week. And dogs can be shampooed.”
7 – Mum says: “All that cleaning out… I’m not going to do it!”
You say: “Modern hutches and chicken coops are really easy to clean, and I could definitely manage it myself. Take a look at the Eglu for chickens, and the Qute hamster and gerbil cages, and you’ll see what I mean.”
8 – Dad says: “You’re forgetting – someone at home is allergic to fur and feathers.”
You say: “There are hypoallergenic breeds of cat and dog, so let’s get one of those.”
9 – Mum says: “During term time there’s no one at home to keep the pet company.”
You say: “Some dogs are absolutely fine on their own for a few hours. Most cats are too. You just need to get one of the chilled-out breeds. And all small mammals and cage birds do just fine without a human around 24/7. Same goes for chickens – and you can even get automatic chicken coop doors for them these days.”
10 – Dad says: “But what’s the point?”
You say: “Pets are beautiful. They’re our best friends. Research shows that handling pets relieves stress. And chickens produce lots and lots of delicious eggs!”
This entry was posted in Pets
Elderly pet-owners will need a little help looking after their furry or feathered friends. Shopping for pet food, training, grooming, and cleaning out cages and litter trays are all factors to be considered.
If a pet falls ill, it will need taking to a vet, or medication may have to be given. Lack of transport and shaky hands can suddenly become problems in these circumstances.
The level of assistance needed will, of course, depend very much on the physical and mental health of the pet owner.
But in spite of these considerations, pets and older people are a perfect match – as long as you get the right pet!
Pets to Avoid
For many older people, owning a pet is all about companionship. So, although an iguana, goldfish or tarantula may be low maintenance, they don’t exactly exude personality and friendship. Reptiles, fish and insects can therefore be placed in the category ‘Dedicated Enthusiasts Only’.
Rodents are not ideal choices, either. They are fast moving, and can easily escape from an open cage. Some, such as the hamster, are largely nocturnal too, losing several points on the ‘companionship’ scale.
The Best Bird Companions
Small cage birds make good pets for seniors. Larger species such as parrots are long-lived, and this can present mounting problems if an owner becomes increasingly frail with the passing years.
A budgie is a good option. These birds are intelligent, easily hand-tamed, and once trained they will return to their cage unassisted after playing and flying indoors. Some also learn to talk, which reinforces the companionship enormously. Add to this the fact that their cages can be kept on holders at shoulder-height, with easy access for cleaning and feeding, and you have the perfect pet for older people.
Canaries and other pet finches can be good choices too, but it has to be said that they lack the big personality, trainability and talkativeness of budgies. There are other plus points, though, notably the beautiful song of the canary.
The Best Cat Companions
In many ways the cat is an ideal pet for seniors. But it isn’t just a question of arriving at Gran’s door with a kitten and expecting everything to be fine!
A kitten will need to be house-trained, and won’t instantly be the placid lap-loving cat that many elderly owners will be looking for. An older cat, on the other hand, will have ‘grown in’ to its personality. You could choose a placid, indoor-loving coach-potato breed such as the Persian, Russian Blue or Ragdoll if laps and cuddles are the priority.
Ideally the cat should still be given access to the outdoors to prevent the chore of cleaning a litter tray every day. In this respect one of the ideal breeds is the Abyssinian. Super-friendly and incredibly tame, they are also lovers of the great outdoors, mixing and matching house and garden perfectly.
If a cat is being adopted from a previous home, you will be able to find out all about its personality. Many ‘moggies’ of a non-specific breed turn out to be the perfect pet for seniors, after a little investigation into the animal’s background.
Bear in mind, though, that cats can live up to 20 years – a big time commitment if someone is already worrying about health and mobility in later life. But once again, this is where the animal’s independence becomes a great asset. Most cats, even though they love their owners, can pretty much look after themselves.
The Best Dog Companions
For an elderly person with mobility, dogs are a great pet choice. Several breeds thrive with just a little daily exercise. Many of these are at the smaller end of the scale – dogs such as the Miniature Poodle, Shih Tzu, Maltese, Bichon Frise, and good-natured individuals from the West Highland and Yorkshire Terrier families. Smaller dogs have smaller appetites too – a major consideration if money is an issue.
However, some smaller dogs can be very yappy or snappy – not a great combination. Breeds to beware of for these reasons include Chihuahua, Jack Russell, and Dachshund.
If the owner is still able to walk a mile or two a day, a Golden Retriever makes a great choice. But with all breeds you need to bear in mind longevity – a dog that needs walking at six months old may still be demanding walkies at 15.
Pets For Therapy
It’s a well known fact that pets are therapeutic. Some care homes hold regular pet therapy sessions in which residents spend quality time with cats, dogs, and other tame animals.
Pets bring positive benefits for mental health across all age groups, and can also prevent loneliness becoming a problem. We all need affection, and pets deliver it with no questions asked!
However, having a pet-handling session in a care home is a different proposition to an elderly person keeping a pet in their own home. All animals need a certain amount of looking after, and if mobility is an issue, even a simple chore such as cleaning a cage can become difficult. In these circumstances, seniors will need a little assistance.
But if you get it right, a pet can bring so many positives into an elderly person’s life – companionship, stimulation, stress relief, and that most important human need of all: love.
This entry was posted in Cats
Moving home can be very stressful. Not just for you and your family, but for your pets too.
It’s less of an issue for smaller animals kept in cages or enclosures. But even pet rodents and birds will need to be transported to the new residence, and none of them will enjoy the journey.
Of all the pets, though, it’s cats and dogs that take the brunt of the stress when moving. Everything they’ve come to know and rely on in terms of safe places, personal spaces, territories, and familiar scents and sounds disappears.
Here are a few tips to help your furry friends chill-out at this most disruptive of times.
Helping Pets Move Out
There’s a shortcut to a stress-free move: put your dog or cat in a kennel or cattery, or hand them over to a dog- or cat-sitter. That way they can ride out the chaos in relative peace and quiet, and you can collect them once the dust has settled at the other end of the moving process.
If you decide instead to let your pet ride out the storm with you, there are several things you can do to make it easier on them.
- Put your pet in a safe space – a quiet room in the house away from the main activity of boxes, moving furniture and sweaty removal men. Put familiar things in the room such as bowls and favorite toys, and make sure your pet spends time there in the weeks before the move, to get used to it. This applies not just to cats and dogs, but to small mammals and cage birds too.
- If your dog has a crate, that might be an even better option. Similarly, if your cat is happy chilling out in a cat crate or box, let them.
- Nominate one member of the family to be responsible for pet wellbeing throughout the move.
- Some owners recommend spraying a cat box or basket with calming pheromones (available from vets or pet shops). The calming effect can be increased by covering the crate with a sheet to keep it dark.
Pets On The Road
Some pets enjoy traveling. Others hate it. Highway blues can be minimised in the following ways.
- If your pet is already used to traveling in a car, great. If not, introduce them to the inside of the vehicle in the weeks before the move.
- Dogs should be secured with a doggy seat belt, or installed in a crate if that’s possible. Cats should always be transported in cat crates, and ideally they should be used to these before making the journey. Never let an animal remain loose in a car during the move; and don’t make a dog travel in the strange and scary surroundings of the removal van.
- For smaller cage pets, the journey is bound to be stressful. If possible let them remain in a covered cage and put plenty of soft items around it to prevent it moving around during the journey. If you need to transfer the animals to carrying boxes, make sure these are placed somewhere dark, with no chance of moving around. Never put the box in the glove compartment – there’s a chance of noxious fumes building up in there.
- If the journey is long, take breaks to allow your cat or dog to drink and, in the case of a dog, to exercise and relieve itself.
Helping Pets Move In
It takes time for pets to settle into new surroundings. But the first few hours are likely to be the most stressful, so, again, make it as painless for your pet as possible.
- Choose a quiet settling-in room, put the pet’s basket or blanket in there, along with some other familiar items, and then close the door for as long as it takes for your stuff to be relocated from the removal lorry to the new house or flat.
- Once everything is inside and the doors and windows are all closed, let your pet out for an exploration of the new place. Keep close, to reassure them. Most pets will relax within five minutes after a good sniff around, and will happily accept a tasty treat.
- If you have a cat, rub its head and cheeks with a cloth, and then rub the cloth on surfaces and skirting boards around the new place. This will transfer the cat’s natural pheromones.
- Put the pet’s bed in the place you intend it to sleep in, rather than letting it spend a few nights here, there and everywhere. Routine and familiarity are what it’s all about.
- When outside, keep your dog on a lead in the first few days, to prevent him chasing new scents and getting lost, or attempting to head for his former residence, which for a short time will still be ‘home’ in his brain.
- Keep cats indoors for at least one week, otherwise they will wander away. This is very likely to happen if you have not moved very far. Only let them out after dark once you’re confident that they have properly settled in.
- Make sure your pets are microchipped and have IDs on their collars, in case they stray.
Pets soon settle into a new home. All they really need is a little time, the reassurance of your continuing presence, and the sight and smell of familiar toys, food and bedding.
It’s these things, rather than a mere accident of geography, that means ‘home’ to a happy pet.
This entry was posted in Pets
The arrival of a baby in a household turns things upside down. That’s certainly how it can seem to your pets. A dog may find there’s less time for walks and playing, and a cat may suddenly be ousted from her favorite sleeping places in the bedroom or on your lap, due to the presence of the baby.
It’s important to get your pets used to the idea of having the newcomer around, along with the changes in routine that go with it. And ideally the preparation needs to start before the baby is born.
Prenatal Pet Training
In the months leading up to the birth, spend slightly less time with your cat or dog – particularly if they are used to lazing in your lap or sitting by your feet demanding attention.
If your dog is not fully trained at this point, fill in the gaps with some training sessions. Get an expert in to help out, if necessary. Your dog needs to know the basic ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’ and ‘Leave it’ commands, at the very least. It’s essential that the humans in the house reinforce their roles as Alphas in the pack.
A new baby will bring new sounds and smells to the house. You can get your pets ready for this by inviting mums and dads with babies or toddlers to call in for coffee. Play a recording of a crying baby to acclimatize pets’ ears, and switch on any noisy new toys, mobiles, swings or other baby-related apparatus. Let your pets sniff a nappy and a cloth with a few drops of baby oil on it. Familiarity is half the battle.
Get Your Pet Vet-Ready
A neutered pet is a calmer pet, and less likely to bite. This is especially true with males. When neutered, they are less likely to view the baby as a rival. Arrange for a vet to perform the operation, if the pet is not yet neutered. And while you’re there, make sure Puss and Fido are up to date with their vaccinations, worm-free, and generally in tip top health.
Babies bring lots of unpredictability to a household, and old routines soon break down. There’s nothing wrong with this, but a pet who’s set in his ways may not take kindly to sudden change. Break him in by varying feeding times, blocking off no-go areas with a baby gate, or perhaps hiring a dog walker.
If the human mum-to-be has always been the pet’s chief companion, it’s handy if you can introduce another ‘favourite’ into its life. This could be a partner, older child or friend – anyone able to spend quality time with the animal.
Introducing the Baby
Before letting a dog or cat see the baby, let them sniff a blanket and a soiled nappy. Try not to show any nervousness when bringing the baby into the house for the first time, as pets will pick up on the bad vibes.
To make the first introduction, sit with the baby in your arms – ideally in a ‘neutral’ room, one where the pet doesn’t usually go – and let the dog or cat approach in its own good time (and one at a time, if you have multiple pets). Don’t force the issue. Have some treats ready to reward good behavior.
You can reinforce the positive associations by treating a dog whenever it’s around you and the baby. That way your pet will come to associate the baby with good things (i.e. food!) A cat will need less fuss in this respect, and will simply equate the baby with you, logging it as something not to worry about.
Whenever there’s any interaction between baby/toddler and pet, make sure there’s an adult around to keep an eye on the situation.
Special Notes For Cats
A docile cat needs to get used to the new baby, and to keep away when it’s asleep. A more flighty cat should simply be kept away. Toddlers seem to have an instinct for grabbing handfuls of pet fur, and a nervous cat may react by scratching. A cat flap with a lock can be handy in the early days, to keep puss outdoors at key times.
Many cats dislike a baby’s crying, and will disappear when the screaming begins. This is very handy! Make sure there’s a quiet, safe spot for them, away from the mayhem. The Maya Nook is a perfect solution to give your cat some privacy.
Cats feel exposed and nervous when they eat, so you should keep a toddler away from the place where your pet is feeding. It should also go without saying that you should prevent young ‘uns from rummaging in the litter tray too!
Special Notes For Dogs
All dogs will need to be well-trained, in a situation where trust is so fundamental. Some dog breeds are very rarely going to be friendly with children, though. A dog bred over hundreds of years for aggression is NOT a dog you should have in the family home. ‘Snappy’ breeds such as Jack Russel, Dachshund or Chihuahua can be problematic too, but you probably know your dog best.
A treat-based puzzle toy such as a Kong ball is a useful distraction. You can give it to your dog while you spend time tending to the baby, to divert the pet’s attention.
It’s important not to abandon dog walks, as that will lead to doggy stress and frustration. It’s a case of ‘business as usual’, where ‘usual’ has simply undergone a few changes.
The dog/child relationship is a two-way process, and youngsters need training too. Teach them to be gentle with the dog, and they will have the basis for a good relationship.
And the importance of that relationship shouldn’t be underestimated. Children learn lots about friendship, respect and responsibility from interacting with animals. There is also evidence that allergies are less of an issue in kids who have been brought up with pets.
So – you’ve replaced your ‘pet baby’ with the real thing. That means big change. But when handled properly it’s a positive change, the beginning of a new chapter in the happy family home.
This entry was posted in Cats
Those who have lost a beloved pet will know the pain can be as heart wrenching as the loss of a family member or friend. For many couples, the family pet becomes another child, just one with four legs and a tail who doesn’t answer back. Many of us also find comfort and friendship in our pets throughout the highs and lows of day to day life, so the passing of a pet can be extremely painful.
It’s okay to be sad
Take the time to process what has happened and allow yourself to be sad. This is especially important if you have children who may be experiencing this kind of loss for the first time and might struggle to understand.
Pet owners often have to make the difficult decision to have their pets put to sleep when their health deteriorates too far to be helped. This adds another aspect to the grief as some may feel guilty for having to make that decision, or as though they could have done things differently. Discuss the events with your vet, as they will be able to reassure you that you did the right thing.
Don’t feel ashamed for any sadness you feel. Many people may not understand or be sympathetic towards the sadness when we lose a pet, but that doesn’t mean you are not allowed to feel upset. If you think it would help you to take a couple of days off work to grieve, do so. Pets who have been in your home for years leave a big hole, and feelings of loneliness and emptiness are completely normal.
Confide in your family and friends about how you feel, but if you do not think they understand, seek the support of grief support helplines.
If they were your only pet, consider moving your pet’s bed, food bowls, toys and other belongings into a garage or shed so they are out of sight. Throwing these in the bin straight away can be difficult so don’t rush, just put them away so there is one less reminder in the home.
If you have another pet, keep a close eye on them for signs of depression and loneliness. Consult a vet if you believe your pet’s behavior has changed drastically and shows no sign of improvement.
Some people choose to rescue or adopt another pet soon after the loss, as the home can feel empty without them. However, others find this feels too much like attempting to replace them. Consider rescuing a different type of pet, e.g. if you have lost a dog, why not rescue a cat instead. That way you are not at all replacing your previous pet, but you are offering a cat in need a happy home.
We are all guilty of taking lots of photos of our pets, and this is the time to put those photos to use. Find your favorites and prepare a photo album, or get a canvas printed, so they can still be a part of your home. Other things you could do in memory of your pet are plant a tree or flower in their favorite garden spot, read or write a poem, make a donation to a pet charity which means a lot to you, or volunteer at a local rescue shelter.
Pawprints Left By You – By Vayda Venue
You no longer greet me
As I walk through the door,
You’re not there to make me smile,
To make me laugh anymore,
Life seems quiet without you,
You were far more than a pet,
You were a family member, a friend,
A loving soul i’ll never forget.
It will take time to heal,
For the silence to go away,
I still listen for you ,
And miss you everyday,
You were such a great companion,
Constant, loyal, and true,
My heart will always wear,
The pawprints left by you.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Thankfully, animal ill health is very much the exception rather than the norm. Many pets go for years suffering nothing worse than the occasional tick, flea or minor wound.
However, if illness or injury strike you can cut the stress by making sure your pet first aid kit is well-stocked and ready to go. Many illnesses will require diagnosis and treatment from a vet, but there are minor problems and non-medical issues that you can easily address yourself.
What you need very much depends on the type of pet you have. But let’s start with some general med-kit classics.
No First Aid Kit Is Complete Without…
- Bandages – self-adhesive or crepe, 2.5 and 5cm width
- Non-adhesive absorbent dressing pads (5cm x 5cm, or smaller for guinea pigs, rabbits, etc)
- Sterile absorbent gauze
- Sterile wipes
- Antiseptic ointment and antibacterial spray
- Surgical tape
- Cotton wool rolls, pads, balls and buds
- Tough scissors – a blunt-ended pair, and a small curve-bladed pair
- A thick towel or blanket
- Disposable gloves
- Tick-remover tweezers
- Iodine, for treating small wounds (including tick wounds)
- Flea and lice comb
- Nail clippers
- Sterile eye wash – for clearing dust, dirt or smoke from the eyes
- A full water container – for washing cuts and dirt, and for hydration
- A mild detergent – for use with the water
- Styptic powder – this stops bleeding from broken nails
- Cornflour (cornstarch) – for staunching minor cuts and abrasions
- Diphenhydramine (or Benadryl) – an antihistamine for mild allergic reactions
- A pet thermometer
- A card with your vet’s phone number, and other useful emergency numbers
- Treats – very useful for rewarding and reassuring a pet who has just been bandaged, tweezered or manhandled in some other undignified manner!
- You should also keep a supply of species-specific flea and mite powders and worming tablets
- For smaller pets, an oral syringe is useful for giving water or liquidised food to an animal that refuses to, or is unable to drink
- A magnifying glass can be useful too, for examining wounds or infestations on rodents, rabbits and cage birds.
Cats and Dogs
Additional items useful for cats and dogs include Elizabethan collars, to prevent your furry friend biting at wounds or dressings. The collar size will vary depending on the size of your pet.
A muzzle is also a very useful inclusion in any dog first aid kit, as even the most placid pet can become afraid and defensive when in pain. You can buy face masks for cats too, with a similar purpose.
First Aid For Birds
Many of the items in the general list above are useful for treating birds. Additional items for avian first aid include a bird net, specifically made for capturing frightened or untamed pet birds in cages and aviaries.
A styptic pencil is an essential tool for staunching wounds resulting from broken feathers or claws. Unlike mammals, birds do not have efficient clotting agents in their blood, and what may appear to be a relatively minor wound can result in death, simply through bleeding. The styptic will swiftly staunch the flow.
A cage sanitizer will help minimize the risk of contagious disease spreading, should one of your birds fall ill. There are various brands available in stores, and your vet will be able to advise you on the most suitable preparation for your particular species of bird.
It is also possible to buy Ivermectin drops from your vet. This medicine kills internal and external parasites, along with the mites responsible for scaly face and scaly leg. It is also used for fur, ear and mange mites and lice in small mammals such as hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs.
It’s a good idea to keep some wire-cutters in your med-kit too, as birds can sometimes become entangled in loose wires or hangings intended for suspending toys or treats.
Crop needles and blood-feather tweezers can also be useful, but these are precision tools that require expertise to use. Ask a vet or bird breeder for more advice.
DIY is Not Always Best
Pet first aid is fine for minor problems, but in emergencies it is only a stop-gap solution before consulting a vet. Any pet illness needs proper medical care.
A well-stocked first aid kit will, however, save you a lot of time and worry when confronted with pet parasites, small wounds and other conditions that can be tackled with a swift and effective DIY approach.
This entry was posted in Pets
Summertime… Beach stays, trips abroad, hikes in a National Park… It is a great opportunity to take a break with your family and keep daily stress at bay. You book a lovely hotel with your other half, you read a map with your children asking them where they want to go, you pack your suitcases, you… Wait! Aren’t you forgetting someone? “Babe, what about the cat? Is he coming with us?!”
Most pet owners tend to forget about it: having a pet means new responsibilities and taking care of them when you go on holidays is one of them. Unfortunately, too many people still ignore it. The months of June, July and August are critical since many people seem to struggle when it comes to taking care of their pets while also going on holiday. Read our tips below to make sure your pets will have a great time this summer, just like you!
You might be an adventurous Frenchman aiming to sail around the world with your hen (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36475672). However, in all other cases, we recommend that you do not take your chickens on holidays with you. The best thing to do is to ask some friends or neighbors to take care of them while you are away, offering them to help themselves to eggs. If you are lucky enough to have an Eglu Cube on wheels, you can even move your coop directly into your neighbor’s backyard!
HAMSTERS, GUINEA PIGS AND RABBITS
Just like with chickens, it is better to leave your hamster, rabbit or guinea pig at home and ask a friend, ideally someone they already know, to come and look after them. If you still decide to take them with you, or if you don’t have any other choice, be very careful with temperature change. These smaller pets are extremely sensitive to it and a sudden temperature change could be fatal. While in the car, make sure that they are neither too hot (do not leave them next to a window or in a parked car) or too cold (do not put them in front of the air con). You also want to check that nothing is at risk of falling and hurting them in the cage: take away the bottle and the feeder and stop regularly to give them some water and food. Remember that rodents and rabbits are very shy animals that like to have their own routine and tend to struggle with change.
You can definitely take them with you, but in most cases you don’t have to: cats are independent animals that can take care of themselves for a few days. Fill their bowls with food and water before leaving. If you are away for less than 10 days, ask a friend to come and check on them (one or two short visits a day should do).
If you are away for more than 10 days, it is better to leave your cat with some relatives, preferably people who already know your cat and who don’t have any animals that the cat won’t get along with. You can also put your cat in a boarding kennel. However, keep in mind that this can be risky since your cat could feel abandoned (new place, new faces…) and get depressed. Before taking them to the cattery you can give them some soft and natural tranquillizer, like Bach flower, to help them adjust.
Dogs are probably the most complicated animal to deal with when going on holidays. You can’t just leave them at home with food and water. This is not only bad for your dog, but could also lead you to be accused of animal cruelty, as abandoning a pet is a serious crime in most states. The best option is definitely to book a seat for your dog in your car and help them pack their suitcase!
Why should I take my dog with me?
Of course you can leave your dog with your friends or family (preferably someone they already know). However, keep in mind that dogs are very social animals and thrive on their owner’s company. For them, holidays will be a fantastic opportunity to spend some quality time with their favorite humans. Moreover, since you are on holidays, you will have more free time and will be able to spend entire days with your dog, which will make them extremely happy. No more long and boring days waiting for you at home! No doubt that you and your family will also be delighted to spend the whole day playing and exercising with your dog. They can also help you to interact with fellow holiday makers: many people won’t be able to resist giving them some attention!
How to organize a trip with a dog
Here is a list of what you can do to make sure your dog is ready for the holidays and everything goes fine while you two are away from home:
- Before going, make sure your dog is used to traveling in a car. Some dogs can be car sick and it is good to prepare them, especially if you’re planning on a road trip and are spending a lot of time in the car!
- Make sure your dog knows some basic commands such as heel and sit. If they are able to go on a walk without pulling on the lead, it is even better!
- Check that their jabs are up to date, and if you’re going abroad, double check what the requirements are far in advance.
- Bring everything they may need: food, of course, but also a first-aid kit, their health record book, the lead, the food and water bowls, the crate, their favorite toys, some poo bags… It is very important to take your dog’s food with you if you are going abroad since you can’t make sure you’ll find their favorite brand in the country you’re visiting.
- While traveling, put your dog in their cage in the trunk of the car.
- Before visiting a place, make sure they accept pets. Never go to a hotel before checking it. Likewise, you will easily lists of dog friendly beaches on the internet.
- Check that your dog is not too hot. If you’re going on a walk, don’t forget to bring a bowl and a good amount of water.
- When settling your dog somewhere, do it properly: make sure they have some food, some water, some shadow… Even if it is just for an hour!
- If you think it is necessary, you can fit your dog with a GPS collar. This can be useful when you go hiking in the wild. You can also download various apps on your mobile to help you locate a lost dog, find a vets near you or keep record of your dog’s health.
- http://www.fleatickrisk.com/ is a very helpful website that will tell you if your dog is at risk of pest infections in the city you’re visiting. Check the website before going and take the necessary equipment with you.
In the US, you can travel for free with your pet on most public transport: buses, taxis, trains and ferries. However, to make sure everything goes smoothly, always check that that is the case before you board. Be aware that coach companies generally do not accept pets except for assistance dogs. Remember that passengers can complain about your animal’s behavior so try and make sure your pet will be able to behave themselves while traveling.
When traveling abroad, make sure you can go on public transport with your pet since this can vary according to the country (in some places you will have to book a ticket for your animal).
If you’re traveling by plane, mention that you have an animal when booking and check that your animal’s vaccination is up to date. On the day of the departure, make sure to arrive early. Cats and small dogs will generally be allowed to fly with you in the cabin. However, bigger dogs will have to travel in a heated and pressurized part of the cargo hold. Birds, rabbits and hamsters are often forbidden but some airlines may accept them.
This entry was posted in Pets
BAKE SOMETHING FOR YOUR PETS
A rainy day is the perfect time to stay in the kitchen and make a treat for your pets to enjoy. How about these dog friendly pancakes? Or these homemade hamster treats? Make sure that the recipe you choose is pet friendly, and remember to not feed your pet too many treats.
FIND NEW GAMES TO PLAY WITH YOUR CAT
Take advantage of all your free time and spend a few hours playing with your cat. Most older cats will have developed their own games to keep them entertained, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy your company, and together you might find some new fun games. Hunting games are normally a big hit. Objects with quick and unpredictable movement will without a doubt catch your pet’s attention, so try waving feathers or floaty fabric in front of your cat and drag them across the floor to get your pet moving.
TEACH YOUR DOG A NEW TRICK
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that’s just not true. With the right encouragement your dog can learn new things throughout their lives, and it will be a great way for you to spend some quality time together.
How about teaching your dog to bark on command, or to play dead? Or why not take them to the park for some fetch training? There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube, so get your strategy in place and fill your pockets with treats. When the summer break is over you’ll have a great party trick to show friends and family.
Why not get the kids to clean out the chicken coop for you for a bit of extra pocket money? The Eglu Chicken Coops are so easy to clean that anyone tall enough to reach in will be able to get it spotless in no time. Get them to bring in the new eggs and you can all have lunch together!
HOMEMADE TOYS FOR RABBITS
You can find fun toys for your rabbits in our shop, but if you want to make something together with the kids you can find plenty of toy material in the garden or around the house.
Locate a willow tree and collect some twigs to weave into a ball or a wreath. Your rabbits will love playing with their new toys as well as nibble on the nutritious wood.
If you’ve got an old towel or a pair of jeans you’re getting rid off you can make a rag doll for your rabbits. Use your creativity to make something beautiful, or just tie a knot in the middle of a strip of sturdy fabric that the rabbits can throw around on their run and rip to shreds. Make sure to take it away before they’ve ruined it completely though, as you don’t want them to ingest too much fabric.
BUILD AN OBSTACLE COURSE FOR YOUR HAMSTER
Hamsters love running, jumping and climbing, and you will have fun creating a challenging obstacle course for your pet. Start by finding a safe area in your house where the hamster can be let out, away from open doors and other pets. You might want to build the course inside a play pen, or create a barrier of books or other heavy objects. Just make sure they can’t fall over and hurt the hamster.
You can use lego to create the outline of the obstacle course. Lego pieces will also make great jumps and steps. Use lolly sticks to build a ladder or a ramp for the hamster to climb up on. Make sure the lolly sticks are clean, and that you use a non-toxic glue. You can also build tunnels and hiding places with loo rolls and cardboard boxes. Glue them together to create a maze within the obstacle course.
Hide treats in different places to encourage your hamster to explore! Start small and see which parts your hamster enjoys the most, and then you can extend the course as you go along.
Experiment with taking photos of your pet in different locations. Put them against a white wall in the house for a nice studio shoot, or try getting action shots in the garden. If your pet will accept any type of clothing you can dress him or her up in different outfits and funny hats, and make them pose for the camera. Why not start an instagram account for your pet to show the world how cute he or she is? Here are our best tips for taking better photos of your pets.
Why limit the egg fun to Easter? Boil some eggs and let them cool, then get the art supplies out and decorate to your heart’s content. You can decide on a theme that everyone has to follow, or if you’re feeling competitive you can get friends and family to judge the eggs in different categories – ”Most Creative”, ”Most Colourful”, ”Best Egg Pun” etc.
ABSTRACT PAW ART
Let your dog’s creative juices flow and let him or her create a beautiful piece of art. Get some toxic-free, water based paint and put your dog’s paws in it. With some treats, guide the dog to a blank canvas and let them walk all over it, creating an abstract paw-print painting. Have water at hand to clean the paws as soon as you’re happy with the result. This might be best as an outdoor activity to avoid the risk of paw prints on carpets and furniture.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Studies have shown that having a pet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, relieve stress, increase fitness levels and boost overall happiness and wellbeing.
Read our top ten benefits of owning a pet
- They keep you fit
Dogs need regular, daily walks in order to stay happy and healthy, and so do we. On an average 30 minute dog walk you can burn between 100 and 200 calories!
- They lower your stress levels
Life can be stressful and high levels of anxiety can lead to numerous health problems. Pets can help us to relax. Stroking your cat or simply watching your chickens in the garden can make your worries melt away
- They make sure you’re never lonely
If you live alone, or your partner works different shift patterns to you, it can get very lonely at home – unless you have a pet! They make great companions – they’ll always be waiting for you to come home.
- They can lower your cholesterol Levels
Reports have shown that people who own pets–and men, in particular–have significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than those who don’t have pets.
- They can lower your blood pressure
It has been suggested that owning a pet decreases your blood pressure. The reduction in blood pressure could, in turn, lower risk of stroke and heart disease.
- They can help you make friends
The pet owner community is incredibly friendly – you’ll often find that people will stop to talk to you about your dog during a walk. Having a pet is a great way to meet new people.
- They can teach children responsibilities
Having a pet in the home is a great way for children to learn valuable life lessons in a fun, rewarding way. They get to take on the daily responsibility of feeding, exercising and caring for their animal.
- They can boost your mental wellbeing.
Studies have found that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets and ownership can reduce stress and anxiety levels. Playing with your pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
- They help you establish a daily routine
The responsibilities that come with owning a pet can give your day purpose, reward and a sense of achievement. Regular routines are said to help forge discipline, help energy management and support mental space.
- And last but not least, they will give you unconditional love
However bad your day’s been, you’ll have someone who depends on you to shower you with affection. The British Medical Journal believes the emotional bond between owner and pet can be as intense as that in many human relationships.
This entry was posted in Pets
January is historically the month to set yourself some achievable goals for the year ahead. We’ve put together some ideas for creating New Year Resolutions for you and your pet!
No more quick walks around the block after dinner. 2019 is all about getting fit with your pet. Both you and your pet will reap the rewards both physically and mentally. On an average 30 minute dog walk you can burn between 100 and 200 calories.
Try a new activity with your pet
From hiking to kayaking, hitting the waves to joining a pet exercise class, it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new pastime. These new activities will help you burn lots of calories! A 30 minute walk on the beach will burn approximately 150 calories and you could expect to burn 220 calories on a 30 minute hike.
Incorporate More Playtime into Your Routine
Dogs love to play games and Cats love the thrill of chasing a toy; let’s just not tell them it’s exercise! Enjoy spending more time playing with your pets this year. A fun 20 minute tug of war would see you burn 50 calories.
Groom Your Pet Every Day
Brushing your pet helps to remove excess fur from their coat which reduces the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It also helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, to keep their coat healthy and shiny. Grooming an average sized dog burns 200 calories.
Teach an Old Dog a New Trick
Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in older animals. By keeping your senior pet’s brain active, it can actually make it healthier.
Update your Pet’s ID Info
Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. Don’t wait — update their tags and microchips now.
Make new Friends
Visit your park and get to know other pet owners! It’s easier that you think!
Maintain a healthy diet
Lead a healthy life with a balanced diet and not too many treats.
Most of all; enjoy spending time with your wonderful pets!
This entry was posted in Pets
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, and we are all looking forward to celebrating together with our loved ones, including our pets! It’s therefore important to think about what effect all the festive fun is having on our furry little friends, and make sure they’re also having a nice time. Here are some of our top tips for keeping your pets safe and happy this Christmas:
We know it’s much more difficult to resist feeding scraps to your pets over Christmas, but in most cases it really is not good for them. In some cases it can actually be harmful. Instead we suggest that you, if you’ve got a few days off from work, spend some extra time with your pets. They will without a doubt prefer that to treats or presents!
Try to stick to the normal schedule as much as possible over the holidays, especially when it comes to meal times. Let your chickens out at the same time as usual, walk your dog as you would normally and give your cat its daily play time. They might not understand that you have got lots to do, and a disruption of their routines will add to a possibly already stressful time.
Give your pets a safe space
Christmas can get hectic, so make sure your pet have somewhere to go to get away from all hustle and bustle, preferably in a different, quieter, room. If you’ve got guests coming over, let them know what to do, and what not to do, around your pets. It’s important that everyone knows what doors, windows and gates need to be kept closed, what the pets are allowed to do and eat, and when they are to be left alone.
If you’re spending Christmas somewhere else, you need to take your pets into consideration. Don’t leave them alone for longer than they are used to, and make sure they’ve got what they need while you’re away. If you’re taking them with you, bring something that will remind them of home, like a blanket or a toy, or even their crate or cage. If you can’t take them with you, you will need to find another solution.
Make sure you plan the journey and be aware of the fact that traffic can be busy around Christmas. Your pet must have access to food and water at all times, and depending on your what pet you’ve got, there might be a need for toilet breaks.
Christmas Trees and Plants
Make sure your Christmas tree if safely secured, as cats tend to try and climb them. It might also be a good idea to hang especially intriguing and tantalising decorations higher up in the tree where pets can’t reach them as easily. This minimises the risk of cats getting tangled and the tree falling over.
Hoover under and around the tree regularly to get rid of fallen pine needles. The needles can get stuck in mouths or between toes, which can be very painful.
Lots of our most common Christmas plants, including poinsettias, mistletoe and amaryllis, are poisonous to a lot of pets, so make sure you stay clear of them, or keep them out of reach.
Decorations and presents
If possible, choose non-toxic Christmas decorations. Keep cables from lights and other decorations out of reach, or your pets might try to nibble through them, which can cause damage to both cable and pet.
Don’t leave presents containing eatable things (chocolate in particular!) under the tree. It will soon be sniffed out, and it won’t take a couple of greedy paws long to get into a wrapped present.
Once the gifts have been opened, clear away the wrapping paper straight away. Not only will you avoid having paper all over the room once your pets get to it, but coloured paper and string should also not be ingested by pets.
This entry was posted in Pets
Patience. The first thing to remember is that pet photography requires patience. It doesn’t matter if you want a posed photo of your rabbit or a action shot of your dog, you’re probably going to get rather frustrated when your models are not behaving in the way you want them to. So arm yourself with patience, and never force your pet into doing something the don’t feel comfortable doing.
Get help. If you have a family member or a friend at hand, it’s always useful to ask them to assist you. They can use toys or treats to get the attention of the pet and direct their gaze while you focus on getting a great photo. If you’re by yourself you’re going to have to find other ways. Sometimes making a sudden noise can get the attention of the pet, but probably only for a second or two, so make sure you’re ready. Depending on the type of photo you’re after it might be easier to have the photo session after you’re played together for a while and the pet is less excited and bouncy.
Use natural light. If you’re not a professional photographer with access to different lenses and flashes, you’re probably going to want to take advantage of the natural light. Try starting outdoors, or if you’re indoors, by a window. The light will make the photo look better, and will give you more freedom to experiment. We would suggest going somewhere where both you and your pet feel comfortable, maybe a place that means a lot to you and where you have created lots of memories together. Try to choose a place with a relatively clear backdrop, like a while wall or a grassy field, as a messy background can be distracting.
Try to focus on the eyes. If the eyes are blurry or out of focus the photo will look slightly off. The camera will automatically focus on what is closest to the lens, which in most cases will be the nose of your pet rather than the eyes. This is especially important when you’re taking close ups.
Get down to their level. This might mean you have to crouch down in the mud or crawl on the floor, but in return your photos will be significantly more unique and interesting. Try taking photos from different angles: from above, below, in front of your pet, behind it. You’ll get to see your pet from all sides, and sometimes the photos from the weirdest of angles are the ones you will love the most.
Have their personalities in mind. The whole point of taking photographs of your pets is to try and capture their personalities, so try to make sure that their characters are showing in the photo. If you cat is the lazy ruler of the house you probably want to capture it yawning in their favourite spot on the sofa, and if you have a dog that bounces around the house and is impossible to tire, you probably want to capture its liveliness in the middle of a jump or running towards you in the park.
Quantity is key. The more photos you take, at different times and locations, the more likely you are to get that one amazing shot. This will also mean that you get loads of photos of your pet in different places, moods and positions. Get used to taking photos when you’re out on walks, playing in the garden, or just relaxing at home, and try to spy on your pet to catch what they’re doing when you’re not around. And remember to always take 20 photos instead of just one.
Use treats. If you’re trying to have a properly arranged photo shoot, try using treats. Depending on what pet you have, and their personalities, offering treats can make them sit still and look at the camera. Others will just walk up to you to get the treat, or ignore the treat completely, but it’s worth trying. Make sure that you reward your model throughout the shoot.
Add humans to the photo. Having family members in the photos with your pet makes the pictures even more special, and they are the ones that you will come back to and look at. A photo of your child playing with your dog or feeding the chickens will capture their characters in a way that a posed photo very rarely do.
Have a go at these tips, and make sure to tag your photos on social media with #OmletPets – we love to see what you’re up to!
This entry was posted in Pets