Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Some dogs love rolling in the snow, while others are happy to sit out the cold weather in the comfort of a centrally heated house. For the snow-lovers, thick fur is definitely an asset. Breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, bred for life and hard work in cold climates, will have no problems at all with the average Winter temperatures.
Hardy breeds with thick coats, such as German shepherds, Poodles and Golden retrievers, will love their cold weather walks, too. Thin coated breeds such as Greyhounds and Whippets, and small dogs such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies need to be protected from the cold. Puppies, older dogs, and ill dogs may need extra care in the Winter, too.
Whatever the breed, never leave it outside in very cold weather, as even a hardy dog can succumb to the chill if its body temperature gets too low.
How do you know if it’s too cold for your dog?
You will soon be able to tell if your dog is feeling the cold, as it will simply tell you! Dogs will be reluctant to go on a walk, or will not be as active as usual during the walk, sitting down in a sheltered spot or walking much more slowly than usual. Cold dogs may become anxious, whining and walking by your side, looking at you pleadingly. Smaller dogs will begin to shiver very quickly in the cold, and even larger breeds may shiver after a while. If there is snow underfoot, a dog may limp if it feels uncomfortable with the ice in its toes.
It will not often come to this, though – certainly not in healthy dogs. They will do so much running that they will not feel the cold unless the snow itself becomes a problem in their fur or between their toes.
How cold is too cold for a dog?
Generally, 45°F is a minimum temperature, at or above which all dogs will be comfortable. As the temperature dips towards 32°F, less hardy dogs will need to wear a dog sweater or coat. In extreme cold, all breeds other than those super-hardy Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds and Newfoundlands are in danger of becoming too cold.
How do you know if your dog needs a coat?
The question of whether it is too cold for your dog is largely down to breed, and is also influenced by the age and health of your pet.
Dogs with fine hair and/or thin body types (e.g. Greyhounds) will need to wear a coat outside when the temperature dips. If there is snow on the ground, small dogs and puppies will need a coat during walks or playtime in the park. Being small, they become cold quicker than larger dogs, and their undersides get cold quickly too, simply because their bellies are closer to the ground.
Older dogs and young puppies have relatively weak immune systems and can become ill if they get too cold. Old dogs with arthritis suffer in cold weather, too, and may even require a coat indoors during the winter to ease their sore joints.
Lighter-furred dogs may benefit from a dark coat to soak up a bit of Winter sun heat. If the wind is strong and icy, a coat can make things much more comfortable for any breed (with the exception of the dogs bred for harsh conditions).
Even a hardy dog can become very uncomfortable in the snow, as their fur may accumulate the frozen stuff. Dogs will instinctively try to clear their snowed-up muzzles and heads by rubbing them on the ground – thus gathering even more snow! A dog’s toes can get iced up to, which is clearly uncomfortable for them.
The snow can be removed periodically during the walk (although it will sometimes form ice and cannot be immediately removed). A good thaw-out back home will cure the problem, though.
How to keep your dog warm throughout the Winter
Knowing your own dog’s needs is key to knowing if the dog is too cold. Dogs do not need to be cozy/warm at all times, and you may have noticed how they will sometimes seek out a cool part of the floor to lie down on, especially when the central heating is switched on in the Winter. It is a fact that overheating is, in general, more of an issue than feeling the cold.
Dark-furred breeds benefit from Winter sun, being able to absorb what little heat there might be in the sun. Lighter colors reflect the light, and the heat too.
If your dog needs a coat in the cold, that’s a simple remedy against the Winter chills. A cozy bed is important, too, to keep your dog warm at night.
Avoiding severe doggie haircuts in the Winter is a good idea, as a drastic trim is not going to help in the battle against the cold!
How do I know if my dog is too cold at night?
As long as your dog has a soft bed to lie on, and as long as the room temperature remains above freezing, dogs are unlikely to get too cold. The dog will curl up and snuggle down, its own body heat sufficient for a good night’s sleep.
Making sure you have a dog bed that’s fit for every season is important. It doesn’t get much better for dog when they have a cozy bed to relax in after a long Winter day. A bed that can be raised off the ground, to improve ventilation and prevent the bed from becoming too hot on a warm floor or too cold on a chilly one will benefit your dog.
A high quality dog blanket can help, too – especially if your dog has a kennel or crate outside. Your dog will snuggle under it, or push it aside, just as you might do with a quilt, helping to keep the perfect temperature throughout the night.
Note: only very hardy breeds can cope with an outdoor crate or kennel in the Winter, even if it is fully weatherproofed.
What happens if dogs get too cold?
The main signs that your dog is too cold are shivering and whimpering. A dog who is shivering should be wrapped in a blanket and taken somewhere warm as soon as possible. That will usually do the trick.
If a frail or small dog is too cold, it can become ill. The cold lowers their immunity, giving diseases the chance to gain a foothold. If, during cold weather, your dog is constantly sneezing or has discharge from the eyes and/or nose, it could be a sign of dog cold or dog flu, canine influenza or other illnesses.
Dogs with hypothermia
Although highly unusual, it is possible for a dog to suffer hypothermia. This is when its body temperature has fallen from the normal range of around 101°F to 102.5°F to (99°F) or lower. Such a plummet in temperature can prove fatal, even if you manage to get your dog quickly back to a warm spot.
You can tell if your dog has hypothermia, or is in danger of succumbing, by watching how it behaves. The symptoms include lethargy or sleepiness, clumsy movements, stiff limbs or breathing difficulties.
Prevention is the only remedy here. Know your dog, know their physical limitations, and use your judgement to prevent putting the dog in an environment that might mean your dog is too cold and could thus lead to hypothermia.
Dogs with frost bite
Frostbite is another cold weather risk. In extreme cold, a warm-blooded animal’s body protects its vital organs, redirecting blood flow there. This means that extremities such as ears, noses, tails and paws are at risk of freezing. If any of those parts of the body is bright red or black, your dog could be suffering from frostbite and should be warmed up immediately.
If your dog’s ears or tail feel ‘like ice’ when you hold them, it’s probably time to cut the walk short and head indoors.
In general, if you feel cold outside, in spite of your coat, hat and gloves, your dog will be feeling the cold pinch too. Common sense plays a big part when trying to tell if your dog is too cold in the Winter, and an animal as intelligent as a dog will certainly let you know if the cold weather is making it feel uncomfortable.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Photo by Jane Duursma on Unsplash
Many dog owners believe their dogs enjoy a good laugh. Check out YouTube, where there is no shortage of smiling and laughing dogs!
However, can a dog laugh in the same way as a human laughs? It’s very easy to anthropomorphism animal behavior – i.e. judge everything they do from a human emotional and moral perspective – and the real question, perhaps, should by why would a dog laugh? What does it mean, and what advantage would it have given the dog’s wolf ancestors in the wild? Or is it perhaps something they have only learned to do since they were domesticated by humans?
There is no definite answer to that last question, but we do know a bit about animal laughter.
Do other animals laugh?
From a hard-nosed science point of view, the only animals that are definitely confirmed as laughing are the great apes, dolphins and lab rats. Chimpanzee laughter sounds to our ears more like a shriek, and in the wild it is linked to reassurance and the release of pressure rather than pleasure. However, a tickled chimp definitely laughs, just like a human child does.
Gorillas have been known to laugh at slapstick human behavior, suggesting that they would make a great audience at a pantomime! Orangutans are a bit more inscrutable, and their signs of laughter may be more akin to simple copying than genuine amusement. They laugh when tickled, though.
A 2004 study of dolphins found that the animals produced a sonar pulse followed by a whistle when playing. The researchers concluded that these sounds meant that the dolphins were feeling happy and relaxed in a fun, non-threatening setting, and that the ‘laugh’ prevented the rough and tumble play from escalating into violence. This is fascinating, as many psychologists believe that human laughter evolved for these exact reasons, and it ties in with those wild chimpanzee ‘laughs’ too.
The fact that lab rats laugh when tickled suggests that, given the chance, many other mammals would chuckle when tickled too. They just haven’t been given the chance in a scientific setting. Dogs, however, seem to relax rather than burst out laughing when tickled.
The fact that you can’t make your dog laugh by tickling it doesn’t mean it can’t laugh, though.
What does a dog laugh sound like?
Dog laughter – if that’s what it is – is a kind of rapid panting – a play-pant which they use to invite humans and other dogs to play. It is a hhuh sound followed by a hhah sound, and humans can impersonate it by making breathy ‘hoo-haa’ sounds. The panting will often be combined with head bows, and the dog may reach out with one of its paws too, or make little teasing jumps in your direction. This is an invitation to play rather than an expression of amusement in the human sense of laughter, though.
If you laugh at your dog using the hhuh hhah panting sound, drawing your lips back in a cheesy grin during the ‘aaa’ part, you may make your dog laugh back. It’s a great way of bonding with your furry friend!
Do dogs smile?
When a dog is relaxed it often pulls back its lips, lets its tongue droop and narrows its eyes, it can sometimes – depending on the
breed – look like a smile. The fact that they pull these faces when happy and relaxed makes it an easy associated with smiling. The fact that human smiles seem to have their origins in tension-reducing body language suggests that the same might apply to dogs. The wild wolves, close cousins of the domestic dog, does indeed have a tongue-wagging facial expression linked to relaxation and submissiveness.
Intriguingly, smiles appear to be contagious among dogs, just as they are in human to human interactions. If you can’t make your dog laugh, you can certainly make it smile! Smile at your dog, and your dog may well smile back!
Do scientists believe that dogs can laugh?
Science is on the side of the laughing dog. In a 2005 study titled ‘Dog-laughter: Recorded playback reduces stress related behavior in shelter dogs’, it was discovered that a dog sometimes pants in a way that sounds like a laugh. When recordings of these ‘laughs’ were played to other dogs, the dogs became playful and de-stressed, as measured in stress-related behavior such as tail wagging, doggie ‘play-faces’, happy body language and lip-licking.
However, being happy, relaxed and playful is not exactly the same as laughing. There is no evidence that a dog ever finds things amusing in the same way as humans – or gorillas – do. On the contrary, slapstick behavior is more likely to startle or scare a dog.
Laughter is all about fun, though, and you can certainly have plenty of that with your dog. They readily show their emotions through sounds and body language. Take the panting and playful body language as a sign of deep friendship. And that means there’s plenty to laugh about!
This entry was posted in Dogs
Anxiety is an issue that affects many dogs. Some breeds are prone to nervousness, and some individual dogs may have had a tough puppyhood that results in anxiety as an adult. Others may have issues such as joint pain that require extra comfort and a cozy corner.
The symptoms of anxiety in a dog or pup may include hiding, ‘burrowing’ under blankets, cushions or on a bed (the dog bed or the owner’s bed!), or ‘cringing’ (with the tail between the legs). Some dogs will express anxiety by whining and whimpering, panting when there has been no energetic activity, shivering. Jumping – even nipping and snapping – can also be a sign of dog anxiety.
Treating dog anxiety is not a straightforward issue, neither in humans nor dogs. While humans can talk to someone about the issue and receive good advice, the options for a dog are more limited. Positive training can go a long way towards reducing dog anxiety and boosting confidence, and a calm environment can have a very positive impact, too. The dog bed can make a big difference here.
What can calm an anxious dog?
Dog anxiety often stems from puppyhood stress. With rescue dogs, the events in the early months of your pet’s life are often unknown. Dog anxiety is usually linked to separation, though. Out and out abuse manifests as fear and lack of confidence in dogs, but anxiety is something slightly different. A high quality calming pet bed can help dogs with a mild form of separation anxiety – that is, if your dog frets when left alone, or is particularly ‘clingy’ with one member of the family.
Dog anxiety can also be brought on by discomfort. Many dogs suffer from joint pains, notably in the hips as they grow older. Lying on a blanket or a thin dog bed or a pet bed that’s too small will not give these dogs the comfort they need for a good night’s sleep, leading to a vicious circle of anxiety-inducing poor sleep and stress.
A comfortable pet bed provides the anxious dog with that all-important sense of security. Such dog beds may feature orthopedic padding, blankets or quilts for really snuggling down, extra-soft cushions and raised sides for resting a lazy head on.
Even the best dog beds alone will not ‘cure’ a dog’s anxiety, and they need to be part of a general dog-friendly environment, combined with a consistent behavioral dog training program, a healthy diet, supplements, and – if absolutely necessary – medication. Dog beds, then, are where dog owners should start when addressing anxiety issues, but they are only part of the wider solution.
Best dog beds for anxious dogs
The central part of a calm environment for dogs is the dog bed. The location of the pet bed is important. It needs to be somewhere relatively quiet, where the dog can feel safe and in control. The design of a bed for dogs is equally important, and a comfortable mattress is the beginning, rather than the end of the story.
So, what type of bed does a dog prefer? For many dogs, a bed is simply the place where they lie down and sleep. It doesn’t even have to be the same spot each night – some dogs like to spend one night on their allocated bed, the next night in a cool spot on the kitchen floor, and the next night camped at the foot of your bed. But with anxious dogs, consistency is important, and the right bed in the right place is the key.
An anti-anxiety dog bed can actively reduce stress and anxiety, and when combined with anti-stress training, the dog bed can go a long way towards eliminating the issue. Calming supplements can also help, and in extreme cases a vet will recommend anti-stress medication, too.
Do anxiety beds work for dogs?
An anti-anxiety dog bed is all about giving dogs and puppies a sense of security, reinforced by sheer comfort. The key is in the design, and there are many models to choose from. The best options include dog beds that go the extra mile to enhance your dog’s comfort, including features such as a removable cover, orthopedic foam, memory foam, a washable cover (machine washable, ideally), and a generally easy to clean design. Dogs love their comfort, and a consistently good night’s sleep, after all, is one of the best ways to tackle and reduce dog’s anxiety.
A top class calming dog bed won’t cure dog or pup anxiety on its own. But a good night’s sleep is half the battle, providing the dog with the comfortable start and end to each day, making the rest of the anti-anxiety routine a little bit easier.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Fido Studio & Nook
Is someone in your family getting a new puppy that they are planning to crate train? Or have your parents got a nervous rescue dog that feels most secure when they have their own space away from all the hustle and bustle? Then we have the perfect gift for them, human or canine.
The amazing Fido Studio is a dog crate that looks like piece of modern furniture, so that it doesn’t have to be hidden in a corner somewhere. The Fido Studio is also available with an optional and extremely practical wardrobe where all the dog’s things can be stored!
In addition, the Fido Nook offers a stylish, sensible space for your pet to call their own
Super Soft Blankets
Upgrade your dog’s bed for Christmas to make sure it’s ready for the year ahead. Omlet’s super soft blankets will make the bed extremely warm and cozy for your pet after long Winter walks, and is perfect for putting on sofas or car seats to keep them free from hair and mud.
New Bolt Bite and Triangle Tug
From Wild One, Omlet brings you these versatile and durable dog toys that are functional and stylish in any home. They are simple, classic, and minimalist. The bolt bite is great for storing treats or peanut butter in each end that is open. You can also put it in your dishwasher for easy cleaning! It also comes in this festive red color that is perfect for the season.
The Triangle tug boasts two shapes, two textures, and is perfect for tug-of-war. If you’re in a household with multiple dogs or if you’re at the other end of your pups tug-match, the Triangle Tug is made for you.
The triangle is 100% natural rubber with a reinforced core for added strength. The rope is 100% natural cotton with a 7x looped seam and reinforced stitching throughout. Both of those toys will be a hit with your canine companion for the holidays!
Any of these toys would make an amazing gift for your pet at the end of the day. The question is which one is the best choice for you and your furry friend?!
This entry was posted in Dogs
In many ways dogs age in similar ways to humans. Older dogs have less energy, lose some of their senses, experience changes in sleeping and eating patterns, go grey and can have trouble remembering the most ordinary things.
Additionally, muscles and bones become weaker, and the immune system is not as good at fighting off infections. Internal organs also get more tired, so the dog is more prone to liver, heart and kidney disease.
This may seem rather gloomy and depressing, but it is just a part of nature we have to accept, and as long as you as an owner continue to care for your dog in an appropriate way as they get older, you can really enjoy the last golden years together.
What counts as a senior dog?
Not all dogs reach old age at the same time. Just as with humans, some dogs seem a lot younger or older than their actual age, and genetics play a part in the risk of developing diseases and problems with hearing and sight.
But the most important thing when figuring out when your dog will be a senior is size. Toy dogs, terriers and other small breeds are seen as old when they are 10-11 years, medium-sized breeds like retrievers are considered seniors when they are 8-10 years, and large and giant breeds reach old age at 5 or 6.
What can I do to help my dog in old age?
Your dog will still need regular exercise, even if it might look a bit different from when they were young and bouncy. Accept that the dog won’t be able to come on the long walks they used to love, and try exercising for shorter periods of time more often. Remember to also stimulate your elderly dog mentally. Food toys and puzzles will be great for keeping your dog’s brain sharp.
Older dogs that do not move around as they once did run the risk of excessive weight gain, and their diet will need to be adjusted to fit their new energy levels. Ask your vet for advice on what to feed your senior dog, but in general it is good to choose a low fat feed and limit the amount of treats.
Make sure you take your dog to the vet for more regular check ups as he or she gets older. That way you will be able to spot potential problems early on. Dental hygiene is more important than ever, and it is common that the skin gets drier and the coat less shiny, so it might be a good idea to do a bit more grooming.
Changing sleeping habits
Long gone are the puppy days when your dog passed out anywhere and slept for hours. Comfort is super important for older dogs, and their tired muscles and bones will need support.
Choose a dog bed that is designed to look after the dog’s body, ideally with a firm but supportive mattress and a soft cover.
It is also important to be aware that senior dogs often are much more sensitive to temperature changes. Place the dog’s bed somewhere that stays warm in Winter and cool in Summer, and provide them with an extra blanket in Winter and maybe use a cooling mat in Summer.
Making the right decisions at the end of life
There might come a time when you as an owner will have to make unpleasant decisions regarding your dog’s health and potentially whether or not your pet’s life is worth living.
If your dog develops an illness that can be treated, you will need to consider what the interventions will be like for the dog, what their quality of life will be after the treatment, and how long it may extend their life. If you have insurance, money hopefully does not have to be a factor to consider, but many operations and treatments are extremely pricey and far from risk free.
Remember to try and put your own feelings to one side and concentrate on what is best for your dog. Although you might be able to get another few months together with your pet, he or she might be in constant pain, and will not be able to do all the things they used to love, and will not enjoy themselves.
Older pets can easily struggle with anxiety. Their body and mind are changing, and they cannot figure out why. Even if your dog might not be able to see or hear you as well as they used to, they can sense your presence, and that will make them calm and happy, so try to spend as much time together as possible. The last few years of your dog’s life can be a wonderful time for both of you, so do not dwell on aging but take them for a walk, snuggle up with them on the sofa, and play with them – just like you have always done!
This entry was posted in Dogs
Not a fan of Pumpkin Spice? Fancy trying something simple, yet seasonal you can make with your girls’ eggs? Try out these delicious ginger cupcakes, with a nod to Fall on top!
To make 12 delicious ginger cupcakes, you will need…
- 12 cupcake liners (we have gone for orange to stay on theme!)
- 2/3 cup margarine or unsalted butter (softened)
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup self raising flour
- 1 – 2 tsp ground ginger (to suit your taste)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
For the buttercream, you will need…
- 1 cup margarine of unsalted butter (softened)
- 2 cups icing sugar
- ½ – 1 tsp ground ginger (to your taste)
For the pumpkin decoration, you will need…
- Ready to roll fondant icing sugar-paste – orange
- Ready to roll fondant icing sugar-paste – green
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- To make your ginger cake mix, start by creaming together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Sieve the self raising flour into the mixture with the ginger. We used 2 tsp of ground ginger but you can use less if you prefer a more subtle taste.
- Lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl and add them to the mixture. Mix everything together carefully.
- Once mixed add the golden syrup and give a final stir.
- Fill the 12 cupcake cases with the ginger cake mixture as evenly as possible.
- Place in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Leave to cool on a cooling rack before making the buttercream icing.
- For the buttercream icing, add a small amount of icing sugar to the butter at a time and cream together. Once smooth, add up to a tsp of ground ginger to the icing.
- Put the icing in a piping bag. We used a large, star shape nozzle for the piping. Start in the middle and circle around leaving some space at the edge of the cake. Then spiral up on top and pull away to leave a peak.
- Once you have iced all 12 cupcakes, you can decorate however you wish! We decided to make little pumpkins out of ready to roll icing. Simply roll the orange icing into small balls, no more than a cm in diameter. Then use a sharp knife to carefully draw lines down the pumpkin.
- Roll a small amount of green icing a long strip then cut into tiny pieces to create the stalks. Press the stalk down lightly onto the pumpkin, and place on top of your cakes.
This entry was posted in Food
What is SAD?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs on a seasonal basis, appearing yearly in the Fall and Winter. Researchers don’t completely know what causes SAD, but it is most likely linked to the shorter days of the colder months, which limit the amount of sunlight we get.
Lack of sunlight can affect the part of the brain called hypothalamus that can lead to decreased production of the hormones melatonin, which regulates sleep, and serotonin, which plays a large part in controlling our mood and appetite. It is also likely that our bodies’ internal clocks are disturbed by the lower light levels, causing additional symptoms of SAD.
Do dogs get SAD?
There is no official diagnosis of SAD in dogs, but recent studies have suggested that seasons can negatively affect animals as well. Surveys also show that many dog owners notice that their dogs seem down and less enthusiastic during the Winter months. Due to this, awareness of SAD is growing, and many vets will be aware of the disorder.
What are the signs?
Symptoms of SAD commonly include a persistent low mood, loss of interest in otherwise joyful activities, grumpiness, increased appetite, and the need for more sleep than normal. This applies to all species, but in dogs you also need to watch out for toilet accidents and hair loss.
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, the first thing to do is to take them to the vet, as there are other things that might cause these symptoms that might require different interventions. Your vet will hopefully be knowledgeable about mental health in dogs, and should also be able to give you some advice as to how you can help your pup.
What can I do to prevent and combat it?
Try to keep up your normal routine throughout the colder months. It is not as tempting to go for walks when it is muddy and rainy, and you are probably less likely to meet up with friends and their dogs for some fun playing in the park, but it is really important to make sure your dog still gets the right amount of exercise and socialization. This works both preventatively and if you have already started seeing signs of SAD in your dog.
If your work schedule allows it, it might be better to walk the dog while the sun is still up, so you are exposed to some direct light. Open blinds and curtains in the house, and consider putting the dog bed closer to a window so he or she is not hidden in a dark corner.
Exercise and light exposure are things that will make you feel better as well, and that is another thing that will subsequently help your dog stay happy and healthy. Our pets are extremely susceptible to our mood and emotions, and your dog is more likely to suffer if you do.
Humans with SAD can sometimes benefit from artificial sunlight lamps, specially designed lamps that mimic sunlight. While there is no evidence that these will improve your dog’s mood, it is can’t hurt to try, so ask your vet if they think it would be a good idea.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Playdates for dogs are an increasingly popular calendar staple for dog owners. The fact that the most sociable of animals like to socialize should not come as a big surprise. But there is, of course, far more to a successful get-together than simply unleashing a kennel full of canines into your backyard!
Our ten tips will help ensure that your pooch party goes with a woof rather than a snarl.
1. Do Not Invite Enemies!
The guest list is possibly the most obvious party-success factor of them all, but it is one that often gets ignored. For example, your friend might have a Jack Russell that your Labradoodle simply hates. However, inviting your friends and their dogs is an obvious thing to do when arranging a doggy date. A territorial or bad-tempered dog that does not get along with your pet is not going to be the heart and soul of your doggy date. Of course, your own dog needs to be a sociable hound host, too.
2. Avoid Inconsistencies in Age and Size of Breed
Dogs tend to play best with friends of their own size and of a similar age. An older dog does not want to be harassed by a bunch of excitable puppies, and a small terrier does not always want to be stalked by an enthusiastic pack of Retrievers. An overweight or arthritic dog may suffer, too – they may want to keep up with the others, so as not to miss out on the fun, which may result in more harm than good.
The exception to the rule is when dogs already know each other. If you know they are friends already, invite them – although you still need to watch out for the reactions of the other guests.
3. Keep the Numbers Down
The difference between a happy group of dogs and a rowdy pack is a fine line. As a rule of thumb, keep the number of dogs to six or below on a doggy date, to keep things under control.
4. Invite Humans Too!
A doggy date is not an excuse for owners to leave their dogs in a doggy daycare for a couple of hours. It only works if the owners are present; and an owner who brings more than one dog should, ideally, bring more than one human too.
5. Make Sure There is Plenty of Space
There are all kinds of places you can hold a doggy playdate, whether indoors or outdoors, and the guest list should match the space. Six Huskies in a kitchen is not going to work, and open gates or gaps in a fence are just asking for trouble. You will also need to dog-proof the room or the backyard, removing access to anything that is fragile, toxic, edible, or out-of-bounds for whatever reason. The host dog and its guests should not have their own toys or bones lying around, either – all available toys should be neutral. If the host dog is very territorial, it simply is not going to work unless you arrange the playdate in a neutral space.
6. Meet and Greet
The dogs should all be formally introduced before the doggy date begins, even if they have met before. Owners should have their pets on a leash, and the dogs should be made to sit in a semicircle so they can all see each other. They can then mingle on loose leashes. Only when everything is looking sociable should the dogs be let off the leash completely. Any dissenters will have to be kept on a leash until they get into the spirit of the party. If, for whatever reason, one of the doggy guests falls out with another, it should be led quietly away on a leash until the situation has calmed down.
7. Allow Downtime
Some dogs have more energy, patience, or bravery than others. On a doggy date, it always helps to have a hideaway where a dog that needs to catch its breath can take time out. For smaller dogs, this can be the owner’s arms. Larger dogs will need a quiet corner, indoors or out. In a larger backyard, they will be able to find their own space to chill. Dogs are very good at body language, and the others will recognize that the resting dog is doing just that, and not playing hide and seek.
8. Provide Refreshments
Busy dogs will need to drink, so one or more drinking bowls is essential. A supply of treats will keep the edge off their appetites too.
9. Play Some Party Games
Games of fetch, hide and seek, sit and wait, agility tests, or obstacle courses are all great ways to keep the party happy and active. Treats can be used as prizes!
10. Avoid Too Much Sun
If it is a really hot day, an outdoor doggy date will need a lot of shade, a lot of water, and should involve only the very fittest dogs. Heat can be a health hazard for weaker animals. Remember – you can always postpone.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Photo by Matthew Foulds on Unsplash
1. We talk too much
Dogs don’t know English, and they won’t understand syntax and grammar however much you try to teach them. As you can imagine, it will be extremely frustrating having a human shouting incomprehensible noises at you.
Dogs like learning spoken commands and connecting them to actions, but won’t be able to understand anything longer than a short sentence, and will be very confused when you start using new ways of telling them to do things. If you’ve taught them the command “Drop” to get them to give you a stick or a toy, then “Leave” or “Let go” or “Give me that, you silly sausage!” won’t be of much use.
2. We let other people into our territory
Humans think it’s normal to go to other people’s houses, and to let individuals from outside the pack come into your and your dog’s territory. This will annoy some dogs immensely, and can actually make them really stressed, so don’t be surprised if they treat visitors with suspicion.
If you want to invite other dogs into your house, it might be a good idea to let the dogs meet on a walk beforehand, on neutral grounds. Most dogs will be absolutely fine with sharing their space, but it’s always best to minimise the risk of arguments.
3. We stare at them
We think that eye contact is something beautiful that is needed for bonding, and with both our own dogs and new ones we meet we tend to look into their eyes as we’re saying hello. Most dogs don’t appreciate this. While loving gazes between you and your pup is often accepted, being stared down by a stranger can be extremely stressful for a dog. They see the focused stare as a challenge, and might consider you a threat, so try to avoid eye contact with dogs you don’t know.
4. We hug them
This is a slightly contentious topic, but many people mean that while dogs accept our hugs, they don’t like them. It depends on the dog, but some feel very nervous and stressed when we interfere with their personal space, and placing your arms around a strange dog’s neck can be seen as a threat.
Most dogs like cuddling, and nearly all love scratching, so if you want to be sure you can show your affection with a belly rub and shared sofa rather than constraining your pup with your weird human arms.
5. We don’t let them sniff on walks
For dogs, walks are not just about exercise. While we humans can stop to enjoy beautiful scenery, dogs explore the world much less visually, and prefer to snuffle around for interesting smells. This also provides them with great mental stimulation that will tire them out just as much as the actual walking, so try to be patient with your dog and let him or her stop, sniff and mark as much as they like on a walk.
6. We change our shape and smell
Dogs change their coat roughly once a year, whereas humans change clothes every day, use different hand soaps, spray themselves with perfume and use cleaning products in their homes. Dogs might get to grips with this unusual behaviour after a while, but they will definitely not see the point, as they would probably prefer it if we never washed and walked around in the same clothes all the time.
7. We’re inconsistent
Dogs get very confused with inconsistency. They don’t understand “just this once” or “only when mummy is on a work trip”, but will much prefer to for example always be off the bed rather than having to constantly try to interpret your varying signals.
8. We leave them alone
To dogs, some of the strongest pack animals around, leaving the group seems absolutely pointless and stupid. That’s why they can get confused and annoyed when we leave them alone to go to work or to the cinema.
Train your dog to be by themselves from an early age to avoid bad separation anxiety, and try to never leave an adult dog alone for longer than four hours a day.
9. We get frustrated when they’re being dogs
To dogs, sniffing, barking, digging and scavenging for scraps are all natural behaviors, and they can get very annoyed if you get upset with them for doing what comes natural to them. This doesn’t mean that they should be allowed to do exactly what they want all the time. Try to redirect and encourage desirable behavior, but it’s also worth remembering that dogs are dogs, and that’s part of why we love them so much.
This entry was posted in Dogs
When choosing a dog – especially if it’s your first one – the key is to find a breed that complements your lifestyle. Like us, some dogs are happy to spend most of their time relaxing indoors, while others want to run half marathons every day.
So, think about your lifestyle, and then find the dog to match. Here are some helpful lifestyle and dog breed matches to help you narrow down the field.
Dogs for Sofa Lovers
Being an evening couch potato doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lazy – it probably means you’ve had a busy day at work, and need some downtime. Plenty of dog breeds fit this ‘couch canine’ lifestyle, including:
- Dachshund – these loveable ‘Sausage Dogs’ can actually damage their spines if they’re forced to take too much exercise. They will still need a morning walk, though!
- Greyhound – this one surprises people who don’t know the breed well. “Greyhounds?”, they say, “Surely all they want to do is chase hares at breakneck speed all day?” Well, yes, they can run fast; but their preferred lifestyle is actually long, lazy days, with a couple of short runs in the park.
- French Bulldog – they’ll be hyperactive for 20 minutes on a walk, and then they’ll be worn out. Lacking endurance, this makes them perfect for anyone who lacks time for long walks every day.
The popular lapdog breeds fall into this category too, including Chihuahua, Pug, King Charles Spaniel, Pekingese, Shih Tzu and Yorkie.
Dogs for Busy Outdoor Lifestyles
If you do lots of hiking or running, there are plenty of high-endurance dog breeds that will just love keeping up with you every step of the way.
- Dalmatian – these loveable hounds will find 101 reasons to run and play all day. Whatever you’re doing outdoors, they’ll be with you every step of the way.
- Border Collie – possibly the dogs with the busiest work ethic, they will happily be hyperactive from dawn to dusk. If there’s no work on offer, they’ll find it for themselves. That ball game isn’t just a game, it’s a job, and the Border Collie will make sure it’s done properly – all day long, if needs be!
- Husky – a breed that was developed to pull heavy sledges for hundreds of miles is not going to be content with anything but a busy lifestyle. These dogs need lots of exercise – as many miles a day as you can give them. Not for the faint-hearted!
Many other larger breeds suit active lifestyles, including German Shepherd, Pointer, Boxer and Labrador Retriever. Some smaller dogs pack an energy punch, too, and the Boston Terrier and Jack Russell, for example, will be able to keep up with you no matter how long the journey home is.
Child’s Play – Best Dogs for Kids
Although children should not be given full responsibility for a pet dog, there are plenty of breeds that are very child friendly.
- Labrador retriever and Golden retriever – these are probably the perfect family dogs. Retrievers are gentle and loving, and treat children with a mixture of respect and parental care. They’re incredibly soft and good natured.
- Irish (or Red) Setter – this breed seems to have been developed to play with children! Playful, but gentle, children often form very tight bonds with this wonderfully handsome dog.
- Old English Sheepdog – these dogs love nothing better than chilling with the kids. They’re gentle giants.
There are plenty more dogs in this category. The Newfoundland, for example, is even more giant than the Old English, and just as gentle. Boxers and Beagles are good with the kids too – as long as they’re well trained from an early age.
Dogs for People Allergic to Dogs!
Don’t despair! Your pet-induced sneezing and asthma doesn’t mean you can never be a dog owner. The thing you’re allergic to is a protein found on animals’ skin, and/or shed hairs. Although no breed is officially hypoallergenic, the commonest ones in families where allergies are a problem are:
- Poodle (both full size and Toy)
- Bichon Frise
- Shih Tzu
This is not a precise science, and some people are definitely more “allergic” than others. Many people who sneeze and wheeze at most dogs find that they are okay with Yorkies and Westies, even though these have longer hair than the average hound. At the same time, the short-haired Boxer can cause strong allergic reactions in many sufferers.
The key here is to spend some time with the breed before making the decision to bring one home.
The takeaway message is clear – there are many dog breeds out there, with many different personalities and requirements. Matching those traits to your own lifestyle and circumstances is the sure path to finding the perfect pet.
This entry was posted in Dogs
While it’s true that most dogs can swim, not all of them actually enjoy it. Some dogs’ idea of swimming involves paddling for dry land as quickly as possible, while some take to the water as if they were otters in a previous life.
With some breeds, the clue is in the name. The Irish Water Spaniel and the Portuguese Water Dog, for example, love taking the plunge, as do Poodles, Newfoundlands, Setters, Retrievers and many more. Some dogs, however, are simply not built for swimming. Dachshunds, with their short legs, and Pugs and English Bulldogs, with their short necks and poor breathing, struggle in water.
When confronted with lakes and rivers on a walk, the dog will decide for itself whether or not it wants to take a quick dip. In a garden pool, however, you need to be aware of the various safety and hygiene issues, because at some point your pet is bound to take to the water.
Mastering the Doggy Paddle
If the pool is a public one, dogs will simply not be allowed, so safety issues don’t arise. Pools in people’s backyards, however, become just as much a part of the dog’s playground as the humans’. Rule number one for pool owners – or for owners who visit friends with dog-friendly pools – is to make sure your dog is safe in the water.
A weak swimmer will tire very quickly and can soon get into trouble if unsupervised. Training your dog to swim to safety is therefore very important. Using your usual “Come!” command will usually work well. For smaller dogs, or if the pool is high-sided, a ramp should be attached to the side to allow the dog to clamber out. If the pool has steps, make sure the dog knows where they are. If the pool is large, make your dog jump in from different points, and guide them to the exit each time, to make sure they have a clear mental map of how to get out.
Another popular option is a dog life-jacket, which will allow your pet to swim while preventing it from sinking fast if things go wrong. If you never leave the dog unsupervised, these shouldn’t really be necessary; but if you are having a busy afternoon, your eye might not always be on your pet, so a dog flotation vest is great for ensuring peace of mind.
Some dogs really take to floats and inflatables (claw-proof ones made specifically for dogs, ideally). They can use them to take a break from paddling, or can simply lie on them like a human on a sun lounger.
If a dog gets itself into serious difficulties and needs rescuing, knowing how to administer CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can save the pet’s life. There are tutorials available for this online, or you could ask your vet for advice.
Don’t Drink the Water
Dogs can quickly overheat if the sun is beating down, and they may naturally take to water to cool down. Swimming is hot business, though, and it’s far better for your pet to cool down in the shade with some fresh water to drink.
And that’s another hazard – a hot, thirsty dog in a pool will do what come naturally and drink some of the pool water. If they lap up too much of the chlorinated water, they may become sick. Again, providing some fresh water somewhere cool and shaded will prevent them drinking from the pool.
Just like a human, a dog who has spent time in the pool will need rinsing off, to remove the potentially irritating chlorine and other chemicals from its fur, eyes and skin.
Your Dog Loves the Pool, But Does the Pool Love Your Dog?
There are three major issues for a swimming pool used by dogs: bacteria, hair, and wear & tear.
The bacteria is associated with poop and pee. The dog doesn’t need to actually relieve itself in the pool for these contaminants to be released into the water. However, as long as your pool is properly maintained and chemically treated, the bacteria will be killed, so this should not be an issue.
The hair factor is more of a problem. Dog hair will accumulate in the pool filter surprisingly quickly if your pet sheds a lot. A good brushing before swimming will help, but you will still need to clean the filter and other pool machinery more often than you would with human-only swimmers.
Wear and tear is an issue with doggy paddlers because of their claws. They will scrabble at the sides of a pool, and at the bottom of a shallow area. A pool lined with plaster, pebbles or tile will withstand the clawing, while plastic or vinyl-lined pool may spring a leak. You should also bear in mind that dog claws and children swimming in the same pool may be asking for trouble, too.
Follow these simple guidelines and precautions, and pools can be enjoyed by dogs and owners alike. But don’t force the issue – some dogs love the wet stuff, while others prefer to keep their feet on dry land.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Whether it’s homemade treats, new toys or a long game of fetch that makes you late for work, there are many ways to show your dog how much you love them. But are you spoiling them? Probably. Does it matter? Probably not.
These are 20 tell-tale signs that suggest you’re spoiling your furry friend.
There’s nothing in the snack cupboard except dog treats. That’s good, as it means you’re not feeding all the treats at once; but it’s not so good if you were looking for a crafty snack of your own…
You’ve gone to the pet shop with your dog, and you’re letting them ‘choose’ the toys and chews they want. So far, you have a very full basket!
You buy a bigger, better sprinkler for the garden just because your dog had such fun with the old one. The lawn doesn’t actually need the extra water at the moment, but your dog does!
You buy a new squeaky toy to play tug-of-war with, even though the old ones are still in good shape. After all, this is the first time your pet has had a toy shaped like a lobster…
You realise you’re looking forward to your dog’s day at the Puppy Spa next week as much as you’re looking forward to your romantic stay in a spa hotel the following weekend.
Your bags of dog treats have healthier ingredients than your own treats – all organic, sustainably sourced, and packed with vitamins and minerals.
Your afternoon dedicated to DIY has disappeared, dedicated instead to giving belly rubs, playing with sticks and balls, and going for a long, leisurely walk in the park to say hello to the ducks.
The freezer has lots of yummy frozen doggy treats, but no ice creams or popsicles for you and the kids.
You’ve spent two hours in the kitchen baking. The result? Several trays of dog biscuits for your pet and all his doggy friends in the neighbourhood.
You’re sitting on the not-very-comfy chair, because your dog is curled up on the comfier one.
You’re not particularly enjoying the show on TV, but you keep it on because it’s your dog’s favourite.
You buy toys and treats for your dog’s birthday or for their Christmas stocking – and hide them away on a high shelf to keep them secret until the big day.
You phone home on a business trip, and your first question is “How’s the dog?”
You’re an expert in dog massage and essential oils for dogs, but don’t know much about massage and essential oils for humans.
You give your dog its dinner slightly early so that you can both sit down and watch the new Scooby Doo or Lassie film together later.
Your dog’s annual hairdresser bill is bigger than yours.
You have a list of all the local dog-friendly restaurants in your neighborhood, and compile one for all the places you visit with your pet.
Your dog’s ‘room’ under the stairs was planned and decorated with more care than your living room.
You decide not to offload your bad day on the dog, because you don’t want them to worry.
You’ve taken a trip to the seaside with your dog yet again. You hadn’t intended coming back so soon, but the dog insisted…
As long as it doesn’t involve overeating, over-fussing or over-exercising, there are all kinds of ways to spoil your dog. And the great thing is, the dog won’t feel spoilt at all, just loved.
This entry was posted in Dogs
On the side
The most common sleeping position for dogs is on their side with the legs pointing straight out. Sometimes dogs will fall asleep in a different position, but as soon as the muscles relax and the dog starts to dream, they will automatically roll onto their side.
This position exposes their vital organs, so a dog who prefers to sleep on its side is likely relaxed and comfortable, and feels safe with his or her surroundings.
As the legs are free to move in this sleeping position, it is likely that you will see the dog’s legs twitch and kick as they dream.
If your dog favours this position, make sure that their bed is big enough to accommodate their whole body, including the outstretched legs.
Curled up in a ball
This is a common sleeping position for wild dogs, who are much more vulnerable than our spoiled pet pooches. The vital organs are protected, the body heat is retained, and the dog can move quickly if needed.
Dogs that are in an unfamiliar location or experience something that is worrying them will often sleep in this position. However, if your dog prefers to roll up like a fox for nap time it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is worried or uncomfortable, they might just like being snuggled in.
Super Pup Pose
In this position, the dog is on its tummy, with all four legs stretched out. This is very common with puppies who need regular naps, but also always want to be ready to play at any given moment, as it’s very easy to get up and going.
The Super Pup is almost completely limited to napping; very few dogs spend a whole night in this position. It’s also much more common with smaller dogs like terriers and toy breeds, possibly because their limbs are shorter.
On the back, legs up in the air
If your dog is cold, they will curl up into a ball. In a similar way, exposing the belly and spreading out will cool them down. Exposing the tummy, where the fur is much thinner, as well as the sweat glands on the paws are two of your dog’s best tools to stay cool.
Comfortable as it may be, it is however a very vulnerable position. The vital organs are exposed and it will take the dog much longer to get up and go in case of danger than if they had their legs on the ground. If your dog chooses this position even when it’s not boiling hot, it is likely that he or she feels extremely relaxed and comfortable.
Close to a human or other pet
Many dogs love falling asleep next to another living thing, preferably really, really close. This behaviour comes from their time as puppies, before they could regulate their own body temperature and had to snuggle up to their siblings to stay warm.
Although grown dogs don’t need you (or the cat) as a heat source, they have come to associate sleeping next to something warm and breathing with comfort and security. You can be sure that your dog is completely relaxed in your company if he or she decides to sleep right next to you.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Having a crate for your puppy or dog has many advantages. It creates a space that is more than just a bed on the floor, a place the dog can return to when he or she gets tired that they know is just theirs. This is perfect for those moments when a small puppy feels a bit overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the house and would just like a moment of rest. A crate will also keep young dogs safe if you need to pop out someplace where puppies are not allowed. Additionally, crating leads to better sleep, is great for puppy training, and allows the dog to be more independent of its owner. And of course most importantly, most dogs absolutely love it!
Omlet has two great solutions for those who are looking for a crate for their existing dog, or the new puppy they’re expecting: the Fido Studio and the Fido Nook. Both come in two sizes to fit most dog breeds, and with the option of a closet to store all of your dog’s things. The closet can be further organised with shelves, hooks and a clothes rail, and a fitted mirror so your pup can make sure their outfit looks pawfect before hitting the park!
Both the Fido Nook and Fido Studio are stylish, modern crate solutions, but what is the difference between them? Here are the main things to note when choosing the one that best fit your needs:
- With the Studio, the crate is a completely integrated part of the piece, whereas it can be removed on the Nook. The easy release mechanism on the Nook makes it possible to lock the crate in place when you’re using it, and remove it when your puppy is fully grown.
- The Nook does not only fit in seamlessly with your home interior, but the possibility of unlocking and removing the crate means you can take it in the car to keep your dog safe during travel, or if you’re spending the night somewhere else.
- Both the Studio and the Nook come in a stylish white that will look great in all interiors. The Studio is also available in walnut.
- As the Fido Nook you can only open the door to the crate on the front. If you choose the Fido Studio however, the dog can access the crate at either the front or the side. This is useful if you want to place the Fido Studio in a narrow space.
- If you decide to remove the crate from the Nook when your dog is fully trained and you feel he or she no longer needs it, the Nook will still offer a secluded spot for your dog’s bed.
- Without the crate on the Nook, you can further customise the unit with these luxurious curtains. This will create a cosy barrier between the dog and the world outside, which will provide them with some extra, highly appreciated, privacy.
- Although the two are quite similar, they do look slightly different, and perhaps you just prefer one over the other. That’s okay, you don’t have to explain yourself – we won’t judge!
Whether you decide to go for a Studio or a Nook, we’re absolutely sure your dog will appreciate a place in the home that is just theirs, and that you will love the look and feel of Omlet’s dog products, as well as the opportunity to store all your dog’s things in the integrated closet!
This entry was posted in Dogs
The Azawakh originates from the Saleh area south of Sahara, where it’s still used by nomadic people to guard herds of sheep and goats from predators and enemies. It has also previously been used to hunt gazelle and hare across the arid desert lands.
The Azawakh is a very lean and large sight dog with long legs, and the muscles and bones are clearly visible through the thin skin.
It’s a loyal family dog that forms strong connections to their owners, and must get used to being by themselves early on to minimise the risk of separation anxiety. The breed needs to run freely, so make sure they can do so in a safe area. The hunting instinct can be strong, but they are intelligent and relatively easy to train, so it’s possible to take them from walks off the lead.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula Leopard Dog was originally bred in the state of Louisiana, and was initially used to hunt large game, and later feral pigs in the swaps. It’s still used as a working dog with several purposes, including herding, as it’s known for its agility, intelligence and strength.
It’s a medium sized dog with a short coat that is normally recognised for its many varied coats, eye colours and patterns. Catahoula Leopard Dogs can make great pets as long as they get enough stimulation. It’s also important to train and socialise them early, as they run the risk of getting territorial and overly protective otherwise.
Caucasian Ovcharka / Caucasian Shepherd Dog
As the name suggests, this giant dog breed originates from the Caucasus, an area between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, where it was first used to herd livestock.
It’s an extremely independent, fearless and intelligent dog that can get very territorial and protective, so requires an experienced owner that can give them consistent handling and accurate socialisation throughout their lives. This will counteract potential aggressive behaviour, mainly towards other dogs.
Caucasian Ovcharkas require plenty of both mental and physical stimulation. When not working, the dog will enjoy sleeping the day away, so it’s important to prevent the high risk of obesity by going to plenty of walks and playing fun retrieving games.
Schipperke means small herding dog in Flemish, which is where the dog breed was first seen. It’s also got a history as a guard dog and ratter on the Dutch and Belgian canal boats. Today the breed is mainly kept as a pet, but it still makes a great guard dog, as you’ll struggle to find a more loyal companion.
As the Schipperke was bred to work, the breed will need to be kept stimulated and active to prevent destructive behaviour, but it’s relatively easy as they will be happy with most things as long as they are with their owner!
The Berger Picard is easily recognisable thanks to the large pointy ears, the wavy brindle coat and the hooked tail. The name comes from the breed’s home region of Picardy in France, and it’s one of the oldest French herding breeds.
They are extremely active dogs that will be the perfect companion for owners who enjoy long runs and hikes, sports and mental stimulation in the form of obedience training. If you can only give your dog a short walk around the block every day, the Berger Picard is not for you!
The breed was recognised 1925, but had almost disappeared after the world wars. Keen enthusiasts recreated a strong breeding stock, but it’s still rare.
The Pumi is a result of selective breeding of the other famous Hungarian sheep dog, the Puli, and French and German herding dogs and terriers. This has given the breeds it’s lively, intelligent and active temperament.
Pumis love working, but also to relax with their family. It’s a generally happy breed that will make a great pet for an active family that can keep the dog busy during the day and shower it with love and snuggles on the sofa in the evening.
The curly coat, normally grey or black, requires a bit of work, but doesn’t shed.
This entry was posted in Dogs
🔹 The main purpose of the tail is communication, and to spread personal information in the form of pheromones. Dogs have anal glands right under the tail which release scents that can be detected by other canines. When the dog wags its tail, the muscles around the dog’s bum tense and press on the glands, sending out lots of information. The sweeping motions from the tail can also help spread the scent even further.
🔹 In a situation where the dog wants to be more low-key and not get noticed, maybe if they are feeling scared or hesitant, the dog will tuck its tail between the legs to minimise the spread of their scent.
🔹 Dogs that have very small tails, or no tails at all, have a limited ability to use this body part to communicate, and will have to use other modes of communication. Ears can for example be very useful to show other dogs who you are and how you are feeling.
🔹 Different types of tail movement signify different emotions. A slight wag when meeting someone new can be seen as a tentative greeting, whereas a wider more sweeping movement is very friendly and non-competitive. A dog that makes short back-and-forth movements with the tail held high is possibly showing signs of uncertainty, assessing potential threats.
🔹 Puppies don’t wag their tails when they are born. The first month and a half is spent mainly eating and sleeping, and they have no real interest in their surroundings. However, as soon as they start socialising, around 49 days old, they will start wagging.
🔹 The tail can be seen as an extension of the spine. Just like the backbone, tails are made up of 5-20 vertebrae, separated by soft discs that enable movement and flexibility. The vertebrae are wider at the base of the tail and get smaller toward the tip.
🔹 The shape and form of the tail of specific dogs has been determined through selective breeding. The Dachshund’s long, sturdy tail is for example believed to have worked as a handle to pull them out of badger burrows, whereas a Beagle’s tail has a white tip to make it easier for the hunters to locate it in the distance, and labradors have a so called “otter tail” that is thick and round and can act as a kind of rudder when the dog is swimming.
🔹 Dogs do not only use their tails for communication, it is also useful for keeping balance. If you watch a really fast dog run, like a Greyhound or a Whippet, you can see that the tail sticks out straight behind them. It works as a counterweight and helps the dog to accelerate, break and turn at high speeds.
🔹 According to studies made on dog tails, there is evidence that the direction a dog wags its tail can tell you something about their feelings. Positive stimuli (food, or seeing their owner) made the dogs start moving their tail to the right, whereas negative stimuli (e.g. a threat in form of an aggressive looking dog) causes the tail to start wagging to the left.
This entry was posted in Dogs
You’re getting a puppy – congratulations! Bringing home a puppy is an extremely exciting experience, but it can also be pretty full on, as your new friend will require almost constant attention and care. To minimise the stress of not having the right things at hand when the dog is already in your home, make sure to tick off these puppy essentials before he or she moves in!
Many breeders will have crate trained the puppy from an early age, and most dog trainers recommend this method as a way of making the transition into a new home as smooth as possible.
The crate acts as an enclosed safe space for your puppy, a place they can return to when they are tired or worried, that they know is just theirs. The Fido Nook 2-in-1 Luxury Dog Crate and Bed is a great solution for this. Put the crate in the beautifully designed den, and make it nice and cosy for your dog. When the puppy is fully trained, you can decide if you want to remove the crate or keep it in. The Fido Nook is also available with a super convenient wardrobe where you can store all of your dog’s things in one handy place, and it looks great in any room of the house.
Remember that puppies grow quickly, so get a crate that will also fit your pup when they are fully grown.
✔️ Bed & Blanket
Growing puppies spend most of their days sleeping, so they will need a comfortable bed to rest on. Choose a bed that will support your puppy and is big enough to fit him or her when they are fully grown. It can also be good to get a bed with a removable cover that is machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about puppy accidents or muddy paws.
Make sure you also provide your puppy with a super soft blanket to curl up on. Having a blanket in the crate means the puppy will associate it with home, and it can then be used as a comforter when you’re out and about seeing new sights and trying new things!
✔️ Food and bowls
You will probably have been given some instructions from the breeder on what to feed your puppy the first weeks, and it’s best to stick to this to avoid upsetting their delicate little tummies. After a while you can gradually start introducing the food you want to give your dog. Make sure it’s a high quality feed suitable for growing pups.
Get bowls for food and water in a suitable size that are deep enough to not create lots of mess, but stable enough to not tip over. It’s also a good idea to have a few travel sized bowls that you can bring on adventures.
✔️ Training treats
The key to a well behaved and well rounded dog is to encourage and enforce all good behaviours. Make sure you have plenty of small treats around to give your puppy when they are being a good boy or girl. The world can be rather intimidating for a small puppy who is learning new things, and knowing that you will provide them with praise and love – and a yummy treat – when they return to you will make the bond between you strong from the beginning.
✔️ Chew toys
Puppies love to chew, and anyone who’s been around a puppy knows that those sharp teeth can do some damage, whether it’s on your sofa cushions or your favourite pair of leather boots. Give your pet some appropriate chew toys to ease the itch and blow off some steam. You might have to try a few to find one that’s the right size and hardness for your dog, so make sure you have a selection at hand.
✔️ Collar & Lead
As soon as your puppy is ready to go out into the real world they will need a stylish collar to put their ID-tag on. Match with a lead or harness, and you’re ready to go!
These are the most important things to get before you go to pick up your puppy and bring it home. You will probably find that there are plenty of other things that are useful to have, like grooming equipment, nail clippers, cleaning products, and even a dog jacket or a jumper, but the above essentials will see you through the first weeks with your new family member, without any emergency shopping trips!
This entry was posted in Dogs
All dogs are smart. That’s because their ancestor, the wolf, is very clever, so dogs’ brains had a great starting point. Even the breeds fondly described as “lovably clueless” are still relatively clever compared to most other animals!
The question of why wolves, and therefore dogs, are clever is simple. They hunt, in packs, using various strategies including herding; and they live in hierarchies of ‘top dogs’, alphas, and various layers of underlings. All in all, it’s a complex business being a canine, and only a top-notch brain is going to succeed.
The cleverest domestic dogs, then, tend to be the ones that retain an element of ancestral wolf instincts. That instinct comes in two forms – the herders (including all the sheepdogs), and the out-and-out hunters.
What Makes a Clever Dog?
Being human, we tend to judge other animals on our terms. Therefore, dogs that respond well to human training and learn to be obedient are the ones we think of as super-smart. What this means is that those dogs that have been bred to rely on us, listen to us, and interact with us, seem to us more human in their responses. More independent breeds, or ones that will still run after a rabbit years after you first told them not to run away may be judged more harshly (step forward all Beagles and Foxhounds!)
Also, when it comes to brain power, it appears that size really does count. The large breeds are the ones with the greatest grey matter (with the exception of that diminutive genius the Papillon). This, again, is all down to breeding.
Many small dogs have genes associated with dwarfism (e.g. Pekingese, Shitzu, and Pug), and these tend to have small brains to match. Most of the other small dog breeds are terriers (such as Jack Russell or Scottie). These have been bred ‘down’ from larger versions – they are miniature large dogs, if you like. Like the rest of the dog, their brains are more miniature than small, if you see the subtle difference.
Bearing in mind all these considerations and complications, the breeds in the following list are widely agreed to be the top 10 Canine Einsteins.
Best in Breed, Brainwise
The dogs in this list, when properly trained and socialised, can take on board a new command after hearing it for just the fifth time (and we’re not sure there are many young kids who can do that!). In general, these dogs will obey at least 95 percent of the commands given to them.
The word you’re looking for here is “Wow!”
The list is in no particular order, but the first three breeds mentioned are often credited with being the best of the bunch, when woof comes to shove.
- German Shepherd
- Border Collie
- Golden Retriever
- Doberman Pinscher
- Labrador Retriever
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Australian Cattle Dog
Almost all the herding breeds are nudging the top ten. The Belgian Tervurens, Bernese Mountain Dog and – perhaps surprisingly, given its size – the Pembroke Welsh Corgi deserve special mention. Away from the herding breeds, the Bloodhound and the Alaskan Husky have amazing brains too.
And it’s not all about purebreds. Your Labradoodle or Cockapoo could well be every bit as bright as the dogs in our top 10 list. A mixed breed dog whose ancestry isn’t obvious from appearance may also be a bit of a doggy genius.
As we said earlier, dogs are all clever. Full stop.
Returning to the smart brains of those ancestral wolves mentioned earlier, science recently stumbled upon an intriguing fact. Genetic analysis of domestic dogs and Eurasian and American wolves came up with some dog genes that are not present in the modern wolf. This has led biologists to conclude that man’s best friend is so old that it was actually developed from a now-extinct wolf species. Perhaps something like the Dire wolves (of Game of Thrones fame).
So take another look at your incredibly clever pet dogs. There’s a lot more to them than meets the eye!
This entry was posted in Dogs
Have you ever looked at your pets’ paws and wondered why? Why don’t they have hands and fingers like us? The answer dates back thousands of years and is the result of our pets’ ancestors adapting to the independent and wild lives they once lived in an environment which was very different to your safe, warm home.
The History of the Paw
Before our pets were domesticated, they had to defend themselves to stay alive while hunting for their own food. Many of the traits that helped them do that haven’t changed, staying with the species’ throughout evolution. This includes the paw.
Dogs and cats are the main paw-ed animals that may come to mind. But before we had house cats and dogs, there were generations of wild cats and wolves. The purpose of the paw is largely related to sound and shock absorption. The fatty tissue inside the pads helps animals jump and land without pain or noise, especially helpful for silently hunting prey in the wild while protecting limbs from impact.
The paw pads are also much rougher when the animal is subject to extreme surfaces day in, day out. This assists with grip in treacherous or slippery conditions, working in a similar way to human shoes. For our domestic pets, the paw pads are often much smoother as conditions are easier underfoot. Some dog breeds still have webbed feet to help them swim, an adaptation that wolves passed on and still benefit from.
While paws are well adapted for walking and jumping around, debris can sometimes get stuck in the paw pads and cause pain. If you spot your pet chewing at their paw or limping and lifting it off the ground, carefully check their paw pad for any stones or splinters that may need removing. If your rabbit or guinea pigs paws look sore it could be a sign that their bedding is too scratchy.
What can the paw tell us?
Did you know, that some animals use their paw pads to keep cool and release sweat? So damp paw prints could mean your pet needs some help cooling down.
Pet’s paws can sometimes tell us a little bit about how they are feeling, too. For example, cats will knead blankets, beds, pillows and even humans with their paws when they are feeling happy and content. There’s lots of reasons why this may be; it might remind them of nursing from their Mother, they could be trying to create a cosy spot to sleep, or they could be using the scent glands in their paw pads to mark their territory.
Have you also noticed your cat doesn’t like their paws to be touched? This is because the pads are extremely sensitive to touch, but some cats can be trained to tolerate their paws being touched, often easier if done from a young age, so if your cat does let you touch their paws it could be a sign of trust.
More info here and here.
This entry was posted in Cats
Incorporate your dog’s Fido Nook into your Christmas homeware and transform your pet’s den into a festive haven with these seasonal decoration ideas…
Everyone loves the sparkle of lights at Christmas time so why not beautifully frame your Nook with battery powered fairy lights. If using with a puppy, place the lights across the top of the Nook so you still have a lovely glow, without the chewing risk!
Stick a Fido Hook to the outside of the Nook’s wardrobe door for a mini Christmas wreath. You could even make one yourself so it matches your festive decor perfectly, and add subtle puppy touches, like some decorative bones or a paw print ribbon.
If you have added a curtain pole and Fido curtains to your pet’s Nook, why not try your hand at sewing your own Christmas curtains with a festive fabric.
No need to sacrifice your Christmas tree, for puppies and frequent chewers use shatter-proof or soft baubles and keep any that are fragile or precious near the top!
Battery-powered candles give the same warming glow as real ones, without the risk to pets! If you are concerned about chewing, keep the candles on top of the Nook.
Get your dog a cute dog themed stocking, perfect for hanging up in the wardrobe ready for Santa Paws!
This entry was posted in Christmas