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The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Summer

How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

dog-memory-foam-cooling-mat-omlet

Just like humans’, dogs’ opinions on hot weather vary. Some absolutely worship the sun and will take any opportunity to find a sunny spot to lie down on, whereas others prefer to stay in the shade sipping some cold water, longing for autumn. Certain dogs are more likely to struggle with heat, including flat-faced breeds, dogs with thick coats, giant dogs, overweight dogs or dogs with underlying medical problems, so if your pooch is in a high-risk group it’s extra important to make sure he or she stays cool. Here are some ways you can help you dog beat the heat:

1. Adjust Exercise

When it’s really hot outside it’s best to stay inside during the hottest hours of the day. Your dog will still need exercise, but if possible, stick to walks early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler. 

It’s also worth trying to walk as much in the shade as you can, to avoid hot pavements and tiles, and to stop your dog from running around too much while out on the walk, maybe by keeping them on a shorter leash.

2. Keep Hydrated

Make sure your dog always has access to clean, cold water, ideally in all rooms of the house. If you’re going out, bring a bottle of water and a foldable bowl. 

If you’re worried your dog doesn’t drink enough water, try feeding them things that are hydrating and have a cooling effect. Frozen fruit and veg are great, but you can also put some cooked chicken in a blender with some banana or assorted berries and freeze in ice cube trays. 

3. Get On Top of Grooming

This is extra important for dog breeds with thick fur, as they particularly struggle in the heat, but most dogs benefit hugely from some extra grooming in summer. For some, regular brushing to get rid of dead hair will be enough, but others need to have their coat properly trimmed for summer. 

Don’t be tempted to grab the trimmers and give your dog a buzz cut; the sudden lack of insulation can shock the dog and damage the quality of the coat, as well as make him or her feel very self-conscious! Take them to the groomers and ask what they recommend for your dog’s type of fur. 

4. Go For a Dip

Having water around to cool themselves down with will be highly appreciated by most dogs. You can put a shallow kiddie pool in a shaded area of the backyard, turn the sprinklers on and watch your dog run through them, or let him or her play with the garden hose.

If you live close to the ocean or another body of water and your dog is used to swimming you can take them there to lower their body temperature in the evening. Remember that swimming can be tough exercise though, so call them back up when you’re happy they’ve cooled themselves down.

5. Keep Cool Inside

When it’s too hot to be outside, your dog will probably spend most of their time indoors, so it’s important to try and keep your house as cool as possible. It might be nice to open windows on different sides of the house to create drafts or find other ways of letting cool air circulate. Drawing the curtains or blinds will help stop the sun from heating up bedrooms during the day. 

6. Avoid The Car

If possible, try to avoid going in the car with your dog when it’s hot. We all know that you should never, ever leave a dog in a car in warm weather, it doesn’t matter if the car is parked in the shade, you’ve got the windows open and it’s only for a few minutes. A stationary car will quickly get very, very hot, and it can kill your dog.

If you can choose not to go in the car on very hot days, try to avoid it, especially if your dog is not a big fan to start with. 

7. Get a Cooling Mat

On a hot day, your dog will love relaxing on something cooling. The Omlet Dog Cooling Mat doesn’t require refrigeration or electricity but works by absorbing heat from your dog’s body while at the same time cooling your pooch down. The memory foam mat is foldable and super comfortable, so you can take it with you wherever you go in summer, assuring your dog will always have a place to rest that will also minimize the risk of heatstroke. 

 

dog-memory-foam-cooling-mat-bed

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Can I Bring My Dog on Vacation?

Dog on vacation digging a hole in the sand at a sunny beach

Summer is nearly here and what better way to celebrate than with some well-deserved time off! For some, an exotic island getaway may be on the cards, and for others, a few days away camping will be more than enough to reflect, relax, and enjoy the sunshine! One thing that all dog owners will agree on though, is that our pets are part of the family. And rightly so, we want them to be included in making special memories (including vacations!) If you’ve never been away with your pet pooch before, you may be asking the question ‘can I bring my dog on vacation?’ or maybe you’re just a little unsure how to go about organizing a trip with a four-legged addition. So, here’s everything you need to know about taking your dog on your summer getaway.

What preparation should I do before taking my dog on vacation?

First and foremost, to make your trip as enjoyable for all as possible, you should ensure that your dog is vacay-ready before setting off! This includes making sure that they are properly trained e.g. having a reliable recall and being able to settle in their crate. Not only will having a well-trained dog make the trip a lot more enjoyable but will make it a lot safer, too.

Furthermore, you should also be sure that your destination truly is dog-friendly for your dog. Just because somewhere has labelled their property or attraction as ‘dog-friendly’ doesn’t necessarily mean that the needs of your pet, who you of course know better than anyone else, will be met. For example, is the outdoor space properly secured? Or is the property located in a particularly lively resort which could result in your dog becoming overwhelmed? Do they allow dogs of all sizes or just those under a certain weight? It’s important to have questions like these answered before going away.

You should also visit to your dog’s vet, where you can check that their vaccinations, and flea and worm treatments are up to date. Just like us, dogs can be affected by motion sickness when travelling. If you know this is the case for your pet, your vet will also be able to prescribe your dog medication for the journey. If you’re travelling abroad, you will also need to be provided with relevant documentation, which we will discuss shortly.

How can I travel with my dog?

Dog in the car trunk, sitting in their Omlet Fido Classic Dog Crate

Travelling by car

If you’re vacationing in the same country, the chances are that you’ll be travelling to your destination by car. Before setting off on a long journey, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything you need to ensure the ride is as comfortable and safe for everyone as possible. For one, your dog should be restrained in the vehicle either with a dog seat belt, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard. In the US this is not a law but will help ensure your furry friend is safe on your journey. Also, if it’s a warm summer’s day, you’ll ideally want to head out as early as you can in the morning or late in the evening when the car will be at its coolest.

During your journey, it’s important to make sure that your dog doesn’t overheat. You can help keep the car cool by keeping the windows slightly open, but not wide enough for their head to be sticking out. Alternatively, turn on the car’s air conditioning, being mindful not to have it directly blowing on your dog’s face.

We recommend making time to stop off at a dog-friendly service stations for all of you to stretch your legs, for your pup to have a toilet break, and to have a refreshment (a portable dog water bottle is a great option!). When you arrive at your first stop, park in a shaded spot if it’s a warm day – this will help keep the car nice and cool for when you get back in. Needless to say, you should never leave your dog unattended in the car at any point on your travels.

Travelling by plane

We’ve already spoken about travelling with your dog in the car but to get abroad it sometimes means using other modes of transport! When it comes to flying, the rules differ between airlines but in many cases, dogs, excluding assistance dogs, are only allowed to travel in the hold. Some airlines, however, do not allow pets in either the hold or cabin, so please contact the airline you plan on travelling with to avoid disappointment.

Travelling by train

When it comes to travelling by train, things can be easier if you are in NY you can bring your dog on the train if they fit in a dog carrier/bag. If your dogs are a nuisance or are endangering members of the public, then, of course, you could be asked to get off the train at the next stop. It’s also worth noting that you are only allowed to travel with a maximum of 2 dogs.

Can I take my dog abroad?

If you live in the US airlines generally require health certificates from all shippers. So it’s a good idea to have a licensed veterinarian examine animals within 10 days prior to shipment and issue a certificate stating that the animal is in good health.. These can be obtained from your vet but must be signed off by an official veterinarian (OV), so be sure that your practice provides this service. Furthermore, a maximum of 5 pets can accompany you, unless you are travelling for dog training, a show, sporting event or a competition, which you’ll need to provide written evidence of.

You can find more information on this by visiting the US Department of Transportation website.

Ultimately, what both of these certifications say is that your pet is fit to travel and is free of anything that has the potential to spread to other animals or humans, and has their up-to-date vaccinations, as well as yours and your dog’s information e.g. address, dog’s breed, pet and owner’s name etc.

Settling your dog on vacation

Taking your dog on vacation is as big an adventure for you as it is for them! For our pets, a new location means not only plenty of unfamiliar places but also so many new things to explore and smell! Therefore, you should try to keep their routine similar to how it is back at home so that they don’t feel unsettled or stressed. For example, you should give them their food and walks at the same time as you normally would. At the same time, it’s also important to give your pet some time to settle in their new environment by letting them get enough undisturbed rest.

Furthermore, taking something familiar to your dog is also a great way to help them settle. This can be their dog blanket, bed or a dog toy they enjoy playing with. You can also take a dog pheromone diffuser for a more anxious dog, which can help them to stay calm.

Hopefully, you’re now ready to take your dog on vacation and know how you can keep them safe during your travels! But if you’re not heading away on a summer break this year, be sure to read our previous blog 7 Things Your Dog Needs This Summer for some top tips for enjoying this season at home!

Dog lying down inside their Omlet Fido Studio Dog Crate

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Can Dogs Get Sunburn?

Brown dog enjoying sunshine, wearing sunglasses

Summer is fast approaching, which means plenty of days spent outside and enjoying the long-awaited hot weather! While the season is warmly welcomed by most of us, it also means taking some extra precautions to stay safe, such as lathering up on the SPF to avoid the dreaded sunburn! Now we all know that we need to keep ourselves protected from the harsh rays of the sun, but what about our furry or four legged friends? In particular, dogs! More specifically, it raises the question of ‘can dogs get sunburn?

How do you know if your dog has sunburn?

Simply put, yes, dogs can in fact be burned by the sun as we can. Luckily, sunburn cases in dogs are often minor, albeit painful. Most commonly, symptoms include red, itchy, dry, or flaky skin and paws. Dogs are most likely to get burned on body parts that have been exposed to UV rays such as the tip of their tail, nose, ears, belly, and around their mouth, so you should pay particular attention to these areas if you suspect a burn.

Most cases of sunburn peak at 3 days after exposure, but more severe cases can also lead to lethargy and blistering on the skin, which can take two weeks to heal. Affected dogs may additionally demonstrate signs of being in pain when you go to pet them as well as developing a mild fever.

How can you treat dog sunburn?

While prevention is always better than the cure, there is a solution should you find your dog has been burned after a day out in the sun! For minor burns, there are an array of methods you can use to soothe your pup’s burn, but they don’t actually help with the healing process. Nonetheless, these should not be dismissed as your dog will appreciate a much-needed relief from their pain. Examples include using a cold compress or giving your dog a nice, cool bath. Alternatively, oatmeal baths are a great idea, whereby your dog can soak for 10 minutes, as you massage the oatmeal into their fur, before rinsing off with warm water. To heal burns, both aloe vera gel and vitamin E are perfect, with both of course being pet safe.

If your dog’s symptoms do not improve following the use of home remedies, and you are at all concerned about the wellbeing of your pet, please do not hesitate to speak to your vet, who will be able to offer you medication.

How to protect your dog from sunburn

Fortunately, keeping your dog safe from the sun and sunburn is hassle-free! Just as we stay protected from the sun, some dogs also require sunscreen (we even included it as a must-have dog product in our 7 Things Your Dog Needs This Summer blog!). It goes without saying that you should only use dog-safe sunscreen, ideally with an SPF of at least 30. Most importantly, do not use sunscreen that contains Zinc Oxide or Para-aminobenzoic (PABA).

To further reduce the chance of your dog getting sunburned, you should walk them during the early morning or late evening and stick to shaded areas as much as possible. And after a stroll outside, what better than for your dog to come home to relax on their very own Memory Foam Cooling Mat for dogs! Omlet also has a wide range of Dog toys to keep your furry friend entertained indoors over summer!

Dachshund and owner playing-indoors with an Omlet Fido Nook 2 in 1 Luxury Dog Bed And Crate behind them

How to apply dog sunscreen

To apply sunscreen to your dog, funnily enough the process isn’t all too different to how you would apply it to human skin! Simply pop some sunscreen on your fingers and rub into your dog’s coat, making sure to pay particular attention to the exposed spots we mentioned earlier. Essentially you should apply in areas mostly to areas that are not covered in much fur.

Take extra care when applying sunscreen around their eyes, and once done, leave it to soak into their skin for around 15 minutes. Just be sure to reapply the sunscreen every 4 to 6 hours and to keep a close eye on your dog during soaking time to ensure they don’t lick off the cream!

What dog breeds are most susceptible to sunburn?

If you’ve got a dog with thinner hair or a paler coat, then this makes them more susceptible to getting sunburned compared to other breeds. Examples of this include Greyhounds, Chinese Crested, and Dalmatians to name a few. This, however, is still not to say that other breeds cannot get burned at all, so you should still take precautions such as using sunscreen and keeping them out of the sun for sustained periods of time to ensure they remain protected.

To find out more about keeping your dog safe during this season take a read of our previous blog post How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather and enjoy your summer sunburn free!

Cream dog lying on Omlet Cooling Mat for dogs on a grey Bolster dog bed

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This entry was posted in Dogs


7 Things Your Dog Needs This Summer

Summer is nearly upon us, which means plenty more time to be spent outside with our feathered, fluffy, and four-legged friends! While the rising temperatures and longer days are enjoyable (for most!), it’s important to take the right measures to keep your pup cool to prevent them from overheating. Here’s 7 things your dog needs this summer to stay safe this season!

1. A cooling mat

Number 1 on the list of 7 things your dog needs this summer is a cooling mat. Over this season, your dog will really appreciate something that they can relax on, which will also help them to cool down. Omlet’s Memory Foam Cooling Mat For Dogs is perfect for just that, and with it being foldable and lightweight, you can take this must-have summer accessory just about anywhere! The mat doesn’t require any refrigeration or electricity and works by absorbing heat from your dog’s body, minimizing the risk of heatstroke by keeping your pet cool for up to 3 hours.

Dog lying down on Omlet Memory Foam Cooling Mat for Dogs

2. A portable dog bowl

Your dog should have access to clean, fresh water at all times when they’re at home. However, one of the 7 things your dog needs this summer is a portable water bowl (and water!). You should take this with you on walks or when travelling in the car to ensure that your pet stays hydrated.

3. Frozen treats

Just as we love a nice, cold ice pop on a warm afternoon, so do our pet pooches! Try these delicious Fruity Frozen Yogurt Treats for Dogs that will be bound to refresh your pup down on a hot summer’s day! These are super quick and easy to make, and only require Greek yogurt, water, and a selection of dog-safe fruit.

4. Frozen toys

Similarly, it’s a great idea to freeze some of your dog’s toys over the summer as another way to not only keep them mentally enriched but also to keep their body temperature down! The best kind to freeze is a chew toy such as a Wild One Bolt Bite toy, that can first be filled with peanut butter before freezing to occupy them for even longer.

Dog rolling around on grass playing with a toy in summer

5. Dog sun protection

Believe it or not, our furry friends too can do with a bit of help from some sun protection in the form of sunscreen. Just like us, dogs who are exposed to the sun for a long period can get sunburnt, with breeds such as Dalmations, West Highland White Terriers, and Greyhounds more likely to be affected than others due to their paler coats or thin hair. Therefore, it’s a wise idea to top up on some sun protection cream over the next few months. Simply apply dog sunscreen to the thinner areas of your dog’s skin around 20 minutes before going out and reapply throughout the day.

6. Flea and tick prevention

Fleas thrive in warm, humid climates, so you’ll need to be sure that your dog is up to date with their treatment before summer arrives. Furthermore, if your dog will be spending more time in the great outdoors, roaming through long grass, also makes them more susceptible to fleas and ticks. Fortunately, Omlet has effective dog flea and tick products that are both effective and easy to use to keep these nasty parasites away!

7. A suitable car restraint

Summer inevitably means that many of us will be travelling around more with our dogs, be it a day trip to the park, or a week-long staycation! Take a look at dog travel accessories to find a suitable option to help your pet travel safely.

Please note that most importantly when travelling with your dog, you should never leave them unattended in a car. In fact, when it reaches 71°F outside, inside the car temperatures can quickly reach 116°F! As you can imagine, this can be detrimental for a poor dog.

It goes without saying that as fun as summer is, you should be careful and put your pet’s safety first so that it can be enjoyed by all of us!

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Common Allergy Groups in Cats and Dogs

dog with its tongue hanging out surrounded by pollen in the garden in the sunshine

Common allergies in cats and dogs have been identified as 3 main allergy groups, which we explore in this article. Some common allergies are seasonal, and others can creep up throughout the year. Understanding the common allergies in cats and dogs will make being a pet owner easier as you know what to look out for and how to handle it. Allergies can be treated quite easily, but there are a few symptoms or warning signs that we can look out for to make sure that our cats and dogs are healthy and happy.

Persistent seasonal allergies such as the dreaded hay fever kicks in for many of us humans, but we know that we are not alone in this seasonal battle of the bugs as our beloved pets can suffer too. We exhaust alternative medications, home remedies and whatever we can lay our hands on to try and keep these pesky allergies at bay!

Despite doing our absolute best to ensure our cats and dogs are spoiled and looked after, sometimes we cannot always spot the potential threats of allergies or illness.

Allergies in cats and dogs fit into 3 main groups. These groups make it easier to be able to narrow down and identify the cause and then the form of treatment that is required. Whilst you may be able to “self-diagnose”, (we all like to play doctor or vet with a quick google search), it is always recommended to check with your vet before attempting any medicated treatments yourself. However, a little research and a general understanding of what you could expect as a pet owner are perfectly normal.

Common Allergy Groups in Cats and Dogs

1. Flea Allergy

This is probably the most common allergy and one that most pet parents are aware of. Cats and dogs will react to the toxins in the saliva following a flea bite, which will result in a reaction on the skin.
Cats will over groom to the point where it’s very noticeable and the skin develops crusts all over the body, known as miliary dermatitis. Dogs tend to nibble and scratch at the affected areas and the skin will develop little red spots.

2. Food Allergy

Food allergies don’t necessarily show up immediately, they could manifest from eating the same food over a long period of time. It is a reaction to a specific protein or chemical in the food, which then appears on the skin. Common proteins which can cause allergies for both cats and dogs are chicken, fish, gluten and egg.
A common symptom of food allergies in cats will be persistent scratching around the head and neck. Symptoms in dogs are not as easy to identify but generally if scratching is more regular and your dog’s skin seems more irritated then it could be a sign of a food allergy.

3. Atopic Dermatitis

These are allergies caused by the environment, similar to hay fever or asthma in humans. They can be seasonal like an allergy to pollen or all year round, for example dust mites. With dermatitis, the skin will be visibly irritated and affected with symptoms including the following:

  • Constant scratching in a particular area
  • Flaky skin
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Over licking
  • Chewing
  • Fur loss
  • Patchy skin
  • Skin rashes or spots

Maya-donut-cat-bed-super-soft-comfy-nest-omlet

Should my pet see a dermatologist?

If you think your pet is suffering from an allergy with any of the symptoms mentioned, you will notice that the skin is affected. A dermatologist will try to recognize the cause of the skin irritation by discussing your pet’s history, for example diet, home life and behavior. Once they are able to identify the correct allergy group, they will be able to perform certain tests to pinpoint the exact cause and recommend any treatment or ways you can help.

Seasonal Common Allergies in Dogs

Seasonal allergies can affect your canine friends in very similar ways to humans. They could be affected by environmental allergens like dust mites, fleas, mold and pollens from grasses, trees, weeds, and flowers. They will not hide their discomfort and will most likely obsessively lick or scratch one particular area. Pay close attention to their bellies, paws, armpit, ears and face. During the seasons of irritation, keep your home as clean as possible and free of mites and pollen. The Topology Dog Bed provides a simple and stylish way to keep your doggy comfortable all year round with easy to clean removable and washable covers.

Seasonal Common Allergies in Cats

Cat allergies are not as common as they are for dogs, though some will display irritation from pollen or bites from fleas. If your cat sneezes a lot then it could have an allergy to pollens. As with dogs, it’s important to make sure their bed is kept clean. A good alternative is the luxury Maya Donut Cat Bed, which has a removable cover that can be washed in the machine.

Respiratory Allergies

Respiratory allergies are far less common in cats and dogs, but they can suffer from them. Symptoms are similar to those of a cold, including watery eyes, runny nose, coughs and yes, even sneezes! Some respiratory allergens could develop into asthma. This could occur from being in a smoky environment, building debris, chemicals or certain cleaning products or pollution.

Pets, like humans, benefit from fresh air, so taking dogs for regular long walks will always be good for them (and you). While you may want to take your cat for a walk, maybe it’s time to consider an Outdoor Catio, which will not only provide a safe space for your feline, but it will also provide them with plenty of space to play and explore and generally keep fit!

Girl removing yellow washable cover from topology dog bed to keep clean from common allergies in dogs

Conclusion

Being a pet parent comes with worries, but also plenty of love, laughter and snuggles along the way. Medically treating your cat or dog can be incredibly difficult to do because you don’t want to be the one that causes them any discomfort or pain, but sadly sometimes it is part of the job description and absolutely necessary to ensure they live a long and healthy life.

If you do suspect that your pet is suffering from any allergies, it is important to talk to your vet and run any concerns you have by them. Most allergies can be treated easily with medication, a change of diet or simple TLC. When dealing with allergies it is important to keep your cats and dogs home clean and you may need to adapt or change your routine to suit their needs.

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This entry was posted in Cats


Top Tips To Help Your Dog Deal With Fireworks this 4th of July

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

As Fourth of July is coming up this weekend we wanted to give you some top tips to help your patriotic pup deal with fireworks. To help us with our list we utilized some advice from renowned dog trainer, Brandon McMillan, to give you some unique methods to help calm your dog this Independence day.

Step 1: Try Using Naturally Calming Oils

One method that can be used to help your dog relax from all of the booms and bangs of fireworks is using essential oils like lavender. By diffusing essential oils, this can help your dog feel a calming effect. However, it is important to make sure that you do not apply the oil directly on your dog’s coat and do not let them ingest these oils as large amounts can be harmful or irritating for your dog. Also, ensure that the essential oil is of good quality and consult with your local veterinarian for further recommendations.

Step 2: Use a Thunder Vest/Shirt

Another great way to help your dog feel protected and help them release calming hormones is by using a thunder shirt/vest. It is believed that the evenly applied pressure around the dog’s torso helps release calming effects on your dog. In his Youtube video that we link to below, Brandon tries a thunder shirt on a jack russell terrier that has anxiety.

Step 3: Try Simulating Fireworks with Bubble Wrap

Although this method may seem a little unorthodox, mimicking the popping and crackling of fireworks with bubble wrap can help desensitize your dog gradually to fireworks. In his video, Brandon at first pops the bubble wrap further away from the dog and does one pop at a time with a treat reward after each pop. He also allowed the dog to smell the bubble wrap so that they could see that it was not a threat. Brandon continued this method one “pop” at a time and gradually the dog was more relaxed. If your dog seems to get very anxious or upset from the popping sounds, slow down the pace and try the process again at a later time.

Step 4: Play Calming Music

This is a very simple step that anyone can do to help their dog feel more zen and distracted from other sounds. Have Alexa play a classical track, or maybe your dog likes a little smooth jazz. Try out some different music genres on your dog and see which one is the most calming to them.

We hope these 4 tips bring your canine companion a little peace of mind this Independence day. For more dog training tips and tricks follow Brandon McMillan here on his Youtube channel. Happy 4th of July!

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Omlet’s Guide to Keeping Happy, Healthy Hens in the Summer!

As we head into Summer and the weather begins to warm up, you might be wondering how you can help your chickens keep cool in the hotter months. Get prepared now and catch up with our previous blog posts on keeping happy and healthy hens during summer below…

7 Ways to Help Your Chickens Stay Cool This Summer

Chicken keeper, Omlet Chicken Fencing

 

Did you know, that chickens can’t sweat? Instead, chickens use their legs, combs and wattles to lead heat away from their bodies. They also pant and spread their wings in order to get some air through their feathers. But what can you do to help?

From water to dust baths, here’s 7 simple but effective tips to help your chickens stay cool in the hot weather…

 

10 Things Not to Do in Summer if You’re a Chicken Keeper

 

From 7 things you should do, to 10 things you shouldn’t do this summer if you’re a chicken keeper! This advice is just as important as the tips above for ensuring a comfortable environment in the warmer weather, and also preventing your chickens from overheating. 

 

Purple Omlet Eglu Chicken Coop

How to Protect Your Chickens from Red Mite

Looking inside wooden chicken coop

 

Red mites, or Dermanyssus gallinae, are without a doubt backyard chicken keepers’ worst enemies! They are nocturnal creatures living in cracks and crevices of the coop, and they only come out at night to feed on chicken blood. Most long term chicken keepers will have encountered these parasites, and can confirm that they are more destructive and difficult to get rid of than all other pests combined.

Learn how to treat and prevent red mite infestations in your coop to keep your chickens happy this summer.

 

How the Eglu Keeps Chickens Cool

 

Traditionally chicken coops and rabbit hutches have been made from wood. This has its advantages: it’s an easy material to work with, it’s customizable and it looks attractive. However, when it comes to coping with the weather, it can leave a lot to be desired. Wood is not a very good thermal insulator, meaning if it’s hot outside the temperature will transfer through to the inside quickly.

If you’re using a wooden coop, it might be a good time to consider upgrading to a better insulated and ventilated house before the worst of the hot weather hits. Learn how an Eglu keeps chickens cool in this blog post. 

 

Pink Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

 

 

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This entry was posted in Chickens


Dogs and Swimming Pools

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.

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How to Keep Chickens Cool in Summer

Wondering how to keep your chickens cool in summer? Here is our best advice for making sure that your flock remains safe this season!

Boy collecting eggs from Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop in Summer

How to keep your chicken coop cool in summer

One way to keep your chicken coop cool in summer is, (if possible) to move the coop into a shaded spot in the backyard. This could be under a tree or in the north-facing side of your house that doesn’t get as much sun. This means that it will be nice and cool when the girls want to go to bed in the evening, or if one of them wants to go in to lay during the day. The Eglu chicken coops are so easy to move that you, on a really hot day, could effortlessly move it around the garden as the sun moves. As well as this, the Eglu chicken coops’ draft-free ventilation system will further help to keep your hens cool!

Change the water at least once a day

Your chickens will drink more in summer, because just like humans, it’s a natural instinct to stay hydrated. To minimize the risk of algae in the water, as well as dust and dirt from the chickens, change the water in their chicken drinker at least once a day in hot weather. Place the drinker in a cool, shady spot on the run and make sure it’s really cold when you put it out. 

What to feed chickens in summer

Dried corn and grains take longer to digest than pellets or fresh food, which wastes energy and heats the body unnecessarily. The chickens will not need to eat as much in hot weather, and if they were to get hungry during the day, your backyard will be full of bugs and fresh green material at this time of year.  Check out this summer recipe for Frozen Berry and Crumble Molds for some summer feeding inspo!

Try these tasty treats!

If you have some of your own delicious homemade ice lollies in your freezer, then make some space for more! Have your chickens tried some mouth-wateringly fresh watermelon? Not only is it super tasty and refreshing, but it’s also a great way to cool down. Pop the chopped watermelon pieces into your Caddi Treat Holder and put it in the freezer. There you have it, your chook’s very own ice lolly!

Chickens shouldn’t be left alone for too long

When it’s really hot outside it’s important that chicken owners keep an eye on their flock to look for signs of overheating. An open beak, panting and wings held away from the body are signs the chicken is hot. 

Don’t cover the run completely

Covering your chicken run with a lot of covers might seem like a good idea to create a shady spot, but if you don’t let air circulate, it’s likely to become a boiling tunnel of warm air. It’s extremely important to have ventilation, so that fresh air can move around. This goes for your coop as well. The Eglu chicken coops’ cleverly designed ventilation system allows air to circulate in the coop at all times, keeping it nice, cool and fresh even on the hottest of days. Choose a few darker chicken run covers to give your pets shade on the run as well.

Can chickens get wet in summer?

You can leave a small paddling pool or shallow containers out for your chickens to cool down in, but it’s unfortunately not very likely your hens will use them. It might be better to create a mud bath in a corner of the run; chickens are much more likely to approach mud and sand to cool down than water.

Don’t play with your chickens

Interaction with the chickens might lead to more movement for them, which increases their body temperature. If you want to spend time with your chickens, or need to pick them up for health checks, do so early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.

Do chickens stop laying eggs in summer?

You’re probably getting fewer eggs than normal during the warmest weeks of the year. That’s completely normal, chickens don’t lay as much when they are hot, and some go broody and stop laying completely. Although the eggs won’t go bad if you leave them in the nest box of an Eglu for a day, eggs in the nest can encourage broodiness and result in egg eating, so it’s good to collect them all as soon as you discover them.

Be consistent with cleaning

It’s always important to keep the coop nice and clean for your girls, but maybe even more so in summer. Parasites and pests are stronger when it’s warmer, including red mite, so make sure to use a bird safe disinfectant and cover roosting bars and perches in mite powder to prevent problems at least once a week.

All chickens are different!

If you have a flock with mixed breeds or have had chickens in the past but now own a different breed, remember that different chickens need different care. Some breeds are much better than others at handling heat, and some really struggle. Read up on the breeds you’ve got here, and take extra care of vulnerable birds.

Make sure that your chickens are well equipped for any season with Omlet’s range of chicken products

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6 Ways Keeping Chickens Will Benefit Your Garden

A hen facing some tulips in the garden and an Omlet Eglu Go Up chicken coop

The Eglu Go UP is the perfect solution for keeping a small flock of chickens in your garden.

1. Fertilizer

Chicken manure is one of the best things you can use to improve the soil in your garden. Once composted, chicken droppings are full of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other important nutrients, and increases the soil’s ability to hold water. This means more beautiful flowers, and bigger and more delicious vegetables!Collect your chickens’ droppings and compost for up to a year before using the manure. 

2. Pest Control

Chickens spend their days scratching around the garden in search of yummy treats. They love finding beetles, grubs, caterpillars and ticks. Sometimes they even go for those pesky slugs! This is an extremely environmentally friendly way of getting rid of pests, with the added benefit of happy and content hens!

3. Rotation

Want to create a new bed in the garden? No problem, get the chickens in to do the job for you. If there’s one thing they do well it’s tilling and turning. Spread some chicken feed where you want the soil to be moved and aerated, or leave a pile of leaves that you would like spread over a resting bed, and you can be sure that the chickens will have sorted it in half the time it would take you to source a rotavator. 

4. Free Weeding

In a similar way, if you want to clear a bed of weeds or grass, get your chickens on it. They will munch on weeds and dead matter you haven’t already removed, leaving the fun bits of gardening to you!

Although clever, chickens are however not able to differentiate weeds from the plants and seeds you actually want to keep, so it’s best to keep them off flower beds and veg patches where you are growing things you actually want. Use a good fencing to limit the chickens to certain parts of the garden. 

5. Added Calcium

One of the best things about keeping chickens is the delicious eggs they provide you with. But did you know that eggshells can be highly beneficial to your garden? Eggshells are made of calcium carbonate, and are a perfect way to introduce minerals to your soil. Calcium is essential for building cell walls, making sure the plants stay strong and healthy. 

Grind up your shells with a mortar and pestle and spread on your compost, or straight in your bed.  

6. Great Company

With chickens around you will have even more reason to spend time in the garden. It’s so much fun seeing them scratch around and hear their friendly chatter, and they are great company for any keen gardener. People even claim that being around chickens relieves stress and leads to better mental health.

So what’s stopping you? Chickens are the perfect pet you and your garden needs.

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6 Steps to Starting Seeds in Your Girls’ Eggshells

growing seeds in hens' eggshells

Next time you’re about to throw away your empty eggshells, spare the compost bin and keep hold of them. Many people use crushed up egg shells in gardening to add calcium to the soil, however we have another great way you can use egg shells to add to your garden. Many propagators or seed starter tubs are made out of plastic, which isn’t great for the environment. Why not use your empty egg shells to start your next batch of seeds?! It’s so quick and easy to do!


1. Firstly rinse out the shells, and then let them dry.

2. Once dry, fill the egg shells halfway with compost and sit them in the egg carton.

3. Sprinkle a little water on the compost and then add your chosen seeds to the compost.

4. Spread a thin layer of compost on top and drizzle a little bit more water.

5. Then place in a sunny spot indoors – a window ledge is a great place to start seeds.

6. Keep watering your eggshell seeds each night, and after a few days you should start to see them sprout!


Once they’re too big for the shell then transfer to a bigger spot to continue growing indoors or outdoors depending on the chosen seeds (see packet for details).

Growing seeds in hen eggshells 2

 

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How the Weather Forecast Can Help Chicken Keepers

While most people check the weather forecast to help them plan their week activities or outfits, chicken keepers can also be using it to predict what accessories their coop needs to ensure their girls are as comfortable as possible. 

From sun to snow, wind to wet, the breakfast time weather reports and the handy app on your phone are all giving you helpful hints that you might be ignoring.

🌡 TEMPERATURE 🌡

Firstly, the most obvious indicator: the predicted temperature for the coming 10 days. Depending on what time of year we are in, this can be super helpful or utterly confusing if it is varying drastically. But let’s think about what we can act upon.

In winter, if the predicted temperature is at below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 5 days in a row or the temperature is near freezing and you have very few chickens in your coop, you may want to consider attaching the Extreme Temperature Blanket to your Eglu to give your chickens some extra help with keeping warm, without limiting the coop ventilation. 

During hot summer months, when temperatures can be above and beyond 85 degrees Fahrenheit daily in some countries, it is wise to move your chicken coop into an area that is in the shade for as much of the day as possible. For your chickens, daily health checks are essential to ensure they are not suffering with the high temperatures. If your coop is attached to or inside a secure run, you can leave your coop door open to increase airflow at nighttime without your girls being exposed to predators.

☀️ SUN ☀️

When the sun is shining, it is tempting to cover your chickens’ run with shades so that it is completely protected from the sun inside. However, this can have the opposite effect on what you intended. Instead of shading and cooling the area, lots of shades create a tunnel which traps the heat, like a greenhouse. 

It is best to keep them in a shaded area, and protect one side of the run from the sun. If your chickens are out free ranging most of the day, make sure that they have access to shady patches in the garden, and that their food and water is also in shade. 

❄️ SNOW ❄️

Exciting for some, but for others a weather warning for snow can be very disappointing. You may want to consider sheltering your coop’s run with clear covers to prevent as much snow getting on the ground inside the run as possible. If snow is predicted for the foreseeable future, you may want to prepare for long term icy conditions and bring your coop closer to the house so it is easier to check on your chickens, and they can benefit from some of the shelter your house might provide. During the snow, be sure to dry off damp feathers and remove any chunks of ice from claws. Increase the amount of bedding and food you are giving your chickens too as this will help them stay warm. 

If you have time, it might be wise to consider how effective your chicken coop will be against the bitter cold. If you have a wooden coop, check if it is water-tight and well insulated. If you are not confident in your wooden coop, consider upgrading to a sturdy plastic alternative, like the Eglu Cube. It’s twin-wall insulation works in the same way as double glazing to keep the cold out of the coop, and the heat in during winter. The plastic material is waterproof and super easy to clean out quickly (especially important on chilly winter days).

☁️ CLOUD ☁️

The most boring of all weather forecasts, but often a rest bite from other more extreme conditions. During winter, a few cloudy days should raise the temperature slightly and give you a good opportunity to clean out your coop and thoroughly check on your chickens and make any changes needed for whatever the forecast predicts for the coming days.

🌧 RAIN 🌧

Some weather reports are more helpful than others when it comes to the exact timing and chance of there being rain. But if you’re looking at days of 90% chance of heavy showers, it would be wise to act fast and get some protective clear covers over the run. If the ground under your chickens’ coop and run is already extremely muddy and wet, you might want to consider moving them to a new patch of grass, and maybe even laying down a base material, like wood shavings, to prevent it developing into a swamp!

💨 WIND 💨

How you react to a windy forecast completely depends on the wind speeds predicted. Light winds, less than 25 mph, shouldn’t cause much of a problem. You might want to add some windbreaks around the base of your Eglu and a large clear cover down the most exposed side. However, in extreme high winds, the worst thing you can do is completely conceal your run, particularly a larger Walk in Run, with covers from top to bottom. In a large run, the mesh holes allow the wind to flow through without causing any issues to the structure, and a clear cover round one bottom corner of the run will provide chickens enough shelter. If you cover the run completely, the wind will be hammering against it and is more likely to cause the structure to lift or move. 

If your chickens are in a smaller run attached to their coop, we recommend moving it to a position where it will be most protected from the wind and any falling debris, for example, against a sturdy building wall. The Eglu’s wheels allow you to easily move the coops around your garden to suit the conditions. If you are keeping your chickens in their Eglu coop and run, and not free ranging during dangerous weather conditions, consider adding some entertaining toys and treat dispenser for them to prevent boredom, such as the Peck Toy or Perch


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Chicken-Keeping Challenges In The Year Ahead

Backyard hens usually spend their entire lives outdoors. This means they have to cope with everything the year throws at them, from blazing summers and sub-zero winters to year-round downpours.

Being hardy birds, they take much of this in their stride. But there are still ways of helping your flock through the changing seasons.

Winter

This is the most challenging time of year for any animal living outdoors. The cons outweigh the pros, but with a little bit of help from their human friends, chickens can shrug off the excesses of the season.

  • Although chickens cope well with the cold, they don’t thrive when it’s both cold and raining. Protecting the run with extra weatherproofing will help enormously. Keeping the birds in an insulated Eglu is a good place to start.
  • Keep the hens’ feet dry in wet weather by lining the run with wood chippings.
  • Chickens usually return to the coop at dusk. But in the winter, you may find your birds trying to get more pecking time from the short days. If your hens are prone to wander in the dark, a high visibility hen coat will help you locate them – and also ensure they’re visible to anyone else, should they stray from the garden. The coats also keep the birds cosy, so it’s a double blessing in the winter. 
  • Roosting perches enable chickens to cuddle up in the cold – something essential on a winter’s night. The Omlet Chicken Perch is perfect for chickens over this season, being composed of eucalyptus, a strong, untreated wood, which prevents chickens’ feet from becoming too cold.
  • In sustained sub-zero conditions, rub petroleum gel (e.g. Vaseline) on the hens’ combs and wattles, to prevent them becoming frostbitten.
  • Keep an eye out for coughs, sneezes, lethargy, or other signs of illness. A chicken with a weak constitution may be vulnerable when the cold weather kicks in.
  • Egg numbers will drop – this doesn’t mean you’ll have no eggs for breakfast, though. Three hens should till deliver eight eggs a week in the coldest months, but this will vary somewhat.
  • Make sure the hens’ diet remains healthy, and add some extra vitamins and minerals to keep their immune systems up to scratch.
  • Their water will freeze, so be prepared to break the ice, and have some spare water dispensers ready in case things freeze up entirely.
  • On the upside, winter might kill off any lingering red mite in coops and runs!

Chickens in the Eglu coop  in the snow and a chicken in the garden free-ranging by a flower

Spring

As the days lengthen, your hens will start laying more eggs. The garden comes back to life, and the chickens will find things worth scratching for in the ground.

  • Foxes will be hungry after a long, lean winter, so make sure your coop and run are secure. Automatic doors will ensure the hens are in and out at the right times, and will prevent predators from gaining after-hours access. The door will also let your chickens out in the morning, so that you can enjoy weekend mornings in bed as the days get longer.
  • With the warmer weather, the red mites start to gather… mite-proof your chicken shed before the situation gets out of hand!

Summer

It’s amazing, having seen your chickens happily cluck and scratch their way through freezing winter, to now see them equally happy in temperatures 20-odd degrees warmer. The main problem in summer is too much sun – but with plenty of shade in the garden, your birds will love the warm weather every bit as much as you do. A chicken coop that provides shade in itself, like the space under the Eglu Cube or the Eglu Go Up, is ideal for the summer months.

  • Keep the water supply topped up, as hens drink more in warm weather.
  • Provide a dust bath – either a dry area of ground in the garden, or a tray in the chicken run. Cat-litter trays make good baths.
  • Daily egg-collecting will discourage hens from going broody – something they sometimes do at this time of year.

Autumn

Although the summer has gone and winter lies ahead, this is actually a great season for chickens. There are lots of juicy bugs to scratch for in the still-soft ground and leaf litter. If you have any fruit trees, there are rich pickings for the birds in the shape of windfalls.

  • Hens often moult at this time of year, so they need a good diet to help them stay healthy and grow new feathers. Extra vitamins and minerals will help, and a little apple cider vinegar in their water will help ensure a healthy, glossy new plumage.

Chickens are a year-round commitment. Fortunately, they make it easy for you – these wonderful birds are pretty much happy whatever the time of year.

Chickens in autumn garden and Omlet Eglu chicken coop

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How To Teach A Dog To Swim

Richard Whately, 19th century Oxford academic and Bishop of Durham, taught his dogs to climb trees on the banks of the river Cherwell, and jump into the water from the branches.

Fortunately, there are much easier ways of getting your pet dog used to taking a dip. But the key word in the previous paragraph is ‘taught’. Dogs are not born swimmers – they need teaching to a certain extent, even though most of them can stay afloat and doggy-paddle their way back to shore if you throw them in. But this is certainly not a recommended way to introduce pooch to the pond!

Many of them need no persuasion at all, and jump into rivers, ponds and the sea at every opportunity. Others are less eager to take the plunge, and some breeds are simply not built for the doggy paddle.

Sorting the Water-Dogs from the Non-Swimmers

Dog breeds with no snout, such as the Boxer, English bulldog, French bulldog, Pekingese and Pug, have great difficulties keeping their noses above the water. Their squashed muzzles – ‘brachycephalic’ is the proper term – means they are simply not built for swimming. Similarly, breeds with large heads and muscular upper bodies such as American bulldogs and Staffordshire bull terriers are not able to swim well, or at all.

Dogs with short legs find it hard to get very far in the water, even though they are capable of holding their heads above the surface. This applies to such breeds as the Basset hound and Dachshund.

Taking the First Dip

For dogs that can swim in theory but are a bit nervous, or simply not yet used to taking a dip, there are a few tips and tricks that should turn them into water dogs in no time.

  • Choose a location with water shallow enough for you to easily rescue the dog if it starts to panic. Somewhere with a slope is ideal – a lakeside, a gentle river, or a coastal pool. A paddling pool at home is where many dogs take their first swim.
  • Try to choose a quiet location, to minimise distractions and enable the dog to concentrate on the swimming lesson.
  • Keep the dog on a long lead during these early dips.
  • Take a stick or toy to tempt your dog into the water. If you go in first, the dog will be more inclined to follow. Some will leap in at once, others need more time to get used to the idea. Never drag, throw or otherwise force a dog into water.
  • Doggy lifejackets can be bought, if your pet is particularly nervous, or if you’re not sure whether he will be able to swim very well, based on his body shape.
  • Once the dog is used to being in the water, wade further out (tricky in a paddling pool!) and encourage him to follow you. It’s all about building confidence.
  • To help a nervous dog get used to having its feet off the bottom of the pool or river, hold him by the middle for reassurance. Paddling with the front paws will be instinctive, and you can encourage use of the back legs by raising the dog’s back end slightly. He will instinctively kick his hind legs to regain equilibrium.
  • Once the dog is paddling at the front and kicking at the back, he’s cracked it. You can now let him test his new skill – but stay close and be prepared to hold him by the middle again, in case he tires or suddenly panics.
  • It’s a good idea to take a towel to dry the dog once it’s emerged from the water. Smaller ones in particular can get cold very quickly. Be prepared for a gentle soaking as your wet pet shakes the water from its coat!

For many dogs, the so-called training process will be over in a couple of seconds. Many hounds swim as naturally as they woof – breeds such as Newfoundlands, Poodles, Otterhounds, the various Retrievers, Spaniels, Setters, and – surprise surprise – Portuguese and Spanish Water Dogs, for example.

And rest assured – you don’t need to teach them to climb trees as well!

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Going on vacation? What about the 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!

CHICKENS

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.

CATS

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

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.
  • https://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.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

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.

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Things To Do Together With Your Children and Your Pets At Home

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.

POCKET MONEY

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.

PHOTO SHOOT

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.

EGG PAINTING

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.

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This entry was posted in Dogs


How to Keep Rabbits Cool in Summer

Rabbits outside on a summer's day in their Zippi Rabbit Run connected to Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System

Summer is the greatest time of the year, but when the temperature rises it’s important to make sure that your rabbits, and their home, are ready for the warmer weather. Rabbits are generally very hardy animals, but they actually tend to deal better with cold spells than with extreme heat, so here’s how to keep rabbits cool in summer!

How to keep outdoor rabbits cool in summer

It might be tempting to move your outdoor rabbits inside your air-conditioned house to help them stay cool, but sudden changes in temperature can actually be worse for them than staying outside in the heat. It is, however, important to know that rabbits can die from heat stroke, so make sure that you’re doing everything you can to prevent your rabbits from getting ill. 

The easiest thing to do to make sure your rabbits are comfortable is to get them a hutch that stays cool even in the height of summer. The Eglu Go Rabbit Hutch has twin-wall insulation that keeps the heat out, and makes the temperature in the hutch stay relatively stable throughout the day. It also has a draught-free ventilation system that encourages air to flow through the hutch without creating a nasty draft. 

Shade is also very important for keeping your rabbits in summer nice and cool. If possible, place the rabbits’ hutch and play area in a shady part of the garden, ideally under a tree or next to a building that blocks the sun. If different parts of the garden are shaded at different times of the day you might be able to move the play area as the day goes on. This is very easy with Omlet’s Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System. If you don’t have any natural shade you will need to add covers and sun shades to the run to make sure that your rabbits can be outside without having to be in direct sunlight.

How to keep indoor rabbits cool in summer

If your bunnies live indoors on the other hand, then it’s a good idea to create a ‘cool zone’ in your home for them to move to. In this room, you’ll want to turn up the air-conditioning, or use a fan to keep the room at a cool and consistent temperature (please note that if you do use a fan to keep the room cool, you should never directly point it towards a rabbit). The room should be well-ventilated and it’s also a good idea to keep the blinds shut to make sure that their environment is out of direct sunlight. 

What do rabbits eat in summer?

Regardless of whether your rabbits live indoors or outdoors, make sure that they have plenty of fresh water at all times. Consider changing the water several times a day when it’s very hot; rabbits are much more likely to drink more if the water is cool, just as you would. Speaking of water, fill a few plastic bottles and put them in the freezer for a few hours. You can then place them on the run or in the hutch for your rabbits to lean against when they’re feeling warm. Prepare a few bottles so you can swap them around when the first ones have melted. 

Your bunnies will also love to eat cool and refreshing things when the sun is out. Try washing the vegetables you are giving to your rabbits with cold water before you bring them out to the hutch. 

Do rabbits shed in the summer?

During summer, you’ll also find that your fluffy friend will start to shed, especially breeds with longer hair. This is also known as moulting and is nothing to be concerned about. During this stage, a rabbit will lose its thick, winter coat to help them stay cool during the warmer months. You can assist them with a bit of grooming by brushing them more regularly to ensure that they’re not carrying around unnecessary layers. You can read more about general rabbit grooming in our Rabbit Care guide. 

How to take care of rabbits in summer

If you think your pets are looking particularly hot you can mist their ears with cool (but not ice cold) water from a spray bottle. Do however, make sure the water doesn’t get into the ear canal. Another important thing to think about is the rabbits probably won’t appreciate getting handled during the hottest hours of the day, so leave play time to later in the evening. 

Fly strike

It is also very important to know that the risk of fly strike is much higher during the summer months. Fly strike is caused by flies getting attracted to damp fur, urine and faeces and laying their eggs in the rabbit’s bottom. When the maggots are born after a few hours they eat the rabbit’s flesh and release toxins into the body. Fly strike can kill a healthy rabbit who just happens to have loose stools for a day or two, but if you know that your rabbit sometimes struggles to clean itself it is extra important that you check their bottoms daily. If you see any signs of fly strike, contact your vet immediately. The same goes for heat stroke. Don’t panic and dip your rabbit in cold water, instead take your rabbit to a cool room inside to try to lower their body temperature while you phone the vet. 

Girl outside with rabbits using Zippi Rabbit Run Platforms

Omlet rabbit products

Playing with your floppy-eared friends can be made even more exciting by adding fun accessories like the Caddi Rabbit Treat Holder, or by creating even more space in their run. The Zippi Rabbit Run Platforms are a great way to utilize their space by creating a second floor for your rabbits to explore. The Zippi Rabbit Run Platforms are perfect for the warmer weather, as they are insulated to make sure that the floor under your rabbits’ feet remains at an optimum temperature. Furthermore, the shaded area beneath the platforms make for the perfect spot for your rabbits to relax on a summer’s day!

And that’s how to keep rabbits cool in summer! For all of your rabbit’s needs, shop Omlet’s rabbit products. Discover our range of rabbit hutches, rabbit tunnel systems, rabbit platforms and more to ensure your bunnies remain safe and happy all year round! 

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This entry was posted in Rabbits


How to Protect Your Chickens from Red Mite

Looking inside wooden chicken coop 2

The Red Mite Problem

Red mites, or Dermanyssus gallinae, are without a doubt backyard chicken keepers’ worst enemies! They are nocturnal creatures living in cracks and crevices of the coop, and they only come out at night to feed on chicken blood. Most long term chicken keepers will have encountered these parasites, and can confirm that they are more destructive and difficult to get rid of than all other pests combined. 

Getting Rid of Red Mites

If you have diagnosed a red mite infestation in your wooden coop, there are a few things you can do to try to get rid of them. Start off by giving your coop a really deep clean. Strip the house down as much as possible to get into all corners, nooks and crannies, and scrub with warm water. You will need to replace any felt or fabric parts and carefully clean perches, feeders and drinkers and other loose objects in the coop. Make sure that you get rid of all bedding that might have been infested. 

If you can still see mites crawling out of crevices in the wood when the coop is drying, try hosing the coop and all loose parts down with a pressure washer. Leave to dry for 10-15 minutes and blast it over again to get rid of even more mites. Repeat until there are very few mites emerging after every wash. 

Still not completely clear of mites? Time for the anti-mite products. Mix a mite specific concentrate with water using the manufacturer’s guidelines and apply this to the coop. Go heavy on areas where it is likely that the mites are hiding (corners and end of perches are particularly affected areas), but it is important that you treat the whole coop. When the wood is completely dry, apply plenty of red mite powder on your chickens, their bedding and their dust bath before you let them back into the coop.

Lenham Wooden Chicken Coop versus Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken CoopIn summer you will need to re-apply the powder every few days, and it in many cases getting ahead of the mites will mean deep cleaning the coop with detergents on several occasions over a period of two weeks. When autumn comes the mites become dormant and will not feed on your chickens, but they are unfortunately likely to reappear when the temperature rises again in spring.

Preventing Red Mite Infestations

When it comes to red mites, prevention will always be better than cure, and one of the few things you can actually do to keep these little creatures from hurting your chickens is to have a coop that doesn’t make life easy for them. 

The smooth plastic surfaces of the Eglu chicken coop leaves very little space for the mites to hide.

The smooth plastic surfaces of the Eglu hen house leave very little room for the mites to hide. There are no corners or holes that you will not be able to reach with a hose or a pressure washer, which means that a thorough cleaning of the Eglu should probably remove all dust, dirt and possible pests.

Because it is so easy to disassemble your Eglu, cleaning is made super easy compared to cleaning a wooden chicken house. In fact, we have heard of people burning their wooden houses off as a last resort to get rid of small mites! With your Omlet Eglu chicken house, however, you can simply unscrew the side panels and remove them to give your chickens’ homes a thorough cleaning. For a complete cleaning, you may also want to take the back door panel off. In the Eglu Cube chicken house, the back door panel is easily lifted off to provide full access to the inside, where you will find everything you and your chickens need. By cleaning your Eglu regularly, you prevent red mites from becoming a problem for you and your chickens, and you do not have to spend all the time and all the money on cleaning and disinfecting as you would if you had a more traditional chicken house.

Over the last 15 years, the Eglu chicken houses have been the solution for many people who have grown tired of constantly trying to get rid of blood mites from their wooden chicken houses. Here are some of the things that current Eglu owners have told us about fighting blood mites:

“I’ve thought about having an Eglu for two years but this summer’s red mite infestation was too much. I hate using chemicals/insecticides around my hens so I took the plunge and I’m really pleased.”  Sue

“After having some terrible experiences with mites we decided enough is enough and time to buy a “mite free eglu” as advertised. We have been slightly put off by the price previously but now I wish I had one from the start! I couldn’t rate the omlet eglu cube any higher! What used to take 2 hours to clean and scrub a chicken coop now takes 10 minutes! We have not had any lice infestations since having the cube I absolutely love it and so do our chickens, just wish we had bought one sooner!” Amie

“The most important feature to me is the hygienic, easy clean & wash nature of all the surfaces. I would never buy a wooden house again having struggled with mites which hid in all the joints and gaps of the boards. There is nowhere for the mites to hide on the Eglu and cleaning is quick and easy. I’m certain that there isn’t a better house available for healthy hens.” Neil


Does the thought of mites make you itch? Watch our video about two neighbours having very different chicken keeping experiences this summer, showing some of the struggles that chicken owners with mite-infested coops are faced with:

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This entry was posted in Chickens


How the Eglu Keeps Chickens Cool

Pink Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop, pink flowers

Wooden Chicken Coops and Insulation

Keeping your pets warm in winter and cool in summer is one of the best ways you can help them stay healthy. But this is often easier said than done. Traditionally chicken coops and rabbit hutches have been made from wood. This has its advantages: it’s an easy material to work with, it’s customizable and it looks attractive. However, when it comes to coping with the weather, it can leave a lot to be desired. Wood is not a very good thermal insulator, meaning if it’s hot outside the temperature will transfer through to the inside quickly.

Air As a Thermal Insulator

Perhaps surprisingly, a much better thermal insulator is air. But how can something so thin that you can’t even see keep our pets comfortably insulated from the elements? It’s precisely because it’s so thin that it’s so effective. Heat is conducted between an area of more heat to an area of less heat by one of three processes: conduction, radiation or convection. In conduction warmer molecules vibrate rapidly and collide with other nearby molecules passing on that energy. If the material that the heat is trying to pass through has few molecules in it then it will be harder for the heat to transfer through it. This is precisely what happens if you have a warm surface separated from another surface by a layer of air.

The Eglu Cube Chicken Coop has twin walled insulation

Because air is not a good conductor it is commonly used as an insulator in everything from buildings (double glazing, cavity walls) to cooking utensils, drinking flasks and even the high tech chicken coops.

Eglu chicken coops have a unique twin wall system that takes full advantage of air’s great insulating property to keep your pets comfortable all year round. Within the walls of the Eglu is an air pocket which acts as a barrier, stopping hot and cold temperatures penetrating into the inside of the house, so your chickens can stay warm in winter, and cool in summer.

The Eglus also feature a draft-free ventilation system designed to increase the air flow throughout the coops, keeping chickens at a comfortable temperature. These air vents are discretely located around the coop, and specifically designed so they do not allow drafts over the nesting box. A well ventilated coop is not only beneficial for keeping chickens cool, but it is also extremely important for preventing your hens from suffering with respiratory issues.

For evidence of the Eglu’s cooling properties, take a look at this video showing how much slower an ice pop melts when inside the coop…

 

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This entry was posted in Summer


7 Ways to Help Your Chickens Stay Cool This Summer

Flock of brown chickens outside free ranging

Did you know that chickens can’t sweat? Instead, chickens use their legs, combs and wattles to lead heat away from their bodies. They also pant and spread their wings in order to get some air through those feathers. Chickens also enjoy lying down in the shade when it’s very hot, and of course they drink lots of water. Did you know that it is actually easier for chickens to keep themselves warm in winter than it is for them to cool down during the summer? It isn’t just an issue of comfort either – chickens can die of heatstroke. Since chickens have a hard time cooling themselves down, when it gets extremely hot, they rely on you to help them. So, what can you do to help your chickens keep cool in the summer heat?

Here are our 7 top tips:

1) Water

Eggs consist mainly of water, so producing an egg absorbs a lot of water from a hen’s body. Drinking cool water is also one of the main ways in which chickens cool themselves down. Your chickens will therefore need lots of fresh, clean and cool water in the heat of the summer. It’s best to change the water every day to make sure they have this. It is also a good idea to provide several water sources so all your chickens can drink at the same time and don’t have to fight for access and end up dehydrating.

Another way you can use water to help your chickens cool down is by providing some shallow pools where they can dip and cool their feet and legs, remember that this is one of the areas where heat leaves their bodies. Try filling some shallow bowls or tubs and leaving them around in the run or your backyard. If your chickens don’t like to stand directly in the water, you can try placing a brick in there which will be cooled by the water and which the chickens can then stand on top of.

2) Shade

It is absolutely essential to provide shade for your chickens and even more so when it gets really hot. If you let your chickens free-range in the backyard, they might be able to find shade under trees and bushes but in any case, it is a good idea to provide shade in the run as well. You can easily create shady spots in the run for instance by having a raised coop and/or attaching covers to the run.

Chicken keeper feeding their flock with Eglu Chicken Feeder into their Omlet Eglu Go Chicken Coop

3) Treats and Feeding

Try giving you hens some cool treats such as frozen berries, vegetables or pieces of fruit. You could even create hanging treats by freezing your chickens’ favorite treats in an ice cube tray with a string in the middle so they can hang in the run. Or try keeping a whole watermelon in the fridge to cool it down before serving as a summery treat.

Be careful not to give your chickens too many treats though, as you want to make sure they eat their layers pellets. Chickens eat less when it’s extremely hot because digestion produces more body heat, so it’s important to make sure they eat the right things and get the vitamins and minerals they need. Try feeding your chickens during the cooler parts of the day such as in the evening. See tip #4 as well.

4) Nutritional Supplements

It is a good idea to give your hens some nutritional supplements in the heat such as vitamins and tonics which can be added directly to their food or water. These can improve absorption of minerals, give your chickens a boost to improve their overall health and help them cope better with the heat.

Apple cider vinegar, for instance, can help with calcium absorption in the body which is essential for eggshell production.

 

5) Dust Baths

Chickens love to dust bathe in the warm weather, but you might not want them scraping around in your flower beds. The best thing to do is to build another flower bed (but not for your flowers) and fill it with some sand, soil and some louse powder. If you have a large flock, you might even want to provide several spaces, so all your chickens have a chance to dust bathe in the shade.
Make sure that you place the dust bath in a sheltered spot or cover it up when your chickens aren’t using it otherwise the rain might turn it into a mud bath.

Chicken keeper with Omlet chicken Peck Toy interacting with chickens outside of their Walk in Chicken Run

6) Space

Your chickens will need plenty of space during the hot summer months so make sure they aren’t overcrowded. It will be even hotter for them if they are crowded too closely together. Chickens need to be able to spread out and spread their wings for ventilation, and everyone in the flock needs to be able to drink cool water and lie in the shade at any time.

7) Cool Coop

All Omlet Eglu chicken coops have a unique double-wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing. This means they do not overheat in the summer. They are also built with a draught-free ventilation system, carefully designed to avoid air blowing directly over the roosting area whilst allowing fresh air to circulate.

If you have a wooden chicken coop, it is important to think about how you can keep the coop nice and cool for your chickens. Make sure you create plenty of ventilation either by opening windows in the coop or by using a fan. Be careful not to have too much thick and heavy bedding as it absorbs heat. Also keep an eye out for mold if you’ve got a wooden coop. Mould can make straw and hay start to rot faster, thereby producing more heat, so make sure you clean out the coop regularly and especially at any signs of mold.

If your chickens are reluctant to go into the hot coop during the day to lay their eggs you could try providing nesting boxes for them outside in cooler, shaded areas.

We wish you and your chickens a lovely summer!

Sources: https://www.fresheggsdaily.com, https://www.henrescue.org, https://www.omlet.dk, https://www.backyardchickens.com

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This entry was posted in Summer