Keeping your pet happy on Bonfire Night

It comes around every year and Bonfire Night may mean fun and fireworks, but it can also be a source of worry for pet owners. With bonfires and firework displays increasingly spread out before the night itself and for several nights afterwards, it can now mean almost a week of trying to keep our pets calm and happy. Fireworks can be a source of fear for many animals due to the sudden, loud noises, so here are some tips to help minimise the stress for your furry friend:

  • Keep your dog or cat inside when you hear fireworks nearby being let off, and whenever possible stay at home with them at night so as to not leave them alone and scared.
  • Take your dog for a nice, long walk in the late afternoon before dusk, to help tire them out so they find it easier to relax later, and also avoid any early fireworks displays.
  • Keep the TV, radio or music player on to help mask the outside noise. Closing all windows and curtains can also help to hide the sound of the fireworks.
  • Having lots of lights on in the house can help to mask flashes of lights from fireworks outside.
  • Be careful not to fuss too much over your pet if they show signs of fear because this may confirm to them that something is wrong. Act like everything is normal, and if they rush off to a safe place, let them and calmly follow at a distance to provide some company.
  • Moving their toys and favourite items to somewhere you think is a safe and good hiding place a few weeks before Bonfire Night will help them to associate it as such, and give them a sanctuary to go to if they do get scared. Fill it with cushions and blankets for comfort, and for cats a high place is ideal.
  • Try to distract your pet with treats or toys to keep them occupied; play with them to help reassure them that it’s just a normal day and ensure they’re focusing on something else.
  • If your pet reacts especially badly, it can be useful to contact your local council to find out the dates of any organised displays to allow you to take the necessary precautions and make arrangements.
  • If you are having your own bonfire party make sure you inform your neighbours of the date and timings of your party so that they will afford you the same opportunity to take measures to protect your pet from any nearby events.

 

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Filed under Cats, Holiday

Keeping dogs cool in summer

We all love summer, in particular when we experience spells of good weather. Warm sunny days are a real treat for everyone, but as the temperature rises it can affect our pets too, although they can’t let us know if they’re suffering so it’s important to help your dog stay cool in the heat and enjoy the summer months.

It’s not just us humans that suffer from the negative effects of the sun; dogs can be victims of sunburn, and even skin cancer, too. With this in mind, be careful not to use sunscreen designed for humans on your dog, as the chemicals they’re produced with can irritate their skin and also be harmful if ingested (and we all know dogs’ tendencies to lick their coats!). There are special sun lotions formulated for pets, available in pet stores, but the best option is to minimise the time your dog spends exposed in the sun where possible. Dogs’ hair has insulating properties and in fact helps to keep them cool, but this is not commonly known amongst pet owners who often believe getting their coat trimmed will help. Certain breeds are more susceptible to catching the sun than others, including those with white and lighter coloured fur so they will need extra protection from the sun.

It should go without saying but never leave your dog in a parked car; even with the window cracked, cars rapidly overheat to unbearable temperatures and this could lead to sunstroke. Likewise, you should avoid tying your dog up outside in the sun – if you need to leave them temporarily then be sure to find a shady spot such as under a tree. Dogs enjoy being outside on nice days, so ensure there is always a cool, sheltered spot accessible for them in your garden then there’s no need for them to miss out.

With long, bright days, summer is a great time of year for enjoying the outdoors even more with your pet and means great exercise for both of you! As the weather improves, try to select cooler times of the day to take your dog out such as mornings or early evenings instead of the heat of the day. If you are doing more strenuous activity with them, such as fetch or Frisbee in the park, make sure you observe if they seem to be getting tired or overheating – excessive panting or appearing lethargic are signs of this. Taking a bottle of water along with you is ideal to help re-hydrate your dog or also use it to cool them down.

Dehydration and heatstroke are the main concerns for dogs when the weather gets hot, however both can be quite easily prevented by taking the right steps. More than ever, in summer it’s vital to keep your pet hydrated so make sure they have a plentiful supply of water accessible to them at all times, including an extra bowl in the garden. Pet fountains, such as our Drinkwell range, are a great way of providing a constant supply of fresh, filtered water which means no need to worry when you are out. Heatstroke can develop very quickly and the symptoms to look out for include panting, apparent dehydration, extremely high temperature, a fast heartbeat and if your dog appears anxious. If you notice any of these signs, ensure you seek immediate advice from your vet.

Now you know what to consider you and your pet can enjoy the benefits of summer together – safe and happy.

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Filed under Dogs, Holiday, Pets

Fascinating dog facts about your furry friend

Dogs are astonishing animals that provide us with endless joy and companionship, but there is also far more to these furry creatures than a lot of us might realise. Not that we need any reason to appreciate them more, but these 10 fascinating facts will make you see your pet and the things they can do in a whole new light:

  1. Dogs have sweat glands only in the skin between pads on their paws.
  2. Dogs have three eyelids; the third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw,” keeps the eye lubricated and protected.
  3. A dog’s shoulder blades are unattached to the rest of the skeleton to allow greater flexibility for running. Human shoulders are attached to our chest by our collar bones – dogs don’t have proper collar bones.
  4. Dogs can smell about 1,000 times better than humans; while humans have 5 million smell-detecting cells, dogs have more than 220 million. The part of the brain that interprets smell is also four times larger in dogs than in humans.
  5. Dalmatians are completely white when they are born.
  6. A dog can locate the source of a sound in 1/600 of a second and can hear sounds four times farther away than a human can.
  7. Touch is the first sense the dog develops; their entire body, including the paws, is covered with touch-sensitive nerve endings.
  8. Eighteen muscles or more can move a dog’s ear to help it locate the source of a sound.
  9. Dogs can see in colour, though they most likely see colours similar to a colour-blind human. They can see better in low light.
  10. Dogs are about as smart as a two or three-year-old child; this means they can understand about 150-200 words, including signals and hand movements with the same meaning as words

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Filed under Dogs, General, Pets