Hay fever – how it can affect pets too

Spring is a time of growth when most trees, flowers and grasses bloom; however, unfortunately there are downsides as with this comes the unpleasant symptoms of hay fever for sufferers. It is not widely known amongst pet owners but we aren’t the only ones affected by the condition – your furry friends can be victims too!

The allergy dogs and cats suffer is very similar to that in humans. Animals have a reaction to airborne particles of substances such as pollen and dust which they inhale, although this is not manifested in typical symptoms that we humans experience, such as sneezing, but instead through itchy skin. This is most easily recognised by your pet persistently scratching, licking and trying to bite at their skin to relive the itching sensation, and in some cases even hair loss and a skin rash. The reason that dogs display different symptoms for the same condition is due to the fact that the histamines released by their body in response to pollen are mostly released in the skin rather than in the nose and eyes.

The cause for concern here is that if not diagnosed correctly and treated, this constant scratching can lead to sores and even skin infections. If the case is more severe, there may be other physical signs you can spot such as red or aggravated skin and also a generally more unhappy manner in your dog due to their discomfort.

If you do suspect your dog is an unlucky sufferer of hay fever, then be mindful of this during any walks, avoiding flowerbeds and freshly cut grass where possible. Other things that you can try to help relieve symptoms include bathing your dog with a shampoo designed to aid skin problems for dogs. Keeping up with regularly brushing their coat to ensure any trapped pollen is removed is important, and patting your dog down with a damp towel after walks can also help with this.

Airborne pollen can become caught in the fluids and mucus of the eyes and cause direct irritation to the membranes of the eye. This is common in dogs and cats when they run through long grass, and can be avoided by bathing your pets’ eyes after a walk with cool boiled water and ‘eye make-up’ removing wipes after walks.

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Summer fun for you and your pet

Summer is definitely one of the best times of year to spend extra time outdoors with your pets because the weather is good and the days are long. We all know how excited dogs get at the prospect of activities outside, so why not make the most of this summer and spend some quality time together. Many activities don’t require lots of planning or equipment, dogs love to explore and spend time with their owners so its win win.

It’s a well known fact that dogs love water (except maybe bath time), so heading to your nearest lake or pond is a fun filled trip for you both. Often you won’t need more than a stick or ball, and enjoy throwing it into the water to encourage your dog to swim and retrieve it. Swimming is great exercise for dogs and they’re guaranteed to be all played out afterwards! Be careful, however, not to overdo it; swimming uses much more energy than running on land, start with short distances and just one or two swims in the first sessions and gradually build things up over the following weeks. Don’t have a water source close by? How about a water fight in the garden; just use your hose and watch in amusement your dog’s fascination with the water stream. If you feel your dog is becoming over excited, over assertive or over tired – then stop. Dry off together afterwards in the sun and you’ll find yourself with one happy dog.

Frisbee is the ultimate game for a summer’s day in the park, and one step up from the usual fetch, so see how your dog copes with a flying saucer. Be careful not to overdo things to start and go gradually to build up your dog’s fitness over weeks and months. It’s rewarding for both of you and we can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny afternoon!

Lots of us take annual leave during the summer months, so make the most of any extra free time by training your dog to be a good citizen and perhaps even a few new tricks. Training them to do actions such as to roll over, jump through a hoop, catch a treat or take a bow is a great bonding experience for you both. Dogs appreciate acquiring new skills and find the process of learning very rewarding. Using positive reinforcement and treats while training means it’s extra enjoyable for them.

If you’re a big fan of the outdoors (and the weather is on your side), then why not take a trip and bring your dog along for a spot of camping. Pack a blanket and some treats and toys for them too and enjoy the fun nature and a change of scenery can provide – plus it’s great for extra long walks. An anchor, tether and harness can provide you with a little more security and relaxation.

There are lots of fun activities you can do together which will improve your relationship with your dog and bring joy to you both. The summer months are ideal for this so get outdoors and start playing!

 

June blog 1

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Fascinating cat facts

They amaze us constantly with their little habits and ways, but there are many astounding facts you may not know about your cat that will really make you appreciate what fascinating creatures they are. Here are our top 20 facts about your feline friend:

  1. On average, cats spend two thirds of every day sleeping; that means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life!
  2. Unlike dogs, cats do not have a sweet tooth – scientists believe this is due to a mutation in a key taste receptor.
  3. When a cat chases its prey, it keeps its head and eyes level whereas both dogs and humans bob their heads up and down.
  4. A group of cats is called a ‘clowder’.
  5. Female cats tend to be right pawed, while male cats are more often left pawed.
  6. A cat can’t climb head first down a tree because every claw on their paw points the same way, so to get down from a tree a cat must back down.
  7. Cats make about 100 different sounds; dogs make only about 10.
  8. A cat’s hearing is better than a dog’s and they can hear high-frequency sounds up to two octaves higher than a human can hear.
  9. Cats can travel at a top speed of approximately 31 mph (49 km) over a short distance.
  10. A cat can jump up to five times its own height in a single bound.
  11. Cats usually have about 12 whiskers on each side of its face.
  12. The little tufts of hair in a cat’s ear that help keep out dirt, direct sounds into the ear and insulate the ears are called ‘ear furnishings’.
  13. A cat’s jaw can’t move sideways, so cats are unable to chew large chunks of food with a scissor action.
  14. A cat’s back is extremely flexible due to them having up to 53 loosely fitting vertebrae, 22 to 23 of which are in their tail.
  15. One reason that kittens sleep so much is because a growth hormone is released only during sleep. They grow when they are asleep!
  16. Cats have 32 muscles that control the outer ear (humans have only 6), and a cat can independently rotate its ears 180 degrees.
  17. The normal body temperature of a cat is between 100.5 °F and 102.5 °F; a cat is sick if its temperature goes below 100 °F or above 103 °F.
  18. A cat has 230 bones in its body, more than humans who have only 206. Cats have no collarbone; there is no ridged attachment between their fore legs and the body, so they can fit through any opening the size of its head.
  19. A cat’s nose pad is ridged with a unique pattern, just like the fingerprint of a human.
  20. If they have ample water, cats can tolerate temperatures up to 133 °F (but don’t try this at home!).

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