10 articles Articles posted in Pets

Gifts for Dog Lovers

Everyone has that one friend who is a little bit too bonkers about their dog, referring to it as their first-born child, allowing it to sleep in their bed and feeding it food which costs more than their own. Given the fact that I’m basically describing MYSELF here, and I’m the crazy dog lady in my friends lives, I thought I’d be a good person to put together a list of great gifts to buy the dogs (or dog lovers) in your life for Christmas. Here are my suggestions:

A Doggy iPad Cover

If your dog-lover has an iPad, then this dog print iPad cover would make a great gift, It’s made from natural materials and protects screens whilst looking cute and well made, and I’m convinced that any dog-lover would get a real kick out of putting their iPad in it!

A Doggy Cushion

I’m not sure if I’d like this one for myself or for Chuck…or maybe one for each! Chuck has his own selection of cushions that we put in his beds for a bit of soft support now that he’s getting old and I think these would look really stylish around the home.

Dog Christmas Jumpers

It’s not often that we see dog clothes which are big enough for Chuck because he’s a medium sized breed (although I think that’s discrimination personally, as he’d look SO AMAZING in a fair-isle jumper!) but if your dog-loving friend or relative does have a smaller breed then a Christmas jumper would be such a cute gift. You can even get Santa outfits!

Dog Beds

One thing on which we never scrimp is the beds that we buy for Chuck, especially now he’s old as he needs the warmth and comfort, especially at night when the temperature drops. Buying a dog bed for a human might not be the best idea but if you’re a dog-lover yourself then investing in a decent beg for your dog, with lots of padding and a good, strong material like tweed which will provide a good outer layer for the bed which still looks great in your home.

Are you a dog lover? What’s on YOUR Christmas list for either you or your pooch?

Caring For an Older Dog

FullSizeRender (3)Having an older dogs brings with it added responsibilities. When Sausage was born, Chuck was a spritely boy of just 4, whereas when Burrito Baby came along, he was getting on slightly, closer to the age of ten, which meant that we made sure we gave him extra space and also a little extra love when the girls weren’t around as our attentions were so divided during the day that he sometimes missed out.

Nutrition is extra important, now that he’s older, as his joints are feeling the wear of age so we tend to opt for food which has added glucosamine, chondroitin and green-lipped mussel as it helps to bolster his joint health. He also has issues with a sensitive gut, which means that hypoallergenic food is better and gentler on his tummy. Luckily, there are some great brands out there which cater for all of these aspects.

Exercise is equally important as he needs to remain mobile whilst maintaining a healthy weight – it’s so common to see older dogs getting fat, which just adds extra pressure to their joints. Instead of taking him on long walks, which potentially cause him pain, we tend to take him on shorter walks but more often to give him the level of exercise he requires, with plenty of rest in between.

Sleep and rest is also all-important and we ensure that he has a bed which provides him with adequate padding and warmth. We also place his bed on a large memory foam pad, which we also add a heat pad to in the winter to ensure that he doesn’t get too cold as he’s short haired and his joints also seize up when he’s too cold.

In time, we’re also planning to build a set of steps for our old boy – he’s never been the sort of dog who isn’t allowed on the bed or sofa and we don’t want to stop him as he gets older, so a set of steps will enable him to get up onto high things without jumping and causing himself harm.

Keeping stress to a minimum is something we also find hugely important as he gets older. He’s never left alone for long as Husband works from home and I’m always in and out, but if we know we’re going to be away for a few hours, we’ll also ask my MIL to check in on him to make sure he has plenty of water.

Lastly, the most important thing to give them is plenty of patience and understanding. He’s not able to walk quite as fast any more so we make sure we allow plenty of time even for shorter walks and on the VERY rare occasion that he’s had an accident in the house, we remember that it’s not a behavioural issue, just that he can’t cross his paws for quite as long these days!

Hopefully if we carry on with all these things, we’ll have many years to come with our lovely fur baby and see him grow old in health and happiness.

Which horse rug is right for your horse during Winter?

Shires Winter Highlander ComboSelecting the correct rug for ones horse during the winter can be very important. A horse rug will allow the horse to stay warm in the winter as well as provide other protection that he may need. You may be asking yourself which horse rug is right for your horse during winter? Choosing the correct size is one of the most important details to keep in mind. A properly fitting horse rug will cover the horse from his chest to his tail. A rug with straps around the girth as well as the back legs will help to keep the rug securely in place as well as still allow freedom of movement for him.

A Shivering Horse Is A Cold Horse 

If a horse is shivering during the winter months, it means that he is cold and a quality horse rug will allow him to stay warmer and more comfortable. Horses get cold and shiver just as people do so this is a great sign to watch for. If a horse spends time in the pasture or field during winter months a warm rug can be a great way to help protect him.

Older or Weaker Horses May Require A Rug

Horses again can be like people and the older they get the colder they get. Making sure that they have access to a warm rug can provide a great deal of protection to them. Horses that are experiencing illness should also be fitted with a rug for winter. Protecting him with a warm rug can help to prevent illness or keep him warm while he is recovering from an illness.

More Reasons For Warm Rugs

Wondering which horse rug is right for your horse during winter? Consider the age of the horse, a young horse can also find cold winter months difficult and a good rug can help him to experience a more comfortable winter. A horse that has been clipped can also enjoy the benefits of a warm rug as well. A horse that is lacking in a good winter coat can also be protected with a rug. Perhaps a warm rug for a show horse is a great idea as well, not only will it keep him warm but it can also provide a great deal of protection to his coat while helping to keep him clean.

Consider All Winter Elements

There is more to winter than just cold, with the cold comes snow and freezing rain and having a good rug for a horse can help him to be healthier during these types of extreme weather. If the days are warm but the nights are cold the rug can be used during the night and removed during the day for his comfort. Cheap Horse Rugs

Which horse rug is right for your horse during winter? The rug that fits, provides protection from the elements and is comfortable for the horse to wear. Ride 4 Less offers a great selection of horse rugs that are not only affordable but that also protect the horse during the long cold winter months. A large variety of styles as well as thicknesses will allow all horse owners to care for their horses in the best way possible. Shopping is easy and convenient and winter can be more bearable for the horses. Rugs that fit a bit more loosely will provide the maximum comfort for the horse. Protect horses for the harsh winter weather in your area with the most quality rugs available for them.

Feeding horses in Winter & Keeping Costs Down

Summer is coming to an end and as a horse owner, you will have to take care of your horse’s health and nutritional requirements in the winter months. Horses require more food in winter and this can easily drive up the feeding costs. Thankfully, with a little bit of foresight and planning you can feed your horse without incurring high costs.

Make Plans Early

Rather than waiting for the first frost to decide what to feed your horse, you should plan it well in advance. Have the hay tested for its nutrient value and while the results come in, find out what are your horse’s nutritional needs. You can do this by referring to nutritional tables for horses. Nutritional requirement of a horse is dependent on several factors, such as age, amount of work the horse does, size and in case of a mare the reproductive stage she is in.

Comparing Nutrient Value to Nutrient Requirement

Once you know the nutrient value of the hay, it is time to compare it with the horse’s nutrient requirement. Good quality hay should suffice and meet your horse’s nutrient requirement along with a mineralised salt block. You should give adequate time for your horse to acclimatise to the new feed and that is why you should start introducing hay into your horse’s diet well before winter sets in.horse winter clothing

Understanding Your Horse’s Body

Hay is digested in the colon and caecum and this causes production of heat by bacterial fermentation. If you opt for grain, not only is it more expensive, it also gets digested in the small intestine within no time and without producing a lot of heat. Hence, the horse is unable to keep itself warm and its condition will deteriorate. Hence, it makes sense to give your horse good quality hay that can produce more heat and also not cost you a lot.

You only need to supplement the hay with grain if your horse is unable to maintain his body condition. In which case, go for cheaper hay and more grain but expensive grain. You need to think about this if the weather is very cold and the horse does not have adequate shelter. The hay and grain combination will meet the horse’s energy requirements in this situation.

Feed your horse hay that has more legume compared to grass. The protein present in legume offers your horse more nutrition and energy, making it perfect feed when temperatures dip.

How Much to Feed Your Horse

When you switch to hay, give your horse one or two extra flakes for each meal. Check how much your horse consumes and how well he can maintain his weight. At the same time, remember horses are wasteful and tend to trample hay. So set aside 25 percent as waste. Make sure the hay is kept away, so that the horse can eat it but not kick it.

Water Needs

When winter sets in, most horses reduce their water consumption and this can lead to frequent colic attacks. Horses require water for digestion. Water should be warm, around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. You can bring down your feeding costs and other expenses (vet and medicine costs) by ensuring your horse drinks lots of water during winter. Place a football in the water trough to prevent it from freezing. Also, make sure it is warm. You can add apple juice to get the horse to drink its daily water requirement and keep itself hydrated. Water and feeding go hand-in-hand and if you really want to reduce your feeding costs, this is something you should not forget.horse clothing

If you are looking for affordable and high quality equestrian products to keep your horse comfortable and healthy regardless of the weather, look no further than Robinsons, the UK’s number one equestrian provider.

Why You Should Choose an Adult Dog Over a Puppy for Your Family

This guest post was provided to Mum’s the Word but is a subject that is very close to my heart. 

ChuckMy very own adopted dog, Chuck, who came to us when he was 2.

Giving a dog a second chance at happiness can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. At the very least, we should be able to provide our pets with a safe and loving home, but sometimes that isn’t possible, and animals find themselves unwanted and uncared for.

The financial crisis has meant that many people have had to face the stark reality that they can no longer afford to keep their pets. This means that there are so many dogs for rehoming in the care of institutions such as the RSPCA that whatever breed, size or even colour that you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone.

Less training

Puppies are so cute and adorable that it’s easy to forget that they’re not going to stay that size forever. A puppy needs a great deal of training and attention in order to become the faithful obedient friend that you’re hoping for, so if you have a busy life and family it may be better to consider choosing an adult rescue dog that has been trained, neutered and is ready for family life. You can do some research to find the breed and personality that best suits your family’s lifestyle. An adult dog is far more likely to have a calming effect on your household whilst also being a playmate for your children.

It’s rewarding

Rehoming a rescue dog from the RSPCA’s programme will not only give you a sense of doing something worthwhile, it will also provide you and your family with a loyal friend. The rehoming programme makes sure that all the dogs in their care are fully assessed in temperament and health before they are rehomed. The care assistants take their time to get know all the dogs properly so that they can find the right owner and home environment for them.

Fewer costs

Caring for any animal means being responsible for their health and wellbeing so the spiralling costs of vet bills can put many people off. When you choose an adult dog from the RSPCA’s programme you can be assured that they will already have had all their vaccinations; they will be micro-chipped and neutered so that all you need to concentrate on is giving them a good home with lots of love.

Pet Benefits

When Husband and I adopted our beloved dog Chuck, back in 2006, we had no idea just how must he’d do for us, as part of our little family. When Husband was sent home from the hospital after Sausage’s horrible, traumatic birth, not knowing whether his wife and child would pull through, it was Chuck who was there to offer a comforting lick on the hand in his hour of need.

When Husband started working nights and I was at home with Sausage as a young baby, it was Chuck who sat guard by the bedroom door and acted like an early warning system when anyone so much as walked near the house. He gave me an element of peace of mind that I would never have had, had I been alone with a newborn.

When I decided to go on a health-kick a couple of years ago, it was Chuck who ran alongside me while I did my couch-to-5k and Husband has often said how having a dog has really given him a great incentive to stay active, despite doing a sedentary job.

Sunrise Care have put together an infographic to show just how beneficial it can be to elderly people to have a pet, from improving our physical health, mental health and overall sense of wellbeing, having a pet is so much more than just a companion on lonely evenings. Pet infographic

I know for a fact that Chuck had helped with our health, as a family, and I completely agree that he makes me more sociable; I’ve often stopped to chat to other dog walkers when I take him out, and I’ve found that other people are more likely to throw a cheery “Good Morning!” in my direction when I’m walking the mutt.

Chuck is officially a senior dog now – he was around 2 when we got him from the rescue centre, which was eight years ago this October, so he’s not quite as able to go on the super long walks that he enjoyed when he was a younger dog, but he still very much enjoys a yomp around the local fields and now that we’ve got an estate car, he can jump into the boot and be driven somewhere to walk if his legs can’t quite keep up.

Having a dog is one of the best decisions that Husband and I ever made and I never imagined that he’d make our lives as rich as he has. I can wholeheartedly recommend being a dog owner, if not for the reasons stated above but also for the fact that he gives the best hugs you could possibly imagine – and who doesn’t love hugs?!

Feeding a Senior – Growling Tums Dog Food review

If you’ve read any of my older posts about our dog, Chuck, you’ll know that he didn’t have the best start in life. He came to us covered in scars from untold abuse, riddled with worms and a haunted look in his eye. We vowed that we’d always do our best to give him the best life we could, and his nutrition has always been a big part of that. He’s a bull terrier cross, with heavy musculature and a short coat, so he needs plenty of protein and exercise, as well as the right nutrients to keep him shiny and bright-eyed. 

He’s also a complicated beast, suffering with bouts of colitis and bloating, as well as having joint issues, so his food has to be both hypoallergenic and contain some sort of joint care, which is why when Growling Tums got in touch as asked if we’d like to try some of their dog food we were more than happy to give it a go. You see, their Golden Oldies senior dog food is both gentle on the tummies of older dogs and contains high-quality protein and Glucosamine, MSM and Chondroitin, all of which are essential for keeping Chuck’s joints well-cared for. 

Growling Tums Golden Oldies Senior Dog Food

The other thing we like about this food is that it’s calorie-controlled – when Chuck was a younger pooch Husband would take him on a five mile walk every day. As his joints gave him more issues, it became every other day and now, we’re only really able to take him a mile or so at a time, but once or twice a day. This means that he’s more prone to weight gain because he’s not exercising as much, but the Growling Tums Senior food helps us to control this – let’s face it, a fat dog is not good and more weight will ultimately put more strain on his joints.

Chuck’s been having the Growling Tums for a couple of weeks now and he’s absolutely loving it! He wolfs his dinner down when its put down for him (with other brands of dry food, he turns his nose up until he’s so hungry that he forces himself to eat!) and his coat is looking fantastic. Best of all, we’ve not had to give him any of his anti-inflammatories since he’s been on the new food either; occasionally, after a walk, he’ll develop a limp and his vet had given us some medicine to give him when he’s in pain, but we’ve been medicine-free for ages now!

photo

Another great benefit of Growling Tums is the price – we were sent a 12kg bag for the purposes of review, which would ordinarily cost £34.99, which works out at £2.91 per kilo. The food we were giving Chuck previously (which matches up in terms of nutrition) would cost £3.57 per kilo, giving us a saving of around 66p per kilo. That might not seem like much but over the course of the year we’ll save over £70 by switching to Growling Tums.

Which, I think I can safely say, is something we’ll definitely be doing!

It’s a Dog’s Life

This post was kindly contributed by my dog, Chuck.

I don’t remember much about my life before I was 2. I know it wasn’t very nice as I have scars on my feet to prove it, but then I went to the kennels where my ‘people’ came and found me. When they talk to me, they call themselves Mum and Dad, but I don’t think they’re my real parents – they poop indoors into a giant water bowl and I’ve never seen them lick their own butts…

Sometimes, Mum and Dad have to take me to the big shiny white house – I don’t like it there. It smells like other animals and fear and whenever I go there I end up having to have sharp things stuck in me. My humans hug me and tell me it’ll all be okay, but I still hate it, even if they do feed me nice things when I get home. I’ve heard them talking about ‘dog insurance‘ to the person with no legs (at least, I don’t think she has any legs, I can only see her from the waist up) at the shiny white place about it and everyone says things like “thank goodness we have it” – especially when I do things like pulling my claws out by jumping up the back fence because the dog in the garden behind us keeps calling me stupid.

The day that they came to find me, I knew I had to make sure that they took me home with them, away from the draughty kennel where I’d got worms and fleas, so I pee’d up Dad’s leg – that let him know that he belonged to me. That night, Mum and Dad tried to get me to sleep in the spare room, but I didn’t want to be away from them, so I made as much noise as I could to get them to let me into where they were sleeping and I’ve slept with them ever since.

I’d been with Mum and Dad for a few years when Mum’s belly started to get big and one day they came home with a new, tiny pink Human. I think she’s my favourite person in the whole world. She sneaks me treats, gives me hugs and smells fantastic – plus, she leaves her toys all over the place and when no-one is looking, I sneak onto the couch to snuggle with them!

Mum’s belly has been getting bigger again recently, so I know there will probably be another small pink thing coming to live with us again soon. I might be getting old now and my knees sometimes give me jip, but if this new human is anywhere near as awesome as my sister, I’ll be one seriously lucky old pooch.

Argos is linked here as just one example of pet insurance providers I highly recommended that you shop around for a quote from different providers and choose the one best for you and your family.

Canagan Dog Food Review

Canagan Dog FoodGiven the fact that Mum’s the Word is a family blog and Chuck, our 9-year-old English Bull Terrier cross, is very much a part of our family, it seems only fair that he should get in on the reviewing goodness, so when the people at Canagan got in touch and asked if we wanted to review their dog food, I was pleased to be able to cater for my fur-baby too.

(Yes, okay, I’m one of those people who counts her pets as her children. Deal with it. )

Chuck has suffered with some gastric issues in the past and as a result is on a very specific diet to avoid his intolerances causing a flare-up of colitis, which can be painful and tricky to deal with. For the past few years, he’s been having the same dry food which contains ingredients which are kind to his stomach, and we avoid giving scraps or low-quality food which can upset his system, so I was ever so slightly reluctant at first to make the switch.

However, when I read the ingredients on the Canagan food, I realised that it actually contained more meat than his usual food, as well as being grain free. The Canagan food even contains added glucosamine and chondroitin, which is essential for a dog of Chuck’s age to help him maintain healthy joints into old age.

Their blurb regarding the thinking behind the ingredients in their food really spoke to me, too:

Throughout the ages, man and dog have evolved side by side, living and hunting together, protecting each other in a unique alliance. Canagan – from the ancient Celtic word for wolf – was created to honour this bond. All dogs are the direct descendants of grey wolves domesticated by our ancient forefathers, and their dietary needs have remained virtually unchanged to this day.Traditionally dog and cat foods have sacrificed nutritional value by using cheaper, less nutritionally accessible ingredients. Our nutritionists have looked carefully at the dietary needs of cats and dogs to produce a food which more closely mimics your pet’s ancestral diet with the correct ratio of meat protein and fat to carbohydrate and a much higher meat content than most.

For a couple of days after giving Chuck the Canagan, we watched him closely for signs that the food might be upsetting him, but aside from a slight increase in…erm…gaseous expulsions (!), which any Bully owner will tell you is a regular occurrence with the breed, he seemed to take to the food really well. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that he actually seems to enjoy the food more than his old brand and his coat is looking shinier than usual.

Given the fact that we have to be so careful with Chuck’s diet, we didn’t make the decision to try Canagan’s food lightly, but I’m so glad that we did. The quality of the food is clearly higher than his previous brand and seeing him enjoy his food is a real bonus for us. When you buy food for your pets in 15kg bags, watching them get gradually more bored with their daily offering can be soul destroying, espceially when you’ve spent close to £50 on it, but his interest in the Canagan food doesn’t seem to have waned at all.

All in all, I’d say that Canagan food has Chuck’s seal of approval!

We were sent a 12kg bag of Canagan Free-Run Chicken food, worth £57.99. All opinions are our own and are in no way influenced by being given a freebie. 

Essential Tips on Taking Care of your Cat

As pets, cats can offer us companionship, fun and a warm bundle of fur to come home to in the evening. They make fantastic play-mates for your kids and are generally low-maintenance to have around, so it’s no wonder they’re so popular as a family pet. This said, getting a cat is still a big commitment and it’s worth investigating what kind of care they will need before you bring home that wicker basket. Here’s a handy overview of the basics of cat careHairless Cat.

Choosing a cat

Before deciding to adopt a cat, it’s important to make sure that your lifestyle will allow you to care for it properly. Cats are independent and often work well as pets for people with hectic lives, but different breeds have different requirements and can cause varying levels of allergy problems. Then there are choices to be made on whether to buy a kitten over an older, rescue animal. Do some research on all the options and talk to the local pet store or animal shelter before you make the final commitment.

Feeding time

Providing your pet with proper cat food is the most basic of needs. Some people choose to feed their cats a homemade diet and there are things like chopped-up fruit which are safe to give them but you will need to put in time and effort to make sure they all get the nutrients they need. Most people find it easier to do this by buying products specially formulated for a cat’s diet, such as Whiskas cat food. Cats also need a plentiful supply of fresh water every day.

Grooming

Most people find cat’s ability to take care of themselves a major plus as a pet, but they will need help now and again, even with grooming. You shouldn’t normally need to inflict the dreaded bath on your cat, unless it’s had a problem with fleas or illness. But cats do benefit from regular brushing; once a week is a good idea for short-haired varieties and long-hairs may need grooming every day. You can buy fine metal-tooth combs especially for this.

Litter care

Keeping a clean litter tray is essential for both pet and owner. You can buy loose cat litter granules or ‘clumping’ litter, which is often easier to scoop out as it stick together when wet. Dirty litter should be scooped out every day and loose litter needs changing completely once a week so you can scrub the box as well. Clumping litter only needs to be changed every 2 -3 weeks.

Veterinary exams

New cats should all be examined by a vet, regardless of age. The vet will need to give your cat standard immunisations and you will probably want to have them neutered or spayed if they are old enough and haven’t been already. Try to take them for a check-up every year afterwards, as this will help catch any problems early on: better for the cat and easier on your wallet, as well!