9 articles Tag dog

Maureen – One Year On #PethoodStories

We’ve been asked by Petplan Pet Insurance to tell you one of our Pethood Stories.

When we lost Chuck back in December 2017, we said it would take us a long time before we ever considered getting another dog. When he passed, we told the girls our belief that energy can never be destroyed which means that his energy would pass into something else and maybe that energy would find its way back to us one day, but we expected to be a petless family for quite some time.

Then, a month or so later, my friends dog had a litter of puppies and one of them was born with a broken tail which looked EXACTLY like Chuck’s. I showed Husband the picture and it took us about 30 seconds to decide it was too much of a coincidence and we needed to have her. I messaged my friend and thankfully the puppy hadn’t been reserved by anyone else, so she was ours. We had to wait until she was ready to leave her mum at 8 weeks and we decided that we’d keep it all a secret from the girls and surprise them.

 

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We spent weeks making surreptitious arrangements, buying a crate, a puppy pen, a bed, researching Petplan Pet Insurance and all sorts of other stuff that we had to try to hide from Sausage and BB, but amazingly enough we did it. On the day we were due to collect our puppy, we didn’t even tell the girls where we were going, we just said that we had to go somewhere to collect a package. In fact, our sweet, trusting babies didn’t even realise what we were there for, even when we were standing in my friends’ living room, surrounded by puppies!

It’s been a maaaaaad year. Having a puppy is a shock after having an elderly dog who was already trained to do everything when he got him, aged two, but actually the toilet training and other stuff all went amazingly well. She’s a really intelligent, enthusiastic dog who fitted in with our family from really early on.

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We’ve had ups and downs – one low point being when Maureen managed to steal a chicken skewer from a plate and swallow it, stick and all. Leaving her at the vets to have emergency surgery when she was just a few months old was really hard, but she made it through and we learned a LOT from that day…mainly not to ever leave plates unattended.

Next Tuesday marks a whole year since Maureen came to live with us and it’s gone so fast! She’s grown into such a fabulous dog, and although she’s still a boisterous little monkey at times, she’s loving and loyal and an absolute pleasure to be with. She’ll never replace Chuck, but she’s taught us how to love again after losing such an important part of our lives and for that, I’ll always be grateful.

So, here’s to Maureen. A year as a Crammond and carrying on your brother’s legacy of being stubborn, greedy and the best kisser in the whole house. We love you, Beansy.

For more Pethood Stories and the results of the Petplan Pet Census 2018, head over to their site. This post is in conjunction with Petplan but all thoughts are my own

 

Taking Care of an Elderly Pet

One thing that we’ve come to realise now that Chuck is older is that taking care of an elderly dog is vastly different to caring for a younger one. His drives have completely changed now that he’s an old man (he’s the equivalent of around 80 years old in human years) and we’ve had to make some changes to accomodate him and keep him healthy for as long as possible. Here’s some of the things you might want to consider if you have an elderly pet:

Mobility

Just like with old people, old pets can struggle with mobility. Chuck used to race up and down the stairs with ease, walk for hours and think nothing of jumping up and down onto the bed or sofa to snuggle with us. Now, he’s a lot less mobile, so we’ve placed water bowls both up and downstairs so that he never has to go too far for a drink and we’re also looking into getting some pet steps so that he can get up onto the bed without having to jump.

Diet

This one is a double-edge sword. Now that he’s less mobile, he doesn’t exercise as much and therefore doesn’t need to eat as much. However, since his drives have turned away from procreation, they’ve turned firmly towards food so he acts like he’s hungry MOST of the time! We’re careful to limit table scraps and have moved him onto a senior diet which gives him the nutrients he needs with fewer calories so that he doesn’t get fat!

Exercise

We know for a fact that he’s suffering with heart problems and suspect that he had a heart attack sometime last year. This means that the dog who used to walk for literally hours now barely makes it 800m. We’ve decided that we allow him to completely dictate how far he wants to go; on days when he’s not feeling it, we leave him be or let him have a little plod to the end of the road and back, but if he seems pretty spritely we let him dictate the pace and distance and it seems to be working pretty well.

Vet Care

Some pet owners are lucky to rarely ever need to take their pet to the vet, but once they get older it’s vital to get at least a check-up. Chuck takes a variety of medications for his heart and an anti-inflammatory for his joints which means that he gets to live out his old age with minimum pain or discomfort. If you’re worried about vets bills, the PDSA offers treatment if you’re in receipt of benefits, so it might be worth having a look if you have an elderly pet.

Temperament

We’re incredibly lucky in the respect that Chuck is an amazingly wellbehaved dog with our kids and is soft and loving with them. However, now that he’s old and struggling with stiffness etc. we make a point to make sure that the kids aren’t too rough with him and give him plenty of space. We trust him completely but it would be heartbreaking for him to get hurt or feel overwhelmed and lose his cool with one of them. We don’t think for a second it would happen but it protects ALL THREE OF THEM if we remove the risk altogether.

Do you have an elderly pet? Have you found any new challenges have arisen since they’ve got older? I’d love to hear from you.

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.

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.

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 the best 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!

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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.

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

FETCH!

Another video in our Pedigree Joint Care+ Challenge…I think the title speaks for itself!

Pedigree Joint Care+ Challenge – Week One

Meet Chuck!

Here’s a little video to kick off our six week Joint Care+ challenge, in association with Pedigree. We’ve been sent a six week supply of Joint Care+ to see if it improves our dogs mobility in that time, plus a selection of other goodies such as Chuck’s own rucksack with his name embroidered on it and the kind loan of a flipcam to capture all of our videos as we go along. We’re really excited to get started and see how Chuck gets on.

Getting a bit carried away!