Walkies App Review & Win £50 PetsPyjamas Vouchers!

Anyone else with a smart phone get a bit obsessed with the health tracker? It’s a free app but I am always fascinated to see how many steps I have taken in a day. Although I’d love it, I refuse to get a fitbit or similar device, as I think it would just make me feel more guilty for the evenings I don’t move in front of Netflix.

I am always interested in new bits of tech, with uses for us pet owners of course. So for the last few weeks I’ve been using the Walkies App from Direct Line. It’s free to download and even gives you a voucher for a free photography session at Venture Studios when you sign in, worth over £150! Maybe we can get some professional pics instead of #dogselfies…


The app has been created as part of Direct line’s campaign to help reduce pet obesity. The app aims to help keep dogs fit by allowing you to record the distance covered and the calories burned by you and your pet while walking. Whilst doing that, i guess it will also help owners to get out and about too, so if you need a bit of motivation, apps like this are a great way to monitor your progress.

So let me walk you through it!IMG_2161

After signing in, the first thing I did was add Lupo’s vital stats. I like that he has his own profile and all the data from the walks will get added in one place.

If you’re brave enough, you can add in your own weight and it will help calculate how many calories you’ve burned.


Next up I had a nosey at the other features. You can search for ideas on walks, according to your location, or wherever you are planning to travel to. This gave me a map in which I could zoom in and see suggestions. There were only a few near me, so I hope to add to those in the near future. IMG_2183

So now you know where you are going, it’s time to set the app to work. I’ll be honest, the first time I did this, I completely forgot to press the big red button. But once I got in the habit, it’s a 5 second job to open the app on your way out the door. Just don’t forget to turn off the location services when you’re not using it, as that good ol iPhone battery will decrease rapidly!IMG_2184

Lastly, the app lets you share walks with your friends, which is useful if like me you are constantly googling nearby reservoirs or walks to go on for a change of scenery. As extra motivation for your pet on their weightless journey, you can follow the Fit Fred Blog to see a real Golden Retriever on his quest to get trim using the Walkies App.

If you like to ride a bike or run with your dog, the app will still record all the details – just leave out the steps for cycling.

So to celebrate you and your pets getting fit and healthy, with Direct Line’s help, we are giving you the chance to bag a £50 voucher for PetsPyjamas. The site is full of awesome items for your dog or cat and you’re sure to find something to treat your favourite furry friend. Just click the link below and GOOD LUCK!

VelcroDog £50 PetsPyjamas Giveaway

Full T&C’s can be found on the Gleam page above, but as a recap. Entries are open until the 30th September. One winner will be chosen at random by Gleam. You can enter as many of the methods as you like, but remember, the more entries, the more chance it will be of you going shopping with those vouchers! Thanks for entering.


SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

First Aid for Dogs

There are many similarities between owning a dog and having a child. One of the most similar aspects is feeling the element of danger. You feel danger lurking round every corner when you’re a parent and are constantly saying “be careful” (reminds me of a Friends quote: Monica: Careful. Careful. Careful! Chandler: I’ll tell you what. For the rest of our lives, I’ll be careful unless told otherwise).

With dogs there is less of the nagging, but as a protective owner it still hurts me when Lupo gets hurt. Thankfully it’s never been two serious. Bites from other (smaller) dogs required Vet treatment, but things that shocked me at first such as his pads being cut, has happened a few times now and I know what to do to help him heal. If you don’t notice there will be red paw prints all over your floor, so always do a quick check after  a walk! I presume when it’s happened to him in the past he’s cut them on glass or sharp stones when he’s racing a million miles an hour around the local woods. Or rolling around on god knows what…


We’ve always had a bit of a makeshift First Aid kit for Lupo. Cotton wool pads, a bowl we use for cooled boiled water and salt to wash any wounds. But it was about time, especially now he’s middle aged, that we got some proper kit to help us deal with any situation that can be helped before seeing a Vet.

I came across the brilliantly named Cuts and Bruises site and noticed they not only have first aid kits for families, but they offer the same for pets. I ordered a family holiday kit for our upcoming travels and then one for Lupo. Take a look at what’s inside.

Firstly, any package that is sent containing chocolates and a lovely thank you card pretty much guarantees my loyalty. Why don’t more companies do this?!


The family holiday kit is the perfect size to pop in your suitcase and the contents won’t get squished due to it’s hard plastic case. It’s got all you need for minor cuts and ailments and will give us peace of mind having it in the holiday villa.

The pet version didn’t disappoint. In a sturdy zip close bag with carry handle, it has all the bits and bobs you’ll need for treating your cat or dog at home for cuts, bruises or strains. As well as the usual bandages it has things you would hope to never have to use, but will thank the stars you had one, such as a foil blanket for treating shock and even plastic gloves to stop infection.IMG_1971 IMG_1972
IMG_1974 IMG_1975 IMG_1976

For £13.99, it’s worth every penny for the peace of mind it brings. It’s strange to say but I hope it gathers dust in the cupboard and I never have to use it. I do feel like a responsible dog owner now I have the kit. I have similar First Aid items for my child and as part of our family, Lupo deserves the same consideration.

Pick your First Aid kit for Pets up here: http://www.cutsandbruises.co.uk/products/pet-first-aid-kit

The Life of a Dobermann


10 years.
120 months.
3652 days.
The average lifespan of a Dobermann is this long, just ten years. Big dogs simply don’t last as long as smaller breeds. Which doesn’t make sense when you look at mammals in general. The Blue Whale lives for 80 years, yet a Bat will only live for a maximum of 10 years. Yet within species, such as dogs, the larger the animal, the shorter it’s lifespan. The same happens in Horse breeds and even Mice. After a good Google, it seems it’s the accelerated growth in the first year that causes this lack of longevity. Big dogs simply die younger, because they age quicker.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently as I started to notice the first grey hairs on Lupo’s chin. It seemed to happen overnight or I just hadn’t noticed. And it was a really sad moment. You are suddenly reminded, by a very human trait of hair changing colour, that this dog won’t always be there. He’s five years old now, he’ll be six next April. I hope he lives a long and happy life, just like these dogs in this brilliant video:

If you like that video you can find out more about the individual dogs here: http://www.eukanuba.co.uk/longevity
So how has Lupo changed in his five years? The bitey, jumpy, endless energy puppy stage that you think is never going to end, lasted a lot longer with him, or at least it felt that way. Only when he got to two or three years old had he slowed down. Whilst he still has a lot of energy and will whine in your face until you take him out, he’s equally happy laid on the sofa all afternoon. Something he’d never do as a pup, when we had to have frozen Kong toys on the go constantly for his amusement.

We’ve tried numerous dog foods, on the search for one he likes and that won’t break the bank, but he also gets small leftovers (bits of meat) as a treat. He has turned his nose up at many a dog treat sent to me for him to test for this blog, so much so I’ve stopped accepting them as he is way too fussy and doesn’t represent most dogs! He loves chewing on an antler, even though I can’t hear myself think with the grinding noise, we let him indulge. He still gets walked everyday by our trusty dog walker, and enjoys longer runs with us at the weekend.

He’s not escaped drama in his short life, he has a few grey hairs from scars that other dogs have given him. He’s not very good at sticking up for himself and has been chased and then bitten, twice. You may think that’s daft form looking at him, but I’m kinda proud he didn’t fight back (I wasn’t at the time) because it just goes to show the kind of dog we have raised – and how little care other people can give to moulding their dogs personality. Diet, discipline, exercise and affection are what we’ve based bringing Lupo up on. But of course he’s not perfect…


The traits he has kept from puppyhood are the oddest ones. He still sucks a blanket like a baby until he falls asleep with it in his mouth, and I can imagine he will do this until his last day. He also still has a particular fondness for bikes – bicycles, motorbikes, you name it, if it zips past him at a pace he is gone. I imagine the cyclist will feel like that scene in Jurassic Park with the T rex in the mirror when Lupo sets off, but he has never hurt anyone and doesn’t know what to do when he catches up to them apart from bop them with his wet nose.

How old is your dog and have their kept any puppy traits?

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Pet products for summer from Amazon


As the weather heats up, you’ll want to provide the best environment for your pets, keeping them cool, and providing lots of shade and fresh water. It got so hot here in the UK recently that I asked our dog walker not to walk Lupo if the pavements felt too hot. That’s the first time in 5 years I’ve had to have that conversation!

I’m a big fan of Amazon for all sorts of items, but did you know they have a great category for pets? I’ve picked out my favourite products to keep your dog sun safe, hydrated and still looking cool. See what you think.

Sun Safe

These items are so handy and essential if you have a dog with a pink nose for example. I think Lupo would prefer the wipes as the spray would scare him, but you’ve got three options depending on your dog’s personality.

I just love the dog sunglasses and they are crying out to be Instagrammed! I can see him now, hanging his head out of the window, tongue dangling, goggles on…

Petkin SPF15 Sunscreen Wipes, Currently priced at £4.10

Petkin SPF15 Sunscreen Spray, Currently priced at £5.49
Petkin SPF15 Sunscreen Stick, Currently priced at £4.02
Namsan Dog UV Protection Sunglasses, Currently priced at £9.50

Looking Cool

it may be hot but that’s no reason your dog can’t look cool. Bandanas are a great way to add a bit of colour to your dog’s collar and look especially cute on puppies. Lupo has a red one with white stars which I love.

How about this lovely Liberty print collar? Liberty print makes anything look ten times better in my opinion.

Toggles Nauti-But-Nice Puppy and Dog Bandana, Currently priced at £6.99
Lovemydog Amberley Liberty Print Dog Collar, Currently priced at £39


I was once sent one of these but it had used filters which were dirty, so I never got the chance to see it in action. Lupo prefers to drink out of our daughters paddling pool when it’s hot so something like this would hopefully tempt him away.

PetSafe Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain, Currently priced at £28.94

Pet Diner Pet Water Bar, Currently priced at £20.89
PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain, Currently priced at £59.99


Ruth Langsford’s advice is ‘Spot On’

Ruth Langsford, instinct PR, Frontline spot on, Lorna Jane Newman, www.lornajanenewman.com

This Morning presenter and proud owner of rescue dog Maggie, Ruth Langsford, has teamed up with FRONTLINE® Spot On, the UK’s No.1 flea and tick protection*, to help the nation’s pets stay happy and healthy this summer. While higher temperatures bring smiles to many people’s faces they can make life difficult for our furry friends, so Ruth and FRONTLINE® Spot On vet Simone Pomerantz have created a series of helpful videos with hints and tips such as: · Give pets a once over after walks looking for thorns or grass seeds, as well as nasty parasites like ticks, which can transmit Lyme Disease to both humans and dogs -don’t miss out on those hard to reach areas like in between the toes! · Remember to exercise your dog at the coolest point of the day, to ensure they don’t overheat. Before 9am or after 7pm is best, which may mean some early mornings! · Invest in a water bottle specifically designed for dogs that can be easily carried on walks, so your dog doesn’t become dehydrated · And finally…help protect all cats and dogs in your home against fleas and ticks by treating monthly, throughout the year, with FRONTLINE® Spot On– prevention’s better than cure!

And it’s not only your pet which needs care and attention – keeping your house clean and clear of flea infestations, which can take three months or more to overcome, is possible by following the suggestions Ruth and Simone share below: · Treat all cats and dogs in your household with FRONTLINE® Spot On monthly all year round for continuous flea and tick protection · Regular vacuuming, particularly in dark places, will help to reduce the number of flea eggs, larvae and pupae in your home – don’t forget under rugs and behind cushions as well in between floorboards! Remember that pets pick up fleas from contaminated environments– not from each other · Always wash pet’s bedding above 60°C every couple of weeks to get rid of any parasites who may have made a home there · Use an environmental spray that contains an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR), to kill eggs and larvae – it’s worth remembering there are no products that will kill the pupae stage. Remember to use it everywhere your pet goes – not just throughout the house, but in your car for example · Make sure you allow your pets to roam freely around your house once they’ve been treated with FRONTLINE® Spot On – this ensures that, if newly hatched fleas jump on, they will be killed. Your pet is now acting as a walking flea killing machine!

Ruth Langsford said: “Maggie is a huge part of our family and, like all pet owners out there, her welfare is a real priority. And of course, keeping homes clean, and in particular preventing flea infestations, is something all pet owners will welcome advice on. By following these simple tips, and remembering to keep pets protected against fleas and ticks with monthly FRONTLINE® Spot On applications, owners can look forward to enjoying the good times with their furry friends this summer’.

Ruth Langsford, instinct PR, Frontline spot on, Lorna Jane Newman, www.lornajanenewman.com

To watch the series of Ruth’s videos, visit: Website: uk.frontline.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/FrontlineSpotOn Twitter: @FrontlineSpotOn

Top TV Dads of Dogs

It’s easy to name famous human and canine partnerships from movies. One of my favourite films growing up was K-9, which sees James Belushi playing a cop who owned a faithful Alsatian Police dog named Jerry-Lee. If you haven’t seen it, it’s perfect Sunday afternoon viewing. I’ve just made myself feel REALLY old by Googling what year it came out (1989), gah! But what about those partnerships on the small screen? Dogs often play important roles in some of our favourite TV shows as crime busters, co-presenters and members of soap opera families. But it’s their relationship with their owners that really tugs at our heart strings, as well as offering that observational humour that sees us saying, ‘my dog does that!’ In celebration of Father’s Day on the 21st June, I’ve put together a list of five of my favourite TV Dads. But the twist is that some may not have children at all, but they are all admirable and devoted fathers to their faithful hounds. From the computer generated to the real life duo’s, there will be at least one in this list that you know and love too. First up, he’s a cross-dressing, loud mouth Scouser, with a soft spot for animals of any kind. The loveable Paul O’Grady presents his chat show with his terrier Olga right beside him. He’s even named his TV production company after her. O’Grady is known for owning a menagerie of animals but when poor Olga was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, he didn’t hesitate in forking out thousands of pounds for her chemotherapy. She’s now fighting fit and back to work and it’s wonderful to see the two of them together. Paul O’Grady is a great role model for pet owners, as he truly worships his baby Olga. paul_o_grady_2008_10_01 Zoinks! I would never have paired a Great Dane with a hippy, but do you know what? Scooby Doo just wouldn’t be Scooby Doo without Shaggy. This crime busting duo may spend more time being afraid of their own shadow, but they are two peas in a pod. Goofy, a little bit dim, but hugely loveable, their relationship is one we’d all love to have with our pooches. Plus there must be some strength in those skinny arms to lift a Great Dane, so don’t underestimate Shaggy. You’d want him on your side in a fight with a ghost! scooby shaggy Travelling across the pond to another nation of animal lovers, I’ve chosen Fraiser and his Jack Russell, Eddie. Despite Fraiser naming his dog Eddie Spaghetti “Because he has worms”, there is no denying the love there was between the two. The story off screen is just as poignant. In 1994, Kelsey Grammer won an Emmy for best actor in a comedy. In his acceptance speech, he acknowledged the canine character of Eddie’s contribution to the show when he held up the statue and claimed: “Most importantly, Moose, this is for you.” The dog’s ability to stare at Fraiser for extended periods became a running joke on set and made brilliant comedy TV. In this case, humour is the way to the heart. pa-3781197 I love this picture. Irish wolfhounds are such beasts. Gentle giants but still beast looking! I think the Eastenders casting department got this spot on when they introduced loveable rough Keith and Ghengis. Unemployed and a benefit cheat he may have been, but that dog stuck to his side and his armchair no matter what. When Keith leaves the square, guess who is right beside him? Wellard gets all the Eastenders limelight, but Ghengis and Keith are the dog and Dad stars, in my eyes. I hope they live happily ever after in the Cotswolds! tumblr_lqowt3oCto1qe7yg8o1_500 Last but by no means least, it’s my favourite dad from Family Guy. Peter and his 8 year old Labrador Brian have quite a unique relationship (in that it’s completely ridiculous and that’s what makes it entertaining!) Peter picked Brian up as a stray (major Dad dog points right there) Peter is Brian’s best friend, despite Brian’s vastly superior intelligence. More often than not, Brian has had to explain Peter’s inability to do various things, such as haggling over prices. But if you support your dog with his cocaine habits, alcoholism and smugness at his superior intelligence, you’re the best dog dad there is. brian_and_peter_by_oscartomas-d4ia7sj   This post is an entry into the Currys TV Dads competition. Thanks for reading!


Our daughter is two years old now. Two years since Lupo was no longer our baby. Two years of slower walks for little legs. And two years adapting to the whole family calling you Bupo, a name given by the baby who can’t pronounce L’s yet. We couldn’t help it, it just stuck.

I couldn’t wait for her to learn to say Lupo’s name, but that crucial L just did not come. As with a lot of things with kids, change can happen over night. One day recently she just said, clear as day, “Lupo!” and so the stage in our lives with a baby and a Dobermann came to an end. Replaced quickly with a toddler and the increased noise levels that come with that.

A typical scene in our kitchen

A photo posted by jessM5510 (@jessm5510) on

She will now repeat, sometimes embarrassing, phrases relating to the dog.

“Lupo get inside!”

“Naughty Lupo!”

“Off Lupo”

“Shushhh Lupo!”

There is a constant commentary about what Lupo is up to or what he is in the way of. Licking, scratching, sleeping or if he’s just “being funny”. The latter is reserved for when he is rolling about on the rug.

Kiss #Doberman #dogstagram #dogsofinstagram #instadobes #Instadogs

A photo posted by jessM5510 (@jessm5510) on

I’ve noticed now she is a proper little person, Lupo greets her when we come home with just as much enthusiasm as he does for me. She’ll go rushing to the baby gate that’s holding him in and I’ll hear him let out his unique whine/high-pitched noises to welcome us, with a toy in his mouth as a gift.

His favourite part of living with a toddler? Hands down it’s got to be the chasing games. Whether it’s racing from one end of the living room to another, or a game of tag, Lupo is really gentle and has learnt (through a few commands from me to help) on where to draw the line and where not to poke his long nose too hard.

Tag, you're it.

A video posted by jessM5510 (@jessm5510) on

I don’t want to paint Dobermanns as the perfect family dog. Mine certainly isn’t as biddable as a Golden Retriever. As let’s be honest, they are huge, they are excitable, their guarding nature means they bark very loudly and all that isn’t the best recipe for harmonious family life. But what family is harmonious all the time anyway? Why not have a dog that you love, just because? Lupo is our perfect family dog as he is just that, our family dog.  We’ve learnt his limits and taught our daughter to respect him. There are times he just doesn’t want to be leaned on by an overly affectionate toddler, and that’s ok.

But there are all those other times. The times when he’ll lie still, humouring the pretend nurse who’s lovingly covering him in blankets. I hope Bupo sticks around a little longer.

How To Pet Proof Your Garden

You have your home, complete with a garden. So you’re thinking of getting a pet. That’s great! However, with the new addition to your family, there are extra things to consider when designing your garden. Follow this guide to make sure your garden is pet proof.

View from the lodge

Choose Your Fence Wisely
It is important to choose the right fence for your garden if you have pets. Make sure the fence if high enough so your pet can’t jump over it, and check the perimeter to make sure there are no holes your pet can escape through. It is particularly important to find the right fence if you have a cat, as they have the ability to climb and like to explore, which can be dangerous if you live near a busy road. Fencing to consider includes inward-curling, semi-flexible fencing that cats don’t like to jump onto, or fencing with inward facing overhang that prevents cats from climbing over the top.

Avoid Toxic Plants
Having a scenic garden is great, but be careful to make sure you don’t unwittingly poison your pets with the plants you pick. Some pets will have a nibble on plants when bored, so having plants which are toxic to them could be disastrous. Take a look at this list to make sure your garden is poison free.

Use Pet-Friendly Slug Protection
Another way pets can accidentally be poisoned is through the use of slug pellets to keep plants safe. The pellets used to poison slugs can be eaten by a curious pet with disastrous consequences. So make sure to instead use pet-friendly slug pellets, or home-made beer traps.

Keep Gates Secure
It is important to keep the gates to your garden secure so a pet doesn’t escape. A great way to do this is to install self-closing mechanisms on the gates, such as a gate spring, so they aren’t accidently left open. Otherwise, you could install locks on the gates so they can’t be opened by family members. If you have gardeners or builders working for you, make sure they are aware you have a pet, so they don’t accidently let the pet escape!

Check For Exposed Wires
Check the perimeter of your house of make sure that there aren’t any exposed wires that your pets can chew. Electrical wires can be dangerous if chewed, so make sure you block access to them if there are any visible.

Close Off The Pool
If you have a pool, make sure there is a fence surrounding it and the gate is locked when not in use. Dogs in particular love to swim, but pets can and have drowned in pools, so it is important to make sure they can’t do it unsupervised.

Protect The Furniture
Garden furniture can be viewed by pets as something to chew or scratch. So make sure to keep them safe. Keep items such as hoses or outdoor furniture cushions out of pets way when not in use, and for larger furniture it could be a good idea to invest in an animal deterrent spray, or create your own with vinegar and water.


A survey has found that one in four dog and cat owners (26%) in Europe will base their holiday locations on whether it allows them to bring their pets. With many holidaymakers looking to take their pet abroad this summer, Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) has created a comprehensive guide highlighting the different rules and regulations across major airlines for travelling with ‘man’s best friend’. The research can be found in the Know Before You Go section of the APH website at www.aph.com/travellingwithpets.

The research compares the different dog breeds accepted on flights, the cost of flying abroad with a dog as well as the pet weight and crate stipulations across 20 major airlines including Air Canada, Alitalia, Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

Not all dog breeds are allowed to fly in a commercial aircraft, with six of the 20 airlines researched, including Air France, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific, prohibiting flying with snub-nosed dogs (such as Pugs and Bulldogs) onboard any passenger flight. However, customers travelling with Qantas Group are allowed to take snub-nosed dogs on flights which are less than five hours long. Furthermore, Aer Lingus, Delta Air Lines and Lufthansa all state that dogs listed on the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (such as the Pit Bull Terrier) will not be accepted on any flight. Whereas, Iberia, allows the transportation of dangerous dogs on any commercial flight as long as the dog is muzzled for the duration of the flight.

The cost of transporting animals was also found to differ greatly between airlines with costs dependent on the crate size and final destination of the customer. For example, passengers flying with their pet with British Airways will be charged £89 for checking their pet into the hold compartment. However some airlines were found to charge a higher fee for transporting animals, with Swiss Air charging £272 per animal, each way.

Swiss Air passengers should also be aware that if a pet is refused entry to Switzerland, the owner has 10 working days to return the animal to the country of origin otherwise it risks being put down. On the other hand, out of the 20 airlines researched only Virgin Atlantic offers a dedicated Flying Paws Scheme where passengers can collect Flying Club Miles on behalf of their dog.