The Itchy and Scratchy Show

A few months ago I shared with you details of a competition FRONTLINE Spot On are running on their Facebook page, to find the UK’s most dedicated pet owner.

This is a reminder that entries close on the 10th September, so head on over to their page and get your entry in www.facebook.com/frontlinespoton

It is quite timely that just this week was the first time Lupo caught fleas, and I found myself Googling how to get rid of them on a sunday night when all the shops are closed and I hadn’t thought ahead and bought FRONTLINE (I have now!).

It all starts with one person saying, ‘the dog seems to be scratching a lot’, watching said dog and repeating phrase until you think you’d better check it out in the manner of a chimpanzee helping out a friend in need.Thankfully Lupo’s short coat means fleas are easily spotted. I don’t know what you long haired dog owners do apart from reach for the clippers. I only saw two fleas on Lupo, which he must have picked up on a weekend walk in the woods, as it wasn’t an infestation or anything.

After some internet based top tip searching, I picked both fleas from his coat with my thumb and forefinger and filled a bowl with water. Now this is the clever bit (I’m actually getting geeky over fleas, I know) If you put a flea in water it will simply float to the edge and jump out – yep, they are good at that. So you need to give the bowl a good helping of washing up liquid or other soap based product, swill it around and then dunk the flea to it’s death. The soap means they don’t float and drown a slow and possibly painful death. but don’t let that put you off hey.

If you’ve got a bit more than two of the little beggars setting up camp on your furry friend, there are loads of ways you can coax them away from their host over night. My favourites were the soapy bowl as detailed above, left in front of a TV in a dark room over night. Apparently they are attracted to light and heat and will navigate towards the TV and fall to their death in your soap water. The same premise works with lighting a candle, but obviously don’t leave this over night, unattended.

These tips are to fill in the time before you can get to the shops and buy FRONTLINE of course and then if you keep the treatment up, you shouldn’t need to be mixing soapy water at all hours of the night like I did. Learn from my mistakes people!

Good luck if you’re entering the competition, can’t wait to find out who’s won!

Doggielicious Launches Crowdfunding Initiative

Fast-growing dog treat business Doggielicious is launching a ‘crowdfunding’ initiative as it prepares to expand into new premises and employ extra staff.

Isle of Man Company Doggielicious was launched in 2011 with the ambition of creating high quality dog treats bursting with natural and fresh ingredients, sourced locally where ever possible. From humble beginnings of baking treats for her own dog Amber and her friends’ pets, Alex now supplies shops and customers all over the world.

Her range includes treats which boast ingredients like Isle of Man Creameries Manx cheese, Laxey Glen Mills Manx flour, Ratcliffe’s Manx honey and Gelling’s free range Manx eggs. She also includes ingredients such as ginger and garlic, which have been shown to be beneficial to canine health.

Doggielicious now needs new premises, including a commercial kitchen, and new employees to continue meeting existing demand, and allow for expansion into new markets.

Indiegogo allows people to pledge cash towards the project in exchange for a variety of rewards, ranging from a hamper of Doggielicious goodies to a Master Class in the Doggielicious bakery making your own dog treats with Alex. The £30,000 target must be reached in just 60 days.

Alex explained: ‘I decided to create my own dog treats after realising I couldn’t even pronounce the names of some of the unnecessary ingredients found in mass-produced treats. I spoke to local suppliers and dog owners before designing a range of treats using the freshest and most natural ingredients, sourcing as many as possible from near my home in the Isle of Man, and baking them myself in my own kitchen.

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‘Just like me, many dog owners don’t want to feed their pets treats they couldn’t trust and the business quickly took off. My first sales came at a Farmers’ Market on a cold and windy day and now I am receiving orders through my website from dog owners all over the world.

‘I am also supplying shops and stores, including Shoprite here in the Isle of Man.’
She added: ‘I am delighted there has been a steady increase in demand, but I have now reached a point where I need to invest in new premises, a commercial kitchen, and in staffing, to meet that demand and, importantly for the business, explore new opportunities.

Alex has chosen Indiegogo as her crowdfunding platform. Since its launch in 2008, Indiegogo has seen millions of people pledge millions of dollars to fund thousands of projects in more than 220 countries and territories. It is a platform and resource for people to attract direct funding for all sizes of projects, including films, games, music, art, design and technology, and is visited by nine million people every month. The creator retains control and responsibility for the project, which must meet strict Indiegogo guidelines.

She explained: ‘After extensive research I decided crowdfunding was the best way forward, as Doggielicious is a dream I have built up from the ground with passion and conviction. I believe there are many people out there who share my vision of healthy, high quality dog treats which taste delicious and are good for our dogs, and I would like to get them involved.

To find out more visit http://igg.me/at/doggielicious

One Sided Relationship

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It’s been 15 months since our daughter was born, and Lupo was no longer our only baby. Now she can walk it means big changes for him and their relationship has taken a one-sided turn. She finds him hilarious, smiling and laughing at him every morning, or even if he just comes in the room as his nails click clack on the wooden floor.

I’ve been waiting to hear her say his name but I think as one of the words we use most, she probably feels she doesn’t need to. However, if Lupo barks she will join in with her version of an enthusiastic woof, that sounds like “Ooooff Ooooff”. Lupo also loves a good game of catching bubbles – shared interests!

IMG_1009She has tested his patience a few times (I am always right next to them both, prepared for any reaction – I’d do this with any dog, no matter what the breed) Lupo doesn’t take kindly to being repeated poked in the nose – who does?! Quite often he will retreat to his basket or outside. So it’s fair to say the baby loves him more than he loves her. Well, I thought that until today…

I didn’t capture a photo, but the cutest moment yet happened this afternoon. The baby was having a tantrum, a regular occurrence at the moment and one I felt particularly sorry for Lupo as it was really high-pitched screeching. His poor ears. As she sat cross-legged on the rug, bottom lip protruding and tears rolling down her cheeks. Lupo, also on the same rug, sidled up to her, licked her tear filled cheeks and placed his head on her knee, as if to comfort her. My heart just about burst at this point as I fumbled to try to take a photo. But before I could, the baby giggled her head off at Lupo touching her and he leapt up, shocked at the different loud noise coming out of her.

I feel like he’s still a lot to learn about babies, but as a parent so have I. We’ll figure it out, all of us together.

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Husky Home Removals

Moving house for Manchester’s Keath Armstrong will mean hitching his huskies to a hand-made sled and walking the 217 miles to his new home in Dorset, raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust along the way. Keath left his job at Croma in Prestwich and set off on his epic journey, for his new life in Bournemouth on July 18th. The sled will carry Keath’s tent and special food that his huskies have to eat.

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32 year-old Keath, who currently lives in Crumpsall, was friends with brothers’ Carl and Richard Jones who both died from cystic fibrosis, a disease which slowly destroys the lungs and digestive system. Carl died in 2006 aged 20 and Richard – Keath’s best friend – died in 2013, aged 30.

Keath says: “I grew up with Richard in Dorset and now I’m moving back I wanted to do something challenging and different to make more people aware of cystic fibrosis and raise as much money as possible. Richard and Carl were brilliant, you couldn’t fault their outlook on life and despite everything they had to put up they were always there for other people.”

Keeping Keath company on the journey will be his three pet Siberian huskies: Sakari, Nukka and Nala and he has designed his own sled, complete with a shower curtain, cystic fibrosis posters and reflectors, for the dogs – and himself – to pull.

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He adds: “Walking won’t be a problem for them, they need plenty of exercise and we’ve been in training by doing the Wainwright walks in the Cumbrian fells. I’m aiming to walk 24 miles a day and complete it in nine days, but it will depend on the weather – if it’s too hot, the huskies will need to slow down a bit.”

To donate visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/keatharmstrong 

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is in its 50th year. But we are not celebrating until we have beaten cystic fibrosis for good. We are here to make a daily difference to the lives of those with cystic fibrosis, and the people who care for them. Fighting it is a battle we must win. That’s why we must keep working for and fundraising for change. That’s why we must develop better treatments and invest in cutting edge research to ensure that people with cystic fibrosis can also look forward to their 50th birthday and many years more. Find out more at: cysticfibrosis.org.uk or call our helpline 0300 373 1000.

Growling Tums

Growling Tums is the great name of a new dog food company, based in Glasgow. The owners started the company this year with the aim to provide a balance between healthy nutrition and price. They do this by selling their dog food exclusively on their own website.

“Cheap Natural Dog Food for Smart Dog Owners”

What’s interesting about Growling Tums is that all their foods are hypoallergenic. Whilst Lupo doesn’t have any allergies, I try to avoid a high grain or cereal content in his food. This bulks the food out and is equivilant to us humans eating high carb fast food, in that we’ll probably be hungry shortly afterwards.

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I remember when I was a child, we bought dog food because of the brand – Pedigree Chum, no conversation was ever had about the contents of the food, we just trusted the name. So as we’ve become more aware of what effects different foods have on our dogs, it’s vital you learn how to read the ingredients – what’s a good percentage and what do you need to avoid?velcrodog growling tums

We’ve been testing the duck and Potato adult dog food and I have slowly phased it in to Lupo’s twice a day meals, alongside the tinned meat he eats. Here are the ingredients:

Ingredients
Potato (min 35%), duck meal (min 26%), peas, beet pulp, poultry fat, brewers yeast, linseed, digest, minerals and vitamins.

Analysis: Protein 26%, Oil 12%, Fibre 4%, Ash 10%

Calorific value – 359.96kcal/100g; Omega 6 – 2.42%; Omega 3 – 0.64%; Omega 6:3 ratio – 3.78%

  • Single protein, top taste human quality duck.
  • Natural – No artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives.
  • Wont upset their tummies.

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Protein from the Duck is a minimum of 26%, which is great. You can see very few ingredients in total, the addition of potato and peas are much better than bulking out with cereal as they contain far more goodness for your dog. Growling Tums dog food is 100% natural and made from locally sourced British ingredients. Kevin from Growling Tums adds,

“These things are important to us because our aim is to help people, help their dogs to stay healthy at an affordable price.”

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Starting from £30.99, the Delicate Duck & Potato Grain & Cereal Free Dog Food is available in: 15kg, 12kg & 7.5kg sizes. It comes up cheaper than the likes of James Wellbeloved, but contains more goodness than the likes of Burns, at a lower price.

After nearly a month of Growling Tums food, twice a day, Lupo has a noticeably shinier coat and always leaves a clean bowl. I’d have no hesitation recommending this food to fellow dog owners looking for quality, a great price and to support an up and coming British business. Growling Tums also cater for puppies, and as food is so important for both growth and behaviour, you’ll be giving them the best start in life if you choose Growling Tums.

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Visit www.growlingtums.co.uk to check out the full range. It’s free delivery over £29 and you can save 5% on your first order by using code: YUMYUM

Barker & Barker Natural Dog Treats

Since the 1970’s, Barker & Barker have been creating a healthy alternative of dog training treats, tasty toppers and supplements. All of the ingredients are human grade and contain no artifical additives, preservatives, colourings and are totally GM free. They also never use cereals or grains like rice and oats, which are all carbohydrate rich.
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Lupo has been trying a selection of the training treats, which come in all sorts of weird and wonderful flavours. Blueberry and liver anyone? (he loves it). The treats themselves are small, but once Lupo knew what they tasted like, he couldn’t get enough. The company say their treats pack more nutritional goodness, gram for gram, than any other treat on the market. Impressive stuff.

Because the treats are so small, it means you won’t have to adjust your dogs diet around them. I checked on the back to see how many he could have in one day and it’s between 50-70, so no worries there!

The Tasty Topper to add to meals, is a great product as I often think dogs must get very bored with the same food each day. I know you should be careful about giving leftovers, but we always try and give Lupo something extra each day. His short coat means we can monitor his weight easily so watch out if you have a long haired breed that hides it well!photo

I packed a tub or two of these treats for our walk this weekend, and have to say I much prefer to have these to hand compared to a bag of crumbly biscuits (that I inevitably end up putting through the wash, arghhh)  Lupo likes the taste, whilst they work no miracles on the training front – my fault of course, they are great for a quick reward or distraction.

Barker & Barker treats start from just £3.25 for a pot of 120 treats. Check out the full range on their website www.barkerandbarkertreats.co.uk

Twitter: twitter.com/barker_barker 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/barkerandbarkertreats