Tips for Travelling with Pets & Win a pet friendly holiday!

Travelling this New Year?

Home or away, follow these tips to have yourself a stress free winter trip!

Taking your pet on holiday in the UK or abroad during the winter period has never been easier, but before you pack the doggy jumpers and head off, here’s a few things to consider:

Travelling in the UK this Winter

If you are planning a long and wintry journey this season – make sure your pet is comfortable with travel. Some dogs unfortunately cannot handle long journeys in the car due to illness, injury, age or temperament. If this is the case, look for a reliable pet sitter or speak to your vet about boarding facilities.  Travelling can be upsetting for your pet’s stomach, so give your pet a light meal a few hours before you leave to try and avoid any tummy upsets.

The last thing you want is a lost pet, so before you travel, ensure your pet has a microchip implanted. This should be registered with your contact details so you can be contacted in case they get lost.

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If you are travelling to see family, there is a chance your dog may come into contact with friends’ and family’s dogs. If this is the case, try and introduce them one at a time and in a neutral location so they don’t become territorial. Be sure to praise them and use positive reinforcement– talk to them in your best calm and reassuring voice and allow them to sniff each other first.

If the weather forecast is correct there is a chance it will get rather cold and wet so try and keep your pooch in the warm wherever possible. If wherever you are travelling to is colder than they are used to, buy them a doggy sweater or booties and try to supply a bed that is at least three inches off the floor.

Your pet may take a while to acclimatise to a location away from home. To help them get used to a new location, make sure you bring along their usual food and familiar comforts, and don’t forget to take any medication that your pet is currently on.

Whether staying in chilly old Blighty or heading abroad for some winter sun, make sure you’ve protected your pet against fleas and ticks before you go. Application should take place monthly throughout the year; it’s very easy to apply and provides peace of mind. You may not think pets are exposed to these things, but if you are planning a family walk with your dog you never know what they could pick up. This video shows how easy it is to help keep your pet protected.

 

Merial Video

It’s important to note that there has been an increase in Lyme disease in the UK,  but you can help protect your dog from ticks and the diseases they can transmit by using FRONTLINE® Spot On monthly. If you’re thinking of taking your dog on a walk with the family it’s important to be aware of ticks, and to check your dog and yourself after each walk for any sign of them. You might like to visit fleatickrisk.com before you go away.

Winter Abroad

Just like us, your pet needs a passport to travel abroad. Your pooch’s passport is proof they’ve had all the necessary vaccines and won’t be carrying, or pick up, any nasties between countries.

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Follow the guidelines here to see exactly what your pet needs, and don’t leave it until the last minute. Some vaccinations need to be done a certain number of weeks before hand so make sure you check appointment dates with your vet well in advance.

If you are planning on travelling abroad with your pet this New Year, choosing a pet friendly airline is key. Virgin will take cats and dogs in the air-conditioned and heated hold, plus your pet can earn air miles under their Flying Paws scheme!  If you’re brave enough, RyanAir may be about to let pets travel in the cabin. Somehow I doubt this includes Dobermanns, as mine would need a seat to himself.

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If you’re looking to escape the seasonal chill and are heading to sunnier climes, this advice from FRONTLINE® Spot On includes some great tips for keeping your pet healthy in warmer weather. Watch this video to make sure you’re prepared for every eventuality before you set off.

 

 

Whilst you don’t want to take a suitcase full of things just for your pet there are some essentials you’ll need whether heading for the snow or in the sun. I always have a water bottle for Lupo for long walks and this is vital on holiday to keep him cool and hydrated. As you can see it’s a messy business, so my other go to essential is a pack of baby wipes, great if the slobber reaches you. I also found them useful for having in a hotel room for wiping his mouth after he’s eaten his dinners.

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A video posted by Jess (@jessm5510) on

Fancy winning £250 worth of vouchers for a pet friendly holiday, courtesy of the kind folks at Sykes Cottages? ‘Course you do!  Sykes Cottages now have over 6,000 properties and over half of these are pet friendly.

For your chance to win a £250 voucher for Sykes Cottages, where you can choose from hundreds of pet-friendly UK holidays, just follow the instructions below. T&Cs apply.

Winner will be announced on 28/02/16 so check back to see if you’re the lucky one!

FRONTLINE Holiday Voucher Giveaway

 

FRONTLINE® Spot On contains fipronil. Legal category: NFA-VPS (UK). ®Registered Trademark. For further information refer to the data sheet or contact Merial Animal Health Ltd, CM19 5TG, UK. ©Merial Ltd 2016. All rights reserved. Use medicines responsibly.

Win a year’s supply of dog food with Burns and Quality Cottages!

If like me you have just as many photos of your dog as you do your child, you can put them to good use in this competition and bag yourself a truck load of dog food to boot. Read on to find out more!

Quality Cottages know their customers love holidaying with their pets and they’re on a mission to tempt you to take your next break in Wales, especially since 80% of their holiday cottages welcome pets as guests. There are non-pet options for those kind of folk too, of course.

We stayed in a lovely lodge in Wales a few years ago and I desperately searched for weeks for accommodation that was pet friendly AND had the all important Hot Tub – in my opinion, you shouldn’t holiday in the UK without one of these babies, you can imagine you’re abroad for just a few hours!

Handily, Quality Cottages have a great search function on their homepage so you can select what aspects are important to you (HOT TUB) and go from there. It’s no coincidence the large image on the homepage is of, you guessed it, a tempting looking Hot Tub. With an awesome view!

If you’ve decided Wales is for you, then Quality Cottages are the experts to trust. With over 50 years of matching customers to Welsh accommodation, they know a thing or two about the best areas to visit and inside tips and tricks. That knowledge is always priceless, so be sure to read up on their site or ask them for personal advice for your next trip. I loved Wales, it really is a beautiful country with so much to explore. Perfect for our furry pals.

Back to the competition!

A nod to their furry, four legged guests, Quality Cottages have teamed up with Burns Nutrition to offer one lucky winner the chance to take home (in a large truck I imagine) a whole year’s worth of food. not just any food, but meals specifically tailored to your dog’s dietary needs – based on their age and weight. Think how much money that could save you! Probably enough to go on a UK holiday, right?! I know I’d be driving a new car if I got Lupo’s food for free, that’s for sure.

Burns Nutrition offer natural food for dogs, cats and rabbits, all developed by veterinary surgeon John Burns. Burns pet food contains whole grains and uses high quality animal proteins. This helps your pet digest their food, meaning they don’t need as much to fill up and in turn, keeping feeding costs wallet friendly.

Check out this awesome short video from the partnership, there’s some fantastic GoPro camera action on Willow’s adventure in Wales. It makes me long for lazy walks in the sunshine, hurry up spring!

How do you enter?

Simply choose your best photo of you dog on a holiday adventure and upload it onto the competition page, click here.

Top tips from me: Don’t worry if you haven’t been away with your pet, the park or the beach is an adventure to your dog so choose a snap that conveys the fun you have together.

If you’re going to take some photos this weekend to enter, have a read of these tips from a pro photographer I chatted to. I always try and get down to my dog’s level, you’ll get a much more interesting shot compared to towering above them.

Why not try throwing treats in the air and capturing mid flight? Above all, have fun! Quality Cottages are choosing their favourite so make yours stand out – humour always helps with that!

The closing date for the competition is 28th March 2016. Keep an eye on their Facebook page as they’ll be sharing entries when they come in before the winner is announced.

I’ll leave you with my favourite holiday shot of Lupo. We stayed in a pet friendly hotel (you can read about that here) and Lupo joined us in the restaurant that evening, sampling the food whilst I sampled the wine. Good luck with your entry!

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Naughty pets win prizes – Over £700 up for grabs!

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Terry’s Fabrics are on a mission to find out the naughtiest pets out there, and to reward their owners with £500 that could go towards repairing the damage.

We all love our pets, but they don’t always love our furniture. Most pet owners have, at some point in their lives, come home to find naughty Fido or haughty Felix has come home and destroyed their favourite sofa or brand spanking new dining room chair.

And it’s not just dogs and cats that would take up a vendetta against our possessions. Those of you wild enough to own an animal like a ferret or those who prefer of talkative parrots know that these fun little fellows can do some serious damage with their claws and beaks.

Terry’s are running this competition to reward all those patient and loving pet owners across the land, who’ve had to endure some of the more exacerbating aspects of pet ownership. They’re running this competition now as they know that Christmas can be a time when pets are as overexcited as children, and this exuberance can lead to some seriously costly mishaps. So if you’ve had a pet that’s tore into some furniture then why not submit a quick picture of the damage and see if you can win? All you need to do is enter the competition is upload a picture of the damage (if you can get the offending pet into the picture all the better). Then add a short description of the damage done, including the cost. That’s it!

The winner will be decided on the basis of which pet Terry’s think is the naughtiest, and if they are not sure the deciding factor will be on Facebook votes.

So why not enter and see if your naughty pet could make you £500 richer?

Prizes

Terry’s Fabrics is looking to reward owners of the naughtiest pet with some cash, which could go towards repairing the damage their pet has caused.

1st Place: £500

2nd Place: £150

3rd Place: £75

Start and end dates

11th January – 21 February

How to enter

Step 1: Upload a photo of the damage the pet has done.

If you can’t get a picture of the pet with the damage, then you can upload a picture using the upload file option and the bottom of the form.

Step 2: Tell us why your pet is the naughtiest!

Including the cost of the damage in the description, will give you the best chance to win.

How the winner will be chosen

The winning entries will reward what we think is the naughtiest pet!

If it’s close it will go down to which entry gets the most votes on Facebook. So get sharing!

Click here to enter!

Pet Life App Review

I am a big Apple product fan. I’m typing on a Mac with my iPhone next to me. But even with all this tech I am kind of embarrassed to say I still rely on a calendar on my kitchen wall for family notices. There’s just nothing that beats walking past it written down somewhere to remind me to buy a card or pay for the dog walker. Well there wasn’t until people invented Apps for exactly these reasons.

I need a reminder on my wall calendar to worm Lupo. As something that happens every few months, it’s easy to forget. It’s not in a daily routine and as I don’t stick to the same day, it can be different by the time the tablets arrive from ordering online. You could get organised and put reminders in your phone calendar, but for someone like me that’s not enough. It’s too easy to look at it and then forget again, if say I’m at work. So what’s the solution?

A brand new app from the people at big pet care brand Bayer. It has a long name, Pet Life Parasite Protection Application, but don’t let that put you off, as Pet Life is just fine. They’ve recognised that having a pet brings with it responsibility for remembering dates such as worming, but also appointments for vets and other medical checks. It’s not just for dogs, as you can store all your animals vital data whether they are a Rabbit, Ferret or Cat too.

Set up is really easy. I created an account and logged Lupo’s details in just a few minutes. One of the things that puts me off some apps is that process, so I’ve taken images at each stage for you to see.

 

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You are then reassured how the app will help you. For me, it’s very helpful and importantly, not intrusive. I’m not forced to open it every day but will happily get in the habit of using it as a personal (pet) assistant.

A favourite feature of mine is ‘Your Vet’ where you can store the details for your local practice. This made me panic as I’m not even sure I have our vet saved in my phone. So I’ll be using this and adding the animal hospital too as they cover out of hours emergencies. Thats the time you don’t want to be scrambling around for a bit of paper you lost months ago.

My trusty wall calendar will be out of a job soon, as this app will schedule worming and flea treatments and send me notifications when it’s time to order the prescription again. It’s easy to remember Lupo’s birthday, he was born on April Fool’s day (I know) but if you don’t want to miss out celebrating with your pet, make sure you add that important date in too, so you can treat them to a pet friendly party and cake, like I’m sure they deserve.

Pet Life is completely free to download and available from the App store now.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, could you benefit from a helping hand to remember your pets important dates?

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Bayer – ‘it’s a jungle’. The Pet Life app is part of the ‘it’s a jungle’ programme from Bayer, which aims to help you keep your pet parasite free. For more information, please visit – itsajungle.co.uk

Nominate an Animal Protector in the Rajapack awards

The Rajapack Animal Protector awards launched today, recognises people who dedicate their time to caring for vulnerable animals. As winter rolls in, creatures of all shapes and sizes from cats and dogs to horses and hedgehogs will find themselves cold, hungry or even injured. But Animal Protectors provide the warmth, food and care they need to survive another winter.

Many people will see individuals feeding abandoned kittens or rescuing injured birds. You may even have heard of people saving confused rabbits from farmer’s fields or local sanctuaries taking in more abandoned puppies than they can cope with, just to help ease their suffering.

Remarkable acts like these take place in local communities and although people admire these acts of kindness, it’s not known how to show recognition to pass on their praise. The Rajapack Animal Protector awards is a brilliant opportunity for people to say a big thank you and with the chance to win their nominee a prize. Ten ‘Animal Protectors’ will win an exciting Reward Box which will be tailored to the winner and filled with £100 worth of pet products to help them continue caring for animals. Inside could be anything from animal feed or wellies; our winners will decide what items they need to help them continue their incredible work.

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It only takes minutes to give someone the chance of being named one of ten Animal Protectors. Simply go to http://www.rajapack.co.uk/animal-protectors.html, state why your nominee deserves to win, along with their contact details and yours. The panel of judges will read every nomination and winners will be contacted no later than the 5th February. As Rajapack Animal Protectors is about celebrating the kindness of people, they only accept entries for non-profit organisations. So you can nominate an individual, charity or sanctuary, but not a vet or pet groomer.

Andrew Wood, Rajapack’s Ecommerce Marketing Manager says “As Europe’s no.1 packaging company, we are protectors of valuable products, so we admire others who take protection as seriously as we do.”

 

 

Discover Crossbreed Dogs with The Co-op

You’d have to have been living under a rock for the past few years to not realise the massive increase there has been in popularity for cross-breed dogs. I might be showing my age now, but a cross-breed used to be known as a Mongrel, or as our old rescue dog was affectionately called, a Heinz 57. They were never really coveted as they are now and certainly didn’t command the pedigree price tags, or more, than some breeders are taking advantage of.

There is no denying a clear fact though, cross breeds can be irresistibly cute and with their merged breed names making up new breeds altogether, it’s no wonder kids will probably recognise a Labradoodle before it’s originator.

Lupo’s dog walker also walks a Cockapoo, who seems to embody all the curly hair from a poodle but with the bouncy energy of a spaniel. A great mix! I know there have been good intentions for some cross breeds too. The Poodle gene tends to stop dogs shedding as much, making them better for people with allergies.

I hope breeders remain responsible with their cross breeding, knowing some of the difficulties even pedigree breeding has on some animals, such as the short noses of Pugs and Bulldogs causing breathing problems. Cross breeding can be healthy, after all, it’s how all of the dog breeds came about in the first place.

If you can’t get enough of cross breeds, The Co-op have created this addictive tool where you can click to choose dog breeds, then see what their cross-breed looks like. I just lost the last half an hour clicking and clicking, its fascinating stuff. Some of the pictures will make you laugh as you see what traits they took on from both dogs.

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You can share what you discover on your social channels too. Here are some of my favourites.

This is so cute, it’s a ginger Lupo, with the same ears!

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We used to have a Bernese and they are quite lazy, this combo would put some collie energy into the mix!

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What a face. He’ll eat like a horse (Labrador) and run like the wind (Greyhound)!

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Have go yourself here: https://hub.co-operativeinsurance.co.uk/crossbreeds/index.php

 

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Review: Harringtons Natural Dog Food

I’m a big fan of buying from local companies where possible. We seem to be really lucky here in Yorkshire to have some fantastic pet brands on our doorstep. I’ve talked a lot about Pure Pet Food but recently was introduced to Harringtons who hail from Herriot country (famed from the popular James Herriot books about a vet practice) in North Yorkshire, so I thought I’d put their food to the test with Lupo. Here’s how we got on.

We sampled some of their wet dog food, that boast natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals. They are grain free and don’t have any of the nasties such as artificial colours and wheat. Just all of the good stuff your dog needs.

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When I open parcels, Lupo has come to expect they are for him, so his nose went into overdrive as I inspected the mixed section packs. The meals come in 150g or 450g trays. They look a lot like the packaging you get for ready meals, in a plastic tray with a foil lid to keep things fresh.IMG_2591

I introduced them slowly, as you should if you are changing your dog’s diet in any way, to avoid any affects on their digestive system. You can clearly see the fresh ingredients, big chunks of meat and vegetables and it doesn’t have a nasty smell like cheap dog food does. That’s been a real eye opener for me, as all these years it’s easy to assume dog food must smell bad, but I’ve learnt it doesn’t have to!

Lupo loved all the flavours, but the duck was a particular hit as I’m not sure he’s ever tried that meat before. The meat content is high, at 60%, this is another good indicator if you are shopping around. If you’re trying to decide whether to spend more on your dogs food, make sure the actual meat content is high and you’re not just fooled by packaging or marketing claims.

The wet food comes in chicken, Duck, Turkey or salmon options, all supplemented by Potato and other interesting and tasty flavours such as Green tea and Rosehips! Well, if it’s good enough for us humans…

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Harringtons can be found in many good retailers and available to buy online. Check out the stockist list here.

If you’d prefer to give your dog the traditional dry complete food, it looks like Harringtons offer a really good deal compared to their competitors. Let me know if you’re a fan of the brand or think you might make the switch!

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Thank you to Harringtons & Come Round for making this post possible.

5 Things Every Rescue Dog Owner Needs to Know

There are thousands of rescue dogs in shelters across the country that are in need of loving homes. If you’ve been kind enough to adopt one, you can be proud in the knowledge that you’ve given a dog a well-deserved second chance. Though rescue animals always come with a few complications, they’re definitely worth it.
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When it comes to insurance for a rescue dog, there are a few things that you need to know. 

 

  • How old is your rescue dog?
    Insurers need to know your dog’s age before you can apply for a policy. When you adopt a dog, sometimes the animal shelter will not be sure of its date of birth. If the dog was given up for adoption by a previous family, they’ll usually have fuller records than if it was a stray.
    If the shelter doesn’t know your new pet’s age, the advice from insurers is to ask your vet to give the dog a physical exam and provide an estimation.
  • What breed is your dog?
    Likewise, shelters may not know the exact breed of your rescue dog, especially if they are a wonderful cross-breed, and this is also an important part of a pet insurance application. You are advised to speak with your vet and select the closest match.
  • Does your dog have any pre-existing medical conditions?
    When applying for a pet insurance policy, you will also need to specify whether your dog has any pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or congenital heart disease – or even a more common condition like an ear infection.
    Again, the problem with this is the animal shelter you adopted your pet from may not know if it has any medical conditions. This doesn’t only apply if it was a stray – previous owners might not have known about them either.
    Guidance from pet insurance companies is to check with the re-homing centre, or ask your vet to examine your dog for any obvious signs. Be sure to let your insurer know if the vet finds any indication of a pre-existing medical condition.
    In the worst case scenario, your pet insurance provider may refuse to give your dog cover. If this happens, make sure to join the Bought By Many group for dogs with pre-existing conditions. The company that provides insurance for this group is happy to cover the dog, including the pre-existing condition, if the dog has not had symptoms, treatment, or seen a vet for it in the last 2 years. Join the group here to get £15 cashback on pet insurance for pets with existing medical conditions.
  • Do you have insurance?
    Some charities with rehoming shelters offer free insurance when you adopt a dog with them. For example, the RSPCA will give you 6 weeks of free pet insurance from MORE TH>N with up to £4,000 of cover per condition, while Battersea Dogs and Cats home offers 4 weeks free insurance from Petplan.
    Some, like Dogs Trust, offer third party liability insurance up to £1m, which covers you if your dog damages property or if someone is injured or falls ill because of your dog.
    However, it’s important to note that these kinds of insurance are either temporary, or incomplete. Third party liability insurance does not cover vet bills. And if the shelter gives you time-limited free insurance, you’ll need to renew it – or get a new policy – when this runs out, to make sure you and your pet are fully covered.
    To find the best insurance for your dog, have a look at this guide to the Best Pet Insurance for Dogs 2015.
  • Preventing a lost dog
    Finally, another vital part of any pet insurance policy is protection against loss. Rescue dogs are often nervous and unsure when first adopted, especially if they have a history of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, this means that many attempt to run away from their loving new owners.
    So, as well as making sure your property is getaway-proof, be sure to look for an insurance policy that will cover the cost of leaflets and a reward just in case your dog decides they’re an escape artist.

 

 

The downside of having a dog

It gets everywhere. On my sofa. On my floor. Collecting in balls and rolling around. On my coat. On my socks. It also means I have to sweep the floor everyday. And don’t even mention that time one found it’s way into my dinner.

I’m talking about dog hair. The bane of many owners lives. One of the main reasons I didn’t even consider getting a breed of dog with long hair. I remember my mum in despair as my childhood companion Golden Retriever would leave half his coat against the fabric sofa when he got up. And I had to brush him, a lot!

Dobermanns have lovely short hair, but don’t be fooled. It moults just as much as any other dog. There is brief respite in the summer months, when it is thin and glossy. But in Autumn it’s back with a vengeance. No amount of sweeping, hovering mopping or cursing can stop it. You’ll clean, the dog simply walks through the room, and there’s a trail of hair. Argghhh.

The very worst place for those pesky hairs (apart from your dinner) is your car seats. If you’ve ever put your dog on the back seat in a rush and thought, oh how bad can it be without a towel there, just this once. YOU FOOL. If you could go back in time to that moment, you’d have a good word with yourself and go get that towel. Because the hovering of those car seats after a few hour journey will be painful. And your seats are never the same again. Even the towel isn’t a great solution as it loves to hold onto those hairs and spread them around again.

Which brings me nicely to an absolute essential product. Now we have a bigger car we put Lupo in the boot, which is protected by a boot cover. That holds all those pesky hairs and god knows what else, contained and easily cleaned.

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But having been that person with the big dog and back seat scenario, I thought it best to share where you should spend your money. So forget those organic dog treats for a few months, and get one of these.

My friend’s gorgeous Basset hound, Edna, is modelling this back seat car cover from 4Knines. For £59.99 and free delivery, you’ll get a handy cover that fits perfectly in any car. It is tied into place and has a non slip back in case you have posh leather seats.

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Now Edna is about ready to take 40 winks on that car seat cover so we can safely say comfort is not an issue. The only tricky part my friend came across was there were straps to fasten the cover down between the seat and the back, but her car seats are joined together. Not a big issue, but one to be aware of. It still does the job perfectly.

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The folks at 4Kines also sell the boot covers and covers for the front seat if your pooch likes to ride shot gun. You can watch handy videos teaching you how best to fit the products on their site here.

If you’ve fallen in love with Edna, and who wouldn’t? Follow her adventures on Instagram and her blog.

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