When your dog eats better than you do…

Finding the right dog food is akin to finding the perfect pair of jeans. You feel like you spend your life trying different brands. You find one you like and think another brand can’t possibly be a better fit. But then something new comes along to tempt you.

I was relatively happy with the tinned meat we were giving Lupo. Chosen for its high meat content at 70%, my only gripe was that it comes in just three flavours and Lupo was getting bored with the Chicken and Lamb and would often leave it in his bowl. I’m afraid I couldn’t bring myself to buy the fish one, it stinks the house out!

Country Hunter Cans

So when I saw Natures Menu had launched a new wet food in a can, a different offering to their vast raw food range, I thought it was worth changing Lupo over (slowly), to test it out.

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At 80% meat, these cans top most other brands on the market for protein content. There are a whopping eight different flavours to choose from – why more dog food brands don’t offer this much choice, I’ve no idea. Wait till you read what these flavours are. The conversation between my husband and I when feeding Lupo was often to remark how he was eating better than we were!

  • Mackerel and Chicken
  • Pheasant and Goose
  • Farm reared Turkey
  • Wild Boar
  • Wild Venison
  • Rabbit with Cranberry
  • Succulent Duck
  • Salmon with chicken

Each 600g can is accompanied by the addition of fruits and veg alongside the different proteins. You can clearly see these in the meat when you open the can.

 

Usually when I’ve tried a new food with Lupo, his initial excitement at something new tends to wear off when he has to eat the same thing every day. I can honestly say after over a month on Country Hunter cans, he has never been more enthusiastic about anything! He has even started to whine when I am preparing the food. As annoying as the sound is, he has never done that with any food before. He has learnt he’s going to get a different flavour each day and there is enough in rotation to keep it interesting for him.

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It’s recommended a dog of his size (43kg) has 2 cans a day. At £2.49 per can, it’s definitely not the cheapest option we’ve ever had but I wouldn’t feel bad if you wanted to mix it with a dry food, to make it last longer. The very fact you’ve chosen to give your dog 80% meat is already doing them a world of good.

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I spoke with Natures Menu before swapping to the food and described how Lupo had dry skin on his back. particularly noticeable as he has dark fur. They said this could very well be due to grain content of dog food, so I was glad to hear the Country Hunter cans are all grain free. But would it make a difference? I’m pleased to report Lupo’s coat is super shiny and there is no sign of any dry skin. I am 100% certain this is down to his diet.

You can purchase the cans directly from Nature’s Menu here:

https://www.naturesmenu.co.uk/natural-dog-food/shop-by-product/cans-and-pouches/country-hunter-cans

Let me know if you try for your own dog in the comments below! Thanks for reading.

Crossbreed Mania

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Dogs are wonderful. They come in all shapes and sizes. Every dog is different, which is great because it means that there is one out there for you.

Whether you are an elderly person, who is not as active as they used to be, or a family with energetic kids that are into everything there is a dog that will fit in with your lifestyle. Each breed has its own traits and personality, which makes it relatively easy to identify which type of dog, is right for you.

Today, we are going to take a quick look at crossbred dogs. This type of pet is becoming increasingly popular as people look for something a bit different.

The choice is growing all the time, but here is a roundup of three of the crossbred puppies that are the most popular now.

The puggle

For a couple of decades now pugs have been growing in popularity. They are easygoing dogs that are small enough for everyone to keep.

Whoever came up with the idea of crossbreeding a pug with a beagle, to produce a puggle, was inspired. Both of these breeds are highly intelligent and inquisitive, which makes puggles doubly so. You need to be on high alert with these puppies, because they have boundless energy and get bored easily. Fortunately, they quickly settle down and grow into well-grounded companion dogs that are very loyal as well as great fun.

The cockapoo

The cockapoo is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle, usually the miniature version. This sounds an odd mix, but they actually make great looking dogs. I especially like the golden cockapoo, they are relatively rare, but have glorious look fur that literally glows in the sunlight.

This type of dog is quite energetic, but less so than a standard cocker spaniel. If you are going to opt for this crossbreed, it is best to have a garden because essentially they are a working breed style of dog.

They are easy to keep because they barely shed and only require brushing once a week. However, they are active dogs, so it is best to walk them twice a day, to stop them from getting bored.

Shorkies

This crossbreed is a mix between a purebred Yorkie and a Shih Tzu. Again, they are a little dog, which is perfect for those who live in small houses. They are a very cheeky and mischievous pet, which makes them entertaining. However, you have to keep a close eye on them, especially when they are puppies, because they get into everything.

Whether you are looking for crossbred puppies for sale in Glasgow or New York the advice is the same. The only way to make sure that the dog you buy is healthy and has not been treated cruelly is to buy from a registered, and properly regulated, breeder.

Regardless of where you live in the world your country’s Kennel Club will be able to help you to identify properly regulated breeders in your area. They know what the regulations are for your part of the world, so will point you in the right direction. Click here for a list of global Kennel Clubs.

BBC1 Casting Call – Shop Well for Less

Mini Casting Flyer SWFL

WANT TO FIND OUT HOW TO SHOP SAVVY? CAN’T STOP SPLASHING THE CASH? BBC1 ARE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO TAKE PART IN THE NEW SERIES OF SHOP WELL FOR LESS?

 Do you always manage to blow your salary before the next payday?

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The One Show’s Alex Jones and BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern are on a mission to prove that if you shop cleverly you could save a packet.

Get in touch to apply or find out more!

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Tel: 0117 970 7656

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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShopWellForLess

Babesiosis – What dog owners need to know

This fatal disease transmitted by ticks has been found in a small number of dogs in Essex, one of which died. It causes severe anaemia in dogs – cats aren’t at risk and neither are we humans as Babesia canis parasites only infect dogs.

Although this disease has been reported in the UK before, previous cases seen were in dogs that had recently travelled abroad. The dogs that contracted it recently hadn’t left the country, which shows that an infected population of ticks has become established in the UK. It is possible that this tick was carried into the country on another dog – as the requirements for tick treatment on animals travelling into the UK were relaxed in 2012.

Risk level of canine babesiosis across Europe 

The infection is passed from an infected tick to her eggs and female ticks lay thousands of eggs, so a spread of this disease is possible. That’s why it’s important to take action to help protect your dog.

(Source: uk.frontline.com/Pages/Ticks.aspx)

Spot the symptoms

If your dog becomes weak and lethargic, has jaundice or pale gums, fever and red/blood coloured urine, take them to the vet as soon as possible. If there is a suspicion of babesiosis, the vet can do a blood test to diagnose the disease.

Treatment includes medicine to reduce the parasite load and stop the dogs own immune system from destroying red blood cells.

Help protect against ticks and the diseases they can transmit

There is currently no dog vaccine for babesiosis in the UK, so you need to do all you can to prevent ticks on your dog.

  • Make sure you check your dog daily, particularly after each walk and if you do spot a tick, don’t panic. Ticks can be removed safely using a tick hook. If you’re concerned about removing them yourself, ask your vet for advice.
  • Use an appropriate tick product such as FRONTLINE® Spot On. Apply the treatment once a month, throughout the year for continuous tick and flea protection. It doesn’t stop ticks attaching but kills them within 48 hours of contact with your treated pet, helping to minimise the risk of tick-borne disease transmission.

Facts you may not know about Ticks

  1. Ticks can transmit a wide variety of diseases, and are second only to mosquitoes worldwide as vectors of disease.
  2. A single female tick can lay up to 10,000 eggs.
  3. Ticks are arachnids, so are more closely related to spiders than insects.
  4. Unfed ticks are tiny (the size of a sesame seed), so they can be difficult to spot on your dog.
  5. Ticks are carnivores and feed on the blood of their hosts – they can consume up to 200 times their unfed bodyweight in blood!
  6. Ticks do not have wings to fly and can’t jump. They walk on the ground and up plants where they quest for a host.
  7. Ticks locate a host by detecting breath (CO2) and body odour, as well as heat, vibrations and shadows.
  8. Ticks vary in colour and differ in size, depending on the species, age and sex of the tick.
  9. Ticks have specialised saliva which numbs the bite area, prevents inflammation and keeps the blood flowing so that they can feed for prolonged periods of time.
  10. Ticks can be active at temperatures as low as 3.5°C. They use plant debris (fallen leaves, branches and rotting vegetation) to shelter in during the cold weather.
  11. Ticks are pretty tough! They can survive being frozen, have been found at altitudes of 2000 metres and even survive going through the washing machine at 40ᵒC!
  12. Tick numbers are rising across the UK, due to changing climate, habitat changes and increased numbers of hosts (such as deer).

 

Hoburne Holiday Park – A Cornish dog friendly holiday

At the end of last month, we packed the car with everything but the kitchen sink, not forgetting Lupo, and set off from Yorkshire at an eye watering 4.30am. Great advice from my work colleague as it turned out, as we arrived in Cornwall mid morning, ready for a bank holiday weekend exploring all that the region has to offer us dog owners.

Wanting to get our bearings, we went straight to Hoburne Doublebois, the park we would call home for the next few days. Luckily there was a kids playground, which let our daughter stretch her legs, whilst Lupo investigated the grounds. The park is made up of lodges of varying sizes and surrounded by a scenic golf course, with far reaching views. It was quiet at this time of year, perhaps a little chilly for most holiday makers, but we didn’t mind the peace and quiet.

IMG_3875We spent the first afternoon at a picturequese fishing village called Polperro, which was a 40 minute drive from the park. After parking up, we stopped for lunch at a quaint little pub, and sat outside in the sun. Lupo was quite happy with his nose inches away from the table and food, and it was quiet enough for our daughter to play next to a (fenced off) stream.

IMG_3877We wandered into the village, a fifteen minute walk with little legs. There is a shuttle bus service offering regular trips back and forth, but we didn’t think we’d get Lupo on its metal flooring and up high steps. Smaller dogs would be fine to be held, I’m sure.

The village had a small alcove, pebble beach, which is what our daughter and Lupo had been waiting for. We threw stones into the water – keeping him on a lead as requested by the signs, and watched as he stalked the seagulls. His last chase ended up with him leaping into the water up to his neck, which he didn’t expect. Thankfully we could guide him back on the lead. He’s not much of a swimmer, more suited to paddling! We finished off our visit with an ice cream from… our daughter was adamant her icecream had to be pink, so she actually ended up with Raspberrry sorbet in a teddy shaped cone.

IMG_3884It was at this point that Lupo’s popularity with the general public started to rocket. I don’t know what it is, perhaps a combination of Dobermanns not being very common, or his size, but we got so many people chatting to us, smiling or just directly chatting to Lupo and ignoring us, it was both surprising and heart warming to see. He is an absolute softy in return, I was worried as he has become grumpier in his old age – sometimes he barks at people wearing hats for example! But he couldn’t wait for a head scratch or to wipe his nose on anyone giving him attention.

We made our way back to our lodge to unpack, after stopping at the supermarket for essentials which was just 5 minutes down the road. Our lodge was a two bedroom chalet version, consiting of an open plan kitchen and living room, with enough room for dining table and two sofas. We then had two bedrooms and a bathroom that divided them. There was just enough time for a game of football next to the golf course.

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(He’s had so much fun he’s falling asleep sat up!)

Lupo and our daughter had some treats waiting for them them on the table. Lily’s Kitchen tinned food and biscuits for him – which he loved and devoured! For her, a plate and mug set, and mascot toy from Hoburne.  We all had an early night after such an early start and Lupo was quite happy surrounded by his blankets from home, on the rug in the living area.

The next day saw us in the car again, afraid you have to do that in Cornwall as there is so much to see! We headed to Padstow, about a 45 minute drive, famed for hosting Rick Stein and his many eateries, but also the beautiful beaches. It was here that Lupo boarded a ferry for the first time, nervous but stood patiently as we crossed the estuary to head for the golden sand. I was so surprised at the beaches, I had heard they are good but wasn’t prepared for how worlds apart they are from our Yorkshire ones. The sand was golden, the sea, even on an overcast day was greeny/ blue. As you can see, Lupo loved it.

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It was pretty busy in Padstow, so we didn’t want to squeeze in a pub, despite many choices of dog friendly ones. So we enjoyed a traditional Cornish pasty overlooking the harbour, followed by fresh, warm scones with all the trimmings. Ice cream number 272 for our daughter that weekend. It was also here that Lupo was once again mobbed by adoring fans, people stopping to chat and comment on how lovely he was – I was a proud dog parent!

The final day was spent despairing looking at the rain outside but deciding it would be a shame if we didn’t go to Newquay whilst we were so close, so we headed off at lunchtime. We found a dog friendly pub with good reviews for it’s food, The Red Lion, so the four of us made ourselves comfy and Lupo flirted with the waitress by staring adoringly at her as she gushed over him. The pub was great as there was lots of space between tables, which was a good job as Lupo was very relaxed and laid fully on his side at one point taking up quite a bit of room.

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Our last beach visit to Fistral, a five minute walk away, saw us collecting shells to take home and Lupo getting caught in the waves. I was more excited at seeing the Headland Hotel on the cliff face, made famous in the film all those years ago, The Witches.

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By the time we were back to our lodge and drying off, it was time to pack up and prepare for the journey home the next day. Lupo is really good in the car, and is quite happy going to sleep in the boot, so we only have to stop once or twice for toilet breaks. I really think taking him on lots of car trips as a puppy, even just for practice, helped with how calm he is. So if you’ve got a new canine addition, get them out experiencing these things you find normal, so it becomes normal for them too.

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We had a lovely weekend away with Hoburne. Dog friendly holidays are different, especially when your dog doesn’t easily fit in your handbag to take places, but you learn to adapt and work around his needs as well as the need of the family. The Hoburne parks are all set up to make it easy to bring your dog, lots of wide open space, handy dog waste bins and those treats in the lodge that were much appreciated. Cornwall has always been somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, and it was great to have Lupo experience that with us too. He is part of the family after all.

You can read more about the Hoburne parks that are across the UK here. Prices are around £300 for a 3 night break at Hoburne Doublebois, for two adults and a child in June 2016. Plus your dog of course, for whom there is no extra charge!

 

 

 

Dogs, depression and what you can do to help your pet

The conversation surrounding mental health has picked up in recent months, with high profile entertainers such as Ruby Wax and Stephen Fry sharing their personal experiences with mental illness. However, according to Bought By Many, many people don’t realise, that dogs also suffer from mental health issues too.

A recent study by the vet charity PDSA found that more than 2.3 million dogs are regularly left on their own for five hours or more. Worryingly, 28% of the 31,500 pet owners surveyed believe it is acceptable to leave their dog alone in the house for 6 to 10 hours.

This is in stark contrast to advice from vets, who say dogs should not be left alone for more than four hours a day, because the loneliness and boredom can cause destructive behaviour.

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Dogs need exercise

The survey also found that as many as 465,000 dogs are never taken for a walk. Daily walks are crucial to the well-being of most dog breeds. Some, like Pugs, Pekingese and some older dogs, can get by with a run around the backyard or even indoor playtime, though they would still benefit from regular walks outside.

For more energetic dog breeds, a lack of exercise can be devastating. It can affect both their mental and physical health and cause them to act out. The problem is so severe that over 50% of UK vets report behavioural issues have caused an increase in pet euthanasia in the past two years.

Of course this doesn’t mean you should quit your job so that you can take your dog for long daily walks – Dog Walkers are available to hire to do it for you. You can even hire a Dog Sitter to look after your dog while you’re at work.

It’s important to remember, however, that ultimately, your dog is devoted to you and it is crucial you spend time giving it the love and attention in craves.

Behavioural cover in pet insurance

If you’re struggling to deal with your pet’s behavioural issues, Bought By Many suggest checking your pet insurance – several companies include cover for behavioural problems in their policies. You might also consider the level of cover offered for these issues before deciding which provider to go with, or switch to.

Bought By Many found that John Lewis offers a good payout for behavioural problems – £250 is included in their Essential and Plus policies, and their Premier policy comes with £500 worth of cover.

Many other pet insurance firms exclude behavioural cover or do not specify the levels of payouts. You can compare the 10 best pet insurance policies for dogs here.

Pet insurance can cover complementary therapy, which may help with a dog’s behavioural issues.

Pet owner responsibilities

As well as long working hours and technology taking over our lives, a recent article in the Independent suggests that global warming might also be to blame for owners not taking their dogs out enough.

While pet owners are happy to take their dogs for a walk in frosty conditions, rain and mud are a much less attractive proposition. But dog ownership requires some sacrifice, including getting a little muddy.

Having a dog can be a wonderful thing and the unconditional love and companionship enhances the life of any pet owner. Ironically, dog ownership is thought to be one of the most effective ways to treat depression and anxiety in humans.

However, trying to fit a dog into a hectic lifestyle is not always viable and can cause unfair damage to an innocent animal that just wants your attention and love.

PDSA Advice

PDSA vet Vicki Larkham-Jones has some important words of advice for pet owners: “PDSA is urging pet owners to re-assess life from their pet’s perspective to ensure that they are giving their animals the right level of care and attention they need to live healthy, happy lives.

“I’d encourage people thinking about getting a pet to pause first and find out about all aspects of pet ownership in order to provide for that animal’s lifetime needs.”

Poundland for Pets

I’ll let you in to a little secret – handy if you are a parent. If your child is ever being difficult on a shopping trip and needs a small case of bribery so you can get things done, offer up a visit to Poundland and blow their mind by saying “you can have anything in the whole shop, pick something!” Works.Every.Time. And you only have to spend £1 or maybe less! My daughter always chooses a plastic football, by the way.

So that’s the kids taken care of, what about the hounds? Well it just so happens Poundland have a wealth of toys and accessories perfect for your pooch. Here’s what we picked up on our latest visit. I wanted to prepare for an upcoming short holiday in the UK where Lupo joined us – keep an eye out for my post on our adventures.

Bags and a handy holder are essential for walks and trips, especially as we are staying in a pet friendly holiday park. You get 60 bags and a holder that clips on to your bag or lead for, yep you guessed it, £1!

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I also grabbed a flea and tick collar, as I would be walking Lupo in places he’d not been before and didn’t want him to pick up any nasty visitors.

On to the exciting bit for Lupo, treats! Poundland offer a range of Pedigree chews. The Jumbone is the perfect size for his big teeth, yet still only lasted around ten minutes – but he was happy! The Dentastix will come in handy for keeping his teeth clean as he chews, one of the packs even helps with fresh breath, which will be welcome on the 6 hour car journey with him in close range.

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It’s a classic dog toy, but for a reason. Lupo can’t get enough of Tennis balls. These ones are a little harder than the ones you’d use with a racket, so they last longer in the grip of his paws and teeth. my daughter loves to throw them for him to fetch, which he can do brilliantly. Just need to work on the bringing it back, part…

IMG_1967For £1 each you can’t go wrong, but also keep an eye out for further offers in store, such as buy one, get one half price. It’s great to be able to treat your dog at such low cost. Now, excuse me whilst I retrieve the tennis ball from under the sofa for the 1717637 time:-)

The Art of the Pet Selfie

I take a lot of photos of my dog. But Lupo is a tricky subject as you find dogs with black coats and dark eyes can be difficult to feature – the lighting has to be great for a start. Yet, some of my favourite photos are not the perfect, outdoors shots. They are quick snaps on the sofa at home.

I sent this to my husband with the caption “Trying not to piss myself laughing and wake him up” What a sleeping beauty he is.

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Luckily help is at hand from Snapfish, here’s their latest news on a co-written book. Full of tips about how to get the perfect pet selfies.

Generation Selfie’ is forever gaining speed. People in the UK took an estimated 1.2 billion ‘selfies’ in the past year and nearly a third of UK adults admit to taking a selfie*. But a new phase of the Selfie is gathering speed – make way for the pet selfie aka ‘The Pelfie’.

It’s no secret that we are a nation obsessed with our pets. ‘The Pelfie’ is driven by our nation of animal lovers. Pet obsessed humans and four legged family members have never been more ready for their spot in the limelight together.

Most of us know there is an art to taking high quality selfies but no one knows better than selfie expert Carrie Barclay, who is the author of ‘The Selfie Book.’ Snapfish has partnered with Carrie to create a first of its kind list of tips to help owners secure the perfect ‘Pelfie’ alongside their beloved furry friend.

 

Carrie shares best methods of capturing those doggy memories. From pup’s first stroll to catching their first stick. They’ve even recruited Instagram doggy star @Brunotheminidachshund (75,000 followers) to bring these tips to life in true doggy style and show us how it’s done!

 

Pelfie Top Tips

  1. The sleeping together pelfie (aka the Zzzelfie) is the perfect way to show your vulnerable sides – pose this way for the ultimate awww factor.
  1. Feeling shy? The Pet‘photo bomb’ makes your pet the star of the show, and will make your followers laugh along the way, too!
  1. Match your poses to really stand out from the crowd; tongues lolling or heads tilted – these little gestures will really help show your similarities.
  1. Bursts are your best friend – we all know our pets are a rule unto themselves, so don’t miss a thing by using the burst function – then choose the best at your leisure.
  1. Grab some props and get creative – bow ties, hats, sunglasses – nothing says diva more than a pet donning a tux or sporting a sparkly jacket.
  1. Want to be really wacky? Then download a faceswap app. Grab your pet, say cheese, and share the hilarious results.
  1. The key to classic Pelfie perfection is to match up your eye lines – keep the camera at eye level, and put yourselves in the centre of the frame – the results should swell any heart.
  1. There’s nothing cuter than a throwback to those puppy years. Hijack the popular hashtag#TBT and remind followers of your pup’s awwwdorable history.
  1. Cuddles! Your followers want to see how close you are, so share the love with plenty of cuddly poses – snuggle up and snap away.
  1. Look behind you. Give your followers context by making sure you share a little bit of the background – it you’re out for walkies, get a bit of the landscape in the frame.

Gerald Perez, Marketing Director, Snapfish EMEA, says: “At Snapfish we are here to help you capture your most precious memories and make them last by providing the perfect keepsakes that you can cherish forever. Whether it’s memorialising your favourite selfie, pelfie or whatever the next photography trend might be our website caters for all your photography needs.”

Carrie Barclay, Snapfish pelfie expert says: “We love to share our lives with our followers on social media, and our pets are such a massive part of that. Whether you mother your moggy or pamper your pooch, showing the world just how unique your pet is is part and parcel of our online presence. This is why the amount of pelfies taken and shared is growing at an alarming rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the dictionary next year!”

Visit Snapfish UK to turn your ‘Pelfie’ photos into beautiful personalised products that you can cherish forever. Feeling inspired? Then share your ‘Pelfies’ using #MyBestPelfie