Monday, 15 August 2011

Some great tips for dog owners

Cats and dogs can live in perfect harmony

A friend of mine was moving in with her partner. The thing was she had three dogs and wasn't sure they would get on with his two cats.

Another person I know was wondering whether to get a Border Collie as a family pet because they are dogs that need a lot of exercise.

As dog owners (hey, my dog Benjy says, you don't own me), we all face problems at one time or another.

The Dogs Trust, who promise NEVER to put a healthy dog down, have a range of fact sheets on their site.

They cover topics like -

For the full list of topics, go to the Fact Sheet list page. And, remember if you want to thank them for the amazing free advice they offer and the invaluable work they do in the UK think about sponsoring one of their dogs or buying something from their online shop.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tips on caring for your dog

The following links are on my publisher's website and contain execrpts from Caring for Your Dog: The Essential Guide.

Caring for Your Dog: The Essential Guide is available in most good books shops and Aamzon. It's also available on the publisher's website. It costs £9.99 and is also available as an e-book.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Why you should mocrochip your pet

Missing Dog Found After Five Years

Five years ago, Craig Kline was in a car crash and he broke his neck. His 11-month-old puppy Baxter was with him and run off.

For months the Kline family searched for their missing pooch, without any luck.

They thought they would never see him again.

Then five years later, they got a call. Baxter had been found and thanks to the microchip they knew he belonged to the Klines.

Now Baxter is back home, acting like he'd never left.

This story was brought to you by get your dog chipped dot com.

Note - on some occasions, microchips can fail or be lost as happened in this case
It's estimated that 100 pets a year have a missing or failed microchip on arrival in the UK. Always get your microchip scanned by your vet to make sure it is working properly before you leave.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The brilliance of dogs

When I read about dog teachers being nominated for an award, I had visions of dogs with glasses in classrooms teaching kids their ABC.

Here's the real story -

First aid for a sprained paw

It can be a difficult time when your dog hurts himself. It’s not like a human being where you can ask where it hurts, is it?

But what do you do in those first vital minutes before you can seek veterinary advice? In this case I called vetfone, which is a 24-hour service available to Dogs Trust members that is run by vets. When you call you will be put through to a veterinary nurse.

Here are some tips for dealing with a sprained paw -

  • When your dog sprains his paw he will yelp and hold the paw up.
  • First you need to check if there’s a break or any ligament damage. Check along the length of the paw by touching it as gently as you can. Is he in any pain when you touch a certain area? Is he reluctant to let you touch an area of his paw?
  • Check his nails to see if any of them are broken. This may be the reason why he is holding his paw up.
  • Your dog needs to rest for seven days. This means NO running or jumping about in that time, so short lead walks only. This can be difficult to do if your dog is as active as mine.
  • Try and keep the paw warm. If your dog will tolerate it, wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and put that next to the paw.
  •  If there’s no improvement after a day then take your dog to the vet. He may need anti-inflammatories or to have the paw x-rayed. Or the vet may need to immobilise the paw.

Note – The advice give here is NO substitute for going to your vet.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

What do you buy a dog for his birthday?

Today is Benjy’s 3rd birthday and because of the poor start he had in life (he went into a dog home when he was 7 months old after his owners lost their house, was adopted once for a week and then taken back by the woman who adopted him, until we brought him to his forever home when he was 17months old) love to spoil him.

We managed to get him an edible rawhide dog birthday card

A tube of tennis balls (he loves balls).

Dogolates (specially formulated for dogs and made out of rice, fruit and vegetables and carob as a chocolate substitute). Note - dogs should NEVER be given human chocolate. It can kill them.
What do you buy your dog on his birthday?

Monday, 25 April 2011

The amazing things dogs can do

Dogs are brilliant, we all know that. But did you know that our four legged friends can also do other amazing things like –

1-Sniff out cancer. In a study carried out by scientists, a specially trained retriever managed to sniff out bowel cancer in patients in an amazing 9 out of 10 cases –

2-Tell when someone with epilepsy is going to have a seizure. These dogs are called seizure alert dogs. When they know their owners are about to have an epileptic fit they give them a signal some minutes before so that the person can make sure they are in a safe place.
Read more about them here -

3-Tell when someone has low blood sugar. They can then alert their owner who can take the appropriate measures.

4-Get money out of a cash machine. Dogs are trained to do this for their disabled owners.
Read about the amazing assistance dog Endal here -

Thursday, 21 April 2011

When it's hot...

I like to keep cool by running through the wild garlic -

There are other ways to keep your dog cool this summer -

ALWAYS have fresh water available. Change this water regularly and if its outside then make sure its in the shade.

NEVER leave a dog in a hot car. Ask yourself - do I really need to take him in the car with me? If the answer is NO, then DON'T. Every summer dogs die in hot cars. Don't let your dog be one of them.

ADD some Rock Sulphur to your dog's water. It will keep it cool. Available from most pet shops.

SWIMMING is great exercise for dogs and will keep them cool. If there's no water nearby, then how about filling up a child's paddling pool? You're dog will love you.

NEVER leave dog food out. Cover it and pt it in the fridge if he won't eat it. You wouldn't want to eat food that flies have been all over, so why would you dog?

Carrots aren't just for bunnies
 CARROTS are great for keeping dogs cool. Remember to peel first. They have a high water content. Keep in fridge beforehand to ensure the carrots are as cold as they can be.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Watch out colourants about!

Benjy has been as sick as a dog this week. After narrowing down what he had eaten, we think the colourant Copper Sulphate (spelt Sulfate in the US) that was in the two different types of chews he ate, may have been what made him sick.

On looking up this colourant online, I was shocked to find out the following -

It's used to clean swimming pools of algae and pests.

It's not toxic in small amounts - My worry is that means an accumulate amount over time is not good for you, or your dog.

From now on, I will be avoiding giving Benjy anything containing this stuff.

Thankfully, he is better now.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

We didn’t rescue him, he rescued us!

We got Benjy from Glasgow Dogs’ Trust and were so lucky to get him. We’d lost our beloved dog Vic recently and were devastated. Neither of us could go to the bathroom unless the other one was outside. We’d be constantly crying and when we weren’t crying, there was a awful numbness about us.

Food had lost all its taste. We’d lost all reason for living. There were times I genuinely thought of walking into the sea until it submerged me and I was no more.

Getting Benjy brought us back from the brink.

Maybe getting a rescue dog could change your life too?

Here are 5 good reasons to get a rescue dog -

1-You will be helping to put an end to the spread of puppy farms where puppies are raised in cages and treated like factory farmed cattle. Many dogs are so ill they have to be put down shortly after someone buys one.

People can be conned into buying a puppy from a puppy farm, by ads in local newspapers offering puppies for sale.

This is the reality of a puppy farm (I'm sorry for showing it, but all us animal lovers need to spread the word –

Thanks go to the Elia Hammon Trust for this distressing photograph-

2-Unless dogs find homes they may end up being put down. Dogs Trust have a policy of never putting a healthy dog to sleep. Not every body that takes in animals can say that.

Fact – In 2008, eleven unwanted dogs were put down each day in Northern Ireland. Note - Unwanted does not mean they were in bad health.

3-It can seem unmanageable trying to change the world into a more caring one. By getting a rescue dog you will be making a difference.

4-Those who have rescue dogs say that they are more loving and loyal than other dogs.

5-Usually the charities you get dogs from can tell you about the dog’s personality. That way you know what to expect from your four legged friend.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Tips for an easy move with your dog

He'll always find something to do whilst your busy!

Moving home can be stressful for you and your dog. How do you make it easier on your four legged friend?

Here's some tips -

Make sure before you move that you register with the local vet and take any relevant paperwork with you, including details of inoculations and any medications your dog is on. 

If your pet is on medication make sure you get enough to do you way beyond your next vet visit. 

If you are taking your dog with you in the car, ensure that they are secured in the back with a dog harness or doggy seatbelt.  Alternatively use a dog carrier.  Loose dogs can cause accidents. 

Don’t alter your dog’s routine simply because you have moved.  Dogs like routine; it makes them feel safe. 

If at all possible, take your four legged friend to visit his new home before you move.  That way he can get used to his new surroundings and smells. 

If the previous occupant of the house had pets make sure you give the place a good airing and a good clean.  This is you and your pet’s home now.

There is a spray and diffuser you can get which mimics the smell of a mother dog and makes your pooch feel safe, like he did when he was a puppy.  Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) is the hormone that a mother dog secretes for the first week of giving birth to her puppies to make them feel safe and secure.  You can also get it in collar form and various people I know who have used it thoroughly recommend it, although it can be expensive. 

5 Things you should never give your dog

Here are the five most dangerous things for any dog -

1. Human chocolate - this can poison them and kill them. Never leave any where your dog can get them. This includes Easter Eggs and boxes of chocolates that you think they can't get at.

2. Rat poison - this is very appetising for dogs as it tastes nice and sweet.

3. Alcohol - dogs should never be given this. This can raise their heart rate and cause them to have heart failure.

4. Cooked bones - these can splitter and choke your dog. If you really must give your dog bones, make them raw ones. But, even these can be dangerous too as they are uncooked they may contain bacterial that can give your dog food poisoning.

5. Human medicine - This includes painkillers and vitamins. Many are highly toxic to dogs.

Note - If your dog eats any of these things, contact your vet immediately. Delays could kill your dog.

How do you put a diaper on a dog?

My mum and dad recently adopted a toy poodle called Luna. They took her to the vet to see about getting her spayed as she’s 11-months-old and in her second season. The vet told them she was too small to have the surgery and it would have to wait. 

So, twenty-years after they changed their last nappy, they are back to putting one on their latest arrival.

They bought nappies for newborns and they are still too big!  And there’s the problem of where to put the tail!

Every morning they wake up and she has somehow wriggled out of the nappy.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Woman returns rescue dog because it clashes with her curtains!

I could not believe this -

How could anyone be that shallow?

This woman should be ashamed of herself for being such a pathetic, callous human being.

We got Benjy after a woman adopted him from the Dogs Trust, then brought him back because she couldn't be bothered putting drops in  his ears. Her stupidity brought us joy. 

My mum and dad's wee surprise

For the past twelve years, my mum and dad have had Rottweilers. But, these days they have rescued toy poodle called Lucky. So far, she's had THREE different homes and she's only 11-months-old.

Isn't she a darling?

Benjy in a magazine

Benjy is developing diva like tastes. He won't drink out of a normal dog dish - he insists on a fountain - and will only eat the finest fillet steak (it has to be cit first).

Maybe it's because there's an article on him in this month's Dogs Monthly Magazine.

Next he'll be demanding an agent to get on the old dog and bone!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Losing a pet

Grief is such a timeless thing. Over a year ago, we lost our beautiful dog Vic who had epilepsy. Even now that we have a new dog, we still think we see and hear Vic everywhere.

We recently got a new bin for our kitchen. A big black bin. Whenever we'd see it, we would think it was Vic who was a big black dog. We had to buy stickers to put on the bin so we wouldn't make that mistake.

Talking to other dog lovers, its clear that we are not alone in seeing our deceased pets everywhere.

There is no timeline on grief. Nor should we feel guilty that we are grieving for an animal and not a human being, because it shows we have compassion. It also shows that we don't value animal life less than human life, which is I believe, something to be proud of. 

Vic with one of his favourite things - ice cream

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

We have many animals on this island..

Here's a lion -

and here's a crocodile...

It's finally here!

Today I received my author copies of Caring for Your Dog: The Essential Guide. This was a day I never thought I would see because the owners of the imprint Need2Know books, Forward Press, had gone into liquidation. 

I wrote the book for a number of reasons –

1. To help other dog owners decide what was best for them and their dogs.  Having a dog can be a bewildering experience. What do you do if you think your dog’s got fleas?  Is vaccination essential? How do you socialise your dog? 

2. To encourage people to consider adopting a dog.  There are so many dogs without homes who could be the perfect pet for you.  Yet many people wrongly assume that they need to buy a dog from a breeder.  They assume that dogs in charity pounds have ‘something wrong with them.’  Usually the only thing they have wrong with them is that their owners have died/been convicted of animal cruelty and had their dog removed/been evicted from their home and had to move into rented accommodation where dogs are not allowed. 

3. To make sure people were informed about pet insurance.  For most dog owners, having pet insurance is the only way of guaranteeing that if your pet needs an expensive operation you won’t end up footing the bill yourself. 

4. The main reason I wrote this book is I wanted people to be aware of the fact that special needs dogs can live happy and fulfilling lives.  I dedicated my book to Vic, my dog who sadly passed away.  He was epileptic and had a fantastic life.  We used to go for long walks on the island where we lived and he’d blaze the trail.  Yet I heard of other dog owners having their pets put down simply because they were epi dogs. 

Caring for Your Dog is dedicated to Vic, the bravest dog in the world. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't miss him.