6 Facts About Guide Dogs

For many of us it can be a challenge just to get our beloved pooches to sit so the mind truly boggles at the idea of a guide dog being so well trained and responsible for the safety of a human, and yet over 1000 new guide dogs are trained every year in the UK!

We take a look at a few interesting facts about these wonderful service dogs and their training;

It takes at least 18 months to train a guide dog.

After graduating doggy basics 101 each guide dog goes into formal guide dog training and between the ages of 12 months – 18 months the guide dog will meet his guide partner so they can get to know each other and train together before they are sent off into the sunset of companionship and care!

He’s not a know-it-all

It might look like the guide dog has it all figured out and knows exactly where to go but in fact the dog is listening and reacting to instructions and clues from their blind partner. Using Intelligent Disobedience, the guide dog will then refuse a command if it’s deemed unsafe.

Humans are bigger than dogs

Guide dogs are trained to understand height and width, not just direction, to make sure that their blind person can safely get through spaces.

Why did the guide dog refuse to cross the road?

Ever wondered why the blind person with their guide dog won’t cross the road at a crossing, even if you’ve stopped your car to let them pass? Guide dogs know that roads and cars are unsafe and therefore may not lead the person across the road until the way is clear, even if the car is stationary.

Distractions are dangerous!

You should never pet, feed or talk to a guide dog without asking the owners permission because the dog is hard at work protecting his human, distractions can be dangerous – especially in newly qualified guide dogs.

Guide Dogs are not just for the Blind!

In this post we’ve mostly referred to the Guide Dog’s owner as blind but in fact, there are many reasons that a person might have a Guide Dog including hearing impairment, mobility issues, chronic illnesses and mental health issues.

Reasons to adopt, not shop.

Adopt, Don’t Shop.

A campaign slogan used by a large and growing number of animal rights organisations and businesses alike.

Adopt Don't Shop - Rookes Pets Spalding

Last year, 2017, the RSPCA alone rescued and collected over 100,000 animals and re-homed around 45,000 which is a great feat, but it means that more animals are coming into shelters, than being re-homed.

At Rooke’s, we fully recommend that anyone considering owning a pet first considers adopting one before buying from a breeder and there are a few reasons for this;

1. Avoid Puppy Farms

Whilst there are a large number of registered and responsible breeders in the UK, there are even more breeders that have little regard for the welfare of the breeding animals or the offspring and are focused on profit. Often conditions are poor and usually the health of the animal is at risk both in the short term and long term.

2. By adopting, you’ll be saving a life.

Space at Rescue Centers across the country is limited, and by adopting you are making room for another in-need animal to come into the shelter.

Plus, your newly adopted pet is going to have a fabulous life at home with you and soon forget all about the days in the kennels.

3. You’ll save £££

Rescue centers do require a donation fee per animal you re-home, but this is much cheaper than the cost of buying a puppy or kitten from a breeder and usually, the animal will have been vaccinated, micro-chipped, neutered/spayed and given a health check so those are all costs you get to avoid!

4. Get yourself a fully trained pet

You get to pick yourself a fully-trained, happy chappy! Avoiding those toilet training months is a big plus and although every pet needs plenty of your time, it’s not as much as a puppy or kitten needs during those critical first few months.

5. Pick the pet that’s right for you

It’s really difficult to tell what kind of personality your pet will have when picking at a few weeks old, choosing a rescue animal however means that the rescue center staff will be able to tell you all about each animal in detail and you can take home the purrfect pet!

 

Every month at Rooke’s we sponsor a dog who needs a new home at The Jerry Green Dog Rescue and share with you our Dog Of The Month and thanks to your help, Jerry Green have been able to re-home 3 of our sponsored dogs!

For more information about visiting Jerry Green Dog Rescue please call;  01205 260546.

 

Preparing for Summer Days

Each wonderful season in Britain brings a new set of challenges for everyone; travel considerations, heating bills and more. The same goes for our lovely pets and the wildlife who inhabit our gardens so with warmer weather in mind, here are 5 tips to prepare your animals for those long awaited Summer days.

Summer at Rooke's

1. Protect the skin

Skin Cancer is the most common type of cancer in Dogs and the 2nd most common in Cats. Although their fur doesn’t need Sun Cream, other sensitive areas like the belly and ears do.

In cats, the eye area is very prone to tumours and special protection should be considered; speak to your vet for advice on this.

Make sure to pick up some Sun Cream that is specially formulated for pets because regular Sun Creams can be toxic to animals.

2. Long Hair, Don’t Care

You might be inclined to clip fur coats short during summer but this isn’t necessarily the best way to keep them cool. Animal fur is designed for good circulation and helps regulate body temperature as long as it’s well brushed.

3. No amount of time left in the car is safe

Summer at Rooke'sTemperatures in cars, even with windows open, can soar to impossible heats within minutes.

Do not leave any animal in the car for any amount of time.

4. Beware of lakes & rivers

Lakes and ponds with lots of algae growing may be toxic, while Rivers can carry strong currents. Your dog might love a cool dip but be aware.

5. Consider your garden friends

Winston Face of Rookes Pets Spalding

Worms tend to dig deeper into the earth during drier weather, so food for birds might be limited. Try to put out extra bird feed during summer months and consider a bird bath/watering hole for your garden friends like the hedgehog.

 

Allergies in Dogs & Diet

It’s awful to see your best companion suffering from allergies and sometimes it seems impossible to make them feel better having tried every medication and treatment in the book. Detecting allergies in your dog and then eliminating the source can be a lengthy and frustrating process.

main-qimg-ab38742819052afa9086419ead8a0745-c

 

 

 

 

 

 

However many are not aware that lots of allergies are actually caused by diet, not pollen or the weather. With changes in diet, many symptoms can be alleviated but the road to understanding which diet your pooch should be on is tiresome as changing your dogs usual grub too quickly or too frequently can cause issues of its own.

 

Usually though, our first recommendation for dogs with skin irritations, loose bowels, bad breath and wind, which are common problems, is to eliminate grains like wheat, corn and soy from your best friends diet.

 

Shockingly, despite these grains being a major cause of health problems in dogs, even the most luxury dog food brands produce foods that contain a very large percentage of grain as it’s cheap and filling.

 

There are lots of diet plans and ready made foods that offer a grain free solution though; one of the most popular is the BARF diet (Bones and Raw Food) which requires either a do it yourself attitude (hello meal prep) or a hefty monthly investment in pre-made BARF dog foods which are often frozen meats mixed with vegetables (and don’t forget the freezer space required).

 

The other option is to source a grain-free dry food alternative, like Seven Dog Food which is a hypoallergenic formula made with human-grade meat and locally sourced, fresh fruit and vegetables all gently steam-cooked without artificial colours or preservatives for better digestibility.

 

The maker of this range decided that Seven Dog Food would only be available through specially selected, knowledgeable stores who share their vision of health and vitality for dogs through nutrition.

 Seven Pet Food

Rookes Pet Products is proud to be a Seven Dog Food stockist and we’ll gladly advise you on nutrition for your dog including BARF options that are in store, as well as Seven Dog Food and others to help you find the right solution for a healthy, happy dog!

Aloe Vera; For Dogs?!

Aloe Vera; we all know it’s great for sunburn but many don’t know of the positive health effects that Aloe Vera can have on our animals!

Aloe Vera For Dogs Rookes Pet Products

While Aloe Vera products specialised for animals are considered expensive and can be difficult to find, it’s worthwhile knowing about the options available for particular ailments.

Used externally, Aloe Vera is very soothing to skin due to its antibacterial, anti inflammatory and anti fungal properties which is why it’s a popular sunburn treatment but it’s also extremely effective on wounds, eczema, bites and stings. Due to its anti-fungal properties it’s also fantastic as cure for issues such as ringworm, yeast infections.

It’s best to buy Aloe Vera products made for animals as opposed to using the leaves directly from the plant as some parts of the leaf and plant contain Saponins which can have a laxative effect and shouldn’t be ingested by your dog.

Specifically, Aloe Vera has been listed as potentially toxic to dogs despite many sources citing it as safe for dogs to ingest. We recommend sticking only to external use for skin conditions as directed by product instructions.

Apple Crunch Pupcakes – A Healthy Nutritious Recipe

Feel like getting creative in the kitchen? Why not make your own homemade dog treats? Here are some reasons why making homemade dog treats can be beneficial to both you and your pup:

  • You can ensure that your pet is getting a nutritious and wholesome snack. You can also tailor your dog treat recipes to your dog’s taste preferences as well as cater to any dietary restrictions.

  • Many brands of commercial dog treats are filled with preservatives, which help to extend their shelf life. By creating your own treats at home, you will be able to provide your dog with a healthy snack that is not only nutritious but is also free of unhealthy additives.

  • Your pup will love these treats as a reward for good behaviour!

Apple crunch pupcakes

A fruity treat your dog will adore:

Ingredients

  • 2 ¾ cups water

  • ¼ cup applesauce (unsweetened)

  • 2 tbsp honey

  • 1/8 tbsp vanilla extract

  • 1 medium egg

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup dried apple chips (unsweetened)

  • 1 tbsp baking powder

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

  2. Mix water, applesauce, honey, egg, and vanilla together in a bowl

  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended

  4. Pour into lightly greased muffin pans

  5. Bake for 35 minutes

  6. Enjoy!

Do’s and Don’ts in Potty Training Your Puppy

Potty training a new puppy can sometimes be a lengthy process and you may find yourself losing your temper or getting angry when your puppy has an accident. What can you do to keep your temper in check and your patience high? Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while potty training your puppy:

Don’ts:

  • Punishing your puppy for having an accident is a definite no-no. It teaches your puppy to fear you.

  • Do not yell at your dog or swat your dog’s rear end. The accident may have happened long before you walked into the room and chances are your puppy has already forgotten what he did. Not to mention, you could injure your dog.

  • If you found the evidence but didn’t see the act, don’t react angrily by rubbing his nose in it. Puppies aren’t intellectually capable of connecting your anger with their accident.

Do’s:

  • Do take your puppy out as often as possible, especially after eating or drinking.

  • Try your best to be consistent and patient.

  • If you catch your puppy in the act, clap loudly so he knows he’s done something unacceptable. Then take him outside by calling him or taking him gently by the collar. When he’s finished, praise him or give him a small treat.

  • Staying outside longer with puppy may help to curb accidents. He may need the extra time to explore.

  • When accidents do happen stay calm and take a deep breath. Be patient and remember that your puppy is just a baby. Remember, your puppy really needed to “go” and doesn’t know what to do unless you show him what you expect of him.

  • Keep your puppy confined to a limited space inside at the start, preferably on tile or linoleum.

  • Clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleanser rather than an ammonia-based cleaner to minimize odors that might attract the puppy back to the same spot.

 

Remember that you have a darling new puppy. Enjoy him! If you’re feeling frustrated work off your aggravations by going for a walk or exercising. When you return make sure you appreciate and soak up the attention from your adorable pup. Potty training is an individual process for each puppy, and it can take anywhere from several days to several weeks. Keep in mind that with consistency and patience, your dog will eventually be potty trained.

12 Fun Ways to Work Out with your Dog

Not only is working out with your dog a fun way to strengthen your bond, but active dogs are less likely to exhibit bad behavior problems because they are regularly burning their energy. This means they will be less likely to dig, chew expensive shoes, scratch couches and jump on your in-laws as they walk through the door. The more you engage in physical activity with your dog, the less interest he will have in participating in or initiating destructive behaviors.

Check out this list of 12 fun ways you can work out with your dog:

  1. Running – You and your four-legged athlete get to enjoy the great outdoors while increasing stamina and strengthening muscles. Kind of like multitasking with your dog!

  2. Walking – Regular walks can reduce common behavior problems, strengthen the heart, lower blood pressure and overall provide more energy to both you and your dog.

  3. Dancing – If walking is not your favoured activity of choice, dancing will have your dog running between your legs and performing other tricks.

  4. Cycling – Are you scared that your dog is too fast for you? Take your dog biking with you and set out with your dog running by your side. Studies show that this kind of exercise can help your dog be better behaved.

  5. Rollerblading – Rollerblading is a great way to burn off a dog’s excess energy, but make sure you are confident on your rollerblades – otherwise your dog will make you fall!

  6. Football – Believe it or not, some dogs love to play football. It will get both your heart rates up by kicking the ball around and racing after it. Your dog might even learn how to kick or dribble the ball with his nose/paw.

  7. Hiking – Most dogs love the outdoors, especially the new smells. Exploring the outdoors with your dog also gives them the opportunity to see other animals while out in nature.

  8. Agility Training – The fast pace in agility training provides a great workout and is lots of fun! Agility training combines an obstacle course suited to your pup, whilst you can run alongside them.

  9. Frisbee – The classic canine workout. Frisbee is great for training your dog and working on your mutual relationship. Another bonus is that frisbee will help your dog to sleep better at night.

  10. Swimming – It turns out our canine companions may also reap rewards from time spent in the water. Swimming improves muscular strengthening and toning, while working the heart and helping your dog to breathe easier, without the impact of concussive exercise on land and the associated damage that it may cause.

  11. Active Fetch – Fetching allows dogs to flex their muscles and be praised while doing it. Another major reason why dogs love to play fetch is because it allows them to show off their ingrained capabilities.

  12. Doga – Otherwise known as dog yoga, doga is all about the pet-human bond. There’s often some doggy massage and acupressure involved too!

Preparing Your Pooch for a Baby

Our dogs are very in tune with us, so with an event as monumental as a pregnancy, your dog has already sensed that something is up. But just because your pup has picked up on the new feelings hanging in the air, doesn’t mean that they understand what it all means.

Here are a few tips for preparing your dog for a baby:

Keeping the Peace
Your babies (furry and not!) can live happily ever after, but it starts with you as owner and future parent. A pregnancy affects the entire household, so be aware of your energy. You may feel excited, anxious, or worried. Remember, your dog will mirror your emotions.

Establish Boundaries
Establish boundaries starting with the nursery off-limits. Condition your dog to understand that there is an invisible barrier that she may not cross without your permission. Another option would be to install safety gates to designate some rooms as off-limits to your pooch. This way, your dog will get used to some rooms being restricted, allowing future baby to perfect all the rolling and crawling in the world.

Don’t forget the dog
A dog does not need toys or special attention to feel important; you simply need to maintain the routine, providing daily walks and consistent leadership. This will help your dog feel secure and allow him to relax about the new addition to the family.

Stock Up
Before the new arrival, stock up on play toys for your pup. If your pup has his own stuff, he’s less likely to chew on any cute baby toys you received as gifts.

Control the Introduction
Before the initial introduction, take your dog on a long walk to drain all of their energy. Make sure your dog is in a calm-submissive state prior to the introduction and make sure all present are calm. During the first meeting, do not bring the baby too close. Eventually the dog should be allowed to sniff the baby, but at a respectful distance, and later on the dog should slowly be allowed to get closer to the baby.

Always Supervise
Never ever leave your child alone with your pet. Infant behavior such as squealing could unexpectedly irritate him. Watch for pacing or unusual eye contact, which could indicate your dog isn’t comfortable with the baby.

Teach Your Baby
Teach your tot to be gentle with your pup. As your tot begins exploring with their hands, they might grab for fur. Show your baby how to pet nicely, and your hound will thank you for it.

Your child’s safety comes first. If, after working with a professional and on your own, you are still not 100% confident about the safety of your baby with your dog, then finding your dog another home to protect the well-being of your child and pet is a step you may have to take.

Your Cat’s Nutritional Guidelines

Taking time to review your cat’s food and nutritional guidelines is important, especially because just as our nutritional guidelines can change, cat’s can change too. When it comes to new kittens in particular, ensure you are checking their nutritional needs that are ever changing as they grow, so that you can choose the best kitten food out there.

It can’t hurt to re-examine what you are feeding your cat. Here are some of the most important ingredients in cat food to keep an eye out for:

1. Water:
Water is the most important element in your cat’s food. Make sure you check the amount of moisture in the food you are feeding your cat. Cats in general should drink around 4 ounces daily in addition to the moisture consumed from their food – dry food having around 10% of daily moisture, as opposed to canned food which can have 70%. If you are worried your cat isn’t drinking enough water, try switching tap water for bottled water. Some cats dislike the altered taste of water with certain additives.

Keep checking your cat for symptoms such as dry mouth, panting, lethargy and sunken eyes – these are symptoms of dehydration and if you notice any, take your cat to the vet immediately.

2. Protein:
Protein is at the top of the list for cats’ nutritional needs. Protein is extremely important for your kitten’s growth, development and energy production, and all cats need protein included in their diet on a daily basis. Not only is protein important for growth, protein provides cats with amino acids and is also needed to produce antibodies, hormones, enzymes and tissues. Cats rely on meat and fish to get their protein, or in other words; animal-based protein. The other type of protein is plant-based, and although it is important for plant-based protein to be included in your cat’s diet, they can’t live on it alone. To ensure you’re supplying your cat or kitten with the right amount of protein, search for kitten food that has at least 30% of protein, and cat food that has a minimum of 25-30% protein.

An important component of protein for cats is Taurine, an amino acid which can only be found in animal-based protein, and is critical to the development of the fetus. Taurine also helps vision, digestion, heart function and is vital in maintaining your cat’s healthy immune system.
Many cat foods have added taurine, but be sure to look for it on the label.

 

3. Vitamins and Minerals:
Vitamins are essential for growth and function and for regulating metabolism. Although some vitamins can be made in your cat’s body, most have to be consumed through diet.  Minerals are stored in your cat’s bone and muscle tissue and are vital to transport oxygen, form enzymes, maintain the right pH balance and are also necessary to complete physiological reactions.
Most cat foods include vitamins and minerals, but it is important to review the labels as there are some raw foods that may lack certain vitamins.

4. Fat:
Fat is crucial for your cat’s diet, as it provides fuel for the body and helps to protect internal organs and produce hormones. Fat also helps maintain your cat’s healthy skin and coat, and is of course essential for proper kidney function and reproductive health. Most cat foods provide 8% of fat for cats and 5% for kittens, however it is most recommended that full-grown cats have 15-20% fat in their diet, and kittens have at least 20% fat.

 

Other than the ingredients mentioned in this list, there are of course other important nutritional elements in cat food, so we recommend checking in with your veterinarian to see if your cat has additional needs beyond the food you are feeding him. A healthy cat is a happy cat, so make sure you are always revising and revisiting your adored cat’s diet.