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.

How To Transport Your Pet

At some point in time you will need to transport your pet, even if it’s once a year for their annual checkup. Here are some tips to minimise stress and keep you all safe on the move.

Dog Out Car Window


You can transport your dog in two ways for maximum safety.

  • Buy a boot guard. They are available for most car makes and will ensure you dog stays safely in the boot of your car.

  • If you don’t have a hatch back you can buy a dog seat belt. These clip into the seat belt mechanism to belt your dog firmly in position.

If your dog is an unhappy traveler, let him have a treat before and after the journey. Old dogs may need help getting into the boot. If you can’t lift your pooch you can buy fold-able ramp to help him up and down.


Cats should always be transported in a cat carrier. You may find it easier to get Tiddles in with a top loader rather than a side door. Many varieties are available including plastic washable ones, wicker and material. Ensure the hinges and connecting parts are secure and always carry it with one hand underneath. Cover your cats basket in the vet waiting room and don’t allow other peoples dogs to sniff the cage.

Small Mammals

Rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs can be moved in a car carrier, but you will need something smaller for a hamster or gerbil. Purpose made transporters are available. Always ensure small heads cannot get through the wire or plastic housing as it will cause damage.


Fish are best moved in fish bags – placed in a cardboard box in the foot-well of your car. Always ensure there are no sharp objects and it’s best to take a spare bag filled with water just in case.



Birds can be transported in their own cage with movable objects taken out such as swinging mirrors or toys. If the cage is too big there are small bird transportation cages available.

Safety First!

  • Don’t allow children to open the pet cage no matter how much the pet cries. They are not safe in a moving car and if opened outside they will run and hide, meaning your pet may get lost.

  • All pet carriers should be kept in place with a car seat belt, not left to roll around on the back seat or crash into the driver if you need to break heavily.

  • Keep pets out of direct sunlight.

  • The same goes for cold temperatures. Birds and fish are particularly sensitive to temperature.

  • When travelling with pets make sure to keep the windows closed.

It can be traumatic (for you too!) to transport your pet. So put a small blanket or piece of your clothing in with your pet to soothe its nerves. Very nervous cat and dogs may benefit from scent diffusers that mimic pheromones given off by parents to their babies.


5 Common Mistakes New Hamster Owners Make

As with every new pet, a new hamster owner should thoroughly research hamster care before buying their pet. Unfortunately, not everybody does this as hamsters can sometimes be impulse buys – purchased at short notice. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! We’ve created a list of the 5 most common mistakes new hamster owners make, so that you can learn from other people’s mistakes and avoid making them in future!

Keeping your hamster in a cramped cage:
Hamsters are active and run for long periods of time every night, so keeping them in a small cramped cage will limit their physical exercise space and lead to an unhappy hamster. The minimum cage size for hamsters in most European countries is 80cm x 50cm, so if you’re able to get something bigger your hamster will definitely thank you!


Keeping males and females together
Unless you want lots of babies, avoid keeping a male and female hamster in the same cage! Hamsters breed easily, and female hamsters can give birth to up to twenty babies at a time, so it’s not ideal!

Provide an unbalanced diet
Don’t feed your hamster citrus fruits or onion- these foods are acidic and can interfere with your hamsters digestion system putting them at risk. Make sure you do your research and take care to feed your hamster a healthy, balanced diet.

Using incorrect bedding
Don’t be fooled by the fancy names of hamster bedding at the pet store and avoid using the following as bedding in a hamster cage:
Scented bedding
Cat litter
Pine and cedar wood shavings
These can irritate your hamster and cause much discomfort.

Using the wrong hamster wheel
Your hamster wheel will keep your hamster happy and healthy, allowing them to get all the exercise they need. For this reason, make sure your hamster wheel is a good size and not too small. A wheel too small will force your hamster to adopt a bad hunching posture when running, which can be very harmful for their health. Ensure the wheel is of high quality and has a solid surface, you wouldn’t want the wheel to break and your hamster getting hurt.

Hopefully the information above will help you create the perfect home for your hamster. Enjoy this time with your new hamster and continue doing research on how to ensure your hamster can stay happy and healthy at all times!

The Right Time To Begin Grooming Your Puppy and How To Do It

Grooming is important for both the health of your pet and the bond you share. It’s also a nice way to spend quality time together with your puppy while also monitoring their health by checking for cuts, bumps, and tenderness.


When your new puppy is about 8 weeks old, has left their mother, is introduced to its new home and established a relationship with you as the owner – you can begin to think about getting the puppy groomed.

The very first grooming appointment is an introduction to the puppy and the owner to the world of grooming. The puppy with be introduced to a bath, dental care, nail care, ear care and slight trimming.

Bath time:
The bathing products available for dogs today are almost as numerous as those for us humans, and they’re much better suited to a dog’s skin type than human shampoos. Choose a special dog shampoo that’s best suited to your puppy’s hair type and take extra care not to get any shampoo in his eyes when washing him.

Investing in a non-slip rubber mat and placing it on the bottom of the bathtub is always a good idea as it will help in giving your puppy extra confidence during bath time.

Dental care:
Good oral health is essential to your puppy’s overall health. To help keep your puppy’s teeth and gums healthy, brush your puppy’s teeth regularly. Ask your veterinarian to show you how. Never use human toothpaste on your puppy – dental kits for dogs are available for daily use.

Nail care:
Regular nail trims will blunt the sharp tips of your puppy’s nails and minimize accidental scratches during play. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to trim your puppy’s nails, as it is important to know how to avoid the nail’s blood vessels and nerves in the pink base close to the toe. Make sure to only use nail trimmers designed for dogs and introduce nail trimming gradually, trimming just a few nails once a week at first. The more you do it, the more familiar it will become to your pup. A nail trim every four weeks is usually enough.


Ear care:
Although a dog’s ears normally do not require cleaning, it is important to check them regularly for any dirt, debris or redness, especially if you’ve noticed your puppy scratching or shaking his head. Contact your veterinarian if you notice these signs or anything unusual.

As a young puppy it is a lot to ask to force them to stand for long periods of time while being groomed. This is why it’s important to do only the basics for their first groom. Don’t forget to trim the fur from around their eyes carefully and around the sanitary area. Depending on how the puppy reacts to the first grooming we may recommend doing this type of trimming one more time before the full haircut. The more comfortable the puppy becomes with being handled by the groomer and being on a table, and in the tub, the better the puppy will become as they grow up.

Moving Home – How To Keep Your Pets Happy

Moving is a stressful time and it’s no different for our pets. They are generally territorial and often create strong environmental bonds. If you can’t place your pet in a cattery, kennels or with friends during the move – try these tips.



  • Ensure your pet is in a safe, secure carrier with no room for escape. Try spraying some synthetic pheromone on bedding such as Feliway for cats to help keep them calm.

  • Ensure the vehicle is cool and not noisy – turn the radio down and the air conditioning up.


  • On arrival keep your dog or cat confined to a single room with some familiar furniture. Put food and water down plus bedding from their previous set up. Pets like rabbits, hamsters and birds should be kept in their original cage or hutch for familiarity.

  • Keep strangers away as all animals are unpredictable when afraid.

  • Cats and dogs should have gradual access to the rest of house, but ensure all windows, doors and escape routes are closed.

  • Keep feeding and walking routines at similar times to build up their confidence.

  • If you are doing any DIY’s such as painting make sure you have fume-free varieties and don’t paint a room that your pet is shut in.



  • Cats should be kept indoors for at least two weeks. Ensure you have lots of cat litter – you’ll need one litter tray per cat.

  • When you let your cat out for the first time make sure they haven’t just eaten and they are wearing a tagged quick release collar if the microchip isn’t up-to-date yet. Don’t panic if Tiddles jumps straight over the fence. Give them time, call for them and shake those treats. An empty stomach often wins over the urge to explore.


  • Dogs should be kept on the lead until you’re sure the area is safe. Check the garden over thoroughly and put a warning on the gate. Even the most placid dog may nip if it feels threatened in a new environment.

Outside Pets:

  • Keep an eye on where the sun falls and where cold drafts are in the new garden and make your pet comfortable as necessary. Some extra straw to hide in would be appreciated too.

  • Before you let your pets out into their run, check your grass over for unsuitable weeds.

  • Give the run a thorough check too in case it was damaged in transit.


The golden rules when moving home are to keep your pets securely confined for a time and reduce stress with familiar objects and routines.

Good luck and happy moving.

The Joys of Winter

Anyone who has seen a dog running through snow or licking frost will appreciate they like nothing more than a chilly day (or perhaps biscuits). Hot days make our pets sluggish, but chilly days perk them up; even oldies like to get in on the action.


Keep Warm!

Running will make a dog hot, but as they cool down the chilly wind can make them shiver; try a dog coat to keep the cold out. Avoid rivers too, because they can be sub-zero and your wet dog will become gradually colder as the walk progresses. Iced over rivers are dangerous, never let your dog onto the ice, it may break and your dog can be swept underneath.

Be Careful Out There!

Whilst we’re talking about dangers – make sure anti-freeze is locked away and spray it sparingly. It’s poisonous, and kills pets within hours if they ingest it. Anti-freeze tastes sweet, which is a big attraction for animals.

Salt and grit on icy roads and pavements can cut foot-pads and get stuck between toes, so wipe your dog’s feet after a walk to prevent sore cuts. Stop them licking at the salt on their feet too, as it creates excessive thirst.

Dark mornings and early nights are a perennial winter feature. Invest in good quality high visibility coat so you’re safely seen. Hi-vis dog coats are a good investment and you can also buy a hi-vis collar with lead! Don’t forget your torch on winter walks. Even a mini torch that fits in your pocket is better than nothing if you get caught out.

Wrap Up Hutches

Pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs need extra warmth. Make sure their bedding is dry, and wrap towels or an old duvet over the hutch. Remove ice from bowls daily, and ensure any hanging drinkers are not frozen solid.

Frozen Fish

You can’t knit a bobble hat for your fish during cold spells, but you can keep the pond clear of leaves, as they raise ammonia levels. To prevent pond ice place a ball in the water. Fish slow down during winter, but feed them if they are active. Logs at the bottom of the pond can provide warm spots for them, or you can buy a surface heater if you like to see them swimming year round.

Native Wildlife Needs You

Birds appreciate peanuts or fat balls when it’s cold, and hedgehog food is available as well. Don’t brush up those leaf piles, because they provide shelter for hibernating insects, toads, bees and butterflies. You can put up an insect or bird box now too, so it will be weathered and smelling natural by spring time.


Wrap up, and enjoy that fresh air!


Avoiding Holiday Weight

Piles of Presents – And Pounds!

We all love to celebrate over Christmas and New Year. It’s a time to indulge and relax but when it comes to our pets we need to stick to the rules because holiday weight is difficult to shift and it can damage their health.


Our pets don’t hibernate so here’s how to keep them svelte over the holiday season.

Lock Away Chocolate

Christmas brings out the sweet tooth in us all. Who doesn’t buy at least two tins of Roses? The problem is that large quantities of chocolate are poisonous for dogs, and smaller doses increase their weight. Lock chocolate away and be careful about what is stashed under or on the tree because a bored dog is likely to investigate.

Visitors Under Order!

You know not to feed your pets rubbish, but make sure visitors know too. Don’t leave children with pets and treat foods, because they just can’t resist puppy dog eyes.  Cats love the Christmas cheese but keep granny under control because it’s very difficult to diet a cat.

Keep Exercising Despite The Cold

Yes it’s cold and you’re busy, but your pet still needs exercise.

Dog still need a daily walk even on Christmas Day. Without it you face behavioural issues, and coupled with inappropriate treats, you’re in for double trouble! If it’s uncomfortably dark and cold consider a warm coat for your dog or some safe reflective clothing.

Don’t forget to exercise caged pets. Gerbils can run in an empty bath and a rabbit can stretch those running legs on the landing. It’ll help to burn off any chocolate covered M&Ms that have been innocently pushed through the cage bars.

Give Them Pet Treats

Take a look at our pet treats in store. They’re specifically made for dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, birds or other caged pets. Some are low in fat; others help with fur-balls, coat condition and smelly breath!

Don’t Give Human Food

The Christmas turkey will have stuffing with onion and leeks which are toxic for dogs and cats. It may cause an upset stomach and destroy your day, never mind your carpet!

Here’s What You Can Give Them:

  • Pet treats in recommended amounts

  • Stuffing-free turkey that’s been skinned, de-boned and had all fat removed

  • Fish – cats and dogs love mackerel fillets.

  • Yogurts – a small amount of plain yogurt is loved by most animals

  • Ditch the cream; get some lactose-free cat milk.

The golden rule is to follow a normal diet with occasional treats. Spoil your pets this Christmas but not with lots of food or you’ll have to put them on a New Year’s slimming diet!

Have a Happy Christmas and a great 2017!

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Be Safe On Darker Nights

Keep Safe On Darker Nights

The nights are drawing in and walking your dogs can feel a little unsafe. But they still need exercised or it could lead to behavioural problems.

So what can you do?

Here are some ways that pets and their owners can keep safe this winter.

Walking The Dog


  • Buy a high visibility coat for Rover, so you’ll spot him in the dark and be safe near cars.

  • If you don’t want to buy a coat, try a high visibility collar or lead instead.

  • LED lights are a good idea. You can attach them to collars.

  • Always take a torch and check it over before you leave the house.

  • Don’t forget your phone.

  • Use an extendable lead rather than allowing your dog to run off into the dark.

  • Exercise in a well-lit area.

Don’t Forget About Your Cat

Some cats like darker evenings because the mice come out earlier! It’s a good idea to buy a reflective collar, so drivers can spot a bolting cat. Just make sure the collar is quick release – that’s the kind that unclips if Puss gets tangled.

On very dark and cold nights you might consider keeping your cat indoors, particularly if they are young or elderly.

Outdoor Pets

As dusk falls earlier make sure your outdoor animals are shut in and safe from predators. A hungry fox will make a meal out of your rabbit, guinea pig or hens – it doesn’t need to be pitch black.


Make sure your rabbit or other animal has a safe, warm hutch with plenty of bedding. Tie a duvet around the hutch when it’s really cold. Remember they’re at your mercy and not able to find elsewhere to warm up.

Dogs Die In Cold Cars Too

We all know that dogs die in hot cars, but in winter your car goes the other way. Don’t leave your pet in the equivalent of an ice box. It’s a good idea to let their coats grow a bit now as well, don’t shear off all their warm fur because they need it!

If you haven’t done so already, consider getting your pets micro-chipped, just in case they end up lost on darker evenings or have an accident.

Don’t Forget The Birds

Feed wild birds earlier than usual, because they’ll roost at sunset. High-fat foods and clean water are important during these cold months. You can provide some warm roosting sites too, such as a stuffed nesting box.

Pop into Rookes to chat to us if you need any advice or help. Remember – be safe, be seen!