Remember, Remember the 5th of November: Everything Dog Owners Need to Know Before Firework Night

While the crackles of fire and glittery explosions captivate most people, most animals don’t understand the fascination and actually find the high pitch whistling noises and loud bangs quite terrifying.

The population of dogs in the UK was recently estimated at 12.5 million, and at least half of them don’t react well to the bangs that come with firework displays.  It’s not just dogs that don’t like fireworks either – cats, horses and birds also have trouble understanding what is going on and how to keep calm.

But fear not as Rooke’s has got you covered with a variety of tips, tricks and treatments you can use to help your beloved pet keep their cool this firework night.

Spot the signs

Dogs have extremely sensitive hearing (three times more than humans!) making the 190 decibels from fireworks extremely frightening.

Some pups will take firework night in their stride and not be phased by any of the noises or commotion, but others may not find it so easy.  If you think your dog will struggle with firework fright night, keep a look out for the following behaviours:

  • Hiding
  • Bolting
  • Shaking
  • Whining, pining or barking
  • Drooling
  • Shedding
  • Panting
  • Pacing (not settling)
  • Biting or scratching
  • Clinging to you or other family members
  • Change in body posture (lowered ears and/or tail)
  • Changes to their appetite or toiletry requirements

Not all dogs will act the same and it’s important to be able to spot the signs of anxiety or distress in your dog and act accordingly (while some will want fuss and to be close to you, others may want to be left alone in their beds).

Unfortunately it doesn’t end there – dogs don’t understand that fireworks are not a threat to them and can risk injuring themselves from scarpering out of the door through fear and potentially into traffic.  Sadly a scary RSPCA poll found that 21% of UK adults have heard of or known an animal who’d died as a result of fireworks.


Doggy Distress Treatments

As a responsible pet owner, what can you do to help your dog feel safe and secure, not just on firework night, but in the lead up to the event too?  Good question!  At Rooke’s we stock a variety of calming products for both cats and dogs from a variety of brands, but our favourite has to be the Beaphar range.

Beaphar CaniComfort® Calming Diffuser - a simple and effective solution to reduce anxiety in dogs during an unfamiliar event or environment (eg moving home, adding a fury addition to the family or, in this case, fireworks).  It is an easy-to-use plug-in diffuser which contains a copy of the naturally produced dog appeasing pheromone that is instantly recognisable to dogs (it is naturally produced by the bitch when she nurses her puppies and gives continuous reassurance to other dogs).  The Beaphar CaniComfort® Calming Diffuser is suitable for dogs of all ages and the sooner you can start using it, the better (so that it has a gradual and successful effect on your pet pooch); Rooke’s recommends adding these diffusers in your home around x4 weeks ahead of firework night.

Beaphar Calming Spot On - naturally and effectively calms and reduces anxiety within dogs of all breeds and ages. Contains Valerian extract, a herbal supplement noted for its calming properties.  Due to its micro-encapsulated formulation, a single application will calm your dog for up to one week and can help alleviate problems including excessive barking, destructive behaviour and inappropriate marking.

Beaphar Calming Tablets – suitable for dogs and cats, these tablets contain Melissa officinalis, sometimes called Lemon Balm, which is recognised for its calming effectives and helps to alleviate nervousness particularly around firework night without causing drowsiness. One packet will treat a large dog for three days at full dose rate or a small dog for fourteen days.

Beaphar Calming Collar – effectively reduces anxious behaviour in dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages.  Using Valerian and Lavender which are often used in human healthcare to manager stress, it leaves dogs feeling calm, settled and relaxed.  Once fitted, Valerian is immediately released and the dog will begin to relax within approximately one hour.

Tips and Tricks

In addition to calming treatment, you can also try a variety of distraction techniques and diversions including:

  • Masking the noise of fireworks with more familiar sounds such as music or the television.
  • Taking your canine companion for a long walk earlier in the day to try and tire them out for the evening so that they settle, rest and sleep better.
  • Avoid leaving your pet on their own as they may look to you for comfort and company.
  • Close all windows and curtains to help mitigate the outside noise.
  • Keep your pets inside to avoid the risk of them bolting into the darkness (put your dog on a lead for their night-time ablutions).
  • Try a Kong toy stuffed with treats (or hide treats around the room) to help keep them occupied.

Firework night can be a lot of fun, but remember not every member of the family will enjoy the celebrations.  We’re sure it goes without saying, but keep your pets away from all fireworks and bonfires (dogs are usually banned from public displays and for a good reason).

For more advice on keeping your dog calm, safe and happy on bonfire night pop in store to speak to a member of our team – you can even bring your pet pooch with you!




Help your Dog Keep their Cool this Summer

The summer heat has many of us searching for shade or popping in the paddling pool to cool ourselves down… and we don’t even have fur!  So your dogs must be suffering just as much as you are, if not more.

Unlike us, dogs do not sweat and so to keep cool they rely on heavy panting and heat loss through their nose and paw pads (hence why you might find them laying on a cold tiled floor).

To help keep your dog cool this summer, take a look at our Rooke’s Recommendations below:


Where there’s shade, there’s a dog
If dogs are too hot and unable to reduce their body temperature by panting, they can easily develop heatstroke which can be fatal.  Some dogs are more prone to heatstroke than others, particularly older dogs or young puppies, dogs with a thick coat or canines with short, flat faces like pugs and bulldogs.

To help your dog keep their cool and regulate their body temperature, encourage them to stay inside.  If you’ve got an air conditioning system, turn that on (your pet pooch will be very grateful).

If you’re in the garden, you must remember to keep your pet in shaded areas and away from direct sunlight.  If your garden lacks shade then Rooke’s Recommends investing in a parasol or canopy, or you could build a little hideaway for your dog (but you must ensure there is sufficient airflow throughout, otherwise what you could end up with is a hotbox).

Add a splash
Some dog breeds such as Labradors are natural-born swimmers and taking them out for a swim to the local riverbank could be the paw-fect way to cool them down.  But if that’s not an option, why not invest in a doggy paddling pool?  It’ll cool your pooch down a treat and provide fun for the whole family… win, win!

Ice, Ice, Baby
If your dog is healthy and just feeling warm on a hot day, you can add ice cubes to their water bowl to help keep them cool and hydrated, but they must be an appropriate size for your dog to avoid the risk of choking.

If however your dog is suffering from heatstroke – common warning signs include heavy panting, excessive drooling, lethargic/drowsy/un-coordination, collapsing or vomiting – do not give them ice cubes and instead call your vet immediately as they will need urgent treatment.

Here at Rooke’s we stock the Frozzys range of Frozen Yogurts and Woof & Berry Paw pops – a tasty, refreshing and hydrating treat for man’s best friend on a hot summer’s day!

Small pieces of frozen fruit like apples, bananas or even small berries are another great way to keep your dog cool.

Of course, from a health perspective you don’t want to give your pup too many treats, so as an alternative why not put their favourite toy in the freezer for a couple of hours – this works well with the KONG Classic toys – to give them a fun and refreshing afternoon of play.

Keepin’ cool
Cool mats for dogs have been very popular this year already as they provide the perfect chilled spot for your dog to lay down and relax comfortably, and you can put them anywhere in the home – inside or out!

Not got a cool mat?  Not a problem!  Just dampen a towel, blanket or fill a hot water bottle with cold water.

A little TLC
Grooming your dogs throughout the warmer months can help to regulate their body temperature and ultimately prevent heatstroke – this is particularly important for dogs with long and/or thick hair.

A summer hair cut might also be a good idea; get in touch with your local groomer and they’ll be able to advise you on the options to suit your dog’s temperament and breeding.

A few things to note

  • Plan your walks and avoid taking your dog out in the midday sun: early morning or evening walks are best as it will be cooler and more comfortable for both you and your pet.If you can, walk on the grass to avoid hot pavements as they can burn your dog’s paws; if you can’t keep your hand on the pavement for a minimum of 7 seconds, then it is too hot for your dog to be walking on.
  • Keep hydrated: just like us, dogs need to stay hydrated throughout the day.  Ensure your canine companion has access to plenty of clean drinking water all year round, especially in the summer.If you’re out and about with your dog, be sure to take a bottle of water and a portable dog bowl with you.
  • Never, ever, ever leave your dog in a warm car: it can be fatal – even parked in the shade with the windows open.  Dogs become stressed and uncomfortable very quickly.Whatever the temperature is outside, it will be tenfold inside the car and quickly equivalate to a hotbox.

‘‘What if it’s just for a couple of minutes?’’
No!  That is still too long – there are no exceptions.

If you do see a dog in a hot car, dial 999.


For more advice on keeping your dog cool in the hotter months of the year, pop in store and speak to our friendly team for tips on what you can do to help them.  You could even pick up a Frozzys frozen yogurt or two!  And, if you think your dog is suffering from heatstroke then call your vet immediately. 

Fleas, Worms and Other Dog Nasties

Despite the preventative measures we put in place, our pets are constantly under attack by a wide range of parasites.  While some nasty critters are easy to spot – fleas and ticks – others, such as internal parasites like tapeworms, can be much harder to identify.  Like any disease, they can be very uncomfortable and irritable for your dog, and in some cases they can cause serious health problems if not dealt with promptly.  Here’s a list of common parasites to be aware of:


There are two types of parasites that can take host in your pet pooch; while internal parasites live within the dog and affect their organs, external parasites live on their skin, reproduce and cause infestation.

External parasites are perhaps the easiest to identify and the severity of symptoms can vary.  Common symptoms include:

  • Restless behaviour and irritable mood
  • Excessive scratching and chewing on body parts
  • Patches of hair loss with inflammation
  • Crusting and skin discoloration
  • Debris-like substance forming in the ear
  • Dry and dull coat or scaly appearance

Fleas are one of the most bothersome parasites for dogs; they grow through multiple life stages before reaching maturation.  Fleas start by sucking on the pet’s blood, leading to allergy dermatitis, excessive itching and even skin infections.  Since fleas can also carry tapeworms, they can be ingested by the dog.  If not dealt with quickly enough, flea infestations can also lead to anaemia.

Administered in a variety of ways and available over the counter in our Rooke’s store, preventive medication is the most effective way to protect your canine companion from external parasites.

Unlike fleas, ticks can easily manifest in us and our dogs.  While humans can protect themselves from ticks, dogs are more exposed and therefore vulnerable to tick infestations.  Tick borne diseases takes time to show, but quick removal can prevent complications further down the line.  Some common transmittable diseases include Lyme disease, spotted fever and ehrlichiosis.

If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, #Rooke’sRecommends checking them for ticks regularly.  If you do identify a tick, the best way to remove it is by numbing the tick with alcohol before pulling it out and killing it.

Ear Mites
Ear mites are highly contagious and easily transferrable from one infected animal to another.  These microscopic mites resemble thick, dark debris and can cause a lot of discomfort for the infected pup.  If your dog has been scratching a lot around their ears or if they have a waxy discharge, call your vet for treatment.  The vet will clean your dog’s ear to remove the mites and prescribe your pooch with medication.

Intestinal Parasites
Although intestinal parasites are harder to detect, dog owners should be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Bloating and swelling in the abdominal region
  • Consistent diarrhoea with blood or mucus
  • Scooting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargic behaviour
  • Dull coat

Thin and discreet, hookworms are no more than an inch long.  They are one of the most common types of internal parasites found among dogs and can also affect humans through skin contact.  A dog may become infected when it inadvertently swallows hookworm larvae, often by grooming its feet or from sniffing fences. Despite serious discomfort, these internal parasites are treatable with medication prescribed from a vet or over the counter at our store.

Thin ribbon-like parasites, tapeworms grow in the intestines of your dog.  Although they can be very uncomfortable for your pooch, they don’t lead to any serious health issues. Usually transmitted through infected fleas or from ingesting raw meat, tapeworms can irritate your dog’s anus causing them to scoot along the floor.  The only way to diagnose tapeworm is through a stool exam carried out by your vet.

Prevention is better than cure
The best way to ensure your pet pooch is protected against these dog nasties is to take them for regular check-ups at the vets.  Your vet will identify infestations (if any) in the early stages, making treatment a lot easier. 

Feed your dog a balanced diet of cooked or prepared food and fresh water, keep your garden clean and dog supervised so they don’t come into contact with faeces and any suspect-looking fluids.

For puppies, #RookesRecommends starting worming treatment at 3 weeks old, then every two weeks thereafter until the pups are 16 weeks.

If your dog does contract a parasite, the quicker you can get them treated, the better.  Rooke’s have a variety of treatment medication for pet owners to buy over the counter, but depending on the type of parasite it may be best to consult with your vet.

How Bringing your Dog to Work can Reduce Stress

It’s no secret that giving a dog a quick pet, stroke or big fluffy cuddle can instantly make us feel better, in fact just having dogs around us can make our day a little brighter.  But can having a dog in the workplace really reduce not just your stress levels, but your colleagues’ too?


Back in March 2012, the BBC reported on a US study analysing stress levels, job satisfaction and morale in the workplace with an office dog, and concluded that those with access to dogs during the working day were less stressed than those who had none.  The study also suggested that access to dogs boosted morale and job satisfaction, regardless of who the dog belonged to (people were happy just being in the company of a dog).

Proof in the paws
We’ve all had those days at work where things just don’t go the way we thought they would, so wouldn’t it be good to have a waggy tail around us to make things a little easier?  Although a baseline level of stress in the workplace is unavoidable, research shows that having your canine at work can help to mitigate stress.

Various studies have reported that just petting a dog can make us feel less stressed; this is because the stress hormone, cortisol, lowers up to 10% when we give our attention to dogs.  What’s more, the social interaction between people and dogs also increases levels of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin - the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies.

A survey carried out in 2019 interviewed over 1500 British residents and found that over 49% of respondents strongly advocated for pet dogs to be included in workplaces.  The 14% who were allowed pet dogs in their workplace noted a significant reduction in stress and increase in productivity.

Dogs have the power to make us feel happier and less stressed, but they can also establish a common ground between your staff and/or clients; pet lovers are like mums at the school playground – they’ll talk to one another because of their common interest – dogs!

Happy dog, happy life
Taking your dog to the office can be just as exciting for them as it is for you.  No dog likes to be left home alone for a long period of time – they’re social pets after all and can suffer with boredom and anxiety if they’re on their own for too long, resulting in poor behaviour like constant barking and chewing things they shouldn’t.

Knowing your dog needs a leg stretch can also help you and your colleagues to get away from the computer screen and step into the fresh outdoors each day, something that you might not do if you didn’t have a dog around.  And let’s face it, that’s good for you and exciting for your pet pooch… did somebody say ‘walkies!’

Also, because employees don’t have to rush home to let their dogs out for a toilet break during their lunch hour, businesses tend to have fewer absences and have been known to work longer hours if their staff have their pets with them – for some, the ability to bring their pet to work is a must-have perk and it can also be very enticing to prospective recruits.

It’s all fun and games until…
It’s not always appropriate to have a dog in the workplace, particularly those with strict health and safety requirements such as doctors’ practices, restaurants or factories.

Although more and more companies are now encouraging well-behaved pets in the office, this is something that should be done in moderation – a small office with 10 dogs may not be conducive to a productive day!

It’s also worth noting that some of your colleagues may be allergic to dogs, or even nervous around them so make sure your immediate team are happy and comfortable to have a pet in the office.

You should also consider if your workplace is the right environment for a dog – will they enjoy themselves as their happiness is just as important as ours, isn’t it?

One biscuit, two biscuit, three biscuit, four…
Although having a dog in the office can have many benefits, it is important to understand the additional responsibility you have for your pet in the workplace; ensure they have constant access to water and take them out for regular toilet breaks.  You should also be aware of what they’re eating – are your colleagues feeding them biscuits or lunch leftovers?  The happiness and health of dogs should always be top priority for dog owners, and it’s important your canine companion is not being overfed.

The excitement of meeting new people, getting fuss and discovering new smells can be very exciting for a dog, and their happy behaviour can be contagious to the people around them.  If your dog usually goes to a doggy day-care centre, or perhaps you hire a dog walker once a day then you could save a fortune by taking your dog to work with you.  Just be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of stress like panting and licking lips, and make sure your dog has a quiet place to relax at all times.

How to Create the Perfect Environment for Your Pet Rabbit


Space is of utmost importance in keeping your rabbits happy and active.  By nature, they are creatures that need all the room they can get to hop, run and dig.  With all animals, whether you keep them indoors or outdoors, they need to be kept in a secure environment, and for rabbits their hutch needs to be large enough to exercise in and stand up fully on their back legs without their ears touching the roof – the minimum spacing required for two rabbits is 3m x 2m x 1m (10ft x 6ft x 3ft).

Housing your Rabbit

Dig-proof barriers will help prevent your rabbit from escaping and, if possible, it’s a good idea raise their sleeping area (giving them a ramp for access) so that it isn’t affected by heavy rainwater and doesn’t become water-logged.  Hutches also need to be well ventilated, free from flies, dry and draught-free – the perfect temperature for rabbits is between 10–25°C.  Rabbits are very sensitive to heat and can tolerate some cold, but they still require a blanket or tarp sheet to cover their hutch at night, but be careful not to cover ventilation areas as they still need access to fresh air at all times during all seasons.  In the colder months of winter, Rooke’s recommends moving your rabbit and their hutch indoors or to a shed or garage (if possible) as temperatures can get very low.

Toilet Areas

Toilet areas for your rabbit need to be separate from where they sleep with their bedding changed and hutch cleaned out regularly – generally speaking once a week should be ideal.  That said, there may be times that it will need to be done more often.  Keeping a clean hutch for your rabbit will help prevent diseases and also keep bugs and flies at bay.

Hiding Places

Rabbits also require constant access to safe hiding places. This needs to be away from the sights and smells of predators like birds of prey, ferrets, dogs, cats and foxes.  A secure, fenced area will safeguard your rabbits so that predators will not be able to access them easily.


Diet is a particularly important element of ensuring your rabbit is happy and healthy.  Rabbits are herbivores so they eat plant materials – they require a constant supply of hay and grass and this should make up 80% of their diet.  Leafy greens and a small amount of pellets are great food sources for them too, and the constant chewing helps to prevent dental diseases.

In winter, rabbits require extra food so increase their portions as necessary.  It’s also worth noting that they should have access to fresh, cool and clean water at all times, especially in the warmer months.

Toys, Exercise and Stimulation

Rabbits are very intelligent and curious creatures who can get bored easily, so place some toys into their hutch (most pet shops will sell boredom-buster toys for pet rabbits) – you can also include cardboard boxes and empty paper towel rolls to keep them entertained.  If you house your rabbits indoors, be careful to ensure they don’t eat or chew on your furniture.  And if your rabbit run is outdoors, ensure that it is out of direct sunlight and sitting on grass if possible (this will give them food and a chance to dig).

If you are introducing your rabbit to the outdoors, do so slowly and keep in mind that they might be frightened initially as there will be lots of unfamiliar sounds and smells.

Rooke’s Recommends

Rabbits are naturally sociable animals so they need companionship of their own kind – never get one rabbit by itself.  In the wild they can be found in large groups or families so they having a friend is very important for them.  Ideally get a male and female rabbit (ensuring they are neutered before you put them together – of you’ll have your own rabbit family before you know it!).

It’s also important to spend time with your rabbits every day – human companionship and play can help them in terms of socialising and it will also prepare them for grooming.

Remember a large living space in addition to a secure shelter are both essential to keeping your pet rabbit happy whether they live indoors or outdoors – they should feel safe and relaxed to rest and play, protected from predators and extreme weather.  As well as access to food and water, rabbits also need a place to hide as they can be quite anxious creatures.

If you need any help or advice, please feel free to pop in store.  Not only do we have a fantastic selection of products at reasonable prices, we have a team of knowledgeable and friendly staff too!

Dog Walking – Hints, Tips and Advice


As the weather warms up, there is no better time to take your dog for an adventure in your local woodlands. Taking your dog for a walk always requires a little forethought, especially if it’s somewhere new. Take a look at our hints, tips and advice to help you when taking your furry friend for a walk.

Leads and collars

When choosing a lead for your dog, it’s easy to get confused over which one would work best. There are many leads and harnesses, especially for dogs who tend to pull.  If your dog struggles with self-control, avoid retractable leads as they won’t give effective control and can lead to dogs getting tangled, running up to other dogs or, even worse, into traffic.

When choosing a harness, go for a soft, comfortable fabric that’s easily adjustable and won’t hurt your dog or cause damage. If possible, look for one that has light reflectors for dark evenings or dusky walks. Visibility is one of the most important factors, especially if you are walking in poorly lit areas.

In terms of which collar to use, again, comfort is key. Ensure it’s not too loose on your dog’s neck. If it tends to slide, then it’s a good indicator that it’s too big. When deciding on which one to buy, check if you can place two fingers comfortably between the collar and your dogs’ neck – if you can, you are good to go.

Lead etiquette

If you are in a public area, it’s best to keep your dog on a lead. Ask permission if you would like your dog to socialise with other dogs. Not all dogs are friendly or appreciate the attention of other dogs. Some can become nervous and upset if they feel their space is being invaded.

Pick up after your pooch!

It goes without saying, but always pick up after your dog. You don’t want a fine! No one likes to happen upon, or even worse, walk in another dog’s mess so take care to always bring bags for picking it up. There are lots of biodegradable bags on the market, so there are plenty of environmentally friendly bags to choose from.

If it’s suitable, you can stick & flick when you are in a country environment. However, always be careful as doggy waste contains harmful organisms that can cause harm to other’s dogs or humans. If not picked up, it can also make its way to the water supply.


When on a dog walk, safety is of utmost importance for both you and your dog. Try to stick to footpaths where possible. Keep your dog on the opposite side of on-coming traffic to ensure their safety and to prevent accidents.

Avoid letting your dog drink from drinking muddy or stagnant water puddles as there is a risk of contracting leptospirosis risks. Instead, take a collapsible water bowl with you and a fresh water supply. Dogs can get dehydrated quickly, so always be prepared.

Watch out for snakes, such as adders in spring, especially in areas where they are known to hang out. The warmer temperatures mean they will start to look for mates. It’s also a good idea to have a dog first aid kit to hand for instances such as this. Accidents can happen so it’s always good to be prepared.

Watch the weather and look out for signs of stress. If the footpaths get hot, so do your dogs’ paws. Instead during hotter months, choose a walk in a wooded or country area if possible. If not, consider little boots for your dog to protect sensitive paws.

It is the law to Microchip your dog, but make sure their details are up to date. This is a safe way to make sure that your pet is identifiable should they wander off while off the lead. It is also a legal requirement for all dogs to wear an ID Tags with a phone number.  Should your dog decides to go on his own adventure, a quick call can get you reunited in no time.

After your walk

When you get home from your walk, always wash mud off, especially if you have been walking in woodland. Alabama Rot is a rare, but deadly illness which can cause skin, kidney damage and small blood clots. It is thought to be contracted in wet and muddy woodland areas and general advice is to ensure dogs are properly cleaned when they return home to avoid the risks.

Whether you are taking your dog on a long trek or a short walk, it is always wise to consider all aspects of safety both for you and your dog. Remember the basic good etiquette when walking ensuring you keep distance from other dogs, traffic while using the correct leads and collars.  Bring water and always clean up after your dog.  But most importantly, remember to have fun and enjoy your time out in the fresh air with your best friend!

And, as always, if you need help or guidance when choosing any pet products, some and see us in store.




Puppy Training – everything you need to know

Puppy Training – everything you need to knowWhether it’s praise, food or toys, Rookes Pet Products believes all training should be reward-lead.

We will cover all basic areas of Puppy Training, from basic obedience and manners to crate training, tricks and toilet habits.

Right now, your new puppy is susceptible to learning, but has a short attention span so it is important to keep training efforts brief but regular. Training your puppy is a great way to bond with your pet but will also create a strong foundation for a happy and safe dog. Most training is learnt through play and is enjoyable for both dog and owner but at what age should you teach your puppy new tricks?

8 weeks

Toilet Training – Hone in on your puppy’s way of showing he needs to relieve himself as soon as possible and immediately teach good toilet habits. Appearing anxious, sniffing the ground and circling are all ways your puppy could be telling you it’s time to pee. Take your puppy outside to the bathroom every 2 hours during the first few weeks.

Crate training – Creating a den for your puppy will allow them to feel safe and comforted both at home and when you travel with their crate. To start with, allow your puppy to explore the inside of the crate with you sat close by. Move on to feeding them in the crate, opening the door as soon as they have finished and gradually increase their time inside as the weeks go by.

10-12 weeks

Good Manners – Nobody wants a puppy that bites or jumps and now is the time to start putting a stop to any bad habits they are developing.  Nipping should immediately halt any games or attention. By drawing the puppy’s attention away from you and towards a chew toy they will quickly learn where they can and can’t gnaw.

Lead Walking – Walking to heel is the end goal but initially introducing your puppy to the collar is the best first step. With treats and encouragement the puppy will gradually warm to both the collar and leash, enjoying the association between the pleasure of walks and their lead.

First ‘Trick’ – 10-12 weeks old is a great time to teach the “sit” command. This simple instruction teaches manners and control. All tricks require patience and persistence but can be great fun for dog and owners.

How to: “Sit” 

With a treat in-between your fingers, slowly raise your hand from the top of your puppy’s nose above their head whilst commanding, “Sit.” Naturally, dogs will follow the direction of the treat, lower their bottoms and sit down. Reward your pet straight away.

How to: “STAY”

Ask your dog to “Sit.” Rather than immediately treating your puppy, follow up with a second command. Raising your hand, with the palm facing towards your pets face say, “Stay.” Reward your pet. Repeat the process whilst leaving longer in between the new “Stay” command and the reward.

Training is most successful before a puppy reaches 12 weeks old. At this age they develop a fear response so any training you can offer your puppy during the first few weeks will be beneficial.

Early socialisation and puppy training doesn’t just improve their manners; it’s a fun and rewarding way for you to spend quality time together and really helps strengthen your bond.  Most dogs love training – it’s a chance for them to challenge their brains, earn rewards and get lots of praise and attention!



7 things you need to know when getting a puppy

7 things you need to know when getting a puppy

You have picked out a name, selected the spot for the dog basket and worked out the best local dog-walking routes, but what else do you need to know when buying a puppy?

1 in 4 pandemic puppy buyers admit they could have ‘inadvertently bought from a puppy farm’, and a fifth don’t know whether their dog will always suit their lifestyle.

At Rookes Pet Products, we want to help you make an informed decision so let’s delve into some key areas a little further. 

1)   The right dog 

How have you chosen which type of dog is best for you? Different dogs lend themselves to different lifestyles, so it’s important to make sure their breed blends well with yours. Devote time to learn about different breeds. The Kennel Club encourages you to consider a dog’s size, specific needs, hereditary health issues, common health tests and where you can find suitable breeders. What about you as the owner? Are you allergic to long-haired dogs, want a dog to run with or can’t stand excessive vacuuming? With over 200 pedigree dog breeds to choose from it is important to consider the typical characteristics of that breed.

2)   Choose your breeder carefully

At Rookes, we believe that dogs which live healthy and happy lives tend to come from reputable and trusted breeders or trusted rescue centres. Known as “Lucy’s Law”, April 2020 saw new legislation in place ensuring that anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy under 6 months ‘must either deal directly with the breeder or an animal rehoming centre.’

Puppy farming is illegal. Backyard breeders work illicitly to breed and sell puppies for a profit without any consideration for the wellbeing or welfare of the dog. Pandemic Puppy purchases are on the rise and it is crucial to look out for signs of unscrupulous breeders. Your breeder should be as interested in your character as you are in your new potential pup. A decent breeder will not let their puppy leave any sooner than eight weeks old. By the time you take your puppy home, the veterinary records should show evidence of injections and worm tablets. Ask questions and expect answers whilst greeting the parents of the puppy and looking at the environment they are being raised in.

3)   Costs Considerations.

The Kennel Club recently found that costs relating to insurance, food and vet bills were a concern to 15% of new puppy owners, so what bills will you face? One-off and on-going costs for equipment, microchipping, worming, flea treatment, insurance, vet fees, training classes and of course food are to be expected. Puppies need to be fed little and often, but you can make sure you know everything about feeding your puppy here.

4)   Puppy Training

We have missed out on so many social occasions during the pandemic and so have our pets. Between the age of 3 and 12 weeks, puppies naturally feel confident and safe around people, so this is an ideal time for them to learn basic socialising skills before they become more cautious. On arriving at their new home, these social skills can be bettered as they continue to be receptive to learning new skills. Try to curb the excitement to play with the new puppy all day by remembering this simple Puppy Playtime calculation. ‘5 minutes of exercise per month of their age for the first 12 months.’ So at 12 weeks old, 15 minutes of exercise and training will prevent any damage to their growth plates that are yet to fuse and reduce the risk of injuries in later life. It’s not just about teaching your puppy to sit, socialise and walk well on a lead, we previously discussed potty training your puppy here.

5) Travelling with your Dog.

When it comes to thinking about travel, a secure option for your puppy will prevent you from being distracted and ensure your puppy is safe in transit. Crates and harnesses are both ideal travel systems and come in varied sizes to guarantee a suitable fit for your dog. Investing in your pup’s travel safety is imperative – and please always remember to deactivate the airbag if your pet is harnessed to a seat.

6) Pet Insurance

The vaccinations, worm tablets and health check-ups all add up and, although many vets have ‘fit clubs’ which enable you to spread the cost, you should think about pet insurance too – it could save you from a large unexpected vet bill. Covering costs of illnesses and accidents can be expensive, but paying a small monthly fee can mitigate these charges.

When buying a puppy we must always remember we are committing to a lifelong relationship with a dog. Dogs Trust UK, the largest dog welfare charity in the UK, predicts that over 40,000 dogs will need help or rehoming following the impact of Covid-19. Our four-legged friends can bring us such enjoyment but are a big responsibility.  It is important to remember a dog is for life, not just the pandemic.


How to Take Care of Your Dog’s Teeth

When it comes to looking after our canine friends, we all know that they need a good diet and plenty of exercise and love, but how do we care for their teeth? This article will talk you through the importance of looking after our dogs’ oral hygiene. 

How to take care of your dog's teeth

Dogs use their mouths for more than just eating; they use them for play, exploration, and tasting their surroundings. It is important that, as owners, we take the time to look after their teeth. Looking after our dog’s teeth properly helps to prevent dental issues such as plaque build-up, tartar, gum inflammation, or bad breath.

One of the most important things for dog owners is keeping their dogs healthy. However, many dog owners will tend to overlook the important area of dog health that is their oral hygiene.

What is Canine Periodontal Disease?

Canine Periodontal disease is something that can often go unnoticed by owners, as the first thing sign is bad breath. You may believe that dogs tend to have bad breath anyway, but a persistent bad breath in dogs shouldn’t be ignored.

Untreated periodontal disease may potentially cause some serious health issues in dogs. This includes tooth loss, painful abscesses and infections that could potentially cause heart disease and permanent jaw damage.

A dog owner can help to prevent this from happening by keeping their teeth clean.

Here are some tips to help you to do this.

Get Hold of Some Dog Chews and Treats

Regardless of what they get hold of, the act of chewing helps to maintain your dog’s oral health. The act of gnawing helps to scrape the plaque in the same way that brushing would. There are lots of different types of dog chews on the market made from either dried meat, bones, rubber, or nylon.

Some dog chews such as Purina Dentalife and Pedigree Dentastix are loved by dogs and their owners as they are delicious and convenient, as well as helping to promote good oral hygiene in dogs.

Regardless of what you choose, with so much choice on the market, you are all bound to find something your dog enjoys!

Brush their teeth

If you ever thought that dogs take good care of their oral hygiene alone, then the idea of brushing their teeth may seem a bit out of the ordinary. However just like us humans would do, brushing your dog’s teeth is an excellent way to help to prevent plaque buildup. You won’t need to brush them every day, although the more regularly you do it, the better.

At first, the act of brushing your dog’s teeth may seem like somewhat of a challenge, but you can train your dog to have their teeth brushed in the same way you would train them to have their claws clipped. Make sure you find a toothpaste that is suitable for dogs. Never use toothpaste formulated for humans, as the ingredients are toxic to dogs.

Dog toothpaste is also available in a range of flavours that they enjoy – such as peanut butter, chicken, or beef. There are also a range of toothbrushes that are suitable for dogs, depending on the size of your animal. Some can be worn on the tip of your finger, or larger, more manual toothbrushes. It may take some trial and error to establish which style of toothbrush is best for your dog, but it will be worth it.

Get them professionally cleaned

One of the best ways to ensure that your dog has optimal oral health is to take them in for professional cleaning at your vets.

During this dental procedure, your vet will remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and polish them. Following this, they will use a dental probe much like a dentist will use on human teeth to search for other potential tooth and gum issues.

Taking your pet for a professional tooth clean will allow the veterinarian to be able to check properly for any other potential issues in your dog’s mouth, as well as being able to advise you best how to take care of your pet’s teeth.


The Importance of Routine for your Dog

The importance of routine for your dogDogs, like us, are creatures of habit.  We might not be able to function without our daily coffee and, similarly, our pets might get stressed if they don’t go for a walk at a similar time each day.  A daily routine will give your dog a sense of structure, helping them to feel happy and confident.

Here are a few Rooke’s Recommendations for creating a routine and the benefits of sticking to it:

1. Set Meal Times

Providing a structure to mealtimes will help regulate your dog’s metabolism so they can consistently burn calories throughout the day.

Feeding your dog in the morning will boost their energy ready for a walk later on in the day, and feeding them again in the evening will enhance their nutrition after that period of exercise.

Maintaining a routine for their mealtimes helps you to ensure they don’t become too heavy and therefore at risk of diabetes, arthritis or other health-related complications.

In addition, feeding your dog at set times will prepare them for other activities that might pop up such as play time or visitors, and allows you to plan your day around them.

2.  Working to a Routine

Setting a schedule that aligns with your daily routine will help to keep your dog on the same cycle as you.

Letting them out first thing in the morning to go to the toilet and to have a quick leg stretch, before their breakfast, means there’s less chance of accidents.

Try to keep their breakfast at the same time each day, before following up with a walk.  This way, your dog will have another opportunity to do their business and burn off some energy before you go about your day.

Sticking to a routine should also free up some time for you to play with your dog – they’ll be happy, relaxed and ready for some ad-hoc playtime as they get to spend more time with their favourite human – you!

Ultimately regular meal times and exercise will help prevent your dog from getting bored, reducing the risk of bad behaviour as they’ll feel mentally stimulated and ready for a well-earned rest each night.

 3. Active Dogs are Happy Dogs

There are a lot of pros for regular exercise for dogs:

  • It keeps them mentally and physically engaged as they can stretch their legs in a different environment and find new smells and trails, so there’s less chance they can become overweight and lethargic
  • It can prevent health complications such as diabetes, arthritis, obesity and heart disease
  • Combined with a well-balanced diet, you can prolong their life with regular exercise and improve their overall quality of life
  • They’ll feel more relaxed and confident with a sense of structure
  • Burning excess energy can help prevent boredom which could result in poor behaviour

If you work during the day and feel your dog might be missing a walk then it may be a good idea to invest in a dog-walker.

Providing your dog with a routine to support a balanced diet and regular exercise will benefit their metabolism and help them feel engaged and stimulated as they display positive behaviour.

And don’t forget, matching your daily schedule with your dog’s routine allows you to spend some much-needed time with them for play, licks and fussing!