Halloween is a whole lot of family fun; scary costumes, trick or treating, and pumpkin carving!
However, there are some members of the family that might not find it so enjoyable and there are a few simple things to beware of;
Trick or Treat?
You’ve probably stocked the house full of human treats to hand out to any ghosts or vampires that come knocking at the door but with all that extra chocolate lying around make sure that it’s kept out of your cat and dog’s way at all times! Chocolate (not to mention other sweeties, especially those containing xylitol) can be deadly.
There are probably very few occasions during the year that your front door sees so many visitors in one night and with the door being open and closed often to greet trick or treaters, it can offer a unique opportunity for your pet to make a run for it!
Close your animals in another room before opening the door, and remind your excited children to check the pets are safe before answering the door.
Ghosts & Ghouls or Vandals & Hooligans?
It’s unfortunate, but true that some people take advantage of Halloween to do more damage than yell a friendly ‘BOO’ across the street. Keep your beloved family pets safely locked up at home to avoid becoming victim to any vicious pranksters.
Here at Rooke’s we talk a lot about training puppies and dogs, equally important however is training for your kitty!
Cats are often marked down as ‘too smart’ for training, i.e. they’ll do as they please regardless of your training efforts but there are definitely some major milestones you’ll want to achieve with your cat and perhaps a few fun tricks too.
Here’s how you can begin;
Get started as early as possible
Even better if the cats breeder has introduced the basics like manners, social skills and some toilet training as kittens tend to be more open to new experiences between 3 and 8 weeks old.
Of course, the training doesn’t stop there and once your new addition comes home you’ll need to familiarise the cat with your own house rules and introduce them to all kinds of people, including children, and experiences; like travelling in a cat carrier and by car to make future vet visits less stressful for the whole family.
Treats are king
Most cats will likely give you a look that says ‘you must be joking’ if you try any training without treats in hand so make sure you’ve got something that really motivates your cat and training is best done before mealtimes.
A full bellied cat probably won’t be so driven by treats.
One at a time please!
Unlike dogs, cats aren’t fantastic at trick combinations so work on mastering one trick at a time. Plus, keep training sessions consistent, a few minutes everyday will be much more effective than sporadic sessions.
What’s my name again?
To teach your cat their name, they must associate the sound of their name with positive memories (namely, food related ones) so be sure not to use their name if they’ve been naughty if you want your cat to come when he’s called!
Scratching post vs the sofa
Once a cat has left his scent on something having scratched at it, it’s attracted back to that spot which is why you’ll often see one particular area of carpet or one corner of the sofa repeatedly scratched.
You want to encourage kitty to scratch at a designated post and not at your precious furnishings so you can try dangling a toy or string at the scratching post to encourage play (followed by a reward or treat ideally) or add a little catnip to the post to make it more tempting!
To stop any scratching in unwanted places, give the furnishing a thorough clean, use scented sprays or plug-in scents in the area and ideally, cover/block the area. Make sure though, that your cat has a new designated scratching place as suggested above, otherwise you might simply lose the other sofa arm…
Hurray! It’s September. We’ve all made it through the Summer Holidays so big well done to all those parents who are breathing a sigh of relief now that School is back in session.
It’s not just human children who are going back to school though, your number one furry companion(s) will also have to adjust to a new routine and sometimes need a little training refresher. We recommend you put aside some time to spend with your dog on remembering the basics and learning some new tricks to help curb boredom and destructive habits.
Here are some general tips for Dog Training to help make this transition easier.
Even though training your dog is a lifetime 24/7 task, a structured class with a professional can really help teach both you and your dog some basic techniques for learning new things. Classes are great for both puppies and more mature dogs.
Dogs could be compared to toddlers; let them get away with something once and it’s hard for them to understand why they did something wrong the next time.
If jumping on the couch or sleeping on the bed are hard-no’s for you; decide this ahead of time and stick to your guns every time.
Sometimes rules get bent over the Summer Holidays so figure out if there are any new bad habits that need to be ironed out first
A simple ‘Good Boy!’ could do the trick but it’s important to remember to always reward good behaviour to prevent training regression – especially in the first couple of years of a dogs life.
Treats are key for learning new things, there is no faster way to a doggo’s brain than through his stomach!
If you are training a breed that can be particularly stubborn to breed, like a Husky for example – figure out what kind of treats really drive his focus. Sometimes a little steak bite or tiny cube of cheese mixed in with your other treats during a training session will keep his attention on the training task at hand.
Sometimes training can be frustrating but it’s important to keep every session positive. Your frustration will be picked up on by your dog and can turn training into a painful experience for you both.
If it’s not going well, end the session early on a positive note (even if it’s just a sit command) and come back to it later.
The key to a happy, focused dog is one who has been mentally worked out (not just physical exercise) each day. Bored dogs tend to become destructive. Plenty of play time with you and other dogs, try to mix up your walk routes and use lots of interactive toys (like a stuffed kong) when you are out to keep them entertained.
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.
Adopt, Don’t Shop.
A campaign slogan used by a large and growing number of animal rights organisations and businesses alike.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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; 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!
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.
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:
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
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Mix water, applesauce, honey, egg, and vanilla together in a bowl
Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended
Pour into lightly greased muffin pans
Bake for 35 minutes
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