Recycle for Hallswood Animal Sanctuary

Hallswood Animal Sanctuary, a local charity, have created a recycling program where by they can raise much needed funds to help save injured wildlife, poorly livestock and companion animals through things that would usually go in your household recycling or even landfill!

They have multiple drop-off points around Norwich, including Taverham Garden Centre, All Chapelfield Vet Branches and Companion Care Vets (Longwater & Sprowston Branches) to name a few.

There a number of things that you can recycle with them, but one of the main reasons that I wanted to bring this to your attention is that as pet owners and working with them daily, we use many food pouches that go straight into the bin once used. THIS CAN BE RECYCLED & RAISE FUNDS! It just seems so silly to put these in landfill when they could be used for so much good.

Keep a box handy and use it as a caddy for all of your empty clean sachets and pouches! Once full, drop it off at your local collection point or let us know.

I am therefore hoping that many of you will stop throwing these away and take them to local drop-off points, or even leave them for us to donate in bulk for you.

For the full extensive list of things you can recycle at these points and for all of the current drop off points, click HERE. If you have any questions feel free to ask me or Hallswood directly – they’ll be so grateful for your support!

5 Benefits of Hiring a Dog Walker/ Pet Sitter

Improving pet health: by using a dog walking service you are ensuring your dog receives regular scheduled exercise. This can be key to helping maintain body weight and condition, and can help loose excess weight that could lead to health deterioration.

Socialisation and mental stimulation: Keeping your dog healthy is more than just providing physical activity, socialising with their own kind is really important for their development and mental well being. We are able to facilitate socialisation with other friendly dogs and have seen the benefits this can have first hand. Dogs need to know how to greet and play appropriately and they can only master these skills through practice with other dogs.

Improved Pet Behaviour: many (but not all) undesirable behaviours are due to a lack of stimulation/a surplus of energy that does not have an appropriate outlet. Dogs that are regularly and adequately exercised tend to have less undesirable pet behaviours such as; excessive barking, pacing, mouthing and chewing.

Maintain, or Establish, a Routine: Having a walker can help establish a consistent routine around your work and other commitments. This might seem a little overkill, but this predictability creates a secure environment which is crucial for a happy and calm dog.

Peace of Mind: Things crop up, life happens, and unfortunately not all human events are dog friendly or appropriate for your furry +1, having a reliable pet carer to call upon provides you with a go-to person. You can enjoy these moments stress free knowing your dog is having companionship, as well as exercise, whilst you’re unavailable.

Why I Do What I Do

There are many reasons why I chose to, and continue to, work in the pet care industry but one of the biggest and most satisfying for me personally is the direct impact I can have with the owner and pet involved.

It is the rewarding nature of working closely with an owner and seeing a transformation that you could only have wished for, or offering continued open-minded guidance to a first time owner that makes all the difference in their confidence and thus their pets. All of this creates a relationship of being more than ‘just a dog walker’, and it’s these particular clients whom I develop a more special sort of relationship with, where I am more of an extension to their family.

I love getting postcard style messages from clients whilst they’re away on holiday with their dog, or pictures of their pet doing something silly or mischievous on a day off!

Helping clients whilst they celebrate amazing highs such as their wedding days and also supporting them through the lowest lows such as the horror of grief. This was something that never crossed my mind when I set out, but I am always so flattered to be involved in these moments, even if just a small part to assist them in reaching or getting through these milestones – that is the most satisfying part of my work and one that I am most proud of.

Is Your Pet Ready for Guy Fawkes Night?

Do you have a pet that is terrified of loud noises such as fireworks? If you do, you may well already be dreading the upcoming nights where you will be desperately trying to reassure and comfort your pet throughout the endless bangs and screeches.

Fear not, we are here to help!

Set them up for success and get ahead – with our Top 10 Tips to help battle fear and anxiety surrounding fireworks and other loud noises. We include many methods of helping deal with the immediate fear and anxiety they experience, followed by some support to help you reach a long-term solution – a desensitised pet.


 

Click Here: Pets & Fireworks: Dealing with Fear and Anxiety

 

Pet Parasites; Fleas, Ticks & Worms

Parasites can affect any pet; even those that are well kept and healthy. The parasites will affect any age, however are more harmful to the young and elderly. It is important to break the life cycles of the pests with regular preventative treatment which are effective – speak to your vet about which treatments recommend or visit your local reputable pet store and speak to a qualified staff member. Personally I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable the worming treatment was from my vet and it covers all of the types of worms, unlike some other brands. It is also worth mentioning that some parasite treatments are now not 100% effective as the pest has gained immunity to the active ingredients, these tend to be the treatments which you can buy yourself on line without the assistance of a qualified person.

 

Fleas

These are the most common parasite your pet is likely to contract and bring home; affecting both cats and dogs. Fleas will make your pet very uncomfortable through biting and causing skin irritation, in severe cases they can cause Anaemia. Fleas can transmit viral and bacterial diseases and also transmit Tapeworm. You may be able to see the presence of fleas on your pet; running across the skin or leaving small black specks behind. They tend to inhabit the warmer areas of your pet such as armpits and inside of their hind legs. You can fight back against infestations by treating your pet with an affective flea treatment regularly; as well as vacuuming, washing pet bedding and soft furnishings. You can purchase a flea comb to remove any on your pet, be sure to squash them though and remember – they can jump!

 

Ticks

Ticks are sneaky creatures, they cling to grass and await dormant for its new host to wander past (that can include you), they then latch on for a blood feed before eventually dropping off to lay eggs or find another host. Severe infestations can cause Anaemia, but the most important risk associated is Lyme Disease which can affect your pet and yourself. Proper removal of Ticks is crucial – invest in a tick removal tool which will make this much easier and ensure it is removed properly.

If your pet does get a Tick remember: do not squash the tick body whilst it is attached, remove all of the tick including the mouth part attached to the skin, dispose of the Tick properly by squashing it and putting it in the bin so that it cannot reattach, and lastly disinfect the bite site to prevent infection. Some Flea treatments are also effective against Ticks but not all, so make sure to check your current treatment.

 

Worms

Roundworm: the most common type of worm amongst cats and dogs. Your pet can contract them by accidentally ingesting them from the environment or by eating prey (mice, birds etc) carrying the parasite. Regular and thorough poop picking is important, as even after it has been cleared, eggs can remain behind affecting other pets. Most pets will not show visible signs of infestation but serious bouts may cause vomiting, weight loss, dull hair/fur and bloating.

Tapeworm: Tapeworm eggs are often found in infested pet faeces and may be seen attached to the fur around the anus/base of tail. Fleas can act as a host for Tapeworms and so are often ingested through grooming, scavenging and require regular treatments. Tapeworms show no symptoms but usually cause discomfort and itchiness around the anus – often seen by your pet ‘scooting’ across the floor. Vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation can occur as a result of this parasite.

Lungworm: The most worrying of all worms. These live in the heart and pulmonary arteries of dogs (and foxes). The mature worms are never seen as they stay inside the organs but the larvae are passed through their faeces into the environment. Dogs can become infected by ingesting infected snails/slugs and their slime; this can happen accidentally when grazing on grass, drinking outdoor water bowls, rummaging in undergrowth or playing with a toy which has become infected. Lungworm can be fatal so preventative treatment is crucial. Symptoms include: coughing, tiredness, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive bleeding from minor wounds and seizures. If treated early, a full recovery is possible however this parasite is becoming a very serious risk in the UK because the symptoms are ambiguous and not all worming products treat for this variety.

 

Recommendations

For my dog Henry, I use two products from my vet practice which treat him for all parasites. I use Bravecto, this is a chewable tablet administered once every 3 months and kills both fleas and ticks. I would advise speaking to your vet for a comprehensive worming treatment too, I use Milbemax which is also administered once every 3 months in a chewable tablet form and it treats these mentioned worms plus hookworm, whipworms and heartworm. Both of these are given at the same time which makes remembering to give them easier, plus I do not have to worry about him getting wet and washing off a topical flea treatment. It is also worth mentioning that even if you are treating your pet with a treatment, you still should be keeping an eye on your pet as not treatment is 100% effective all of the time.

These recommendations are in no way endorsed and may not be suitable for your pet, I would recommend visiting your vet practice and speaking to someone about the treatment options they have available for your pet.

Coprohagia: Eating Poop

Many people ask me questions about their dogs eating things they shouldn’t; and this includes owners worried about their dog eating poop. This behaviour is generally more revolting than health concerning. I hope that this information will help you understand why some dogs do this, and/or why your dog may have turned his nose to this new activity.

 

Eating Livestock Poop on Walks

Though hard, just remember that it is natural. Generally when dogs eat herbivores poop (rabbits, sheep etc) they are getting the undigested nutrients and fibre that the animals have eaten. This will not hurt them and will in most cases have no ill effect on their own digestion – they may just be a bit gassy!

If you have dog that constantly picks up and eats poop when on a walk, it may be time to work on RECALL. If your dog has good recall generally, maybe train your dog to carry a ball or stick when walking in an area that poop is abundant! They cannot eat it if they have something else in their mouth. Pay attention to your surroundings, even if your dog is off lead they should be within eye sight at all times. If you see your dog stop and sniff intensely at the ground – it is probably because they are getting ready to eat, roll or scent mark something of interest – try to keep them moving by calling them away.

 

Eating Other/Or Dog Poop

This is a different ball game due to the health concerns that go along with it. Firstly, is your dog a puppy? It is not uncommon for puppies to pick at their own poop, this is often an exploratory behaviour. The important thing to do if your puppy starts to eat his poop is not to yell or overreact to this behaviour – you may find that this becomes a game (much like when your dog steals your shoe and runs into the garden in an attempt to get you to chase after them for it).  You would be better to calmly pick up your pup and move him away from the poop and clean it up. This should be quite easy as after your pup eats or plays you should be then getting your pup to go to the toilet, and therefore it becomes part of your toilet training.

If your dog is not a puppy but has started this behaviour there can be many underlying reasons they have taken to this hobby. It could be something as simple as them mimicking another dogs behaviour (my dog started doing this after being walked regularly with a poop-eating offender; I solved this by keeping him on a long lead and when he approached any messes I just called him away or distracted him. This stopped quickly and so far has not reoccurred).

It could be due to a deficiency in their diet. Wild animals will seek specific organic matter when they feel poorly or can sense that their diet is lacking something, for instance eating a herb that helps with inflammation or nausea. Take a look at the diet that you are providing, could this be the culprit? Are you feeding a well balanced feed that is easily digestible, and are you feeding the correct amount?

Is your dog regularly wormed and treated for parasites? Pests are damaging to your pets overall health; and can cause an increased need for nutrients which your dog may try to compensate for by eating poop. The issue is that many parasites are pasted through the digestive tract and excreted in poop – if he then eats this he will only be encouraging the growth cycle.

Lastly, coprohagia is often categorised as a behavioural problem. Is your dog doing this out of boredom or for attention? Does your dog have adequate exercise and resources to ensure he is stimulated and content? Do you clean up after them in your garden regularly? If your dog is bored he will turn to activities that entertain him, this might be in the form of barking, chewing your furniture or scavenging.  If you think this is the cause, try out some of our suggestions for beating boredom.



If this advice does not give you any further actions to combat coprohagia and you are still worried about this behaviour; seek medical attention from your vet for further information and advice.

Pet Therapy

Pets at Home UK wrote an article late last year about the ‘Power of Pet Therapy’, and this really got me thinking about the powerful influences pets have on our daily well-being and mood. At Good Dog Pet Care Services, we are in a very fortunate position. From owning and caring for our owns pets, to then spending the day with all of our furry, scaly and feathery clients, our lives are rich with the rewards of animal interaction.

I know from personal experience, and talking to pet owners, that owning pets can help a person with their anxiety, mental health and general well-being (see our previous blog: ‘Benefits of Dog Ownership‘ for more info). This is where organisations such as PAT (Pets As Therapy) come into their own. PAT trains pets to visit institutions to help rehabilitate or enrich peoples lives; commonly visiting places such as Elderly Care Homes, Schools, Prisons and Hospitals. These visits can have a profound impact upon a persons well-being; uplifting their spirits, motivating them and aid learning.

I have had the pleasure of providing care for qualified PAT (Pets As Therapy) Dogs. Howard, a 12 year old German Shepard x Border Collie Rescue, qualified with his new owners at the grand age of 10 and regularly visited Elderly Care Homes to offer connection and affection to the residence. Many residence of elderly care homes suffer from dementia, and this can often lead to them feeling very isolated and becoming irritable due their confusion. While the level of care for these people might change as their condition progresses; their interests remain the same. Touch is one of the last senses to be affected by the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, so stroking a pet can bring enormous pleasure. I truly believe that Howard and his owners visits have a positive affect on the well-being of the people he interacts with, I also believe that his work gave him a new lease of life which was reflected in his care-free demeanour on our walks. Honey, a 10 year old Yellow Labrador Retriever, qualified as a young canine and is an experienced PAT Dog. She has a busy workload with many different jobs each week; including care homes, schools and prisons. In a school settings she has the job of a ‘Reading Buddy’; many children find reading aloud to peers or adults intimidating and this can cause delays in development. Honey provides the children with a unique opportunity where they can read to her aloud without the feeling of judgement, this builds their confidence and self-esteem with the additional tactile support to comfort them.

It takes a special dog to be a PAT dog, along with all of the other amazing Service Dogs that support humans on a daily basis; suffers of seizers and epilepsy, blind and deaf assistance, sniffer and detection, PTSD and many more. Your dog does not have to be a Service Dog to help your family or others, they may well support you in ways that you take for granted or overlook on a daily basis. Why not give your dog an extra large hug each day as a ‘thank you’?! It never ceases to amaze me; dogs are so willing, so loyal, to us humans. Having learnt about Service and Therapy Dogs, the work they do for us, and in some instances the sacrifices they make for us, I think it is important to spread some awareness and appreciation of their incredible abilities. 

We would love for you to share stories of your amazing dog(s), and how they support, motivate and inspire you. Post these in the comments below – I am now off to cuddle my dog!