Mary

/Jog My Dog

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So far Jog My Dog has created 69 blog entries.

Pancake Sprays in the House

So something interesting happened this morning. Pancake sprayed in the house for the first time in his 4 years of life.

Why do I call his behaviour interesting rather than annoying, stressful or gross? Because urine spraying in cats is directly linked to their emotional health, it is their stress calling card if you will. So Pancake spraying urine all over the kitchen cupboards right in front of my eyes was and is fascinating. He’s giving me a visual and olfactory clue as to his current state of mind. It is up to me to listen.

Cats spray during socially stressful situations, possibly to increase their self-assurance, or as a coping strategy for stress or even as a form of displacement activity. You may be confused about this statement as there is a good chance you will have seen cats outside spraying urine against bushes, fences and other objects. It is normal behaviour for a cat to spray urine under these circumstances, however, if a cat starts to spray urine indoors this indicates that it doesn’t feel secure and that something is causing it to become stressed.

What does it look like when a cat sprays urine?

Some urine marking can take place on horizontal surfaces (usually objects or items of clothing on the floor), either in a squatting posture or by standing and spraying. But the more classical presentation for urine spraying involves the cat backing up to a vertical surface, often after sniffing the area intensely and showing a flehmen response. The cat stands with its tail erect and quivering and raises its hindquarters. The cat may or may not tread with its hind paws while squirting a stream of urine (usually less than 2ml). What is a flehmen response? It is a behavior in which the cat curls back its upper lip exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed and then often holds this position for several seconds.

I’ll be honest, this morning I didn’t notice Pancake’s flehmen response. It may or may not have happened as I wasn’t paying close enough attention. He got into the litter tray as normal but instead of leaning forward in his semi squat position his tail went straight up and he sprayed.

pankee

The reason behind the behaviour

So what could have caused this? The most obvious clue would be our house move. Approximately four weeks ago we moved from our three bed house with a large garden to a flat. Pancake still has access to his secure garden as I ferry him back and forth twice a day. And while I may feel his stress levels should be low considering his time spent in the garden is essentially the same, what is easy to ignore are all the other stressful factors involved in going back and forth each day.

Cats don’t deal with change well. Unlike dogs, just “being with their human” is not the be all and end all for them. Cats that are loners by nature and enjoy their own space will suffer even more, as the daily human interactions will have increased. In Pancake’s case, the stressors for him include:

  • Travelling in the van
  • Going in and out of his cat crate (associated with ‘scary’ vet trips)
  • The sight of other dogs and humans as I carry him from the van to the garden
  • A smaller environment in our flat, fewer quiet areas for him to get away

Now this final point is an interesting one. As I have seen Pancake demonstrate an increased desire to be with us in the front room of our open plan flat. There are other rooms for him to sit in – the bedroom, the bathroom and two storage cupboards of ample size. Yet he, of his own will, has chosen to sit in the living room with us, either sprawled on the floor or under the couch. I believed this to show that he was no longer stressed. I am wrong. He is still stressed as this morning’s urine spray has proven.

Pancake has been on Zylkene – a product that can help support dogs and cats in situations where they find they need to adapt their behaviour to cope. He’s also received additional attention in the form of play time and general fussing.

So what is going wrong? To be honest, I am not entirely sure yet. His overall stress levels could be stacking instead of reducing. So although on a day to day basis I may feel he’s relaxed, deep inside he may feel far from it. He, along with our dog Grizzle, live within a highly emotional home as their dad is terminally ill. And while they may not understand what’s going on, they will feel the stress and fear we’re experiencing. They will know within their beings that something is not right and try as we might to be strong every day and be happy for each other, for them .. we are human and weak. Some days we will get upset, sad or angry and these emotions will trigger stress in our pets.

pancake 1

Reflecting

I asked myself whilst walking Grizzle this morning what might be stressing me out at this moment in time. What could I be transmitting to my pets. Yesterday I received an email about a possible exchange date for the house. This would be the final date Pancake could use his garden. The final day he would have a garden. Although I will be cat proofing his balcony it will of course not be the same. He’ll never get to chase, hunt or kill a mouse again. He’ll never see a bird land in front of him and watch it fly away as he pounces upon it. He’ll never get to eat a butterfly or other insect. Does this upset me? Yes! I can’t tell you how sad I feel on his behalf yet how impossible a situation we’re in whereby a balcony is the best we will have for many years.

So on reflection I do believe that my stressful feelings overnight may have impacted his mood this morning. Did he pick up on my fear and anxiety? Yes I think so. Sobering.

What else was different about this morning? Two things come to mind:

1) I forgot to defrost his usual bag of raw meat. For about a month I have been trying (unsuccessfully I might add) to transition him to Paleo Ridge raw mince as it would make my life a lot easier. Cats are notoriously hard to change in terms of food preference and Pancake has been stubborn as anything, refusing the new mince even though it’s the same type of meat, just in a new format (minced not chunks). So after turning his nose up at that I defrosted some white fish he’s never had before. But fish is fish .. isn’t it? Not to a cat apparently! Pancake loves tuna and salmon. Why wouldn’t he like cod? For so many reasons, unbeknownst to me of course. Whatever the reason – possibly one change too far! – he refused the second plate of food and promptly went to use the toilet. Which is when he sprayed.

2) Grizzle and I were both in the kitchen, quite near to his litter box, when he went in to do his business.

See why I started the blog off by saying it was interesting behaviour?

So many cat owners experience situations like this with their cat and dismiss it as ‘naughty behaviour’, their cat is being a jerk, acting out, trying to punish them, being annoying and all those other human explanations we apply to our pets when they are not doing as we think they should.

When you pick away at WHY they may be doing what they’re doing the results can be quite surprising. And upsetting. Our pets have hugely complex emotions and will be telling us how they are feeling in subtle ways, if only more people spent the time to observe and listen to what they tell us, perhaps fewer animals would end up in rescues.

I’m somewhat preaching to myself here. I pride myself on really knowing my cat and while I feel confident I know a heck of a lot more than most cat owners I’m clearly still getting something wrong.

Making changes

Two immediate changes I made today were moving the litter tray out of the kitchen (into the dark cupboard in the hall) and giving up on the idea of transitioning him from the meat he’s always eaten to something else. I’m hoping that having his tray in a quiet dark cupboard will alleviate any stress he may have felt by having to go toilet in front of everyone. This is really obvious and I’m pretty disappointed in myself for ever putting it in the kitchen. Sure it’s not ‘busy’ in the true sense, but I chose it for MY convenience (easier to vacuum a hard wood floor than carpets), instead of it really being the best location for my cat. And not putting him under pressure to come to like a new food type, whilst dealing with all the other changes, is just kindness. Cats love routine and consistency, it’s what makes them feel safe and secure. So why did I think it would be a good time to change up what he’s eaten for the last four and a half years I’m not really sure … another selfish move on my part. Mince meat in packs is less messy than raw meat in bags I have to chop up.

The next couple of weeks and months will bring new changes and increased stress for both the pets, and I’m hoping that with more quiet contemplation I’ll get more things right than wrong. I hope you will join us on our journey and as always if you have anything to contribute pop a comment below. And if you feel the topic resonates with you or anyone you know then please do share on social media.

Till next time …

pankee mary

 

Christmas Gift Ideas for Cat Lovers

Know someone that just loves spoiling their cat? It’s that time of year so a good time as any to buy your loved ones some of these cool and slightly ‘kooky’ cat gifts. I’d want ALL OF THEM!!

Mini Cat Bracelet – This handmade bracelet is part of C A T + C O M P A S S cat jewelry collection that offers a subtle and unique statement for feline lovers. Each piece is made-to-order in Luckeeluv’s Studio workshop and can be layered with any of their classic gold filled or sterling silver items. This will set you back £25.60 + shipping.

 

♥  Art Prints – This black cat wall art print is a cool gift for the cat lady or man in your life (or even yourself!). Made with archival paper and ink, along with a matte finish, this print will last a long time and look good in the process. A bargain at only £4.50 + shipping.

cats are cool

 

♥  Cat Coffee Mug – This affordable ceramic mug makes the perfect secret santa gift for that crazy cat lady in the office, or your wacky aunt! Available in a range of sizes, with the smallest only setting you back £11.21 + shipping.

cat mug

 

♥  Personalized Cat Bowl – Have your cats name put on her own handmade ceramic bowl. This makes an adorable little stocking filler for a friend or family member and looks a quality finish and unique. A bit more pricey than your standard food/water bowl, but I think worth the £29.63 + shipping. Love it!

cat bowl

 

♥  Silver Necklace Personalized with Your Cat Photo – Made with premium 925 Sterling Silver, this  necklace can be shaped based on a picture of your precious cat. Not the cheapest item with the RRP at approx £154; however, at the time of writing there is a fabulous discount making this just £54 + shipping. This is from a U.S. seller but they ship to the U.K. (allow 2-6 weeks and just bear in mind possible custom taxes/charges along with peak season delays).

cat necklace

Christmas Gift Ideas for Dog Lovers

It’s that time of year when we all start trying to think of fun yet useful Christmas gift ideas for friends and family who love their doggies. Here’s my helpful list to get you started!

♥  Dog Hogger Pillowcase – These pillowcases which come in four different configurations show the reality of where we humans end up sleeping, we all know that even the smallest dog can be a bed hogger (Grizzle certainly is!). High quality, 100% Egyptian cotton pillowcases are silk screen printed in the UK and come in just one size – 55cm x 75cm.

dog pillowcase

 

Your Doggies Paw Print on a Keyring – This is not cheap but adorable! You can either order a paw print kit or simply upload a jpg of one you already have. Each keyring is handmade and totally unique to your dog, creating the perfect gift or keepsake. These keyrings are quality 99.9% pure polished silver with optional 24ct gold inlay. It will take at least 4 weeks to process your order so make sure you don’t leave it to the last minute ..

key ring

 

 

♥  Sweet Shop Dog Treat Jars – These wonderfully traditional sweet shop style treat jars have been given the doggy treatment. The white vinyl label says “Treats” and is personalised with your dog’s name and a cute paw print cut out. While the seller stuffs them full of grain based treats, I would go further with the personalisation by making some tasty and healthy home made treats, some examples being: dried liver or heart, sprats, tuna & oat biscuits. Yummy!

dog treats

 

♥  Dog Selfie Stick Clip with Ball – Do you know someone who loves taking photos with their dog? If so then this is the cheap and cheerful gift for them! All you have to do is clip onto your smartphone and get snapping! What’s more, when the dog gets bored of all the photo taking (and they will!) the ball can be thrown for a good old school game of fetch ..

 

selfie stick

 

Breed Identification DNA Kit – Do you have a doggy (rescue or otherwise) with an unknown original? The Wisdom Panel 3.0 will, with a simple cheek swab,  uncover DNA-based insights that may help you understand their unique appearance, behaviors, and welfare needs. Covering 250+ breeds, types and varieties (including 99 percent of breeds recognized by the AKC), it can be run for mixed-breed, designer, or purebred dogs.

 

dna

 

Walking Your Dogs in Wet Weather

The UK is blessed with some delightfully wet weather, and while most dogs will happily go out come rain or shine, dog owners are not always quite as excited to find their dogs coat constantly damp, dirty and matted, or covered with leaves, bramles and twigs!

Some dogs are ‘lucky’ and have sleek almost oily coats, and when they get muddy or wet on a walk it’s fairly simple to brush over with a dry towel and a bit of rubbing action. However, your doggies with poodle esque hair (think popular breeds such as cockapoo’s, labradoodles, westipoo’s, etc), along with your high actions spaniels, suffer much more with the old messy bed hair.

As dog walkers, we want your pooch to have the best walk, and for most dogs that means off lead play with their other doggy pals. They also find great enjoyment in scurrying in hedges, plonking themselves on a sandy patch to “dry off” or wallow in mud like pigs … often attempting to swim in the most disgusting of puddles. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to get them back on lead before this happens. Dogs are opportunistic and very quick when it suits them, often knowing where they are headed long before we spot the same. Therefore, in poor weather the only way your dog will come back clean is if they are kept on lead and walked along the pavement.

Our main priority is the safety of your dogs, so when we choose our walking locations we aim for enclosed paddocks, empty tracks with no vehicular use, disused farmers fields or the woods. We choose these over popular parks in Milton Keynes because we are less likely to run into other people, children or dogs (remember, not everyone loves dogs running about off lead). The flip side? These walking locations are also wet and muddy!

The reality is: the only way to guarantee your dog will come back nearly as clean as they set out is to keep them on lead and walk along the pavement, but this is honestly NO fun for your dog and we certainly don’t advise it as the best way of tiring them out physically or stimulating them mentally.

Our suggestions below may take a bit of investment in terms of time, installation and money; but you will reap the rewards for many years to come and probably find that you are enjoying your wet weather walks more too. And of course, you’ll be helping your dog walker out no end whilst allowing your dog to fully enjoy their walks.

  1. Install a tap outside your property. You can keep it as simple as a tap and hose, or as fancy as adding warm water, building a shelf to house their doggy shampoo, towels etc.
  2. Purchase a Dog Onesie. If your not able to have a tap installed, then the next best option is a dog onesie. These head to toe outfits may appear silly, but really do provide full body coverage, only leaving their feet to be cleaned at the end of the walk (and tail / head if they have serious mud rolling issues). MUCH more manageable and leaves you with a dry, clean dog at the end of most any walk. There are cheaper alternatives on ebay and other pet sites.
  3. Buy a Dog Drying Bag. This clever purchase would need to be left out on the counter so your dog walker can put your dog in it after the walk on the drive home. Made from quality, highly absorbent fabric, your pooch will be at least 50% drier/cleaner by the time they enter the house, leaving a smaller task for the dog walker and a cleaner home for you!
  4. Let us know where we should leave your Less Than Sparkly Clean Pooch. If your dog usually has free run of the house with access to carpets, beds, couches, etc then you might like to revisit this in wet weather. We advise keeping your dog contained in a utility room, kitchen or hallway area which has tiled or wooden floors. If you lay towels down and keep them within a hard floor area, then any dirt and mud will dry and fall off during the course of the day and when you get home it makes a light task of clearing up.

If you have any other tips to share do comment below. Happy Wet Walking!

dog walking milton keynes

Breakfast of Champions

Grizzle’s species appropriate HEALTHY weekend breakie of salmon, oily fish, raw meat ‘sausage’, blueberries, natural yogurt and raw egg with shell.

Just some of the physical benefits of a raw dog food diet are:

• Cleaner teeth and fresh breath.
• Better weight control.
• Improved digestion.
• Shinier, healthier skin and coat.
• Reduction of allergy symptoms.
• Harder, smaller, less smelly stools.
• Increased mobility in older animals.
• More energy and stamina.

We feed Grizzle Natural Instinct raw but like to also mix it up with other types of meat, including raw meaty bones, from time to time to not only keep it interesting for him but ensure he has the widest range of nutrients going into his body. Each week he will get a few different things in his bowl from raw carrot, to berries, yogurt, chunks of offal and so on. He absolutely loves it! Some of the health benefits of what he received in his weekend breakfast plate are below:

  • Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Suppliers like Paleo Ridge will have a range of fish and send you a ‘pick and mix’ style box of various sorts. If choosing your own then go for those packed in water over brine or oil and/or supplement your pet’s diet with krill oil.
  • Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, selenium, zinc and iron. High in vitamins C, E, A and B complex for your dog. Like any fruit or treat, blueberries should be fed in moderation; 2 or 3 blueberries make a good size treat.
  • Eggs are a great source of very digestible protein, riboflavin, and selenium. For some dogs that are prone to digestive upset, eggs can give them a little protein boost. Adding eggs to your dog’s food is a healthy treat.
  • Plain, low or non-fat yogurt provides probiotic benefits and serves as an excellent source of calcium for our canine companions. … Avoid flavored yogurts that are packed with sugar, and never feed yogurt that contains the ingredient xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic for dogs.

raw diet for dogs

Down the Allotment: June 2017

So much has happened this month on the allotment! We started with a blank canvas, save for a few pesky weeds which kept coming back, and that meant it was time to plan what we were going to put in our space.

Mum really wanted a polytunnel and last month it arrived but because of all the rain it did a lot of sitting in dads van while we worried about how we’d put it up (well I didn’t worry, I just watched my humans talk about it a lot). Anyways, dad’s van had to go back this month so we had a deadline to work towards and you know what they say about pressure .. !

Before you put a polytunnel up there are a few things you need to know.

Firstly, decide where you are going to put the tunnel and rake the area out well, removing all the deep weeds, lumps, rocks and anything else that’s going to make it unstable. Make sure you start with a flat surface and things will be much easier. I speak from experience as there was a lot of huffing and puffing as mum and dad tried to drag the constructed tunnel about to level it out. Foolish people.

After you’ve sorted the ground then it’s time to unpack your tunnel and position all the bits in sections on the ground so you can see the number labels. Bear in mind folks that the manufacturers may make a labeling mistake, so if it looks wrong it probably is (i.e. don’t get carried away by the numbers, use your noodle and work around it). Honestly, if dad wasn’t doing it with mum there’s no way it would be up by now, she’s not really what you’d call a ‘tool girl’ and he had to have a lot of patience to put up with her nonsense throughout the process. Don’t think for a minute I helped matters either. I wanted to dig, bark, roll around in the ground and generally cause mayhem!

It took about a week to get the frame up in its entirety. But once done we were able to cover the outside with tape, (this stops the sun making the bars too hot and burning through your plastic cover). Next came the cover and bright sparks chose a windy day to put it on, but what do you know … it actually got on within 15 minutes and happy days we had a tunnel!

mk allotments

The other guys on the allotment have been so nice to us and one of them gave us a shed and base while another guy built us 4 raised beds. So this has meant June was a busy month of changes down on the plot and we have been able to not only give the space some structure with all these new bits, but also plant out the first tomatoes, salad leaves and cabbages.

On the 14th of June we celebrated dad’s birthday and because he was given 5 fruit trees that was the next exciting thing to happen and just the other day I helped mum plant them in! The tree’s are miniature so should fit the space well. We’ve got 2x apple, 1x plum, 1x cherry and 1x pear. The little tree’s have been positioned outside of the ‘pet zone’ as I shouldn’t get my gnashers on the cherry’s, plums or apple seeds.

I’ll be honest, there’s a whole lot of chatting down at the allotment and coffee breaks happen every few hours. A man called Ken is in charge of these coffee breaks and I love him as he always gives me biscuits when I go to his shed. Everyone sits around and drinks cups of coffee laced with “medicine” (I think this is their code name for rum and whisky, shhh). Sometimes people will bring cakes but even if they don’t I always end up with a tasty cookie so these breaks suit me well. If it’s been raining I make sure to jump on people’s laps just to leave them with a tidy little muddy paw present. They pretend as if they like it and fuss me back, but mum tells dad she’s not sure I should go down with her anymore, hmmm what do you think?

That’s not all! We also had a huge delivery of poo turn up the other day. Horse poo!! I was in absolute heaven. Mum found an advert on Facebook where someone was selling a truck of manure for £40. Apparently this was a bargain as delivery was free. I had to stand back while the truck turned up and made the dump and this was hard because all I wanted to do was jump on top of the pile of poo and gobble it up. Yummers!

dog walker mk

Since then we’ve had lots more work to do as we’ve got to get the manure into the 4 raised beds and then move the rest of it to the back of the polytunnel so we don’t get ourselves some poo thieves visiting (everyone wants some of our stock as getting manure delivered is difficult). I love working with mum as it means I also get to dig which is my most favourite thing to do in the world!

Dad’s been coming down to the allotment as well a few mornings this month, he fixes himself up a comfy chair and plays Find It with me. Instead of using treats he’s been hiding my ball around the plot and making me find it with my nose. I love this game nearly as much as I love digging and we do it for more than an hour at a time as I won’t give up.

Well that’s June in a nutshell everyone. Come back again next month to see what I get up to next!

Love, Grizzle

allotment dogs milton keynes

Waiting for a biscuit during a coffee break!

Best Local Business Award 2017 Winner

Jog My Dog has been named the ‘Best Local Business 2017’ in the Milton Keynes Inspiration Awards. (https://mkinspirationawards.co.uk/)

The company was up against The Galleon, Wolverton, Rachel Florence Ray, Forever Gorgeous Beauty Salon and Rachel Scotney in the annual ceremony which recognises inspirational individuals and businesses throughout Milton Keynes and surrounding areas.

best milton keynes business 2017

Clients praised Jog My Dog for their commitment to providing quality pet care alongside a first class customer service model; “I love getting my dog’s walk report sent to my email that includes a map of the route he walked, information about what he did on his walk, and often photos of him! I have peace of mind knowing that Jog My Dog is reliable and great at what they do”.

This unique approach is reflected in the number of referrals the business is receiving and the 86 five-star reviews to date, enabling it to thrive amidst stiff competition.

Mary Wise, Owner of Jog My Dog, comments: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have won this award. It’s gratifying to know our clients recognise how serious we take our responsibilities in looking after their pets.” Mary continues: “My team go to great lengths to provide our customers with outstanding pet care and this award is really for them”.

Jog My Dog are members of The Pet Professionals Guild, The National Association of Registered Pet Sitters and The International Society of Animal Professionals. All walkers receive yearly First Aid training and ongoing CPD on canine and feline behaviour via workshops and online courses.

mk award winner

 

10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer

Summer is definitely ON and with temperatures expected to rise it’s important to remember that these extremely warm days can have a major effect on your dog’s health. Doggies can easily overheat because the only ways they release heat is by panting and through a limited number of sweat glands between their toes. Here is our top 10 list of ways to keep your dog cool and hydrated throughout the summer months ahead.

1. Supply lots of fresh, clean water. This is an obvious one but a biggie. Make sure you leave your dogs with big bowls of water if you’re going out for the day, ideally left out of the direct sun.

2. Don’t overexercise. Our dogs don’t always know their limits and may push themselves too far, especially when playing their favourite games such as fetch or ball. Instead of letting them run to the point of exhaustion why not mix the walk up with a bit of everything, some ideas being: sitting and having a fuss and cuddle in the shade, playing ‘Find It’ (scentwork) games under a cool tree, going for a swim, paddling in a shallow stream looking for sticks, a gentle stroll through the dark woods …

3. Walk during the cooler times of day. Simple adjustments to your usual routine can make all the difference to your dogs health. If you usually go out at mid-day then try walking an hour or two earlier. 10am feels a lot cooler then 12pm and certainly we’ve found that the hottest time of the day is between 1pm and 4pm so avoid walking during these times if you can. If your dog needs to get out to do his business mid-day then follow some of the ideas in point 2 above to keep them cool.

4. Provide outdoor shelter from the sun. Most dogs enjoy being outside even in the scorching heat! If you’ve got one like this then it’s important to do the thinking for him and provide outdoor shelter – ideally somewhere dark and cool – for him to lounge about. The options are endless and if you think outside the box you can create your own little outdoor ‘den’ for your dog on a budget. Ideas include: cutting open a barrel or tub, using old pallets and a bit of plastic, re-purposing a coffee table, etc !

dog care milton keynes

5. Make ice lollies with their favourite treats. If you’ve got time then you can make some chicken or bone broth and freeze in molds; or use tuna, bits of meat and vege and freeze in ramekins. Get as creative as you like (just check the food/treat is dog friendly first!). Last year I made a really yummy lolly for the dogs in day care by mixing natural yogurt with banana and dropping blueberries inside before freezing. They loved it!

6. Find walks with lots of shade and water points for them to drink or swim in. The dogs of Milton Keynes are lucky in that there are lots of fantastic walking locations which are shaded and we are also blessed with rivers, steams and lakes all over town. If your dog doesn’t like swimming you might still be able to coax him into the water if you also go in! Cooling their paws and lower legs down will make a difference to their body temperature so go on get in there with them and make getting wet fun!!

7. Invest in a cooling mat or wet some towels for him to lie on. There are all sorts of cooling mats available on the internet or in your local pet store; however, saying that it’s important to note that not all dogs like lying on them (Grizzle hates the ‘crunchy’ noise and won’t use one). So before shelling out the cash why not try a free alternative which is wetting an old towel and lying it on the ground near an open window or below a fan, this is a surprisingly easy way of cooling them down and my boy certainly prefers it to a mat.

8. Proper grooming is essential. Frequent brushing helps remove any “dead” fur and will help to keep his coat healthy and comfortable. Dogs with really long, thick fur might enjoy a tidy up before the summer and this may also make swimming opportunities less of a ‘chore’ for you and something you allow your dog to indulge in at will. Some dogs have double-coats so the idea of clipping them to keep them cool is a bit flawed (the top “guard hairs” actually act as insulation against the heat and sunburn). The undercoat is actually part of a dog’s natural cooling system, but if not properly maintained it can become matted and prevent air flow across your dogs skin. Grizzle is a Border Terrier and has an undercoat, we noticed a massive difference to how hot he was getting after a really good home strip session and a long brush with a Zoom Groom so get those doggies of yours to the grooming palour! We recommend Divine Dog Groomers in Crownhill or Rachel’s Dog Grooming in Wolverton.

9. Let your dog dig! In nature, one of the reasons dogs dig is to keep cool. So if your dog is showing an interest in a patch of the garden it might be worth your while to let them crack on 🙂 or better yet, allocate a specific spot for digging as this provides them with fantastic mental stimulation and is a space you can use all year long.

10. Watch for signs of dehydration. The helpful guide below will help you spot the signs of dehydration so take a moment to study it.

dehydrated dog

You’ll  note that I haven’t included the most obvious point of all which is to not leave your dog in your car while doing the shop. I’m going to assume that readers of the blog love their fur-babies enough not to do something as silly as this 😉

Down the Allotment: May 2017

Hey Everyone, Grizzle here… I thought you might like to follow mine and mum’s journey as we turn a rubbish filled disused allotment plot into our new edible garden.

Some of you might be aware that my dad was diagnosed with a bad illness late last year and that means we’ll soon need to leave our lovely cottage and garden. Mum was feeling down about not having outside space but then I came up with a brilliant plan! There are these great big allotments right by my favourite walk in Manor Fields, Fenny Stratford, and I told her to get us a patch of land where we could grow stuff, I could dig (the most important part!), sit around in the sun and bark at stuff. She didn’t need too much convincing to be honest. Dad did on the other hand but he came round soon enough as he gives me anything I want.

After a lot of back and forth (which included swapping, getting her money back, paying again) mum settled on a plot down on the right hand side of the allotment. We don’t have anyone to the right of us yet which is great as it means mum can park the van right by our land and dad can come with us and help out too. Usually she brings me down early in the morning so I can dig as I do make a lot of noise barking and yelping with excitement as she puts the spade in the ground. When we go later on I’m expected to be quiet which is ridiculous. There are so many people pottering about and no dogs – my dream place to hang out all day!

So that’s it for now, follow our story month by month so you can track our progress and keep up to date with all the things we’re getting up to.

Love, Grizzle

dog walker milton keynes

Cat Peeing Outside Litter Box

Litter box avoidance is one of the most common reason cats are abandoned, surrendered to shelters or euthanized. My Pancake went through a phase of peeing on our bedding when he was a kitten, so I fully appreciate how frustrating and expensive it can be. However, the solutions are actually quite simple and the starting point for any owner is to understand that their cat is not ‘misbehaving’ or being ‘naughty’ – they are in fact either unwell or suffering from stress (external or internal).

Because I went through this with Pancake a few years back I’ve written the below tips for you to try with your own cat. It goes without saying that I am not a feline behaviourist or a vet so if the problem is persistent and ongoing then do seek the advice of a fully qualified professional using the links I note at the end of the blog as your starting point.

Help! My cat isn’t using her litter box

Firstly, it’s important to get your cat checked by your vet to rule out a urine infection, kidney disease or some other illness, as a cat who is in pain will often not use their litter box as they associate it with the pain they feel whilst trying “to go”.

If your cat suddenly stops using the tray then the vet should be your first port of call and once you get the all clear then you need to look at your environment as a possible cause. Remember, there is always a legitimate reason for cats to avoid using their litter boxes. Small changes to us can be absolutely monumental to a cat; so look at the layout of the house, has anything changed? New furniture or a swap of rooms? Has anyone moved in or moved out? Do you have a new (noisy) baby or dog? Have you brought another cat into the house?

If you genuinely have not made any changes within your home setting – and remember, it’s important to ‘dig deep’ and think like a cat before dismissing something – then you need to look at the next closest environment to you which is the garden and surrounding area outside your house. Could there be a cat in the neighborhood who is bullying yours? Do you have visiting cats in your garden or hanging outside the house? If so, could these cats be entering the house via the cat flap when you’re not there? If so, this could be stressing your cat out which might explain the toileting.

If there are cats hanging around one of them very well might be the source of stress so you could try:

  • Blocking any lower panels of glass windows with opaque film or some other covering, this may help your cat feel more secure in her indoor home as she won’t be able to see the bully cat
  • If the bully is sitting high up on fences or a shed he may be intimidating your cat from this high position even if you have blocked the lower panes. If budget allows you could consider cat proofing your garden which stops cats coming in and yours getting out (something I did using Katzecure – best money I ever spent!)
  • Change the layout of the cat flap so that your cat can get out of the house safely without worrying about getting pounced on (if this is indeed an issue)If the stress is potentially coming from inside the house then you will need to review your feeding and litter tray set up. Resources are important to a cat and they include things such as water bowls, feeding areas, sleeping positions, high vantage points, quiet areas to watch the world go by, scratching posts, litter trays, etc.

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Other ideas to reduce incorrect toileting in the house

  • If you have two cats then you need a litter tray per cat plus one extra located in different parts of your house. Many cats don’t like weeing in the tray they poop in. Could your other cat be hogging the essential resource that is the toilet which could be causing her stress? This is worth considering even if your cats have lived together for years and seem to get along …
  • Your cat could have a negative association with her litter tray for peeing due to any number of reasons (a painful toilet trip over a year ago, something scary happening whilst going pee in her tray, a loud noise whilst going toilet … the possibilities are endless).
  • You could try changing her litter tray type, litter and position to see if this helps change the association she previously made. Some cats prefer a litter tray which is covered, while others like the open type. Remember, your tray needs to be large enough to accommodate your cat standing up and turning around comfortably, she should be able to squat without her bottom hanging over the side.
  • Litter trays need to be cleaned daily, sometimes twice a day if there are multiple cats within a household (and especially so if they are indoor cats only). I always recommend Oko Gold Litter to my clients, it is a bit more expensive than the standard litter available in the supermarket but is well worth it! This type of litter clumps beautifully which makes scooping pee and poop a breeze. The bag lasts ages as you are not having to empty the contents of the litter tray each time your cat goes toilet, instead you scoop the clumps of pee and poop leaving an otherwise clean tray. You can buy Oko Gold Litter online and most decent pet stores (like Walnut Pet Supplies in Milton Keynes) now sell it too.
  • Clean the mess with Urine-Off and Odour Remover. If it’s very soiled you may be best to remove it entirely (taking away the smell and association with the space).
  • Placing food bowls near the location your cats toileting on can change the perception of the area from ‘dangerous’ to ‘safe’, although this does not always work it is certainly worth a try.

Remember cats don’t vocalize the same way dogs do so it is so very easy to miss the subtle clues re what’s going on and see their behavior as a problem when it’s actually a cry for help.

Finally, if these tips and tricks don’t solve your problem then I suggest finding a qualified behaviorist who is experienced with cats using the APBC and ABTC websites to find one in your local area.