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New Dogs: June 2018

We thought to start a new feature on our blog: celebrating the new dogs who join Jog My Dog each month. This is our first post like this so hope you enjoy it; and if your pet is featured then do share with family and friends!

Mollie

This girlie is only 12 weeks old and is a Sprollie (Springer/Border Collie Mix). We come out a few times in the week for puppy visits to break up her day and clean up any little accidents. During our visits we also give her lunch, play games in the garden, go for short walks to get her used to sights and sounds outside, introduce her to friendly dogs we walk in the area and practice recall and other commands she’s learning with mum. Once she’s big enough she will join our fun social walks and we can’t wait!

puppy care milton keynes

 

Charlie/Dave/Pheobe

This gorgeous family of dogs in Aspley Guise are the best! Dave, the lurcher, is a little bit nervous with new dogs and situations but we were careful and slow with our introductions and he absolutely loves going out to meet his other long legged friends from the village! Charlie is so cheeky and always up for a game of chase; while older sister Pheobe the pug is not really interested in outings, preferring a bit of shut eye while her active brothers are out and about. We do always take her for a little toilet in the garden and give plenty of fuss when there, she loves it!

dog walker aspley guise

dog care aspley guise

 

Tiggy

This beautiful cat was able to stay in her own home during her mum and dads recent holiday; and because the weather has been SO lush (oh England .. ) every time we turned up she was just chillin’ in the garden. Most of the time she would spy on me from under the table and chairs, not too keen on the flower watering going on, but as soon as that was done and breakfast served she would come straight out for 15 minutes of solid purrrrring with endless head rubs and licks/nibbles. She was the cutest and really enjoyed the company, along with getting to stay in her own home instead of being sent off to a cattery.

cat care mk

 

Spencer

This 4 year old English Springer Spaniel is so handsome! He has joined us for walks, day care and home boarding and we couldn’t be more fond of him. That crazy bouffant on top of his head, his long tongue which hangs out when he runs freely in the woods are just two of the things that make him as charming as he is! He also has a few other ‘twins’ in day care and half the time his updates go out with the wrong doggy showing (face palm moment).

aspley guise dog walker

 

Sam

At 14 years old, this golden retriever was just after short gentle strolls and a bit of company at home whilst his mum and dad were away for the weekend. He loved to show us his favourite local walks and chill in his garden, rolling around never feels so good as when it’s hot hot hot out!

stony stratford dog walker

 

Callie

We were SO excited to start walking this doggy as you don’t see many Tibetan Terriers about. And she is everything her owners said she would be and more: great recall, super friendly with all other dogs and people, travels well and just enjoys her walks full stop. Since it’s been so warm, we’ve been taking the dogs from Newport Pagnell down to the river but so far Callie hasn’t been that interested in full on swimming; however we feel confident that she’ll be joining the other dogs for a good paddle one day soon, especially if we’re lucky enough to have this glorious weather all summer as predicted!

dog walker newport pagnell

 

Ralph

Another puppy! We visited this boy at just 10 weeks old and as as Vizsla he’s got a lot of growing to do, and it seems that’s just what’s happening each time we turn up. We’ve walked quite a few of these breeds over the years and they can vary in terms of behaviour and how well they walk on lead, so we’re taking a lot of time to build up this pup’s confidence whilst working on loose lead walking each time we go out. At the moment (because he’s so young) he’s not keen on the harness, his lead, his collar or the big scary outdoors, but that will all change as he grows up and has more and more positive experiences.

dog walker wavendon

 

Tyrone

This golden oldie is a 14 yr staffy mix and isn’t he the cutest?! Because of his age, he wasn’t really into long walks and big adventures, preferring to stay local to his green in Stony Stratford and show us his favourite haunts. Little ginnels would lead to the gorgeous high street and with the sun high in the sky we could pretend we were on holiday (almost!).

dog walker stony stratford

 

Xena

At just 2 years old, this German Shepherd is ready for fun! She loves to play and chase other dogs, but sometimes forgets how big and powerful she is. This is why her mum booked her in for walks .. so working on her play skills, knowing when to stop and calm down, and being introduced to lots of different dogs week on week is the name of the game. She has made tons of friends already and loves to swim so we usually end up at Mermaids Pond in Aspley Guise each week!

dog walker walnut tree

Merry Christmas from Jog My Dog

Curious what we got up to this month? This short blog is a summary of the most important highlights!

December is a funny month for pet care with lots of last minute bookings for day care and boarding (people do leave it late to sort out pet care for Christmas and New Year) yet fewer walks; as clients are home with their families and pets from around the 20th or 23rd. We are lucky to have so many organised doggies and their owners who gave us early notification of their plans, which enabled the walkers to take time off with their families too 🙂

One of the girls, Jo, organised a charity collection for Milton Keynes Stray Dog Support Project which ran from the end of 27th November until the 8th December. A lot of our clients engaged with us and we were able to fill up our doggy van with food, bedding, toys, blankets and other small bits and pieces which will go some way in helping the poor dogs who are alone in kennels over Christmas feel some love and hopefully comfort in this otherwise lonely time.

charity collection

 

Milton Keynes also had its first proper snow day in a few years and that saw many walks cancelled as some clients opted to work from home. This was handy for our walkers as some of them also struggled to get and about – this country is honestly not geared up at all for a cold snap!

Our client Christmas cards were sent off to the printers at the end of November but we only got them back, due to the weather, on the 12th December which meant we didn’t have long to get them out. Each walker/sitter stepped up and offered to not only write the cards, address the envelopes but get them out to their clients to ensure that everyone got their Jog My Dog card in time. We have cultivated such an amazing team spirit and I (Mary) could not be more proud; each girl has such a commitment to what we are trying to create and a vested interest in helping their fellow walker out.

Jog My Dog had two Christmas ‘parties’. The first was at Revolution de Cuba in CMK and 8 of the walkers were able to come for a fun night out of tapas and cocktails.

jog my dog milton keynes

For those who couldn’t make it due to boarding, we had a lovely chilled morning coffee and cake meet up in Frosts, Woburn Sands.

A lot of people ask if we work over the holidays and the answer is YES! Pet care is a service that is required 365 days of the year and as a professional business it is our job to ensure that if a client needs us we have someone in place to assist. Saying that, we also require notification as our team have lives outside of their work .. so if you are thinking of going away in 2018 and need someone to pop in on your cat, feed your rabbits, walk the dog or host them in our homes for day care or boarding then please do get in touch early.

We take bookings for boarding months and months in advance and it is really the only way to be sure you’ve got your doggy holiday sorted. Cat and small animal visits can generally be booked in much nearer the time; but we urge you to think about your plans, especially around dog walks and dog care in general, so that we can ensure to have a walker / sitter booked in to suit.

That just leaves me to wish all our clients and readers of the blog a very Merry Christmas, 2017 has been lots of fun and we look forward to doing it all again next year!

merry christmas 2017

Santa is Here! Gift Ideas for your Cat

Who doesn’t like to buy their kitty a present? I’m so guilty of this, I just love to spoil Pancake! If you’re the same then check out this list of useful presents you can wrap up and give to your feline friend on the big day.

♥ If you have an indoor kitty then the Mynwood Cat Jacket will be the ultimate Christmas present! These jackets are made to measure (bespoke) to suit your cats measurements and requirements. Each jacket is made from quality fabrics and fastens securely around the neck and chest with long strips of velcro. All jackets are reversible with black cotton or another choice. I have one of these for Pancake and can highly recommend them (a word of warning: be prepared for lots of meowing and whining to go out; make sure you are prepared to put the time in to ‘walk your cat’ just as you would a dog, as once they have been outside no indoor play can compare).

cat jacket

 

♥ Another one that’s a must for indoor cats: The Cazami Cat Exercise Wheel. This fabulous exercise wheel has been especially designed for cats and helps to keep those confined to the indoors happy, supple, and energetic. The wheels are lightweight making it easy to ship. It is also assemble and disassemble friendly. While I am aware most cat owners in the UK allow the to roam, it is becoming more and more common to keep them indoor only, or with supervised garden access. Cats can quite quickly become bored and lazy, with weight gain and poor health being a common result. High energy breeds like Bengals and Orientals seem to excel with these wheels, but any cat can be taught to use one with patience and adequate time put in (another word of warning: be sure you have the time to commit to training your cat to use his / her wheel; as they are far from cheap it is quite an investment into their long term health and happiness .. so simply buying the thing is not enough, you have to help them learn to love it!)

cat wheel

 

♥  Spoil your Cat with their very own personalised bowl. You can choose one of Hoobynoo’s unique cat illustrations to match the look of your cat; the marble bowl can then be personalised with your cats name. This is a little pricey at £25 but the quality should mean it lasts you a few years.

cat bowl

 

♥  Extra Strength Catnip Cat Mice Toys. These mice toys are the ‘Purr-fect’ gift for any cat. Each mouse is handmade from a delightful range of fabrics. Cats have hours of fun tossing their mice into the air with the string tail and using all those feline skills that make them great hunters.

cat nip

 

♥ Guisapet Cat Bed. This contemporary bed offers a pleasant sleep with privacy for your cats, suiting those weighing up to 8kgs. Retailing at £75 it’s certainly not a cheap steal,  but it’s quite cool and modern so will suit owners looking to blend, naturally, their pet gear within the home. It comes in several colours and designs .. although I prefer my guy sleeping in bed with me!

cat bed

Psss: if you like what you read then why not share this blog with family and friends .. and who knows, it may help them out if stuck with present ideas!

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

 

Anger Management: Moving On

Got a reactive dog? Are you at your wits end with what to do? Have a read through this positive post as it doesn’t have to be this way!

As previous readers of our blog will be aware, my dog Grizzle suffered with reactivity last autumn. This behaviour was ‘learned’ over the summer as I had a number of different dogs boarding and in day care on a constant ‘rotating door’ basis. Simultaneously, we had brought him in to our vets for a 6 month Suprelorin dog contraceptive implant which would mimic castration (we wanted to see what neutering would do to his behaviour and coat). Prior to this, Grizzle was a super friendly puppy who loved to play with all dogs but we watched with dismay as he became reactive and snappy to first puppies, then all entire males, some females and neutered adult male dogs too. You can read the full story here.

Working with your Dog

We worked hard with him over autumn and winter by following our behaviour modification plan which Ellie from Haines Hounds provided alongside reducing the number of new dogs he would meet on a daily basis. We also stopped day care and boarding so as to give him down time and allow him to move about, rest and access the whole of his house without other dogs in his space.

dog day care mk

Immediately this last action made the biggest difference. Without having other dogs in his home he wasn’t constantly on edge, vying for the best seat on the couch or being woken up by dogs wanting to play when he was tired. His tolerance to dogs outside the house therefore became better as he wasn’t already wound up from what was going on in his home. By not mixing him with new dogs on the walking rounds he had a predictable routine with mum taking him for a walk first thing, a lunch time comfort break by dad and another walk later in the afternoon with the two of us. Taking him out on his own also forced us to rethink our own notions about what a satisfying walk is or isn’t to a dog; and we identified just how much Grizzle wants to “work” when out and about.

Learning what makes your dog ‘tick’

Our boy is not a trotter, he doesn’t do plod along type walks. When he goes out he wants to do tasks: retrieve, swim, chase things, carry sticks in his mouth, point out lost objects, fly after balls, play scentwork games. This will be partly the terrier in him but also just his character. He loves nothing more than “working” and would do it all day long if he could. All the times I stressed over him not walking properly, begged and cajoled him to move were just wasted efforts as the problem wasn’t him – – – –  it was me!

I urge you to ask yourself what makes your doggy happy on a walk. Are you truly catering for their needs or your own time pressures, ease of walk location and set routines. Do you check your phone whilst you walk, talk to other people or simply ignore your dog as you hurry through the hour? How much of the time you spend out and about with your dog is about them and not simply a task that must be done.

dog walker mk

I’ll be the first to admit, I used to dread taking Grizzle out in the morning. He would just not walk! Was he being stubborn, difficult and annoying? Or was I simply not getting him? Believe me, Grizzle has no issues with the outdoors, he was trying to tell me to stop being so boring and actually play with him! Interact with your dog, find out what makes them tick, what excites them, what really makes them feel All Dog! When you identify this they will not only have a far more satisfying walk (mentally and physically) but you will have lots more fun yourself.

The neutering debate

As an interesting final point, Grizzle’s implant wore away in December and his balls came back to their full size in January and over these last couple months we noticed that he was becoming more tolerant of other dogs again. Females were no issue, adult male dogs were also greeted in his puppy ways of old. He used to lie down on the floor with his chin resting on his front paws and wait until they came near him before he’d jump up and say hi with tail wagging. This behaviour stopped when he was in his ‘angry phase’ but appeared to be returning as his balls became fat again. He is now a completely ok with all dogs when off the lead; although he’s not 100% charmed by males who are entire like him we are able to control this behaviour when he’s running free by distracting him with a ball, sticks or just a treat.

Could this change we see be down to his hormones, not being swamped by dogs, having a more satisfying walk or the fact he’s getting sufficient down time at home? Might it be one of these things in isolation or a combination of factors? My gut tells me it is a bit of everything …. but whatever the case, we’re just glad to have our happy go lucky dog back and have learned a valuable lesson. I hope you can take something useful from it too 🙂

behaviour training milton keynes

Feeding Your Cat a Healthy Diet part 2

I really don’t recommend feeding dry food of any kind (high protein or not) because it is so potentially dangerous for reasons such as:

  • water depletion (many cats on kibble are severely dehydrated)
  • high in plant-based proteins and carbs
  • risk of bacterial and fungal contamination and food which is essentially cooked to death
  • very calorie dense and without nutrients

Urethal obstructions and cystitis are extremely common problems seen in cats fed dry food. Urethral obstructions are painful, life-threatening and very expensive to treat. Because it is so painful cats often stop using the litter box (note, if your cat free roams you may not notice this).

Cats fed raw or wet canned food consume double the amount of water when compared to a dry fed cat (even though you will probably never see them drinking from their bowl!). Water is one of the most important nutrients for all living beings and cats are no exception.

cat care milton keynes

But my cat seems fine on the food he’s on ….

  • Every living creature is “fine” until outward signs of a disease process are exhibited
  • Every cat with a blocked urinary tract was “fine” until they started to strain to urinate and either died from a ruptured bladder or had to be rushed to the vets for emergency catheterization
  • Every cat with an inflamed bladder was “fine” until they ended up in severe pain, started passing blood in their urine and begin to refuse to use their litter box because they associated it with pain
  • Every cat was “fine” until the feeding of species-inappropriate, hyperallergenic ingredients caught up with him and he started to show signs of food intolerance/IBD
  • Every cat was “fine” until that kidney or bladder stone got big enough to cause clinical signs

Diseases ‘brew’ long before being noticed by the living being.

Cat Food Analysis:
cat food options

(the ones highlighted red are a big NO NO)

Top Tip: buying food from The Happy Kitty Company or Zooplus can save you a lot of money. It seems that some of the best cat food is made in Germany – both these companies stock what is considered to be the “top wet cat food”.

Cat food ingredients are listed in decreasing order according to weight, so formulas that are mostly meat will have meat listed as the first ingredient (remember though it’s by weight PRE COOKED). Feeding your cat a formula with a meat or identified meat meal (like salmon meal or chicken meal) ensures that your cat is getting its protein from a quality meat source and not an unidentifiable mystery meat source.

If a cat doesn’t get the majority of her nutrition from meat and fish she’s going to suffer some pretty serious health problems. The most crucial element is taurine, an amino acid essential to the health of your cat’s heart and eyes, as well as its immune system. It can’t be synthesised by the body so must be taken in through food, and the highest concentrations of taurine are found in meat and fish. A lack of taurine has been found to have such major implications for cat health that it is supplemented in all cat food. Cats deficient in taurine can suffer from heart failure, irreversible blindness from retinal degeneration, fur loss and tooth decay.
Common medical problems associated with dry food:

  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Hairballs
  • Kidney Disease
  • Obesidty
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Cystitis / Urethral Blockage (UTI)
  • Dental Disease
  • Asthma

Main concerns with cat food is how it affects a cats:

  • metabolism in regards to diabetes and weight
  • kidney and urinary health
  • digestive system, IBD and intestinal cancer prevention

Water Water Water

This is really the most important take away from the post. Water is so very important to your cats overall health that it just can’t be ignored. Cats do not have a very strong thirst drive when compared to other species so that is why it is so very important, critical even, that they ingest a water-rich diet. The cat’s lack of thirst drive can lead to low level, chronic dehydration when dry foods make up the bulk of their diet.

A cat fed a species appropriate diet will be passing more urine so the litter box will need scooping more frequently. I always recommend having two litter trays per cat. Why? Some cats are very fussy and will not poo in the same place they have previously pee’d . Or if they have to “go” frequently they will not pee in a tray which has had poo in it already (note, if you are home all the time, or your cat has access to the outdoors, this may not be necessary). However, if they are an indoor only cat or you are keeping them indoors whilst you go on holiday then I would recommend having two litter trays – one for each floor of your house.

Adding 1-2 tbs of water (plain or flavoured such as tuna water, without salt, chicken or beef broth, again without salt) per meal is beneficial. I feed raw and even with that I add water to each meal.

If your vet tells you to keep feeding dry because it helps with your cats dental health … be forewarned … ! it is about as healthy as crunching cookies is for your own teeth!! 🙂

cat sitter milton keynes

(Cat.Org)

Litter Tray Training for Kittens

Many kittens are actually litter-trained by the time you take them home, but if they are very young, or have not been litter trained then it’s pretty easy to show them the ropes. Look out for the signs that they may ‘need to go’ and gently place them in the tray at these times, or after they eat, as soon as they wake up from a nap, if you see them scratching or sniffing. Cats instinctively know how to go toilet, and hide their waste in the wild, so what you are doing is trying to replicate that environment – if you do it successfully they will pick the rest up!

So with that in mind, you will need to consider the type of tray you purchase. When your kitten is very small you may opt for using a low-sided one (giving them easy access in and out, you wouldn’t want it to be so high that they can’t get into it!) but as they grow then you’ll need to get a much larger tray so they can stand up and turn around in it with ease. My guy is a big 5+kg cat and he likes a lot of space when doing his thing! You may also want to consider mess so a deeper tray may work for you or a covered one (not all cats like being enclosed though so start with a cheap one before making a more expensive purchase). The rule of thumb is to have one tray per cat, plus one extra in your house. Don’t think you have space for two trays? Check out some great litter tray location hacks on the Ikea Hacks website. Cats don’t like to do their business in the middle of a busy household, and with stress being an important player in cats who eliminate outside the litter box, I would suggest placing your litter tray somewhere quiet, where the cat can pee and poo without being disturbed.

5 Easy Steps to Litter Tray Training

  1. Buy the right size tray
  2. Experiment with litter
  3. Position the tray in a quiet location
  4. Scoop frequently
  5. Be patient

kitten visits milton keynes

If your cat bulks at using the tray don’t give up. Some cats are just plain fussy and might not fancy the type of litter you bought! Some cats like fine, soft litter while others like a clumpier sort (I swear by Cats Best Oko Plus, available in pet stores or online). You may just need to play around with the type of litter your cat  prefers best. Also remember, cats are naturally really clean creatures so they are unlikely to use the litter tray if it is full of pee or poo. So if you use a clumping litter you will be able to scoop frequently, thus keeping the tray nice and clean – perfect for your kitty.

Finally, don’t feel fed up if they make mistakes in the early days, my guy made quite a few mistakes in the early days (or did we?) but he got it in the end. Best of luck.

Feeding Your Cat a Healthy Diet part 1

*Survive* versus *Thrive*

… there is a very big difference between the two states of health we see in our pets….

Cats are often put into the same bracket as dogs in regards to their dietary needs. We pop a bowl of whatever in front of our dogs and they eat it, and seem to do ok for it as well (I put the word ‘seem’ in italics as they are actually probably not quite as healthy as you imagine – but that’s for another blog post!).

A cat on a species appropriate diet (high in real meat, moisture and low in carbs) should poo only once a day – if that. My raw fed cat only poo’s every 3 or 4 days … The poo should be dark brown, firm in consistency (easy to pick up) and pretty tiny! They should be peeing at least twice a day, if not more. Why is this?

Cats on a low residue (low fiber/low waste/highly digestible) diet will often not pass stool every day because there is very little non-digestible matter contained in this diet.  Therefore, the volume of faeces will be less when compared to cats on high fiber or poorly digestible diets.

The colour, consistency and frequency of your pets poo can tell you A LOT about the state of their inner health. A cat fed raw meat will only poo once every couple days while a cat on good quality wet (high meat content) might poo just once a day or every other day as opposed to a few times each day when fed kibble. Cats eating a natural, species-appropriate diet do not produce soft, voluminous, stinky faeces like so many people are used to seeing from their cats eating commercial diets. The two pictures below show the poo deposits of two different cats – the one on the left is a RAW fed cat and the poo on the right is from a canned diet, not as great as real meat but a hell of a lot better than kibble. The bottom picture is the poo of a cat fed a popular kibble – Go Cat (god awful choice of food by the way). This is what comes out of the poor cat every day, sometimes twice a day.

Which poo looks the most healthy to you? Which would you prefer to clean up? Yep, it isn’t the kibble fed cat poo that’s for sure!!

cat pooSome people are put off wet food because they can’t free feed it. Actually cats don’t need to eat throughout the whole day. Yes in the wild they tend to eat lots of tiny meals, but you can replicate that with your automatic feeder. With these you can put a section of it into the freezer which will keep a meal cool for most of the day. In fact I feed my cat just twice a day … morning and evening and nothing in between.

Cats are obligate carnivores and require a diet high in protein. Cat food ingredients are listed in decreasing order according to weight, so formulas that are mostly meat will have meat listed as the first ingredient. Feeding your cat a formula with a meat or identified meat meal (like salmon meal or chicken meal) ensures that your cat is getting its protein from a quality meat source and not an unidentifiable mystery grain or dubious animal part.

What to look for in a food

  • Protein is listed as the first ingredient on the label, and the meat/poultry used is fit for human consumption. …
  • The food is grain-free (no rice, barley, or any other grains (pea included) …
  • The food does not contain by-products, corn, soy, or any other fillers ..
  • Percentage of meat should be above 70% (meat, not animal derivatives)

Top Tip: don’t be fooled into the marketing gimmick of ‘gravy being a great sort of liquid’. It’s also chuck full of carbohydrate which your cat doesn’t need.

cute cat

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Jog My Dog is a small, friendly and professional company offering home boarding, puppy visits, doggy day care, cat visits and dog walking services in Milton Keynes and the surrounding villages of Bow Brickhill, Brickhill Sands, Little Brickhill, Great Brickhill, Aspley Guise, Woburn, Woburn Sands, Brogborough, Linslade, Stoke Hammond and Soulbury.

Registered, Insured, Knowledgeable and Experienced, we take the job of pet care seriously. So whether you’re looking for a cat sitter for your weekend away or regular runs for your dog while you’re at work, we can help! Get in touch to book your pet sitter and dog walker in Milton Keynes today.