Tips for Owners

Keep your pets safe at Christmas

keep pets safe at christmasDecember starts tomorrow… and so we thought we’d drop in a timely reminder of ways to keep your pets safe at this time of year. The season of Christmas is fraught with dangers for inquisitive noses  – so here are just a few tips to keep them safe over the holiday period.

  1. Christmas tree. We have made the decision not to have a tree with all the trimmings within doggie reach at our home. But this is not always practical, especially if you have children that could miss out on the joy that having a decorated home brings. So just be very pet aware when adorning your house. Those pretty baubles are often made with glass and could seriously damage or even kill your pet if they should shatter and be ingested. Keep it up out of reach!
  2. Christmas plants. Poinsettias and Mistletoe are especially toxic to animals. Keep them up high, out of reach, and clean up any dropped needles from your tree as soon as they fall so that your pet does not get poisoned or choke.
  3. Tinsel. It sparkles, it makes an unusual sound to an animal when it is moved… but could cause horrendous problems if swallowed.
  4. Christmas lights – remember not to leave the electrical cable for your lights within reach of your four legged friend.
  5. Chocolate. Remember that chocolate is extremely dangerous for cats and dogs. It can cause all manner of health problems, and in extreme cases can cause death. Don’t leave it out as a temptation to hungry noses.
  6. Christmas Dinner – we usually allow our two hounds to have a Christmas Dinner of their own. But take care with what goes into their dish. Ensure that no tiny bones find their way into the dish. And don’t give them too much – it’s not nice for an animal to be TOO full up!
  7. Remember too, that taking on a new pet is a huge responsibility. Only buy a pet as a gift for someone if their are 100% committed to providing a good, safe, permanent home for the new addition to the family. Remember… a pet is not just for Christmas!

Have a wonderful Christmas, but don’t forget how dangerous it can be for your fluffy pal.

Finding a Lost Pet

No matter what steps we take to ensure that our animals are secure… accidents can happen. Pets can dash out of an open door or window… they can slip their leads… or can be spooked by something when you have them outside. This is of course highly distressing, and so it is better to be prepared. These tips will help if you ever find yourself in this situation.

  1. Identification – do make sure that your pet is microchipped. Your local vet can take care of this for you and it only cause a short moment of discomfort for your pet – if at all! Do remember to update your details with the vet if you move house too! It is also worth getting an identity tag for your pet’s collar also. This may enable someone to contact you sooner rather than wait for a vert to read the chip if your pet has run off somewhere. Ensure that your telephone number is on there.These are inexpensive and can be bought from pet stores, vets, and many places online.
  2. As soon as you discover your pet has gone – speed is of the essence here… and may result in your finding your loved fluffy companion within minutes – avoiding more upset for you and for them. Cover the surrounding area as quickly as you can. Ask fri8ends, neighbours, anyone… who may be able to help cover more ground. Call your pet’s name loudly and often – but never in an angry tone… as this could frighten them more. I know it’s difficult, but try to keep your calling voice as calm as possible. In between… listen out for faint woofs, whimpers, or meows. They may be stuck somewhere very close, and you could miss them as you walk by.
  3. Check your own home too. Your pet may have got back indoors and be hidden under a bed or in a cupboard – especially if it has been spooked by something.
  4. Call your local vets and animal shelters. Often, the first place someone would take your pet is here – so make sure that they have a description of your pet, and a way of getting hold of you should it be brought in. Don’t be shy about dropping in and looking at the new arrivals, or phoning each day to see if there is any news… just in case descriptions have got lost in translation between staff members, or departments.
  5. Get Social! Make sure that if you use Social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, that you get the news on there as soon as possible. We often get involved in helping to spread the word about lost pets… and peopl do care… so will share the news on their profiles too.
  6. Use the local papers – do use the lost and found columns. There may be people that do not spend a lot of time online, that may read the local papers instead. Include a photo too. And make sure you read them too… in case anyone has posted that they have found a pet.
  7. Speak to the postman – and the milkman – and the binmen – and anyone who regularly spends time in your local area. They may recognise your pet from regular service visits to your street… and recognise your pet if they see them. Ask the local kids to! Kids are always moaning that they’re bored… so perhaps this would solve another problem by keeping them busy too.
  8. Find other pet owners and ask for help. Your dog may have wandered onto the local dog walking area… or your cat may have snuck into another cat’s bed and be whipping their dinner. Other pet owners will want to help – don’t ever be afraid to ask.
  9. Make “Wanted” posters. Include a photo, contact details etc – and display in as many places as you can. Think of places where there are lots of people, such as village halls, schools, community centres.
  10. Take your other pet along if you have one. That’s certainly something we would do. Dogs and cats have stronger senses than we do… and may be invaluable in the search.
  11. Email us here at info@petfriendlybreaks.com with as much information as possible…. photo, name, description… as much as you can really! We know how distressing it must be to lose your pet – so will happily publish information onjline in various areas if it helps!

Hints and Tips for Dog Owners

hints and tips for dog ownersA dog can be a fine addition to a family… remembering of course that they need lots of structure and support. As Cesar Millan would say… “Exercise, Discipline, Affection – in that order”. So hopefully the following tips will help any dog owners to get the most out of their canine companions.

  1. When training your dog… remember to use praise and attention when they do well. The more you praise the good stuff… the more your dog will respond. One of the things out younger dog does after he has “dome his business” in the correct place… is to come indoors to have fuss and attention. We started this early, and he was toilet trained very very quickly because of it. If you only give them attention when they are naughty, or make mistakes… it is much harder to get them into a happier better behaved place later on.
  2. Don’t shout at your dog. Yes I know it’s difficult when they are doing wrong – and I’m probably the world’s worst when Guido is woofing at nothing more than a gust of wind… but do try your best. Otherwise your dog just thinks you are barking… and yet we do not have the same understanding of woofing… so it just confuses them and reinforces their upset or alarm.
  3. If buying a dog – make sure you get it from a healthy environment. Avoid puppy farms. Make sure it will have already interacted with other animals and people – it will make life much less stressful for your pet when you get them home.
  4. Remember that they are a dog. Ok… so we “chat “to our dogs all the time… but if giving actual instructions, then keep it short and to the point. They’re not human… they don’t understand long drawn up explanations – and despite our best efforts, sarcasm is also lost on them.
  5. Socialise them as much as possible. Where we live is fairly remote, and we had no neighbours for a couple of years. This caused some upset for our eldest dog (Guido) when people started moving in… especially as many of them now have dogs. Even now he still gets a bit jumpy when a car drives past, beeps its horn, or dogs bark nearby. We are now socialising both our dogs with the neighbors (and their dogs) with positive results. If at all ñpossible, start as you mean to go on.
  6. Keep young children supervised when they are around your dog. We have found that our dogs have been excellent around young children, as they seem to sense their size and adapt their nature automatically. However, they can still knock a kiddie over in their exuberance. Also remember that kids can be unpredictable, and a dog may react badly when it doesn’t understand its situation – even if it has been well behaved before. Just be aware and make sure you stop any accidents BEFORE they happen. Especially don’t let children pull on dogs’ tails or ears. You wouldn’t like it would you? Don’t be afraid to tell your child or someone else’s to leave the dog alone for a while. Dogs can’t say “I’ve had enough now, please leave me alone and stop following me”.
  7. Play games with your dog, and learn which games they love best. Our eldest dog loves to run after balls and frisbees (although he doesn’t necessarily like to bring them back) and our younger dog loves to carry things (like his own lead). They love to play, and are eager to please… so give them plenty of opportunity
  8. Exercise exercise exercise! Dogs all need exercise, regardeloess of size. Walk them as much as you can. Ours get 2 long walks each day, and two shorter ones. Now we know that is unusual… but because we work from home it is something we can do for our boys. But the more your dog is walked… the better behaved he will be. We laughed when we heard this said by trainers – as we failed to see a connectoin… but it’s true – it really works!
  9. Keep them busy. Some dogs need more stimulation than others – your dog will soon let you know if it’s bored! Make sure they have toys and stuff to keep them busy… especially if they are being left at home alone for a while.

Halloween safety Tips for Pets

Just a couple of days, and Halloween is upon us. If like Alan, me, and our two Labs, you live in a quiet neighbourhood where there are very few children (or exciteable adults ha ha) then your fluffy pals have had a lucky escape. However… this is not the case for most people – and as exciting a time as Halloween can be for you… it may not be so nice for your pet. Here are just a few tips to keep your pets safe and stress-free.

  1. This one surprised me… but I guess is obvious. If you are the owner of a black cat, then keep them indoors as much as possible for the days leading up to, and following, Halloween. You may find that many animal shelters do not adopt black cats out over this holiday period for their own safety.
  2. Trick or Treat sweeties are not for pets! Chocolate is especially dangerous for cats and dogs. Don’t make your pal poorly because of all the excitement! Side effects of eating these treats can include vomiting, loose bowels, increased heart rate… and in extreme cases, seizures, liver failure and even death.
  3. Whilst on the subject of treats and candy – watch those sweet wrappers! Dogs especially will eat anything! Tin foil, plastic wrappers etc – these can all present choking hazard.
  4. Fancy dress. You may think they look cute – and yeah… often they do! But if dressing your pet up is going to distress or upset them in any way… then don’t do it! If they DO like it… then still remember not to adorn them in anything that will restrict their sight, movement, breathing, ability to go to the toilet, or to eat and drink.
  5. Pumpkins and lanterns – just as you would keep a pet away from a bonfire or barbecue… do also keep them away from pumpkin lanterns. Young animals are especially curious, and could cause more damage to themselves and their surroundings than a couple of singed whiskers.
  6. Unless your dog has proven itself to be extremely patient and calm during high excitement situations… then do not have them in the vicinity if you oppen the door to trick or treaters. The unusal costumes and excitement levels could be enough to make them react unfavourably. We only want fake blood on October 31st… not the real stuff because Fido has chomped on a 5 year old zombie. Also – if the door is opened, and they are already overexcited by everything going on… then they may escape and come to harm.
  7. If at all possible, keep your pets indoors on Halloween. Although we are predominantly pet lovers reading this – unfortunately there are some sick people on this planet who would think nothing of distressing your pet!
  8. If all else fails, and your pet has disappeared… please make sure that they are identity microchipped, and preferably have an identity tag on too. This increases the chances of them being found safely and brought back home.

Doggy welcome packs

One of the things that has really impressed us in doing the research behind this site is the number of owners of dog friendly places to stay who offer welcome packs for dogs! What a fantastic idea! It really doesn’t cost much to provide a couple of special doggy treats, in addition to the basic items you might provide for your guests.

We are certain, as potential clients of most of the owners on this site, that we would be suitably impressed on arriving at a holiday destination to find a couple of rawhide bones, or a box of biscuits for the boys in addition to the basics (and maybe a bottle of wine :)) you’ve left to cater for our needs.

Some places go even further, here’s one we came across earlier – how’s this for going out of the way to cater for our furry friends? Continue reading

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