All posts tagged: pets

Pets Corner: Pet poo problems

At first glance this might seem an odd choice for an article, however many dogs and cat owners are all too aware that pet poo is becoming a major issue and the focus of many a rant, both on and offline. So much so that some would like to see an end to dog and cat ownership or, at the very least, draconian measures against dogs and owners around public footpaths and green spaces. Perhaps it is time for all pet owners to unite to control the poo problem, before it controls us. I am sure that like me, most of you dog owners religiously ‘pick up’, never venturing forth without the obligatory bag. Sadly, however, there are those who are not so fastidious, and we have all seen owners that suddenly become fixated on their mobile phone or some other urgent business, just as their pooch begins to circle and squat. If witnessed, perhaps a polite reminder and gently proffered bag may prompt said owner to do the decent thing. It might even be …

Pet’s corner: Teaching your dog ‘leave’

The leave command, also known as ‘dog zen’, is possibly the most important command of all. ‘Leave’, as distinct from ‘drop’, tells the dog to disengage from an object, another animal or a human, on cue. The importance of ‘leave’ is that it teaches the dog to control its instinctive urge to move towards things that it wants or things that it dislikes and for owners this can become a powerful and incredibly useful tool. A solid ‘leave’ should be essential puppy training, up there with an instant ‘sit’, beautiful lead manners and an impeccable recall. There are different ways to teach this command and most trainers will have a preference. However, the essential aim is to teach the dog that a tiny disengagement (averting its eyes momentarily or looking away) earns a reward. Once the dog understands this principle the owner can then begin to ask for more of the required behaviour before a reward is delivered. Here is an example of how to teach the first stage of ‘leave’. Hold a treat on …

Pets Corner: Keeping pets safe in hot weather

It’s nearly holiday season and the thermometer mercury is rising. Many of us will be venturing abroad for even more sun, and a fair few will be taking their dogs. However, even for those set to enjoy the intermittent heat on home shores, please remember that our pets do not cope as well in the heat as do we. Pet thermoregulatory mechanisms only really include panting, some sweating from the paws and radiation heat loss from fur- these systems are not as efficient for bodily cooling as is as the human ability to sweat all over. Under conditions of intense heat it does not take that long for a cat or a dog to suffer heatstroke. Hyperthermia is a life threatening, medical emergency, where high temperatures and humidity cause the major internal organs, including the brain, to start to shut down, eventually leading to seizures, coma and death. Broadly, when temperatures exceed 39 degrees centigrade, steps should be taken to provide shade and cool the animal. Please see a quickie guide to keeping pets happy …

Pets Corner: Working your dog’s nose

Last month we looked at the importance of play for pets. This time I want to focus on the dog and in particular his amazing sense of smell. It might be said that a dog ‘sees’ through its nose. Humans are primarily a sound and vision species, we rationalise our environment using eyes and ears. For instance, we recognise people by how they look and sound. Not so dogs, they recognise each other primarily via a signature scent and use smell to make sense of the world around them. Dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors to our 6 million. They have a specialist smell analysis organ in the roof of the mouth and use tail wags to broadcast personal scent information from their anal glands. This is why dogs that go blind or deaf can actually adjust quite well, because their premier sense is still intact. Our forefathers used dogs to hunt, track and forage – anything from truffles to an escaped convict was located in this way. Today we still employ the dog’s powerful …

Pets Corner: Toxins in the Home

Toxins in the home Easter is on its way and most dog owners are well aware of the tremendous harm those chocolate goodies can do to their pet if ingested, but many will be less aware to what extent the average household is filled with potentially harmful products, some of which may have an insidious effect on their pet’s health. Human medication Top of the list are drugs we accidently leave lying around. Insurance data lists accidental ingestion of human medication- whether over the counter or prescription, as a major source of pet poisoning. Those little pills can look a lot like treats to dogs, cats or even pet pigs! The sugar coating on some pills make them irresistible, and talented pets can have a great time breaking into handbags, low cupboards or supposedly child proof pill boxes. Keep human medication up high in secure cupboards and drawers, beyond your pet’s reach. Household cleaning agents It is obvious that many strong household cleaners are likely to be toxic. Most pet owners will recognise the dangers …