03 Apr 2018 14:21

Madrid police dogs get 'Mozart effect' music therapy

Madrid's police dogs are to get air-conditioning and music therapy to improve their well-being. The Spanish capital's municipal police force has installed a specialised system providing music therapy for its service dogs. It is hoped that the innovation will reduce the levels of stress experienced by the dogs. The technique exposes the animals to classical music several times a day and is known as the "Mozart effect". The 22 dogs work as detectors in various roles in the municipal police force's Canine Unit.

Madrid's local council, which oversees the force, said that the dogs are exposed to high levels of stress in their roles. The facilities have been installed as part of a refurbishment to the living quarters where the dogs are based. Dogs in the unit are specialised in the detection of explosives and narcotics, as well as taking part in rescue missions.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour found that classical music can help reduce anxiety in dogs. Rafael de la Gándara, a police sergeant in charge of the unit, said the refurbishment of the dogs' quarters could help maintain their performance on the job. He said the dogs needed to relax but also to be stimulated, to keep them alert and responsive to commands when undertaking the jobs that they can be summoned for at a moment's notice.

"For example, when a dog is looking for drugs, it digs up the ground, which obviously wouldn't be a good idea if it was looking for explosives," Mr de la Gándara said. The refurbishment also included air-conditioning to ensure that the dogs are protected from overheating in the summer and from the cold in the winter.

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23 Mar 2018 12:28

Shop of the Month - March

This month we spoke to Platinum Petcare about their shop and here is what they had to say....
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02 Mar 2018 10:08

Is it safe to walk dogs in the snow? Top tips if temperature is too cold and how to prevent salt grit in paws!

This week the UK has been blanketed by bursts of snow thanks to a storm dubbed the 'Beast from the East' - and now Storm Emma is joining in, too. Schools have closed, people have had to stay home from work and a red 'danger to life' weather warning has even been issued for parts of the country. Brits are being warned to stay indoors, but what about those of us with animals who need to be walked regularly?

It can be tempting to take your dog out for a run and play in the snow - but make sure you know the best advice before you head out into the freezing temperatures with your pooch. Hidden dangers await. It's not just the cold weather that's dangerous for pooches right now in the UK but, rather, the grit put down on roads and pavements to prevent people from slipping - or cars from crashing. For dogs, this salt grit can be particularly harmful because it contains chemicals which can produce burns on paws if they come into prolonged contact. Avoid walking on gritted surfaces where possible.

The other danger is ice balls forming between the pads and toes of the feet, or clinging around the surrounding fur - dogs with particularly hairy feet are more vulnerable.The general rule is if it feels too cold for you, it's probably too cold for your dog to stay out for an extended period of time. If you are venturing out, here are some top tips from the Dog's Trust :

How to keep your dog safe in the snow

Keep them on a lead: If it's snowing heavily, your dog can become disorientated and easily lost. Keep him/her on a lead so you know where they are at all times.

Don't let them walk on frozen ponds: the ice may not be thick enough to take their weight. If they do fall through the ice, don't be tempted to go in after them - you might make things worse. Instead, encourage your dog to swim to you and call the emergency services

Make sure you wipe your dogs legs, feet and stomach when you come indoors after a snowy walk as the grit from the roads can irritate their feet. Avoid walking on grit where possible.

Not only is this uncomfortable for the dog, but slush and ice on the roads can also contain harmful chemical de-icing products.

Always check for ice balls on your dog's paws and remove them while out walking if your dog suddenly seems uncomfortable or starts limping.

Keep your dog away from any Antifreeze. It is highly poisonous but tasty. Make sure you mop up any spills if you are using it

Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and an ID tag and is microchipped. It is important to ensure your microchipping database is up to date with your address and contact details.

"Keep your dogs away from ponds and lakes that are iced over. Thin ice may break under a dog's weight. Also watch out for your dogs' paws becoming impacted with snow, which can cause discomfort."

How to keep your cats safe in the snow

It's not just about dogs. Yes, you might want to go out for a walk with your dog but how is your cat coping with the cold weather. They can be equally vulnerable, but Cats' Protection have some top tips for keeping moggies healthy and happy in this awful weather.

When your cat comes in from the snow, wipe off any road grit and any other substances that may stick to his paws or fur

Keep the doors of sheds and outbuildings shut or wedged open, so that cats do not become trapped

Cats may also climb into vehicle engines for warmth whilst out roaming. Be vigilant, and check under the bonnet of your vehicle before starting your vehicle

Provide some shelter for cats that have access outside, such as a designated shelter, or cardboard box partially covered with plastic sheeting

Take special care of your cat if he has arthritis, as the cold can severely affect inflamed joints. Provide additional warm and comfortable places for your cat to rest or sleep. If your cat is finding it hard to reach his favourite resting places then look at ways of making it easier for him to reach his preferred places. Also ensure he can easily access his chosen toileting site

If your cat uses an outdoor water source to drink, make sure it doesn’t freeze. Always have clean, fresh water available inside in case the outdoor source is inaccessible

If your cat is seeing snow for the first time, then consider letting your cat wander in a safe and enclosed area such as a garden, and accompany them when they do

If you should let your cat wander further, let him outside when temperatures are highest and traffic levels are lowest. Also, check your cat flap regularly to ensure it hasn’t frozen over or become blocked by snow

Keep your cat in during the hours of darkness when there is a greater risk of cats being involved in road traffic accidents, theft and physical attacks

If you haven’t done so already, consider taking out pet insurance for your cat in view of the risk to your cat posed by the winter weather .

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21 Feb 2018 13:55

Dapper Pets Shop of the month - Kidd n Snore

Congratulations to this months shop of the month- Lets hear from Kidd n Snore!
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20 Feb 2018 16:19

Bring Your Dog To Work Day set for June 22, 2018

Bring Your Dog To Work Day, founded and organised by multi-award winning ethical pet care brand HOWND, returns on Friday 22nd June. Now in its fifth year, Bring Your Dog To Work Day is embraced by dog lovers and their employers throughout the UK with thousands of businesses and employees taking part. The day is much loved by thousands of people in the UK, including high profile celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, the Top Gear team, ITV’s Loose Women, Tennis TV, Shrek the Musical, Coronation Street and many more, all showing their support last year by posting on social media.

There is no doubt that this annual event has captured the imagination of our dog loving nation and has become an highlight in the UK calendar - people really love taking their best friend to work with them. Jo Amit, co-owner of HOWND and founder and organiser of Bring Your Dog To Work Day, says: “Just interacting with these wonderful animals can help reduce stress levels and blood pressure. "Taking part in Bring Your Dog to Work Day sure is making bosses around the country more popular with their staff! I’ve never seen an unhappy office dog, only unhappy employees who have to leave their beloveds at home.

"We love the response the event gets each year – it’s a real highlight for us to see so many happy dogs and owners at work together.” Bring Your Dog to Work Day has a serious side, as well as being a great day out for our furry four-legged friends. Every year, it donates the funds raised from business sponsorships and individual donations to animal welfare charities via the official Bring Your Dog To Work Day website.

Money raised in 2018 will go directly to All Dogs Matter, a charity that rescues and rehomes hundreds of dogs each year in the UK. This year, the organisers are also encouraging businesses to come on board as official sponsors and raise funds for their own animal welfare charities too. Bring Your Dog To Work Day’s social pages, as well as the official charity’s, will share all Bring Your Dog To Work Day official sponsors’ in-house fundraising events, competitions and activities in their social feeds.

In return for a business making a minimum £100 donation, its company logo and website link will be displayed on the homepage, and they will receive a thank you shout out from All Dogs Matter on social media. It’s a great opportunity to amplify your brand. Last year the hashtag #BringYourDogToWork trended again at number one on Twitter when it reached over 13 million users in one hour. Sponsorship is open to any business. Previous sponsors have included a diverse range of businesses from across the UK and Europe, with high profile brands from the pet sector, white goods companies, law firms, hospitality, private jet companies, luxury sectors, TV shows, comedians, and more taking part. HR guidelines and an Info Pack are available to download from the website to help make the day run as smoothly and enjoyably as possible.

A “pooch selfie” of a dog at work in the home or office, in the shop, in the cab of a lorry, or wherever it is safe to have a dog in the workplace, can be uploaded to the “Dog With A Job Hall of Fame” for a minimum £5 donation. Anyone that donates more than £10 will be automatically be entered into our Bring Your Dog To Work Day annual prize draw with a chance to win £100s worth of goodies from our official business sponsors. See competition page.

Bring Your Dog To Work Day is now recognised as a fun fundraising day for dog lovers but having your dog at work has added mental health benefits too. Many studies have shown that the presence of pets can substantially reduce stress levels in the workplace. Increased job satisfaction and morale have all been reported by employers who have their pets with them at work.

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12 Feb 2018 16:17

Stop promoting Pugs this Valentine’s Day’, claim vets

Pugs and other flat-faced dogs and cats are covering cards and gifts this Valentine’s Day, but with their ‘cute’ looks masking a multitude of health and welfare problems the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has written to the greeting card industry asking for their help to curb the worrying demand for flat-faced pets. According to a survey of UK vets, the top three reasons people buy Pugs and other brachycephalic (meaning ‘short’ ‘head’) animals are because of their looks, popularity and high profile on merchandise and across the media. However, vets also said they believe that the majority of owners were unaware of the breeds’ potential health and welfare problems before choosing their pet. To help raise retailer and public awareness of flat-faced breeds’ problems, the trade body for the greeting card industry has highlighted the issue with their members. The chief executive of the Greeting Card Association, Sharon Little, said: “Greeting cards reflect lifestyle trends so, unsurprisingly, popular animals are featured on greeting cards, as well as many other products. We have written to our members to raise awareness of the campaign and have publicised it through the trade press. “Card publishers and retailers have up to a year’s lead times, but we’re sharing this information now so that our members can make informed decisions about the products they stock and sell in the future.” Over half of the brachycephalic dogs and a quarter of the brachycephalic cats that vets see need treatment for health issues related to how they look, revealed BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey.

President of the British Veterinary Association, vet John Fishwick said: “Pugs and many other flat-faced dogs have lovely temperaments, but the use of their images on cards and gifts is ‘normalising’ these breeds’ short noses and big eyes which can cause horrendous pain for the animal and prove costly for the owner to treat.

“We understand that stock for this year is already in the shops, but we’re confident that now card retailers are aware of these problems they will want to do their bit to reduce the visibility and, hopefully, the popularity of these breeds.

“Valentine’s Day is meant to be romantic, so giving a gift or card depicting an animal that can suffer breathing difficulties or skin problems as a result of its breeding is definitely a message to avoid. That’s why we’re saying choose hugs not Pugs to show your love.”

The vets’ Valentine’s Day message is part of BVA’s #BreedtoBreathe campaign, which is calling on big brands to help combat the rise in popularity of these extreme features and stop promoting them in merchandising and advertising.

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05 Feb 2018 12:57

When is Crufts 2018? Dates, how to get tickets and full schedule and TV channel details

The biggest canine competition in the UK is back. Thousands of dogs are gearing up for Crufts 2018 and this is how you can join them. Crufts has been running since 1891, and after more than 100 years, it now has 22,000 dogs taking part, 140,000 spectators and 2.5 million people watching on TV at home. This year Crufts will be held over 8th to 11th March at Birmingham's NEC, and tickets for Crufts 2018 are available from The Ticket Factory now. All tickets (excluding best in show and obedience ring) include general admission to the show.

Each day is broken down into different breeds before the Best In Show at the end of each day, and the final at the end of the four days. There's also an Obedience Ring at the start of each day.

Birmingham Mail reports the programme for each day of Crufts 2018 as follows:

Day 1 - Thursday, March 8 - Working and pastoral breeds

Day 2 - Friday, March 9 - Terrier and hound breeds

Day 3 - Saturday, March 10 - Toy and utility breeds

Day 4 - Sunday, March 11 - Gundog breeds and Best In Show

Each day runs from 8.15am to 6.30pm, though Best In Show is from 4.45pm to 9pm Each day also features an Obedience Ring starting at 8.15am. Tickets are priced from £16.20 to £19.44 over the four days, with tickets to the Obedience Ring are priced at £12, and the Best in Show ranges from £19 to £26.

You'll need to leave your pooch at home however, as the only dogs allowed in Crufts are those invited by the Kennel Club, or assistance dogs.

Last year Miami the American Cocker Spaniel, with handler and co-owner Jason Lynn from Lancashire was awarded the prestigious Crufts Best in Show title. Jason had even won Best in Show with a Standard Poodle in 2014, now those are some prised pooches. The Reserve Best in Show award was won by Frankie the Miniature Poodle, owned by Melanie Harwood also from Lancashire.

This hasn't been announced yet, but last year Crufts was shown on Channel 4 and live streamed on Youtube. Check back for more information.

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29 Jan 2018 16:13

Road-tripper rescued two dogs abandoned in the middle of the desert and now they're travelling the world together

A road-tripper rescued two abandoned puppies from the middle of the desert - and took them on a 30,000-mile journey through 35 US states. Jordan Kahana, 30, was driving from LA to Colorado when he spotted the tiny dogs on the side of a remote road. The digital director rushed them to an animal hospital where vets told him the male and female pups, aged just eight weeks old, were severely dehydrated.They also revealed that the stretch of highway, between Sedona and Page in Arizona, was a 'hot spot' for dumping unwanted pets. Kind-hearted Jordan decided he couldn't leave without the puppies - so he decided to adopt them and carried on with his adventure.

Since rescuing them in December 2016, Jordan and his new travel buddies have driven roughly 32,000 miles through 35 states, including along the east and west coasts. The trio - who sleep most nights in Jordan's trusty van - have visited 12 national parks as well as tourist hotspots like Times Square in New York and the Hollywood sign in LA.Jordan, of Chicago, Illinois, said: "I just knew I had to bring them with me. If I couldn't keep them when I got back to LA where I lived at the time, I was going to find a good home for them. "Luckily at the hospital they were just dehydrated and very thirsty. I got them their shots and that's where the adventure squad was born.

"I was driving to Colorado to spend New Year with my friends and when I left Page, I called one of them and asked him if I could bring along two more friends and he said, 'No problem'. "When I showed up with the dogs, he was so surprised."Everyone wanted to hear the story and fell in love with the dogs, how could they not. They were at their cutest stage." Jordan christened his new travel buddies Sedona and Zeus and determined that they were a German Shepard and border collie mix through a DNA test. In the year since he adopted the dogs, Jordan left his digital director position in Los Angeles and the trio have traveled to 35 states and even ventured to Canada in his trusty van.

The adventurer, who has racked up 50,000 followers on Instagram, said: "After that Christmas road trip, I had planned to leave my job in March or April because I wanted to travel more and I did that. "I'm lucky because I can do a lot of freelance work, and to keep my costs down I plan my trips so that I can sometimes stay with friends."I'm used to traveling by myself, but it has been great to have some companionship. We've basically traveled cross-country in month-long stints. "I just put the back seat down in the jeep and I've got them a mattress so they're comfortable. "We've done some amazing hikes in national parks around the country, and one of the highlights has been being able to hike virtually on our own in these beautiful places because we visit at off-peak times.

"We've done the west coast and travelled to Yellowstone National Park which was amazing, but we've also done an east coast trip where we travelled to places like Denver, Chicago, where I'm from, Pittsburg, New York, North Carolina, New Orleans, Austin, Texas, New Mexico, and Phoenix, Arizona."During the east coast trip, we clocked up 20,000 miles on my car." While Jordan says becoming a dog dad has been life-changing he says it isn't all sunny on the road with Zeus and Sedona, despite the enviable Instagram pictures on their account. "They're a lot better now but I can tell you, that first trip, my car smelled like pee the whole time."

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23 Jan 2018 15:33

Our customers and their doggies in the spotlight......

This weeks article comes from Victoria and her dog Maggie. Here is what she had to say about her little beauty...

'Maggie is a small Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, now aged two years old. She is my first pet dog and my journey into pet parenting has been a pure delight. Maggie is a little smaller than most cavaliers we meet, but she is happy, healthy and she is a proper little adventurer, her small stature does not hold her back from making friends and keeping up with much bigger dogs.

Pet ownership has opened many new doors to me and helped with meeting other people and dogs, where as before I was quite shy, having such a friendly little girl by my side has helped immensely. In Maggie's first year we made sure she was well socialised, beginning with group puppy walks, which I loved going to (who wouldn't love to be surrounded by adorable puppies) and was quite sad when she became to grown up to go anymore.

We also did many dog shows in Maggie's first year, culminating in Maggie winning reserve Champion of Champions at the Heart of England dog shows. We have used red dingo products ever Maggie out grew her first puppy harness. Her first harness was found in our local pets at home store, a red harness with white stars on it. It outlasted a couple of other harnesses we bought over the next few months and so we decided to stick with the brand. When I found out that Destination Pet in Higham Ferrers were stocking Red Dingo, we bought a full set, this time choosing a purple daisy chain design.

A few months later we entered the Red Dingo pet adventurer of the month, and Maggie won! Her prize was another Red Dingo lead, collar and tag. We are looking forward to seeing new Red Dingo products over the next few months and perhaps getting a new set for a new season. '

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15 Jan 2018 15:52

Husband says pet dog saved his family from arson attack

A man from Hertfordshire says he and his wife could have died in an arson attack if it wasn't for the warning they got from their dog.Joe Glavey was asleep in bed at his home in Hoddesdon when CCTV captured the attacker pouring petrol over his Mercedes at 1am.

Thanks to the dog's frantic barking, his owners woke up before the fire could spread.Joe and his family have lived in Hoddesden for over 30 years but Joe say there had never been any problems until the street lights were turned off at night.He claims since then other cars have been torched and there's been burglaries and bin fires which is why he installed CCTV.

'It does appear since the street lights have gone out crime, as the police stated to us, is on the increase. You don't always hear about it but when something like this happens then they do come out and tell you what's gone on in the area. It does seem like crime has gone through the roof.'

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