Have You ever considered a Rabbit as a Pet?

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With many people having extremely busy lifestyles these days, having a pet may not always be an option. However, owning a rabbit (or 2) maybe worth considering.
A pet rabbit maybe kept outside in a hutch, or you may prefer to have a “House Rabbit”
A rabbit needs feeding once a day and needs cleaning out every other day (if they live outside)
They do not need company all day, and many families with children may feel that this level of care and commitment is for them.
The cost of buying a rabbit (and their hutch,food etc) is also far less than that of a dog or cat, and rabbits only live on average until they are 6 or 7.
If you are considering keeping a rabbit in a hutch outside, you would need enough secure space to let them have a run to exercise and also the hutch would need to be in a sheltered position in the Winter months. Some people prefer to put the hutch in a garage (if you have one)
If you intend to have a house rabbit and to house train your rabbit, then be mindful that they can chew through most things including electric wires!
Most people can overcome this issue and keep their pet safe inside.
Rabbits can be bought from many places, but I would recommend a rescue centre, as sadly there usually are a lot of rabbits abandoned.
You can, if you prefer, buy a Pedigree Rabbit from a breeder, but they are a lot more costly.
Having owned rabbits myself,I would advise strongly (if you are getting 2 young rabbits) to be prepared for more baby rabbits as it is quite difficult (even for breeders) to assess which of them are male and female and they can breed from a very young age.
In my opinion , it is sad to get only 1 rabbit as a pet because it is a lonely life for them (in or out of a cage)
Rabbits make lovely pets, not just for children but for the whole family. I would highly recommend them.


Dog Food

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People always ask me “What food would you recommend for my dog?”
This is always a difficult question to answer as there are so many things to take into consideration and also so many foods available on the market.
If your dog is a Pedigree and you have bought him /her from a breeder and they ave been fed from a small puppy on a certain brand of food, then i would recommend that they stick to what they are used to (if they have no problems with that food)
My opinion, for what its worth is that most Supermarket Branded foods are generally of a poor quality and i am not a fan of tinned or packet food at all.
A good quality dried food would be my option.
Many brands have a range with no wheat , sugar or other additives. They usually come with a higher price tag, however I think that they are worth the extra cost in terms of the long term Health Benefits.
Many ailments affecting your dogs skin, teeth and digestive tract can be avoided if given this higher quality food.
Recently, there has been a growing market for Raw Dog Food. This isnt for everyone due to the cost and storage. (It is usually bought frozen and requires adequate space in your fridge and freezer.)
Many of my clients feed raw food to their dogs and have seen massive health improvements , their coats are gleaming and they are in great shape too.
As mentioned in my last blog, dog treats are part of your dogs daily diet too and my recommendation is to only use that food or some chopped up raw carrot or apple as a supplement to their diet. Also try not to give human food to dogs as it can be very harmful and also contribute to obesity.


Dog Treats

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When dogs come to stay with us I am always interested in what sort of dog treats the owners will send with them.
As a lifetime owner/lover of dogs I have my own opinions on treats and thought I would share them with you.
Firstly, the idea of a dog having a treat is a human idea. Dogs only think about “food”. So, in my opinion, treats are simply part of a dogs every day diet.
There are many kinds of treats on the market, and most of them have a high price tag and appeal to us humans in the form of packaging, shape and smell etc.
The best dog treats that i would recommend would be natural. Carrot sticks, chopped up apple or even a small portion of the dogs usual daily food would be my choice.
Many people still give their dogs scraps from their own plates.
Whilst this may be gratefully received by the dog, there are many additives that the dog maybe sensitive to. Human food also contains lots of hidden sugar and fats that can contribute to excessive weight gain and poor health.
Spicy foods must never be given to a dog as they could cause serious harm.
If you do decide to give your dog “shop bought treats” then they must be introduced into your dogs diet slowly to assess your dogs tolerance to them.
In my opinion, healthy treats are an important part of rewarding your dog for good behaviour during puppy training and at set times of the day as part of their usual daily routine.
Treats need to be monitored closely and never given excessively


Separation Anxiety

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This is a very common challenge that many dog owners have to contend with.
Here are my thoughts on this issue and I apologise if some of my opinions are not shared.
In my opinion, a dog can only have anxiety when separated from his owner if the dog is not accustomed to certain routines from a very young age.
As a young puppy there should be “alone times” (at night time downstairs in a crate or a basket) and during the day up to a maximum of 4 hours at any one time.
If these two simple things are not routinely practised then the dog will become very needy of constant company.
It is important to demonstrate to a puppy that although alone at night and through the day at times, you will always return and this will be the “normal” routine.
In my experience, separation anxiety is more common with dogs who’s owners are retired and they have become their life partner” or with dogs with one member of the family with them constantly.
The dog has simply not learned that it’s ok to be left and ” the pack leader” will return.
Once the pattern of neediness and separation anxiety has established itself, it is harder to address than ” starting the way you mean to go on”
To break the pattern later on in life becomes harder the older the dog becomes. It’s like trying to reprogram a bad habit.
Quite often an Animal Behaviourist must be sought for advise as this behaviour can disrupt the lives of everyone when any change of routine occurs such as illness, holidays or in fact the rehoming of the dog.


Who is Looking after your dog this Summer?

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With the weather looking brighter , the  temperatures rising  and the longer days ahead, it is often the time of year when we are planning our holidays and family get togethers.
It is not always practical to take our dogs with us on holiday ( although we may love to) or to a wedding or 21st Birthday Party and family members don’t always love our four legged friends as much as we do.
Well what are our options for pet care?
The conventional route has always been kennels. There are many different sorts of kennels offering things such as heated pens,luxury beds, walks and all sorts of added extras. Or there is the more basic service of a standard kennel. It’s really up to the individual to choose.
You could ask a family member to look after your dog and maybe this is something they may enjoy. Quite often it is an opportunity for someone who cannot own a dog themselves to ” borrow a dog for a week”
Or perhaps you may like to employ a pet minder.
These days there are many to choose from ( like kennels mentioned earlier)
It is really personal preference at the end of the day , and where you feel that your dog would feel happiest.
Sadly, at this time of year there is an increase in the number of abandoned dogs when people realise that the additional expense of Dog Care was not anticipated for their holidays.
Well what is it for you? Kennel,Friend or Petminder. Each option needs careful consideration.