Photo by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash
When considering whether or not to keep chickens, it’s important to take into account the pets you already have around your home. The most obvious examples are cats and dogs, who sometimes let their chase instincts get the better of them. However, all your pets can get along just fine, as long as you lay down a few ground rules.
Keeping chickens with dogs
If you’re a dog owner, the first thing to consider is the temperament of your pet. Does it often chase rabbits or deer when out on a walk? How does your dog react to birds in the garden? If your hound tends to lose control in these situations, this behaviour is likely to carry over into their relationship with chickens. Equally, if your dog is of a more relaxed temperament, they may show little if any interest in your coop.
The likeliest scenario falls somewhere between the two extremes, in which case you’ll see your dog taking an interest in the chickens, and spending plenty of time watching and attempting to play with them, but not moving in ‘for the kill’. What’s important here is that your dog needs to understand that the chickens are part of the pack, and not something to be hunted. It’s also important that your dog understands that chickens are fragile, and that dog-style rough play is out of the question.
Teaching dogs to get along with chickens
You can teach your dogs that the chickens are part of the family by letting them watch you spending time in the coop – initially keeping them separated with chicken wire or fencing. Many breeds of dog are naturally cautious around small animals and will be protective of your chickens once they consider them a part of the pack. The behaviour you want to see is your dog cautiously sniffing at the chicken, as opposed to adopting the head-down-bottom-up ‘let’s play’ stance.
One of the most important considerations when it comes to dogs and chickens is the temperament of the dog breed. Hunting dogs such as greyhounds and beagles will cave in to their chasing instincts if the hens begin to flap around, and they should never be allowed to mingle with the chickens. In contrast, farm dogs such as sheepdogs have protective and herding instincts, and they will be less likely to harm your chickens.
There is no sure-fire way to guarantee your dogs and chickens will get on, but spending plenty of time introducing them goes a long way. As with all dog training, this can be an extended process, so be prepared to spend a few weeks introducing your chickens to your dogs with a barrier before you let them meet face to face. When you do introduce them, it’s a good idea to keep the dog on a short leash at first, just in case.
Keeping chickens with cats
Cats are a completely different story to dogs – they are harder to predict and less susceptible to training. However, they are unlikely to view a big fat hen as potential prey. Many farmers concur that their farm cats have no interest in hunting poultry, and are much more interested in the rats and mice that are inevitably attracted by birds. When keeping chickens, the occasional rat is standard, and having a cat around can greatly reduce their numbers.
Although most chickens are too large for a cat to hunt, this largely depends on the breed of chicken and the size of your cat. If you find that your cat is beginning to stalk your chickens, a sturdy and secure coop and run that your cat can’t access will deter trouble. This is good practice either way, as even if your cat is friendly with your chickens, your neighbour’s cat might not be! The ideal answer here is the Eglu, which is super-secure and comes with its own attached chicken run.
Keeping chickens with guinea pigs
You may already have a guinea pig hutch or run in your garden, and while this won’t be a problem for your chickens, it is not recommended for chickens and guinea pigs to share living quarters. This is for several reasons, one being that rats will be further attracted to your pets’ food, and they may attack your guinea pigs. Another reason is that when establishing a pecking order, your chickens will peck at each other and any other animal they live with. This can cause serious harm to guinea pigs, who do not have thick feathers to protect them.
Keeping chickens with rabbits
Rabbits can be great companions for your chickens if you introduce them to each other when they are all very young. You will also need to ensure that you care for their different needs within the same run, in terms of food and equipment.
Rabbits, for example, like to have a clean space to sleep in, so you may need to muck out your coop and run more regularly than you would if the chickens were alone. You will also need to ensure that the chickens and rabbits all have a safe space within the coop where they can have privacy and space. You can achieve this by separating your run into three areas, one to house the roosting chickens, another for your rabbits, and a communal space.
Photo by JackieLou DL from Pixabay
Having a large and secure garden run will make your chickens feel safer in general, and plenty of space will maximise the chance of the hens getting along with each other and their rabbit and guinea pig neighbours.
Chickens and other pets
Chickens can also rub along happily with goats, and with female ducks (males will tends to bully them). Ironically, they do not mix with birds in an aviary. They will eat anything that falls to the aviary floor, but they will also happily peck the other birds whenever they can and may attract rats and mice, which will cause problems for the smaller birds.
Small mammal pets such as hamsters and gerbils should never be kept in the same enclosure as chickens. The rodents will be pecked and killed.
By following these few ground rules, you will be able to keep the various members of your mixed menagerie happy!
Photo by Ricky Kharawala on Unsplash
This entry was posted in Budgies
This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.
-Written by Anneliese Paul
On paper, Kipper wasn’t exactly what Angela wanted. After years of behavioural challenges, he’s become the best-behaved blood donor and saved over forty dog’s lives. Kipper’s turned out to be Angela’s perfect match.
When Angela’s house was burgled, the first thing the police said was, “Get a dog.” Because a dog barks, and people are less likely to enter your home uninvited. But working as a teacher, Angela felt she couldn’t look after a dog, especially not an active breed like a collie.
With fond memories of the collie she grew up with, she spent a long time talking to the Border Collie Trust, and they helped her find Kipper. He was an eighteen-month-old Irish stray and had been rehoused multiple times. Being a collie, Kipper had a lot of energy. On paper, he didn’t look right for Angela.
But the Border Collie Trust thought he was the perfect match and persuaded her to meet him. So, she went to the rescue centre to get to know him. Angela could tell he was fantastic with humans, which was really important. So she took him for a walk and fell in love with him. A few weeks later, she brought him home to start their new adventure.
Angela had prepared a lovely kennel and run in the garden for Kipper to spend half the day in. The plan was at lunchtime; he would be walked by a professional dog walker and then left in the house in the afternoon until she got home from school.
Kipper turned out to be hard work, boisterous and disruptive. He destroyed the house and was what Angela describes as ‘over the top’. In the evening, after a long day at work, Angela would go to tie up her shoes for a walk, and he would bite her hair, not in an aggressive way, just incredibly overexcited. It used to take them twenty minutes just to get to the front gate. It was exhausting.
But Angela had experience with Border Collies, she knew he had incredible intelligence, and he just needed things to do. Her teaching instincts kicked in, and with support from the Border Collie Trust, she began what would turn out to be life-changing behaviour training for both her and Kipper.
At first, it was simply stopping and waiting for him to calm down whenever he did something that was ‘over the top’. Then Angela needed to tackle the chewing at home. She started by leaving him for five minutes, going to the front gate, standing across the road, then coming back in and praising him for being good. Angela worked out Kipper’s motivations (toys and food) so that she could effectively train him.
“He is so clever,” says Angela “, That he will work out. What am I being asked to do? What is the reward on offer, and is it worth it? And if it isn’t worth it, he won’t do it.”
Over time he made progress, and his behaviour slowly improved. Angela worked hard with him, and as his obedience improved, their bond grew, so did the trust between them.
Kipper lives on the edge of the countryside and occasionally chases livestock, so he has to wear a muzzle on long walks. But incredibly, Angela can leave him alone, unmuzzled with the chickens in her garden. His behaviour at home has transformed so dramatically that Angela is confident Kipper will do whatever she asks him to. Angela has even watched a big bolshy chicken trying to steal Kipper’s bone!
“The chicken was getting closer and closer and closer, trying to peck at his bone. All Kipper did was pick up the bone and walk away.”
With good obedience at home, they started to have fun together. Kipper achieved Gold in the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme and got to the Kennel Club Starters Cup Final in 2017, an agility competition for beginners. The activity and the mental work was fantastic for him, and they both made new friends, travelled to new places and shared memorable experiences.
But when Kipper had to have his dew claws removed, he couldn’t do his agility work, and the lack of exercise led to frustration. Angela, always on the lookout for ways to develop Kipper’s potential, discovered CaniCross. Cani sports are a whole range of sports to nurture the bond between dogs and their owners and are particularly beneficial for dogs with behavioural issues.
Taking part in cross country runs and triathlons, Angela and Kipper were getting fit together and making strong friendships with a whole community of like-minded dog lovers.
One of their friends introduced them to the pet blood bank. Angela was keen to give back to the dog community, but he was under the 25kg minimum weight. However, as he matured, his muscle development changed. As soon as he’d gained enough weight, Angela registered Kipper as a donor and proudly took him along to his first session.
But Kipper was terrified. He had to have a little piece of fur shaved and couldn’t stand the sound of the clippers. Once again, Angela turned to training. The blood bank advised using an electric toothbrush to get him used to the vibrating sound. Over time, using his favourite soft cheese as a treat to reward good behaviour, Angela gently got him used to sound until she was sure he knew it wasn’t going to harm him.
Finally, Kipper was ready to give blood, perfectly behaved. He’s now on his tenth donation, and with a rare negative blood type, his blood is a perfect match for any dog. With every donation providing blood for up to four other dogs survival, Kipper has helped save forty dog’s lives.
Kipper and Angela have experienced so much together. Pushing each other to do better, they’re a winning team. Motivating each other to get on with life and do something good, to make friends together. As Angela says,
“Not every dog would suit me, and not every owner would suit him, but the Border Collie Trust got it right. We were meant to be.”
This entry was posted in Dogs
-The Best Things In Life Are Sweet-_________________________________________
The OMLET (Omelette) Cake
Ingredients for the cake batter (for a ÿ25 cm cake tin):
- 900 ml milk*
- 250 g sugar
- 250 g butter/margarine
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 5 eggs*
- 250 g flour
- 1 packet baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 1 package of clear cake glaze*
- 1 can apricots halves (850 g drained net weight)
- 1 can apricots halves (425 g drained net weight)
Ingredients for pudding cream:
- 100 ml milk*
- 2 packets vanilla pudding powder
- 80 sugar
- 1 packet vanilla sugar
- 2 cups sour cream*
*For a plant-based or vegan option:
As a milk substitute you can use any non-dairy milk (e.g. almond or oat milk). As 1 egg substitute use 1/2 mashed banana (5 eggs = 2 ? bananas) or 70 g apple puree (5 eggs = 350 g). You can buy vegan sour cream or soy yogurt. Instead of the clear cake glaze you can use agar-agar powder.
- Grease a cake tin (ÿ25 cm). Preheat oven to 170 degrees C/338 degrees F (convection oven).
- Boil 900 ml milk in a saucepan. Mix in a bowl the remaining milk, 80 g sugar and vanilla pudding powder until smooth, stir into the boiling milk and cook well for 1 minute while stirring. Pour into a bowl and let cool, stirring several times.
- Mix butter/margarine, 200 g sugar, 1 pinch of salt with the mixer until you reach a creamy texture. Mix in eggs one at a time. Mix flour and baking powder and stir in 2 tsp of lemon juice. Put the batter in a greased cake tin and bake on the middle shelf for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, drain the apricots well and collect the juice. Stir the pudding again, and now stir in the sour cream with a whisk. After the 20 minutes baking time, spread the pudding cream evenly on the batter. Cover the cake with apricots and bake for another 20-30 minutes. Let cool down.
- Mix the icing powder, remaining sugar, 1/4 liter of apricot juice and remaining 2 tsp of lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring. Now spread the glaze with a tablespoon over the apricot halves so that it looks like egg white. Allow to become firm.
You can use peaches instead of apricots as well.
If you want to bake the ultimate “Omlet”-cake with a ÿ12 cm cake tin, use 1/2 of the ingredients and only one apricot halve on top of it.
If you prefer a more traditional Easter cake, here is a super delicious yet easy recipe:
Ingredients for the cake batter:
- 350 g wheat or spelt flour
- 4 eggs*
- 400 g carrots
- 100 g ground hazelnuts
- 100 g ground almonds
- 200 g sugar
- 1 packet vanilla sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 packet baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 200g marzipan
- 200 ml rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 200 ml milk*
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- extra portion love
Optional adult version: 150 ml advocaat
- 70 g icing sugar
- 200 g coconut yogurt
- 30 g coconut paste
- shot of lemon juice
optional: food colouring, e.g. green colour
Decoration: e.g. Marzipan carrots, chopped pistachios, dried flowers, grated coconut
*For a plant-based or vegan option:
Use 2 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp cider vinegar or alternatively banana/apple puree as egg substitute (1/2 mashed banana per egg; 70 g apple puree per egg).
As a milk substitute you can use e.g. almond milk or oat milk, or any other non-dairy milk you prefer.
1. Grease a cake tin (about ÿ25 cm) or use baking paper. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C/347 degrees F (convection oven).
2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, hazelnuts/almonds, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon) and the eggs in a bowl with a mixer. In a separate bowl, peel and grate carrots and mix them with the wet ingredients (vanilla extract, oil, milk, lemon juice).
3. Now slowly heat the marzipan in a saucepan, stirring repeatedly until it becomes a liquid mass. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together and gradually add the marzipan (and optional advocaat) to the batter, mix well.
4. Pour the batter into the cake tin, smoothen it and bake it for about 50 minutes (skewer test).
5. Let the cake cool down and prepare the frosting in the meantime. Mix the sifted icing sugar with yoghurt and coconut puree and season with more icing sugar and a shot of lemon juice. You can add food colouring to the frosting if you wish. Now spread the frosting on the cooled cake and decorate as desired, e.g. with marzipan carrots, chopped pistachios or dried flowers.
Happy Easter from the Omlet Team!
Tag us on social media (Instagram: omlet_uk) with an image of your cake!
This entry was posted in Food
Teaching your dog tricks is not that difficult. Your pet is very intelligent. Training a dog is much easier than training other animals. We know that sometimes it’s hard to find inspiration and ideas, so we’ve put together a list of 5 must-do tricks to teach your dog!
Image by Claire Diaz from Pixabay
Dogs are very attentive to their environment, they are able to learn several commands and quickly assimilate what you tell them. However, you will need to be patient and rely on rewards and encouragement to get results. Never spend more than 10 minutes on an exercise per day and make sure you are in a good mood to praise your dog. Frustration must be put aside or your dog will feel it and may perform less well.
Do you know that the tricks and exercises taught to your dog will stimulate him physically and mentally? They also allow you to enrich the bonds that unite you.
This list is far from exhaustive and we assume that your dog already knows “sit”, “down” and “stay”.
1- Pawing or shaking hands
Photo by Zen Chung from Pexels
As you may have noticed, dogs sometimes instantly raise their paws when they ask for food. So this trick is not fundamentally complicated to teach your dog. You just have to find the right word, the right signal to give your dog to obey.
Omlet’s tip: Keep the treat in your hand, show the treat to your dog and tell him to wait. Slowly lower your hand and when your dog lifts his paw, make the sound you want to associate with the command. “Shake”/”Paw” is an easy sound for your pet to remember, so use short words. Add emphasis to the word and enthusiasm. Once the dog has the treat in his mouth, congratulate him with a pat.
Gradually, you won’t need to lower your hand too much. Each time you repeat this command, make sure you raise your hand a little higher so that your dog’s paw is raised to chest level. Repeat with the same paw.
Once your dog has mastered this command, you can train him to lift the second paw. However, the sound/word should be different from the previous one. Use the word “other” for example.
Afterwards, you can easily teach him the “high five” command. You will have to show him your palm and encourage your dog to go even higher with his paw. Once your dog does this, reward him.
Image by Yama Zsuzsanna Márkus from Pixabay
2- Rolling over
This is a trick that many owners want to teach their dog, but many don’t know how.
Omlet’s tip: First, you get your dog to “lie down”. Place a treat in your hand and let your dog smell the treat without giving it to him. The goal during this exercise is that your dog should not get up. If it does, don’t get upset and try again.
Use your hand to guide your dog. You must make the movement and the trajectory that you want your pet to follow. Use your hand to turn your dog’s head and make a backward movement. As your dog tries to turn his head to grab the treat, he will end up rolling. Repeat the exercise several times, but don’t spend more than 15 minutes doing it. You can come back to the exercise later in the day.
This command can be easy to learn for expressive dogs but a little more complicated for calm dogs.
Omlet’s tip: Excite your dog a little with your voice. Ask him to sit and put a treat in your hand. Wave your hand but don’t give him the treat. Repeat the word/command you want him to learn several times, perhaps “bark” or “speak”. Wait for him to bark or whine. After a few seconds give him the treat and praise him. If you want your dog to calm down, repeat the word “quiet” or “enough” and walk away.
Never encourage or praise your dog when he barks out the window or at people. Barking can be frightening to some people.
Photo by Noah Austin on Unsplash
Good news, your dog can also learn to dance! Maybe he can even dance better than you…
However, this trick is easier to learn for small dogs. Larger dogs have a harder time standing on their two hind legs. This trick is also not recommended for dogs with back problems.
Omlet’s Tip: Ask your dog to sit. Put a treat in your hand and put your hand over your dog’s muzzle slightly backwards. Your goal is to get your dog to sit on his hind two legs, and he will only do so if he sees no other way to get his treat. Once both front legs are up, praise and encourage your dog. Repeat this trick several times until he can quickly stand on both paws.
Once he does, you can move on to the next step. When your dog is on his two feet, hold the treat and move your hand in a small circle over his head. After a few seconds your dog should be able to twirl or at least move both paws on the ground. As you do the movement, remember to say the word you want to associate with the command. In this case that word could be “dance”. Once your dog has taken several small steps, give him the treat and praise him.
5- Playing dead
Photo de Rushay Booysen provenant de Pexels
This is a challenging trick! It’s a great way to impress those around you, although it is not so easy to teach your dog, especially if he tends to be dynamic. However, nothing is impossible, you will just need more patience.
Omlet’s tip: As with the “roll over” command, have your pet lie down. Take a treat in your hand and put it over his head. Once your dog turns around, stop the process by asking your dog to stop moving. Repeat this process several times until your dog understands that it should not move. It is very important to say the word you want to associate with the command. For this trick it could be “Bang”.
This trick is not easy to describe, a video is sometimes worth a thousand words. We advise you to watch this video to teach your dog to play dead.
No matter what tricks you teach your dog, patience is the key and the only way to succeed and achieve your goals. Never forget to congratulate and encourage your pet. Finally, never force him. If he doesn’t want to learn a command or doesn’t understand it, don’t be obstinate. If you are afraid of doing the wrong thing, many resources are available on Youtube. Don’t hesitate to watch several videos to find the best technique for your dog.
Tag us on social media if you manage to do one of these tricks with your dog. We would love to share your pet’s achievements.
Tag us on instagram omlet.au or send us your video to the following address: email@example.com
This entry was posted in Dogs
This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.
-Written by Anneliese Paul
Jerry’s a cheeky, playful and boisterous rescue dog from Romania who can do a handstand! He landed on his feet when Shena gave him a home and inspired her to start a rescue centre specialising in disabled animals.
When you see a dog with two legs, what do you think? Many people would give up on them. On her first visit to the vet, Shena was advised to put Jerry to sleep. But Shena’s couldn’t do that.
Shena had four dogs, worked for the NHS in cancer care and was studying for a degree in Social Care. Then a friend sent her a video of a puppy in Romania, and her heart melted.
Jerry was paralysed, an unwanted street dog who had probably been hit by a car and left for dead. Shena couldn’t get the image out of her head, “What’s one more?” she thought and decided to bring him home.
The first time Shena met him, Jerry jumped out of the car, a bundle of energy. It was love at first sight. He was a playful six-month-old puppy. Shena’s four dogs gladly accepted him, and he slotted into the pack straight away.
Having been through so much already, it was perhaps no surprise that after the operation to remove his hind legs, Jerry bounced back again even after a few falls while he perfected his balance.
Jerry can walk on two legs around the house and garden and manages well, but he wears his wheels on walks. They’re made from plumbing pipes, and at first he was a bit wobbly on them, but with a couple of days of practice, he was charging off. Now on his 3rd set of wheels, Jerry loves chasing balls. Nothing can stop him. Shena thinks he’s probably faster than the other dogs!
Jerry kicked off a following on Shena’s social media, and people started coming to her for advice about disabled animals. Jerry now has two more two-legged dog friends and a special relationship with Flo, another Romanian rescue. In 2013, just a few months after getting Jerry Shena and her husband Ian decided to set up PUDZ officially. PUDZ is an animal sanctuary that specialises in disabled animals.
Until last year Shena and Ian looked after 170 animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks and turkeys from their North Lincolnshire home.
Because of their disabilities, many of the animals Shena and Ian care for wouldn’t be here. With Jerry for inspiration, they’ve recently been able to raise enough money to buy a one-acre plot of land so their excellent work can continue and the animals in their care can lead the happy lives they deserve.
“Jerry changed my life completely. I’ve met so many people. Animals don’t get as much care as people, but we don’t give up on people who are disabled, so why should we give up on animals? Everyone deserves a chance in life.”
This entry was posted in Dogs
Long walks with your dog help you to relax and share an intimate moment with your pet and allow you to recharge your batteries. However, if the weather is grey, and a long, cold walk isn’t appealing, we have a new activity for you! Fun and playful, Doga, a trendy, new discipline, will allow you to spend quality time with your dog and help you both disconnect from the world.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Involving your pet in your yoga activities can help you develop your yoga practice but it can also be an excellent entertaining and fun way to bond with your pet.
What is Doga? Do you need specific materials?
You have probably already heard of Yoga. This relaxing activity allows the person to be refocused on themselves and their body. Practiced alone or in yoga studios, this activity is very popular nowadays and brings many benefits.
Combine the word yoga with the word dog and you get the word: Doga. This activity was born in the United States in the early 2000’s and has spread quickly to all the big cities, particular in Asia. Unfortunately, Doga is still very little known in Europe and there are no “official” places to practice this activity in groups.
It’s not about just finding anything to engage with your dog. Doga is, above all, a shared moment between you where positions can be adapted to involve your dog and assist owner and pet bonding.
No specific equipment is required. You just need a Yoga mat and a comfortable outfit which allows easy movements. Doga can be practiced outside, but if the weather is grey, it’s just as fun indoors! If trying it indoors, choose a specific room for your Doga sessions. The routine gives your pet confidence, he will quickly associate the Yoga mat and the room and will be happy to spend a moment of relaxation just with you.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
The benefits of Doga
Doga largely incorporates the benefits of Yoga: relaxation, concentration, meditation, refocusing on yourself… However, this activity which is done jointly with your dog, brings new advantages.
Doga helps reduce stress
Your dog can often tell when you are stressed, picking up on particular behaviours which in turn affects their mood too. Doga is a specific moment when you take time to breathe, to relax, and your dog will destress with you.
There are no precise rules in Doga and for it to be relaxing for your dog, he or she must be able to remain free to move. If your dog wants to participate in the session and be active with you all the better, but if he prefers to stay by your side without moving, don’t force him. The Yoga session will do you good and your dog will feel it, and relax with you.
Doga encourages master/dog communication
You must guide your dog throughout the session. It is necessary that you lead the pace in order to comfort your dog and give him a feeling of security. To make your dog feel reassured, work on your breathing and perform simple exercises. Repetition is the key to a successful session with your dog. He needs to soak up the movements. Show him how to do it, encourage him but as said previously never force him.
By adding this new activity to your schedule, it will be an opportunity for you to enjoy your dog’s company while strengthening your complicity.
Thanks to all these benefits, this practice can help your dog sleep better. Just like human beings, your dog dreams. These dreams often relate to the moments experienced during the day. By sharing a calm activity without outside noise, your dog’s nights will be less hectic.
Is Doga suitable for all dogs?
Doga is made for all types of dogs: young, old, large, small, restless, calm. This activity should not be seen as a way to educate your dog but as a moment of sharing. Rewards shouldn’t be necessary, as your dog will enjoy the moment with you.
Doga can be especially useful for slightly older dogs or dogs that have been injured. Stretching, if done right, and massages can have real positive impacts on your dog’s body.
The objective of Doga is to have fun and have a good time. There are no rules and Doga should not be an activity to be taken seriously. This is why this practice is open to all types of dog: the dog is not forced into anything. In the worst case, you will end your session all alone, relaxed and ready to cuddle your pooch.
How to practice Doga?
There are several books that tell you how to practice yoga with your dog. The positions are detailed and the authors explain the benefits of such a practice:
You can also find many videos on the internet and YouTube to help you train with your dog.
Watch the Video on Youtube
It is essential to spend time with your dog so that he can develop to his full potential. Just doing one yoga session won’t really benefit your relationship with him. If you establish this activity as a routine not only for you but also for your pet, you may well be surprised at the benefits you can derive from it.
In addition to this fun activity, do not forget that the well-being of your dog depends on a balanced diet, daily walks and special attention to his needs.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Photo by Jane Duursma on Unsplash
Many dog owners believe their dogs enjoy a good laugh. Check out YouTube, where there is no shortage of smiling and laughing dogs!
However, can a dog laugh in the same way as a human laughs? It’s very easy to anthropomorphise animal behaviour – i.e. judge everything they do from a human emotional and moral perspective – and the real question, perhaps, should by why would a dog laugh? What does it mean, and what advantage would it have given the dog’s wolf ancestors in the wild? Or is it perhaps something they have only learnt to do since they were domesticated by humans?
There is no definite answer to that last question, but we do know a bit about animal laughter.
Do other animals laugh?
From a hard-nosed science point of view, the only animals that are definitely confirmed as laughing are the great apes, dolphins and lab rats. Chimpanzee laughter sounds to our ears more like a shriek, and in the wild it is linked to reassurance and the release of pressure rather than pleasure. However, a tickled chimp definitely laughs, just like a human child does.
Gorillas have been known to laugh at slapstick human behaviour, suggesting that they would make a great audience at a pantomime! Orangutans are a bit more inscrutable, and their signs of laughter may be more akin to simple copying than genuine amusement. They laugh when tickled, though.
A 2004 study of dolphins found that the animals produced a sonar pulse followed by a whistle when playing. The researchers concluded that these sounds meant that the dolphins were feeling happy and relaxed in a fun, non-threatening setting, and that the ‘laugh’ prevented the rough and tumble play from escalating into violence. This is fascinating, as many psychologists believe that human laughter evolved for these exact reasons, and it ties in with those wild chimpanzee ‘laughs’ too.
The fact that lab rats laugh when tickled suggests that, given the chance, many other mammals would chuckle when tickled too. They just haven’t been given the chance in a scientific setting. Dogs, however, seem to relax rather than burst out laughing when tickled.
The fact that you can’t make your dog laugh by tickling it doesn’t mean it can’t laugh, though.
What does a dog laugh sound like?
Dog laughter – if that’s what it is – is a kind of rapid panting – a play-pant which they use to invite humans and other dogs to play. It is a hhuh sound followed by a hhah sound, and humans can impersonate it by making breathy ‘hoo-haa’ sounds. The panting will often be combined with head bows, and the dog may reach out with one of its paws too, or make little teasing jumps in your direction. This is an invitation to play rather than an expression of amusement in the human sense of laughter, though.
If you laugh at your dog using the hhuh hhah panting sound, drawing your lips back in a cheesy grin during the ‘aaa’ part, you may make your dog laugh back. It’s a great way of bonding with your furry friend!
Do dogs smile?
When a dog is relaxed it often pulls back its lips, lets its tongue droop and narrows its eyes, it can sometimes – depending on the
breed – look like a smile. The fact that they pull these faces when happy and relaxed makes it an easy associated with smiling. The fact that human smiles seem to have their origins in tension-reducing body language suggests that the same might apply to dogs. The wild wolves, close cousins of the domestic dog, does indeed have a tongue-wagging facial expression linked to relaxation and submissiveness.
Intriguingly, smiles appear to be contagious among dogs, just as they are in human to human interactions. If you can’t make your dog laugh, you can certainly make it smile! Smile at your dog, and your dog may well smile back!
Do scientists believe that dogs can laugh?
Science is on the side of the laughing dog. In a 2005 study titled ‘Dog-laughter: Recorded playback reduces stress related behavior in shelter dogs’, it was discovered that a dog sometimes pants in a way that sounds like a laugh. When recordings of these ‘laughs’ were played to other dogs, the dogs became playful and de-stressed, as measured in stress-related behaviour such as tail wagging, doggie ‘play-faces’, happy body language and lip-licking.
However, being happy, relaxed and playful is not exactly the same as laughing. There is no evidence that a dog ever finds things amusing in the same way as humans – or gorillas – do. On the contrary, slapstick behaviour is more likely to startle or scare a dog.
Laughter is all about fun, though, and you can certainly have plenty of that with your dog. They readily show their emotions through sounds and body language. Take the panting and playful body language as a sign of deep friendship. And that means there’s plenty to laugh about!
This entry was posted in Dogs
Just like humans’, dogs’ opinions on hot weather vary. Some absolutely worship the sun and will take any opportunity to find a sunny spot to lie down on, whereas others prefer to stay in the shade sipping some cold water, longing for autumn. Certain dogs are more likely to struggle with heat, including flat-faced breeds, dogs with thick coats, giant dogs, overweight dogs or dogs with underlying medical problems, so if your pooch is in a high risk group it’s extra important to make sure he or she stays cool. Here are some ways you can help you dog beat the heat:
1. Adjust Exercise
When it’s really hot outside it’s best to stay inside during the hottest hours of the day. Your dog will still need exercise, but if possible, stick to walks early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.
It’s also worth trying to walk as much in the shade as you can, to avoid hot pavements and tiles, and to stop your dog from running around too much whilst out on the walk, maybe by keeping them on a shorter lead.
2. Keep Hydrated
Make sure your dog always has access to clean, cold water, ideally in all rooms of the house. If you’re going out, bring a bottle of water and a foldable bowl.
If you’re worried your dog doesn’t drink enough water, try feeding them things that are hydrating and have a cooling effect. Frozen fruit and veg are great, but you can also put some cooked chicken in a blender with some banana or assorted berries and freeze in ice cube trays.
3. Get On Top of Grooming
This is extra important for breeds with thick fur, as they particularly struggle in the heat, but most dogs benefit hugely from some extra grooming in summer. For some, regular brushing to get rid of dead hair will be enough, but others need to have their coat properly trimmed for summer.
Don’t be tempted to grab the trimmers and give your dog a buzz cut; the sudden lack of insulation can shock the dog and damage the quality of the coat, as well as make him or her feel very self-conscious! Take them to the groomers and ask what they recommend for your dog’s type of fur.
4. Go For a Dip
Having water around to cool themselves down with will be highly appreciated by most dogs. You can put a shallow paddling pool in a shaded area of the backyard, turn the sprinklers on and watch your dog run through them, or let him or her play with the garden hose.
If you live close to the sea or another body of water and your dog is used to swimming you can take them there to lower their body temperature in the evening. Remember that swimming can be tough exercise though, so call them back up when you’re happy they’ve cooled themselves down.
5. Keep Cool Inside
When it’s too hot to be outside, your dog will probably spend most of their time indoors, so it’s important to try and keep your house as cool as possible. It might be nice to open windows on different sides of the house to create drafts, or find other ways of letting cool air circulate. Drawing the curtains or blinds will help stop the sun from heating up bedrooms during the day.
6. Avoid The Car
If possible, try to avoid going in the car with your dog when it’s hot. We all know that you should never, ever leave a dog in a car in warm weather, it doesn’t matter if the car is parked in the shade, you’ve got the windows open and it’s only for a few minutes. A stationary car will quickly get very, very hot, and it can kill your dog.
If you can choose not to go in the car on very hot days, try to avoid it, especially if your dog is not a big fan to start with.
7. Get a Cooling Mat
On a hot day, your dog will love relaxing on something cooling. The Omlet Cooling Mat doesn’t require refrigeration or electricity, but works by absorbing heat from your dog’s body while at the same time cooling your pooch down. The memory foam mat is foldable and super comfortable, so you can take it with you wherever you go in summer, assuring your dog will always have a place to rest that will also minimise the risk of heatstroke.
This entry was posted in Dogs
While it’s true that most dogs can swim, not all of them actually enjoy it. Some dogs’ idea of swimming involves paddling for dry land as quickly as possible, while some take to the water as if they were otters in a previous life.
With some breeds, the clue is in the name. The Irish Water Spaniel and the Portuguese Water Dog, for example, love taking the plunge, as do Poodles, Newfoundlands, Setters, Retrievers and many more. Some dogs, however, are simply not built for swimming. Dachshunds, with their short legs, and Pugs and English Bulldogs, with their short necks and poor breathing, struggle in water.
When confronted with lakes and rivers on a walk, the dog will decide for itself whether or not it fancies a quick dip. In a private pool, however, you need to be aware of the various safety and hygiene issues, because at some point your pet is bound to take to the water.
Mastering the Doggy Paddle
If the pool is a public one, dogs will simply not be allowed, so safety issues don’t arise. Pools in people’s backyards, however, become just as much a part of the dog’s playground as the humans’. Rule number one for pool owners – or for owners who visit friends with dog-friendly pools – is to make sure your dog is safe in the water.
A weak swimmer will tire very quickly and can soon get into trouble if unsupervised. Training your dog to swim to safety is therefore very important. Using your usual “Come!” command will usually work well. For smaller dogs, or if the pool is high-sided, a ramp should be attached to the side to allow the dog to clamber out. If the pool has steps, make sure the dog knows where they are. If the pool is large, make your dog jump in from different points, and guide them to the exit each time, to make sure they have a clear mental map of how to get out.
Another popular option is a dog life-jacket, which will allow your pet to swim while preventing it from sinking fast if things go wrong. If you never leave the dog unsupervised, these shouldn’t really be necessary; but if you are having a busy afternoon, your eye might not always be on your pet, so a dog flotation vest is great for ensuring peace of mind.
Some dogs really take to floats and inflatables (claw-proof ones made specifically for dogs, ideally). They can use them to take a break from paddling, or can simply lie on them like a human on a sun lounger.
If a dog gets itself into serious difficulties and needs rescuing, knowing how to administer CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can save the pet’s life. There are tutorials available for this online, or you could ask your vet for advice.
Don’t Drink the Water
Dogs can quickly overheat if the sun is beating down, and they may naturally take to water to cool down. Swimming is hot business, though, and it’s far better for your pet to cool down in the shade with some fresh water to drink.
And that’s another hazard – a hot, thirsty dog in a pool will do what come naturally and drink some of the pool water. If they lap up too much of the chlorinated water, they may become sick. Again, providing some fresh water somewhere cool and shaded will prevent them drinking from the pool.
Just like a human, a dog who has spent time in the pool will need rinsing off, to remove the potentially irritating chlorine and other chemicals from its fur, eyes and skin.
Your Dog Loves the Pool, But Does the Pool Love Your Dog?
There are three major issues for a swimming pool used by dogs: bacteria, hair, and wear & tear.
The bacteria is associated with poo and wee. The dog doesn’t need to actually relieve itself in the pool for these contaminants to be released into the water. However, as long as your pool is properly maintained and chemically treated, the bacteria will be killed, so this should not be an issue.
The hair factor is more of a problem. Dog hair will accumulate in the pool filter surprisingly quickly if your pet sheds a lot. A good brushing before swimming will help, but you will still need to clean the filter and other pool machinery more often than you would with human-only swimmers.
Wear and tear is an issue with doggy paddlers because of their claws. They will scrabble at the sides of a pool, and at the bottom of a shallow area. A pool lined with plaster, pebbles or tile will withstand the clawing, while plastic or vinyl-lined pool may spring a leak. You should also bear in mind that dog claws and children swimming in the same pool may be asking for trouble, too.
Follow these simple guidelines and precautions, and pools can be enjoyed by dogs and owners alike. But don’t force the issue – some dogs love the wet stuff, while others prefer to keep their feet on dry land.
This entry was posted in Dogs
In many ways dogs age in similar ways to humans. Older dogs have less energy, lose some of their senses, experience changes in sleeping and eating patterns, go grey and can have trouble remembering the most ordinary things.
Additionally, muscles and bones become weaker, and the immune system is not as good at fighting off infections. Internal organs also get more tired, so the dog is more prone to liver, heart and kidney disease.
This may seem rather gloomy and depressing, but it’s just a part of nature we have to accept, and as long as you as an owner continue to care for your dog in an appropriate way as they get older, you can really enjoy the last golden years together.
What counts as a senior dog?
Not all dogs reach old age at the same time. Just as with humans, some dogs seem a lot younger or older than their actual age, and genetics play a part in the risk of developing diseases and problems with hearing and sight.
But the most important thing when figuring out when your dog will be a senior is size. Toy dogs, terriers and other small breeds are seen as old when they are 10-11 years, medium-sized breeds like retrievers are considered seniors when they are 8-10 years, and large and giant breeds reach old age at 5 or 6.
What can I do to help my dog in old age?
Your dog will still need regular exercise, even if it might look a bit different from when they were young and bouncy. Accept that the dog won’t be able to come on the long walks they used to love, and try exercising for shorter periods of time more often. Remember to also stimulate your elderly dog mentally. Food toys and puzzles will be great for keeping your dog’s brain sharp.
Older dogs that don’t move around as they once did run the risk of excessive weight gain, and their diet will need to be adjusted to fit their new energy levels. Ask your vet for advice on what to feed your senior dog, but in general it’s good to choose a low fat feed and limit the amount of treats.
Make sure you take your dog to the vet for more regular check ups as he or she gets older. That way you will be able to spot potential problems early on. Dental hygiene is more important than ever, and it’s common that the skin gets drier and the coat less shiny, so it might be a good idea to do a bit more grooming.
Changing sleeping habits
Long gone are the puppy days when your dog passed out anywhere and slept for hours. Comfort is super important for older dogs, and their tired muscles and bones will need support.
Choose a dog bed that is designed to look after the dog’s body, ideally with a firm but supportive mattress and a soft cover. Omlet’s dog beds are great for senior dogs, not only because of the high performing memory foam mattress and supportive features, but also because they can be raised off the ground, making it much easier for an older and less agile dog to get in and out of the bed.
It’s also important to be aware that senior dogs often are much more sensitive to temperature changes. Place the dog’s bed somewhere that stays warm in winter and cool in summer, and provide them with an extra blanket in winter and maybe use a cooling mat in summer.
Making the right decisions at the end of life
There might come a time when you as an owner will have to make unpleasant decisions regarding your dog’s health and potentially whether or not your pet’s life is worth living.
If your dog develops an illness that can be treated, you will need to consider what the interventions will be like for the dog, what their quality of life will be after the treatment, and how long it may extend their life. If you have insurance, money hopefully doesn’t have to be a factor to consider, but many operations and treatments are extremely pricey and far from risk free.
Remember to try and put your own feelings to one side and concentrate on what is best for your dog. Although you might be able to get another few months together with your pet, he or she might be in constant pain, and will not be able to do all the things they used to love, and will not enjoy themselves.
Older pets can easily struggle with anxiety. Their body and mind are changing, and they can’t figure out why. Even if your dog might not be able to see or hear you as well as they used to, they can sense your presence, and that will make them calm and happy, so try to spend as much time together as possible. The last few years of your dog’s life can be a wonderful time for both of you, so don’t dwell on aging but take them for a walk, snuggle up with them on the sofa and play with them – just like you’ve always done!
This entry was posted in Dogs
Playdates for dogs are an increasingly popular calendar fixture for dog owners. The fact that these most sociable of animals like to socialise should not come as a great surprise. But there is, of course, far more to a successful get-together than simply unleashing a kennelful of canines into your back garden!
Our ten tips will help ensure that your pooch party goes with a woof rather than a snarl.
1. Don’t Invite Enemies!
The guest list is possibly the most obvious party-success factor of them all, but it is one that often gets ignored. For example, your friend might have a Jack Russell that your Labradoodle simply hates. And yet inviting your friends and their dogs is an obvious thing to do when arranging a doggy date. A territorial or bad-tempered dog that doesn’t get along with your pet is not going to be the life and soul of your doggy date. And, of course, your own dog needs to be a sociable hound host, too.
2. Avoid Chalk-and-Cheese Syndrome
Dogs tend to play best with friends of their own size and of a similar age. An older dog doesn’t want to be harassed by a bunch of excitable puppies, and a small terrier doesn’t always want to be stalked by an enthusiastic pack of Retrievers. An overweight or arthritic dog may suffer, too – they may want to keep up with the others, so as not to miss out on the fun, which may result in more harm than good.
The exception to the chalk-and-cheese rule is when dogs already know each other. If you know they’re friends already, invite them – although you still need to watch out for the reactions of the other guests.
3. Keep the Numbers Down
The difference between a happy group of dogs and a rowdy pack is a fine line. As a rule of thumb, keep the number of dogs to six or below on a doggy date, to keep things under control.
4. Invite Humans Too!
A doggy date isn’t an excuse for owners to leave their dogs in a crèche for a couple of hours. It only works if the owners are present; and an owner who brings more than one dog should, ideally, bring more than one human too.
5. Make Sure the Space is Suitable
There are all kinds of places you can hold a doggy playdate, whether indoors or outdoors, and the guest list should match the space. Six Huskies in a kitchen isn’t going to work, and open gates or gaps in a fence are just asking for trouble. You will also need to dog-proof the room or the garden, removing access to anything that’s fragile, toxic, edible or out-of-bounds for whatever other reason. The host dog and its guests should not have their own toys or bones lying around, either – all available toys should be neutral. If the host dog is very territorial, it simply isn’t going to work unless you arrange the playdate in a neutral space.
6. Meet and Greet
The dogs should all be formally introduced before the doggy date begins, even if they have met before. Owners should have their pets on a lead, and the dogs should be made to sit, in a semicircle so they can all see each other. They can then mingle on loose leads. Only when everything is looking sociable should the dogs be let off the lead completely. Any dissenters will have to be kept on a lead until they get into the spirit of the party. If, for whatever reason, one of the doggy guests falls out with another, it should be led quietly away on a lead until the situation has calmed down.
7. Allow Downtime
Some dogs have more energy, patience or bravery than others. On a doggy date, it always helps to have a hidey hole where a dog that needs to catch its breath can take time out. For smaller dogs, this can be the owner’s arms. Larger dogs will need a quiet corner, indoors or out. In a larger garden, they will be able to find their own space to chill. Dogs are very good at body language, and the others will recognise that the resting dog is doing just that, and not playing hide and seek.
8. Provide Refreshments
Busy dogs will need to drink, so one or more drinking bowls is essential. A supply of treats will keep the edge off their appetites, too.
9. Play Some Party Games
Games of fetch, hide and seek, sit and wait, agility tests or obstacle courses are all great ways to keep the party happy and active. Treats can be used as prizes!
10. Avoid Too Much Sun
If it’s a really hot day, an outdoor doggy date will needs lots of shade, lots of water and should involve only the very fittest dogs. Heat can be a health hazard for weaker animals. Remember – you can always postpone.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Photo by Matthew Foulds on Unsplash
1. We talk too much
Dogs don’t know English, and they won’t understand syntax and grammar however much you try to teach them. As you can imagine, it will be extremely frustrating having a human shouting incomprehensible noises at you.
Dogs like learning spoken commands and connecting them to actions, but won’t be able to understand anything longer than a short sentence, and will be very confused when you start using new ways of telling them to do things. If you’ve taught them the command “Drop” to get them to give you a stick or a toy, then “Leave” or “Let go” or “Give me that, you silly sausage!” won’t be of much use.
2. We let other people into our territory
Humans think it’s normal to go to other people’s houses, and to let individuals from outside the pack come into your and your dog’s territory. This will annoy some dogs immensely, and can actually make them really stressed, so don’t be surprised if they treat visitors with suspicion.
If you want to invite other dogs into your house, it might be a good idea to let the dogs meet on a walk beforehand, on neutral grounds. Most dogs will be absolutely fine with sharing their space, but it’s always best to minimise the risk of arguments.
3. We stare at them
We think that eye contact is something beautiful that is needed for bonding, and with both our own dogs and new ones we meet we tend to look into their eyes as we’re saying hello. Most dogs don’t appreciate this. While loving gazes between you and your pup is often accepted, being stared down by a stranger can be extremely stressful for a dog. They see the focused stare as a challenge, and might consider you a threat, so try to avoid eye contact with dogs you don’t know.
4. We hug them
This is a slightly contentious topic, but many people mean that while dogs accept our hugs, they don’t like them. It depends on the dog, but some feel very nervous and stressed when we interfere with their personal space, and placing your arms around a strange dog’s neck can be seen as a threat.
Most dogs like cuddling, and nearly all love scratching, so if you want to be sure you can show your affection with a belly rub and shared sofa rather than constraining your pup with your weird human arms.
5. We don’t let them sniff on walks
For dogs, walks are not just about exercise. While we humans can stop to enjoy beautiful scenery, dogs explore the world much less visually, and prefer to snuffle around for interesting smells. This also provides them with great mental stimulation that will tire them out just as much as the actual walking, so try to be patient with your dog and let him or her stop, sniff and mark as much as they like on a walk.
6. We change our shape and smell
Dogs change their coat roughly once a year, whereas humans change clothes every day, use different hand soaps, spray themselves with perfume and use cleaning products in their homes. Dogs might get to grips with this unusual behaviour after a while, but they will definitely not see the point, as they would probably prefer it if we never washed and walked around in the same clothes all the time.
7. We’re inconsistent
Dogs get very confused with inconsistency. They don’t understand “just this once” or “only when mummy is on a work trip”, but will much prefer to for example always be off the bed rather than having to constantly try to interpret your varying signals.
8. We leave them alone
To dogs, some of the strongest pack animals around, leaving the group seems absolutely pointless and stupid. That’s why they can get confused and annoyed when we leave them alone to go to work or to the cinema.
Train your dog to be by themselves from an early age to avoid bad separation anxiety, and try to never leave an adult dog alone for longer than four hours a day.
9. We get frustrated when they’re being dogs
To dogs, sniffing, barking, digging and scavenging for scraps are all natural behaviours, and they can get very annoyed if you get upset with them for doing what comes natural to them. This doesn’t mean that they should be allowed to do exactly what they want all the time. Try to redirect and encourage desirable behaviour, but it’s also worth remembering that dogs are dogs, and that’s part of why we love them so much.
This entry was posted in Dogs
When choosing a dog – especially if it’s your first one – the key is to find a breed that complements your lifestyle. Like us, some dogs are happy to spend most of their time relaxing indoors, while others want to run half marathons every day.
So, think about your lifestyle, and then find the dog to match. Here are some helpful lifestyle and dog breed matches to help you narrow down the field.
Dogs for Sofa Lovers
Being an evening couch potato doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lazy – it probably means you’ve had a busy day at work, and need some downtime. Plenty of dog breeds fit this ‘couch canine’ lifestyle, including:
- Dachshund – these loveable ‘Sausage Dogs’ can actually damage their spines if they’re forced to take too much exercise. They will still need a morning walk, though!
- Greyhound – this one surprises people who don’t know the breed well. “Greyhounds?”, they say, “Surely all they want to do is chase hares at breakneck speed all day?” Well, yes, they can run fast; but their preferred lifestyle is actually long, lazy days, with a couple of short runs in the park.
- French Bulldog – they’ll be hyperactive for 20 minutes on a walk, and then they’ll be worn out. Lacking endurance, this makes them perfect for anyone who lacks time for long walks every day.
The popular lapdog breeds fall into this category too, including Chihuahua, Pug, King Charles Spaniel, Pekingese, Shih Tzu and Yorkie.
Dogs for Busy Outdoor Lifestyles
If you do lots of hiking or running, there are plenty of high-endurance dog breeds that will just love keeping up with you every step of the way.
- Dalmatian – these loveable hounds will find 101 reasons to run and play all day. Whatever you’re doing outdoors, they’ll be with you every step of the way.
- Border Collie – possibly the dogs with the busiest work ethic, they will happily be hyperactive from dawn to dusk. If there’s no work on offer, they’ll find it for themselves. That ball game isn’t just a game, it’s a job, and the Border Collie will make sure it’s done properly – all day long, if needs be!
- Husky – a breed that was developed to pull heavy sledges for hundreds of miles is not going to be content with anything but a busy lifestyle. These dogs need lots of exercise – as many miles a day as you can give them. Not for the faint-hearted!
Many other larger breeds suit active lifestyles, including German Shepherd, Pointer, Boxer and Labrador Retriever. Some smaller dogs pack an energy punch, too, and the Boston Terrier and Jack Russell, for example, will be able to keep up with you no matter how long the journey home is.
Child’s Play – Best Dogs for Kids
Although children should not be given full responsibility for a pet dog, there are plenty of breeds that are very child friendly.
- Labrador retriever and Golden retriever – these are probably the perfect family dogs. Retrievers are gentle and loving, and treat children with a mixture of respect and parental care. They’re incredibly soft and good natured.
- Irish (or Red) Setter – this breed seems to have been developed to play with children! Playful, but gentle, children often form very tight bonds with this wonderfully handsome dog.
- Old English Sheepdog – these dogs love nothing better than chilling with the kids. They’re gentle giants.
There are plenty more dogs in this category. The Newfoundland, for example, is even more giant than the Old English, and just as gentle. Boxers and Beagles are good with the kids too – as long as they’re well trained from an early age.
Dogs for People Allergic to Dogs!
Don’t despair! Your pet-induced sneezing and asthma doesn’t mean you can never be a dog owner. The thing you’re allergic to is a protein found on animals’ skin, and/or shed hairs. Although no breed is officially hypoallergenic, the commonest ones in families where allergies are a problem are:
- Poodle (both full size and Toy)
- Bichon Frise
- Shih Tzu
This is not a precise science, and some people are definitely more “allergic” than others. Many people who sneeze and wheeze at most dogs find that they are okay with Yorkies and Westies, even though these have longer hair than the average hound. At the same time, the short-haired Boxer can cause strong allergic reactions in many sufferers.
The key here is to spend some time with the breed before making the decision to bring one home.
The takeaway message is clear – there are many dog breeds out there, with many different personalities and requirements. Matching those traits to your own lifestyle and circumstances is the sure path to finding the perfect pet.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Whether it’s homemade treats, new toys or a long game of fetch that makes you late for work, there are many ways to show your dog how much you love them. But are you spoiling them? Probably. Does it matter? Probably not.
These are 20 tell-tale signs that suggest you’re spoiling your furry friend.
There’s nothing in the snack cupboard except dog treats. That’s good, as it means you’re not feeding all the treats at once; but it’s not so good if you were looking for a crafty snack of your own…
You’ve gone to the pet shop with your dog, and you’re letting them ‘choose’ the toys and chews they want. So far, you have a very full basket!
You buy a bigger, better sprinkler for the garden just because your dog had such fun with the old one. The lawn doesn’t actually need the extra water at the moment, but your dog does!
You buy a new squeaky toy to play tug-of-war with, even though the old ones are still in good shape. After all, this is the first time your pet has had a toy shaped like a lobster…
You realise you’re looking forward to your dog’s day at the Puppy Spa next week as much as you’re looking forward to your romantic stay in a spa hotel the following weekend.
Your bags of dog treats have healthier ingredients than your own treats – all organic, sustainably sourced, and packed with vitamins and minerals.
Your afternoon dedicated to DIY has disappeared, dedicated instead to giving belly rubs, playing with sticks and balls, and going for a long, leisurely walk in the park to say hello to the ducks.
The freezer has lots of yummy frozen doggy treats, but no ice creams or lollies for you and the kids.
You’ve spent two hours in the kitchen baking. The result? Several trays of dog biscuits for your pet and all his doggy friends in the neighbourhood.
You’re sitting on the not-very-comfy chair, because your dog is curled up on the comfier one.
You’re not particularly enjoying the show on TV, but you keep it on because it’s your dog’s favourite.
You buy toys and treats for your dog’s birthday or for their Christmas stocking – and hide them away on a high shelf to keep them secret until the big day.
You phone home on a business trip, and your first question is “How’s the dog?”
You’re an expert in dog massage and essential oils for dogs, but don’t know much about massage and essential oils for humans.
You give your dog its dinner slightly early so that you can both sit down and watch the new Scooby Doo or Lassie film together later.
Your dog’s annual hairdresser bill is bigger than yours.
You have a list of all the local dog-friendly restaurants in your neighbourhood, and compile one for all the places you visit with your pet.
Your dog’s ‘room’ under the stairs was planned and decorated with more care than your living room.
You decide not to offload your bad day on the dog, because you don’t want them to worry.
You’ve taken a trip to the seaside with your dog yet again. You hadn’t intended coming back so soon, but the dog insisted…
As long as it doesn’t involve overeating, over-fussing or over-exercising, there are all kinds of ways to spoil your dog. And the great thing is, the dog won’t feel spoilt at all, just loved.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Snowy weather can bring great fun for all the family, but when it comes to our pets we need to take extra care to keep them happy and healthy (even if they love it!) Take a look at our snow safety advice, and make sure you’re prepared for whatever winter may bring…
Dry off damp fur and feathers
Check on your outdoor pets a few times throughout the day during periods of snowy weather and check they haven’t got too wet. Damp fur and feathers will take longer to dry during colder temperatures, making it difficult for them to warm up again. Indoor animals should also be dried off with a towel after being outside or going for a walk.
Clean paws of ice
For dogs and cats in particular, snow can get compacted into their paw pads and turn to painful cubes of ice. Use a towel or drying mitt to dislodge any chunks of snow and dry off their feet. Also take care when walking your dogs in snow, as salt used to grit the roads can be poisonous. Watch that they don’t stop to eat snow at the roadside and clean their legs and paws of any snow or dirt after their walk.
Pets of all kinds will use more energy to keep themselves warm in winter, particularly in super cold, snowy spells, so they will benefit from some extra food. Although they will appreciate more treats, don’t be tempted to overfeed on these. Something nutritious will help them the most.
Outdoor pets will need more dry bedding in their coop or hutch for them to snuggle into and keep warm. However, make sure their home is still well ventilated to keep fresh air moving through and prevent health problems. Read other ways you can get your coop winter-ready. Indoor animals might also appreciate an extra blanket or a cosy den for bedtime.
If you have a cat who still likes to go outdoors whatever the weather, be wary of the potential of antifreeze poisoning. Look out for symptoms such as vomiting, seizures or difficulty breathing and call a vet immediately if you think your cat may be ill. An outdoor enclosure could also provide a solution for letting them play outside in safety.
Don’t forget about the wild birds in your garden!
Place a wide bowl or tray of water in your garden with something inside to float around (e.g. rubber duck!) to keep the water moving and prevent freezing. Extra wild bird food will also be appreciated!
This entry was posted in Cats
On the side
The most common sleeping position for dogs is on their side with the legs pointing straight out. Sometimes dogs will fall asleep in a different position, but as soon as the muscles relax and the dog starts to dream, they will automatically roll onto their side.
This position exposes their vital organs, so a dog who prefers to sleep on its side is likely relaxed and comfortable, and feels safe with his or her surroundings.
As the legs are free to move in this sleeping position, it is likely that you will see the dog’s legs twitch and kick as they dream.
If your dog favours this position, make sure that their bed is big enough to accommodate their whole body, including the outstretched legs.
Curled up in a ball
This is a common sleeping position for wild dogs, who are much more vulnerable than our spoiled pet pooches. The vital organs are protected, the body heat is retained, and the dog can move quickly if needed.
Dogs that are in an unfamiliar location or experience something that is worrying them will often sleep in this position. However, if your dog prefers to roll up like a fox for nap time it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is worried or uncomfortable, they might just like being snuggled in.
Super Pup Pose
In this position, the dog is on its tummy, with all four legs stretched out. This is very common with puppies who need regular naps, but also always want to be ready to play at any given moment, as it’s very easy to get up and going.
The Super Pup is almost completely limited to napping; very few dogs spend a whole night in this position. It’s also much more common with smaller dogs like terriers and toy breeds, possibly because their limbs are shorter.
On the back, legs up in the air
If your dog is cold, they will curl up into a ball. In a similar way, exposing the belly and spreading out will cool them down. Exposing the tummy, where the fur is much thinner, as well as the sweat glands on the paws are two of your dog’s best tools to stay cool.
Comfortable as it may be, it is however a very vulnerable position. The vital organs are exposed and it will take the dog much longer to get up and go in case of danger than if they had their legs on the ground. If your dog chooses this position even when it’s not boiling hot, it is likely that he or she feels extremely relaxed and comfortable.
Close to a human or other pet
Many dogs love falling asleep next to another living thing, preferably really, really close. This behaviour comes from their time as puppies, before they could regulate their own body temperature and had to snuggle up to their siblings to stay warm.
Although grown dogs don’t need you (or the cat) as a heat source, they have come to associate sleeping next to something warm and breathing with comfort and security. You can be sure that your dog is completely relaxed in your company if he or she decides to sleep right next to you.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Having a crate for your puppy or dog has many advantages. It creates a space that is more than just a bed on the floor, a place the dog can return to when he or she gets tired that they know is just theirs. This is perfect for those moments when a small puppy feels a bit overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the house and would just like a moment of rest. A crate will also keep young dogs safe if you need to pop out someplace where puppies are not allowed. Additionally, crating leads to better sleep, is great for puppy training, and allows the dog to be more independent of its owner. And of course most importantly, most dogs absolutely love it!
Omlet has two great solutions for those who are looking for a crate for their existing dog, or the new puppy they’re expecting: the Fido Studio and the Fido Nook. Both come in two sizes to fit most dog breeds, and with the option of a wardrobe to store all of your dog’s things. The wardrobe can be further organised with shelves, hooks and a clothes rail, and a fitted mirror so your pup can make sure their outfit looks pawfect before hitting the park!
Both the Fido Nook and Fido Studio are stylish, modern crate solutions, but what is the difference between them? Here are the main things to note when choosing the one that best fit your needs:
- With the Studio, the crate is a completely integrated part of the piece, whereas it can be removed on the Nook. The easy release mechanism on the Nook makes it possible to lock the crate in place when you’re using it, and remove it when your puppy is fully grown.
- The Nook does not only fit in seamlessly with your home interior, but the possibility of unlocking and removing the crate means you can take it in the car to keep your dog safe during travel, or if you’re spending the night somewhere else.
- Both the Studio and the Nook come in a stylish white that will look great in all interiors. The Studio is also available in walnut.
- As the Fido Nook you can only open the door to the crate on the front. If you choose the Fido Studio however, the dog can access the crate at either the front or the side. This is useful if you want to place the Fido Studio in a narrow space.
- If you decide to remove the crate from the Nook when your dog is fully trained and you feel he or she no longer needs it, the Nook will still offer a secluded spot for your dog’s bed.
- Without the crate on the Nook, you can further customise the unit with these luxurious curtains. This will create a cosy barrier between the dog and the world outside, which will provide them with some extra, highly appreciated, privacy.
- Although the two are quite similar, they do look slightly different, and perhaps you just prefer one over the other. That’s okay, you don’t have to explain yourself – we won’t judge!
Whether you decide to go for a Studio or a Nook, we’re absolutely sure your dog will appreciate a place in the home that is just theirs, and that you will love the look and feel of Omlet’s dog products, as well as the opportunity to store all your dog’s things in the integrated wardrobe!
This entry was posted in Dogs
The Azawakh originates from the Saleh area south of Sahara, where it’s still used by nomadic people to guard herds of sheep and goats from predators and enemies. It has also previously been used to hunt gazelle and hare across the arid desert lands.
The Azawakh is a very lean and large sight dog with long legs, and the muscles and bones are clearly visible through the thin skin.
It’s a loyal family dog that forms strong connections to their owners, and must get used to being by themselves early on to minimise the risk of separation anxiety. The breed needs to run freely, so make sure they can do so in a safe area. The hunting instinct can be strong, but they are intelligent and relatively easy to train, so it’s possible to take them from walks off the lead.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula Leopard Dog was originally bred in the state of Louisiana, and was initially used to hunt large game, and later feral pigs in the swaps. It’s still used as a working dog with several purposes, including herding, as it’s known for its agility, intelligence and strength.
It’s a medium sized dog with a short coat that is normally recognised for its many varied coats, eye colours and patterns. Catahoula Leopard Dogs can make great pets as long as they get enough stimulation. It’s also important to train and socialise them early, as they run the risk of getting territorial and overly protective otherwise.
Caucasian Ovcharka / Caucasian Shepherd Dog
As the name suggests, this giant dog breed originates from the Caucasus, an area between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, where it was first used to herd livestock.
It’s an extremely independent, fearless and intelligent dog that can get very territorial and protective, so requires an experienced owner that can give them consistent handling and accurate socialisation throughout their lives. This will counteract potential aggressive behaviour, mainly towards other dogs.
Caucasian Ovcharkas require plenty of both mental and physical stimulation. When not working, the dog will enjoy sleeping the day away, so it’s important to prevent the high risk of obesity by going to plenty of walks and playing fun retrieving games.
Schipperke means small herding dog in Flemish, which is where the dog breed was first seen. It’s also got a history as a guard dog and ratter on the Dutch and Belgian canal boats. Today the breed is mainly kept as a pet, but it still makes a great guard dog, as you’ll struggle to find a more loyal companion.
As the Schipperke was bred to work, the breed will need to be kept stimulated and active to prevent destructive behaviour, but it’s relatively easy as they will be happy with most things as long as they are with their owner!
The Berger Picard is easily recognisable thanks to the large pointy ears, the wavy brindle coat and the hooked tail. The name comes from the breed’s home region of Picardy in France, and it’s one of the oldest French herding breeds.
They are extremely active dogs that will be the perfect companion for owners who enjoy long runs and hikes, sports and mental stimulation in the form of obedience training. If you can only give your dog a short walk around the block every day, the Berger Picard is not for you!
The breed was recognised 1925, but had almost disappeared after the world wars. Keen enthusiasts recreated a strong breeding stock, but it’s still rare.
The Pumi is a result of selective breeding of the other famous Hungarian sheep dog, the Puli, and French and German herding dogs and terriers. This has given the breeds it’s lively, intelligent and active temperament.
Pumis love working, but also to relax with their family. It’s a generally happy breed that will make a great pet for an active family that can keep the dog busy during the day and shower it with love and snuggles on the sofa in the evening.
The curly coat, normally grey or black, requires a bit of work, but doesn’t shed.
This entry was posted in Dogs
🔹 The main purpose of the tail is communication, and to spread personal information in the form of pheromones. Dogs have anal glands right under the tail which release scents that can be detected by other canines. When the dog wags its tail, the muscles around the dog’s bum tense and press on the glands, sending out lots of information. The sweeping motions from the tail can also help spread the scent even further.
🔹 In a situation where the dog wants to be more low-key and not get noticed, maybe if they are feeling scared or hesitant, the dog will tuck its tail between the legs to minimise the spread of their scent.
🔹 Dogs that have very small tails, or no tails at all, have a limited ability to use this body part to communicate, and will have to use other modes of communication. Ears can for example be very useful to show other dogs who you are and how you are feeling.
🔹 Different types of tail movement signify different emotions. A slight wag when meeting someone new can be seen as a tentative greeting, whereas a wider more sweeping movement is very friendly and non-competitive. A dog that makes short back-and-forth movements with the tail held high is possibly showing signs of uncertainty, assessing potential threats.
🔹 Puppies don’t wag their tails when they are born. The first month and a half is spent mainly eating and sleeping, and they have no real interest in their surroundings. However, as soon as they start socialising, around 49 days old, they will start wagging.
🔹 The tail can be seen as an extension of the spine. Just like the backbone, tails are made up of 5-20 vertebrae, separated by soft discs that enable movement and flexibility. The vertebrae are wider at the base of the tail and get smaller toward the tip.
🔹 The shape and form of the tail of specific dogs has been determined through selective breeding. The Dachshund’s long, sturdy tail is for example believed to have worked as a handle to pull them out of badger burrows, whereas a Beagle’s tail has a white tip to make it easier for the hunters to locate it in the distance, and labradors have a so called “otter tail” that is thick and round and can act as a kind of rudder when the dog is swimming.
🔹 Dogs do not only use their tails for communication, it is also useful for keeping balance. If you watch a really fast dog run, like a Greyhound or a Whippet, you can see that the tail sticks out straight behind them. It works as a counterweight and helps the dog to accelerate, break and turn at high speeds.
🔹 According to studies made on dog tails, there is evidence that the direction a dog wags its tail can tell you something about their feelings. Positive stimuli (food, or seeing their owner) made the dogs start moving their tail to the right, whereas negative stimuli (e.g. a threat in form of an aggressive looking dog) causes the tail to start wagging to the left.
This entry was posted in Dogs
You’re getting a puppy – congratulations! Bringing home a puppy is an extremely exciting experience, but it can also be pretty full on, as your new friend will require almost constant attention and care. To minimise the stress of not having the right things at hand when the dog is already in your home, make sure to tick off these puppy essentials before he or she moves in!
Many breeders will have crate trained the puppy from an early age, and most dog trainers recommend this method as a way of making the transition into a new home as smooth as possible.
The crate acts as an enclosed safe space for your puppy, a place they can return to when they are tired or worried, that they know is just theirs. The Fido Nook 2-in-1 Luxury Dog Crate and Bed is a great solution for this. Put the crate in the beautifully designed den, and make it nice and cosy for your dog. When the puppy is fully trained, you can decide if you want to remove the crate or keep it in. The Fido Nook is also available with a super convenient wardrobe where you can store all of your dog’s things in one handy place, and it looks great in any room of the house.
Remember that puppies grow quickly, so get a crate that will also fit your pup when they are fully grown.
✔️ Bed & Blanket
Growing puppies spend most of their days sleeping, so they will need a comfortable bed to rest on. Choose a bed that will support your puppy and is big enough to fit him or her when they are fully grown. It can also be good to get a bed with a removable cover that is machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about puppy accidents or muddy paws.
Make sure you also provide your puppy with a super soft blanket to curl up on. Having a blanket in the crate means the puppy will associate it with home, and it can then be used as a comforter when you’re out and about seeing new sights and trying new things!
✔️ Food and bowls
You will probably have been given some instructions from the breeder on what to feed your puppy the first weeks, and it’s best to stick to this to avoid upsetting their delicate little tummies. After a while you can gradually start introducing the food you want to give your dog. Make sure it’s a high quality feed suitable for growing pups.
Get bowls for food and water in a suitable size that are deep enough to not create lots of mess, but stable enough to not tip over. It’s also a good idea to have a few travel sized bowls that you can bring on adventures.
✔️ Training treats
The key to a well behaved and well rounded dog is to encourage and enforce all good behaviours. Make sure you have plenty of small treats around to give your puppy when they are being a good boy or girl. The world can be rather intimidating for a small puppy who is learning new things, and knowing that you will provide them with praise and love – and a yummy treat – when they return to you will make the bond between you strong from the beginning.
✔️ Chew toys
Puppies love to chew, and anyone who’s been around a puppy knows that those sharp teeth can do some damage, whether it’s on your sofa cushions or your favourite pair of leather boots. Give your pet some appropriate chew toys to ease the itch and blow off some steam. You might have to try a few to find one that’s the right size and hardness for your dog, so make sure you have a selection at hand.
✔️ Collar & Lead
As soon as your puppy is ready to go out into the real world they will need a stylish collar to put their ID-tag on. Match with a lead or harness, and you’re ready to go!
These are the most important things to get before you go to pick up your puppy and bring it home. You will probably find that there are plenty of other things that are useful to have, like grooming equipment, nail clippers, cleaning products, and even a dog jacket or a jumper, but the above essentials will see you through the first weeks with your new family member, without any emergency shopping trips!
This entry was posted in Dogs