Getting a puppy? Here's 13 must-have puppy products...
Your pup’s homecoming is a very exciting time - but, just like a baby, puppies come with a checklist of essentials! As easy as it is to get carried away in spoiling your new furry friend, we’ve put together a handy list of only the most essential items you’ll need on hand for when your new puppy arrives home.
- Puppy food. The most obvious on the list of essentials is of course, their food. Puppies are hungry little things and tend to eat around three to four meals a day. Such meals need to be packed full of nutritious goodness to aid with healthy growth and development. They’ll also need food packed full of energy, to fuel their busy days. We highly recommend Imperial Puppy Plus!
- Bowls. Another obvious item but still worth mentioning is your puppies feeding equipment. One stainless steel bowl for meals and another for water is all you’ll need. If you’ve got a hard floor at home, non-slip rubber mats or stands will help your pooch to enjoy his or her meal in one place.
- Toilet training pads. There’s likely to be a fair few toilet accidents along the way, however training pads can help take a lot of the stress away. Being super absorbent and locking in bad odours, training pads are extremely handy to have and can help to keep your home as mess-free as possible.
- A crate. You’ll want to make your puppy feel as cosy and comfortable as you possibly can with an area of their very own. And while crates do not seem so appealing, as den animals, your pup will feel a sense of security from this slightly enclosed space. Crates come in a range of sizes so its important you find the most suitable size for your particular breed, whether this be small, medium, large or even extra large. We stock a range of dog crates in various sizes, making it super easy for you to find the perfect one for your new pup. It’s also worth padding it out with something warm, perhaps some old sheets, towels or an old fleece blanket.
- A dog bed. Getting the temperature spot on for your little puppy is important. Our beds are great at keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the winter and are conveniently made to used anyway, from crates and dog houses, to cars. They’re also completely machine washable.
- A grooming kit. A flea comb and a brush to keep your dog well groomed is important as you’ll need to keep on top of removing any loose or dead hair, tangles or dirt. A nail trimmer will also come in handy.
- A collar and a lead. Get your pup their very own collar and lead ready for their first walk and start training them on the lead from as early as possible to set those all important ground rules.
- A poop scoop. Not the most exciting purchase but definitely one with lots of advantages is of course the poop scoop. Puppies go to the toilet quite frequently, making the poop scoop a very convenient tool that will save you lots of time and energy.
- A stain and odour remover. Eliminate any nasty smells of urine or poop, should your little puppy accidentally go to the loo inside the house.
- A puppy pen. Your puppy will no doubt be a little bundle of energy wanting to play all day long. A play pen will come in handy for encouraging your pup to relax and get the rest he or she needs in order to grow. It will also help you to set some physical boundaries while also giving them a fun and safe space to play in.
- Coaching treats. You’ll want to be setting those ground rules as early as possible and what better way to encourage your newcomer than with rewarding yet also extremely healthy and nutritious treats.
- Goats milk. A lot of people aren’t actually aware that dogs must not be fed cow’s milk. This is due to their stomach’s not being able to digest the enzymes within it. Nutro-Lac goat’s milk, however, can be given to puppies from the moment they are born with no risk of causing an upset tummy. Not only will your puppy find it incredibly tasty, it will also give them the energy they need to grow and develop healthily.
- Toys and chews. Last but not least, something to entertain your puppy! He or she will have an urging desire to chew anything in sight, so keep those shoes stored away and opt for a nice chew toy instead. We highly recommend puppy kongs as they’re great for sooting sore gums, encouraging proper chewing habits and aiding in the healthy development of your dog’s mouth.
And...to make life easier, we've even put together some handy puppy essential bundles! Shop the range today and enjoy every precious moment with your new pup.
Training collars – Greater freedom from greater control
So, you take your dog for a walk. Whilst having a nice, relaxing stroll with your pooch off their lead, you turn a corner to find a flock of deer relaxing in the wood. Suddenly, your usually relaxed and obedient dog becomes completely overtaken by excitement and refusing to listen to your command, he begins to chase the deer, leaving you with absolutely no control.
Control and prevent
This scenario is actually very common. However, it can also result in a lot of frustration and possibly even heartache. Your dog may run so far they become lost or possibly run into a road with fast-moving cars or even a farmer’s field, where the farmer then has the right to shoot the dog if causing distress to his cattle. While some of these scenarios may seem drastic, they are the reality and they do happen on a regular basis.
Our responsibilities as owners
As dog owners, we are liable for their actions. That’s why a training aid such as a Pac Collar, is an ideal piece of equipment in helping to increase control and prevent these scenarios from happening. The reality is, once a dog breaks our trust, we as owners may then become particularly anxious when out on walks, thereby limiting the freedom in which the dog has. However, with a training collar, slowly but surely you as an owner can work to regain control and your dog can witness freedom once again.
Why a Training Collar?
PAC, a brand we really can vouch for, recently conducted a survey in which over 90% of customers using their training equipment had claimed it to be a success. Prior to using their collars, over 50% of customers claimed their dogs previously had ‘selective hearing’ and would chase and even harm wildlife while out on walks.
Having little control over our dogs can be incredibly stressful for us owners, causing us to fret whenever we pass another dog, let alone seeing a flock of sheep in a nearby farmer’s field. Regaining control is imperative and a PAC collar is just the place to start. It’s important to remember that this aid alone will not completely change a dog’s behaviour, however it’s definitely a starting point and can work wonders for obedience whilst out on walks. The harsh reality is, a dog that refuses to listen to their owner whilst out on walks is a risk to both themselves and others.
The main reason behind the success of a training collar is timing. Punishing a dog after a crime will simply confuse them – they won’t associate the punishment with the crime they just committed because of the time that has passed. For a dog to understand they’ve committed a punishable offence, the punishment needs to take place immediately – which a training collar will allow you to do.
It’s important to note, training collars aren’t designed to cause harm to your dog. Instead, the electrical stimulation is merely just unexpected and thereby uncomfortable, enough so that your dog is likely to return to your side and ultimately respond to your command.
Introducing a training collar
Should you decide to introduce a training collar to your training regime, we can highly recommend the PAC brand and can honestly say that it’s an investment worth making if your dog has bad recall or even pulls on the lead. Remember, keep all training equipment out of reach of children as any misuse can be harmful to both them and your dog.
What is a BARF Diet?
BARF dieting - what every dog owner needs to know
BARF dieting is by no means a new concept, however more and more dog owners are now turning to this form of feeding due to the amazing benefits it can have on pet health and wellbeing.
In fact, this type of dieting has proven to offer a natural and healthy solution to a whole range of health problems, including relief from digestive problems, allergies, degenerative diseases and even skin conditions.
What does BARF dieting mean?
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term, BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food. This diet consists of raw whole foods, such as meat, bones, fat, organ meats, fruit and vegetables.
What about shop bought dog food?
Cooked and processed foods are a big no-no when it comes to BARF dieting, as are any foods containing preservatives, colouring agents, additives, grains or other fillers designed to make a dog feel fuller for longer. A lot of supermarket bought pet food contains some of these harmful ingredients, which can cause a whole range of long-term health problems for pets, as opposed to the wonderfully healthy benefits of a barf diet.
So, what are the benefits of a BARF diet?
- Relief from irritating skin conditions, particularly those caused by allergies
- A shiny coat thanks to the range of nutrients and vitamins
- Healthy teeth and a fresher breath, including minimal tar build-up
- Leaner, trimmer weight and healthier shape
- Strengthened immunity thanks to the perfect balance of essential nutrients, vitamins and fatty acids
- Easier on the tummy and therefore ideal for dogs with digestion problems
- Quick and easy absorption of nutrients given the natural ingredients
- Increased mobility and improved energy levels
- Reduced stool odour, a clear sign of healthy digestion
- A longer, healthier and happy life
Interested in a BARF diet for your cat or dog?
If you’re looking to introduce your dog, or cat for that matter, to a BARF diet, why not browse our range of fresh, natural and incredibly healthy food products!
Human foods that you should never give to your dog
As persuasive as those puppy-dog eyes may be peering up at you from beneath the dinner table, you may just want to hold off sharing your delicious grub with your dog after reading this article. Why? Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few ‘human foods’ that we as owners should completely avoid feeding to our pooches due to their health-damaging side effects. Even if you’ve shared any of these food items to your pup in the past with no signs of any health problems, don’t be fooled - there are some side effects that aren’t always completely obvious.
Here’s a list of our top 5 doggy no-no’s!
- Chocolate (and any other sugary foods). Hopefully the majority of dog owners are already aware of this one, as it’s one of the worst things you could feed your pooch. Chocolate actually contains Theobromine, an ingredient that isn’t damaging to humans but is particularly toxic for dogs. And don’t think that you’re playing it safe by giving your pooch dark chocolate because this harmful ingredient is actually found in all kinds of chocolate. What are the possible side effects? From vomiting and diarrhoea to seizures and tremors or even fatalities, we highly advise you to keep chocolate of all kinds away from your beloved dog.
- Bacon (and any other fatty foods). Oh yes, the one thing that gets their little noses twitching is bacon! But unfortunately, it’s on the list of no-no’s. Being an extremely salty meat, dogs can become excessively thirsty, causing them to over-drink and possibly bloat which can be dangerous. It’s also a high in fats, which can damage your pup's pancreas.
- Dairy. Who would have thought a bowl of milk could be harmful to dogs? But it is. As surprising as it may be, cow products are difficult for a dog’s stomach to process, causing tummy upsets or worse. And just like certain meats, dairy with high fat content can once again cause pancreatic problems for your pooch, so avoid sharing the occasional cube of cheese, it’s really not worth taking the risk.
- Raisins (and grapes for that matter). These are both no-no's. Something so small can actually have a huge impact on your dog’s health, including renal failure. Sounds horrible doesn’t it. Believe it or not, feeding your dog this little snack can actually be fatal, so just don’t do it - even if they’ve been fine in the past.
- Raw meat. OK so this one is not necessarily a ‘human food’ as not a lot of us would find a raw chicken breast particularly appetising but we thought we’d better mention it just in case. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to feeding dogs raw meat, but the truth is, they face the same potential health risks as we do, from salmonella poisoning to e-coli. Your dog’s food, just like yours, needs to be cooked thoroughly to avoid some very unpleasant health problems.
The reality is, not all dog owners are aware of the damaging effects our own food can have on our pets. We’ve got a whole range of highly nutritious and flavoursome dog foods and snacks listed that you’re pup is sure to love! Shop here...
Caring for a dog with a skin condition
Just like us humans, our dogs can often suffer from unpleasant skin conditions that may cause irritation and discomfort. However, there’s no need to worry. You’ll probably be surprised to learn that skin conditions in pets are very common and highly treatable with the right level of care and possibly even medication - depending on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause.
How do I know if my dog has a skin condition?
If you’ve recently become the proud parent to a dog - congratulations! But you may not know exactly what to look for to determine whether or not your dog has a special condition that needs to be cared for. So, we’ve listed some of the most obvious signs and things to look for:
- Scratching. One of the first signs of a skin condition is of course irritation. Continuous scratching is a common symptom of a skin condition however your dog may still have a condition even if there are no obvious signs of irritation. If he or she does appear to be scratching excessively, check the area for any visible scabs.
- Licking. Similarly to scratching, sometimes dogs with skin conditions find comfort in licking the affected area i.e. their paws. Try and investigate the problem as quickly as you can as over-licking can make the problem very red and tender.
- Lack of hair. Sometimes a skin condition may result in your pooch developing bald patches or simply a dull looking coat, in which case, may indicate a skin condition, illness or allergy.
- Dandruff. Just like we humans may suffer from a dry scalp, our pooches may experience dry skin too, resulting in visibly flaky dead skin. Depending on the colour of your dog’s coat, your pooch’s dandruff may become visible in his or her hair.
What to do if you suspect your dog may be suffering from a skin condition
From allergies and fleas, all the way through to skin diseases, there are a whole range of possible causes, so the first and best route to take is visiting your vet. They’ll find the route cause and make recommendations on how to care for your dog’s condition going forward. Depending on the cause, treatments may include specially formulated shampoos, supplements, medicine, avoiding certain food types and so forth.
If you do find that your pet’s condition is manageable with special pet shampoos, we highly recommend the VETiONX range - aimed at both dogs and cats. And, like just like the experts say, we are what we eat - so choosing your dog’s food wisely can also work wonders on his/her skin. For example, opting for a food that contains all the essential vitamins and nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can often help to ease the irritation and also any inflammation of the affected area. We stock a whole range of quality, fresh and nutritious food options, some of which are specifically designed to cater for pets with allergies and conditions.
Is your dog getting the right nutrition?
We take our own consumption of food seriously - and the same should also apply for our dogs., right? Absolutely. To live a long, healthy life, it’s important that our furry friends consume food that’s packed with all of the necessary vitamins and minerals needed, in the correct balance of course.
Just like humans, our pets need to a good combination of nutritious foods, including fats, protein, carbohydrates - you name it. All of these essentials will ensure your dog remains energetic, fit and healthy at all times. Getting all of these ingredients in the right proportion for your pet is important and that’s why it’s always important to check the nutrition label. For example, pet food manufacturers design food for dogs at specific ages (i.e. puppy and adult) and they also cater food for dogs with specific health conditions such as heart disease.
We work with man’s best friend on a daily basis and can honestly say that there is a clear and very visible difference between a dog that is receiving the correct nutrition and a dog that is not. Those that are well nourished will maintain excellent muscle tone, healthy teeth, bones and coat, quality digestion, as well as maintaining a fantastic ability to perform at their best physically.
And just like humans, a health dog will be able to fend off nasty infections much better than a dog that isn’t receiving a well balanced diet. As owners, we want to guarantee our pets a long, quality lifestyle and so our best chances of achieving this are to provide the highest quality of food possible.
The best quality food for dogs are those that contain human-grade ingredients, including Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Lower quality food on the other hand, is likely to contain sources of protein that us humans wouldn’t even think of consuming - including chicken beaks. Lower quality foods are also more likely to contain artificial ingredients, sugars and other unhealthy additives that will make their foods taste better, but have an overall negative impact on our pup’s health.
Our recommendation to our fellow dog owners is to check the label before purchasing your next bag of dog food - just as you would your own. Because for our pets to live a long happy life, it all starts with what enters their bodies. You are what you eat, after all. To see our preferred dog food providers, browse the pet food collection within our catalogue.