Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Snow day and Winter Care for Pets

We've got snow here today - I'm not sure how thick it is as I haven't been out, but at least an inch or two. By the time I go out the main roads won't be too bad, so I'd like to reassure all my clients that I will get out to all the dogs today!

Things may take longer - including the walks if we're having a lot of fun, but I will get round to everyone!

Winter Care

Young, elderly, ill or infirm dogs may need a coat when out of doors this winter. Wind can be particularly chilling. Short coated dogs may be fine on a walk, but standing still, such as at a training centre or while people chat or have coffee will feel the cold.

Dogs don't need more food in the winter unless they are kept out of doors, so don't be tempted to give extra food. Outdoor water bowls can ice over, and very cold water is not good for dogs. There is a danger of ice burns to the tongue if the bowl is metal and cold enough, or a ceramic bowl can crack. Float a ball in the water to help prevent icing over, bring the bowl in, or empty it on very cold nights.

It can be just as dangerous to leave a dog in a cold car as a hot one – make sure your dog is warm enough if you have to leave them for a short while.

Ice and hail usually lead to gritting lorries. The salt and other materials can irritate your dogs feet, so you may need to give them a wipe over when returning from a walk; try not to let your dogs lick their feet in case they ingest something that could make them ill.

Snow balls can form on long haired dogs. Even shorter haired breeds can gather these on their feet, and once they have formed they need to be left to melt (hairdryers can help if your dog will tolerate it). They are very painful for your dog to walk on, so if you spot them, take the dog home for a break. Vaseline between the toes, and keeping long fur trimmed can help. Leave some fur on, as is will help to protect their pads from frozen ground.

If we get heavy snowfall again this winter, watch out for snow on buildings or trees that might melt and fall – just as your dog is underneath. Check that the height of the snow in the garden doesn't open up an escape route for your dog.

Dogs, but in particular cats, have a great liking for anti-freeze due to its sweet taste. Keep it well away from your pets because it can be fatal.

Cats have a tendency to climb into warm places in winter, and this includes car engines. Please be aware and try to be sure where your cat is before you drive off.

Rabbits and guinea pigs are often left outside in the winter. Rabbits can deal with this as long as they are not in a draught or getting damp. For guinea pigs it’s pure misery! Bring your guinea pigs into a shed or unused garage, and give them, and rabbits, thick newspaper under the bedding to help insulate. Make sure they have plenty of extra bedding, changed more frequently as if it gets wet (either rain or urine), it will freeze. Bubble wrap is your furry friend’s Best Friend. Keep a spare water bottle to hand, and make sure to swap them over if one freezes. Don’t forget to spend time with your pets, even if it is cold and dark outside.

Chocolate and mistletoe are more in evidence at Christmas. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, although they may be able to tolerate a small amount of milk chocolate. Call the vet if you suspect they have been in the Quality Streets – cooking chocolate is much worse, so watch out when chocolate cakes are around. Mistletoe, and in particular the berries, are highly toxic, so make sure they are hung up carefully and can't be pulled down by the dogs. Watch out for fallen berries.

Older pets should have a soft bed with raised sides to protect them from draughts. Dogs can be very stoical so get down on the floor and see how their bed feels.

Arthritic pets may need slower, shorter walks. Not sure if your dog is sore? Do they lick the same spot a lot, are they slow to get out of bed, or stiff and perhaps a little grumpy if disturbed? Some limps are very subtle and may not be noticed. A trip to the vet could make your pet more comfortable.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Walk on the Wild Side

Today I have no clients dogs to walk, so I took mine out for some much needed Us Time. Bless them, they are the reason I do this job, but at very busy times they take a bit of a back seat attention-wise.

On my walks, every dog (and person) has a job. I'm the Boss, the Leader, Guide and Protector. I Find a Safe Path for us to travel. Each dog's main job is to Keep the Pack Together, but my dogs each have an extra job.

Fred is Point Man.
He roams ahead, keeping an eye out for danger. His state of continual alertness that can be so irritating while I'm trying to have a nice coffee and sit down halfway round is perfect for this job. His body language lets me know if he's seen another dog, another person, or something very New and Scary such as a cow, horse, signpost or gate. He's great at this job. Once danger is spotted, I take any appropriate action.

Scamp is our Scout.

He patrols along the sides, looking out for new or exciting routes that we might have missed, holes that need investigating, or hills that need to be looked over. Here he's checking out an alternative route. We didn't chose it in the end. I liked my route better.

Beauty is Rear Guard.

She follows along behind, although more usually at my side, and alerts me to anything approaching from the rear. Being a sighthound she's always watching out and as she really doesn't like any sort of confrontation this is the best place for her. She can tell me if something needs my attention, while at the same time being safe at my side.

It's my job to choose a Safe Path, and be Protector from the info the dogs bring me. They never make a decision, just feed me information to help me make a good choice.

New Girl!

Phoebe is my last new girl for a while, as I can't squeeze any more dogs onto my service at the moment. I now have 19 dogs that I look after on a weekly basis, add my 3 to that, and it's really enough for any dog walker to handle! Luckily I have my glamorous assistant Will to help out on the busiest days.

I have not yet had to care for all 19 (plus my 3) on the same day...

Don't Just Take my Word for it, Here's What the Clients Say...

Most of all I need someone that loves pets and is trustworthy, and that really came across from the first visit to completion. A professional, trustworthy and dedicated service, would definitely use again and recommend to others.

Don't Just Take my Word for it, Here's What the Clients Say...

Linda had very positive references and was very trustworthy whilst I was on holiday. My cat Min is very independent and it was important that she was able to stay in the environment she knows whilst having freedom outdoors when she wanted it. Linda was flexible to make this possible and on my return my cat was very healthy and happy.

Don't Just Take my Word for it, Here's What the Clients Say...

Baxter is better behaved in the evenings due to his activities during the day. A trustworthy, reliable walker, I would recommend Linda’s dog walking, my dog is much happier for it!

Don't Just Take my Word for it, Here's What the Clients Say...

Winston is better behaved and fitter. Linda is superb and genuinely cares about the animals.

Don't Just Take my Word for it, Here's What the Clients Say...

Charlie enjoys his long walks with other dogs, and we like the fact we can have a dog in the first place. Linda loves dogs so we know Charlie is well looked after.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Current Vacancies

Dog walking & puppy sitting

I have no vaccancies at the moment for new dogs to come onto my dog walking or puppy sitting service as I am completely full and I can't squash any more dogs in.

I hope to reopen my books in February or March.

Cat Sitting

Lots and lots of space for lovely cats - Christmas bookings being taken now!

Home Boarding

Christmas holiday, February half term, and the first three weeks in July are already fully booked. Other bookings are being taken from regulars now, no new dogs are being accepted until I return from India in February.

Dog & puppy training

Weekends only due to the early dark evenings. No residential training spaces available until February 2011.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

So Irritating!

Don't worry Jess, in a few hours you'll stop noticing it's even there!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Dog of the Month - October

Yes, nearly caught up!

Here's October, Bobby who has the most wonderful white coat - unless he's been out walking with me! So his award is for being a Very Good Boy while Aunty Linda baths and grooms him while he's boarding with me.

 Just after his bath, looking a bit damp.
 An hour later, sleek and shiney!
And just cos he looked so cute, as a tiny puppy!

Monday, 15 November 2010

New Girl!

Tilly the Norfolk Terrier. Typical terrier, verbals, wants to eat the dogs having a game of chase, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A Day in the Life of a Travel Kennel

I've been very busy lately, lots of lovely dogs to walk, and I know some of the other dog walkers are a bit surprised that I can be walking dogs from 8am until 5pm. So here we go - one day in the life of a travel kennel.

My 8am (ish) breakfast walk, way out. Bobbi, Wire Haired Fox Terrier

Breakfast walk, way back, Inky, Beagle, and Bobby, Maltese. Also on the morning walk are my three dogs, Scamp, Beauty and Fred.
After I drop the breakfast dogs off I take mine home and feed them, usually around 10am. Then it's time to go and see Jess, gorgeous Border Collie Puppy, she has two visits a day, time all to herself. Here she is in the kennel having some brunch.
Straight onto my lunchtime walk - here's Charlie, Portugeuse Water Dog, on the way out - he's still under 6 months so 3 times a week he has puppy visits like Jess, but it's good to get pups out with sensible adult dogs as well.

And Baxter, Beagle, with Bingley, Whippet, on the way home.
Also on the lunchtime walk on this particular day were Moses, Dexter, and Dilly, who didn't travel in this kennel but deserve a mention! When I have 6 at lunchtime I take my glamorous assistant Will with me (so far he has avoided the camera) to help out (I never walk more than 6 at a time).

After all the lunchtime dogs have gone home to sleep the afternoon away, I visit Jess again, before collecting Max for a walk on his own around half past two.
After Max enjoyed his walk I picked up Bobby again,
to join Pebbles and Honey, Spaniels, for a 4pm walk. My dogs came along for the walk as well, but we don't need any more pictures of my dogs!

After Pebbles and Honey I went home and collapsed! 4 walks and two puppy sits, a total of 13 dogs, 5 of them twice (does that count as 18?).

Other days I'll have less dogs on the walks, but anything between 2 and 5 puppy visits to do. Some days I even have cats to feed too!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Dog of the Month - September

Desperately late, I'm so sorry! We have Bingley for September.

During the school holidays I had an assistamt walking some of the dogs for me while I was so busy, and Bingley was one of them.

When I took back over in September I couldn't believe how happy I was to see Bingley again. I guess sometimes they get under our skin more than we think they do!

So Bingley is September's Dog of the Month simply because he's so cheerful and happy, and never fails to make me smile.

and some more pics!