Monty Don reveals how his golden retriever Nigel helped him through the ‘black periods’ of depression

Monty Don said dogs can help with depression, crediting his golden retriever Nigel with getting him outside again after he suffered from “black periods”.

Monty Don

The Telegraph reports that speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the gardener described how looking after his pet forced him to think of something other than himself when he suffered with mental health issues.

“It’s no secret that for many years I’ve suffered from depression,” Don told the audience in Cheltenham.

“If you are unwell, physically or mentally a dog is a huge comfort. Dogs heal, there is plenty of evidence to show that.”

Don has previously talked about how he suffers from Seasonal Disfunction Disorder and the different methods – including Prozac and cognitive behavioural therapy – he has tried.

But spending time outdoors with his pet, he said, has been “incredibly” beneficial.

He said: “A dog is an incredibly good way of getting you through the black periods because they love you all the same when you are feeling very unloveable. This is partly because they have to go for a walk and they have to be fed.

“Having a dog stops you thinking about this person you don’t like very much.”

Nigel, an eight-year-old golden retriever, has become something of a star on BBC2’s Gardeners’ World.

He even has his own Twitter account, describing him as the “lead presenter” on the gardening program with Don as the “faithful assistant”.

A relatively recent addition to the Don household is one-year-old Nellie, also a golden retriever, who Monty describes as “mischievous”. “One of the things I’ve learned an awful lot about,” says Monty, “is about how dogs read humans.

“They can sense when you’re sad, they can sense when you’re struggling but pretending not to struggle.”

Having a dog is also about love and comfort, the gardener added.

“Nigel taps into a desire for order and domestic safety. When you see him, there’s a sense some things are true and honest and decent and that some kinds of love are uncomplicated.

“The more confused the times, the more we need these basic things.”

Monty Don’s poem for Nellie:

There was a dog called Nellie

Who chewed on Monty’s Wellie

She bit straight through & Monty turned blue

Now he’s only got one for the Telly


(Story source: The Telegraph)

Dinky donkeys: All about miniature donkeys for potential owners

If you are contemplating owning a miniature donkey, once you see these delightful creatures, you will instantly fall in love, as will any children you may have. They are cute and loving, but like all animals, only take them on if you have time to properly care for them.

Mini DonkeysThey are quite hardy, but the basic husbandry involved in caring for any four-legged friend, remains the same. They really should be kept as pets and not as showpieces, but it is more than acceptable for them to be popular at a child’s birthday party or similar event.

Most UK miniature donkeys have originated from the Mediterranean region, particularly the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Historically, they were used for pulling stones around a mill to grind grain for peasant families. Their history can be traced in art and wood block images depicted on the islands, but very few miniatures remain there now, and breeding is all but extinct.

Imports from the United States have made miniature donkeys increasingly popular in the UK, and there are now several respected breeding farms.

Terminology

A quick run through of terms used for miniature donkeys (and donkeys in general):

A female donkey: Jenny

A male donkey: Jack (expected to be a frequent herd-sire)

Baby donkey (until weaning): Foal

Castrated Male donkey: Gelding

Separated early from mother: Weanling (4 months to 1 year)

Donkey between 1-2 years: Yearling

These terms are like those for horses, except for Jack and Jenny.

Physical Stature

At birth, the foals are around 45-63 cm/18-25 inches in height and weigh between 8.5-11.3 kg/19-25 lb. A ‘jenny’ or female will have a gestation period of 11 to 13 months, so caution is needed during the final stages, as you are not quite sure when the new born will arrive!

When mature, you can expect them to reach a height of 8186 cm/32-34 inches at the withers. In order to be registered, they must be less than 91 cm/36 inches high. Any ‘jennys’ under 76 cm/30 inches high will struggle to give birth which could be fatal for them, so bare this in mind if you intend for your jenny to have babies.

Expect your miniature to reach at least 113 kg/250 lb in weight, but they can be as much as 159 kg/350 lb at maturity.

The life expectancy for miniatures is 25-35 years old, but it can be even longer. As respected breeders will not normally sell you their young until they have reached maturity (3 years old), you will still have plenty more joyful years with your pet.

Please be aware that you should never contemplate breeding a Jenny under the age of 3 as they are neither mentally or physically up to it, and this would potentially be a danger to their health.

Colouration

Donkeys come in a variety of colours with different shades of black, brown and red. There is also another standard colour of grey-dun, which is commonly seen in all breeds of donkey. They can also have bodies that are a solid colour but with a white blaze on their face (masked spotting factor) or no white markings on the belly, muzzle, inside the ears or around the eyes (no light points). All these colours are very attractive, particularly when their coats get a little long.

Feeding

In terms of food, nothing could be easier, if you have a decent pasture area with good quality grass. If you feed hay, this must again be of good quality. Always monitor the amount of food you give them, just like you would with other pets. Foals and Jennys who are pregnant can also do with a grain such as oats for more vitamins and minerals.

A constant supply of fresh water in pastures, stalls or stables is essential. When you buy from a respected breeder, they should supply you with feeding information anyway, and any recommended supplements that your miniature may need. They will also provide you with vaccination information, and a list of any specialist donkey veterinarians.

Worming

They do need to be wormed, but vets seem to have different opinions on the frequency of this activity. There have been known cases of over-worming, and consequently, the miniatures (and other donkeys) have started to develop resistance to certain de-wormers. Some specialist vets are recommending inspecting samples of faeces to establish whether and when it is necessary to worm. Unpleasant as it sounds, it’s a better solution than too many drugs.

Taking care of their hooves

Like any other equine, their hooves need regular attention and should never be allowed to get into bad condition. You may have seen the TV adverts of donkeys in the Middle East whose hooves have turned up like Turkish slippers. Trimming is needed at least three times a year, so before buying your new pet, ensure that you have details of a farrier nearby and keep in touch with him.

Tips on buying

If you don’t intend to breed, a gelding is your best bet, as they have been castrated. They are charming, gentle and fun to have around, a perfect pet for your children. They will also be your cheapest option, as opposed to Jennys or weanling Jacks.

Whatever you do decide, it is worth remembering that to get the best out of your miniature is to give them a companion. Being sociable animals, they like to have ‘buddies’ whether its one or two others, which makes them very happy and they will thrive in this environment.

Most combinations will work well, with one proviso – never keep an intact Jack with a breedable Jenny. Natural animal lust will generally take over!

These animals are truly adorable to look at and keep, so look after them.

 

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

 

Globetrotting dogs: This pooch lives the best life after avoiding a death sentence in an animal shelter

Chihuahua Jonathan Warren has an Instagram profile worthy of any travel blogger.

GlobetrotterAdorable dog ‘Jonathan Warren’ is without a doubt living his very best life.

His holiday snaps from around the world have earned him an army of fans. But things could have been very different for the six-year-old Chihuahua.

He was on doggy death row in an animal shelter in Georgia, America, when he was adopted by his smitten owners, Amanda Klecker, 31, and husband Jeremy Simon, 37.

Jonathan has now visited France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg – posing for a series of Instagram-worthy snaps along the way.

Marketing director Amanda, from New York, US, said: “I travel a lot with work and now only fly with airlines that allow dogs in cabin as Jonathan loves the window seat. He loves being on planes, trains, and in cars. He likes to cuddle up in his bag or on our laps, and just hang out with us.”

“He has never had an accident or shown the need to go to the bathroom while he’s on the flight, I think he just knows the drill and likes to kick back and relax while we’re in the air. We love bringing him to Europe because everywhere is so dog-friendly, he gets to experience everything with us from dining out or sunbathing on a rooftop pool.”

“We want to show him the world, not just because he was once destined to only see the inside of a cage, but because we know sharing his adventures can help eliminate the negative stigma surrounding shelter animals and help shed a positive light on adoptable pets.”

The couple now won’t go on holiday unless Jonathan can come with them. Amanda said: “We both love taking Jonathan on holiday with us and he loves it too, when he sees our suitcases, he sulks until he sees his and then he gets excited.”

“He prances around, and this makes us more excited for the trip. We could never leave him behind knowing how much he enjoys his holidays, it’s so important to us to take him with us.”

Boasting an impressive 16k followers his Instagram page @jonathanwarrenofficial – the tiny dog was adopted when he was 12 months old.

Amanda said: “I first saw him at a dog shelter in Connecticut and I instantly fell in love. I could see all his ribs and the bones in his spine, and his long thin legs looked even longer by comparison of his tiny body. But I still thought he was the most handsome little man and fell in love immediately.”

“His name in the shelter was Johnny but I could tell right away that he was more of a Jonathan as he is very prim and proper. He crosses his legs and gives you the look with his eyes and you know he is judging you.”

“At one point, he was going to be a dog who has only ever seen a cage and then die but now he is living the dream. He instantly adapted to the high life on the Upper East Side in Manhattan – he was meant to be here.”

And could this pooch be the world’s most travelled dog?

Miami the Chihuahua lives the high life as he documents his globetrotting adventures with Roman centurions and swimsuit-clad girls on Instagram.

Taking the world by storm is Miami the adorable chihuahua, who documents his globetrotting adventures for his fans on Instagram. From having breakfast in Times Square to being adored by swimming-suit clad girls on the beach in Italy, the posing pooch loves nothing more than to explore new places with his owners.

Being only a small canine, many of the attractions tower over his pint-sized frame, but that hasn’t put off Miami from posing next to famous sights such as the Grand Canyon and the Golden Gate Bridge for his Instagram page. Donning accessories in his trademark colour red, three-year-old Miami is always dressed for the occasion, whether that involves a snug coat for the airport or a studded collar for a yacht.

Miami is a very unusual chihuahua cause he’s so sweet and friendly with everyone,’ his owner Marianna Chiaraluce said.

“He loves Kimpton Hotels as they offer the best pets treatment ever.” The lucky pooch is often treated to luxury venues as his owners work in the hospitality business.

One of his latest holidays was to white-washed Santorini, where he enjoyed breakfasts overlooking the sea and watching the sun set with his family by a pool.

When he is not living a privileged hotel life, Miami enjoys simple pleasures in his hometown of Cattolica, near Rimini on the Italian Adriatic Riviera. Since his Instagram page was launched, he has visited 15 U.S. states and numerous countries in Europe and always accompanies Marianna on all her travels.

“Unfortunately the only adventure that he missed was the UK,” she said. “I took some postcards of little Miami with me to take pictures in London.”

“Miami was so unhappy.” Marianna adopted Miami from a small dog-breeding kennel in Rome. “The pup was already seven months old and unsuitable for canine competitions for a minor health issue,” she said.

“This made me love him even more: his name was perfect, and in his world of pure bred chihuahuas he was the unlucky one, so we adopted him.”

Thankfully his health has not stopped him from seeing the world and the next country to be ticked off Miami’s bucket list is Istanbul, although Marianna hopes that he will one day visit London.

(Article source: Various)

Paws for thought: What sort of things do dogs think about?

Dogs and humans are very closely connected as species, with a long history of symbiotically living together to enhance the chances of survival of both species.

Thinking DogIt is fair to say that dogs and humans know each other very well as we have evolved together for so long, and domestic dogs actually moderate their own behaviours and key methods of communication in order to be more easily understood by us as humans.

However, we often misinterpret the things our dogs are trying to tell us and sometimes wonder what our dogs are thinking when they do certain things that make little sense to us as people – and this can naturally lead to wondering what dogs think about in general, what goes through their heads, and how they view and interpret the parameters of their day to day lives.

Whilst there is a limit to how well we can understand what is going on in the mind of any dog (or person) and you are unlikely to be able to pinpoint what your dog is daydreaming about if they appear to be thinking hard about something, we do at least have a basic understanding about the types of things that occupy our dogs’ minds.

If you have ever wondered what sort of things dogs think about, this article is for you. Read on to learn more about what dogs are thinking, and what type of thoughts occupy their minds.

Food

Dogs as a whole are very food-oriented animals, which can be both an advantage – because food can make training easier, or help your dog to swallow a pill – and a disadvantage, because most dogs are very undiscerning about what they eat!

The canine obsession with food and ability to eat well beyond the point of satiety is an evolutionary drive that helps dogs to weather leaner periods by eating when the opportunity arises in expectation of harder times to come. This means that one of the things that dogs think about a lot is food – what they like, what they have tasted recently, what might be next on the menu, and when their next meal will be served.

People

Dogs love people and form strong bonds with them, and they also think about people a lot too, perhaps as much as if not more than they think about food.

Scientific research on dogs, bonding and emotions has determined that when a dog scents or sees a favourite person, the reward centres of their brains are activated, generating feelgood emotions that correlate with the dog’s views on the person in question.

Because dogs view people as positive things in their life particularly when it comes to individual people that the dog loves – they tend to think about people a lot, and will probably miss you when you are out for longer than normal, or if you go away for a while.

Processing facial features

Dogs use their scenting abilities to assist with recognition, and scent is often the first cue that a dog picks up to provide them with information about a person.

However, dogs are also very good at recognising human faces, telling different faces apart, and interpreting facial expressions too.

Dogs can recognise people that they know well by their facial features, and this finding has even been replicated with pictures and videos of people, which reinforces the claim that this recognition is not based on scent alone.

Additionally, dogs can also pick up on similarities between the facial features of people who are closely related – so if you look a lot like one of your siblings, you might find that your dog takes to them quickly from the first time they meet them!

Your dog’s dreaming mind

Dogs have dreams, as do humans and other mammals too, and dreaming is an essential part of a full sleep cycle and something that your dog undergoes every night.

Most of us have seen our dogs twitching or moving around in their sleep clearly in the middle of a very detailed dream, and some dogs even make running or scrabbling motions with their paws when dreaming too, which indicates that they are dreaming about chasing something or running around!

Like human dreams, dogs don’t tend to have a huge degree of control over what they dream about or why, but dogs are likely to live rich, detailed dream-scapes that integrate snippets of the familiar and reassuring with the confusing and unsettling – such as meeting another dog that proves to be unfriendly.

If your dog is in the middle of a dream, try not to wake them even if they are having a nightmare. This interrupts the dog’s sleep cycle and has an impact on how rested they will feel, so a dreaming dog is best left to their own devices and not interrupted!

 

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Street Paws: ‘I wanted to help homeless people & their pets, so this is what i did’

Last year, the number of homeless people in the UK grew and according to the charity Shelter, it’s growing fastest in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and north-west England.

street pawsSpiralling rents, job cuts and rising everyday costs mean that Shelter’s figures serve as a reminder that life is fragile. The status quo is fragile. Sometimes it only takes one card to fall for the whole house to collapse.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen a growing movement of people taking to the streets across the UK to help homeless people care for their pets, their closest companions. Michelle Southern is one of them. After working in a veterinary practice, Michelle founded Street Paws in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2016 after working with a soup kitchen. Now, her organisation hosts monthly outreach sessions across some of the hardest hit areas in the UK. She tells us what drove her to help.

The birth of Street Paws

“I was working with a local group in Newcastle who runs a soup kitchen for a few months when I saw a dog at the outreach. I saw that the people were being cared for but there didn’t seem to be anything for the dogs’ care. The dog looked very well cared for but I suspected that he got little or no veterinary care. I was working at that time as a Practice Manager in a vets so I thought that I would see if I could get a vet to come out with me to see the dog. We went out as a team of three the following week.”

Soup kitchens are central to what Street Paws does, providing a trusted and known base to work from to meet up with homeless people and their pets. Over the last few years, Michelle has seen just how needed outlets like this are.

“Working with the homeless community for nearly three years it’s sad to see such a huge increase in rough sleeping right across the UK.” The soup kitchens are seeing record numbers of people weekly as not only homeless people access their service. “Many people are needing to seek help for food because of benefit issues, poor wages and simply struggling to pay their way. I have met people who are working full time yet are sleeping in their cars as they are homeless. The major barrier to our homeless clients with pets is that they simply cannot access hostels, shelters and accommodation because they have a pet.”

Combating ‘no dogs’ policies in hostels

The UK experienced some extreme temperatures last year and because many hostels operate a ‘no dogs’ policy, homeless dog owners had no choice but to sleep on the streets. Michelle tells us this shaped a new initiative to help homeless pet owners get out of the cold.

“Last March during the Beast from the East we met many rough sleepers who had no choice but to sleep out in sub-zero temperatures as they couldn’t get into a hostel because of their dog. Street Paws now works alongside a local dog home in Newcastle and Manchester to provide temporary kennel space for the animals in Street Paws care.”

Dogs provide the ultimate companionship and loyalty to their owners, regardless of where they call ‘home’. Michelle explains the initiative, working alongside dog homes has expanded to give peace of mind to homeless people who own pets but need medical care themselves without fear of losing their dog.

“We use this service during winter for respite, and when the owner needs to access medical care themselves. We hope over time to roll this out across all our outreach areas. In Leeds, we are working with a very proactive hostel which is installing dog kennels into their grounds to accept rough sleepers with dogs to access their service. We have worked together for the past six months from planning to installation and the kennels will be in place from late January 2019. Street Paws will support the kennels with veterinary care and the staff with canine first aid and dog behaviour training.”

Special stories

Over the last few years, Michelle tells us she’s been involved in caring for many animals, including a ferret named Clyde at the first Street Paw outreach in Newcastle back in 2016. She shared a few memorable stories with us.

‘Asbo’ in York

“Stuart was rough sleeping when we first met in 2017 with his lovely best friend, Asbo. Asbo was very fit and well, but we were able to help them by providing vaccinations and preventative treatments.” Stuart remains a friend of the York outreach team and is now in a supported living arrangement with his beloved dog, who is now a bit of a local celebrity as he appears on our charity calendar and mugs.

‘Kiki’ in Leeds (pictured)

“Kiki is a popular dog in Leeds and has a special place in my heart, she is often found sporting the latest fashions and I particularly love her duck hat. Her mum keeps her warm with lots of layers. She hears our volunteer trolley coming along the street and gets very excited to see us, she’s such a lovely dog.”

‘Pepper’ in Manchester

“Pepper and his dad are in Manchester and again he is a social media star of the charity. He’s a lovely dog who often has sore feet which the vet team are able to monitor and support when necessary to make him comfortable.”

Michelle wants Street Paws to continue to grow, expanding into more areas across the UK to reach out to every animal in need. She plans to expand their services to enable anyone who is rough sleeping to access vet care, accommodation and medical care for themselves without fear of losing their dog.

(Article source: K9)

Make a splash! Watersports for you and your dog to enjoy

Everyone knows about taking your dog to the seaside. Most dogs love it, even if a few won’t go anywhere near that ‘terrifying enormous cold blue thing’. However, the opinions of non-dog-owning beach-goers are very sharply divided!

Diving Dog

Some are happy to see animals enjoying themselves in the
sunshine, and others are concerned about less conscientious pet owners allowing the beach to be fouled. Many beaches in this day and age now clearly mark whether they are ‘dog friendly’ or not, or whether they have specific areas where you can take your dog and participate in some fun.

So, what is a dog owner to do? It’s not exactly seaside weather right now in the UK, but the summer months aren’t far away and by all reports they are going to be getting steadily hotter year on year. What shall we do to get our pets some exercise and enjoy some time in (or at least near) the water?

Well, there are a surprisingly large number of specifically dog friendly beaches, water parks and other splashy attractions opening. Better still for those of us in the more landlocked counties, some of these parks are many miles from the seaside. Watersports with your best friend can be stimulating for both of you, so get afloat.

So what sorts of dog-orientated water sports are popular today?

Here are just a few of the more organised canine water sports events popular all over the UK – again, mostly in the summer but depending on whether you care about the weather – most canines don’t!

Dock Diving

Call it Dock Diving, Dock Jumping or the more formal Canine Aqua Sport title, it is all the same – dogs running down a pier at full speed and joyfully leaping into deep water. Many organisations run regular competitions every summer, where dogs can run down a purpose-built deck into a large swimming pool or body of water, depending on the location. Participants compete for jump distance, jump height and sprint speed.

Water Retrieval

Or, as it’s called at home, throwing a stick into the water for your dog to fetch. This is a classic, and really wouldn’t need a special entry, except there are now organisations that run competitions, typically based on which dog swims out and retrieves the stick or other item the fastest. Closely related Dog Diving involves retrieving weighted toys for the bottom of a pool or body of water.

Surfing

Surfboards designed for dogs are widely available, as well as lifejackets and a range of other necessary equipment to keep your dog safe. It is a good idea to get your dog a bit of professional training before you attempt this, and of course this is only possible for dogs who are quite string swimmers.

Paddle boarding

If Rover isn’t quite up to surfing yet (if you’re not sure, he probably isn’t), paddle boarding can be a good way to start. It will teach the animal how to balance on the board and can make for a very tranquil afternoon in any lake without actual ‘surf’ to surf.

Dog Day Afternoons

Fun in the sun with like-minded individuals and dogs who like the company of other canines, makes these events a sociable time. Dog Aqua Centres have a ‘free for all’ afternoon, when adults and dogs can all join in together, if you enjoy that kind of entertainment.

And where can I take my dog to try these things out?

Well, there are a wide (and growing) range of indoor and outdoor dog water sports sites and venues, and the ones in your area are just a Google search away. We can give you a few good examples of dog friendly public beaches, though:

The Dog Pond at Hampstead Heath, London

Right in the heart of metropolitan London sits beautiful Hampstead Heath – and a dog pond dedicated to our 4-legged friends. Fair warning, though, the attached woodland is massive (especially for a Londoner) and you could conceivably become lost. This makes it an excellent choice for a day out with the dog(s) even when it’s a bit too brisk for a swim. Better still, quite a few dog-friendly pubs, restaurants and other attractions have arisen over the years to cater to the dog-pond crowd.

Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk

Not only did a pub in this spot win ‘Best Café/Restaurant’ in the Kennel Club’s Be Friendly Dog Awards for 2015, most of this stretch of prime seaside is particularly dog-friendly. The pub itself welcomes dogs, of course, and features something that strangely enough many seaside establishments don’t have – a dog wash booth to get all the sea water, sand and other detritus off your happy pooch after a frolic. It keeps both the pub and your car clean!

Neither of these anywhere near you? Fear not! Dog-friendly water sports and events are becoming more common every year. Search online, and you’re sure to find something near you!

One thing we really do have to stress is safety, though. It is just like the seaside – if you dog is a poor swimmer, please don’t take them dock jumping, dog diving, or any similar activities. It just isn’t safe, and it isn’t going to be much fun – for either of you!

Each facility will have their own safety guidance, and you should read this very carefully before participating.

A word of advice

It is risky to take certain categories of dogs into a body of water. Brachycephalic dogs (flat faced, short nosed) such as pugs or bulldogs may struggle with water and swimming, and in fact it could be dangerous for them in terms of breathing and taking in water. If you are unsure, check with your vet before taking a chance.

Some dogs also suffer from skin conditions which could be exacerbated by salt water or chlorine in pools. Again, take precautions and if you do decide to take them swimming, ensure that salt water or chemicals in swimming pools are washed off their skin and fur after they participate.

 (Article source: Pets 4 Homes) 

Doggie diet: Can I make a homecooked diet for my dog?

There are literally hundreds of diets available for dogs on the market, supermarket shelves are packed with different types including hypoallergenic, grain free, breed specific, raw, premium foods and cheaper varieties.

Doggie DietIt is no wonder that many people ask whether a home-cooked diet for their dog is possible and whether it can work out cheaper. This article looks into the possibility of having this type of diet available for your dog – along with the pros and cons of it.

So, is it a straight yes or no?

It is yes; however, it is not easy! It is possible to make a healthy and nutritious diet at home for your dog, but it does have limitations and drawbacks. One example is by feeding just raw meat along with bones – this in itself is a very hot topic but putting that aside, if you just fed your dog this diet, there is a possible problem with them missing out on some nutrients.

It’s not because they should be fed processed food, the choice of diet is up to you, but they are domesticated and adapted to eat other natural products such as roots and berries. In fact, they would eat whole parts of animals in the wild, not just the cuts that we can get in the raw variety from suppliers.

So surely, they can eat human food, just like us?

That would make life much simpler, and for a large part it is true they can – but again this has chemical imbalance and safety implications. Whereas our digestive system is much the same as theirs, our metabolic and nutritional values are vastly different. The two biggest differences from humans are their requirements for protein and fibre.

Another major consideration to take into account is whether our human food could be poisonous to our dogs. One of the most common poisons known about is chocolate, but the list below of foods are also toxic to dogs – and the list is not exhaustive, there are others as well.

Common foods that are toxic to dogs:

Grapes, Peanuts, Raisins, Onions, Garlic, Coffee, Macadamia nuts, Chives, Leeks.

You will see from above that many of these foodstuffs belong to the same family – so the message is if one type is poisonous, there is a very likely chance that another type of food can also be toxic.

So, if I am to cook home-made diets, what does my dog need in it?

Every animal – and that includes us, needs to have a diet that consists of the correct amount and balance of:

Energy, Proteins, Fats, Fibre, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Minerals.

Let’s take a look at these in more detail and why the diet you feed your dog needs these as essential parts of the formula.

Energy

This is in the form of calories and is a fine line between giving too much and too little. Predominantly dogs get calories from the proteins, fats, and the carbohydrates in their diet.

Which calories and energy they use will be dependent on the complete energy contained in the food. For example, if you give them a large amount, it may not be used fully, and they will store it as fat and put on weight. On the other hand, if they are not given enough energy/calories they will have marked weight loss and eventually could starve.

A common question is how much energy and calories they need – however this varies for each individual dog and factors such as their activity, their age and the stage of life that they are at, are they a puppy, are they pregnant? These factors all contribute to the correct amount of energy and calories that your dog needs to intake every day.

Proteins

These are very important for dogs and need to be got right. An average dog in their adult years, on a healthy diet should have at least 18% protein in their food. Puppies, as you would expect with their growth rate, need slightly more, at least 22% and this is the same for pregnant bitches as well. With proteins there lies a problem – not all proteins are good when it comes to quality.

Many protein sources are different, but they need the best ratio of amino acids to be a real quality protein. This means that in the most common protein sources, such as peas, beans, dairy products, and meat, the quality of the protein can be vastly different. Plant-based foods tend to have a much lower quality of protein than animal-based foods.

One of the requirements in a dog diet is the amino acid called taurine – in fact, dogs have an extra special requirement for it, and the levels in their food need to be high on the scale. It is commonly added to commercial dog food, in a sufficient quantity to ensure the dog gets enough intake. Without this amino acid, the dog could start to suffer heart problems called cardiomyopathy.

The use of animal-based products for protein in dog food is so much easier with the quality of meat products, that this is the main reason it is difficult to produce a healthy vegan diet for them.

Fats

Both fats and oils are needed to provide calories to your dog, it is also one of the main reasons a dog will eat its food – if there is not enough fat in it, it can be very unpalatable. Fats can also provide essential vitamins for your dog such as:

Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K.

These are all required to help keep your dog’s hormone production, immune system, healthy skin, coat, and general health the best it can be. It is thought that fats are the better provider of energy over carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates which include starch and sugars are only in diets to provide energy, dogs really don’t need these at all, except for pregnancy and whelping when a large amount (a minimum of around quarter of the ingredient) should be used to help feed the puppies.

Fibre

Dogs do not need fibre in their diet (unlike humans), although these are often added to commercial foods and may be of some benefit, but very little.

Vitamins and minerals

Unlike their human owners, dogs can make vitamins C, but generally, their requirements for vitamins and minerals is much like ours.

So, the bottom line is, yes you can feed your dog a home-made diet, but you should speak with a fully qualified nutritionist, as it does need forward planning and making sure that all the requirements are met – otherwise your dog may become ill.

 

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Incredible moment shirtless New York man, 45, and his golden retriever dive into a frozen lake to rescue two stranded dogs who fell into icy water.

Timofey Yuriev, of Irvington, and his pet pooch were captured on camera courageously breaking through the ice to reach the two other pups, who were each separately trapped.

Lake RescueThe Daily Mail reports that videos posted to Facebook by Yuriev’s wife, Melissa Kho, show Timofey, 45, and Kira wading out at the O’Hara nature centre on Saturday.

Kira even seems to push the other dogs in the right direction as they lead them to safety. The pair clear a path in the water and gradually make their way back to shore.

She wrote: ‘Just witnessed something amazing: My hubby (and pup) rescuing two dogs trapped in the ice.

‘We were walking around the lake and two dogs belonging to another owner had come down to the lake on the other end and started to cross it and then fell in when the ice gave way.

‘We thought they might swim out but realized they couldn’t and were just paddling in place and had stopped trying to get out. So we went over and Tim jumped in.’

Timofey, who grew up in Kazakhstan and learned to swim in Siberia, told WABC-TV: ‘When I did the breathing technique everything felt nice. I felt a bit light-headed and I went for the second dog.

He said his grandfather taught him to swim in ice when he was just seven-years-old and he has also tried freediving without the help of breathing equipment.

Yuriev told The Journal News/lohud Today: ‘When I saw the first dog, I just got undressed and went inside (the reservoir) immediately.

‘It was pretty dangerous. They got stuck. They tried to come out and after a while, they just stopped moving. I saw they were in trouble. There was no other way.

‘I looked at the ice and I understood that either I can climb on the ice, but it’s probably not going to support my weight, so I had to go in and just try to break it.’

He added: ‘Because I’m a free-diver, and I was exposed to the cold water before when I lived in Siberia in Russia, then I knew that I could probably even swim under the ice and just grab the dog and bring it back. Not a big deal.

‘So I just started working my way through.’

He said the owner of the two dogs was crying following the rescue, adding: ‘First she tried to stop me. She was so thankful.’

 

(Story source: Daily Mail)

Holidays on hold and uncertainty over pets as Brexit confusion continues

Confusion around Brexit has left holidaymakers and their pets in limbo as uncertainty about costs of future EU trips continues.

BrexitSky News reports that as the outcome of Brexit remains unknown, people in Derby are putting holidays on hold as they wait to understand what they might need when travelling to the European Union.

Like thousands of other families hoping to go away during the Easter break, Colleen has pressed pause on her plans.

She usually drives with her husband from Derby to France six or seven times a year but this will be the first Easter in more than a decade when they will be staying at home – at least until they know the outcome of the votes in Parliament this week.

“As yet I haven’t booked anything, I daren’t,” she told Sky News. “I want to see what is going to happen this week with all the voting that’s going on. I’m just concerned that if we book somewhere, we will be involved in long queues and I’m worried if we crash out without a deal.”

Colleen says the uncertainty and bureaucracy has made her regular travel much more stressful.
“We are on pause at the moment,” she said. “We don’t know if we have insurance once we reach our destination.” “It’s been so easy in the past, now with all this bureaucracy its like going back to the 1970s.”

If you are intending on travelling to the EU, there is a long check list of things to be done in preparation:

• Travel Insurance – UK citizens may no longer be entitled to free health care using their European health insurance cards, or EHICs.

• Driving – UK drivers will need to obtain an international licence from the Post Office as the current UK during licence might not be valid.

• Car Insurance – drivers will also need to get a green card from their car insurance company to prove they are covered to drive on European roads. This needs to be done a month before leaving the UK.

• Flight delays – Flights shouldn’t be affected as both the EU and UK governments have said they will allow airlines to fly as normal, but delays cannot be ruled out.

• Passports – UK travellers will need to have at least six months left on their passport before they go away.

• Pets – travel to the EU gets trickier if you are taking the whole family. If we leave without a deal, a pet dog, cat or ferret will need to be microchipped and have a vaccination against rabies, which will then require a follow up blood test. This whole process needs at least four months to complete.

Jane Renshaw has booked a holiday to Spain in the next couple of weeks and intends on taking her two-year-old cockapoo, Boo.

She has made the journey by car a few times before but this time round says it’s been much harder to organise.

She said: “It’s been quite stressful as we didn’t really think about it when we booked the holiday and then realised we needed four months in order to get the rabies injection and blood test.

“It’s quite a costly thing, it’s cost me £200, just in case we leave without a deal. It was something I couldn’t just wait for, or we wouldn’t have a holiday.”

The Alfreton Park Veterinary hospital said it’s been inundated with questions from pet owners unsure of what they need to travel.

Vet Nick Pine, said: “We had a lot of people coming to us and also we have been informing people. Many people hadn’t even thought about it. We have seen a lot of people horrified.”

Holiday-makers face even more uncertainty now.

As Theresa May’s deal has been rejected, again, the chance of an orderly transition period – where nothing would change – has diminished.

With no deal, and no transition period, holiday-makers will face a long check list of documentation and permits needed to go on holiday.

If the UK crashes out of the EU on 29 March there could be a long check list of documentation and permits needed to go on holiday.

One silver lining of this scenario, however, could be the return of duty free sales at airports and on ferries when travelling to the EU, which would make spirits, tobacco and other items cheaper and perhaps even bring a welcome boost to UK tourism.

 

(Story source: Sky News)

Ruff love! Father trains his pet dog to ‘supervise’ his daughter as she does her homework to prevent her from looking at her phone

A father in south-west China has come up with a creative way to stop his daughter from getting distracted while doing her homework.

Homework DogThe Daily Mail reports that the man decided to train their pet mongrel to ‘supervise’ the school girl while she writes her homework at their home in Guiyang, Guizhou province as she wouldn’t stop looking at her phone.

Adorable footage shows the cream-coloured pooch standing on its hind legs, hovering strictly over the schoolgirl as she completes her assignments on a coffee table.

The father, surnamed Xu, told video news site Pear that his daughter would always procrastinate and struggled to focus.

The dog joined the family in December 2016 when he was only a puppy and grew up with the girl, Mr Xu said.

‘It’s very well-behaved,’ he said. ‘I have been training it since it was young and now it does whatever I tell it to do.’

‘I pointed at the coffee table and told it to watch my daughter as she does her homework,’ he added. ‘It would then guard her and make sure she doesn’t reach for her phone.’

In the footage, the diligent dog is seen staring intently at the girl like a strict teacher. Another clips shows another dog joining in on the ‘supervision crew’ and watching the schoolgirl.

‘Such a smart pup! No excuse for the student to be lazy now,’ one person commented. ‘Look at the hardworking dog doing a proper job, it’s not easy being a dog nowadays!’ another person commented.

(Story source: Daily Mail)