Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Some dogs love rolling in the snow, while others are happy to sit out the cold weather in the comfort of a centrally heated house. For the snow-lovers, thick fur is definitely an asset. Breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, bred for life and hard work in cold climates, will have no problems at all with the average British winter.
Hardy breeds with thick coats, such as German shepherds, Poodles and Golden retrievers, will love their cold weather walks, too. Thin coated breeds such as Greyhounds and Whippets, and small dogs such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies need to be protected from the cold. Puppies, older dogs and ill dogs may need extra care in the winter, too.
Whatever the breed, never leave it outside in very cold weather, as even a hardy dog can succumb to the chill if its body temperature gets too low.
How do you know if it’s too cold for your dog?
You will soon be able to tell if your dog is feeling the cold, as it will simply tell you! Dogs will be reluctant to go on a walk, or will not be as active as usual during the walk, sitting down in a sheltered spot or walking much more slowly than usual. Cold dogs may become anxious, whining and walking by your side, looking at you pleadingly. Smaller dogs will begin to shiver very quickly in the cold, and even larger breeds may shiver after a while. If there is snow underfoot, a dog may limp if it feels uncomfortable with the ice in its toes.
It will not often come to this, though – certainly not in healthy dogs. They will do so much running that they will not feel the cold unless the snow itself becomes a problem in their fur or between their toes.
How cold is too cold for a dog?
Generally, 7°C (45°F) is a minimum temperature, at or above which all dogs will be comfortable. As the temperature dips towards 0°c (32°F), less hardy dogs will need to wear a dog sweater or coat. In extreme cold, all breeds other than those super-hardy Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds and Newfoundlands are in danger of becoming too cold.
How do you know if your dog needs a coat?
The question of whether it is too cold for your dog is largely down to breed, and is also influenced by the age and health of your pet.
Dogs with fine hair and/or thin body types (e.g. Greyhounds) will need to wear a coat outside when the temperature dips. If there is snow on the ground, small dogs and puppies will need a coat during walks or playtime in the park. Being small, they become cold quicker than larger dogs, and their undersides get cold quickly too, simply because their bellies are closer to the ground.
Older dogs and young puppies have relatively weak immune systems and can become ill if they get too cold. Old dogs with arthritis suffer in cold weather, too, and may even require a coat indoors during the winter to ease their sore joints.
Lighter-furred dogs may benefit from a dark coat to soak up a bit of winter sun heat. If the wind is strong and icy, a coat can make things much more comfortable for any breed (with the exception of the dogs bred for harsh conditions).
Even a hardy dog can become very uncomfortable in the snow, as their fur may accumulate the frozen stuff. Dogs will instinctively try to clear their snowed-up muzzles and heads by rubbing them on the ground – thus gathering even more snow! A dog’s toes can get iced up to, which is clearly uncomfortable for them.
The snow can be removed periodically during the walk (although it will sometimes form ice and cannot be immediately removed). A good thaw-out back home will cure the problem, though.
How to keep your dog warm throughout the winter
Knowing your own dog’s needs is key to knowing if the dog is too cold. Dogs do not need to be cosy-warm at all times, and you may have noticed how they will sometimes seek out a cool part of the floor to lie down on, especially when the central heating is switched on in the winter. It is a fact that overheating is, in general, more of an issue than feeling the cold.
Dark-furred breeds benefit from winter sun, being able to absorb what little heat there might be in the sun. Lighter colours reflect the light, and the heat too.
If your dog needs a coat in the cold, that’s a simple remedy against the winter chills. A cosy bed is important, too, to keep your dog warm at night.
Avoiding severe doggie haircuts in the winter is a good idea, as a drastic trim is not going to help in the battle against the cold!
How do I know if my dog is too cold at night?
As long as your dog has a soft bed to lie on, and as long as the room temperature remains above freezing, dogs are unlikely to get too cold. The dog will curl up and snuggle down, its own body heat sufficient for a good night’s sleep.
Making sure you have a dog bed that’s fit for purpose is important. It doesn’t come much cosier than a Topology bed – these can be raised off the ground, to improve ventilation and prevent the bed becoming too hot on a warm floor or too cold on a chilly one. They also have zip-on covers than can be changed easily if a defrosting dog soaks them.
A high quality dog blanket can help, too – especially if your dog has a kennel or crate outside. Your dog will snuggle under it, or push it aside, just as you might do with a quilt, helping to keep the perfect temperature throughout the night.
Note: only very hardy breeds can cope with an outdoor crate or kennel in the winter, even if it is fully weatherproofed.
What happens if dogs get too cold?
The main signs that your dog is too cold are shivering and whimpering. A dog who is shivering should be wrapped in a blanket and taken somewhere warm as soon as possible. That will usually do the trick.
If a frail or small dog is too cold, it can become ill. The cold lowers their immunity, giving diseases the chance to gain a foothold. If, during cold weather, your dog is constantly sneezing or has discharge from the eyes and/or nose, it could be a sign of dog cold or dog flu, canine influenza or other illnesses.
Dogs with hypothermia
Although highly unusual, it is possible for a dog to suffer hypothermia. This is when its body temperature has fallen from the normal range of around 38°C to 39°C (101°F to 102.5°F) to 37°C (99°F) or lower. Such a plummet in temperature can prove fatal, even if you manage to get your dog quickly back to a warm spot.
You can tell if your dog has hypothermia, or is in danger of succumbing, by watching how it behaves. The symptoms include lethargy or sleepiness, clumsy movements, stiff limbs or breathing difficulties.
Prevention is the only remedy here. Know your dog, know their physical limitations, and use your judgement to prevent putting the dog in an environment that might mean your dog is too cold and could thus lead to hypothermia.
Dogs with frost bite
Frostbite is another cold weather risk. In extreme cold, a warm-blooded animal’s body protects its vital organs, redirecting blood flow there. This means that extremities such as ears, noses, tails and paws are at risk of freezing. If any of those parts of the body is bright red or black, your dog could be suffering from frostbite and should be warmed up immediately.
If your dog’s ears, tail or tail feel ‘like ice’ when you hold them, it’s probably time to cut the walk short and head indoors.
In general, if you feel cold outside, in spite of your coat, hat and gloves, your dog will be feeling the cold pinch too. Common sense plays a big part when trying to tell if your dog is too cold in the winter, and an animal as intelligent as a dog will certainly let you know if the cold weather is making it feel uncomfortable.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Discover the new Topology Dog Bed from Omlet, with customisable toppers to suit your dog’s personality. Not sure which topper your dog will love best? Take the quiz below!
What kind of walk does your dog enjoy the most?
- Run, doggie, run! The further the better
- A gentle stroll around the park will be fine, thanks
- I’m only small. A short walk followed by snuggles please.
- A simple stroll around the neighbourhood for us!
- The muddier the better. A cold swim would be a bonus!
Which breed is your dog most like in personality?
- A dashing dalmatian
- A pampered poodle
- A snuggly pug
- A sleek saluki
- A water-loving spaniel
What would you find most useful in a bed?
- A bed that gives them a lot of support and allows them to rest fully
- A luxury material but that’s also easy to clean
- Something that creates a den-like environment
- A sleek and stylish bed that matches your home
- A practical bed that helps to clean and dry after dirty walks
Where is your dog’s favourite place to sleep?
- Somewhere squishy they can really bury into
- Only the softest of blankets, preferably by the fire
- In a cosy corner somewhere away from the noise
- Somewhere they can really stretch out and relax
- Anywhere they can dry themselves off and snuggle in
On a scale of 1 to fox poo, how clean is your dog?
- As long as there’s a big walk with a nap at the end, they don’t mind mud!
- Very clean, wouldn’t put a paw near a puddle
- I think they would rather stay fresh and clean in their den
- Clean, but loves a dash about in the park
- They LOVE mud. They LOVE swimming. Bring on the dirt!
What is your favorite colour palette within your home?
- I love a mustard yellow. The brighter the better.
- Creams and whites please.
- Cool, soft greys are perfect for my home
- Stylish mints and subtle greens really suit me
- Brown is great to cover muddy pawprints
Mostly A’s: Beanbag topper!
This super squishy beanbag moulds around your dog’s body for a sublime night’s sleep. The extra support is great for relaxing after a long walk, and the bright pop of mustard yellow looks stylish in any home! Plus, the beans inside can be easily removed to wash the cover.
Mostly B’s: Sheepskin topper!
The luxurious, super soft sheepskin topper in sophisticated white offers premium comfort to pampered pooches who desire the very best for bedtime. Don’t worry about fur and dirt, the sheepskin topper can be unzipped from the mattress and thrown in the washing machine!
Mostly C’s: Bolster topper!
The cushioned bolster topper is deep filled around the sides and designed to support your pet’s head, just like a pillow. This bolster shape also helps create a secure feeling of protection around your dog. The Bolster cushion can be removed from the cover for washing too!
Mostly D’s: Quilted topper!
Simple and sleek, the quilted topper is a great choice for dog’s who love to stretch out after a long day. The stylish, blue-grey hue fits nicely in all homes, and the super soft material on the memory foam mattress provides ultimate comfort. Easily unzip and clean in the washing machine.
Mostly E’s: Microfibre topper!
The microfibre topper is perfect for dogs who love long, muddy walks. Puddles aren’t a problem for your dog, and they’re not a problem for this topper either. The brown tassel design absorbs moisture from your dog’s fur and camouflages muddy paw prints. Simply unzip and throw in the washing machine ready for your next adventure!
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
With the holiday season winding down, it’s always a struggle to get back into a routine and avoid the winter blues. And that applies to pets as well as their owners.
By spending quality time with our pets and making the most of our friendship with them, we can all find the joy and energy to beat the blues.
Healthy food for pets
Animals often need more food in the winter months. This is because they spend a lot of energy on keeping warm, and they need the fuel to feed that energy (just like a boiler that needs to work harder to heat the house during cold snaps). Always give them the correct, high energy foods to get them through the cold spell.
Keeping moving is important all year round, but for dogs the winter walks may be shorter or less frequent than in the warmer months. Bear in mind that for a dog the need to exercise doesn’t change with the seasons – they’ll love sniffing through the snow every bit as much as they love chasing the scents of summer. If they have a space outside to run around in, this can help them let off steam before the next walk. You could try keeping a shorter walk interesting by taking it in a new location, or one you haven’t visited for a long time.
Exercise is important for all other pets, too. If you keep rabbits or guinea pigs outside, adding some excitement to their runs with a tunnel system adds hours of fun and exercise to those short winter days. Zippi runs for rabbits and guinea pigs are an ideal way of keeping these small pets content. You can add platforms, shelters and all kinds of twists and turns to keep them stimulated and happy.
Keep your pet’s brain active
By spending time with your pets, you can keep their minds active in various ways, depending on the pet. Talk to your pet birds; play with your dogs and cats; and give your hamsters, gerbils or other small mammals some stimulating new toys. Budgies, finches, canaries and parrots will enjoy getting to grips with a new bird toy, too. Nothing like a new cerebral challenge to beat the winter blues!
The toys will also help your pet entertain itself once everyone is back into their routines and the house is a falls quiet again after the holiday season.
It’s possible that your pet dog has been missing those trips to the park during the holidays and the cold weather. If you have a sociable dog, a trip to the park for a sniff around the old haunts and perhaps a meet-up with some old friends will give an added boost to the day. A doggy play date is another great way of combining socialising, fresh air and lots of moving around.
Keep your pets warm
In the average home in winter, some parts of the house or flat are warmer than others. Make sure your pet bird, hamster or gerbil isn’t in a cold or draughty corner, as a drop in temperature takes its toll on a small animal’s health and its ability to keep warm.
Extra bedding does the trick for rabbits and rodents. With cage birds, you need to keep a regular room temperature. You’ll notice when they’re cold, as they’ll fluff out their feathers and will be less active than usual to conserve energy. Covering the cages at night helps to retain heat.
A dog or cat is spoilt for choice when it comes to comfy corners and snug blankets. You can give your pet a real treat by ensuring maximum comfort with a Topology dog bed or Maya cat sofa bed. Cats and dogs that really feel the cold can be dressed in winter coats.
Rabbits and guinea pigs that live outdoors will need an insulated hutch to keep them snug during the winter. The Eglu rabbit hutch and the Eglu guinea pig hutch are the perfect choices here, as they keep your pets warm in the winter with a twin-walled insulation system, (and these hutches keep them cool in the summer too).
Keeping the indoor environment safe
When the winter winds and horizontal snow restricts you to the great indoors, you’ll need to keep the room warm, but not too dry. Spending all day in dry air can dry out an animal’s skin (and yours too). An open fire should always have a fireguard on it, and hot radiators and wood burning stoves need shielding from pets, too. Dogs and cats can easily scorch themselves by getting too close to the hot spot.
Keeping old dogs comfy
Cold weather has a tendency to make common conditions such as arthritis worse than usual. An older dog may need to take it easy for longer than usual after a run around in the park. Again, a super-comfy dog bed is what you need here, and some nice soft dog blankets.
Keeping yourself and your pets warm, active and healthy in the winter months is a surefire way to beat the winter blues!
This entry was posted in Dogs
Dogtor Adem, founder and owner of Dog-Ease, is a dog behaviourist and trainer with over 15 years experience working with dog owners and their canine best friends. In this blog post, Adem talks you through everything you need to know about dog hygiene, and shares his thoughts on the new, easy clean Topology dog bed from Omlet.
With the nights drawing in and the wetter weather becoming more frequent it’s always a struggle to keep the mess out of the house and the dog beds clean and smelling fresh (aux de dog, anyone?) So, when Omlet asked me to review their new Topology dog bed I couldn’t help but get a little excited! The bed features an extremely comfy memory foam mattress that sits raised from the floor on stylish legs (that you can choose to match your style of décor!), has a fully removable and washable cover, and can be ‘topped’ with several styles of zip off top covers that make it easy to keep clean and hygienic.
Firstly, let’s talk about dog hygiene and why it’s important.
Our dogs naturally try to keep themselves clean through the act of licking themselves. To help to keep themselves clean they also try to keep their beds clean and comfortable by ‘clearing the ground’ through digging and circling on their bed areas. In years gone by, when dogs were less domesticated, this was an important act and allowed them to clean and clear their bed area of uncomfortable vegetation, parasites and small creatures that could cause them harm. In fact, our dog’s wild ancestors such as wolves and wild dogs still very much display this type of behaviour. Clearly, in our homes, our dogs do not need to remove vegetation or small creatures from their bed areas before residing in them, however their dog beds if not washed can harbour other harmful organisms – bacteria and fungi. Studies have found bacteria and fungi such as MRSA, Salmonella, ringworm and listeria, as well as fecal matter, on our beloved dogs’ beds. Pollen can also be brought in, as well as general dirt and grime, which can aggravate allergies and skin conditions that both we and our dogs may have. It is also important to remember that bacteria and infectious diseases can be passed from animals to humans (these are known as zoonotic diseases). As a result, it is important for both our dog’s health and our own health that we regularly clean our dog’s body and bed area so that they are less likely to be carrying any harmful organisms that could make them or us unwell.
So, how can we keep our dog’s clean?
The key to keeping your dog clean is to regularly groom your dog. Whether you choose to do this yourself or perhaps book a professional to carry this out (or choose to combine both approaches!) It is a good idea to ensure that your dog is confident and finds being groomed and handled in this way a positive experience. This will not only make it easier to fully groom and fully clean your dog, it will also help to ensure that your dog enjoys the experience and does not become stressed or fearful. If your dog has never been groomed before, or perhaps already shows an aversion to be groomed, take your training for this slowly. Start with short sessions that simply introduce your dog to the type of items they might encounter or need to be touched with when being groomed. Think brushes, nail clippers, towels, and so on. It is a good idea to just allow your dog to observe these to begin with whilst you praise positive and confident behaviour around these objects with a tasty treat. Once your dog is confident around the chosen grooming objects you can then progress on to bringing them closer and perhaps interacting with and touching your dog with the grooming tools. Again, don’t forget to reward positive and confident behaviour as you do so. Continue with this approach slowly, building up your dog’s understanding and confidence, until you are able to fully handle and groom your dog as is needed. If your chosen method of cleaning your dog is a grooming parlour, you might also want to visit this location a few times prior to leaving your dog there. Remember to take your introduction of these items and to this new experience at your dog’s pace and don’t be afraid to go back a step if needed.
What actions can we teach to help make cleaning our dog easier?
In order to help you to groom and handle your dog with ease there are a few key actions I like to help owners to teach their dogs and would recommend that you structure into your training schedule.
The first is ‘stand’. Although at first glance this might seem like a bit of a boring ‘action’ (they’re just standing still, right?!), this is actually a very useful command. If your dog understands this command they will be able to stand still whilst you perhaps wipe their paws and legs when coming in from a wet or muddy walk, when needing to check for grass seeds or sticky fauna that might have attached itself to their coat whilst walking, or when brushing their body – particularly their chest and stomach area. It can also be useful to you or a groomer when washing your dog, allowing you or your groomer to clean all parts of their body with ease.
The second command is ‘flat’. This is where the dog lays flat on their side. Again, this can help with general grooming of their coat and, in particular, being able to easily clean ears and eyes as well as enabling easy access to clean your dog’s paws and clip their nails.
The third command I would recommend is ‘twist’. This is where you teach a twist or spin command and I like to use this whilst my dogs are standing on the front or back door mat after a walk so that effectively they are wiping their own feet! This action can also be a fun one for children to practice alongside their parents to help keep the family dog clean as well as be an entertaining party trick!
How can we keep our dog’s bed clean?
If we are keeping our dog’s nice and clean it makes sense to also keep their beds clean – if you think about it, you wouldn’t shower to then get into a bed that hadn’t been washed for months! The most obvious way to keep our dog’s bed clean is to wash their bed. This is easier said than done with many beds on the market being too large for the average washing machine or not having removal covers that can be washed. At minimum, loose debris needs to be regularly removed from the bed and the bed should then be disinfected with a suitable animal friendly cleaner. Ventilation is also key to ensuring beds stay clean and hygienic as airflow ensures that any moist areas are able to dry quicker and that bacteria is limited in its ability to grow (dark, warm and moist areas encourage bacteria growth). Hanging your dog’s bed out in the sun to dry can also assist with elimination of any remaining bacteria after washing and of course after cleaning your dog’s bed it is also important to ensure it is fully dry before allowing them to use it again.
What if my dog doesn’t seem to like to sleep on their own bed?
In order to minimise the built up of dirt, fur and bacteria in places in your home that you may not want them, it’s important that we make our dog’s designated bed area as inviting as possible so that this is the area they choose to reside in. Think about the type of bed your dog prefers. Some breeds like to stretch out whilst others like to curl up. Some prefer a comfortable flat surface, whilst others prefer to cuddle into sides that make them feel cosy or more secure. The more inviting and comfortable your dog’s bed is, the more likely your dog is going to want to reside and sleep on it. It is good practice to observe how your dog likes to reside so that you can buy a bed for their individual preference. This is the first step to encouraging your dog to reside on their designated bed area.
If you have ensured that your dog’s bed is as inviting as possible and your dog still does not seem to want to sleep on it, think about the location of your dog’s bed. Is it in a draft free area? Is it away from direct sunlight that could make them hot or is perhaps uncomfortable on their eyes? If so, the next step is to practice making their bed area a safe and fun place to reside. You can teach the action ‘go to bed’, offering a tasty reward for their compliance. You can also offer food items such as chews and food dispensing toys on their bed, encouraging them to stay in this area and making it fun to do so.
It is also important to ensure that your dog is ready to settle and lay on their bed area by ensuring they have had enough mental and physical stimulation across the day to tire them and help them to then relax. This last point can also help with addressing the behaviour issue ‘separation anxiety’, which may be another reason why your dog might prefer to perhaps sit physically close to you rather than on their bed. If you suspect your dog has separation anxiety it is advisable to seek help from a behaviourist to address this issue so that your dog is able to lead a confident and stress-free life.
What does this mean we should ideally be looking for in a dog bed?
Given the above, my recommended ‘wish list’ for a bed would be that
- It is easy to clean with removable covers
- It is easy to clean around and under the bed, and ideally raised off of the floor to allow ventilation
- It suits your dog’s individual preferences i.e. is big enough to lay flat on, or perhaps has comfy bolster sides if your dog likes to snuggle into these.
The Omlet Topology ticks all these boxes, plus looks super stylish and can be styled to fit a range of interiors. The zip off top also makes extremely light work of regularly cleaning the bed, and if you purchase more than one topper your dog never needs to be without a clean place to reside! After trying out the Topology bed for a few weeks now, I’m about to purchase another, my dogs love this bed and so do I!
Dog Behaviourist and Trainer
Owner of Dog-ease
This entry was posted in Dogs
Anxiety is an issue that affects many dogs. Some breeds are prone to nervousness, and some individual dogs may have had a tough puppyhood that results in anxiety as an adult. Others may have issues such as joint pain that require extra comfort and a cozy corner.
The symptoms of anxiety in a dog or pup may include hiding, ‘burrowing’ under blankets, cushions or on a bed (the dog bed or the owner’s bed!), or ‘cringing’ (with the tail between the legs). Some dogs will express anxiety by whining and whimpering, panting when there has been no energetic activity, shivering. Jumping – even nipping and snapping – can also be a sign of dog anxiety.
Treating dog anxiety is not a straightforward issue, neither in humans nor dogs. While humans can talk to someone about the issue and receive good advice, the options for a dog are more limited. Positive training can go a long way towards reducing dog anxiety and boosting confidence, and a calm environment can have a very positive impact, too. The dog bed can make a big difference here.
What can calm an anxious dog?
Dog anxiety often stems from puppyhood stress. With rescue dogs, the events in the early months of your pet’s life are often unknown. Dog anxiety is usually linked to separation, though. Out and out abuse manifests as fear and lack of confidence in dogs, but anxiety is something slightly different. A high quality calming pet bed can help dogs with a mild form of separation anxiety – that is, if your dog frets when left alone, or is particularly ‘clingy’ with one member of the family.
Dog anxiety can also be brought on by discomfort. Many dogs suffer from joint pains, notably in the hips as they grow older. Lying on a blanket or a thin dog bed or a pet bed that’s too small will not give these dogs the comfort they need for a good night’s sleep, leading to a vicious circle of anxiety-inducing poor sleep and stress.
A comfortable pet bed provides the anxious dog with that all-important sense of security, a combination of a bolt-hole and a life jacket. Such dog beds may feature orthopedic padding, blankets or quilts for really snuggling down, extra-soft cushions and raised sides for resting a lazy head on.
Even the best dog beds alone will not ‘cure’ a dog’s anxiety, and they need to be part of a general dog-friendly environment, combined with a consistent behavioural dog training programme, a healthy diet, supplements, and – if absolutely necessary – medication. Dog beds, then, are where dog owners should start when addressing anxiety issues, but they are only part of the wider solution.
Best dog beds for anxious dogs
The central part of a calm environment for dogs is the dog bed. The location of the pet bed is important. It needs to be somewhere relatively quiet, where the dog can feel safe and in control. The design of a bed for dogs is equally important, and a comfortable mattress is the beginning, rather than the end of the story.
So, what type of bed does a dog prefer? For many dogs, a bed is simply the place where they lie down and sleep. It doesn’t even have to be the same spot each night – some dogs like to spend one night on their allocated bed, the next night in a cool spot on the kitchen floor, and the next night camped at the foot of your bed. But with anxious dogs, consistency is important, and the right bed in the right place is the key.
An anti-anxiety dog bed can actively reduce stress and anxiety, and when combined with anti-stress training, the dog bed can go a long way towards eliminating the issue. Calming supplements can also help, and in extreme cases a vet will recommend anti-stress medication, too.
Do anxiety beds work for dogs?
An anti-anxiety dog bed is all about giving dogs and puppies a sense of security, reinforced by sheer comfort. The key is in the design, and there are many models to choose from. The best options include dog beds that go the extra mile to enhance your dog’s comfort, including features such as a removable cover, orthopedic foam, memory foam, a washable cover (machine washable, ideally), and a generally easy to clean design. Dogs love their comfort, and a consistently good night’s sleep, after all, is one of the best ways to tackle and reduce dog’s anxiety.
A well designed dog bed will be soft, machine washable and hygienic. Omlet’s Bolster dog beds, for example, provide plenty of comfort and support for your furry friend, with super soft memory foam mattresses, raised edges and an easy to clean washable cover. Topology dog beds combine these benefits with the option of raising the bed off the ground to improve air flow and prevent issues such as mould, mildew, dust and debris, all of which can accumulate in a poorly ventilated dog bed. The Topology dog bed mattress can be covered with different ‘topper’ blankets, some of them gently absorbing damp and dirt, others simply adding an extra layer of soft bedding to burrow under. A dog loves to feel cozy!
A top class calming dog bed won’t cure dog or pup anxiety on its own. But a good night’s sleep is half the battle, providing the dog with the comfortable start and end to each day, making the rest of the anti-anxiety regime that little bit easier.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Fido Studio in White
Is someone in your family getting a new puppy that they are planning to crate train? Or have your parents got a nervous rescue dog that feels most secure when they have their own space away from all the hustle and bustle? Then we have the perfect gift for them, human or canine.
The amazing Fido Studio is a dog crate that looks like piece of modern furniture, so that it doesn’t have to be hidden in a corner somewhere. The Fido Studio is also available with an optional and extremely practical wardrobe where all the dog’s things can go!Save 10% on white Fido Studios in the Winter Sale!
Whether you’re buying for a dog or a dog owner, an upgraded bed will always be appreciated, especially if the current one is looking a bit dirty and chewed. The super comfortable Bolster Beds come with a memory foam mattress that moulds itself around the dog as they lie down on it. Perfect for everything from growing puppies to older, more tired dogs.
The Bolster Bed has a machine washable cover, comes in three sizes and colours, and can be purchased with a set of stylish feet. And at the moment all beds are 20% off!
Psst – cats love them too!
Blankets / Cooling Mats
Upgrade your dog’s bed for Christmas to make sure it’s ready for the year ahead. Omlet’s super soft blankets will make the bed extremely warm and cosy for your pet after long winter walks, and is perfect for putting on sofas or car seats to keep them free from hair and mud. And if you already want to get ready for 2021, the Cooling Mat is a perfect addition to a dog bed in spring and summer. This self-cooling mat is activated by the weight of your dog’s body, and will minimise the risk of overheating on warm days.
Cooling mats are 20% off, and Blankets 15% off in the Winter Sale!
Click here for full terms and conditions.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Topology Dog Beds give all dog’s that ‘clean sheet’ feeling.
There are an estimated 8.5 million dogs in the UK, and a recent survey suggests that over 1 million of them sleep on beds that haven’t been washed in 6 months!
We’re known as a nation of dog lovers, but it has become clear that many owners do not give their dogs the sleeping experience they deserve. In fact, the survey showed that only half of Britain’s dog owners wash their dog’s bed as frequently as dog and hygiene experts recommend: at least every other week.
The survey found the main reasons people struggle to keep their dog’s bed clean is that it’s time consuming and it leaves their dog without a bed while the cover is being washed and dried.
So how do we make it easier for the owners, and more comfortable and hygienic for the dogs? Enter Omlet’s newest innovation: Topology, the dog bed evolution our pets have been craving!
Topology Dog Beds feature patented, machine washable toppers that easily zip on and off a sturdy and supportive memory foam mattress. This allows owners to quickly swap to a new topper when the dirty one is in the wash. A range of designs from luxurious sheepskin to highly absorbent microfibre and even a beanbag version mean that you can find a topper that suits your dog perfectly, and looks great in your home.
After many days of rigorous play and nights of deep sleep, a worn topper can also be replaced without the need to throw away the rest of the bed. Economical, hygienic and kinder to the environment!
Another exciting feature of the Topology Dog Bed is the possibility to raise the bed with stylish designer feet. Not only does this make the bed blend beautifully in with the rest of your furniture, it also improves airflow around the bed without creating nasty drafts, minimising dust and debris as well as unwelcome disturbances. Yet another improvement to dog bed hygiene, thanks to Omlet!
Omlet’s Head of Product Design, Simon Nicholls, says: “We wanted to combine all the things dogs and their owners find important into one ultimate dog bed, and what we ended up with was Topology. The combination of the base, the toppers and the feet provides extreme comfort and support, cleanliness and hygiene, and durability. It’s been really nice to see how different dogs tend to go for different toppers and how their favourites match their personalities!”
This entry was posted in Dogs
Meet five pawsome stars from our exciting new video, and find out more about their new favourite dog bed: Topology!
Topology is a super stylish, comfortable and practical bed that both dogs and owners will love! Machine washable toppers zip on and off the supportive memory foam mattress, so that your dog’s bed can easily be kept clean and hygienic. The range of five different toppers also means that you will be able to customise the bed to fit your dog and their personality.
We asked five of the canine characters in the Topology video to tell us which topper was their favourite and why:
Freddie love his Topology Dog Bed with a comfy Beanbag topper
Freddie is a boisterous Dalmatian with bundles of energy! He loves showing off his jumping skills, and will happily throw himself at his bed over and over again to burn off some steam. This isn’t a challenge for the robust fabric and stitching of the Topology Dog Bed, and Freddies favourite topper, the Beanbag, is both fun and super comfortable as it fully lets the dog’s body relax as they lie down on top of it.
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes even Freddie needs a good, long nap, and as much as the Topology dog bed can withstand his lively playing, it will also provide superb support for his resting body. Thanks to the memory foam layer in the base and the softness of the topper, Freddies owners have no doubt he’s fully relaxed and comfortable when he finally settles in for the night.
Woody could relax for days on his Topology bed with luxurious Sheepskin topper
Even if neither he nor his owner would admit to it, Woody the Goldendoodle is what many would describe as a pampered pooch. He won’t settle for anything but the most luxurious of dog beds after his strolls around the city’s parks, so it’s no surprise that his favourite topper is the sheepskin.
Positioned in the best position in the living room, Woody can stretch out on his Topology Dog Bed and feel the super soft fabric against his skin while the memory foam mattress moulds around his body. Woody’s owner really appreciates how easy it is to remove and clean the topper.
Winston feels safe and supported on his Topology dog bed with Bolster topper
Little Winston is a Dachshund, and only six months old. With all the exciting exploring, learning, playing and chewing shoes he has to do all day, it’s extra important that he has a comfy bed to retreat to when he gets tired.
Winston absolutely loves the bolster topper. Not only does the perfectly padded bolster give his little head support when he snoozes, it also encloses the body to provide a den-like feeling that adds a sense of security.
Margot favours the elegance and extreme comfort of the Quilted topper
Margot is a classy Afghan Hound who appreciates the simple luxuries in life. She loves being comfortable, preferably curling up by the fire after a walk around the town when she enjoys meeting new dogs to sniff.
Margot’s favourite topper is the super soft quilted version. It stays cool against the body in summer and has a warming effect in winter, and the classic design oozes luxury and comfort. Additionally, Margot’s owners love the look of the soft minty grey against the rest of their furniture!
Esme can dry off and relax on the Microfiber topper on her Topology Dog bed
Esme is a perfectly sized terrier mix who loves nothing more than running over wide fields and chasing squirrels between trees on long country walks. Rain and wind won’t stop her – the muddier the better! That’s why the microfiber topper is her favourite. The structured fabric is nice to roll your wet back against, and it will speed up the drying process.
Esme’s owners also love that she’s got a space to dry off after inevitable hose-downs that isn’t the living room carpet! Leftover mud and moisture from walks will quickly and smoothly blend into the microfiber topper, and it can be washed over and over again, allowing for more lovely nature walks.
Read more about Topology here
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 Bolster 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
What is SAD?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs on a seasonal basis, appearing yearly in the autumn and winter. Researchers don’t completely know what causes SAD, but it’s most likely linked to the shorter days of the colder months, which limit the amount of sunlight we get.
Lack of sunlight can affect the part of the brain called hypothalamus that can lead to decreased production of the hormones melatonin, which regulates sleep, and serotonin, which plays a large part in controlling our mood and appetite. It is also likely that our bodies’ internal clocks are disturbed by the lower light levels, causing additional symptoms of SAD.
Do dogs get SAD?
There is no official diagnosis of SAD in dogs, but recent studies have suggested that seasons can negatively affect animals as well. Surveys also show that many dog owners notice that their dogs seem down and less enthusiastic during the winter months. Due to this, awareness of SAD is growing, and many vets will be aware of the disorder.
What are the signs?
Symptoms of SAD commonly include a persistent low mood, loss of interest in otherwise joyful activities, grumpiness, increased appetite and the need for more sleep than normal. This applies to all species, but in dogs you also need to watch out for toilet accidents and hair loss.
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, the first thing to do is to take them to the vet, as there are other things that might cause these symptoms that might require different interventions. Your vet will hopefully be knowledgeable about mental health in dogs, and should also be able to give you some advice as to how you can help your pup.
What can I do to prevent and combat it?
Try to keep up your normal routine throughout the colder months. It’s not as tempting to go for walks when it’s muddy and rainy, and you’re probably less likely to meet up with friends and their dogs for some fun playing in the park, but it’s really important to make sure your dog still gets the right amount of exercise and socialisation. This works both preventatively and if you’ve already started seeing signs of SAD in your dog.
If your work schedule allows it, it might be better to walk the dog while the sun is still up, so you’re exposed to some direct light. Open blinds and curtains in the house, and consider putting the dog bed closer to a window so he or she is not hidden in a dark corner.
Exercise and light exposure are things that will make you feel better as well, and that’s another thing that will subsequently help your dog stay happy and healthy. Our pets are extremely susceptible to our mood and emotions, and your dog is more likely to suffer if you do.
Humans with SAD can sometimes benefit from artificial sunlight lamps, specially designed lamps that mimic sunlight. While there’s no evidence that these will improve your dog’s mood, it’s unlikely to hurt, so ask your vet if they think it would be a good idea.
This entry was posted in Dogs
Dogtor™ Adem, Dog behaviourist & trainer, discusses everything you need to know about dog beds, which types may suit which breed and age of dog, and why we might see our four-legged best friends exhibit certain behaviours in and around their beds. Read on to learn more!
What should I look for in a dog bed?
A dog bed should be comfortable for the breed type, age and size of your dog. If you have an older dog, they might benefit from an orthopedic or memory foam bed, such as the Omlet Bolster Bed with premium memory foam mattress, which gives support by gently moulding around your dog. A puppy, on the other hand, might benefit from a bed that can absorb water if, for example, a bowl of water is accidentally knocked over by them or they ‘toilet’ on their bed area whilst still being house trained. For puppies, you may also want to consider a type of bedding that is comfortable for them but not too precious or expensive due to the higher risk of this bedding being chewed or damaged as they play and explore. For me, it is also important to choose a bed that is robust and can be easily washed. Again the Omlet Bolster bed is a great choice with this feature! This not only helps the environment by limiting the need to frequently replace a smelly or very worn dog bed with a new version, but also ensures any accidents or dirt brought into their dog bed area can be easily cleaned away, keeping their bed area hygienic and inviting. You could also consider covering your dog’s bed with a removable and washable cover, particularly in the winter months.
What type of bed might suit my breed of dog?
Certain breeds might need more cushioning than others to stay comfortable and limit their potential for developing sores or sore patches, for example greyhounds who are considered more ‘boney’ than many other breeds. Some breeds might also like to curl up, for example a husky or some of the smaller breeds, whilst others prefer to lay on their side and stretch out, for example hounds such as deer hounds, greyhounds, and lurchers. An owner should consider how their individual dog likes to lay and relax and choose a suitable bed with this in mind.
The time of year can also have an effect on where your dog chooses to sleep. To ensure your dog remains comfortable, you can adapt their bed to suit the season by adding extra blankets or even cool mats to your dog’s bed. If you’re looking for a cozy blanket, Omlet’s Super Soft Dog Blanket is definitely a winner for those cooler months where some dogs might like to ‘snuggle up’. For the warmer months of the year, you could try a cool mat instead of their usual bed if it is particularly hot! Omlet’s Cooling Mat for Dogs is a perfect choice, coming in a range of sizes to suit many breeds.
I have observed my dog ‘digging’ their bed, why is this?
This is a natural instinct derived from the need to ‘clear the ground’ or an area of insects and potentially small rodents and reptiles. Ancestors of our pet dogs might need to do this in order to make the area they are choosing to reside in safe for them to lay down in. Some dogs, such as those in tropical climates that predominantly live outside or live as ‘street dogs’, still use this instinctive behaviour to keep themselves from being bitten and stung. This act of ‘clearing the ground’ may even have benefits in preventing parasite infestation. Whilst in Mauritius last year, I witnessed a young street dog clearing an area and whilst watching I noticed that she stopped in her tracks and became very observant as she had disturbed a small scorpion in some leaves. Without this act of digging and clearing, this dog would have undoubtedly been stung by this scorpion.
Dogs may also dig because they sweat through their paws, making the act of digging and ‘circling’ in an area another way of spreading and leaving their scent. This is something we commonly know as ‘marking’ and usually associate with the image of dogs urinating up lamp posts!
Finally, dogs may also dig naturally on hot days and in hot climates in an attempt to try to remove hot surfaces (e.g. baked earth). This helps them to reveal a cooler surface to reside in. In addition, wild canids such as arctic foxes and wolves, may dig to avoid extreme weather such as high wind, the cold (e.g. snow), and storms. Again, this act helps to keep them safe as well as assists in regulating their body temperature. Although seldom needed in the pet dog world today, this instinctive behaviour still remains in part in our domesticated dogs.
How can I train my dog to sleep in their bed?
A good training instructor or behaviourist will have this on their training syllabus, helping owners to teach the ‘go to bed’ command. If you are interested in this but can’t attend a training class, I also explain how you can teach your dog this command in step by step instructions in this blog.
If, however, your dog is reluctant to sleep in their own bed you should investigate why. Firstly consider, is the bed area provided the most attractive sleeping area available to your dog? Positive reinforcement such as offering treats in this area can help to make their bed area a more positive and inviting place to reside, as can ensuring the bed is comfortable for their breed type and age (as discussed above!) Secondly, you might want to evaluate if your dog potentially has a behavioural issue such as separation anxiety that is preventing them from wanting to sleep in their own bed. If you believe this to be the case, you should seek help from a certified behaviourist to address this issue and help to build your dog’s confidence in being physically away from you.
How can I stop my dog destroying their bed?
Think about your dog’s life stage. A young puppy may chew a bed as they explore with their mouth and enjoy the texture on their teething gums. In this instance, it would be advisable to buy a bed that does not contain lots of small parts or stuffing that can be ingested. Similarly, you could pick bedding made of material that can not easily be broken down through the act of chewing. You can always buy a ‘nicer’ bed for your dog to use under your direct supervision until they have passed this life stage and have lost their baby teeth and gained all of their adult teeth.
If your dog is older and destroying their bed, perhaps when they are left alone for example, this could potentially signal that your dog is feeling stressed and is suffering from separation anxiety, for which behavioural advice should be sought to enable your dog to recover from this issue.
Similarly, chewing and destroying of beds can also sometimes indicate that your dog is bored. To combat this, you could look to try to tire your dog more effectively before leaving them alone, which will encourage them to rest more in your absence. You should also ensure that your dog is not left for long periods of time by themselves. Just like us, dogs are social mammals and need company. As well as ensuring your dog is appropriately exercised and is not being left for too long, you can also offer your dog something to do for some of the time you are away from them. For example, you could leave them something else to chew that is safe and made for this purpose. Consider leaving them with a hard chew food item or a food dispensing toy filled with tasty treats for them to try to get to!
I hope you have found the above information useful. Wishing your beautiful pooches the most restful of snoozes!
Dog Behaviourist & Trainer
This entry was posted in Dogs
The Luxury Super Soft Dog Blanket from Omlet is the perfect addition to your dog’s sleep setup. As colder weather approaches your pet will truly appreciate this extra layer of warmth and comfort to nestle into for a lovely long snooze. The blanket is machine washable, so you can also use it to protect sofas, carpets and car seats from muddy paws after long autumnal walks.
Terms and conditions
This promotion is valid from 22/09/20 – midnight on 27/09/20. Once you have entered your email address on the website you will receive a promo code that can be used at checkout. By entering your email you agree to receive the Omlet Newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any point. This offer is available on Omlet Luxury Super Soft Blankets for cats and dogs only. The offer does not apply to any dog beds or cooling mats. Offer is limited to 2 blankets per household, while stocks last. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
This entry was posted in Cats
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
Provide your pet with the possibility to rest on a super cool and comfortable spot on those warm September days, or after a long and strenuous autumn walk! The Omlet Cooling Mat is self-cooling and has a memory foam layer that will enclose your pet’s body as they lie down on it, and you can choose to display either the classic cream coloured or the stylish grey side of the mat depending on your home and your pet!
Right now you get £5 off Omlet Cooling Mats for dogs or cats, but only for a limited time! Use promo code COOLOFF at checkout to claim this exclusive discount!
Terms and Conditions
Promotion of £5 off cooling mats runs from 03/09/20 – midnight 08/09/20. Use promo code COOLOFF at checkout. Includes Omlet Cooling Mat cats and dogs. All sizes are included. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
This entry was posted in Cats
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 snuggling, 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
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 garden, 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
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 walking 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 kilometres 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 – when they’re not selling paint, these dogs – so often called ‘Dulux Dog’ that the name has become semi-official amongst dog owners – 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
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 garden 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 gardens, 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
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