We’ve reached that time of year when lots of us will be travelling away for a few days, or even weeks! But with so many people being pet owners, you may be curious as to what to do with your dog when you go on holiday. In a previous blog, we told you all about taking your pet pooch on holiday with you, which of course is one solution, however, in some circumstances this isn’t always permitted or practical. So, what are the other options?
Friends or family
Having to leave the dog behind whilst you’re on holiday is never an easy decision, but it’s reassuring to know that you have left them with someone who you and your dog both know.
Furthermore, this usually works out as the cheapest option (depending on what rates, if any, you have agreed with the dog sitters!).
However, one issue that may come with this is that this could sometimes be seen more as a favour, so your friend might not necessarily take the role as seriously as you’d like. Therefore, it’s fundamental to lay down the ground rules from the get-go and to ensure that they can commit to looking after your fur baby for the duration of your trip.
Boarding kennels are another choice for owners who need their dogs to be taken care of whilst they’re away. Before opting to put your dog in kennels, consider whether their personality would suit this type of environment. Whilst some dogs have a great time during their stay and love making new friends, others, unfortunately, won’t settle in the company of other dogs, especially in an unfamiliar place that isn’t home.
If you do decide that boarding kennels are a good option for your dog, you should of course arrange a visit before dropping them off. If the kennel doesn’t allow you to look around the facility beforehand, then it’s not a wise idea to take your dog there to stay. For one, check that the kennel is clean, warm, and secure. Next, ensure that your dog will have access to their sleeping area at all times, with their own kennel unit that has enough space for them to stand up, lie down, stretch out, and turn around. You should also check that your pet pooch will be walked outside every day and that they will have toys to play with.
To prepare your pup for their stay at kennels, you should make sure that you send them with a few things that are familiar to them. For example, their favourite dog toy or blanket such as the Omlet Luxury Super Soft Dog Blanket. By doing so, you’ll help your dog to settle in, knowing that they have a reminder of you and their home!
Luxury dog hotels
Feeling a little upset that you get to enjoy a holiday and your dog doesn’t?… Well, how about checking your pet pooch into a luxury dog hotel? Yes, that’s right, a hotel for your dog!
Inevitably, dog hotels are more expensive than leaving your dog in kennels, however, if you fancy treating your pooch to a real taste of luxury, then a dog hotel could be the way forward! The main difference between kennels and dog hotels is the facilities. With luxury hotels, as you’d expect, you’ll often find there to be more outside space, larger rooms, or even paddling pools!
Professional dog sitter
The final main option you have for what to do with your dog when you go on holiday is to hire a professional dog sitter. This means that your pup can stay right at home, whilst in the safe hands of a professional.
Regardless of whether you’re using kennels or hiring a dog sitter, research is key. It goes without saying that we want our pets to be as happy and undisturbed from their usual routine as possible whilst you’re away. In the UK, dog sitters are not required to have a formal qualification to look after pets. However, qualifications such as animal first aid, dog behaviour and animal care might be something to look out for when choosing someone, as it may be able to assure you of their credibility.
No one likes farewells with their beloved pet, even if you know that they’re going to be left in capable hands. But with a bit of preparation, you can make this time even easier for your dog! Happy howlidays!
It’s the perfect time of year to set up a lovely, summer’s day picnic, and what better than to bring your furry friend along with you! But with plenty of distractions and tempting treats on display, how can you have a successful dog picnic? Here’s how you can make sure everything goes according to plan, with your pup remaining safe and on their best behaviour!
Choose a dog friendly location
Before setting off for your picnic, you’ll first need to ensure that the location allows dogs, of course! Whilst it’s easy to assume that because you’re outdoors you won’t have an issue taking your pet pooch with you, this isn’t always the case, so be sure to check beforehand.
Dog friendly picnic areas such as the woods are ideal. Not only is there plenty of shade for your dog to relax in and stay cool in, but they are often quieter zones, too.
Brush up on some basic commands
Your picnic will be more fun, and safer all around if your dog is well trained. Most importantly, your pet pooch should know how to ‘leave it’ and to ‘settle’. A picnic inevitably means that you’ll be surrounded by food, some of which might not be dog safe, as we will discuss in more detail. Therefore, they must follow your command when you tell them not to eat something they shouldn’t. If your dog hasn’t quite mastered this and doesn’t have a reliable recall, then keep them close to you on a lead. Our friends at Long Paws Pet Supplies have an amazing range of dog collars, harnesses, and leads that will make sure your pampered pooch is the most stylish dog wherever you go! Shop their Funk The Dog range here.
Furthermore, teaching them how to ‘settle’ will mean that you, the guests, and the dog will be able to relax during the picnic. It’s best to first practise this command in a quiet environment at home, rewarding your pup with lots of praise and a dog treat when they demonstrate the desired behaviour of going over to, and staying on their dog bed or mat such as the Omlet Memory Foam Cooling Mat for Dogs. Once you’ve nailed this command at home, gradually build up distractions as your dog progresses, and you’ll be able to use their mat or bed as a prompt for them to settle outside of the house.
Staying safe with seasonal allergies
Just like us, dogs can suffer from allergies, especially this time of year. Pollen, grass, weeds, and flowers can all trigger seasonal allergies for our canine companions, so keep an eye out for symptoms such as obsessive licking or scratching in one particular area or rashes on your dog’s paws or face. Should you notice symptoms, get your pet to the vet, so that they can prescribe suitable treatment to manage their allergies before your day.
Keep your dog cool
When taking your dog outside on a summer’s day, safety comes first, so it goes without saying to take a look at the weather forecast before heading out. From 20°C there’s an increased risk of heat stroke for dogs, especially for flat-faced breeds. The ‘five-second test’ is great guidance to follow, meaning if you can’t place your hand on the pavement for up to five seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws, and they should not be walked! You can read more about keeping your dog safe in the warmer weather in our previous blogs How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather and Can Dogs Get Sunburn?
If the heat is manageable but still warm, keeping your dog hydrated will help them to remain nice and cool on your picnic. Whilst you enjoy a few drinks in the sunshine, make sure that your furry friend has a supply of fresh water. It’s a good idea to invest in a portable dog water bottle or bowl, which can conveniently fit into your bag and makes keeping your pup hydrated easier than ever.
Walk before the picnic
Taking your dog out for a walk before the picnic will mean that they will be more likely to be chilled out whilst you’re eating. A calmer dog will make for a much more enjoyable experience for everyone. That way you will know that you won’t have to keep (hopefully!) guarding your food against your excitable pup, or become distracted by anything else!
Check which picnic foods are dog safe
When packing for your picnic, ensure that you are aware of what foods are not dog safe. Whilst not an exhaustive list, the following foods can be dangerous for dogs, and should not be shared with them:
Don’t furrget that a picnic should be an enjoyable time for both you and your furry friend! You can make sure that you keep your dog occupied with their own entertainment such as their favourite dog toys for them to play with during the day. An interactive toy for example the Treat Maze Interactive Puzzle is great to take with you, offering dogs mental stimulation, as well as being a great tool for keeping them distracted from all the other exciting elements that a picnic brings.
Make sure to follow our top tips and you’ll be on your way to having the best picnic with dogs! Stay safe and have a great summer!
Summer is fast approaching, which means plenty of days spent outside and enjoying the long awaited hot weather! Whilst the season is warmly welcomed by most of us, it also means taking some extra precautions to stay safe, such as lathering up on the SPF to avoid the dreaded sunburn! Now we all know that we need to keep ourselves protected from the harsh rays of the sun, but what about our furry or four legged friends? In particular, dogs! More specifically, it raises the question of ‘can dogs get sunburn?
How do you know if your dog has sunburn?
Simply put, yes, dogs can in fact be burned by the sun as we can. Luckily, sunburn cases in dogs are often minor, albeit painful. Most commonly, symptoms include red, itchy, dry, or flaky skin and paws. Dogs are most likely to get burned on body parts that have been exposed to UV rays such as the tip of their tail, nose, ears, belly, and around their mouth, so you should pay particular attention to these areas if you suspect a burn.
Most cases of sunburn peak at 3 days after exposure, but more severe cases can also lead to lethargy and blistering on the skin, which can take two weeks to heal. Affected dogs may additionally demonstrate signs of being in pain when you go to pet them as well as developing a mild fever.
How can you treat dog sunburn?
Whilst prevention is always better than the cure, there is a solution should you find your dog has been burned after a day out in the sun! For minor burns, there are an array of methods you can use to soothe your pup’s burn but they don’t actually help with the healing process. Nonetheless, these should not be dismissed as your dog will appreciate a much needed relief from their pain. Examples include using a cold compress or giving your dog a nice, cool bath. Alternatively, oatmeal baths are a great idea, whereby your dog can soak for 10 minutes, as you massage the oatmeal into their fur, before rinsing off with warm water. To heal burns, both aloe vera gel and vitamin E are perfect, with both of course being pet safe.
If your dog’s symptoms do not improve following the use of home remedies, and you are at all concerned about the wellbeing of your pet, please do not hesitate to speak to your vet, who will be able to offer you medication.
How to protect your dog from sunburn
Fortunately, keeping your dog safe from the sun and sunburn is hassle-free! Just as we stay protected from the sun, some dogs also require sunscreen (we even included it as a must-have dog product in our 7 Things Your Dog Needs This Summer blog!). It goes without saying that you should only use dog-safe sunscreen, ideally with an SPF of at least 30. Most importantly, do not use sunscreen that contains Zinc Oxide or Para-aminobenzoic (PABA).
To further reduce the chance of your dog getting sunburned, you should walk them during the early morning or late evening and stick to shaded areas as much as possible. And after a stroll outside, what better than for your dog to come home to relax on their very own Memory Foam Cooling Mat for dogs! Omlet also has a wide range of Dog toys to keep your furry friend entertained indoors over summer!
How to apply dog sunscreen
To apply sunscreen to your dog, funnily enough the process isn’t all too different to how you would apply it to human skin! Simply pop some sunscreen on your fingers and rub into your dog’s coat, making sure to pay particular attention to the exposed spots we mentioned earlier. Essentially you should apply in areas mostly to areas that are not covered in much fur.
Take extra care when applying sunscreen around their eyes, and once done, leave it to soak into their skin for around 15 minutes. Just be sure to reapply the sunscreen every 4 to 6 hours and to keep a close eye on your dog during soaking time to ensure they don’t lick off the cream!
What dog breeds are most susceptible to sunburn?
If you’ve got a dog with thinner hair or a paler coat, then this makes them more susceptible to getting sunburned compared to other breeds. Examples of this include Greyhounds, Chinese Crested, and Dalmatians to name a few. This however, is still not to say that other breeds cannot get burned at all, so you should still take precautions such as using sunscreen and keeping them out of the sun for sustained periods of time to ensure they remain protected.
Summer is nearly upon us, which means plenty more time to be spent outside with our feathered, fluffy, and four-legged friends! And whilst the rising temperatures and longer days are enjoyable (for most!), it’s important to take the right measures to keep your pup cool to prevent them from overheating. Here’s 7 things your dog needs this summer to stay safe this season!
1. A cooling mat
Number 1 on the list of 7 things your dog needs this summer is a cooling mat. Over this season, your dog will really appreciate something that they can relax on, which will also help them to cool down. Omlet’s Memory Foam Cooling Mat For Dogs is perfect for just that, and with it being foldable and lightweight, you can take this must-have summer accessory just about anywhere! The mat doesn’t require any refrigeration or electricity and works by absorbing heat from your dog’s body, minimising the risk of heatstroke by keeping your pet cool for up to 3 hours.
2. A portable dog bowl
Your dog should have access to clean, fresh water at all times when they’re at home. However, one of the 7 things your dog needs this summer is a portable water bowl (and water!). You should take this with you on walks or when travelling in the car to ensure that your pet stays hydrated.
3. Frozen treats
Just as we love a nice, cold ice lolly on a warm afternoon, so do our pet pooches! Try these delicious Fruity Frozen Yogurt Treats for Dogs that will be bound to refresh your pup down on a lovely hot summer’s day! These are super quick and easy to make, and only require Greek yogurt, water, and a selection of dog-safe fruit.
4. Frozen toys
Similarly, it’s a great idea to freeze some of your dog’s toys over the summer as another way to not only keep them mentally enriched but also to keep their body temperature down! The best kind to freeze is a chew toy such as a Kong, that can first be filled with your dog’s favourite treats before freezing to occupy them for even longer.
5. Dog sun protection
Believe it or not, our furry friends too can do with a bit of help from some sun protection in the form of sunscreen. Just like us, dogs who are exposed to the sun for a long period can get sunburnt, with breeds such as Dalmations, West Highland White Terriers, and Greyhounds more likely to be affected than others due to their paler coats or thin hair. Therefore, it’s a wise idea to top up on some sun protection cream over the next few months. Simply apply dog sunscreen to the thinner areas of your dog’s skin around 20 minutes before going out, and reapply throughout the day.
6. Flea and tick prevention
Fleas thrive in warm, humid climates, so you’ll need to be sure that your dog is up to date with their treatment before summer arrives. Furthermore, if your dog will be spending more time in the great outdoors, roaming through long grass, also makes them more susceptible to fleas and ticks. Fortunately, Omlet has effective dog flea and tick products that are both effective and easy to use to keep these nasty parasites away!
7. A suitable car restraint
Summer inevitably means that many of us will be travelling around more with our dogs, be it a day trip to the park, or a week-long staycation! In the UK, per the Highway Code, dogs must be suitably restrained with either a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard. Take a look at Omlet’s range of dog travel accessories to find a suitable option to help your pet travel safely.
Please note that most importantly when travelling with your dog, you should never leave them unattended in a car. In fact, when it reaches 22°C outside, inside the car temperatures can quickly reach 47°C! As you can imagine, this can be detrimental for a poor dog.
It goes without saying that as fun as summer is, you should be careful and put your pet’s safety first so that it can be enjoyed by all of us!
Common allergies in cats and dogs have been identified as 3 main allergy groups, which we explore in this article. Some common allergies are seasonal, and others can creep up throughout the year. Understanding the common allergies in cats and dogs will make being a pet owner easier as you know what to look out for and how to handle it. Allergies can be treated quite easily, but there are a few symptoms or warning signs that we can look out for to make sure that our cats and dogs are healthy and happy.
Persistent seasonal allergies such as the dreaded hay fever kicks in for many of us humans, but we know that we are not alone in this seasonal battle of the bugs as our beloved pets can suffer too. We exhaust alternative medications, home remedies and whatever we can lay our hands on to try and keep these pesky allergies at bay!
Despite doing our absolute best to ensure our cats and dogs are spoiled and looked after, sometimes we cannot always spot the potential threats of allergies or illness.
Allergies in cats and dogs fit into 3 main groups. These groups make it easier to be able to narrow down and identify the cause and then the form of treatment that is required. Whilst you may be able to “self diagnose”, (we all like to play doctor or vet with a quick google search), it is always recommended to check with your vet before attempting any medicated treatments yourself. However, a little research and a general understanding of what you could expect as a pet owner are perfectly normal.
Common Allergy Groups in Cats and Dogs
1. Flea Allergy
This is probably the most common allergy and one that most pet parents are aware of. Cats and dogs will react to the toxins in the saliva following a flea bite, which will result in a reaction on the skin. Cats will over groom to the point where it’s very noticeable and the skin develops crusts all over the body, known as miliary dermatitis. Dogs tend to nibble and scratch at the affected areas and the skin will develop little red spots.
2. Food Allergy
Food allergies don’t necessarily show up immediately, they could manifest from eating the same food over a long period of time. It is a reaction to a specific protein or chemical in the food, which then appears on the skin. Common proteins which can cause allergies for both cats and dogs are chicken, fish, gluten and egg. A common symptom of food allergies in cats will be persistent scratching around the head and neck. Symptoms in dogs are not as easy to identify but generally if scratching is more regular and your dog’s skin seems more irritated then it could be a sign of a food allergy.
3. Atopic Dermatitis
These are allergies caused by the environment, similar to hay fever or asthma in humans. They can be seasonal like an allergy to pollen or all year round, for example dust mites. With dermatitis, the skin will be visibly irritated and affected with symptoms including the following:
Constant scratching in a particular area
Red or irritated skin
Skin rashes or spots
Should my pet see a dermatologist?
If you think your pet is suffering from an allergy with any of the symptoms mentioned, you will notice that the skin is affected. A dermatologist will try to recognise the cause of the skin irritation by discussing your pet’s history, for example diet, home life and behaviour. Once they are able to identify the correct allergy group they will be able to perform certain tests to pinpoint the exact cause and recommend any treatment or ways you can help.
Seasonal Common Allergies in Dogs
Seasonal allergies can affect your canine friends in very similar ways to humans. They could be affected by environmental allergens like dust mites, fleas, mould and pollens from grasses, trees, weeds, and flowers. They will not hide their discomfort and will most likely obsessively lick or scratch one particular area. Pay close attention to their bellies, paws, armpit, ears and face. During the seasons of irritation, keep your home as clean as possible and free of mites and pollen. The Topology Dog Bedprovides a simple and stylish way to keep your doggy comfortable all year round with easy to clean removable and washable covers.
Seasonal Common Allergies in Cats
Cat allergies are not as common as they are for dogs, though some will display irritation from pollen or bites from fleas. If your cat sneezes a lot then it could have an allergy to pollens. As with dogs, it’s important to make sure their bed is kept clean. A good alternative is the luxury Maya Donut Cat Bed, which has a removable cover that can be washed in the machine.
Respiratory allergies are far less common in cats and dogs, but they can suffer from them. Symptoms are similar to those of a cold, including watery eyes, runny nose, coughs and yes, even sneezes! Some respiratory allergens could develop into asthma. This could occur from being in a smoky environment, building debris, chemicals or certain cleaning products or pollution.
Pets, like humans, benefit from fresh air, so taking dogs for regular long walks will always be good for them (and you). Whilst you may want to take your cat for a walk, maybe it’s time to consider an Outdoor Catio, which will not only provide a safe space for your feline, but it will also provide them with plenty of space to play and explore and generally keep fit!
Being a pet parent comes with worries, but also plenty of love, laughter and snuggles along the way. Medically treating your cat or dog can be incredibly difficult to do because you don’t want to be the one that causes them any discomfort or pain, but sadly sometimes it is part of the job description and absolutely necessary to ensure they live a long and healthy life.
If you do suspect that your pet is suffering from any allergies, it is important to talk to your vet and run any concerns you have by them. Most allergies can be treated easily with medication, a change of diet or simple TLC. When dealing with allergies it is important to keep your cats and dogs home clean and you may need to adapt or change your routine to suit their needs.
As we head into summer and the weather begins to warm up, you might be wondering how you can help your chickens keep cool in the hotter months. Get prepared now and catch up with our previous blog posts on keeping happy and healthy hens during summer below…
7 Ways to Help Your Chickens Stay Cool This Summer
Did you know, that chickens can’t sweat? Instead, chickens use their legs, combs and wattles to lead heat away from their bodies. They also pant and spread their wings in order to get some air through their feathers. But what can you do to help?
From water to dust baths, here’s 7 simple but effective tips to help your chickens stay cool in the hot weather…
10 Things Not to Do in Summer if You’re a Chicken Keeper
From 7 things you should do, to 10 things you shouldn’t do this summer if you’re a chicken keeper! This advice is just as important as the tips above for ensuring a comfortable environment in the warmer weather, and also preventing your chickens from overheating.
Red mites, or Dermanyssus gallinae, are without a doubt backyard chicken keepers’ worst enemies! They are nocturnal creatures living in cracks and crevices of the coop, and they only come out at night to feed on chicken blood. Most long term chicken keepers will have encountered these parasites, and can confirm that they are more destructive and difficult to get rid of than all other pests combined.
Learn how to treat and prevent red mite infestations in your coop to keep your chickens happy this summer.
Traditionally chicken coops and rabbit hutches have been made from wood. This has its advantages: it’s an easy material to work with, it’s customisable and it looks attractive. However, when it comes to coping with the weather, it can leave a lot to be desired. Wood is not a very good thermal insulator, meaning if it’s hot outside the temperature will transfer through to the inside quickly.
If you’re using a wooden coop, it might be a good time to consider upgrading to a better insulated and ventilated house before the worst of the hot weather hits. Learn how an Eglu keeps chickens cool in this blog post.
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.
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.
Wondering how to keep your chickens cool in summer? Here is our best advice for making sure that your flock remains safe this season!
How to keep your chicken coop cool in summer
One way to keep your chicken coop cool in summer is, (if possible) to move the coop into a shaded spot in the backyard. This could be under a tree or in the north-facing side of your house that doesn’t get as much sun. This means that it will be nice and cool when the girls want to go to bed in the evening, or if one of them wants to go in to lay during the day. TheEglu chicken coops are so easy to move that you, on a really hot day, could effortlessly move it around the garden as the sun moves. As well as this, the Eglu chicken coops’ draft-free ventilation system will further help to keep your hens cool!
Change the water at least once a day
Your chickens will drink more in summer, because just like humans, it’s a natural instinct to stay hydrated. To minimize the risk of algae in the water, as well as dust and dirt from the chickens, change the water in theirchicken drinker at least once a day in hot weather. Place the drinker in a cool, shady spot on the run and make sure it’s really cold when you put it out.
What to feed chickens in summer
Dried corn and grains take longer to digest than pellets or fresh food, which wastes energy and heats the body unnecessarily. The chickens will not need to eat as much in hot weather, and if they were to get hungry during the day, your backyard will be full of bugs and fresh green material at this time of year.
Try these tasty treats!
Have your chickens tried some mouth-wateringly fresh watermelon? Not only is it super tasty and refreshing, but it’s also a great way to cool down. Pop some frozen chopped watermelon pieces into your Caddi Treat Holder and there you have it, your chook’s very own ice lolly!*
*Yes, we know what you’re thinking! Just be sure to buy pre-frozen watermelon that you don’t need to take into your kitchen to make this delicious treat for your chooks!
Chickens shouldn’t be left alone for too long
When it’s really hot outside it’s important that chicken owners keep an eye on their flock to look for signs of overheating. An open beak, panting and wings held away from the body are signs the chicken is hot.
Don’t cover the run completely
Covering your chicken run with a lot of covers might seem like a good idea to create a shady spot, but if you don’t let air circulate, it’s likely to become a boiling tunnel of warm air. It’s extremely important to have ventilation, so that fresh air can move around. This goes for your coop as well. TheEglu chicken coops’ cleverly designed ventilation system allows air to circulate in the coop at all times, keeping it nice, cool and fresh even on the hottest of days. Choose a few darkerchicken run covers to give your pets shade on the run as well.
Can chickens get wet in summer?
You can leave a small paddling pool or shallow containers out for your chickens to cool down in, but it’s unfortunately not very likely your hens will use them. It might be better to create a dust bath in a corner of the run; chickens are much more likely to approach mud and sand to cool down than water.
Don’t play with your chickens
Interaction with the chickens might lead to more movement for them, which increases their body temperature. If you want to spend time with your chickens, or need to pick them up for health checks, do so early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.
Do chickens stop laying eggs in summer?
You’re probably getting fewer eggs than normal during the warmest weeks of the year. That’s completely normal, chickens don’t lay as much when they are hot, and some go broody and stop laying completely. Although the eggs won’t go bad if you leave them in the nest box of an Eglu for a day, eggs in the nest can encourage broodiness and result in egg eating, so it’s good to collect them all as soon as you discover them.
Be consistent with cleaning
It’s always important to keep the coop nice and clean for your girls, but maybe even more so in summer. Parasites and pests are stronger when it’s warmer, including red mite, so make sure to use a bird safe disinfectant and cover roosting bars and perches in mite powder to prevent problems at least once a week.
All chickens are different!
If you have a flock with mixed breeds or have had chickens in the past but now own a different breed, remember that different chickens need different care. Some breeds are much better than others at handling heat, and some really struggle.Read up on the breeds you’ve got here, and take extra care of vulnerable birds.
We often get asked which is the best cover for an Eglu run to keep pets comfortable all year round. Read our simple guide below so you know how to help your pets in all weathers!
These shades are a thinner cover material which offers protection from the sun, without creating a tunnel where heat can build up inside the run. These are smaller than the winter covers to allow better airflow through the run for ventilation. Move the summer shade around the run to suit the time of day and your hens’ routine. You may wish to change this for a Clear or Combi Cover in summer when there’s rain on the way!
The Clear Covers allow for sunlight to flood your pet’s run, while also offering protection from rain. This makes them ideal for spring and autumn, so the run is light and warm with sun, but also protected from unpredictable wind and rain.
Get the best of both worlds, with shade from the sun on one side and light coming in the other, as well as full wind and rain protection on both sides. The Combi Covers are half dark green, heavy duty cover for extreme wind and rain protection, and half clear cover to let in sunlight and warmth and to let your pets see when you are bringing them treats!
Heavy Duty Covers
For strong, hard-wearing protection against the worst of winter choose heavy duty covers. Even when the temperature drops to single figures, the rain and wind batters your pets home, or a deluge of snow covers your garden, the dark green, impenetrable heavy duty covers offer sturdy weather protection. Your chickens or rabbits will be able to hop around the Eglu run in complete peace, without getting cold, damp or wind-swept!
Extreme Temperature Covers
Chickens and rabbits are very efficient at keeping themselves warm in cold weather, and the Eglu’s twin wall insulation will assist them by keeping cool air out and warm air in, but when temperatures plummet below freezing for multiple days in a row, they may appreciate a little extra support. The Extreme Temperature Blankets and Jackets add another insulating layer, like your favourite wooly jumper, without compromising the ventilation points around the coop.
The Eglu Go UP is the perfect solution for keeping a small flock of chickens in your garden.
Chicken manure is one of the best things you can use to improve the soil in your garden. Once composted, chicken droppings are full of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other important nutrients, and increases the soil’s ability to hold water. This means more beautiful flowers, and bigger and more delicious vegetables!
Collect your chickens’ droppings and compost for up to a year before using the manure.
2. Pest Control
Chickens spend their days scratching around the garden in search of yummy treats. They love finding beetles, grubs, caterpillars and ticks. Sometimes they even go for those pesky slugs! This is an extremely environmentally friendly way of getting rid of pests, with the added benefit of happy and content hens!
Want to create a new bed in the garden? No problem, get the chickens in to do the job for you. If there’s one thing they do well it’s tilling and turning. Spread some chicken feed where you want the soil to be moved and aerated, or leave a pile of leaves that you would like spread over a resting bed, and you can be sure that the chickens will have sorted it in half the time it would take you to source a rotavator.
4. Free Weeding
In a similar way, if you want to clear a bed of weeds or grass, get your chickens on it. They will munch on weeds and dead matter you haven’t already removed, leaving the fun bits of gardening to you!
Although clever, chickens are however not able to differentiate weeds from the plants and seeds you actually want to keep, so it’s best to keep them off flower beds and veg patches where you are growing things you actually want. Use a good fencing to limit the chickens to certain parts of the garden.
5. Added Calcium
One of the best things about keeping chickens is the delicious eggs they provide you with. But did you know that eggshells can be highly beneficial to your garden? Eggshells are made of calcium carbonate, and are a perfect way to introduce minerals to your soil. Calcium is essential for building cell walls, making sure the plants stay strong and healthy.
Grind up your shells with a mortar and pestle and spread on your compost, or straight in your bed.
6. Great Company
With chickens around you will have even more reason to spend time in the garden. It’s so much fun seeing them scratch around and hear their friendly chatter, and they are great company for any keen gardener. People even claim that being around chickens relieves stress and leads to better mental health.
So what’s stopping you? Chickens are the perfect pet you and your garden needs.
Next time you’re about to throw away your empty egg shells, spare the food waste bin and keep hold of them. Many people use crushed up egg shells in gardening to add calcium to the soil, however we have another great way you can use egg shells to add to your garden. Many propagators or seed starter tubs are made out of plastic, which isn’t great for the environment. Why not use your empty egg shells to start your next batch of seeds?! It’s so quick and easy to do!
1. Firstly rinse out the shells, and then let them dry.
2. Once dry, fill the egg shells halfway with compost and sit them in the egg carton.
3. Sprinkle a little water on the compost and then add your chosen seeds to the compost.
4. Spread a thin layer of compost on top and drizzle a little bit more water.
5. Then place in a sunny spot indoors – a window ledge is a great place to start seeds.
6. Keep watering your eggshell seeds each night, and after a few days you should start to see them sprout!
Once they’re too big for the shell then transfer to a bigger spot to continue growing indoors or outdoors depending on the chosen seeds (see packet for details).
While most people check the weather forecast to help them plan their week activities or outfits, chicken keepers can also be using it to predict what accessories their coop needs to ensure their girls are as comfortable as possible.
From sun to snow, wind to wet, the breakfast time weather reports and the handy app on your phone are all giving you helpful hints that you might be ignoring.
🌡 TEMPERATURE 🌡
Firstly, the most obvious indicator: the predicted temperature for the coming 10 days. Depending on what time of year we are in, this can be super helpful or utterly confusing if it is varying drastically. But let’s think about what we can act upon.
In winter, if the predicted temperature is at below 0 degrees celsius for more than 5 days in a row or the temperature is near freezing and you have very few chickens in your coop, you may want to consider attaching the Extreme Temperature Blanket to your Eglu to give your chickens some extra help with keeping warm, without limiting the coop ventilation.
During hot summer months, when temperatures can be above and beyond 30 degrees celsius daily in some countries, it is wise to move your chicken coop into an area that is in the shade for as much of the day as possible. For your chickens, daily health checks are essential to ensure they are not suffering with the high temperatures. If your coop is attached to or inside a secure run, you can leave your coop door open to increase airflow at nighttime without your girls being exposed to predators.
☀️ SUN ☀️
When the sun is shining, it is tempting to cover your chickens’ run with shades so that it is completely protected from the sun inside. However, this can have the opposite effect on what you intended. Instead of shading and cooling the area, lots of shades create a tunnel which traps the heat, like a greenhouse.
It is best to keep them in a shaded area, and protect one side of the run from the sun. If your chickens are out free ranging most of the day, make sure that they have access to shady patches in the garden, and that their food and water is also in shade.
❄️ SNOW ❄️
Exciting for some, but for others a weather warning for snow can be very disappointing. You may want to consider sheltering your coop’s run with clear covers to prevent as much snow getting on the ground inside the run as possible. If snow is predicted for the foreseeable future, you may want to prepare for long term icy conditions and bring your coop closer to the house so it is easier to check on your chickens, and they can benefit from some of the shelter your house might provide. During the snow, be sure to dry off damp feathers and remove any chunks of ice from claws. Increase the amount of bedding and food you are giving your chickens too as this will help them stay warm.
If you have time, it might be wise to consider how effective your chicken coop will be against the bitter cold. If you have a wooden coop, check if it is water-tight and well insulated. If you are not confident in your wooden coop, consider upgrading to a sturdy plastic alternative, like the Eglu Cube. It’s twin-wall insulation works in the same way as double glazing to keep the cold out of the coop, and the heat in during winter. The plastic material is waterproof and super easy to clean out quickly (especially important on chilly winter days).
☁️ CLOUD ☁️
The most boring of all weather forecasts, but often a rest bite from other more extreme conditions. During winter, a few cloudy days should raise the temperature slightly and give you a good opportunity to clean out your coop and thoroughly check on your chickens and make any changes needed for whatever the forecast predicts for the coming days.
🌧 RAIN 🌧
Some weather reports are more helpful than others when it comes to the exact timing and chance of there being rain. But if you’re looking at days of 90% chance of heavy showers, it would be wise to act fast and get some protective clear covers over the run. If the ground under your chickens’ coop and run is already extremely muddy and wet, you might want to consider moving them to a new patch of grass, and maybe even laying down a base material, like wood shavings, to prevent it developing into a swamp!
💨 WIND 💨
How you react to a windy forecast completely depends on the wind speeds predicted. Light winds, less than 25 mph, shouldn’t cause much of a problem. You might want to add some windbreaks around the base of your Eglu and a large clear cover down the most exposed side. However, in extreme high winds, the worst thing you can do is completely conceal your run, particularly a larger Walk in Run, with covers from top to bottom. In a large run, the mesh holes allow the wind to flow through without causing any issues to the structure, and a clear cover round one bottom corner of the run will provide chickens enough shelter. If you cover the run completely, the wind will be hammering against it and is more likely to cause the structure to lift or move.
If your chickens are in a smaller run attached to their coop, we recommend moving it to a position where it will be most protected from the wind and any falling debris, for example, against a sturdy building wall. The Eglu’s wheels allow you to easily move the coops around your garden to suit the conditions. If you are keeping your chickens in their Eglu coop and run, and not free ranging during dangerous weather conditions, consider adding some entertaining toys and treat dispenser for them to prevent boredom, such as the Peck Toy or Perch.
Backyard hens usually spend their entire lives outdoors. This means they have to cope with everything the year throws at them, from blazing summers and sub-zero winters to year-round downpours.
Being hardy birds, they take much of this in their stride. But there are still ways of helping your flock through the changing seasons.
This is the most challenging time of year for any animal living outdoors. The cons outweigh the pros, but with a little bit of help from their human friends, chickens can shrug off the excesses of the season.
Although chickens cope well with the cold, they don’t thrive when it’s both cold and raining. Protecting the run with extra weatherproofing will help enormously. Keeping the birds in an insulated Eglu is a good place to start.
Keep the hens’ feet dry in wet weather by lining the run with wood chippings.
Chickens usually return to the coop at dusk. But in the winter you may find your birds trying to get more pecking time from the short days. If your hens are prone to wander in the dark, a high visibility hen coat will help you locate them – and also ensure they’re visible to anyone else, should they stray from the garden. The coats also keep the birds cosy, so it’s a double blessing in the winter. A coop light can also encourage wandering chickens to return to the coop for bed time.
Roosting perches enable chickens to cuddle up in the cold – something essential on a winter’s night. The Omlet PoleTree is perfect for chickens over this season, being composed of eucalyptus, a strong, untreated wood, which prevents chickens’ feet from becoming too cold.
In sustained sub-zero conditions, rub petroleum gel (e.g. Vaseline) on the hens’ combs and wattles, to prevent them becoming frostbitten.
Keep an eye out for coughs, sneezes, lethargy, or other signs of illness. A chicken with a weak constitution may be vulnerable when the cold weather kicks in.
Egg numbers will drop – this doesn’t mean you’ll have no eggs for breakfast, though. Three hens should till deliver eight eggs a week in the coldest months, but this will vary somewhat.
Make sure the hens’ diet remains healthy, and add some extra vitamins and minerals to keep their immune systems up to scratch.
Their water will freeze, so be prepared to break the ice, and have some spare water dispensers ready in case things freeze up entirely.
On the upside, winter might kill off any lingering red mite in coops and runs!
As the days lengthen, your hens will start laying more eggs. The garden comes back to life, and the chickens will find things worth scratching for in the ground.
Foxes will be hungry after a long, lean winter, so make sure your coop and run are secure. Automatic doors will ensure the hens are in and out at the right times, and will prevent predators from gaining after-hours access. The door will also let your chickens out in the morning, so that you can enjoy weekend mornings in bed as the days get longer.
It’s amazing, having seen your chickens happily cluck and scratch their way through freezing winter, to now see them equally happy in temperatures 20-odd degrees warmer. The main problem in summer is too much sun – but with plenty of shade in the garden, your birds will love the warm weather every bit as much as you do. A chicken coop that provides shade in itself, like the space under the Eglu Cube or the Eglu Go Up, is ideal for the summer months.
Keep the water supply topped up, as hens drink more in warm weather.
Provide a dust bath – either a dry area of ground in the garden, or a tray in the chicken run. Cat-litter trays make good baths.
Daily egg-collecting will discourage hens from going broody – something they sometimes do at this time of year.
Although the summer has gone and winter lies ahead, this is actually a great season for chickens. There are lots of juicy bugs to scratch for in the still-soft ground and leaf litter. If you have any fruit trees, there are rich pickings for the birds in the shape of windfalls.
Hens often moult at this time of year, so they need a good diet to help them stay healthy and grow new feathers. Extra vitamins and minerals will help, and a little apple cider vinegar in their water will help ensure a healthy, glossy new plumage.
If anyone nearby is planning a fireworks or bonfire party, make sure the hens are safely in their coop before the fun begins – it’s not much fun at all for a chicken caught in the firework crossfire.
Chickens are a year-round commitment. Fortunately, they make it easy for you – these wonderful birds are pretty much happy whatever the time of year.
Summertime… Beach stays, trips abroad, hikes in Yorkshire… It is a great opportunity to take a break with your family and keep daily stress at bay. You book a lovely hotel with your other half, you read a map with your children asking them where they want to go, you pack your suitcases, you… Wait! Aren’t you forgetting someone? “Babe, what about the cat? Is he coming with us?!”
Most pet owners tend to forget about it: having a pet means new responsibilities and taking care of them when you go on holidays is one of them. Unfortunately, too many people still ignore it: although the Animal Welfare Act 2006 states abandonment as a criminal offence, the RSCPA received 1 call every 6 minutes to report an abandoned animal last summer. The months of June, July and August are critical since many people seem to struggle when it comes to taking care of their pets while also going on holiday. Read our tips below to make sure your pets will have a great time this summer, just like you!
You might be an adventurous Frenchman aiming to sail around the world with your hen (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36475672). However, in all other cases, we recommend that you do not take your chickens on holidays with you. The best thing to do is to ask some friends or neighbours to take care of them while you are away, offering them to help themselves to eggs. If you are lucky enough to have an Eglu Cube on wheels, you can even move your coop directly into your neighbour’s garden!
HAMSTERS, GUINEA PIGS AND RABBITS
Just like with chickens, it is better to leave your hamster, rabbit or guinea pig at home and ask a friend, ideally someone they already know, to come and look after them. If you still decide to take them with you, or if you don’t have any other choice, be very careful with temperature change. These smaller pets are extremely sensitive to it and a sudden temperature change could be fatal. While in the car, make sure that they are neither too hot (do not leave them next to a window or in a parked car) or too cold (do not put them in front of the air con). You also want to check that nothing is at risk of falling and hurting them in the cage: take away the bottle and the feeder and stop regularly to give them some water and food. Remember that rodents and rabbits are very shy animals that like to have their own routine and tend to struggle with change.
You can definitely take them with you, but in most cases you don’t have to: cats are independent animals that can take care of themselves for a few days. Fill their bowls with food and water before leaving. If you are away for less than 10 days, ask a friend to come and check on them (one or two short visits a day should do).
If you are away for more than 10 days, it is better to leave your cat with some relatives, preferably people who already know your cat and who don’t have any animals that the cat won’t get along with. You can also put your cat in a boarding kennel. However, keep in mind that this can be risky since your cat could feel abandoned (new place, new faces…) and get depressed. Before taking them to the cattery you can give them some soft and natural tranquillizer, like Bach flower, to help them adjust.
Dogs are probably the most complicated animal to deal with when going on holidays. You can’t just leave them at home with food and water. This is not only bad for your dog, but could also lead you to be accused of animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (punishable by a £20,000 fine and a 51-week jail term). The best option is definitely to book a seat for your dog in your car and help them pack their suitcase!
Why should I take my dog with me?
Of course you can leave your dog with your friends or family (preferably someone they already know). However, keep in mind that dogs are very social animals and thrive on their owner’s company. For them, holidays will be a fantastic opportunity to spend some quality time with their favourite humans. Moreover, since you are on holidays, you will have more free time and will be able to spend entire days with your dog, which will make them extremely happy. No more long and boring days waiting for you at home! No doubt that you and your family will also be delighted to spend the whole day playing and exercising with your dog. They can also help you to interact with fellow holiday makers: many people won’t be able to resist giving them some attention!
How to organize a trip with a dog
Here is a list of what you can do to make sure your dog is ready for the holidays and everything goes fine while you two are away from home:
Before going, make sure your dog is used to travelling in a car. Some dogs can be car sick and it is good to prepare them, especially if you’re planning on a road trip and are spending a lot of time in the car!
Make sure your dog knows some basic commands such as heel and sit. If they are able to go on a walk without pulling on the lead, it is even better!
Check that their vaccinations are up to date, and if you’re going abroad, double check what the requirements are far in advance.
Bring everything they may need: food, of course, but also a first-aid kit, their health record book, the lead, the food and water bowls, the crate, their favourite toys, some poo bags… It is very important to take your dog’s food with you if you are going abroad since you can’t make sure you’ll find their favourite brand in the country you’re visiting.
While travelling, put your dog in their cage in the boot of the car.
Before visiting a place, make sure they accept pets. Never go to a hotel before checking it. Likewise, you will easily find on the Internet a list of dog friendly beaches in the UK.
Check that your dog is not too hot. If you’re going on a walk, don’t forget to bring a bowl and a good amoutn of water.
When settling your dog somewhere, do it properly: make sure they have some food, some water, some shadow… Even if it is just for an hour!
If you think it is necessary, you can fit your dog with a GPS collar. This can be useful when you go hiking in the wild. You can also download various apps on your mobile to help you locate a lost dog, find a vets near you or keep record of your dog’s health.
https://www.fleatickrisk.com/ is a very helpful website that will tell you if your dog is at risk of pest infections in the city you’re visiting. Check the website before going and take the necessary equipment with you.
In the UK, you can travel for free with your pet on most public transport: buses, taxis, trains and ferries. However, to make sure everything goes smoothly, always check that that is the case before you board. Be aware that coach companies generally do not accept pets except for assistance dogs. Remember that passengers can complain about your animal’s behaviour so try and make sure your pet will be able to behave themselves while travelling.
When travelling abroad, make sure you can go on public transport with your pet since this can vary according to the country (in some places you will have to book a ticket for your animal).
If you’re travelling by plane, mention that you have an animal when booking and check that your animal’s vaccination is up to date. On the day of the departure, make sure to arrive early. Cats and small dogs will generally be allowed to fly with you in the cabin. However, bigger dogs will have to travel in a heated and pressurized part of the cargo hold. Birds, rabbits and hamsters are often forbidden but some airlines may accept them.
A rainy day is the perfect time to stay in the kitchen and make a treat for your pets to enjoy. How about these dog friendly pancakes? Or these homemade hamster treats? Make sure that the recipe you choose is pet friendly, and remember to not feed your pet too many treats.
FIND NEW GAMES TO PLAY WITH YOUR CAT
Take advantage of all your free time and spend a few hours playing with your cat. Most older cats will have developed their own games to keep them entertained, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy your company, and together you might find some new fun games. Hunting games are normally a big hit. Objects with quick and unpredictable movement will without a doubt catch your pet’s attention, so try waving feathers or floaty fabric in front of your cat and drag them across the floor to get your pet moving.
TEACH YOUR DOG A NEW TRICK
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that’s just not true. With the right encouragement your dog can learn new things throughout their lives, and it will be a great way for you to spend some quality time together.
How about teaching your dog to bark on command, or to play dead? Or why not take them to the park for some fetch training? There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube, so get your strategy in place and fill your pockets with treats. When the summer break is over you’ll have a great party trick to show friends and family.
Why not get the kids to clean out the chicken coop for you for a bit of extra pocket money? The Eglu Chicken Coops are so easy to clean that anyone tall enough to reach in will be able to get it spotless in no time. Get them to bring in the new eggs and you can all have lunch together!
HOMEMADE TOYS FOR RABBITS
You can find lots of toys for your rabbits in our shop, but if you want to make something together with the kids you can find plenty of toy material in the garden or around the house.
Locate a willow tree and collect some twigs to weave into a ball or a wreath. Your rabbits will love playing with their new toys as well as nibble on the nutritious wood.
If you’ve got an old towel or a pair of jeans you’re getting rid off you can make a rag doll for your rabbits. Use your creativity to make something beautiful, or just tie a knot in the middle of a strip of sturdy fabric that the rabbits can throw around on their run and rip to shreds. Make sure to take it away before they’ve ruined it completely though, as you don’t want them to ingest too much fabric.
BUILD AN OBSTACLE COURSE FOR YOUR HAMSTER
Hamsters love running, jumping and climbing, and you will have fun creating a challenging obstacle course for your pet. Start by finding a safe area in your house where the hamster can be let out, away from open doors and other pets. You might want to build the course inside a play pen, or create a barrier of books or other heavy objects. Just make sure they can’t fall over and hurt the hamster.
You can use lego to create the outline of the obstacle course. Lego pieces will also make great jumps and steps. Use lolly sticks to build a ladder or a ramp for the hamster to climb up on. Make sure the lolly sticks are clean, and that you use a non-toxic glue. You can also build tunnels and hiding places with loo rolls and cardboard boxes. Glue them together to create a maze within the obstacle course.
Hide treats in different places to encourage your hamster to explore! Start small and see which parts your hamster enjoys the most, and then you can extend the course as you go along.
Experiment with taking photos of your pet in different locations. Put them against a white wall in the house for a nice studio shoot, or try getting action shots in the garden. If your pet will accept any type of clothing you can dress him or her up in different outfits and funny hats, and make them pose for the camera. Why not start an instagram account for your pet to show the world how cute he or she is? Here are our best tips for taking better photos of your pets.
Why limit the egg fun to Easter? Boil some eggs and let them cool, then get the art supplies out and decorate to your heart’s content. You can decide on a theme that everyone has to follow, or if you’re feeling competitive you can get friends and family to judge the eggs in different categories – ”Most Creative”, ”Most Colourful”, ”Best Egg Pun” etc.
ABSTRACT PAW ART
Let your dog’s creative juices flow and let him or her create a beautiful piece of art. Get some toxic-free, water based paint and put your dog’s paws in it. With some treats, guide the dog to a blank canvas and let them walk all over it, creating an abstract paw-print painting. Have water at hand to clean the paws as soon as you’re happy with the result. This might be best as an outdoor activity to avoid the risk of paw prints on carpets and furniture.
Keeping your pets warm in winter and cool in summer is one of the best ways you can help them stay healthy. But this is often easier said than done. Traditionally chicken coops and rabbit hutches have been made from wood. This has its advantages: it’s an easy material to work with, it’s customisable and it looks attractive. However, when it comes to coping with the weather, it can leave a lot to be desired. Wood is not a very good thermal insulator, meaning if it’s hot outside the temperature will transfer through to the inside quickly.
Air as a Thermal Insulator
Perhaps surprisingly, a much better thermal insulator is air. But how can something so thin that you can’t even see keep our pets comfortably insulated from the elements? It’s precisely because it’s so thin that it’s so effective. Heat is conducted between an area of more heat to an area of less heat by one of three processes: conduction, radiation or convection. In conduction warmer molecules vibrate rapidly and collide with other nearby molecules passing on that energy. If the material that the heat is trying to pass through has few molecules in it then it will be harder for the heat to transfer through it. This is precisely what happens if you have a warm surface separated from another surface by a layer of air.
Because air is not a good conductor it is commonly used as an insulator in everything from buildings (double glazing, cavity walls) to cooking utensils, drinking flasks and even the high tech chicken coops.
Eglu chicken coops have a unique twin wall system that takes full advantage of air’s great insulating property to keep your pets comfortable all year round. Within the walls of the Eglu is an air pocket which acts as a barrier, stopping hot and cold temperatures penetrating into the inside of the house, so your chickens can stay warm in winter, and cool in summer.
The Eglus also feature a draft-free ventilation system designed to increase the air flow throughout the coops, keeping chickens at a comfortable temperature. These air vents are discretely located around the coop, and specifically designed so they do not allow drafts over the nesting box. A well ventilated coop is not only beneficial for keeping chickens cool, but it is also extremely important for preventing your hens from suffering with respiratory issues.
For evidence of the Eglu’s cooling properties, take a look at this video showing how much slower an ice lolly melts when inside the coop…
Many of us would agree that there are few things nicer on a hot summer’s day than a trip to the beach, and as long as you come prepared there is no reason to leave your pooch at home. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for dogs, and you can stay as long as you like without having to worry about getting home to let the dog out!
There are however a few things you need to do before you leave, and some things that are good to know when it comes to dogs and the beach. Here are our best tips for a successful outing!
Find a dog-friendly beach
Dogs are not always allowed on public beaches, but there is normally an area close-by where you can take your dog. Search for a dog-friendly beach nearby, read up on the rules, and make sure you follow them!
Keep an eye on your dog
Even if you’re at a dog-friendly beach you must always keep an eye on your dog, and show consideration to the other beach goers and dog owners. No one appreciates being sprayed with water from a wet dog as they’re relaxing with a good book! If you’re not absolutely sure your dog will come when you call or stay close to you, it might be best to keep it on the lead. Omlet stocks several leads in different lengths so that you can adjust how far the dog will be allowed to wander.
You also have to make sure your dog stays safe at the beach. Dogs are amazing at finding things in the sand that might not be good for them, everything from leftover barbecue ingredients to rotting fish. Glass, sharp shells, or even old fish hooks may hide in the sand, and can hurt your dog’s precious paws.
Teach your dog to swim
Many believe that all dogs know how to swim, but that is not the case. Even if all dogs will automatically paddle their feet if you put them in the water, there are several dog breeds that aren’t built to stay floating. Breeds with large heads and short legs will struggle to keep their head over the surface to breathe. If your dog seems to love swimming but you’re not completely sure about their ability, it might be a good idea to invest in a doggy life jacket. That being said, there are lots of dogs that don’t really enjoy the water, or who will be perfectly happy running around in the shallow parts where they don’t have to swim. Never force a dog to come swimming with you!
Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, it’s important for you as an owner to keep an eye on them as they’re out in the water. Make sure you stay informed about currents in the water, and don’t let the dog in if there are high waves or lots of boats or jet skis around. Dogs can easily get too excited in the water and swim out into deep waters, where the current might be much stronger. You also have to supervise dogs playing and swimming with children.
Make sure you pack everything you need for a day at the beach. Dogs will need plenty of fresh water, so get enough for the whole family. It’s a good idea to have a collapsible water bowl, so you don’t have to make your dog drink straight from the bottle. This way you can also keep track of how much water the dog has actually had. Bring toys that will entertain your dog throughout the day. If you’re able to throw balls or other toys down the beach, that is a perfect activity that will entertain your dogs, and give it a good amount of exercise. Just make sure the toys float if they end up in the water.
If you’re staying at the beach for a few hours, or maybe even the whole day, it’s important to make sure the dog can get some shade. If you’re not sure whether there are shaded areas where you’re going or not, bring a parasol or a small beach tent where the dog can relax during the hottest hours of the day.
Before you leave
Make sure you leave nothing behind, and clean up after yourself and your dog!
If there are taps or beach showers where you are, you might want to rinse your dog before you leave for the day. Salt can cause irritation to the dog’s skin, and sand can get in their eyes as they’re trying to get rid of it from their faces, which can cause eye infections and lots of discomfort. The dog will probably also have been exposed to plenty of dirt and bacteria during all the exploring. If you can’t find any fresh water at the beach, it might be a good idea to scrub your dog with a towel before you get in the car (maybe mainly to not end up with a desert in the boot), and then give him or her a quick bath when you get home.
Did you know, that chickens can’t sweat? Instead, chickens use their legs, combs and wattles to lead heat away from their bodies. They also pant and spread their wings in order to get some air through those feathers. Chickens also enjoy lying down in the shade when it’s very hot, and of course they drink lots of water.
It is actually easier for chickens to keep themselves warm in winter than it is for them to cool down during the summer. It isn’t just an issue of comfort either – chickens can die of heatstroke. Since chickens have a hard time cooling themselves down, when it gets extremely hot they rely on you to help them. So, what can you do to help your chickens keep cool in the summer heat?
Here are our 7 top tips:
Eggs consist mainly of water, so producing an egg absorbs a lot of water from a hen’s body. Drinking cool water is also one of the main ways in which chickens cool themselves down. Your chickens will therefore need lots of fresh, clean and cool water in the heat of the summer. It’s best to change the water every day to make sure they have this. It is also a good idea to provide several water sources so all your chickens can drink at the same time and don’t have to fight for access and end up dehydrating.
Another way you can use water to help your chickens cool down is by providing some shallow pools where they can dip and cool their feet and legs, remember that this is one of the areas where heat leaves their bodies. Try filling some shallow bowls or tubs and leaving them around in the run or your garden. If your chickens don’t like to stand directly in the water you can try placing a brick in there which will be cooled by the water and which the chickens can then stand on top of.
It is absolutely essential to provide shade for your chickens and even more so when it gets really hot. If you let your chickens free-range in the garden they might be able to find shade under trees and bushes but in any case it is a good idea to provide shade in the run as well. You can easily create shady spots in the run for instance by having a raised coop and/or attaching covers to the run.
Be careful not to give your chickens too many treat in summer, as you need to make sure they eat their layers pellets. Chickens eat less when it’s extremely hot because digestion produces more body heat, so it’s important to make sure they eat the right things and get the vitamins and minerals they need. Try feeding your chickens during the cooler parts of the day such as in the evening. See tip #4 as well.
4) Nutritional Supplements
It is a good idea to give your hens some nutritional supplements in the heat such as vitamins and tonics which can be added directly to their food or water. These can improve absorption of minerals, give your chickens a boost to improve their overall health and help them cope better with the heat.
Apple cider vinegar, for instance, can help with calcium absorption in the body which is essential for egg shell production.
5) Dust Baths
Chickens love to dust bathe in the warm weather, but you might not want them scraping around in your flower beds. The best thing to do is to build another flower bed (but not for your flowers) and fill it with some sand, soil and some louse powder. If you have a large flock you might even want to provide several spaces so all your chickens have a chance to dust bathe in the shade.
Make sure that you place the dust bath in a sheltered spot or cover it up when your chickens aren’t using it otherwise the rain might turn it into a mud bath.
Your chickens will need plenty of space during the hot summer months so make sure they aren’t overcrowded. It will be even hotter for them if they are crowded too closely together. Chickens need to be able to spread out and spread their wings for ventilation, and everyone in the flock needs to be able to drink cool water and lie in the shade at any time.
7) Cool Coop
All Omlet Eglu chicken coops have a unique twin-wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing. This means they do not overheat in the summer. They are also built with a draught-free ventilation system, carefully designed to avoid air blowing directly over the roosting area whilst allowing fresh air to circulate.
If you have a wooden chicken coop, it is important to think about how you can keep the coop nice and cool for your chickens. Make sure you create plenty of ventilation either by opening windows in the coop or by using a fan. Be careful not to have too much thick and heavy bedding as it absorbs heat. Also keep an eye out for mould if you’ve got a wooden coop. Mould can make straw and hay start to rot faster, thereby producing more heat, so make sure you clean out the coop regularly and especially at any signs of mould.
If your chickens are reluctant to go into the hot coop during the day to lay their eggs you could try providing nesting boxes for them outside in cooler, shaded areas.
A familiar problem for backyard chicken keepers and commercial enterprises for laying hens, is infestation of the birds’ environment with Dermanyssus gallinae, also known as red (poultry) mites. Compared to other poultry parasites such as fowl ticks, lice and flies, mites are by far the most common, most destructive and difficult to remove. Red mites are nocturnal parasites and hide themselves in all kinds of gaps and cracks during the daytime. This makes the treatment of red mites harder and more complicated.
SIGNS AND DIAGNOSIS
Red mites are up to 1mm in size. The title “Red” has been given to this mite as it turns from grey to red after it has a blood feed. Once the infestation becomes significant, your chickens will become anaemic. Their wattles and the combs will start looking pale and their egg production will drop significantly. Red mites also cause skin irritation, feather pecking, weight loss and restlessness in the flock. Because of the mites your chickens will probably be reluctant to go to bed, because that’s where the mites are!
When checking your chicken coop for red mites, check the perch’s at the end and cracks and crevices. An even easier way to check is to run a white paper towel underneath the perches at night. If there are red mites, at this time they will be on the underside on the perch after feeding on your chickens and you will be able to see red streaks on your paper towel.
Prevention is always better than cure. But this is not always that simple. Wild birds or new chickens can transmit red mites to your coop. It’s a good idea to check for red mite routinely when you clean your chicken coop and use some preventative treatment to the coop. For example, you can use Diatomaceous earth as part of the weekly clean (DE is a 100% natural powder which dehydrates parasites it comes into contact with). All types of chicken coops can get red mite, however wooden coops tend to suffer from infestations the most.
Unfortunately red mites can survive for up to 10 months in an empty hen house, so leaving a coop empty for a while doesn’t usually fix the problem. Choosing your housing carefully can help prevent infestations. Omlet’s Eglu chicken coops are made from plastic which makes it very difficult for red mites to make a home. And in the event that there is a Red mite infestation, they are quick and easy to clean. A quick blast with a pressure washer should do the trick.
If you find lots of red mite in the coop, it’s time for a big clean up. The initial clean out will take a couple of hours for wooden coops, with a plastic coop it will take less time. Remove all birds from the house and strip the house down as much as possible. If you have a felt roof you will need to remove this and have your coop re-felted.
Use a hose (preferably high pressure) to hose down the coop and the parts. Try to get in every nook and cranny as this is where the mites like to live. Leave for 10-15 minutes to dry. After this you will most probably see more mites, which have been disturbed, crawling out. Repeat this process until there are very few mites emerging after each wash.
Leave the house to thoroughly dry. It’s ideal to do the initial clean on a sunny day as the UV can kill some bacteria and will dry the house quicker. Put the coop back together and add bedding (dispose the old bedding in a plastic bag in a bin as the red mites will happily find somewhere else to live).
5) Red mite powder
Sprinkle the whole coop and your chickens with a red mite powder. Ensure you rub the powder onto the perches so any remaining mites will have to crawl through it to reach your chickens. Omlet stocks a large range of red mite powders and diatom powders to deal with red mite infestations.
6) Repeat red mite powder treatment
Re-apply the red mite powder every couple of days or when it has rubbed of. Red mite are only active during mild weather, so in the UK the red mite season usually falls between May and October. During the fall and winter, the mites become dormant and do not feed. But this doesn’t per se mean they are gone…