Choosing the perfect puppy for you

One of the secrets of enjoying a successful and happy relationship with your dog is to make sure you have done your research and chosen the right breed of puppy for you, your lifestyle and family.

Would you believe, there are over 200 pure breeds of dog in the UK and many designer breeds that are also very popular. Each of these breeds will be very different to live with, have differing needs and energy levels. You need to research which breed, as best you can,  will fit with your idea of dog ownership and what you are prepared to do every day for the next 12/15 years or so, come rain, shine, snow, wind – get the picture!

People tend to forget that dogs cost money and they are not cheap. They need feeding, grooming, training and regular vet check-ups. A recent survey estimated that owners spent on average a minimum of £1,000 a year on their dogs. Vet fees are ridiculously expensive so getting insurance is definitely a requirement and some breeds have higher health issues, so make sure you research that as well. In addition, don’t forget all the dog beds you will get through during the chewing period which could last a couple of years!!

So assuming you can afford it, do you have the time to give this bundle of energy and fun? Dogs do not have on and off switches. There is lots to consider. Whatever the weather, they need to be exercised; there are training needs to build up a good relationship and you need to understand each other to make your life together relatively stress free and most of all, you need to enjoy being with your dog.

Having the time to exercise your dog is the biggest commitment. Some dogs will be happy with 20 minutes or so twice a day, but some high energy breeds and dogs bred to work, may need a good 3 hours a day off lead exercise, especially as a young dog with loads of energy and enthusiasm to explore the great outdoor wilderness of rabbits and birds. Breeds such as herding dogs, gun dogs, spaniels and some terriers will need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and relaxed at home.

Then there’s the hair!

Would you be able to cope with a long haired double coated dog that will require daily brushing or costly grooming bills. Not forgetting the shedding or ‘coat blow’ two or three times a year. Can you put up with that in the house?! Short haired dogs are a lot easier to look after and probably only need a weekly brush, however, they still shed hair and it should not be under estimated how much that can be! The long haired coat also gets matted and will need attention every time it gets wet. Silky coated dogs can get matted coats as well, especially Spaniels who love to get into undergrowth and water emerging with grass seeds, burrs and twigs stuck in their coat! Non shedding breeds such as poodle type coats will need to be clipped. Whatever breed you choose, some amount of grooming is part and parcel of dog ownership – it just depends on how much time you have to give to keep them looking good.

Having said all that, owning a dog is wonderful. It’s therapeutic, gets you out of the house to keep you exercising and that four legged mischief maker will give you unconditional loyalty and love. There is nothing like having a dog in your life – just be prepared for what you are getting!

What makes the best dog bed for your dog?

There may be a clue in how your dog likes to sleep.  Dogs can sleep in the strangest of places and positions and observing how they settle for their zzzz’s may be the best way to help decide on the best bed for them.

Have you noticed your dog circling before he lies down to sleep and scratching at his bed or blanket? Charles Darwin said this behaviour in domestic dogs was a perfect example of vestigial behaviour, which is an inherited action that persists even after it has become useless or irrelevant!  Wolves and wild dogs, still to this day, will bed down in the same way which serves to flatten out sticks and leaves and also rid the ‘bed’ of any bugs and unwanted sleeping companions.  It also gives out an obvious sign that this territory is taken, so keep away from my bed! As they say, old habits die hard!

A dog that is settling down for sleep will often circle and curl up, which suggests that this dog would love a nest bed with high sides for support and a padded comfortable cushion middle.

How a dog sleeps!

Dog’s can however lie and sleep in the most strange positions and many like to lie on their backs undignified with legs in the air – which seems to be a typical pose for a Spaniel or Jack RussellWhat is the best dog bed!!

Larger dogs may feel happier to lounge on their sides, legs stretched out.  A mattress or large cushioned mat may be the best choice for this type of sleeper.  Mattresses can be fully sprung just like your own, memory foam, or softly padded for a smaller dog.  This type of bed will allow them to stretch out comfortably.  Older dogs may be better suited to a memory foam bed which is supportive but soft for arthritic joints

Dogs do love sleeping off the floor, so a raised dog bed would be a good idea for those who are always on the sofa!  Raised beds are easy care and waterproof and these are especially good for working dogs who live outside to keep them off the cold and damp floor which may lead to rheumatoid and arthritic conditions.

If you what a more stylish dog bed, there are many bespoke wooden handmade quality bed options.  Paws Plus One is proud to be able to offer a luxury handmade dog bed compatible with dog mattress which will look good in your home and last for years.

Paws Plus One has a good selection of dog beds to suit all sleeping positions.  If you are interested in the handmade bed, please contact us for more details and prices.

Common Dog skin problems

Does your dog have a dull coat, is constantly scratching, itching, chewing at his paws, or wiping his face and eyes? Any one of these symptoms sound familiar? Dog skin conditions are one of the most common reasons for a trip to the vets.

Constant scratching at itchy skin is really common. Persistent scratching can be torment for both dog and owner; as well as making your dog totally miserable, it can cause broken skin infections and hair loss. Itchy skin can be caused by allergies which can be broken down into three main sections i.e. fleas, the environment or food. Whilst flea bites are particularly irritating to both dogs and humans, some dogs have a hyper-sensitivity to it and just one bite is enough to set off intense itching and scratching. However, it is treatable and can be controlled. See your vet for regular three monthly treatments in tablet form to keep your dog flea and tick free. This is far better control than the over the counter options that are in the form of liquid drops on the skin.

Environmental allergies can be seasonal, so it is a good idea to keep a diary of when your dogs starts scratching and where he has been. Itching that starts when the weather starts to warm up, could be down to fleas or inhaled allergens such as grass pollen. Nettles and thistles can also cause irritation to the paws and you may find your dog scratching at the carpet or chewing his feet to get some relief as soon as he returns home from exercise. Environmental allergies are harder to treat and if control is difficult your dog may need to have medication prescribed by the vet. However, Piriton is a good option for allergy control but always speak to your vet before using who will give you the correct dosage for your breed and size of dog.

Dog Food Allergy

A food allergy is more difficult to diagnose and not as common as you would think. An allergy is created by a hypersensitivity to a protein, and the only way to find out what that is, is to give your dog totally different food and by process of elimination remove the trigger. Unfortunately, most manufactured dog food has similar ingredients, so you may have to get help and advice from your vet practice. Some dog owners swear by a BARF (bones and raw food) diet especially if the dog has behavioural issues which may be caused by an allergy, but most vets are against giving dogs bones. We would recommend that this is fully researched and understood before a change is made. Grains are also not a natural food for dogs so always try and get a grain free kibble to avoid stomach irritation.

Treatments

The introduction of a few drops of salmon oil to your dog’s diet is great for shiny coats and also for bones and joints in older dogs. Keeping your dog shampooed and groomed on a regular basis with either a bristle or pin brush and occasionally going over with a coat thinner tool to remove the loose hair will help keep your home dog hair free and a healthy, fresh smelling, happy dog. Regular checking of your dog’s coat will also identify any problems such as dry skin, fleas and ticks and knotted hair and grass seeds and burrs that can also cause irritation.

Dog Coats Need The Right Dog Coat

The domestic dog’s coat or hair may be made up of a double coat or a single coat. A double coat dog will have a soft hair undercoat for insulation and a tougher top coat made up of stiffer hair to repel dirt and water. This is often referred to as a ‘fur coat’, a good example of that will be the Newfoundland. The single coated dog will not have the soft hair undercoat and are often short and medium haired breeds.

It could be said that dog’s have their own coats so why do they need another? Well, in cold weather we put on extra layers of clothing to keep warm and a hat for our hairy heads, so why should our dog’s not have extra protection in extreme weather. Short haired dogs in particular fall into this category and also those dogs that are clipped regularly.

Most dog’s hair will grow to a certain length and then stop and it will shed, but some dog’s have hair similar to human hair which will not shed and continues to grow making it necessary to have it cut and groomed. This can be a costly practice, so it is best to protect the dog’s coat from mud and tangles with the right, dog coat!

There are many dog coats on the market for every type of occasion, but generally a padded, waterproof dog coat with an adjustable strap around the dog’s middle is the best option. For the best fit measure your dog from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. Choose an adjustable strap style dog coat so you get the right fit around the middle of your dog.

dog-coat-size

For dogs that love swimming or for after a particularly wet walk, or just to keep snuggly and warm when outside the dog fleece coats and dog jumpers are great favourites. They are lightweight and water repellent and easy to keep clean. https://pawsplusone.co.uk/product/hotterdog-fleece-dog-jumper/. These are also great for use with working dogs after a day out in the field. For dog jumpers, it is best to go for the larger size. To show you how to measure see video.

Dog coats are not only for keeping warm, but also for keeping cool in the hot summer months or after strenuous exercise. Cooling dog coats are available that will help bring your dog’s temperature down and great for dogs that do flyball, agility or other sporting activities.

 

For help with measuring your dog or if you are unsure on what size or dog coat, dog jumper to choose please do not hesitate to contact us