Category Archives: Guest Blog

Guest Post: The Importance of Keeping your Pet Active

Keeping pets active is important for their general health, but it is very easy for some to become inactive. Like humans, pets have personalities, and some will be more susceptible to a little laziness. Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems that comes from inactivity is obesity, so all pet owners need to take steps to encourage their pets to stay more active. The following tips will help you do just that.

The problem with pet obesity Obesity in pets is certainly an issue in the UK. So much so, that figures released in 2016 showed that over 60% of vets said that obesity was the biggest welfare concern for pets. So making sure you keep your pet’s weight down is really important .

One of the biggest causes of obesity in pets is overeating, but a lack of activity plays a major role too. Whilst awareness has improved, this is still a problem, and one that all pet owners need to be aware of.

Benefits of keeping your pet active

In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, there are plenty of other reasons to keep your pet active, including:

  • Reducing the ageing effect.
  • Maintaining healthy joints.
  • Teaching discipline.
  • Supporting good mental health and reducing anxiety.

Activity is such a huge part of a pet’s life, but sometimes it can be difficult to do. With that in mind, here are some top tips to help keep your pet active:

  1. Encourage them to head outdoors

This one’s particularly aimed at dog and cat owners. Sometimes you’ll have a furry friend that flatly refuses to go outdoors and would rather just curl up on the sofa. So, you have to give them a reason to get out there. This is especially true with some cats, as they tend to do their own thing. Think about what you could put in your garden to make those first steps and encourage them to get out and explore.

  • Make the house a playground

Just like giving your pet a reason to go outside, you need to encourage them to exercise indoors too. With smaller pets like hamsters, it’s all about utilising tunnels, wheels, hoops and other DIY hamster toys. With cats it can be as simple as chasing some string around – even they won’t be able to resist that instinct! And for dogs, get yourself a rolled-up towel or piece of rope and have a good old game of tug of war.

Setting up activities in the home is great for everyday exercise, but it’s also really good when you can’t get out to exercise the dog. Whether it’s appalling weather, an illness or anything else that stops you both leaving the house, you’ll always have something to fall back on.

  1. It’s ok to treat

Finally, let’s talk about treats. But we’re trying to lower obesity, aren’t we? Yes we are, so that means using treats for rewards. Animals are as susceptible to conditioning as humans, so once they see the link between them running around and getting a treat, they’ll be more inclined to do so. There are plenty of products that release treats as a result of your pet doing the work, so you don’t even have to worry about regulating it yourself.

As you can see, it’s really important to keep your pet active, and you can play a big role. Whether it’s finding a way to get your cat to explore the great outdoors, playing tug of war with the dog, or making DIY hamster toys, try different things, and before you know it you’ll have a much livelier pet on your hands.


Don’t forget too that here at @NotJustPets we stock high quality, nutritious foods such as grain-free foods like Canagan for dogs and cats, low-fat, good quality pet treats as well as chondroitin and glucosamine supplements and treats for healthy joints. We also stock a vast range of interactive and other toys for your pet, from hamster to hound. Why not pop in to our stores in Frome and Larkhall or take a look at our website at or find us on Facebook at on Twitter at and on Instagram at

We are always happy to help with your pet queries. Get in touch via our website or email at or telephone us on 01373 462068. Or simply pop in, you’ll be welcome!

Guest post – Keeping Dogs safe this Easter

Not Just Pets Guest Post for Easter

Keeping dogs safe at Easter time

Here at Not Just Pets we stock a wide range of dog safe chocolate Easter treats. These are great for encouraging your pet to join in the fun during the holidays. But there are also a great many hazards for dogs at Easter time. Here is a guest post that will explain more about these and how you can avoid a trip to the vet with your dog.


Hazards for dogs at Easter

The world is full of hazards for dogs, just as it is for humans and, just like for humans, most of the time we can avoid them. Knowing what poses a hazard to our four-legged friends is key to being able to keep them safe and avoid illness or an emergency trip to the vet.

Local veterinary nurse, Hannah Burton, who runs Dog First Aid courses for dog owners and those who work with dogs across Bristol, Somerset, Bath and Dorset, is keen to spread the word about how to avoid doggy disaster over the Easter holidays.

Hannah says: “Having worked in a vet’s practice for many years I am all too familiar with how badly dogs can be affected by eating foods commonly found in the home. A dog coming across a stash of Easter Eggs hidden out of sight can have fatal consequences and nobody wants to spend the Easter weekend facing the loss of their dog.”

Below is some advice from Hannah on how to avoid hazards that are particularly prevalent over the Easter holidays.

Chocolate eggs

Now Christmas is behind us, we can be sure to find Easter eggs in our local supermarkets tempting us at the end of aisles.  Not only are these often kept hidden ‘en masse’ before Easter, but we find children receive so many Easter eggs they may have a hoard of their own somewhere!  And while discovering this hoard may be your dog’s idea of heaven – it can quickly turn to disaster.

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs.  Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are much higher in concentration of theobromine and caffeine – and therefore pose more of a threat – than milk or white chocolate. However, large enough quantities of milk chocolate still regularly get consumed during the Easter period to warrant presentation to vets for treatment.

If you arrive home to an array of wrappers and the dog is looking terribly guilty, it’s time to call Animal Poison Line or your vet, to find out whether or not the amount consumed constitutes risk of toxicity for their bodyweight.  If a risk is posed then a trip down to the surgery where your vet can induce vomiting is likely to be required, followed by monitoring for signs of poisoning, which include restlessness, increase in heart-rate, panting, pacing, vomiting, diarrhoea and increased drinking.

She may need to be admitted for further care including intra-venous fluids and other treatment as planned by your vet.

Untreated, signs of chocolate poisoning may progress to un-coordination, seizures, severe cardiac abnormalities, coma and death.  The high fat content of chocolate products may trigger pancreatitis in susceptible animals.

Sultanas, currants and raisins

Simnel cake and hot cross buns-a-plenty, Easter time presents more than average opportunities for our canine friends to snaffle some of these potentially toxic dried fruits. The toxicity of raisins, sultanas and grapes isn’t fully understood yet, as while some will prove fatal others won’t. But, it’s important to remember that just one raisin or grape can be enough to kill a dog of any size if they are unlucky.  Dogs that have eaten sultanas, currants or raisins need to be taken to a vet as soon as possible, where the vet can induce vomiting. Further treatment, including intra-venous fluids and monitoring kidney function may also be necessary.  Left untreated in susceptible individuals, signs include lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness, dehydration and increased drinking. By the time these symptoms occur it may already be too late to successfully treat the dog, and if kidney failure develops this can prove fatal.


Used more and more commonly in baked goods, the sweetener xylitol may not be on the doggy menu but end up being consumed by your dog inadvertently.  Eating products containing xylitol can cause hypoglycaemia, and possible liver damage.

The amount of xylitol the dog has eaten should be recorded and reported to Animal Poison Line or your vet – this will be useful in determining whether toxic signs will be expected and how severe they will be.  Where enough xylitol has been eaten, signs of hypoglycaemia can develop rapidly so it is imperative to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible, and before signs such as weakness, vomiting, lack of coordination, collapse, seizures and coma.  Affected animals should be hospitalised and treated.  Signs of liver damage include depression, jaundice, vomiting and clotting problems, and those showing severe liver damage may not recover despite treatment.

Easter plants

Easter plants and bulbs are given as gifts or kept at home around this time for ornamental purposes.  Many of these are toxic to dogs and if you suspect your dog may have eaten some you should contact your vet for advice.

What to do if you suspect your dog has ingested a poison or toxin, and what signs to look out for, are covered in Hannah’s Dog First Aid courses. To find out more about the courses, visit


Not Just Pets stocks dog safe chocolate for any dogs that adore chocolate. Visit us in store and find out more.

We look forward to welcoming you in store soon;

remember we are open in our Bath store 7 days a week!

Any ideas and suggestions you have will be welcomed. You can follow us in many ways:

Facebook                Twitter             Pinterest

 We are now on Instagram! – notjustpets Follow us and see some fantastic photos!

We run regular photo competitions, quizzes, offers and promotions on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so why not “like” or “follow” us today! 

Get in touch via any of the above, or via our website or email at or telephone us on 01225 461461. Or simply pop in, you’ll be welcome!



Guest Blog from Country & Stable – Summer Safety Tips

Not Just Pets welcome a guest blog from Country & Stable this month as we head into the warm and sunny weather. There are some great tips here and Not Just Pets stocks the products mentioned in the article.

Summer is a wonderful time to spend time with our dogs. The long walks bathed in sunshine, trips to the beach, and just generally more opportunity to spend time outside in (hopefully) nice weather.

However, summer also brings with it its own set of problems for our dogs, that it’s essential we’re aware of to ensure they stay healthy, safe and happy. Here Country & Stable have kindly provided their top summer safety tips for you and your dog.


Heatstroke is caused when your dog’s body temperature becomes too high and they can’t bring it down to a safe level. Signs of heatstroke in dogs include heavy panting, fainting, raised pulse rates, excessive salivating, and lethargy, which can quickly lead to death if not treated.

Overweight dogs, those with thick coats, and those with squashed up faces and brachycephalic muzzle are even more susceptible to heatstroke, so take extra care if your dog falls into one of those categories.

One of the most common (and dangerous) causes of heatstroke in dogs is leaving them in a hot car, and the seriousness of doing this cannot be stated vehemently enough. Quite simply, DO NOT leave your dog in the car on a hot day, no matter the circumstances.

This article and infographic gives more information about the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car.

If you think your dog has developed heatstroke, you need to try and reduce its body temperature. Make sure it’s in the shade and use cool (not cold) water to bring its temperature down. You should then contact your vet to determine what to do next.


Dogs can get sunburned just like we can, which can lead to skin cancer if not looked after. Yes, fur can act as a barrier to some extent, but if you want to really protect your dog from the sun, then do as you would do and slap on some sun cream.

You can buy sun cream specially made for dogs – human sun lotions can have zinc oxide in them, which is poisonous to pooches. Make sure you apply to particularly sensitive areas or where fur is thinnest, such as their nose, belly and ears.

Many owners like to trim their dog’s fur in the summer to keep them cool, but be careful not to go too short, or they will be at greater risk of sunburn.

Watch those foot pads

You know when you go to the beach on a really hot day and you have to sprint to the sea because the sand is so hot? Well that’s what it can be like for dogs when you talk them for a walk on a summer’s day. Pavements and tarmac paths can get baking hot in the sun, so try and keep your walks to shady areas or on grassy paths. If you have had to walk on hot pavements, try and cool down your dog’s feet when you get home – a children’s paddling pool is great for this.

Also be aware of sharp objects and your dog’s paws. Even dried grass or straw can be extremely sharp, and can cause severe discomfort if it gets stuck in their paws.

Keep them hydrated

You know how dehydrated and thirsty you can get on a hot summer’s day, so imagine what it’s like for your dog who can’t just nip to the fridge for a cool drink.

Always ensure your dog has access to plenty of cool, fresh water. If you’re on a car journey (which you might need to rethink anyway if it’s particularly hot), then make sure they have water with them, as we’ve already discussed how dangerous it can be for dogs in hot cars.

If your dog usually eats dry food, then you could switch to wet food to increase their fluid intake.

Don’t assume they’re a good swimmer

A great way to cool off in the heat is to go for a dip in a river, lake, the sea, or a pool if you’re on holiday. However, just because dogs have a natural ability to swim, don’t assume your dog is a particularly good swimmer.

Small dogs are especially prone to becoming tired easily when swimming, as well as easily caught up in currents, which can lead to drowning. Never let your dog near water without your supervision, and if you think they’re struggling, get them out immediately. A doggy life jacket can help, but it’s still important to keep an eye on them at all times.

Also, if your dog is going to be going in a swimming pool, be aware of the chlorine levels in the pool. Chlorine can irritate skin and cause stomach upsets, so if your dog has been in a pool, try and shower it off with fresh water.


Bugs, insects and other parasite nasties are at their most lively and irritable during the warmer months, and some may well take a liking to your dog. Keep a keen eye out for ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, flies, and various other pests. Speak with your vet about the treatments available to keep them at bay.


If you have any allergies, then you’ll know just how horrible they can be, and your dog can suffer in much the same way. Insects, such as fleas, and flowers can all play havoc with your dog’s allergies, and can cause similar symptoms to those we experience – itching, coughing, sneezing and general discomfort. Again, go and see your vet for the best course of action to combat your dog’s allergies.

We hope this article will help you and your dog have a fun-filled (and safe) summer.

Not Just Pets stocks a wide range of products and accessories to help keep your pets cool in the hot weather. Here are a selection of what we have online and in store.

Luna enjoying some ice cream suitable for dogs from Billy + Margot

Not Just Pets stock a wide range of Travel bottle and bowls that can easliy be brought along on walks and stored in the car.







In store we stock dog safe sunscream in a stick, spray and wipes. Handy sized and keeps your dog safe from the sun.

Not Just Pets stocks Tick tools that help remove ticks and treatments that kill and prevent fleas and lice.

We thank Country & Stable for being a guest on our blog. Do you have a great summer top tip that we have missed? Join the discussion and let us know in the comments below or join us on Facebook or Twitter.

We look forward to welcoming you in store soon;

remember we are open in our Bath store 7 days a week!

Any ideas and suggestions you have will be welcomed. You can follow us in many ways:

Facebook                Twitter             Pinterest

 We are now on Instagram! – notjustpets Follow us and see some fantastic photos!

We run regular photo competitions, quizzes, offers and promotions on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so why not “like” or “follow” us today! 

Get in touch via any of the above, or via our website or email at or telephone us on 01225 461461. Or simply pop in, you’ll be welcome!

Guest Blog – Keeping Parrots safe at Christmas Time

Christmas Trees and Parrots

 This time of year, nothing beats sitting in your cosy living room, sipping a hot drink by the twinkling lights of your meticulously decorated Christmas tree.
If you are the proud owner of a pet bird, however, there is more to consider when choosing a tree than the colour scheme.
The welfare and health of your bird or birds is naturally your top priority, and so researching which options are safe for your beloved pet is paramount. We’ve turned to ExoticDirect for further information.
Real Christmas trees
Not all real trees are poisonous to birds, although some have been known to cause problems for certain species of parrots. Pine is considered a safe tree for birds, but do be mindful of any sap produced by the tree, as this can stick to your bird’s feathers.
Additionally, pine has been listed as potentially harmful in some articles, but those mainly relate to wood shavings and so not relevant to bird keeping.
Further, even if the tree itself is not harmful to your bird, many Christmas tree farmers use fertilisers in the water used to sustain their trees and the trees are often sprayed with chemicals.
Your bird is likely to want to perch on the tree, and may nibble on the pine needles while doing so. This is potentially dangerous, as pine needles are naturally prickly and can cause injury when ingested.
So, unless you plan to trek into the wilderness to chop down your own tree (good luck with that!), it is probably best to have an artificial tree, just to be on the safe side.
Artificial Christmas tree
Generally speaking, artificial trees are not harmful to pet birds, including parrots. However, bear in mind that your bird may still try to nibble on the branches of the tree, especially if it is very realistic looking.
As mentioned before, pine needles, whether real or fake, are prickly and can cause injury when ingested, so be mindful of this.
Christmas tree decorations
If your tree has been sprayed with fake snow, glitter, or any other decorative element, this can be poisonous to your bird.
Christmas lights and decorations can break and become hazardous due to sharp edges (and exposed electricity in the case of fairy lights).
Cheaper decorations may contain heavy metals, which can also be toxic; and curious birds may peck on tinsel or ribbon, which can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.
All in all, if possible, it is best to try and keep your pet bird away from your tree altogether, for the welfare of both bird and tree!
Other Christmas plants
It is important to remember that Christmas trees – both real and artificial – are not the only potential danger to your pet bird in your home.
Many plants traditionally used as part of the Christmas presentation, such as Ivy, Holly and Poinsettia can be poisonous to pet birds, as well as popular decorative flowers like Chrysanthemum and Yew.
Lastly, and some of you may find this one particularly disappointing, Mistletoe can also be toxic to some birds, so un-pucker your lips and take it off the door frame! (Or at least hang it somewhere where your pet bird cannot reach it).
A few more things to consider 
The festive season is a happy time for most humans. However, while you enjoy having friends and family over for some delicious food and a glass (or ten) of mulled wine, having to share its space with a stream of strangers can be very stressful for your pet bird. This is particularly true if any of your guests bring their own pets with them (especially the furry kind!). Do consider removing your bird to a spare room away from the party to save its nerves, and your guests from getting splashed with the possible outcome of said nerves!
Birds have a particularly efficient respiratory tract. While this is beneficial in many ways, it also means they inhale more of whatever the air in your home contains. Scented candles, potpourri and air fresheners may all make your home smell lovely for your guests, but can be very harmful to your pet bird. Cigarette smoke and fumes from cooking can also be poisonous, so make sure your bird is not exposed to them.
Even if you give Nigella Lawson a run for her money in the cooking department, most human foods (particularly those containing caffeine, alcohol and chocolate), are harmful to birds. So refrain from sharing your Christmas dinner with your pet bird, and definitely keep it away from that tin of Quality Street and the glass of sherry!
Ultimately, however careful you are, accidents can happen – even the most responsible bird owners occasionally require the services of a vet. The best way to help avoid being faced with high vet fees is to get pet insurance for your bird, before they become ill or injured.
njp hats

Here at Not Just Pets we endorse responsible pet ownership and advise all our customers on the best possible set ups and we sell all the products listed in the article. This guest blog regarding keeping parrots safe at Christmas time fits with the Not Just Pet ethos of they’re not just pets, they’re family!

We look forward to welcoming you in store soon; remember we are open in our Bath store 7 days a week!

Any ideas and suggestions you have will be welcomed. You can follow us in many ways:

Facebook                Twitter             Pinterest

 We are now on Instagram! – notjustpets Follow us and see some fantastic photos!

We run regular photo competitions, quizzes, offers and promotions on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so why not “like” or “follow” us today! 

Get in touch via any of the above, or via our website or email at or telephone us on 01225 461461. Or simply pop in, you’ll be welcome!