Category Archives: Guest Blog

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.

Xylitol

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 www.dog-first-aid.co.uk.

 

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 bathpets@aol.com 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

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.

Sunburn

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.

Parasites

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.

Allergies

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 bathpets@aol.com 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.
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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 bathpets@aol.com or telephone us on 01225 461461. Or simply pop in, you’ll be welcome!

Guest Post – Christmas is a time for giving – but is it a time for giving pets?

Christmas is a time for giving – but is it a time for giving pets?

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Christmas is a great time for buying the people you love something they’ll love. 

And often pets can top the list of the most ‘wanted pressie.  However, although your chosen pet may be super appealing at the time, you need to make sure that after Christmas the glamour doesn’t wear off.

Sadly, the number of exotic pets being dumped is on the increase and the RSPCA have recently seen a significant increase in the number of exotics they’ve had to rescue. 

So what are the kind of things you should consider before you make that purchase? ExoticDirect explain what you need to think about. 

Housing

1. What kind of housing will your pet need?  If it’s a lizard you may well need a heat lamp, a UV lamp, a thermometer, hide and suitable substrate. The vivarium will also need to be big enough to accommodate your growing pet.   You’ll also need to ensure there is a temperature gradient within the vivarium, to replicate the lizard’s natural environment.

Christmas bear reptile 

2. If you’re purchasing a tortoise, you’ll need to provide lighting and heating, UV lighting, a thermometer and suitable substrate.  You’ll also need to buy a tortoise table, or a vivarium. It’s essential that you provide the correct husbandry for your lizard or tortoise otherwise it could lead to significant health problems.  

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3. A bird will need a suitable sized cage, plenty of toys and suitable food.  Your home itself should be safe and secure, so that when your parrot is out of his cage, he can’t injure himself or escape outside.

whiteparrot

4. Small mammals will require a suitable sized cage, a ‘run’ and suitable food. 

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Food

1. Lizards: These pets love their live food! Are you prepared to pick out locusts and meal worms for your lizardIf not, these pets might not be quite right for you! 

You should ensure you know where you can buy good quality food from.  Poor quality live food can lead to such issues as parasites – where the parasite lives inside the live food, and is then transferred to your lizard when eaten.  You should also ensure your provide plenty of calcium in your lizards diet to prevent metabolic bone disease. 

2. Parrots also have specific food requirements.  You can offer fresh food and pellets; fresh food with a seed based diet or an alternation of both with fresh food added daily. 

3. Tortoises often eat herbage. A mixed weed diet is best for a Mediterranean tortoise, avoiding harmful weeds such as buttercups.  Dandelions are particularly good for tortoises. You can also feed your tortoise vegetables. Like with lizards, you should provide plenty of calcium in your tortoises diet to prevent metabolic bone disease. 

4. Small Mammals:  If you’re purchasing a Guinea Pig or Rabbit you’ll need to provide plenty of hay and/or grass. This is because their teeth continually grow, and chewing hay helps to grind down their teeth.  Dental issues are extremely common in Guinea Pigs and Rabbits, and can lead to a lot of pain for them, and a huge vet bill for you.  Hay also helps to maintain a heathy digestion.  

Guinea Pigs also need lots of vitamin C in their diet. This is because like us, their bodies don’t naturally produce it – they can only get it from their diet. Without lots of vitamin C, they can develop Scurvy – which isn’t nice!

Vet fees

1. With the best care in the world, exotic pets can and do get ill.  Vet fees can often quickly escalate. Especially if youpet is referred from a normal ‘cat and dog’ treating vet, to an exotic vet.

2. You should consider getting insurance in order to cover unexpected vet bills.  

House proofing

Does your house need to be house proofed?  And where will you keep the enclosure?  

Vivarium’s can be large, and you may need to move a room around in order to accommodate it.

Parrots have very specific environment requirements.  They have a very sensitive respiratory system, and common household scents can be toxic for birds.  The fumes from burnt Teflon (found on non stick cooking equipment) can be fatal.  Additionally, you need to ensure that there are no items in the house that can cause your parrot to get injured or choke.  Finally, you need to ensure safety – windows and door should be kept closed if your parrot is out of his cage.  

Going on holiday?

You’ll need to think about who’ll care for your pet if you go away.  Will your neighbour or friend be happy to care your lizard, giving him live food regularly?  

Will your parrot be happy with you going away? Parrots are very intelligent and emotional birds, and become very attached to their owners.  If you’re going away on holiday, its likely that your parrot could become very distressed in your absence.  This could lead to significant health issues – such as feather plucking.

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Will your friends and family be scared of your pet?

Not so much of an issue if you’re opting for a cute rabbit or guinea pig. But if you’re choosing a parrot or a lizard, visitors could become nervous.  A rogue parrot flying around thehouse can be scary.  And lizards, although adorable and fascinating, could make some people nervous if not kept in their vivarium.  

All pets love a bit of love, time and attention.  

1. Lizards: If you already own one of these, you’ll know how much time they can take up.  If its not showing them affection, its ensuring their housing is at the right temperature, their food requirements are met, and that they are clean, and free from any sign of illness.

2. Parrots:  These are probably one of the most demanding pets emotionally.  African Grey’s for example can have the mental age of a 5 year old child.  Parrots can get bored, distressed, excited, and attach to their owner.  They are often a full time job in themselves, as they require a lot of stimulation.  

3. Small mammals:  In the case of rabbits a hutch is just not a large enough space for the pet to roam. You should ensure that your rabbit is let out of his cage for a large part of his day – a ‘run is a great place for this.  Before you buy your rabbit, think about how you’re going to provide him with enough exercise. 

Finally, once you’ve done all your research, you’ll be armed with the right information to provide your new pet with a loving home. 

Fact: Did you know that nearly 55% of exotic pet owners were surprised at the level of care required for their pet? (Based on a study conducted by ExoticDirect in their 2014 “Fur Free Doesn’t Mean Care Free” report).  You can download the article here:  https://www.exoticdirect.co.uk/news/fur-free-doesnt-mean-carefree-report

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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 responsible pet ownership of exotic pets fits with the Not Just Pet ethos of being 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 bathpets@aol.com or telephone us on 01225 461461. Or simply pop in, you’ll be welcome!