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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

How to create a safe, stimulating garden oasis for your dog

How to create a safe, stimulating garden oasis for your dog

Our dogs love to spend time outdoors - so much so, that they probably enjoy our gardens even more than we do. An outside area filled with interesting scents, sounds and toys will provide your furry friend with a space for exercise, exploration and relaxation, all of which they need to stay happy and healthy. So, you'll want to make sure that you do everything possible to make it a dog-friendly paradise.

If you think your garden could be an even better environment for your pet, then a few simple updates - like adding new plants, creating spaces that encourage natural behaviours, and adding toys - can make a big difference. Read on to learn four things you can do to turn your outside space into a safe, stimulating oasis for your canine companion.

Find safe, pet-friendly plants

Consuming certain plants can make your pet poorly, so you'll need to make sure that anything you grow in your garden will be safe for your furry friend. Many common garden flowers - such as foxgloves, hydrangeas, lilies and rhododendrons - can all be poisonous if eaten, so it's important to do your research before adding a new plant to your garden. You can find more information on which varieties can make your pet ill in this guide from The Kennel Club. While it's rare that your dog will compulsively eat plants which are toxic or harmful, it's always better to be safe than sorry, so avoid these varieties when picking ornamental flowers.

Dogs will appreciate having a few interesting scents in the garden, so look for pet-friendly varieties that produce relaxing fragrances. Hops, valerian, chamomile and St. John's wort are all safe plants which will providing relaxing scents for your dog to enjoy. Pets with anxious temperaments might even self-select and ingest these plants to help them calm down when feeling nervous, so they're perfect if your dog suffers from episodes of separation anxiety.

Let them engage in natural, healthy behaviours

Behaviours like chewing, running through your flowerbeds, and digging up the lawn might seem annoying, but to your furry friend, they're perfectly natural. Dogs will dig holes and bury their toys when they need to burn off some excess energy, and certain breeds - like border terriers - are especially keen on it.

You can indulge your dog's natural instincts by creating a special area in which they're free to dig to their heart's content without getting told off. To do this, simply pick an area in your garden, and create an enclosed space filled with a pet friendly compost or soil. This way, your dog is free to exhibit their instinctive behaviours, with limited mess or damage. You'll need to bear in mind that certain shop-bought composts can contain cocoa bean by-products, which can be toxic if eaten in large quantities, so always check the label before buying.

Add toys and play games with your dog 

Dogs need both physical exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy, and daily walking alone is often not enough to fulfil these needs. If your dog has access to your garden via a dog-flap during the day, then providing them with ways to entertain themselves while you're busy can also help to ward off separation anxiety and the destructive behaviours it can cause.

You can supplement your dog's daily dose of fun by providing them with a selection of toys and games, and scattering them around the garden. Just be sure to pick some hardy, weather-proof toys that will stand up to daily wear and tear: it's probably best to go for sturdy rubberised toys rather than cuddly or stuffed styles, as these can be magnets for dirt and are very difficult to clean. Any of the KONG products are generally good at withstand a variety of conditions, and will provide your dog with hours of fun. Those with very active pets and slightly larger gardens could even go for an agility set (check out our dog agility videos here), which are sure to help tire out even the most energetic dogs.

Your garden is also the perfect place for training and playing games with your pet, so be sure to try out Wag and Tone, these exercises will be a fun workout for both you and your dog, and they're a great bonding activity, too.

Don't forget to include a few extras for yourself

Even if your canine companion is your number one priority when designing your garden, you'll still want to include a few features to make your outside area a calming oasis for yourself. After all, our dogs are often highly attuned to our moods, so if you're feeling relaxed and at peace in the garden, then chances are your pooch will be blissed out as well.

So, you'll want to furnish your garden with a few accessories that will help you to relax: windchimes and small running water features will bring soothing noises into your space that both you and your dog can enjoy. You'll also need to create a comfortable seating area, complete with a cosy cushion or two. A reclining deck chair, like this assortment of comfy sun-loungers from Wyevale, will give you somewhere to sit back and relax as your dog enjoys their new pet-friendly garden. Just watch out, as you might find your furry friend tries to join you!

As any dog-owner will know, our canine companions love to spend time outdoors. If you think your garden could be a bit more pet-friendly, then try incorporating these simple updates in your outside space - your dog is sure to appreciate it.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Crufts 2018

The excitement of this year's show is brewing in the dog community!

The main arena is always a huge draw and it is an internal battle whether to watch EVERYTHING or continue around the many halls. The key is planning. Grab yourself a schedule and circle those that you just can't miss.

I would recommend the Rescue Dog Agility, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Display Team, The Golden Retriever Display Team and Heelwork to Music; skilled and happy dogs just having fun!

Anticipation builds at the thought of the 550 trade stands with all the new foods, toys, equipment, information and gifts to peruse through and choose from.

This year one of Cruft's sponsors is Natures Menu, introducing their new 'True Instinct' range of food. No matter what your interest in the dog world, there will be someone for you to converse with in a thrilling and passionate manner to brighten your mood.

Make sure you look around Discover Dogs and visit the forgotten breeds and have a cuddle with all your favourites. Which breed do you think will win best in show this year? This only happens once a year so make the most of it, you won't want to leave.

Tickets are available now from www.crufts.org.uk

Top Tip: Bring a trolley!

- Lily Clark from Naturally Happy Dogs and www.suppawt.com

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Time to reconsider how you fight fleas?

Unfortunately, at one time or another as a dog owner you will face the challenge of having to fight off fleas. Whether you like it or not, combating fleas is almost part of your job description when it comes to raising a well rounded and healthy dog.

The frustrating part is there is almost nothing you can do about your dog getting fleas in the first place. Although some products claim to be flea preventatives, even when using these you may still find one day that these pesky intruders have somehow taken up home on your lovable pooch.

Scratching will probably be the first giveaway of a flea infestation. Out of nowhere your dog will likely start to scratch here there and everywhere just to rid themselves of the annoying pests that are jumping and leaping all over their coat. Where they come from may be an even bigger mystery. Your dog can contract fleas from other dogs they come in to contact with when out on walks or even from just playing on their own in your yard.

Even more surprisingly to some dog owners is that if your dog has previously had an outbreak of fleas which have now returned then it may be that they have returned simply from your dog spending time in doors. This is because it is not uncommon for fleas to live in your dog's bed or even your couch and then return to your pet at a later date.

That is why when treating your dog it is key to remember to treat their environment as well as their fur and coat.

One of the most effective way of treating your dog is through the use of a flea shampoo which will effectively rid your dog of any fleas on them at the time of the bath. However, although shampoo products are great at killing adult fleas they are not so effective at killing larvae or breaking the flea cycle which is so important if you want to completely rid your home of flea and ticks. This is especially important if your dog develops Flea Allergic Dermatitis (FAD).

The best way to get rid of fleas completely is by killing flea eggs as well as adult fleas by ensuring you thoroughly clean your home and any carpet, or furniture that your dog may have come into contact with during the infestation.

This is a step that many dog owners often overlook and is one of the best pieces of advice we offer to pet owners in order to get them to reconsider how they combat fleas.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Are you ready for a dog? Here are 4 things you need to consider

Canine companionship is a wonderful thing and, for many people, a dog is a member of the family. But raising a pet dog takes a huge amount of time, energy, money, and love. This means, while it can be great fun, not everyone is ready for the challenge. Given the responsibilities and level of commitment involved, it's clear that the decision to get a dog is one that no one should ever take lightly.

If you're thinking about getting a dog, you'll need to consider how you plan to care for, exercise, and pay for your new pet. To help you get started, we've compiled this guide to things you need to consider before committing to a canine companion. Just read on to learn whether you're ready to welcome a dog into your home.

1. Are you ready for a lifetime commitment?

The first thing you'll need to ask yourself is whether you're ready for a long-term commitment that will take up a great deal of your time. When you commit to a dog, you need to be certain that you can provide the care they'll need for the rest of their lives, and the average lifespan is usually 9-17 years, depending on the breed. So, you'll need to factor your potential pet into your long-term plans before making a decision. Bear in mind that, as your dog grows older, they may begin to experience health issues, so you need to be absolutely sure that you'll still be up to the challenge in ten or fifteen years' time.

2. Can you meet the needs of the breed you want?

If you've got a certain breed in mind, you'll need to do your research to help you find out whether you can cater to the individual needs of that kind of dog. It's not enough to simply pick the breed you find the cutest: you'll need to figure out whether you've got the time and the resources to take care of them properly. So, before you make a decision, do your homework and learn about the grooming, exercise, and diet requirements of your favourite breed, and whether you have the time (or the inclination) to carry these out.

For instance, some breeds - like border collies - will require at least a couple of hours of exercise a day to keep them healthy, happy, and stimulated, meaning this type of dog is only suitable for someone who wants to spend lots of time outdoors. Our breed library is a great place to learn more about the different temperaments of every breed, so you can make an accurate and informed decision about which dog is right for you.

3. Can you afford it?

The average cost of keeping a dog is around £25 a week, although this can vary drastically depending on the size and breed of dog (The Kennel Club). To ensure that you can afford to keep a dog, you'll need to research the requirements of your chosen breed, and work out how much money you're likely to need on a weekly basis. So, you'll have to factor in expenses such as food, insurance, vet's fees, and toys.

Bigger breeds will require more food, while long-haired breeds might require expensive professional grooming sessions. You'll also need to consider the initial price of your dog: pedigrees will be the most expensive, with breeders charging hundreds of pounds for sought-after breeds. Rescue dogs are much more affordable, although there is usually a rehoming fee to cover the medical expense of vaccinating and neutering the dog. If you're not sure where to start, H&T has a guide on how to create - and stick to - a budget, so you can be sure that you can cover the cost of your pet over their lifetime.

4. How compatible are your living arrangements and lifestyle?

Not every home is suitable for keeping a dog. If you have a small home, or live somewhere without a garden or outside area, you may struggle to give a larger or more energetic breed of dog the space they need. Some breeds may be less compatible with young children, while others may not socialise well with any current family pets, like cats or guinea pigs. So, you'll have to consider whether your home environment is a suitable place: PetMD has a handy guide to which breeds are best if you have children.

Dogs need companionship and supervision, so you should also think about how you plan to fit them into your day-to-day activities. For instance, is anyone in your household at home during the day? Or would you be able to hire a dogwalker or house sitter to check in with your dog while you're at work? If you think a dog simply wouldn't be compatible with your current lifestyle, you might be better off getting a pet with less complex needs.

Getting a dog requires careful preparation and planning, so you'll have to be sure that you're up to the challenge. If you think you have the time, space, and money to take care of a dog, and you've taken these considerations into account, you're well on your way to welcoming a pet into your home.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

DNA tests for dogs

Some time ago we filmed an article about DNA Breed Identification and found some interesting results about the breeds that made up office dog Sandy.

We have recently come across this web page with some information about the different dog DNA tests available, if you want your dog to be DNA tested, visit www.mypetneedsthat.com/best-dog-dna-tests to find out about 5 different Dog DNA tests.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

How do you choose your dog food?

We have been looking into how people choose their dog food recently, we have a subscriber benefit voucher code for 2 weeks free dog food at Tails.com on our discount codes page. We also came across this website www.jenreviews.com/dog-food which has some very interesting information on it about the 8 major aspects to consider when choosing your dog's diet.

How do you choose your dog food? Do you feed raw or commercial? Do let us know through our Contact Us page and we'll add your thoughts into our research!

Thanks :)

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Top Ways Therapy Pets Help Humans and Vice a Versa

The super old saying that "dog is man’s best friend" is one that has been around for ages and is completely true. There have been many studies done that prove dogs have a positive benefit on everything from the health of humans to the happiness of humans as well. There are many different ways that dogs help humans, but there are also ways that humans can help their loyal pets as well. From making sure that they are taken to the vet on a regular basis to keeping them safe during the holidays, our dogs should be pampered and loved. With that in mind read on below for a few of the top ways dog’s help their humans and vice versa.

Dogs: As Therapy Pets

Pets used for therapy are some of the most loyal and intelligent animals around. From helping you get through college to helping you shop at the local market, therapy pets are not just helpers to their owners, they are loyal companions and friends as well.

Humans: Give Your Dog a Home

The first and probably the best way that you can help your pet is by giving them a home to begin with. There are many stray dogs on the streets and many more that have been picked up and put to sleep because no one wants to adopt them. Your first step is to adopt a pet to give a home.

Dogs: Help with Depression

Dogs have been proven over and over again to be able to help with depression and keep their owners happy. If you find yourself depressed, curl up with your pooch and watch a movie or even just pay him some attention and you will both feel better before you know it.

Humans: Watch What He Eats

You might not know it, but there are some foods that are toxic for your dog. There are serious health consequences for everything from chewing a chicken bone to eating a bar of chocolate. Most dogs will eat anything they can get ahold of, so make sure to keep those items and other toxic foods up where your pooch can’t reach them. If your dog does get sick from a food that he shouldn’t be eating, take him to an emergency vet as soon as possible for treatment. You will both be glad that you did.

Dogs: Early Cancer Detection

It has been proven that dogs can be trained to sniff out the early warning signs of cancer. The smell that cancer cells give off is easily detectable to dogs who have been trained to know what to look for. If your dog is insisting on sniffing at a certain part of your body all of the time, it could be because he’s found something that you need to get checked out. Don’t ignore him, call your doctor right away for an appointment.

These are just a few of the ways that dogs help humans on a daily basis and some of the ways that you can help to take care of your loyal pet. From early cancer detection to being a therapy pet, dogs have proven that they are indeed “man’s best friend,” and always will be.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Ensuring a stress free Christmas

How to make sure your dog has a stress-free Christmas

Christmas is a very busy time in most households. There are gifts to buy and wrap, food to prepare and eat, and close and extended family to invite round and visit. However, there is one member of the family who might not be having the most magical time: your dog. With all the comings and goings and an irregular schedule, the festive season can be confusing for your furry friend, and they might begin to feel stressed as result. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make your dog's Christmas as stress-free as possible, and we’ve listed several below. Read on to find out more.

Don't stray too far from your dog's routine

Dogs, like humans, are creatures of habit. But, while we can make an exception for the festive period, our furry friends can't. For example, if you decide to go for a spot of spontaneous Christmas shopping during the time you'd usually give the dog their dinner or go for a walk, they are going to be left confused as to why their routine has suddenly been switched around. Instead, try to think ahead and do your best to plan Christmas around your dog. This doesn't have to completely set in stone, but giving your pet some structure will help them avoid becoming stressed. If you know you're going to be super busy for a few days and won't be able to take the dog out for a nice, long walk, ask a friend or relative if they'd step in. Should everyone else you know be busy, you could always try a dog sitter or a dog walker through Gudog, a service that matches local dog professionals with owners in a jam.

Prepare for your dog being around new faces

Christmas is the time when you catch up with all your friends and relatives, so there will probably be a host of faces passing through your door. Many dogs have a happy-go-lucky personality and are glad to accept strokes from just about anybody, but there are also a few who shy away from new people and retreat into their shell. You'll know how comfortable your dog is around strangers the best so, if you know they can become nervous at the sight and scent of newcomers, it's best to prepare a space they can feel safe in. Put their bed, water bowl, and favourite toys into a quiet room and ask your guests not to disturb them if they head in there to chill-out. It's vital your dog feels safe and secure, so providing that environment over Christmas is essential for keeping them totally de-stressed.

Decorate your home in a dog-friendly way

You might not realise it, but there are quite a few hidden hazards to be found in traditional Christmas decorations. Artificial trees are usually the best choice for dogs, as they have none of the sharp, mildly-toxic needles that can get stuck in paws or eaten. You should also look to avoid glass ornaments or baubles as they could cause similar issues if they fall and break. If you plan on using edible decorations, you might want to think again, as chocolate is highly toxic to dogs. Tinsel is also hazardous, as the strands can cause internal injury if eaten. For more expert advice on dog-dangers to watch out for around Christmas, be sure to watch our Keeping Dogs Safe at Christmas vet advice video that will keep you well informed.

Get ready for the fireworks

Around New Year, the UK tends to explore its fascination with fireworks, which is bad news for dog owners. The loud noises can put our furry friends on edge so, if you know there will be a local display or one of your neighbours is planning on enjoying a few, it's best to prepare and practice some understanding of your pet's fear.

Dogs can become very skittish when a firework goes off, so make a point of going for a walk earlier in the day when there is a less chance of a loud bang causing them to slip their lead and run away. Before you head out, make sure that your pooch's details are up to date on their microchip just in case the worst should happen. You can do this by logging onto your chip provider's website — all the UK registered databases are listed by Dogs Trust.

Make sure all your windows, doors, and curtains are closed. And, if there is a room in your home that is more insulated from noise outside, it might be best to set your dog's bed up in there. It's well worth taking a look at Millbry Hill's guide to keeping pets safe during firework season as it contains extensive and detailed advice for both dogs and other animals.

Take care of the furry member of your family this Christmas and make sure they don't get stressed by following our tips. Then, all that's left is to enjoy a healthy festive season together.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Crufts 2017

Crufts, every dog lovers dream to attend, with something for everyone. The excited buzz of the crowd created an atmosphere like no other. Where to start!

The main arena was a sight to behold, it was an internal battle whether to watch EVERYTHING or continue around the many halls.

My favourites were the Rescue Dog Agility, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Display Team, The Golden Retriever Display Team and Heelwork to Music; skilled and happy dogs just having fun!

We found this amazing stall selling bow ties for pets!
The array of stalls full of food, toys, equipment and gifts would easily keep you busy for the entirety of the event, especially if you don’t have the will to pull yourself away from shopping opportunities. There were so many people to converse with that have the same interests as you and keep your mood bright for the whole day.

We met the most gorgeous Blue Merle Border Collie puppy
And had a selfie with 'Positively' Victoria Stilwell

Then we took on a challenge to see how many NHD reporters we could fit in a dog crate!

Check out our facebook page www.facebook.com/naturallyhappydogs for more posts and photos about our adventures and if you want to follow along with next year's antiques, 'like' and 'follow' the page. We recommend you start planning for your visit next year, you won’t be disappointed.

- Lily Clark from Naturally Happy Dogs and www.suppawt.com

Monday, 27 February 2017

It's nearly Crufts time!

We are off to Crufts again from the 9th to the 12th March, we don't have a stand this year but if you would like to come to chat with us, do drop us a Facebook message and we can meet you there.

While it was originally about showing dogs, Crufts has become the place to go for all of our canine shopping, finding out about new training techniques, sports and the latest companies in the dog world. It's also a great day spent out with a few thousand other doggy people!

Tickets are on sale now from the Crufts ticket office.  Don't delay - get yours today!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Merry Christmas everyone

We hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

In the lead up to Christmas, why not remind yourself about:

Keeping dogs safe at Christmas

Reducing your dog's stress at Christmas

or you could even find out about Christmas at the RSPCA kennels.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Scentwork, breeding dogs and lead work

Today we met Hannah Molloy from Pawfect Dogsense who discussed with us the pros and cons of breeding our dogs and making sure we are breeding the right temperaments and creating healthy puppies. Hannah also showed us a few lovely fun scentwork exercises with Skyler (pictured), and also demonstrated how to stop a dog from pulling on the lead.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Do As I Do with Dog & Bone

This week we have been promoting Naturally Happy Dogs at the Dog & Bone seminar 'Do As I Do'. It's a fascinating technique where you teach your dog a cue to 'copy the action I've just done'. Sandy and Skyler both had a go, and seemed to be getting the hang of it by the end.

We filmed Claudia explaining the technique a while ago, you can watch the video here: Do As I Do with Claudia Fugazza

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Three simple training exercises that really work

It's lovely to learn a simple training method that really changes things for you and your dog, and today we learned three of them!

Tony Cruse from TC dog training showed us three exercises he teaches to his class:

"Chuck the Cheese" is a very easy to teach method to get your dog to pay attention to you, and untimately offer you some behaviours before they rush off to play with other dogs. Skyler helped out as the 'more advanced' training demonstrator. 

"Drop, Step and Treat" is a nice little exercise to do occasionally with your dog so that if you ever drop your lead, your dog's response is to look at you. Imagine how useful this would be if you dropped the lead near a busy road. 

"Food bowl manners" - does what it says on the tin! When explained in these simple terms, it's clear how effective Tony's methods will be to ensure dogs are happy when you are around their food bowl.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Large Munsterlanders, Weimaraners, Salukis

Wow - three breeds in one week!

And what lovely breeds they are. The Large Munsterlanders were very sociable, friendly dogs, although you need to not be too house proud to own one as they do like to get a little muddy when out on walks!

It was amazing to see the Salukis run, and we got some lovely slow motion footage to add to our video. Their owners warned us about how attached Salukis can get to their first owners, these really are a dog for life as they don't cope very well with being rehomed.

And finally, the Weimaraners, the 'grey ghosts' showed their sensible and playful side, while their owners told us how good these dogs are at reading a situation and acting accordingly.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Car sickness, Firework phobias TTouch sessions

Today we filmed the lovely Toni Shelbourne in Berkshire to find out more about car travel problems, firework phobias and what actually happens during a TTouch session. As usual, Sandy and Skyler were on hand to help out and were more than willing TTouch participants!

Skyler is a very active little dog so we wonder if it will have an effect in calming her down a little, we're ever hopeful!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Agility filming

Today we have been filming with Marianne Tembey from Patchwork Training for some more agility articles...
- Using jump grids to affect stride
- Teaching the 'wait'
- Agility exercises for dogs under 12 months.

We look forward to bringing you these articles soon :)

Monday, 11 July 2016

What to do if your dog is lost or stolen

Our dogs are an important part of our family, and so when he suddenly goes missing it can be absolutely devastating. Regardless of whether he has been lost or stolen, you will probably feel sick with worry until his whereabouts have been traced. Your natural instinct may be to panic, but it is important that you keep calm and act quickly to have the best possible chance of safely recovering your beloved pet.

Here is our guide to what to do if your dog is lost or stolen.

Report your dog as lost or stolen
The very first thing that you should do is report your dog as either lost or suspected stolen (whichever applies) to your local council’s dog warden, as this is the person most likely to pick up your pet if a member of the public finds him wandering around.

You should also report your dog as either lost or stolen to local branches of the RSCPA and veterinary practises, again because these are places that a lost dog may be taken by the finder.

If you have reason to believe that your dog has been stolen rather than become lost, then you should report it as a theft to your local police station. Unfortunately, not all police are willing to record missing dogs as theft, and so you may find you need to be insistent and provide any proof that may be left behind.

Finally, you should report your dog to the microchip database. They will then know to inform you if anyone tries to re-register the chip number associated with your pet.

Search the neighbourhood
While it is completely understandable to want to get straight out and start searching for your beloved dog, a methodical and well thought-out search is almost always more beneficial. By visiting the locations that you usually take your pet for a walk, including nearby parks and walking routes, you will be able to speak to other dog owners about your missing pet. Go armed with photographs and post-it notes with your contact number on, so that anyone that may have seen your dog can get in touch.

Then spread your news wider
Some dogs have the ability to run for very long distances, and if your dog has gone missing then he may be further away than you anticipate. If you don’t have any success in tracking your pet down within the first 24 hours then spread news of his disappearance further afield.

Utilise the power of social media
Social media is currently one of the most powerful tools at our disposal, and news of your dog’s disappearance can spread extraordinarily quickly. Ask your social media friends to like and share the information, as this significantly increases the number of people who will hear that your dog is missing and will dramatically improve the likelihood of recovering your pet safe and well.

Make posters
Even with the evolution of technology, there is still a definite place for traditional methods when it comes to tracing lost or stolen dogs. Create a poster using one or two very clear and recent photographs of your pet. Include the details of when/where your dog went missing or was stolen and remember to put your contact details on too. Display the poster in as many places locally as you are able to, including shop noticeboards, schools and libraries.

Don’t give up hope
Some dogs that have gone missing are not found for several days or even weeks. Don’t give up hope and keep circulating information about your pet.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

How to protect your dog from theft

Animal theft in the UK has grown steadily over the last five years, with dogs being the primary target of both opportunistic thieves, and highly organised and experienced gangs of snatchers. Some target pedigree dogs with the intention of selling them for profit or using them for breeding. Genuine pedigree puppies can sell for upwards of £600, but pups from a puppy farm are often sold considerably cheaper in order to turn a fast profit. Puppy farms are created by individuals or groups who mate their dogs and bitches with one intention – to create as many pups as possible. This often means that bitches are forced to carry litters too frequently and in poor conditions, putting her and her puppies at risk. The pups are often sold too early, and without any of the necessary vaccinations, treatment or paperwork. Other thieves target older dogs of any breed so that they can be used as bait dogs in illegal dog-fighting rings. Both of these scenarios are heart-breaking for dog lovers and it is understandable to worry about the security of your pet. That is why we have put together this guide detailing some of the best ways to help protect your dog from theft.

Dog Theft Protection at Home 

Although your dog is safer at home than anywhere else, there are still some steps that you can take to ensure that your pet is well protected from theft.

* Make sure that your garden is as secure as possible, particularly if your dog likes to dig! If you don’t mind higher fences, then this is a good way to stop potential thieves from seeing your pet to identify its age and breed, and makes it much harder to get in and out of your garden if the gate is locked.
* Consider fitting a bell or similar noise-making device to your garden gate so that you will hear if anyone tries to open it.
* Don't leave your pet unattended in the garden, keep him firmly in sight.
* Consider covering the garden, and front and rear entrances to your property with CCTV.
* Install a burglar alarm for your home.
* Keep pets away when answering the door. This is especially true if you have multiple dogs who tend to rush to the front door when you have a visitor, as the confusion may make it easy for a thief to snatch and run with a smaller breed.

If you breed puppies

If you breed puppies, you are at greater risk of theft as you need to invite people into your home to view them. Minimise your risk by:

* Making sure another family member or friend is present when you show the puppies.
* Place a limit on the number of people that you show the puppies to at any one time.
* Show the puppies in a secure area of your house that has only one access point.

Outside your Home

Your dog is most vulnerable when they are outside of the home. Here are some preventative measures you can take against theft.

* Don’t leave your dog tied up outside a school or a shop as this makes him an opportunistic target. If you need to run an errand, leave him at home and take him out for a dedicated walk later.
* Don’t leave your dog unattended in the car. Not only does it put him at risk of serious dehydration, but it would also only take a thief a matter of seconds to break a window and snatch him.
* Some thieves have been known to target specific dogs by monitoring their daily activities. Change up your walking routes and times so you don’t become predictable.
* Be wary of strangers asking lots of questions about your pet.
* Train your dog to return when called and don’t let him off the lead until he can reliably do so.
* When letting him off the lead, try to only do so in areas where you can keep a close eye on your dog, such as open fields and parks.
* If you want to use services such as a dog groomer, walker, sitter or kennels, make sure you use a reliable and reputable business, and get first hand references wherever you can.

General Rules for Dog Security

* Microchipping your pet is the single most important thing that you can do as it means that if your dog is lost and then found he can be returned to you. However, it also means that if you believe your dog is stolen and you let the microchipping database know, if anyone else tries to re register the chip in their name, it will instantly flag up that the dog has been stolen. Just remember to keep your address and phone details up to date so that you can be contacted.
* Make sure your dog has a collar and ID tag with your name, address and phone number on so that you can be contacted without taking your dog to a veterinarian for a chip scan.
* Take plenty of pictures of your dog on a regular basis, and particularly of any distinguishing features. You should also take pictures of your dog with you and other family members as this will help prove ownership in the case of a dispute.

Don’t let your pet be an easy target. Follow some of the advice listed above and protect your dog from theft today.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Competition time

Enter to win....
* A years subscription to NaturallyHappyDogs.com
* A goody bag from Natures Menu
* A GPS device courtesy of Locate your pet Enter today at