Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Preparing a foster dog for his new home!

If you are fostering a dog, there is much more to it than just finding another home to go to. This is some of the things we do to make sure the dog is ready for their new home.

  • Vet Care - We make sure the dogs health is ok. In some dogs, there is nothing needed to be done, in others there may be health conditions that need treating, they may need their teeth cleaned or need some extractions, and they will be spayed or neutered if this hasn't already been done.
  • Micro-chipping - If the dog comes to the charity without a microchip then they will be micro-chipped. If they already have a chip then their details will be updated.
  • Training - Many dogs come with some training but we try and make sure all the dogs we foster know the basics at least. Learning to Sit, Wait, Walk on a lead, Give back a toy/chew etc. This ensures that when they go to their new home they know what is being asked of them, and also allows them to bond with their new family through the training.
  • Socialization - If the dog isn't socialized with other dogs, with people etc then they will be taken out and socialized with as many people and friendly dogs and animals as possible. Even if the dog is well socialized this is all done to ensure they keep it up.
  • Grooming - Every dog needs grooming of some sort. Their nails are clipped, they are given a bath, dried, and combed through if they have a long coat. If they are a breed who needs it, they will also be clipped to keep their coat short and in manageable condition. If the dog comes in with a matted coat, this will all be shaved off as matting is very painful for them and can also cause sores, cuts and infection of the skin, and harbor parasites such as fleas and more. If we can get the dog used to grooming and handling, then it makes things much easier for new owners or a professional groomer if you use one.
  • New Items - Any dog I foster is given a new collar or harness, lead, blanket or bed, and toys. This makes sure they go to their new home with familiar items with their own scent on. This helps the transition and is less stressful for them.
These are the main things that a foster carer has to do for each dog in their care. No matter how long the dog is with us, how well they are, or what special needs they have, they always have the very best of care as if they are one of my own pack. 

Friday, 3 March 2017

Another surprise foster dog!

Today we had another little dog come to us as an emergency foster case.

This sweet little long legged Jack Russell Terrier is called Mutley. He is about 9 years old and the poor baby was found alone with his human dad, who had sadly passed on suddenly.

His body is in fairly good condition however his nails were extremely overgrown to the point of his toes being damaged from the length of them and for how long he must have had them like this. This photo doesn't show off how bad they actually are, his nails were snapping, breaking, and generally in poor condition, along with being extremely overgrown. This would take years to get to this point and shows he hasn't been walked properly in a very long time either. They have of course been clipped now and he is already much more comfortable. We hope there wont be any long lasting effects from this.

His teeth are in awful condition. Not only do they have an extreme build-up of tarter, but he also has such inflamed gums that the slightest touch makes them bleed. This would be extremely painful for him too. This little dog has been suffering for a long while sadly. He was clearly well loved but didn't have the all care he needed.

We have been told he has an esophagus (throat) problem that means he can only eat mushed up food, but he has managed a couple of tiny bites of chicken without any sign of a problem, so maybe the issue is not as bad as we were told. His vet check will tell us more details.

Mutley will be booked in to have a dental, neutering, and if needed, any other veterinary care he requires. Once this has been done and he has had a proper assessment, he will be available for adoption through the rescue.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Crufts is coming!

Very excited - Crufts 2017 is coming! 

Maisie has received her Crufts pass so she get go and review it for us again for both Pretty Pooches and for her Instagram account Maisies Adventures (@MaisiesAdventures) - We are all very excited to be back at the worlds biggest dog show!

Last year we went and had a lot of fun shopping, meeting some lovely people, talking to some of the exhibitors, and generally having an amazing time. Pretty Pooches aims to go every year, and Maisie loves all the attention she gets there too. Our lovely friend Claire is coming too which just makes it even better!

Anyone else coming along - if so let us know what you are looking forward to most! Are you competing? Let me know and feel free to post a photo of your dog getting ready! 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Foster dog - Update! And new foster bunnies!

Foster Dog Update! 

This is the update I have been waiting to write. Very pleased to say the lovely little dog we were fostering has been adopted by a lovely family and is now living with a wonderful family, including a very sweet Staffordshire Bull Terrier who is her new best friend! 

She has now been settled happily in her new home for several weeks and I get updates on her progress. She is doing very well, and her training is being continued. We couldn't ask for a better home for such an adorable little dog. 

Since a few weeks ago I also have been fostering 2 rabbits. They belong to a family member who is currently unable to care for them so we now have 4 little rabbits hopping about! 

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Fearful Pets and how to help

Fearful pets and ways to help!

One of a pets main fears are fireworks, storms and other loud noises. Around this time of year there are so many people using fireworks its unbelievable. Even throughout the day some people are letting them off and so many pets are terrified of them, so here are some tips to make things easier on them, and some suggestions to help them ready for new year!

For when there are fireworks, storms or other scary noises going on - 
Create a safe den for your pets to hide in. It should be somewhere indoors and should be comfortable and dark, ideally with plenty of normal household noises to drown out some of the noise outside.

Some suggestions for dens - 

  • Crate covered with blankets.
  • A table with sheets draped over.
  • An unused cupboard.
  • A wardrobe or closet.
If possible these should be available before any expected events that you know will scare your dog. A crate is especially good for keeping up all the time as you can leave the door open and use it as a bed or put their toys in there. If this if for a cat, then putting a cardboard box in there is a great way of getting your pet to use it.

Drowning out the noise -

  • Turn on the radio or television.
  • Play some music.
  • Leave on a video or DVD.
  • Sing along to songs.
  • Play a game with your children.
These things are all helpful to try and calm your pet during and after fearful events, and can be combined with herbal/natural remedies and homeopathic aids such as Adaptil plug-ins, Calming collars, and pet shop calming tablets. There are also coats available which work along the same lines of acupressure, pressing on certain points along the dogs body which has a relaxing effect (available to buy here).  If none of these remedies work then it may be worth speaking to your vet about a sedative. Being asleep is better than being extremely stressed but of course these medications have risks.

Preventing and training out fears!

Prevention is always better than a cure, so if you have a young pet exposing them to everything slowly and confidently is much better than trying to calm them after they are afraid. This isnt always possible though but there are ways to simulate these situations before they experience it in real life.

To expose them to "scary" sounds without frightening them, or to re-train your pet to not be afraid of these sounds, the best thing to let them hear the sounds very quietly in a safe place. Using this method in combination with treats or toys turns a scary situation in to an exciting one for your pet! 

I highly recommend the CLIX Noises and Sounds DVD - it exposes your pet to the noises, while you either feed them treats or give them toys to make it fun. You start off very slowly with the sound down low, and over the days and weeks you slowly increase the volume until it can be played loudly without fear. This is similar to the way clicker training works, the noise makes your pet think they will get a treat or a toy, so therefor the noise they hear is now a positive one. 

I hope this helps your pets not to be so afraid, or prevents your young animal from developing the fear. These tips are all things that have helped my pets over the years, and I would love to hear of any more tips and tricks to make things easier. Feel free to comments and I will add any new advice to my list :) 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Foster Dogs

This is just a short post to introduce our two new (temporary) family members. We are fostering two adorable little dogs. A Chihuahua/Jack Russel mix named Vida and a Yorkie/Jack Russel mix named Penny. They lost their home in a fire and were sleeping rough with their human mum. Their mum was able to find a friend to stay with but they couldn't have the dogs there so she needed to find somewhere for her babies to go.

They came to us to be loved and spoilt while their mum gets back on her feet and finds somewhere for them all to go. They have fitted into our pack very quickly and they are lovely! We love having them here with us. If you have the time and space, I would highly recommend fostering for your local rescue - It is extremely rewarding and can make the world of difference to these sweet dogs!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Grooming - Bathing

Bathing your dog at home

This is a very simple Bathing tutorial for dogs, to give you a basic idea on how to prepare and then bath your dog properly at home. Of course if you have a dog which requires clipping, hand stripping, specific styling or scissoring, then I would highly recommend getting someone experienced in your breed to teach you, or even ask a groomer if they have a class to teach you to maintain your dogs coat between grooms. Many groomers would be very happy to teach you this maintenance as it benefits your dog. If they cannot help then they may be able to give you the details of someone who can.

One thing you really must remember is that all animals are different and have different coat types and requirements, so you need to select the right shampoo and conditioner for your pets coat and skin to prevent drying the skin out, causing reactions, or even to help with any existing conditions.

You will need -
  • Towels
  • Ear cleaner
  • Non-slip mat
  • Dog nail clippers
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Combs and Brushes 
  • Bath or Sink with shower attachment
  • Good quality dog shampoo that is suitable for your pets coat
  • Good quality dog conditioner (unless you have a harsh coated breed)
  • Optional - Dryer, if not then just use towels and allow your dog to air dry
First off, make sure you have all items to hand in the bathroom, with the door shut to keep your dog in. Animals who don't want to be bathed are excellent at escaping so you may want to also have your dog on a collar and lead. A very small dog could also be bathed in a sink but you must make sure you have shower attachment or you will not be able to rinse the shampoo out properly.

Non-slip mats are ideal. They can be bought cheaply.

Put the non-slip mat in the bath or sink, lay towels on the floor, and choose your combs and begin brushing out the coat, removing as many tangles and debris as possible before your dog goes in the water. If a tangled coat gets wet it can mat up so it is much better to remove them before bathing.

Once you can run a fine toothed comb all the way through to the skin, all over your dogs body, it is time to move on to the bathing. With the non-slip mat in the bottom of the bath, take the shower and warm the water to just above body temperature. If it feels too warm when tested on your elbow as you would do for a baby, then it is too warm for your pup. If your dog isn't fond of bathing then, if possible, they should be tethered safely in the bath.

Wetting the coat down before the shampooing.

With the shower head held around 2cm from the dogs skin, wet the entire coat, working from the neck all the way down the back. Remember to soak the chest, stomach and legs too. Lastly, gently wet the dogs head. Once he is thoroughly wet all the way through, it is time to start shampooing.

Which shampoo you should choose depends on the dogs skin and coat. I recommend the Pet Head range as they are very high quality and they all smell lovely. If your dog has a pale coloured coat that needs brightening, try the Pet Head White Party shampoo. If you need something more gentle then try the Pet Head Puppy Fun shampoo. If your dog has itchy skin, then try the Pet Head Lifes In Itch shampoo. The Pet Head range are all gentle enough to use on puppies and older dogs too. My personal favourite is the Pet Head Feeling Flaky shampoo, as it leaves the dogs coats very soft, cleans brilliantly and smells amazing.

Some of the Pet Head range - They also do cat shampoo

I must add that I do not get paid or get any sort of benefits to advertise them or anything, it is just my personal recommendation. Throughout the years they have always been top quality at an affordable price. All of my dog have used it including my rescue girl who has severe allergies (never had a reaction to the Pet Head range), and so have my show dogs, and their results speak for themselves!

Work the shampoo through the whole coat, being very careful around the face not to get it in your pets eyes or ears. Let it sit there for a couple of minutes, then wash it out. Repeat the wash and rinse to make sure the coat is clean. Then re-rinse the coat to make sure there is no shampoo left in the coat at all, as any left in could cause the dogs skin irritation.

If your dog is a terrier or other breed which requires a harsh coat, then skip this step. If not then it is time to move on to the conditioner. I always use the Pet Head Furtastic Creme Rinse for my dogs as it leaves their coats beautifully soft and silky. As you did with the shampoo, work it right into the coat all the way through the body. Let it sit in the coat for up to 5 minutes. While it is working, massage your dog all over to make sure you work it fully in and check your dog over for any abnormal lumps, bumps, or other problems. When the coat is wet you can usually see and feel the skin easier and its a perfect time to give your dog a good massage too. Its great for them and they love it too. Once the conditioner has done its job it's time to wash it out. Once again, make sure you rinse it all out. When you think you have got it all out, rinse the coat again just in case there is any still in there that has been missed.

Drying off in a towel
Shorter coat being dried with a dryer
Next it is time to get your dog out of the bath and start drying. If your dog has a very short coat then simply rub him down with a towel to absorb the worse of the water and leave him to dry off naturally. If your dog has longer hair you can use this method, but I would recommend using a dryer. Be careful if using a human hair dryer that it is not too hot. It needs to just be warm enough to dry him off, and you must keep it moving so as not to heat up one area too much. If possible, a blaster dryer is the best option but it can be rather expensive. If you have several dogs or a dog with an especially long or thick coat then it will be essential if you want to dry your dog off properly and prevent them getting chilled in the colder months.

Drying while combing.

To properly dry off your dog with a dryer, use a comb along with it. Use your grooming tools to comb through the coat as you dry it, combing with the lay of the coat to flatten it down, or brushing it against the lay of the coat to fluff it up, it all depends on what your dog requires. Once you have done this throughout the whole coat then the bathing process is finished.

The final steps are simple but essential. Use some ear cleaning fluid on a ball of cotton wool to gently wipe the inside of the ear leathers, making sure not to push it into the ear canal. Then repeat with the other ear. Next use some clean water on a cotton wool ball to gently wipe the dogs eyes.

Where to cut when clipping your dogs nails.
Next move on to the nails. Some dogs nails are kept naturally short with just their normal walks on concrete, but most will need their nails trimming. You must be careful to avoid the quick (the vein that runs through the nail). This looks pink or red, and can be hard to see. If you are unsure then just trim a small amount off at a time. Dark nails can be very hard to see the quick but if you shine a torch through the nail after trimming the end off, you can usually see where you need to clip. Remember to check your dogs dew claws too. Even if your dogs nails wear down naturally, if they have dew claws then these will need to be trimmed. By trimming the nails after a bath, they are softer and easier to clip.

This is really all you need to know for doing a basic bath and groom. If you have any questions feel free to ask - I would love to see photos of your pups being bathed too! Feel free to post them here, on Pretty Pooches Canine Coutures facebook page, or on Instagram and tag @MaisiesAdventures