When Can Puppies Go Outside?

When Can Puppies Go Outside?

Bringing your new puppy home is an exciting time for the whole family – but when can puppies go outside? You’ll no doubt be excited to show them off to friends and family and head out for adventures with your new best friend. After all, you want everyone to love your new pooch as much as you.

While it’s important to socialise your dog and get them used to their environment, you don’t want to put their health at risk. By taking the right precautions, you can ensure that your pup stays happy and healthy while not putting the vital puppy socialisation time at risk.

In this post, we discuss when it’s safe for your puppies to go outside, when can you take your new pup for a walk and why it’s important to take it slow.

Medical restraints

Typically, it’s not recommended to take your dog for walks until they are fully vaccinated. Vaccinations help protect your dog against diseases, making them essential when puppies go outside. Pups in particular are vulnerable to serious diseases, such as parvovirus and canine distemper.

Puppy vaccinations start from around 8 weeks old and they will need two sets of injections before they are fully protected. The second set is usually administered around 2-4 weeks after the first, when your pup is around 11-12 weeks old. Some vets may recommend a third set of injections for high-risk puppies or those without a clear medical background.

Depending where your bundle of joy comes from, they may have had a head start on injections. Some breeders and rehoming centres will give puppies at least their first set of vaccinations, perhaps even the second depending how long they have been there. Be sure to ask whoever you’re getting the pup from for complete paperwork for you to pass on to your vet.

Puppy socialisation

It can be tricky to find the right balance between teaching your pup to be a well-rounded, happy adult and keeping them safe from disease. If you wrap your pooch up in cotton wool for the first few months of their life, they may grow into an anxious, frightened adult with a low quality of life. That’s why it’s important to introduce puppies to new experiences in a safe, risk-free manner.

Here’s how to manage some of the key aspects when puppies go outside:

Getting out & about

While it isn’t recommended to take your puppy out for walks in a public area before they have been vaccinated, you can carry him or her on trips out to your local area, introducing them to the outside world without risking their health. Whether you go for a walk to your local park or wander around the town, getting your puppy used to its environment early in life will help them later on.

Puppy being carried

Making friends

It’s also useful to interact with other people and dogs early on when they are curious and fearless puppies. The more social interactions they can have as youngsters, the happier they’ll be as adults. Some experts suggest that your pup should meet 100 people by the time they’re 16 weeks old. Of course, unless you’ve got an extraordinarily large family or are throwing parties every week, this number may be slightly ambitious.

However, by getting out with your pup, you’re allowing them the chance to meet new people and animals. Just make sure that any dogs they meet have also had their vaccinations.

Toilet training

Those first few weeks and months of your puppy’s life are essential for gaining new skills and forming lifelong habits. Yes, we’re talking about toilet training. But how do you train them to ‘go’ outside if they can’t actually go outside? Waiting for their injections would mean cleaning up messes for 10-12 weeks – and nobody wants that.

Fortunately, there’s no need to wait around that long. Even before the first round of injections, your pup can go in your own private garden, as long as you don’t have other dogs without vaccinations out there. So, you can get started toilet training as soon as you bring your new best friend home.

For more tips on socialising your puppy, take a look at our puppy socialisation checklist to make sure you’re covering all the necessary bases.

When can puppies go outside for walks?

The main reason people ask when can puppies go outside, is because they want to take their precious pooch on a walk. Before you start heading on walks with your puppy, you need to wait until they have had their complete set of vaccinations. Even then, you may find that your pooch isn’t as keen on walkies as you expected. Just like babies, puppies are doing a lot of growing in those first few precious months. So, they need a lot of sleep, with some even sleeping for up to 20 hours a day!

Taking your puppy for long walks before they’re ready can actually hinder their development. You may create a negative association with walking and could even physically harm your pup. The growth plates in puppy’s bones don’t develop fully until they are around 1 year old (longer for large breed puppies), so over-exercising could damage their skeletal structure.

A good rule of thumb for your pup is to aim for around 5 minutes of exercise per month of age until they are fully grown. So, if you bring them home at 8 weeks, you want to limit play time to 20 minutes – ideally 10 minutes, twice a day.

Puppy on a walk

Remember, you want to make sure the first walks you take your pup on are as fun and stress-free as possible. Let them lead the way and don’t drag them along with you, if they want to stop to smell everything along the way, let them do so.

Keep in touch

With the right preparation and all the necessary information, bringing your new bundle of joy home and getting them ready for the great outdoors can be an easy and enjoyable time for everyone.

Whether you’re an experienced pawrent with plenty of tips, or you’re awaiting your furry arrival and want some much-needed advice, we want to hear all about it. Be sure to take plenty of pictures when your puppy goes outside and share them with us on Instagram or Twitter.

Are you the right person for the Persian?

Are you the right person for the Persian?

Sweet – Relaxed – Quiet

Easily recognisable by their extremely fluffy exterior and unique facial features, the Persian is one of the more ancient cat breeds that remain one of the most popular long haired cat breeds.

They are often associated with money and are regularly represented in the media as being luxurious, often spoiled or the pets of the villains of the movies. Bond fans will be familiar with the Chinchilla Persian – donning a silvery white coat. However, these furry felines are some of the most gentle breeds of cat, not to mention very quiet and subdued.

Persian Cat Breed Basics:

Average lifespan: 10 to 15 years

Average weight: 3-7 kg  

Colours: Persian cats come in pretty much every colour imaginable – White, Black, Blue, Red, Cream, Tortoiseshell, Apricot, Pewter, Silver…

Trainability: Medium

Shedding: Moderate

A history of the Persian

Due to their extensive and ancient history, the true origins of the Persian cat is not easy to pinpoint. It’s not know whether they did as the name suggest originate in Persia (Iran). There is information that suggests the Persian was bred with other Egyptian breeds to create the breed we have today. Their long coats made them perfect for the colder climates of both Turkey and Persia, helping to keep them toasty and warm.

There are lots of different types of Persian cats. The first recognised Persian had one solid colour throughout.

Did you know: The Persian cat was one of the very first cat breeds to be shown at the first UK cat show, which took place in Crystal Palace in 1871.

history of the Persian cat

Persian temperament & personality

Persians can often be wrongly judged as being a little stuck up and aloof, due to their snubbed noses and fluffy appearance. The Persian is actually a very loving, gentle breed. They’re not particularly active cats and do prefer to have a routine that they can follow every day.

Making sure you have a set schedule for feeding, grooming and bed time, can help to keep your Persian content and happy. This includes the environment your Persian is kept in. Any new furniture or even a new layout could stress them out.

How to groom a Persian

It should go without saying that the fluffiness of the Persian requires a lot of maintenance. Daily grooming is highly recommended as it allows you to keep your Persian’s fur in tip-top condition.

It’s essential that you are thorough with your grooming, as areas such as behind the ears and under the armpits can be easily missed, but are the most prone to uncomfortable matting. Aim to use a wide toothed metal comb for ultimate grooming comfort, you don’t want to be tugging on the fur as this isn’t fun for your feline.

Feeding a diet high in animal protein and essential oils will also help promote a healthy skin and coat minimising matting.

Persian cat health watchouts

The most common health concerns depends on a lot of factors, from the breeders that you purchase your Persian kitten from, to the type of Persian you choose e.g. flat faced.

Breathing and tear duct issues: Due to their flatter faces, Persian cats commonly suffer from breathing issues and problems with their tear ducts. Poor breeding can drive narrower nasal passages increasing the likelihood of your kitty suffering from problems here.

Ringworm (Dermatophytosis): Perhaps due to their long coat, Persian Cats are predisposed to this fungal condition which can affect the hair, skin and nails. It’s contagious and can pass to humans and other animals. Treatment involves clipping back the fur, oral medication and grooming with topical creams and medicated shampoos. This isn’t something your kitty will look forward to. You can minimise the risk of ringworm by keeping grooming equipment and bedding clean and regular rooming. Using a shampoo designed for ringworm treatment is recommended.

Hairballs: As Persian cats have long, dense coats they are more likely to suffer from hairballs. Where these form in the cat’s stomach or digestive tract, it can lead to more serious issues. You can prevent the risk of hairballs by daily grooming and feeding a high quality diet which promotes a healthy skin and coat.

Similarly to Maine Coons, Persian cats can suffer from a number of genetic diseases. Some of the most common that you may want to DNA test for are:

  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) – left without treatment this can prove fatal so we recommend an annual ultrasound to check if your kitty has PKD. Responsible breeders will test to breed Persians that do not carry the PKD gene so that this is not passed on.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – this progressive eye disease can lead to loss of sight.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) – this genetic condition causes the muscular walls of the heart to thicken and can restrict blood flow, proving fatal. There is currently no known cure but your vet will help create a plan to manage the condition and care for your kitty as best they can.
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) – a viral progressive disease that is almost always fatal. Infection rates are higher in multi cat households and most diagnoses are for cats less than 2 years old.

Like with any pedigree breeds, hereditary diseases and ailments can’t always be avoided. Simple DNA tests by the breeders and regular check-ups with your vet are ideal precautionary measures.

Persian Cat

Are Persians good house cats?

Persians make great house cats for the right home, as they aren’t fans of noisy and hectic environments. If you have a very loud or high energy family, the Persian may not be for you.

However, if you have a quiet house that is relatively relaxed, with no young children or other energetic animals, then a Persian will easily find a place in your home.

If you aren’t a fan of pet hair all over your furniture, again the Persian may not be for you. Their regular grooming schedule and moderate shedding means that you’ll be finding cat hair long after you’ve cleaned the house from top to bottom.   

Are Persian cats aggressive?

As they love attention, Persians tend not to be very aggressive. In fact, they are very lazy and laid back, preferring to be cuddled and stroked at every available moment.

Young Persian kittens can get a bit nippy, much like any young animal, but if you ignore them as punishment, you’ll soon be able to train that behaviour out of them completely.

Are Persian cats intelligent?

As beautiful and loving as they are, Persians were not gifted with all the brain cells. They can be difficult to train due to their low intelligence and make terrible hunters, but that doesn’t take away from their appeal as a house cat.

What they lack in brains they make up for in affection, so if you’re looking for a slightly dim cuddle monster, this is the breed for you.

How big do Persians get?

Although they aren’t as big as other fluffy felines such as Ragdolls, they are a good medium size and their fluff can make them look a little bigger than they really are.

On average, a Persian will reach around 5kg in weight max, a perfect weight for snuggles!

How much does a Persian cat cost?

If you’re looking to rescue a Persian cat, the cost is significantly less and you cat or kitten will drive fully vaccinated and with flea treatments. You’ll also have a better understanding of any potential health issues your cat has. You can keep checking sites like Blue Cross or look a specific rescue centre for Persian Cats.

Persians are very sought after and so are usually fairly expensive, costing up to £1,000 per kitten, sometimes even more.

Like with any pet, it is highly recommended to get good pet insurance, especially for pedigree cats and dogs. This can range from around £15-£30 a month, depending on the cover and whether your cat is KC registered. If you want to know roughly how much a Persian would cost to keep monthly, you could be looking at between £40-£60, which includes insurance, grooming and food.

We also advise to ensure you are getting top quality pet food for your pet, particularly pet food that looks after your pets gut health and promotes a healthy skin and coat. This can help you keep your Persian in top condition and keep them happy and healthy!

Conclusion

If you are looking for a relaxed cat that can fit seamlessly into a quiet and clean household, then a Persian is for you. They may take a bit of maintenance, but the love and affection you recieve from a Persian is completely priceless.

Healthy Dog Poop Chart: In Search of the Perfect Poop

A healthy dog poop chart can be highly useful for pet parents. Whether you like it or not, you’ll have to deal with your fair share of poop in your pooch’s lifetime. However, you might want to slow down as you reach for the pooper scooper and take a second to learn more about your dog’s digestive health.

Your pup’s poops can reveal a great deal about their health, so it’s important to know what to look out for. When we were perfecting our natural pet food recipes, we spent a lot of time – a little too much if you ask me! – inspecting poop to gain an insight into how different ingredients affect digestion.

We’re sure most people agree – the less time you spend inspecting your dog’s poops, the better, right? That’s why we’ve created a healthy dog poop chart, complete with a dog poop colour chart and checklist for healthy poos.

The perfect poop

Just like us humans, all dogs are different. Their toilet habits are different too. With that in mind, it’s important to get to know your pup right away and understand what is normal for them. That way, you will be able to recognise any changes in their stools.

While there can be slight differences depending on the pooch, our healthy dog poop chart covers a few things to look out for that are a sign of a healthy dog poop…

Consistency

When cleaning up after your pooch, many of us don’t like to think too much about what’s inside the plastic bag we’re holding. But it’s important to consider the consistency of your dog’s poo as you pick it up, as this can be a sign of other issues.

Healthy dog poop should be compact, moist and hold its shape when picked up. If the poo is runny or watery, this could be a sign of intestinal upset – maybe your pup has eaten something they shouldn’t. Similarly, if the poop feels too hard or dry, your pooch may be suffering from dehydration or constipation. If you notice a change in your dog’s poo consistency, make sure to discuss it with your vet. If you’ve recently changed food, it’s normal to expect some stool variation in the first few days so don’t panic. If things haven’t settled down after 2 weeks then review. Often it’s a case of feeding too much. Feeding guidelines are just guidelines after all, so try reducing the amount you feed and see if that helps.

Size

It goes without saying that the size of your pooch’s poop depends on the size of the dog itself. There’s no way a Yorkshire Terrier will produce as much poo as a Great Dane! But generally speaking, your pooch should produce poops around the same size as the food portions they are eating.

Happy Dog In Field

The key thing to look out for when it comes to poop size is any noticeable changes. Larger than normal poos may mean that your pup’s food isn’t being digested as it should, and they are not getting the necessary nutrients out of it. On the other hand, smaller poops may be a sign of a loss of appetite due to an illness or a blockage in their digestive process.

Frequency

The number of times your dog poops each day should be consistent – whether that’s once or four times per day. As long as it is the same every day, there’s no need to worry. Typically, most pups will go once or twice a day – although some may go four or more times! Our Smudge loves to go three times and spreads it out during her walkies. If we’re lucky she occasionally plans it right next to the poo bin.

It’s important to pay attention to how many poops you’re scooping each day to understand how your pooch is doing. If they go from being a regular once-a-day-er to needing to go four or five times, they could be having some digestion problems and need to see the vet.

Shape

Typically, your pup’s poop should be shaped like a log and maintain its shape when picked up or moved. Look out for pebble-like or rounded poops as this could be a sign of dehydration or stiff joints.

If your pooch is a little older or suffers with joint issues, they may not be able to stay in the right position for long enough to produce a perfect poop. In this case, you may want to consult a vet and give them something to soften their stools to make things a little easier.

quizzical dog

Colour

The main tell-tale sign that something is wrong when it comes to dog poop is its colour. You may not need to look too closely to spot a colour difference, so there’s less inspection necessary. Take a look at our infographic below for a healthy dog poop colour chart, so you know exactly what to look out for.

Anything other than light or dark brown – ideally a milk chocolate colour – may be cause for concern. Your dog food of choice may contain some food colourings too (if so we’d advise to change foods as this is unnecessary nonsense in pet food), so be sure to check the ingredients list as this may affect the colour of your pooch’s poop.

  • Green – Could be a sign of a gall-bladder issue, or that your pup has been over-eating grass, which could indicate stress or intestine troubles.
  • Orange / yellow – This could be a sign of an issue with the liver or pancreas, both of which will require veterinary attention.
  • Red – Red streaks generally mean there is blood in your dog’s poop, which could be due to a cut near your pup’s anus so its worth having a quick look.
  • Black / tarry – Could be a sign of internal bleeding in the stomach or small intestines, which requires urgent attention.
  • Grey / greasy – May mean a pancreas or biliary issue, so get your pooch checked out by your vet.
  • White spots – White, rice-like grains in your pup’s poop could be a sign of tapeworms, which will require treatment.
  • White / chalky – This is usually due to an excess of calcium and other minerals and is typically observed in dogs with a raw diet.

Keeping your pooch happy & healthy

The main thing to bear in mind when it comes to your puppy’s poop is that it is directly influenced by their diet. Prioritise dog food that is designed to promote good digestion. Our range of dog food (and cat food) is designed to be good for the gut, including ingredients like Slippery Elm and probiotics – the key to the perfect poop!

Regular exercise, a stress-free environment and the right diet should keep your pooch’s digestion running smoothly and save you from cleaning up even messier messes!

For more tips and guidance on being the best pawrent, head over to our Facebook page and share your favourite pet stories with us!

Healthy dog poop chart

In Search of the Perfect Poop

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Should you add a Labrador to your family?

Should you add a Labrador to your family?

Energetic – Friendly – Happy

There’s a good reason why Labrador Retrievers or “Labs” continue to be one of the most popular breeds amongst dog lovers. These happy go lucky pooches love human attention and make the very best companions for those looking for an addition to the family.

Below, we take a look at some of the facts and figures of this waggy breed and help you to decide whether a Labrador Retriever could be the perfect pet for you!

Labrador Retriever Breed Basics:

Average lifespan: 10 to 12 years

Average weight: Male: 29-37 kg, Female: 25-32 kg

Colours: Cream, Golden, Black and Chocolate

Trainability: Easy

Shedding: Medium to High

Type: Gundog

A history of the Labrador Retriever

The humble Labrador actually originated in Newfoundland, rather than the Canadian region of Labrador as previously thought. The original Labrador differed slightly and no longer exist. With a black waterproof coat, these dogs were bred to help local fishermen. A few of these dogs were imported into the UK in the 19th century as hunting dogs and developed into the modern Labrador that we all know and love. Since then, these loyal companions have become one of the world’s favourite breeds, both in the UK and the US, due to their affectionate and happy nature.

Did you know: Whilst many will know Labradors as the Andrex puppy, in other countries including Australia, they are known as the Kleenex Puppy.

Labrador Retriever temperament & personality

Labradors are known for their happy and loving nature, it is what makes them so appealing to anyone looking for the perfect family pet.

When we refer to man’s best friend, we often picture the Labrador, with its smiling face, wagging tail and excited demeanour. They love to be active and make excellent companions when out and about. The ultimate outdoor dog, they love to swim, play, run and even hike with you as they are very energetic.

It is advised to make sure you’ve got plenty of chew toys when choosing a Labrador, as they love to chew on anything and everything. If you don’t give them enough to munch on, they will direct their focus on your furniture and even your shoes.

Chocolate Lab Dog

How much exercise do Labrador’s need? 

This large breed dog comes with buckets of energy. They need lots of mental and physical stimulation. Long daily walks are a must! As labradors love water, a regular swim as part of their daily exercise is highly recommended.

Left to their own devices and if they don’t receive the stimulation they need, Labradors can become destructive and may persistently bark. If you’re set on introducing a Labrador to your family but worried you don’t have the time to give them the exercise they need, check with a neighbour, or there are walkers and doggy day care options to ensure you keep your pooch happy and healthy.

How to groom a Labrador Retriever

Anyone who has met or lived with a Labrador, will have witnessed a lot of shedding. With the right grooming routine a high quality diet that’s rich in animal protein and oils to promote a healthy skin and coat, you can manage shedding effectively.

Labrador Retrievers short coats still need regular grooming to keep their fur happy and healthy. Daily brushing with a nylon brush can help to stimulate the oils in their coat and keep it looking shiny. Regular grooming will also feel great for your pet, especially if you throw in a little massage!

Massaging and brushing your Labrador daily can also help you to find any abnormalities or lumps, helping to prevent any serious illness before it becomes a problem for you and your pet.

Other than a daily brush, Labradors are relatively low maintenance for grooming. To keep their teeth healthy, we highly recommend daily brushing (check out our guide on the importance of dog teeth cleaning) and as Labs do love to get mucky, regular bathing might be called for.

Labrador Retriever health

Labs are fairly robust but as with many larger sized dogs, hip dysplasia can become an issue, especially in later life. Feeding an appropriate puppy food formulated for large breed puppies can help prevent hip dysplasia as these foods will have the right calcium phosphorus ratios and joint support needed.

Labs have insatiable appetites. They’re the only breed not allowed in food palatability trials as they will literally eat anything and everything. We’ve heard horror stories of labradors eating towels! Something that many Labrador Retriever owners may want to watch out for is overeating. As labradors love to wolf down their food, this can make them more prone to obesity and weight issues. To help stop these gannets from eating way too much, its important to stick to feeding guidelines and it’s worth buying a slow feeding bowls specially designed to prevent them from engulfing everything at once.

You should also try limiting your dogs portion sizes and could even try spacing out smaller meals throughout the day to help prevent any digestion issues. Choosing a good quality pet food can also make a huge difference. Scrumbles large breed dog food is specially formulated for larger dogs, avoids nasties like artificial colours, sugar and salt and is low in carbohydrates helping avoid unnecessary weight gain. As an added bonus, our gut friendly recipe will help deliver a firm healthy poop.

Are Labrador Retrievers good family dogs?

As they are relatively low aggression, always happy to see you and love to be active, the Labrador Retriever makes an amazing family pet and are great with children.

They are very easy to train, due to their loyal nature, so they can be easily house trained and trained to walk well on the lead. Their steady character is one of the reasons they are first choice for guide dogs. However, labradors are not the best guard dogs in the world, so if you’re looking for a bit of home security, these dogs are not the breed to opt for.

Labrador Retriever Dog Breed

Are Labrador Retrievers aggressive?

Any dogs can be aggressive, depending on their upbringing and training, but Labradors are known for having low aggression. If you have very young children or you’re planning to add a puppy and a baby to your family in the next few months, then a Labrador Retriever is an ideal breed choice.

Are Labrador Retrievers intelligent?

There have been a number of studies on the intelligence of some of our favourite breeds of dog and the Labrador Retriever regularly ranks in the top 10. Due to their working and hunting past, they hold a decent amount of intelligence, which makes them very easy to train.

They tend to pick up the most basic commands fairly easy, so if you need a dog that can be house trained quickly and efficiently, this is the breed for you.

How big do Labrador Retrievers get?

When it comes to size, you’ll find a Labrador to reach anywhere between 55-62 cm in height, depending on their gender. As large breed dogs, they can be pretty heavy, weighing in at a max of 37 kg for males.

How much do Labrador Retrievers cost?

Rescuing a dog is not only a great way to provide for a dog that needs our care but typically shelters will only charge a small administration fee and as a bonus, your dog will come home fully vaccinated and flea treated. If you’re thinking of adopting a dog, read our guide on pet rehoming.

If you’re set on buying a puppy, a Labrador Retriever puppy, could set you back £850 for a pedigree puppy. This is relatively low vs the cost of other, less common breeds.

Of course with any dog, there are extra costs you may want to consider. Pet insurance, monthly flea treatments and annual vaccinations as well as food, treats and toys.

Conclusion

When it comes to finding the perfect family pet, you’ll be hard pressed to find a dog that is better suited than the Labrador Retriever. They are bundles of sunshine that are always happy to see you, always ready to play and very loyal companions.

Dentastix: Are They Good or Bad for My Dog?

Dentastix: Are They Good or Bad for My Dog?

Are Dentastix good or bad? It’s a question asked by so many proud pawrents. After all, we all want what is best for our pup. Alongside showers of daily affection and long walks in the countryside, dental care is vital for your furry friend.

Brushing your pooch’s teeth is just as important as brushing your own, and should be part of every pet parent’s daily routine. While there is no substitute to an old-fashioned toothbrush and paste (dog specific toothpaste not human toothpaste!), a lot of people use oral care chews and sticks like Dentastix, which claim to keep your pup’s teeth clean and healthy.

Read on as we discuss whether or not these chews and sticks are beneficial for your dog’s teeth.

What is in Dentastix?

We wouldn’t eat or chew on something if we had no idea what was it in, right? So, why expect your pup to do just that? Here in the UK, pet food and treat companies aren’t legally obliged to list individual ingredients in their product. Instead, they can simply list them by category.

As a result, a lot of ingredients may be hidden, and you may not be fully aware of what you’re giving to your beloved dog. Fortunately, we’ve broken down the categories to give you a clearer idea of what nutrients your pooch is getting.

Cereals

Some dog food companies use the term ‘cereals’ to describe all different types of grains. With this blanket term, it is impossible to know what type of grains are in Dentastix or the quality of the grains. If you have a dog who has a sensitive stomach or any food intolerances, not knowing what’s in the food can make it hard to identify the problem ingredient.

Derivatives of vegetable origin

The vagueness of this term means you simply do not know what you’re getting in each chew. One batch could be different to another depending on the vegetable products that are available at the pad.

Meat & animal derivatives

Meat and animal derivatives could be any part of any animal, from heads and brains to hair and feathers. This means manufacturers could change the recipe of their chews depending on the animal products that are available or cheapest at any given time.

Minerals

While ‘minerals’ is used as an attractive selling point, it’s actually impossible to know what they are. It can include Sodium Tripolyphosphate (E451) – an artificial preservative that is a common component of detergents, antifreeze and flame retardants.

Oils & fats

This refers to all fats and oils from plants or animals, whether that’s beneficial oils and high-quality animal fats or potentially harmful, highly processed oils. It’s impossible to know just by looking at the label.

Dog chewing on a stick

Do Dentastix clean your dog’s teeth?

Despite the confusion when it comes to the Dentastix recipe, they are used around the world to keep dogs’ teeth clean and healthy. According to their advertisements, they are even recommended by vets. So, they mustn’t be all bad, right?

Yes, Dentastix do contain specific ingredients designed to clean your pooch’s teeth. The question is whether or not you think feeding these dental chews are good for your dog’s health overall.

Active ingredients

The main Dentastix ingredient that cleans your dog’s teeth is Sodium Tripolyphosphate, a chemical which can break down plaque and tartar. However, the chemical only accounts for around 2.3% of each Dentastix stick, so you want to be comfortable that the other 97.7% is good for your dog…

Hidden ingredients

The majority of the ingredients in a Dentastix stick are not actually doing much by way of teeth cleaning. Extra additives are used to improve flavour, add texture and to appeal to the mass market. However, these additional ingredients could actually be doing more harm than good. Cereals, for instance, are turned into sugars when ingested, which can actually lead to cavities and bad breath – the very things you’re trying to prevent!

Only the best for man’s best friend

We believe clean ingredients are best for your pooch’s health, making Dentastix a no no. But at the same time, no pawrent wants to be dealing with smelly breath and poor dental health. While it can be tricky to maintain a healthy companion while navigating the pet food market, there are a few simple things to look out for to ensure your beloved pup is full of the good stuff. We’ve recently developed a healthier dog chew to tackle bad dog breath and keep those dog teeth sparkling. Click on the image below to find out more and try them.

dog dental stick

Named ingredients

When choosing a dog chew for your pooch, named sources are best. Look for simple, natural ingredients that you recognise. That way, you know what you’re giving to your dog (and what you’re not giving to your dog) so are at less risk of any harmful additives making their way into your pup’s system.

No substitute for the real thing

Of course, dental chews are a great way to keep on top of your dog’s hygiene and health. But there’s simply no substitute for good old-fashioned tooth brushing. Getting a hyper, excited dog to sit still for a few minutes every day for a tooth clean can be difficult – we get it, we’ve been through it with Smudge! – but its definitely worth it in the long run. And don’t forget human toothpaste is a no no for dogs (and cats!). Choose a toothpaste formulated for dogs.

Dog with a brush in its mouth

Tough chews

If you’re in the market for a dental chew for your dog, look for something hard so they have to work really hard to eat them. The chewing and scraping motions are what does the trick when it comes to cleaning, so a soft or flimsy chew simply won’t cut it.

Supervise your pup

Once you’ve found the perfect chew for your pooch, it’s important to always keep an eye on them when they’ve got it. Even with the hardest of chews, your dog could break them apart and may choke on smaller pieces without proper supervision.

Keep in touch

Scrumbles have our own healthy alternative to Dentastix with ingredients that are designed to keep those gnashers clean and benefit your dogs overall well being. Hand baked here in the UK, our dental chews are super yummy and perfect for keeping your beloved pooch’s teeth clean. Follow us on our Instagram and Twitter pages for more pupdates.

Comment below with your handy tricks for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. And stay up to date with our blog to keep in the know about all things dog related.

Do you have room for a Maine Coon?

Do you have room for a Maine Coon?

Curious – Gentle – Outgoing

Wondering if you could give the perfect home to a Maine Coon? Or maybe you’re just a cat fanatic wanting to learn more about this amazing and playful breed? Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn more about these gentle giants, read our breed guide below to become a Maine Coon master.  

Maine Coon Breed Basics:

Average lifespan: 10 to 12 years

Average weight: Male: 5.9 – 8.2 kg, Female: 3.6 – 5.4 kg

Colours: White, black, brown, cream, ginger and blue

Trainability: Easy

Shedding: High

A history of the Maine Coon

These playful balls of fluff originate from North America, specifically Maine, hence their name! They were kept outside as farm cats protected by their naturally thick coat from the bitter New England winters.

No official records exist to say where exactly the Maine Coon breed came from, although there are plenty of fun tales surrounding French royalty and English sailors. It is more widely believed that they originated in the UK, as well as having roots in Scandinavia, believed to be brought in by the vikings, due to their resemblance to the Norwegian Forest Cat.

Did you know: It can take up to 5 years for a Maine Coon to mature to adulthood!

Maine Coon temperament & personality

Maine Coons are known as gentle giants who maintain a kitten personality throughout their life. Despite being one of the larger sized cats, they have a surprisingly small voice.

The Maine Coon is most definitely as cuddly and loving as its fluffy exterior has us believe. They love to play and are very affectionate, so if you’re looking for a cat to show you some love when you get home, this is the perfect breed for you.

Maine Coons love to socialise with other people and pets, so they make great additions to a large family, whether human or feline!

There’s definitely a few differences when comparing male Maine Coons to females, with males being a little more sociable and entertaining. The females also love to socialise, but can often seem a little more aloof than their male counterparts.

How to groom a Maine Coon

Maine Coons have beautifully thick, shaggy coats that are waterproof. They shed seasonally losing their thick undercoat in the summer, although some Maine Coons are known to shed all year long.

It’s impossible not to notice just how fluffy Maine Coons are, which means you’ll have to get used to regular grooming sessions with your furry feline friend.

Maine Coon grooming tips

You may have to spend a bit of time getting your Maine Coon used to grooming, as like most cats, they aren’t a fan of being groomed by humans. The younger you acclimatise your kitty to grooming, the easier and more fun it’ll be for the both of you. With a bit of training, you can make this a weekly treat for them.

Maine Coon Grooming Tips

  • Opt for a soft bristle brush
  • Consistency is key – daily grooming will avoid the hair from matting
  • A monthly bathe will help keep the coat in perfect condition
  • If you’re uncomfortable clipping their claws, take them to a specialised groomer or your vet will happily do this for you

Although they may hate you for it, a regular bath can also be beneficial to your Maine Coons maintenance. We would suggest keeping this to 1 bath per month. This time is also great for clipping the fur around the paws, as it can become a little cumbersome for them when on the prowl.

Maine Coon’s coats are waterproof so you’ll need to take care to work through the fur when rinsing and pay particular care to drying. We recommend hand drying first to remove as much excess water as possible, followed by a thorough towel dry.

Maine Coon health

Overall, Maine Coons are a pretty durable breed that suffer with minimal health issues, but like most pedigree cats and dogs, they can suffer with a few minor genetic health problems.

As a large breed cat, Maine Coons can suffer from hip dysplasia. It’s not a common issue in most cats and is more often found in large dog breeds. It’s thought that this is because of the size of a Maine Coon, as they can become pretty large felines.

Other things to look out for would be:

  • HCM (feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) is a genetic condition where blood flow is restricted to the heart. Symptoms can show from 3 years old and include shortness of breath, a loss of appetite and a weak pulse. HCM can become serious if left untreated. If you suspect your Maine Coon has HCM, take them to the vet for a check-up.
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy – Not life threatening, but it can cause weakness in the muscles which may need treating. Symptoms show at 3-4 months old – look out for an abnormal gate or unsteady posture.
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) causes cysts to form on the kidneys which can lead to organ failure. If your Maine Coon inherits this disease, it will require lifelong treatment. As a slow progressing disease, symptoms may not show until your kitty is 7 years old. Lookout for lethargy, loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss, vomiting, increased thirst and frequent urination. A common misconception is to feed a low protein diet but what’s key is phosphorus management. If you cat suffers from PKD you need to select a diet that has a low level of phosphorus as the damaged kidney is unable to remove phosphorus from the blood.

A good breeder will have tested for genetic diseases and on a whole, the Maine Coon is a healthy breed, whether purebred or mixed breed, they are pretty sturdy.

Like with any cat, it’s important to keep their gut healthy and their diet filled with nutrition that focuses on quality high animal protein levels. That’s why we advise to start your Maine Coon kitten on our delicious kitten food, then once they reach adulthood, choose between our tasty chicken or salmon cat food.

Are Maine Coons good house cats?

Due to the Maine Coons fairly laid back personality, they can be kept as either indoor or outdoor cats. Many Maine Coon owners prefer to keep them indoors however, as they are a very coveted breed and they have been known to get stolen when left to go outside alone.

maine coon house cat

Due to their large size, it’s best to have a fair amount of space in your home for them to roam around. Not only are they big, but they can be strong, so giving them space away from breakables is always a good idea.

With any house cat, it’s important to make sure they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. Maine Coons are very intelligent, so making sure they have enough to keep them occupied whilst indoors is essential.

Are Maine Coons aggressive?

There isn’t an aggressive bone in their body.

Maine Coons are known for their gentle and loving nature, which is why they have become such a popular breed with families and cat owners alike.

Of course every cat can become aggressive if they feel threatened or if they are uncomfortable or feeling a little under the weather. If your Maine Coon does become a little sensitive, it may be a sign of underlying issues, so it’s a good idea to give them a little check up to make sure everything is ok.

Are Maine Coons intelligent?

Maine Coons are very intelligent, which makes them extremely easy to train. Using a clicker, you can easily train your cat, whether it’s for shows or just general housekeeping.

They are so intelligent, that they will soon pick up on your schedule and routine, so if you leave the house at the same time every day, they’ll know about it. If you come home at the same time, they will be ready and waiting when you arrive.

How big do Maine Coons get?

We’ve talked a little about Maine Coons being a large breed of cat, but if you want to know exactly how big they can get, we would recommend reading this article from the Guinness Book of Records. That’s right, the longest cat in the world is currently a Maine Coon and they have won numerous other awards for being giants in the cat world.

How much do Maine Coons cost?

So you’ve reached the end of our breed guide and you’ve decided that a Maine Coon is the perfect addition to your household. It is fair to say you’ve chosen a great breed, but an expensive one.

Pedigree Maine Coon kittens can go for nearly £1000 per kitten, so they are very pricey should you want a pedigree kitty. You may also want to think about the added cost of insurance and consistent grooming.

You can also look at rescue Maine Coons who are looking for a loving home. As this breed is extremely loving and affectionate, it’s always advised to add a rescue Maine Coon to your family. However, it can be tricky to find a rescue Maine Coon as they are so popular!

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a cat that could also double as a small dog, show you love and affection and bring you belly laughs every day, then the Maine Coon is definitely for you. Remember, these felines can be huge, but full of love and extremely fluffy cuddles.

Cat Teeth Cleaning: A Guide to Your Kitty’s Dental Health

Cat Teeth Cleaning: A Guide to Your Kitty’s Dental Health

Do you clean your cat’s teeth? Despite the popular proverb about having nine lives, cats only get two sets of teeth in their lifetime. That means, just like human teeth, cat teeth cleaning is an important part of caring for your kitty.

Considering our furry friends can’t do much themselves to maintain good dental health, it’s up to the pawrents to take control and make sure our precious cat’s teeth last a lifetime.

Of course, unless you’re a vet or experienced pet parent, it can be difficult to know how to clean your cat’s teeth. In this post we discuss why clean teeth are important for a happy, healthy cat and how exactly to clean your cat’s teeth.

Why cat teeth cleaning is important

In a previous blog post on the importance of cleaning your dog’s teeth, we discussed how a whopping 80% of our pets will show signs of poor dental health as they grow. Cats in particular are susceptible to periodontal disease, making it hugely important to keep your kitty happy and healthy with regular check-ups and teeth cleans.

Cat teeth cleaning

Without regular cleaning, cats can get a build-up of plaque on their teeth, just like we do. If left to fester, this plaque can harden and form tartar, which can be very irritating on the gums and could result in tooth loss. Not only that, poor dental health could cause your kitty to have heart or kidney complications, so it’s best to be strict with toothbrush time.

Looking out for warning signs

In order to prevent these devastating complications, its important to look out for signs of dental decay or disease. Cats are quiet warriors and often suffer in silence, so you may not notice right away that there are any issues. Fortunately, there are a few key signs to look out for, including:

Bad breath

One of the most obvious and hard to ignore signs of poor dental health is bad breath. While you may not want to get up close and personal with your kitty’s mouth, foul-smelling breath can be hard to miss!

Physical signs

Getting into a habit of regularly checking your cat’s gums and teeth can be great when it comes to spotting dental disease early on. If their gums start to look red or their teeth are a yellowish-brown, it could be a sign of something more sinister.

Change in eating habits

If your cat starts to drop food from their mouth, chew only on one side or simply becomes unable to eat, they could have a nasty case of gingivitis – a dental disease that causes severe inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is easy to spot. You’ll notice a dark red line along your cats tongue and if it’s been left for a while, you might also come across ulcers. If you suspect your cat has gingivitis, get a check up with the vet to avoid it developing into periodontitis and causing more harm for your kitty.

Reluctance to play

Whether you’ve got a sociable kitty or they prefer time to themselves, any change in their playtime could be a sign of dental pain. If they are suffering with tooth problems, they may turn away if you try to play or engage them in any way.

ginger cat with paws over its face

How to clean your cat’s teeth

If you’ve noticed any signs of dental disease or pain in your cat, you should always get them checked out by a vet to make sure there are no long-lasting problems. However, it’s important to prevent issues and reduce the chances of your kitty developing dental diseases by establishing a regular cat teeth cleaning routine.

Cat teeth cleaning essentials

First things first, you will need to buy some pet toothpaste. Don’t be tempted to use your own – human toothpaste is harmful for both cats and dogs. You’ll also need to get a cat finger brush – a small attachment with bristles for you to place on your finger – or a pet toothbrush. Pet toothbrushes are a little different to the ones we know and love, with small rounded bristles that helps to remove plaque and prevent tartar.

Start slowly

Taking it one step at a time is the best way to get your kitty used to the toothbrushing routine. Ideally you’ll have introduced your cat to getting their teeth cleaned at a young age. If you have an older cat fear not, with a little patience and a consistent routine you’ll be able to get their pearly whites sparkling. Put a little toothpaste onto their lips or gums to get them used to the flavour initially. Once your cat allows it, place a small amount of toothpaste on your chosen brush and use gentle circular movements on the sides of their teeth. It should take less than a minute to brush your cat’s teeth.

Keep up this routine for a few weeks, using a little paste and gentle movements every day until your cat becomes used to it and will allow you to brush their teeth regularly, ideally daily.

More than just the teeth

Taking care of your kitty’s dental health is about more than just teeth. Tooth decay is usually the final stage of dental disease, so it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of irritated or inflamed gums. To improve gum health, give your cat a little gum massage after brushing their teeth each day. This will accelerate healing and strengthen their gums. Your vet can also recommend specialist products to keep your precious kitty happy and healthy.

Using the right products

Another way to prevent dental health issues is by choosing the right products for your cat. You need to ensure that, from being a kitten, the food you choose for your little one is beneficial for their growth, happiness and dental health. Specialist chews and treats will also benefit your kitty’s gum health. Be sure to check the ingredients as some treats and food contain ingredients like added sugars which can worsen their teeth. Look out for “vegetable stock” in the ingredient list which is added for palatability and can include added sugars and salt.

In the wild, cats maintain good dental health by chewing on grass, leaves and bones. House cats are a little different. Without the availability of these items, house cats may search for suitable replacements. Getting them a chewy toy or two to sink their teeth into can help them to keep their gums and teeth clean.

Keep your cat comfortable and secure

It’s not fun to have people playing around with your teeth and if your cats anything like our Boo, brushing teeth is not something they’ll look forward to. You can help make your cat happier by establishing a routine somewhere comfortable – we put Boo on the sofa. If your kitty is likely to scratch you can place a blanket over their paws or swaddle them.

Calling on the experts

If your cat has heavy tartar build up or red gums, they might require a professional clean. Your vet will be able to advise if this is necessary. Plaque can be removed with regular brushing but if tartar has established, you’ll need the experts to remove it. A professional dental clean can be costly so it’s best to establish a teeth cleaning routine to avoid this. As it also involves putting your cat under with anaesthetic, it can cause stress for both you and your kitty.

Even if you’ve established a good teeth cleaning routine, it’s important to have regular checks with the vet to ensure your cat is fighting fit.

Keep in touch

At Scrumbles, we’re passionate about all things pets. Whether you’re a new cat pawrent or an experienced pet owner, we want to hear all about your exciting journey – cat teeth cleaning and beyond. Keep up to date on all our furry friends’ adventures on our Instagram page and share your cat teeth cleaning tips in the comments below.

Pregnant Cat Checklist

Pregnant Cat Checklist

A pregnant cat brings about lots of excitement. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to cat pregnancy, our checklist will help keep your cat and future kittens happy and healthy. With your home needing to be prepared, vet appointments to be booked and extra TLC to be given, its important to be able to spot the signs that your cat may be expecting as soon as possible.

How to tell if a cat is pregnant

First things first, is your cat pregnant?

Spotting a pregnant cat is easier said than done for most pet owners. But it’s always a good idea to check whether your cat is expecting, rather than leaving it to chance. While there are worse things to come home to than a litter of adorable kittens, a surprise pregnancy can be stressful and emotional for both sets of pawrents.

If you’ve welcomed your own baby into the world, you know how much your body and mind change during pregnancy. Your cat is no different. Spotting these changes early on is best for ensuring a healthy pregnancy for both the mother and their kittens. Fortunately, with all the physical and mental changes occurring, there are a number of signs to look out for:

Changes in appearance

The most obvious and easily noticeable signs of a pregnant cat are the changes to her appearance. Her nipples may become darker and more enlarged as she prepares to nurse her babies. This typically takes place 2-3 weeks during her pregnancy. You may also become aware of weight gain, specifically around her tummy, which is otherwise unexplained.

Pregnant cats can gain around 1-2kg, depending on how many kittens they are carrying, which should be noticeable if you look at her body shape from above. You may be tempted to touch her belly to feel for signs of life, but you should avoid doing this too much as you could risk hurting the new mum or her babies.

If your cats tummy has swelled but you don’t think she could be pregnant, take her to the vet as this could signal an illness.

Changes in behaviour

Pregnant or nursing cats are known as ‘queens’, and they can certainly live up to their title! She will start to sleep more during the day, appearing to have less energy or desire to move. Your queen may also start to act more maternal and needier, seeking extra attention from you – when she’s awake that is! If you notice your cat rolling around on the floor and being highly vocal, chances are, you have a pregnant cat!

Cat playing on the floor

If you are an experienced pawrent and have had your kitty for a while, you might be able to recognise when your cat is in heat. Just like humans, female cats have periods of peak fertility, which happen once every three weeks or so. Typically, you’ll notice her being more affectionate to others and walking a little differently. However, if her heat cycle suddenly comes to a halt or she displays different behaviours, this could be a sign of cat pregnancy.

Changes in eating habits

Another sign of a pregnant is a change in their appetite. This depends on the individual cat. Your queen could suddenly go off her food and refuse to eat, or she may begin to eat everything and anything in sight. Either way, any drastic change to her eating habits could be a sign of pregnancy, so it’s important to be aware of how much, how often and what food your cat is eating.

Just like a human pregnancy, pregnant cats can get morning sickness and cravings. She may start to be sick on a regular basis as soon as 3-4 weeks into the pregnancy. Don’t panic. Sickness is normal for a pregnant cat. However, it’s a good idea to get her checked out by the vet if:

  • She doesn’t eat for more than 3 days
  • She is being excessively sick
  • She is eating anything other than her food in abundance

How long is a cat pregnant?

Cat pregnancies typically last around 65-69 days, so there’s no time to waste! Once you know for sure if your furry family is growing, you can start planning and preparing for the big day.

While it’s important to look out for physical, behavioural or nutritional changes in your kitty, the only way to know if your cat is pregnant for sure is by booking her in with the vet. They can carry out an ultrasound to confirm whether she is expecting and can usually determine how many kittens she is carrying. So, as soon as you start to notice any of the above changes, book her an appointment to get a pregnancy confirmation.

Caring for your pregnant cat

A little extra TLC

With her body beginning to go through drastic changes, it’s understandable that your queen will require some extra love and care. She may not want to leave the house as often and you might notice that she seeks out some alone time in a quiet place. If so, it’s best to leave her to it. Chances are, she’s starting to nest and is searching for the ideal peaceful spot to bring her kittens into the world.

Feeding your pregnant cat

Your queen won’t just be ‘eating for two’ – each litter tends to have an average of 4-6 kittens. With so many mouths to feed, it goes without saying that she may need a little extra in her bowl each day – food intake can quadruple in this time. She’ll need to be fed small meals several times throughout the day and should have access to fresh water at all times. During her pregnancy you can leave dry kitten food out for her to graze on.

Pregnant cat being fed a kibble

Pregnant cats dietary requirements differ to their non pregnant diet. Your pregnant cat will need extra protein and energy. As soon as you’ve confirmed your cat is pregnant, switch them from their normal adult cat food to a kitten food. Kitten food is packed with extra calories and the nutrients your queen needs to keep herself and her kittens healthy. If you’ve not tried Scrumbles, our high quality natural kitten food also includes a probiotic to keep their digestive system happy and boost their immune system. And most importantly keep those poos in check.

As with any food change, make sure you transition over a period of 7-10 days to keep her sensitive stomach happy. You should continue feeding a kitten formula until her kittens have been weaned off her milk.

Cleaning up

You worked tirelessly to house train your cat and now she’s started to leave messes on the floor again. Frustrating, right? However, the latter stages of pregnancy are not the time to scold your queen for having an accident or two. She simply can’t help it. The extra pressure on her bladder can make it harder to reach the litter box in time.

During those final precious few weeks, her nipples may also begin to swell and leak milk. Keeping your queen, and yourself, as calm as possible during those later stages is important for a healthy pregnancy and birth, so make sure you’re regularly changing her bed blankets to provide a warm, clean and cosy safe space.

Keeping your pregnant cat safe

If your cat is an outdoor cat, you’ll want to keep them safe and secure indoors from around the 6th week of pregnancy.

Preparing for the big day

In what feels like no time at all, your beloved kitty will be becoming a mother herself. You may have spent weeks, even months, preparing for delivery. But it can still come as a surprise for some. There are a few key signs that your queen is in or about to go into labour:

  • Restlessness – Around 24-48 hours before the birth, your pregnant cat may appear restless or anxious, pacing around her nesting area
  • Vocalisation – She might begin to meow and cry out more than usual. Don’t worry. She’s just letting you know the kittens are coming
  • Temperature changes – Around 24 hours before giving birth, her body temperature will drop below 38°C, so be sure to have a thermometer handy
  • Loss of appetite – In the run up to giving birth, your cat may lose her appetite and stop eating altogether.

If the time has come and your cat is displaying signs of labour, now is the time to put all your research to good use and help her bring her new kittens into the world safely.

Let her lead the way

Whether you want to call for a vet or you feel confident doing things yourself, make sure your queen is in a safe and comfortable space when the time comes. A number of pet pawrents have delivered their kittens successfully. But we recommend having a vet on call, just in case something doesn’t go as expected.  

The mum-to-be will probably start wandering around the house, looking for a good nesting space to give birth in. While you can create a quiet corner with a paper lined box, it’s important to let her lead you on this one and don’t try to move her from her comfortable spot. If a pregnant cat feels threatened or stressed at all, her labour could halt entirely which can be dangerous for both her and her kittens. Cats will typically seek an enclosed space for giving birth – choose an option with low sides for her to get in and out easily.

Create a peaceful environment

We understand this is an exciting time for the whole family. Every auntie, sister, brother and friend wants to be there to witness this miraculous experience. But your queen’s needs come first, and she needs a quiet, peaceful environment in which she feels safe.

So, whether they like it or not, the kids and other pets need to stay out of the room during the birth and you need to make sure your home is as quiet and calm as possible. You should delay the introduction of your new family members until they have had chance to settle in and relax to avoid causing stress to the newborn kittens.

Take a step back

With all the excitement and nerves surrounding the birth, it’s easy to get carried away and think that you need to help your cat out. However, there is no need for you to get involved with the birth at all. Mum always knows best. Nature will kick in, allowing her to safely deliver her babies alone.

Your cat will first experience a number of strong abdominal contractions and then you’ll notice some vaginal discharge. After this, the kittens should start to appear. The amount of time to deliver each kitten can vary from as little as 5 minutes to up to half an hour per kitten.

Kittens will appear with an amniotic sac surrounding them that your cat will typically open. If she doesn’t you’ll need to step in here and gently open the membrane using a towel to allow the kittens to breathe. Once all the kittens are out, your cat should bite through the umbilical cord, but again if she doesn’t you’ll need to help here.

If you’re worried about any of these steps, check with your vet ahead of the big day and on the big day if you suspect something has gone wrong, for example the discharge is bloody or particularly heavy call the vet immediately. Preparation will help you ensure your pregnant cat is safe and comfortable throughout and beyond her pregnancy.

Congratulations – you are now a proud new pawrent! Although it’s tempting to dive straight in with cuddles for these new bundles of joy, the new mum may become fiercely protective if anyone goes too near her kitties, so give them all time to settle first. Only when all kittens have arrived and mum is calm and relaxed should you move all the cats to a clean and comfortable area.

Pregnant after-care

Whether you’re planning to keep all the kittens, or send them off to loving new homes, you’re responsible for these new bundles of joy for at least the first few weeks of life. Bringing home a new kitten can be a scary time for any new pawrent, but the new mum will have all the instincts and nutrients needed to allow her babies to grow.

It’s not until around 4 weeks has passed that kittens will be ready to wean onto solid food. Check out our post on feeding kittens to read more about this little milestone in their lives. 

Keep in touch

If your beloved queen has just delivered her first litter or you’re still wondering if she’s expecting, we want to hear all about it. Comment below with any tips of your own for cat pregnancy along with stories about your own pregnant cat.

For more information about all things pets, be sure to check out our blog.

Alarming Pet Obesity Statistics in the UK & What You Can Do

Alarming Pet Obesity Statistics in the UK & What You Can Do

Just like humans, pets can suffer if they are overweight or obese. Pet obesity can lead to a number of health issues like arthritis so it’s important to keep your pet’s weight in check. Read on for our guide on pet obesity and how to reduce it so you can help your pets live long and healthy lives.

Obese pets typically have a lower quality of life too – and can die younger than those with healthy weights. A recent study by the University of Liverpool and published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine showed how overweight dogs could lose over 2 years lifespan. That’s why it’s so important to know the facts.

Pet obesity impact on lifespan

The extent of the problem

In the UK alone, it’s estimated that 40% of dogs and 53% of cats are overweight or obese, which is only set to get worse. Pet obesity is on the rise in the UK. 81% of vets and nurses report seeing an increase in the number of overweight animals. PDSA recently published their 2018 animal well-being report, and it has some shocking statistics:

  • 33% of dog owners walk their dog just once a day
  • 45% of dogs are only getting up to 30 minutes of exercise when they are walked
  • 1% of dogs are never walked at all 😲
  • 65% of cat owners don’t know their pet’s current weight
  • Just 19% of owners described their cat as overweight or obese

Overweight animals are less energetic, less willing to play and generally get less enjoyment out of life. Whether it’s due to a lack of exercise or being uninformed when it comes to portion sizes, there are lots of drivers for pet obesity.

Quite often, pet obesity is simply caused by a lack of knowledge, rather than intentional actions. One of the main issues when it comes to pet obesity is the lack of awareness surrounding the problem. Many of us don’t know what to look out for and our pets could be suffering unknowingly. 

Identifying the problem

It can be difficult to recognise if your pet is overweight, particularly if it happens slowly or if they have always been overweight. Of course, the best way to check is to take them to the vet and get them properly weighed.

There are some home tricks you can try first, however, to judge if a trip to the vet is necessary. PDSA have a series of images to help you determine if your pet is a healthy weight. Ranging from very thin to obese, you can check which image most closely resembles your pet.

Here are some signs to look out for in both cats and dogs: 

  • Ribs – Overweight pets have a layer of fat covering their ribs, which makes them difficult to see or even feel.
  • Back – A ‘fat pad’ will cover their back
  • Tummy – Your pet’s tummy will bulge out and sag downwards, which may wobble or sway when they move
  • Face, legs and neck – Obese cats and dogs can get fat pads in these areas

In contrast, underweight cats and dogs will have highly visible ribs, hipbones and backbone. There will be a complete absence of fat around these areas, with an exaggerated waistline and non-existent tummy.

Preventing pet obesity

There are lots of ways for your cat or dog to lose weight if they are obese or overweight. Food reduction, increased exercise and less treats can help. But the best way to reduce pet obesity is to work to prevent it in the first place.

Here are our top 5 ways to prevent pet obesity: 

1. Plenty of exercise

Husky playing outside

There are so many benefits of regular exercise for your pets. Not only will exercise help your pet shed extra pounds, it will strengthen respiratory and circulation systems and aid digestion. Find out how much exercise your dogs needs.

Cats don’t tend to go on long walks the same way dogs will, making increasing exercise a bit trickier. Try playing interactive games with your cat, with a feather or toy mouse for instance. Keep these bonding sessions regular to keep your kitty entertained and trim.

2. Food and portion control

A lot of pet owners out there don’t know the correct portion sizes for their cats and dogs. Pets need different amounts of food during their life stages, just like we do. Puppies and kittens need more energy, protein and minerals, so food specifically tailored for this lifestage is best. Different breed sizes have different needs. Large breed puppies can take up to 24 months to mature to adulthood and need tailored nutrition to manage the growth carefully. That’s why we have a large breed specific puppy food.

Some dogs, particularly, can’t regulate their intake well and will just eat everything in sight. To avoid this, it’s best to regulate meal times rather than having food available at all times.

Every complete pet food in the UK must have feeding guidelines. These are based on an assumed activity level, typically above the level of exercise the average cat or dog gets. To avoid your pet putting on weight, start with the feeding guideline closely monitoring any weight changes over the first few weeks. Adjust feeding amounts accordingly to maintain a healthy physique. If you’re feeding Scrumbles, we include a guide based on various activity levels.

3. Weight monitoring

Without regular weigh-ins and body checks, your pet can very quickly become overweight without you realising. One extra pound may not seem like much for your cat or dog, but it doesn’t take much weight to push them into the overweight or obese category. That’s especially the case for smaller breeds.

Check with your vet what the recommended weight is for your pet. Keep on top of things weighing your pet regularly to make sure they stay inside the healthy range. Feeding habits change across seasons and as cats and dogs age they will be more prone to putting on weight.

4. Step away from the treat bowl

Many of us feed our pets leftovers from our own meals. According to the PDSA, 27% of pet owners surveyed said they regularly give their dog leftovers. The additional calories and decreased nutritional value of table scraps is often the biggest offender. Crucially it can lead to pancreatitis, which can be fatal.

Healthy tasty treats exist and are better than leftovers for your dog. They also prove useful in training exercises. Although you may feel good for rewarding your dog and giving them what they ‘want’, too many treats can have serious consequences.

When it comes down to it, most dogs would prefer extra attention to more treats. Spend more time with your pooch will give you both more satisfaction than a treat which is inhaled in an instant and quickly forgotten.

5. Look for diseases and get them treated

Although the majority of the weight gain in cats and dogs is caused by over-feeding and not enough exercise, there are some medical conditions that can contribute to obesity in pets. Fortunately, most of these diseases and illnesses can be treated by a vet, so it’s important to keep an eye on your pet for any changes.

An unexplained increase or decrease in appetite or weight could be a sign of something more sinister. So, be sure to get them checked out by a registered vet to keep on the safe side.

Keep your pets happy with Scrumbles

Diet plays a huge role in the health of your cat or dog. To keep them healthy, introduce a natural pet food, with no added sugar or salt. See the difference it can make.

Scrumbles stocks a selection of natural pet foods for cats and dogs, specifically tailored to suit the needs of different ages and breeds. Check out our range of cat food and dog food – and don’t forget to comment below with your own pets’ health tips and stories. 

Are Afghan Hounds the right dog for you?

Are Afghan Hounds the right dog for you?

Aloof – Independent – Clownish

Trying to determine if the Afghan Hound is the right dog for you? Or maybe you just want to brush up on some dog trivia just in case the moment comes for you to shine. Keep reading for our breed guide on Afghan Hounds. All you need to know to officially deem yourself an aficionado.

Afghan Hound Breed Basics:

Average lifespan: 11 to 14 years

Average weight: Male: 27 kg, Female: 22.5 kg

Colours: A wide range from cream to black. There are also many brindle coats as well as red coats.

Trainability: Challenging. Afghan Hounds are stubborn with selective hearing.

Shedding: Low

A history of the Afghan Hound

Unsurprisingly, Afghan hounds find their origins in the course terrain of Afghanistan and neighboroughing regions. The Afghan Hound’s unique coat offers an insight into their ancient past. Their long hair and thick fur helped keep them warm when used in the colder climates of Afghanistan.

Afghan Hounds were introduced to the UK in the 19th century. Originally brought over as a gift from the Afghan royal family, the breed remains a popular large breed companion. Afghan Hounds are members of the sight hound family. Due to their typical nature and impressive speed, they were used for hunting. Rumours have it, they could and have taken down leopards.

Afghan Hound temperament

Afghan Hounds have a regal appearance with silky long coats and a tall stature. Described as “high-maintenance” by some with an almost clownish personality. They love to play and have fun but they are also fiercely independent. Sometimes described as aloof, they can be wary around strangers and a little standoffish. Early socialisation is key.

Their independent nature has seen them likened to the cat of the dog world. They can either be your best friend, or not care at all that you’re in the room.

Are you looking for a breed that is easily trained or used for show? Keep on looking… the Afghan Hound is not for you my friend. However, if you fancy a challenge, with some patience and perseverance, basic commands like sit, stay and heel are possible. Just keep in mind Afghan Hounds are temperamental suffering from selective hearing, much like our Smudge, so they’ll never ace the recall test. And potentially look at rehoming rather than training an Afghan Hound puppy from scratch.

How to groom an Afghan Hound

One of the Afghan Hounds most distinguishable features is its glorious, flowing coat and it’s up to Afghan Hound owners to keep it in tip top shape.

How to groom an Afghan Hound

When it comes to clipping the coat, it’s advised to let it grow out naturally for as long as possible. This ensures the thickness of the coat is kept even, which is great for your hound.

It’s not surprising that you’ll need to set aside a good hour plus per week to keep this coat in great condition. Owning an Afghan Hound means you’ll have to brush up on your grooming skills. You need to be able to spend time bathing and grooming your hound, particularly in the first 14 months, as this ensures your puppies coat grows out in the healthiest way possible.

The easiest way to keep an Afghan Hound’s coat clean and healthy, is with weekly baths and brushing with a pin comb. A little dog conditioner will go a long way with this breed and make sure that it is super easy to brush through the long thick coat.

How much exercise do Afghan Hounds need?

The Afghan Hound is an agile, high energy breed, and cover distances quickly. They may look delicate and elegant, but these hounds love to run and play.

Afghan Hound sprinting

Afghan Hounds are known for their speed and in some countries are even classed as racing dogs. With this in mind, it’s advised to keep them on the lead, particularly in unenclosed spaces or unfamiliar territory, as they have a tendency to speed off without warning! Try to find somewhere that’s safe and enclosed to let them gallop around to their heart’s content.

Despite their killer speed, they are described as low exercise dogs. They can burn off energy quicker than your average pooch. 1-2 hours a day incorporating a leisurely walk and a couple of short sprints is enough to satisfy their instinctual desire to chase will keep your Afghan Hound happy and healthy.

Afghan Hound health

On the whole, Afghan Hounds live healthy lives and are not susceptible to major health issues.

As mentioned above, their long, silky coats do need a lot of tender love and care. Without weekly baths and grooming, their coat can become matted and dirty causing discomfort and infection. It’s also important to keep the coat trimmed, particularly around the eye area so as not to obstruct their vision.

Afghan hounds are large breed dogs. Although less common vs other large breeds, they can suffer from skeletal development problems like elbow deformity and hip dysplasia so it’s important to feed the right nutrition. As puppies, they can take up to 24 months to mature to adulthood so keep them on a large breed appropriate puppy food until they have matured to adulthood, where you can then transition to a large breed appropriate adult food.

A study by the Kennel club found cancer was the most common cause of death. The next most common cause of death was old age. The same study found that laryngeal paralysis, a respiratory condition, which is a progressively developing paralysis of the larynx, that can be found in large breed dogs as a whole impacted 4% of the dogs studied.

Other health issues occasionally seen in afghan hounds:

  • Medial canthal pocket syndrome caused by the shape and angle of the eye which can lead to eye issues like conjunctivitis
  • Afghan Hound myelopathy is a degenerative disease affecting the spinal cord that can lead to paralysis
  • Cataracts and Glaucoma in senior years

Are Afghan Hounds good family dogs?

Afghan Hounds make great family dogs as they have a friendly and loving nature. Despite their independence, they can be extremely loyal and they love to have fun and play all day long.

Afghan Hound Puppies can be socialised with children of all ages. If you’re introducing an older dog to your family, older children is preferable.

Unless your Afghan Hound has grown up around other family pets from a young age, they’re best to be the only family pet or surrounded by similarly sized pets. As sight hounds, they have a pretty strong prey drive and as they are not great at recall it’s best to keep smaller animals at a distance when you’re out and about and keep your hound on the lead, particularly when walking anywhere that may have small wildlife.

Are Afghan Hounds aggressive?

Afghan Hounds are not known for being aggressive. They have a laid back character although do like their own space, so it’s best to let them be when they clearly want some me time.

Given their high prey drive and hunting instincts, it’s best to keep an eye on them when around smaller animals.

Are Afghan Hounds intelligent?

These hounds are by no means the brightest bulb, but it just adds to their clownish charm. In fact, they came in at number 10 in a list of some of the less intelligent breeds.

They may not be able to learn the latest tricks all too quickly, but Afghan Hounds make excellent companions and we think that’s the most important thing for our four legged friends!

How much does an Afghan Hound cost?

So you’ve decided the Afghan Hound is the perfect dog for you, or maybe you’re the perfect human for them. The cost to acquire an Afghan Hound can be quite steep, up to £1000 for a pedigree Afghan Hound puppy. You’ll also need to consider the cost of insurance, regular grooming and food.

There are a number of rescue organisations where you can rehome an Afghan Hound. There are 13 registered with the kennel club along with 4 breeders. Beware of websites selling Afghan Hound puppies or dogs at cheap prices. There’s a risk of poor dog and puppy welfare as increasingly puppies are farmed for quick money. If you do come across anyone that appears to not neglecting the animals’ welfare, report it to the RSPCA.

Conclusion

Afghan Hounds are the perfect dog for you if you enjoy grooming, are ready to take on the challenge of training this independent beauty and enjoy the outdoors. Healthy, loyal and with buckets of character we’re confident you’ll have lots of tails of adventures.