Archive for the ‘Pet Health’ Category

Why Would A Dog Need A Coat?

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

We often hear this remark from first time dog owners in our Pet Shop in Dun Laoghaire.

I can understand why, they have a fur coat already so you may wonder, why would they need one more? It’s simple really – your mammy was right when she told you take your coat off indoors or it’ll be no good to you outside.

The winters have gotten colder and colder in Ireland over the past few years. Smaller, older and thin coated dogs have always come to us to get a new dog coat to keep warm on winter walks, but since we started getting snowy winters, hardier dogs have been shopping for an extra layer (or two!) also.

I do find it amusing to hear remarks such as “that’s cruel!” from people (usually non pet owners) I must say, as if someone who loved their dog and wanted the best for them would be cruel to them! From our many years of experience kitting dogs out for the winter season, I can tell you that there are a few options you may wish to consider before the snow arrives again.

The first one is a simple extra layer for warmth on chilly days. You may notice your dog (particularly if they are smaller, older or thin coated) shivering on a cold day. Do him a favor, get him a nice warm dog fleece or a simple dog jumper – it’s what you would do for yourself on a cold day!

Another important thing to think about is going out for a walk in the winter. A good quality waterproof dog jacket is a great investment for dogs (like Molly!) who insist on being walked regardless of the weather conditions. It also cuts down on bathing and mess in the car – wet jacket comes off, dry dog is happy underneath.

Another great addition for winter walks is something to make your dog more visible, such as a pet reflector vest.

The most important consideration for wintertime is if you have an outdoor dog or your dog usually spends time or sleeps outside. Please, please think about bringing them in on colder nights, even if its just to a garage or utility room. They may have coats and be happy to stay out in warmer weather, but freezing winter nights are different. They’ll be good, I promise :)

Green Dog Food Now Available At Mollys

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Today we had some visitors to our pet shop, the lovely guys from Green Dog, a small, independent dog food company with a BIG heart… which is right up our street!

We were immediately impressed with the small but perfectly formed ingredient list on the side of the bag we were presented with (it’s not often that a company visiting us proclaiming to be selling a “healthy” dog food is actually doing so!) and also when we were told that the food was free from synthetic vitamins and nasty additives.

Here’s what’s in their Turkey and Rice Puppy food:
Turkey (31% dry » 64.41% fresh*), whole white rice, vegetables and herbs (15%), whole brown rice (14%), whole oats, whole barley, fat.
Yes, that’s everything… really!!

A snoop through the literature we were left with and the Green Dog website threw up even more (nice!) surprises.

For starters, their website states that “The product is steam cooked and air-dried. This traditional method retains the whole-food elements and palatability of the raw materials.”
Most traditional pet food is extruded, which basically means that it is processed en masse at a very high temperature, at a very high speed, and a lot of nutrients are lost. Baked or steam cooked foods usually come at a premium, but Green Dog’s pricing is on a par with James Wellbeloved! (another excellent, hypoallergenic food we carry.)

We then found out that Green Dog:
– Use holistic principles in the formulation of our products
– Use pet dogs belong to members of the public as a ‘tasting panel’
– Use products from local suppliers if possible
– Only use products which can be properly digested
– Do not use products from inhumane farming systems
– Do not use unsuitable chemicals of any description for product preservation, fortification, taste enhancement or appearance, or for any other reason.
– Do not use laboratory animals for testing our product
– Do not use unsuitable by-products
– Do not use ingedients that have been inhumanely tested on animals

Needless to say, when we showed Molly she gave her approval right away :-) Yes, this is just an excuse to show another picture of our Gorgeous boss… check out those fabulous spotty paws!!

Green Dog food is now available both in our Dun Laoghaire pet store and on our website.

Orijen Dog Food Formula Change

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Just a quick note to let our Orijen customers know that they have made some improvements to their formula, it now has a ratio of 80:20 instead of 70:30 meats to fruit and vegetables.

It is worth mentioning that the meat ratio is not the same as the % protein content – for example the protein content of the new adult original formula is 38%.

We already have the new adult formula in store and on our website, the rest of the varieties will start to arrive in the coming weeks.

Pet Dental Care

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Apparently, September is officially Pet Smile Month, so I decided to use this opportunity to discuss this very important but often overlooked area of petcare.

Molly recently had to take some medication for a sore paw, it was a big beef flavored tablet which she seemed to love the taste of and gobbled up right out of my hand! I was shocked later when I happened to see what I thought was some of the beefy tablet stuck to her back teeth, but was in fact tartar build up. Her front teeth are nice and clean from regular chewy dog treats and her rope toy fascination so I didn’t think to check the back ones, I feel like such a bad owner! :(

PetSmile week aims to encourage pet owners to “lift the lip” and check their pet’s teeth regularly, you can’t see the teeth so you never know what’s lurking back there. Ideally, you would get your pet used to having their teeth brushed with a special pet toothpaste and brush several times a week from an early age, but this isn’t always possible and some pets simply don’t like brushing and will not allow it, especially cats!

Thankfully there are other options available. One of the bestselling products in our pet supplies department is Plaque Off – an all natural seaweed formula that you simply add to your pets food. You should see results within a few weeks, I highly recommend it.

If even a few weeks seems too long, to help with the dreaded “dog breath kiss” we have some nifty products that require no brushing such as this tropiclean Clean Teeth Gel kit. To help with halitosis our Fresh Breath Foam and Fresh Breath Water Additive work a treat, without harming your pet (or anyone elses as the range is cruelty free!)

With some simple additions to your petcare routine you can go a long way to preventing dental disease, which if left untreated can spread to other parts of the body including major organs. As well as the plaque prevention suggestions above, regular access to a chew toy can also help dislodge tartar. And of course, diet is very important. The better the quality of your dog food or cat food, the better condition your pet’s teeth (and the rest of him!) will be in.

How to Treat Tear Staining in Dogs and Cats

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Dog’s eyes will naturally tear a little bit, especially when they are growing puppies with rapidly changing faces and sore teeth. For light or white coloured dogs this can lead to visible staining around the eyes and muzzle. If excessive tearing is causing a sticky build up that is irritating your dog’s face, or you simply want to remove the stains for cosmetic reasons, there are several options available.

It is very important to know that not all of these options are advisable.

Option one is to add a low grade anti biotic in your dog’s food. This will work cosmetically for a time but… the bacteria will most likely build up a tolerance to the anti biotic and also it is very important to let the tears come out naturally anyway. If the staining is a reddy brown – everything is a-ok and your dog’s eyes are healthy. However if here is a green or yellow colour a trip to the vet is needed. Checking the colour of the stains is an easy way of monitoring your pets health and I would personally much rather keep the anti-biotics for when they are genuinely necessary. Therefore we do not sell these products and do not recommend them.

Option two is to let the tears come out and then treat them externally. This is a much better idea for the reasons outlined above, but you still need to be careful choosing a product. Some products on the market contain bleaches and chemicals such as peroxide, we do not sell them either. Some people have success with apple cider vinegar but as this has a laxative effect I wouldn’t recommend it!

The products available on our website are natural and contain NO antibiotics, bleaches, peroxides, or anything else nasty that we wouldn’t be happy to recommend. For white coated dogs, Eye Envy is our bestselling product. It removes stains naturally and very effectively with a two part topical powder and liquid treatment that doesn’t sting! It is suitable for both dogs and cats.

Another all natural, safe and effective option is the Happytails Eyemunity and Eye Pad program. The Eyemunity is a safe, natural food supplement to help boost your dog’s immune system while the Eye Pads contain gentle ingredients like collodial silver to remove the stains externally. For dogs that just have a wee bit of staining or a grubby muzzle, the Eye Pads on their own are a great way to clean the stains off without harming your precious pet.

Natural Remedy For Ear Infections In Dogs

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Apparently, ear trouble is one of the most common reasons for vet visits. If your dog shows signs of discomfort or pain be sure to visit your vet, however a regular cleaning regimen can help prevent the excess build up which can cause discomfort and infections for your pet in the first place.

As you can see from her picture, Molly has gorgeous long houndy ears. While she looks adorable she also has some not so gorgeous long ear canals to match, so is prone to ear infections.

If your dog has lovely long ears like Molly, you’ll probably find using a special Spaniel Bowl instead of a regular one will be a big help. Its narrow top is designed to keep their ears dry while they are eating and drinking.

Molly used to have recurring bacterial and fungal infections in both ears which caused her a lot of discomfort and distress, fortunately switching her food to a grain free one (Orijen) got rid of almost all of the problem within a few days, we were amazed! She also lost that little bit of extra weight she’d been carrying around and her eyes stopped running. Apparently grain or grain mite allergies are common causes of ear trouble in dogs so it’s well worth investigating a high quality grain free diet if your dog is having recurring problems. There is no “one food fits all” solution and this post is not intended to push Orijen, I’m simply relaying Molly’s grain allergy experience 😉

Unfortunately for Molly, her right ear was still filling up with that lovely reddy brown “stuff”, not half as much as before but still enough to bother her (and us, it doesn’t smell great!) so I was off to find something to tackle the problem.

I wanted a natural remedy if possible so was excited when I got some recommendations for HappyTail’s Ear Aid. This fab kit contains a box of single use Ear Wipes and a dropper bottle containing the Ear Clear formula. The wipes are soaked in a mixture containing collodial silver to suppress bacteria and witch hazel to safely and gently clean the area, while the Ear Clear is an olive oil based formula which breaks down wax build up while helping to reduce pain and discomfort from swelling – important for poor Molly as she really digs her foot in when her ear is itchy :(

After a two week initial twice daily cleaning routine with the Ear Aid program, we are now to to a twice weekly maintenance clean and Molly is much happier now her ears are clear!
After seeing the great results Molly had, we decided to carry Ear Aid in our store. It is available in a pack or you can buy the Ear Wipes and Ear Clear separately if needed.

The Truth About Puppy Farms In Ireland

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I know that usually we blog about new products, cute visitors to our pet shop or pet nutrition… but we genuinely care about the welfare of our own and our customers animals, so would like to take this opportunity to let people know some shocking facts about puppy farms right here in Ireland.

You may be disgusted to hear that Irish puppy farms currently export about 30,000 dogs to the UK. These shocking figures mean that Ireland has been dubbed the “puppy farm capital of Europe”. Ex puppy farm dogs can have a whole range of issues ranging from health complications due to poor breeding and unsanitary conditions to behavioral problems due to lack of socialisation. The breeding dams (the mothers) often spend their whole lives in small pens churning out litter after litter with little or no exercise, natural light or even fresh air.

We have met some ex farm “breeding machines” in our store who have been rescued by families and they are lovely, gentle creatures enjoying every minute of their new surroundings – but sadly, many rescued from farms are too traumatised and need to be put out of their misery.

Have a look at this recent Ear to the Ground episode on RTE where some farmers did a quick tidy up in an effort to friendly up and justify their sick business.

There is one reason these farmers are in business – TO MAKE MONEY. Dogs are not cattle and farming them like cattle is unethical and cruel. Oh and saying a dog will not mind not getting out of its pen to exercise because its “used to it” is just plain stupid. Children can get “used to” being beaten but that doesn’t make it acceptable.

A lot of the time, people buy puppy farmed dogs without realising. Some of the oldest tricks in the book are to offer to meet you halfway at the side of the road somewhere, or to move the litter in question in to a separate viewing room so everything appears to be ok. Also unfortunately the sight of a sickly or frightened looking puppy can often tug at the heart strings and people hand over the cash to “rescue” the puppy from the situation. This is NOT you rescuing the puppy, it is simply supporting greedy farmers who are relying on soft hearted people to fork out for a sick puppy… be strong – WALK AWAY.  I’m sorry to say I’ve lost count of the number of puppies we’ve met in our store who have become seriously ill or died within weeks of them being purchased. This is also the case for some of the puppies featured in this RSPCA expose:

This process is costly, traumatic (especially for families with children) and can be easily avoided. I will blog soon with tips how to go about choosing a puppy, but for now I need to go home and cuddle my precious dogs.

The Dog Breeding Establistments Bill is currently being debated in the Dail. Well done to ANVIL, the ISPCA, and all involved for getting this far.


A practical Guide To Pet Strollers

Monday, March 1st, 2010

The reaction we get to the Pet Strollers in our store can be quite funny :)

Kids try to put toys in them and push them around, Dads shake their heads and retire to the safe haven of the sports magazines in our “dad parking” seating area to wait for their ordeal to be over … but mostly people tend to laugh.

I will admit, the idea of a Pet Stroller seems pretty pointless at first glance – dogs have four legs to walk around themselves right? 😉 But there are many perks of owning one – once people discover the possibilities they wonder how they managed without!

For starters, they look suspiciously like a regular kids buggy so you can take it on places like buses and trains where loose dogs are not permitted, this is great if you don’t drive and there’s a great dog friendly spot a little too far to walk to. You can even sneak your dog out with you to meet friends for lunch after a walk!

They are also great if you have an older or convalescing pet who can only manage short distances at a time. When they get tired or are unable to go any further, they can take a little break while the rest of you keep going. This is especially handy if you have a multiple dog household and the younger dogs want to walk for longer, you don’t need to leave the older dog home anymore, you can all enjoy a walk together.

If you don’t think you need a stroller but like the idea of sneaking your dog into more places, a Pet Carrier would be a more discreet option. Oh and guys, fear not – they’re not all pink and pretty, we have some chic and understated versions for you too 😉 As well as this practical hands free version that many people like to use while hillwalking.

When Your Dog Eats Something They Shouldn’t Have…

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

We’ve all been there. You come home to find a box of tissues/your favorite shoes/the remote control/part of the wall(!) shredded into a million pieces and your puppy sitting with a smug expression on its face as if to say “look what I did for you! Aren’t I the BEST?!” The good news is, puppies tend to grow out of this behavior.

Molly is seven now so you can imagine my surprise last night when out of nowhere she decided to gobble up a pair of (very pretty-boo!) glass ear plugs I’d left on the table.
We found one on the couch later but she definitely swallowed the other. As it was 11pm, it was time to call the emergency Vet Clinic in UCD to see what was the best thing to do with her.
Don’t you just HATE those conversations – why do they never swallow anything easily explainable?!

“She swallowed what?”
“a PLUG its um, glass jewellery that goes in your ear”

The worst was when Molly’s brother Lucky chewed up a tub of little plastic farm animals, we had fun explaining that one:

“he ate a tub of… what?”
“its a child’s toy.. nevermind we’d better bring him straight in, there’s half chewed bits of plastic chickens and cows all over the floor.”

Anyway, the lady on the phone in the emergency clinic was very helpful. She asked about the size and shape of the the object swallowed and Molly’s size and weight. Based on those figures she thought it best to “let nature take its course” 😉
We were also given a list of things to watch out for, in which case we were to bring her to the vet right away.
I’m not going to share the details of that list here, as it is particular to Molly’s incident and you should ALWAYS consult a vet immediately if this happens to your pet, not the internet. NEVER try to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide or anything else, I’m aware that dosage information is available online but your first port of call should always be to seek advice from a qualified vet. And never be afraid to call the after hours clinic, they’ll be happy and able to tell you if you have a real emergency on your hands or not.

Which brings me nicely on to my next pearl of wisdom… Pet Insurance. The monthly payment for my three dogs costs about the same as a takeaway dinner for two.
If you haven’t insured your pets yet please, do it. now. You never know when little emergencies will pop up – in my experience, usually late at night, weekends,bank holidays and other inconvenient times! Knowing your insurance will cover whatever your pet needs is so reassuring. Not to mention if something more serious happens, I can’t imagine the pain of having to decide if you can afford a five figure operation for your beloved pet or will be forced to say goodbye.

So for now, I have the delightful task of checking through Molly’s poo for the next few days to look forward to.
Look at her face though, you can see why she gets away with being so bold! :)

Royal Canin pet food now available from

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Due to customer requests, we are pleased to tell you that we are now stocking the Royal Canin range of dog food and cat food on our website and in store.

For anyone not familiar with the line, they are a French company who take a scientific approach to developing their foods. This means they have many different formulas developed specifically for different sizes, breeds and dietary requirements. If you don’t see your specific formula, please contact us and we can order it for you.

Cat owners tell us that even fussy eaters like their Exigent formula, extra fussy cats will be happy to hear that the Exigent formula has been split into three new flavors to narrow down even further the needs of fussy eaters.

We have also added James Wellbeloved Lamb and Rice formula to our dog food selection. James Wellbeloved is a high quality hypoallergenic food made in England.

If you are unsure about the right food for your pet, please contact us and we will be happy to help.