Archive for the ‘Practical Pet Advice’ 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 :)

Our Warm Winter Fashion Piece on RTE’s Four Live

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

We had some gorgeous dogs (and a cat!) modelling some winter pet fashion on RTE’s Four Live last friday.

Some of our bestselling Dog Clothes were featured including our bestselling Thermal Long Johns and our GORGEOUS Christmas Reindeer Sweater!

As cats prefer snuggling up somewhere toasty rather than putting on an extra layer to head outside, we also featured one of our Cat Radiator Beds, a great idea for cats that love to snooze in a warm place.

Remember that even though they have fur, its so so cold right now that even outdoor dogs and cats can perish in this weather so please, please bring them inside and make sure they are warm enough :)

You can watch the Four Live Piece Here, it starts from 37mins in.

Halloween and Pets – Have Fun and STAY SAFE!

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Every Halloween we hear of those sad cases animals being intentionally hurt or accidentally injured or killed through carelessness or inexperience. That’s why on the run up to Halloween we always like to do a re-cap of the basic do’s and don’t’s – better to be safe than sorry.

Halloween can be a scary time for pets – fireworks, noisy kids in scary masks knocking at the door, bonfires…. Loud noises like fireworks can cause pets to panic and run, sometimes ending up in road traffic accidents or simply getting lost and never finding their way home. Make sure your pet has somewhere in your home that they can go to feel safe if they are not happy. Ideally with something over their head to make them feel secure so in a covered crate, under a bed or even in a boiler room where the noise can be drowned out is helpful.

Do your best to keep them calm and feeling safe and it is imperative to keep your dog or cat SAFELY INDOORS in the run up to and on Halloween night.

You should always make sure your pet has a microchip and is wearing a collar and ID tag at all times so they can be identified, regardless of the season.

If your cat is usually outdoors, we have plenty of cat toys available to keep him happily entertained inside. For dogs, try to get them used to loud noises as much as possible, turn the tv or radio up a little louder than usual and give lots of cuddles and dog treats as a reward for NOT barking at the noise, try not to “reward” the scared behavior itself though as this may encourage it.

DAP (dog appeasing pheremone) diffusers can also help de-stress your pets, as can our bestselling Sleepy Time Tonic.

Not all pets are bothered by fireworks and can really enjoy Halloween. If they are happy to play along why not include them in the fun with their very own Pet Costume? We have lots to choose from. Lots of pets (including Molly) are more than happy to dress up and really enjoy the attention but please don’t force your pet to dress up if they don’t want to.

On the night, don’t forget that chocolate and any sweets containing xylotol are poisonous for pets so keep them well out of their reach; that also includes any foil sweet wrappers that could cause a blockage if ingested. We have a wide range of dog treats and cat treats to choose from if you want them to join in the snacking.

Make sure there are no lit candles at “tail swatting” height or where your cat likes to jump up, unfortunately many fires start this way on Halloween. If you are carving a pumpkin please, please make sure there is no space for a kitten to climb into and singe their fur.

For more tips on pet health, pet costumes and lots more please subscribe to our blog.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Claire & Molly

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.

Some Tips on Choosing a Puppy – Part 1

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

We are lucky enough here at Mollys that a good chunk of our time in the store is spent with new puppies, answering questions for first time owners on getting started and helping them choose the right food, bed, toys, a suitable collar etc.. its really great fun and we love it! :)

We often get asked the same things over and over so I thought it may be useful for our online readers to post them to our blog.
Choosing to share your life with an animal is a huge commitment and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Therefore before we even get started on the topics of rescue vs breeder, what size or breed is right for you and so on, you need to sit down with the whole family to discuss the following:

1. Can we afford a dog?

Costs include food, grooming (depending on the breed, some coats need maintenance every 5 weeks!) , insurance, vaccinations, kenneling while on holidays, medication if they get sick or injured, daycare if you work long hours (more on this later) toys… the list goes on!

2. Are we willing to commit to a dog for life?

I’m saying dog as they don’t stay cute little puppies for very long. Are the kids pressuring you as they want a “puppy” to play with, or are you all willing to care for a dog for the next possibly 15 years or so of its life? Dogs are not disposable, they are no doubt a joy but you have to be willing to be a responsible owner, even if the kids get bored.

3. Are we willing to train, play with, spend time with and EXERCISE a dog every day?

Oh and they poop too, that needs picking up both on walks and around the back garden.

4. Do we physically have enough space in the house for a dog?

If renting, are pets allowed? how easy is it to find places that do allow pets if we decide to move?

If you have answered yes to all of the above (or even better, YES!! Definitely!!!) then congratulations on making an informed and well thought out decision to become a dog owner! Please check back soon for part two of our tips on choosing a puppy.

A Very Clever Dog Collar & Lead

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Every so often, a product comes along that really makes us sit up and take notice. The type of product that really does solve a problem or make something easier… like I don’t know, maybe a collar with a built in lead? Genius! :)

The collar is made of a soft but hardwearing nylon. Its not a very “pretty” collar but its certainly not ugly, and it can be easily prettified a bit with one of our stylish ID Tags or just worn for walks only.

The idea is when you have your dog in a safe off lead area, instead of having to keep a lead in your pocket or around your neck you simply pull out the elasticated, built in short lead when it’s time to walk back to your car, kids walk by, or any other reason you may need to bring your dog under control.

While were talking smart, time and effort saving gadgets, how about a lead with a built in car seatbelt adaptor?

It works at a regular 3′ lead with a padded nylon handle when out for a walk. When you get back to the car, adjust the slider to shorten the lead then pull back the velcro at the top to reveal the car seatbelt attachment. Simply click it into your car’s seatbelt receiver and attach the lead hook as usual to the back of the harness!
I tried it out last weekend and its great having one less thing to have to bring to the park – it leaves more hands free for tennis balls and water bowls at least!

There was only one thing about the product we thought was not so clever – this picture:

Attaching a seatbelt to a collar instead of a harness can cause serious injury to your dog’s neck or even death in the event of a crash, or even just having to break suddenly. Please always attach your dog’s seatbelt to a harness not a collar. If your dog will not wear a harness for some reason, we suggest using a dog crate instead of a seatbelt connector.

Looking After A Bandaged Paw

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Poor Molly was back at the vet today with a sore paw :(Isn’t it so awful when one of your pets is sick?

A week or so ago, she started licking one of her nails excessively – presumably something got stuck under it and it quickly started to lift. Nicola at Brayvet expertly cut the nail back (as in right back, exposing the quick – ouch! poor Molly!) It was healing up really nicely until yesterday when it started swelling.

We went back to the vet today, Molly was not happy when she realised she was actually there for an appointment, not just to sniff and socialise in the reception area! We eventually coaxed her in and Andrew took a look. It turns out she had started the licking again and it was stopping the healing, so it was time for a bandage, along with some painkillers and antibiotics just in case of an infection.

Knowing that Molly is quite the stylish lady, I was happy to see a super cute paw-print bandage wrap was used. The happiness dissipated at reception though when I was told oh by the way, don’t get it wet – at all, very important.
For a second I was wondering how I was supposed to keep a big, active, muck and water loving dog dry for five whole days, then I remembered a nifty product we have in the shop called Pawz.

Dog boots and shoes are very popular in more extreme climates – for example they protect paws from piping hot pavements and snow melt chemicals – here in Ireland we rarely get the weather that requires them but we do carry Pawz rubber disposable boots in our store for things like allergies, cut pads, older/convalescing dogs who need better grip on laminate floors and now I can personally add and recommend keeping bandages dry to that list! :)  Apparently dogs prefer them as they are so thin they can easily feel the ground beneath them so don’t panic, owners prefer them as they come in a pack of 12, so if you lose or tear one just grab another from the pack – genius! :)

We measured Mollys actual paw and saw that she was a size medium, but the fat bandage meant that a large was a perfect fit. Pawz are colour coded by size, the large is purple so looks quite pretty and girlie and suits Molly very well :)

Getting her to take tablets is no problem at all (if its going in my mouth that means its food – right?) and she can walk perfectly on the now water proofed bandage – once she doesn’t try to eat it we’re laughing 😉

Why Does My Dog Or Cat Need An ID Tag?

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

If you are a responsible pet owner who doesn’t let your dog or cat wander unattended where they may be in danger, you may wonder why you would need to get them an ID tag. Apart from the fact that it is a requirement by Irish law, it can make things an awful lot easier if the unexpected happens. I can’t imagine the heart ache of waiting by the phone for information on a lost pet so would much rather be safe than sorry.

While microchipping is a fantastic way of identifying your pet, if your pet has simply escaped from the garden while you are out, or run off and got a bit lost during a walk – it is so much quicker and easier for a neighbor or passer by to ring a mobile number on an ID Tag than to call the dog warden or bring your pet to a pound or vet’s office to be checked for a microchip.

The presence of a tag can also let people know that your dog or cat is not supposed to be out roaming and is in fact lost – many people put “If you find me, I’m lost” or similar on a tag to let people know to call them if their pet is found.

So what to put on my pet’s ID tag?

The most important information to put on your pet’s ID Tag is your contact telephone number. This is the quickest way for someone to reach you if your pet is found.
If you allow your dog or cat to roam free around your neighborhood, it is also advisable to put your vet’s name and contact number in case they are involved in a road traffic accident and need immediate attention. If your pet has any illnesses or is on a restricted diet you may like to mention this also.
As mentioned earlier, letting people know if your pet is not meant to be wandering alone is also a good idea – so “If you find me I’m lost” or similar lets people know to call you if your pet is found.

Letting people know if your dog or cat is spayed/neutered and/or microchipped is also advisable. A microchipped pet is a traceable pet, while a spayed/neutered pet is no good to a thief looking to steal dogs or cats for breeding purposes.

There is much debate as to whether you should put your pet’s name on their tag. Personally the idea of a dog or cat snatcher reading an tag then retreating to try to coax the animal into a vehicle by calling its name seems ludicrous to me – surely they would just grab and run? On the flip side though, dogs and cats learn information about each other by sniffing, not reading each others name tags… so it’s not essential to put it on either 😉

On a lighter note, while ID Tags are essential, ugly and heavy handscratched ones are not :) Our tags are digitally engraved with a diamond tipped needle so the information will not rub off. We have many different colours and styles to choose from to compliment your pet’s collar.

Our large ID tags can fit up to five lines of text on each side and our small ID tags can fit up to three, so you should have plenty of room for all the required information. The coloured tags are also very lightweight (aluminum) so are ideal for kittens and small breed puppies.