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It seems that the weather of 2018 doesn't come in halves. Having finally said goodbye to the Beast from the East after weeks of ice and snow, it seems that British Summertime is making up for the icy chill. 

With temperatures consistently soaring up to 25 degrees since April, it looks like a hot Summer in the UK is here to stay. But how do our pets stay cool?

Dogs don't release heat in the same way that humans do. Whilst we can sweat all over our bodies, dogs release heat through places like their noses and paw pads, and panting cools a dog down much quicker. Because of this, it's so important to know how to keep your dog cool through these warm days.

 

Tips to keep your hounds cool: What's the time?

Walks are an essential part of your dog's physical and mental health. However walking in the heat isn't fun for you or your pup. By walking in the early hours of the morning and late at night, it is much cooler for both of you to enjoy. Keep in mind that pavements and roads can still be very hot in the evenings, so walk in shaded or grassy areas where possible.

 

Water!

It may seem obvious, but keep your dog's water topped up throughout the day. Your dog will be drinking more than usual in the warmth, so remember to keep an eye out, or offer multiple water bowls.

Also remember to carry water out on walks, or any trips out- no matter how short.

 

Sun worship

Keep your pets out of the midday sun. The hottest part of the day is usually between 11-3, so for those who like to soak up the sun, bring them inside over the middle of the day or offer plenty of shaded cool spots.

Dogs' skin can burn. Make sure to have sun cream on hand, particularly for white dogs or short-haired dogs. Pay attention to fur-less areas such as noses, bellies, and tips of ears, remembering to re-apply.

 

Take a dip!

Offer your dog somewhere to swim, whether it's in the great outdoors or in a paddling pool in your garden. For those who don't like to swim, offer a wet towel to sit on as dogs cool from the bottom up and this can cool them down quickly. 



Your number one fan

If your pooch isn't a lover of getting wet, set up a fan that they can lay in front of. This will keep both you and your dog cool in the heat.



Ice, ice, baby

Ice lollies for dogs! Just like people, your hounds will enjoy a frozen treat. Ice cube trays are perfect, you can add homemade stock or yoghurt to fruit, and The Innocent Hound sliced treats!

 

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Buying gifts for Father's Day can often result in giving the same present year on year. We have searched high and low for our favourite doggie-themed gifts that stand out from the crowd to give your Fur Fathers this weekend. Let's hope your pooches have got their pocket money ready, because you'll love these gift ideas!

 

For The Dog Father.

Like the name suggests, Dogkrazygifts sell anything and everything a dog pawrent could dream of. What's even better is that you can choose your dog breed and personalise your presents!


For the Doggy Dad who can't be without his best friend.

You can carry your pup with you wherever you go with these personalised funky socks! Perfect for any Doggy Dad who loves a jazzy accessory. From Dogsy.


 

For the Handmade Gift Lover.

Already bought your gift but in need of a cute, handmade card? Emily Smalley is an independent artist who designs these fantastic cards- but not just for dogs! From insects to birds, cats and more, Emily's work is bound to impress. 

 

For the House-proud Hound Human.

Do you know a Doggy Dad who likes to keep things neat? These adorable coasters are handcrafted by The Cornish Coaster Company, and can even make custom orders. 

 

For the Terrier-ific Tote Wearer.

If your Pawrent loves to shop, this Pear Derbyshire tote bag is the number one gift. Hand-illustrated by Lucy Sheeran, each bag is unique and designed to order.

 

For the Green-fingered Father.

For any hound humans who enjoy the garden as much as their pups, this Scottie dog planter makes a wonderful addition to the garden. Made from brushwood, these planters come lined and ready to be planted! Watch your Scottie dog bloom in the sunshine.

 

For the Organised Owner.

This dog tail hook mount by Betty and Dodge combines practically with style, and a hint of humour! This handmade gift is perfect for organised, on the go pawrents who like to keep a tidy home.

 

For the Puzzling Pawrent.

These homemade wooden breed puzzles make a beautiful ornament in any hound-loving home! Available to buy in any breed name from Wooden Cards & Gifts.

 

 For the Sentimental Softie.

Who doesn't love a keyring? Especially when it's for the World's Best Dog Dad! Handmade by Pawfectly Created, this sweet gift will be carried round everywhere with the number 1 furry father.

 

For the Art Appreciating Animal Lover.

Pet portraits are a very personal gift; painting your pup's picture is a keepsake that will last forever. These Pebble Pets hand-painted by Gail Bennett are a wonderful cross between the traditional framed painting, and a 3D work of art. Available to buy at Natural Odyssey, Gail can create commissions personal to you.

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Each year, Rabbit Awareness Week focuses on a different element of rabbit health. This year, the spotlight is looking at raising the awareness of the dietary needs of rabbits, with the theme to "Move away from Muesli".

Research shows that muesli-based diets encourage selective feeding, where rabbits eat some components of the muesli diet while rejecting the more fibrous pellets. Selective feeding in this way can increase:
- Dental disease
- Obesity
- Digestive problems

Unlike humans, rabbit's diets are fairly simple, and routine. They need fresh water, hay, selected fruits and vegetables and dry food. A rabbit's diet should consist of up to 85- 90% feeding hay, however many owners are unaware of the differences between feeding hay and bedding hay.

If you are considering changing your rabbit's diet, we recommend speaking to your vet first and to introduce any new foods slowly over a 10 day period, as bunnies can have sensitive tummies.

A great way of adding a little variety to your rabbit's diet, is with the occasional treat! Selected fruits and vegetables are a fantastic way to supplement a diet, however be careful as they can contain a lot of natural sugar. Occasional fresh treats include:
- Apple (no pips)
- Savoy Cabbage
- Dill
- Turnip
- Banana
- Coriander
- Spinach
- Basil
- Oregano

 The Innocent Rabbit Fragrant Herb Nibbles are made from grass with banana, carrot, coriander and fenugreek. Their aromatic taste and smell will have your bunnies hopping to it! These bite-sized nibbles are the perfect offering to treat your rabbits as they are high in fibre to help maintain dental health.

 

To find out further about Rabbit Awareness Week, go to www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk where you can request a RAW pack with lots of tips and information on looking after your bunnies!

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Pets as therapy

Any animal owner understands the joy that their pets can give. But what about additional support? More assistance dogs are being trained to help owners with mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks and much more. We spoke to owners of assistance dogs, Abigail, Natalie, Alex and Ol, who explain the difference their pets have made in their lives.

Could you introduce yourself and your dog?

I am called Abigail, and I'm an equine student. Faith, my assistance dog is an 18 month old blue merle Border Collie and is primarily for autism and anxiety.

I'm Natalie, I'm 23 and my assistance dog is called Mitsy. She is a 2 year old Patterdale Terrier, and is a trained mental health recovery assistance dog for wellbeing.

I'm Alex, I'm 21 and my dog is Archie, an 11 month old Lurcher who is in training to be a psychiatric assistance dog.

My name is Ol, and I have 2 year old Vincent who is a Border Collie x Mini Poodle.


Natalie's Assistance Dog, Mitsy


How does your assistance dog help with day to day tasks?

Natalie: She makes sure I get up in the morning, so I don't stay in bed all day. She gets the post for me, and helps with daily tasks such as getting dressed and reminding me to take medication in the evening.

Abigail: Faith helps me to make and maintain routines; in the morning she helps me to get out of bed. During the day, while I am working on my computer doing coursework, she sits with me to monitor my stress levels. If my stress becomes too high, she closes my computer screen and lays on top of it. Throughout the day, she regularly performs deep pressure therapy to help me manage my anxiety. In the evening, she will help me remember to eat dinner by bringing me her food bowl, and she will remind me to take my medication.

Alex: Archie has a huge impact on me everyday. We enjoy days out, where his tasks will include crowd control (keeping me calm in crowds), guiding me in the right direction, and doing deep pressure therapy if needed. He is also training to alert to panic attacks, and to do medication reminders. If we are just at home he will still do deep pressure therapy and fetching things around the house.


Alex's Assistance Dog in Training, 11 month old Archie.

 

How does your dog help with your mental health?

Ol: Because of Vin I've been able to get through my first full course of therapy since starting in 2011. He makes me more comfortable and feel better about people looking at me and talking to me. He interrupts attacks and because of him I've been able to travel to places which were impossible before.

Alex: In the 9 months I have had Archie he has made a significant and almost unbelievable impact on my mental health. When I first saw him advertised for sale I was in and out of hospital. In those 9 months I have managed to get back into work, started studying and focusing on a career, made friends and made more of an effort with self care.


Assistance Dog Vincent, with owner Ol.

How does your dog help you through triggers, or bad situations?

Abigail: I struggle with sensory overload so when a classroom environment becomes too much, she will firstly alert me to the overload and if I am unable to "Snap out" of the overload, she will alert a member of staff. She will help me to get out of the building through guide work, help me to calm down using DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy) or tug, depending if I am in shutdown or meltdown, most importantly, she helps me to return to the situation by giving a small amount of forward momentum through guide work.


Abigail's Assistance Dog in Training, Faith.

Natalie: I have social anxiety so going to do food shopping is a big challenge for me. If it's really busy, Mitsy will sense my anxiety and if she can't bring me back to reality, she will take me out of the shop to a quiet area so she can ground me by doing DPT. She will also block people from coming close to me or behind me.

Deep Pressure Therapy is carried out by assistance dogs whereby they will use their weight to put pressure on their handler. This can be done by the dog resting their head, or leaning against or onto the handler which creates a calming and grounding effect.

 
Assistance Dog Flossie. As you can see, Assistance Dogs come in all shapes and sizes! 

 

Are there any charities or schemes you would like to mention?

Natalie: Recovery Assistance Dogs for Wellbeing, which is the charity my girl is with. They help people to recover their wellbeing, and are registered Assistance Dogs. They have intensive training that helps protect their owner from anxiety, loneliness, panic attacks and much more. Recovery Assistance Dogs go through rigorous training that use modern training standards upheld by Kennel Club Accredited Instructors, and Association of Pet Dog Trainers that use positive reinforcement.

Abigail: I started an organisation called PAWtected as I found I was providing a lot of support to other community members with both pet and assistance dogs. This organisation has 9 stages which work through to and provide advice on training. Many have found this beneficial and have progressed with their training more than when they were with other organisations.

 

Here at The Innocent Hound, we were in awe of what these dogs are doing for their owners and handlers. As dog owners we understand the love that is shared between man and his best friend, but hearing how much pets can change someone's life is truly incredible. We would like to thank everyone who shared their stories with us, and wish Abigail, Natalie, Ol and Alex every success for the future with their four legged friends.

 

You can find out more about Assistance Dogs, by going to www.assistancedogs.org.uk 

 

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As humans, we're pretty slick at this whole technology business. Everyone between the ages of 8-80 (and more) knows what a selfie is. Some of us can even manage to capture ourselves pretty well. But have you ever seen an animal selfie?

Meet Manny. He's one cool rescue cat who has mastered the art of the selfie. Even without the use of opposable thumbs.

 

 

 

 Manny is quite the skateboard expert.

 

 

 

 He likes to get outdoors 'with the elements' for more artistic shots.

 

 Manny has even got the group selfie down!

 

 

 

 "Pull a funny face!"

 

 

 

 Even Manny's hound mates are giving the selfie game a go

 

 

 

 

 

A post shared by Manny The Selfie Cat (@yoremahm) on Jan 24, 2016 at 2:47pm PST

 It's still a work in progress though, eh Manny?

 

You can see more at Manny's Instagram page here.

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It's no secret that we have a soft spot for rescues. Our own boys, Bongo and Mash are both rescue dogs, so we like to do whatever we can to help. The Innocent Hound often sponsors dog classes and events, and regularly sends treats to rescues and animal charities across the country.

When we heard this heart-warming rescue story from one of our customers Deborah, we couldn't resist sharing it with our lovely Innocent followers.

Hi Deborah! Could you give a bit of background to your lovely story?

Back in 2012, I was staying with family on an island just off Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. During our stay, my daughter and I befriended two stray dogs on the beach. One was only a few months old and had already learnt to approach children rather than adults, very tentatively and politely. The older one- who may have easily been her mother- came to say hello once we had made friends with the first.

When the time came to leave that evening, my twelve year old daughter simply would not turn her back on them. I did resist – after all taking two feral dogs back to England, especially when I already had two dogs of my own to think about, was not without potential problems!

But my daughter is even more stubborn than I am and on returning to the hotel, I found that I had received a text message from my mother, telling me that they had unfortunately put their own elder dog down that very day. It did seem as though fate was definitely taking a hand. I phoned mum and wasn’t terribly surprised when she said “Of course we will have her. It’s meant to be!” 


Deborah's Mauritian rescue dog, Midge

What was the next step?

Initially we asked the hotel and pressed them for help, however they suggested an organisation with the 'catch and kill' policy. It wasn't until a hotel staff member mentioned a local lady named Yasmin, and we met her the next day. She took the two dogs back to her boarding kennels where she sorted their paperwork and vaccinations and six months later they were put on a plane to a new life here in the UK.  Since then the quarantine requirements have changed. There is no rabies in Mauritius, so now it is zoned with Europe. That means they now only have to be in quarantine for 12 weeks. 

 

How was it adjusting to life with a foreign pet?

It took the dogs precisely three days to learn the basics of good behaviour, including getting used to unfamiliar and frightening things like walls, floors, electric lights, televisions and cars. If you have to survive, you have to be adaptable and you certainly have to have your wits about you. Mauritian strays are exceptionally bright little dogs.

Unlike training most pets - and rather surprisingly for those of us who have trained a dog - their primary motivation is not food, but affection. 

"Perhaps the most heart rending truth about these animals is the fact that given a choice between love and attention or a good meal, in nearly every case it is human companionship that they crave the most." 

 Can you tell us more about Yasmin, and her kennels?

Yasmin boards dogs when Mauritian owners go on holiday, which gives her an income and rescues and repatriates dogs befriended by tourists, as she did for us. With part of the proceeds from the quarantine fees, she also rescues strays and rehomes them on Mauritius.  It obviously isn’t enough, so I fundraise regularly for her. It's important to note that Yasmin's Kennels are not a charity as she runs the kennels commercially to support her family, however operates similarly to that of a rescue charity.

Yasmin lost her original kennels and for a year could not provide the help she had given us. So we decided to help her to set up a new Kennels and Rescue Centre, which is now up and running in La Marie, in the south of the island. She has 16 purpose built kennels and outdoor runs and a permanent helper/security guard who lives on site.


Rescue pup Penny now living in her forever home with Deborah's parents,
Sandra & Clive.

Living in England, why have you chosen to help a centre so far away?

Originally, the Mauritian government had bowed to pressure and introduced a policy of education, sterilisation and micro chipping for strays, however the new regime has re-introduced the brutal ‘catch and kill’ policy.

Their methods for ending the dogs’ lives are not those welfare organisations her in the UK employ. It involves catching the dogs in a net, often resulting in broken limbs and other injuries. They are kept for three days in dreadful conditions and if they aren’t claimed, injected directly in the heart, finally being thrown on a heap of other dogs to die an agonising death. The authorities frequently net people’s pets as well as strays, as often they are left loose in the villages. To reclaim them, locals have to pay a fine which is often too much for people to afford. As you can imagine, even those who are re-claimed are often traumatised by their experiences and never recover.


Do you have any more plans for further international adoptions?

My mother has now adopted two other Mauritian strays, now two year old Chloe and young puppy Belle, who will arrived just before Christmas.

It is a far cry from the golden beaches of Mauritius, but if these dogs could tell you where they would rather be, there would be no hesitation. Secure with a loving family and of course a good supply of Innocent Hound Sausages – it definitely beats desperately digging for Sand Crabs to avoid starvation.

New additions Chloe and Belle who will hopefully be arriving with the family later in the year.

 

You may be travelling to Mauritius or know someone who would want to help, please make a note of this address – Yasmin Timol at La Marie, Off Brasserie Road near Vacoas or alternatively you can contact us for the phone number.
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