Managing Muddy Mutts

We are still 4 weeks away from the longest day.

Can you believe that, I’m mean how much shorter can the days get. Even I seem to be missing out on daylight.

November is such a dark and dreary month and after all that rain from last week there is mud everywhere.

And if you live at my end of town then you have the added mud caused by the Haverhill Lagoon (just by Boyton Place) and the Anglian water works just before Kedington.

In fact you can’t get away from it and believe me I’ve tried. Mud is everywhere.

I don’t  know if I’ve ever told you, but I’m not really the outdoorsy type. I hate mud. I hate being dirty. Add to that the ruddy cheeks and the windswept birds nest on my head. Yep, gorgeous. Not.

I can’t manage the weather but I can and have managed the mud.

Let’s go through some basics first. There are different types of mud. There are probably scientific terms for them all but let me just tell you about the 3 types I know about. Mud, muddier and mucky mud.

Mucky mud is the worst. That’s the one that sticks to everything. It’s the one that clogs up your boots fast and makes you feel like you are carrying an extra stone or two of weight on your feet.

If you have naturally mucky mud in your garden the only way to deal with it, in my humble opinion is artificial grass. Mucky mud leads you into a false sense of security and just when you think it’s drying out, then wham bam it’s muckier than ever.

And let’s face it no dog is ever going to carefully tread round it.

Some dogs like to roll in it (not mentioning any names) and this is why you need to get your dog a coat if they are guilty of this behaviour. Even if they don’t need a coat because they don’t feel the cold, get them a lightweight coat.I take a portable shower out with me. This is the one I’ve used previously and this is the one I’m using this year.

Whilst talking about coats you can also get drying coats for dogs. 

Basically these work by popping your dog in them and they then dry off. Won’t help with the mud but does help with damp dogs especially if you have to shower them down.

Take out a flask of warm water and you can rinse them down before your dog gets in the car. Pop on a drying coat and you have got the equivalent of bathing your child at whoever’s house you are at and popping them into their pyjamas before you head home. Cute.

You can get boot liners and seat covers for your car. They aren’t that expensive and they do save the upholstery. I also have some vet bed in my car as this helps with wet and muddy paws.

When faced with a muddy dog you do need to work out if they need to be showered off and just given a good rub down with a towel.

Let me tell you that I rarely use my portable shower. Muddy dogs usually look worse than they are if they have been walking in mud or muddier mud. Usually the mud in these two cases is mainly water based. If your dog is covered in muckier mud then it’s shower time. Let’s not also forget that sometimes it’s just as easy to let the mud dry and then brush it out of your dog.  Although I don’t recommend this option if your dog is really muddy. Or hates to be brushed.

The best towels that I’ve used are just old towels. I find these very absorbent and way better than new towels or the micro fibre type ones. The great thing about old towels is that if you ask friends or family they nearly always will have a couple they can pass them on to you.

If you are using coats, dryings coat and towels then you need to be able to wash them quickly. I’ve talked about this washing bag before. It’s a big life changer.

It traps all the dog hair without it staying in your washing machine drum and then infiltrating your next load of washing.

Pick lightweight coats that can dry quickly on a radiator. For myself I do like my towels soft and fluffy but your dog will be happy with a towel dried on the radiator.

Don’t forget to use non bio washing products though, you don’t want to irritate your dogs skin.

There isn’t a lot you can do about wet dog smell, but you can use candles to mask it.

Check out this candle that has been specifically made for that purpose.

We all know that continually bathing your dog’s strips essential oils from their skin and hair. 

So once they are dry using some doggy perfume. This is my favourite, but there are plenty to choose from out there.

I like to deal with muddy dogs before they get in the house but that doesn’t help if your dog has got wet and mucky in the garden. I use these mats. They are washable and non slip.

You can get them in a variety of sizes including a runner. Train your dog to sit on these when they come in from the garden and then work your mud cleaning magic on them.

I love a fabric collar for Frank, but they are not practical for wet and muddy weather. These collars and leads, from local company Bella Bows, are fantastic. Hi-vis, easy to wipe clean, antibacterial and just bloody perfect for mud!

Mud doesn’t have to be your enemy. It can be managed. I know of people who have installed a mixer tap outside so they can hose their dogs down with warm water.

If you have some other ideas on managing mud, please tell me in the comments below.

Love, Sally xx

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

New Year Resolutions for your dog

Do you like to start of the New Year with lots of resolutions?  Maybe you achieve them all or maybe they are broken within a couple of hours?  

How about setting some that you can achieve this year for your dog?  Sounds a bit strange doesn’t it, but as dog loving people we will put their happiness before our own and are more likely to stick to goals to increase their happiness and welfare. Read on for some ideas that you could put into practise:

  • If your dog is overweight, put them on a diet! I know they make puppy dog eyes at you but it’s not healthy for them to carry extra weight. If you can’t bear to stop giving them treats, then cut down their main dinner.  Extend one of their walks and that will help them no end.  You could also try chucking their dinner around your garden, no I’m not crazy! If you feed them biscuits, throw it around the garden and your dog has got to work out where it all is, it helps them to be active with the added benefit of a tiring brain game.  Don’t worry if it’s dark, that means their noses, brains and tails will just work a bit harder. If you are unsure whether your dog is overweight, ask your vet.  Most vets have a weight clinic run by their lovely nurses.
  • Go and explore with your dog. Sometimes we get stuck in to the working week and time is of a premium which means your dog is going on the same walk all the time.  Your dog won’t mind but, just like us, they are stimulated by new surroundings and smells.  You will be amazed at the amounts of public footpaths there are around.  Head out on a day where time isn’t a problem, pack a drink and find a new route.
  • Give your dog some oily fish as part of their diet. Oily fish contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Not only this but it can really help improve your dog’s coat and help with itchy skin.  If the idea of giving them a tin of sardines turns your stomach then you can buy them an Omega 3 supplements from places like Pets at Home. My dogs have always enjoyed sardines mixed in with their food once or twice a week and I’ve really noticed a difference in their coats.  I use to give my eldest greyhound some supplements but I didn’t have to do that once I started giving her some sardines. She was able to run quickly when she choose to and didn’t struggle to get out of her bed.  The great thing about a tin of sardines is they only cost around 40p.
  • Try a class for your dog. Training classes are not just for puppies.  There are all kind of classes from regular training to agility to tracking to flyball and many more.  It can be a fantastic way to mentally stimulate your dog.  They will make new friends and so will you.
  • Set up an ISA for your dog! Let’s be honest, we don’t begrudge our dogs a penny but they can be expensive. Jimmy, my greyhound had an accident that resulted in him being in a leg cast and then a subsequent toe amputation that cost over £1000.  I have insurance, so I didn’t have to find that kind of money. However, some insurers insist you pay first and then it takes ages to get the money back.  Now I’m not suggesting that you cancel your insurance, but what you could think about is start saving in a tax-free ISA and when you get to an amount that you feel will cover any treatment your dog needs then maybe cancel your insurance and start paying in the cost of that instead to your ISA.  It’s also worth considering how you would pay for treatment not covered by insurance like dental work. I’m no financial advisor so please don’t do anything that will put yourself into financial hardship.  If you don’t have insurance maybe starting an ISA now will help you in the future.  Or how about putting an amount in each month that will cover the cost of worming tablets, flea treatment, boosters and your insurance excess.  It could help you have one steady monthly payment instead of differing amounts throughout the year. Or you could just put a lump sum in one.  Who knows what the future holds, what if you lost your job or had to move?
  • I apologise now, this one is a bit gloomy. Have you made any plans for your dog if the worst was to happen and you pass away?  As humans, we often have godparents or close family who will look after children if the parent dies.  Has your dog got a God Parent?  Well Frank doesn’t have one so I need a plan.  So, that is my resolution for the New Year to ensure that he has somewhere to go if the worst happens.  Ideally, I need to find them a home where he will be pampered to within an inch of his life, so if anyone fancies being a dog godparent let me know.  In all seriousness, the Dogs Trust do a scheme.  You become a member for £25 per year and you get 24-hour access to Vetfone, and a Canine Care Card, it’s a guarantee that Dogs Trust will take care of your dog should you pass away.  You also get  3rd Party Public Insurance (if you are considering swapping your insurance for an ISA do get this, if your dog causes damage or injury to another dog, person or property this will cover you up to £1,000,000) Read here for more details.

On that cheery note I will leave you! I hope I’ve given you some fuel for thought.  If you do decide to do 1 or more resolution for you dog, well done, good luck and your dog will love you for it!

Love, Sally xx

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Dog Tags – The Truth

I’ve been looking online for an identity tag for Frank.  I began to wonder what actually should be on them.  I asked friends and family and everyone had something different to say. People were split on whether you should have your dog’s name on it or not.  Some people seem to think now you have the microchip law you don’t need a tag.  Others would tell me it was owners choice.  I needed something a bit more concrete.  So I researched it and today I am sharing my findings with you.

The Truth

It is the law that every dog must have a tag. If you choose for your dog to not wear a collar you need to ensure that your dog, at least, wears one in public. The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved on it, or engraved on a tag.  Your telephone is optional but considering that this law was passed in 1992 and mobile phones were only starting to make an appearance, I would highly recommend you put a contact number on it.

So what about putting your dog’s name on the tag?  Well according to the law its optional.  There are 2 opinions.  The first one is that if your dog got lost the person who found your dog would be able to help it settle if they know its name.  Then there is the flip side.  If your dog was stolen it could easily be sold on as it would react to its name and the potential new owner would not suspect that the dog was stolen.  So it’s your choice whether you put a name on the tag or not.

Did I mention you can be fined if your dog does not have an identification tag?  You can be fined up to £5000.  Dog tags are cheap, you can get them of Ebay, Amazon or at your local Timpsons. 

An example of what to put on the tag (by law) is:

Mr A Smith, No 54, BH17 7TD 01202 232218

Or

Mr A Smith, No 54 Letsbe Avenue, BH17 7TD 01202 232218

I’ve now ordered new tags for all my dogs, they cost me £4.80 each of Ebay,  and I have put the following on mine (but with my details):

IF I AM OUT ALONE I AM LOST PLEASE FIND MY OWNER: SMITH 54/BH17 7TD 01202 232218

Happy tag shopping, and whilst you are getting one done why not get a spare one done at the same time.

Love Sally xx

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.