Happy Chops provides dog food, treats and supplements that are healthy, natural, free of chemicals and ethically and responsibly sourced.
The business, based in Kingstgate, is run by Simone Massey and husband James who were prompted to research the subject after taking deaf, former European street dog Chops into their home.
Here they share their advice for keeping your dogs safe from everyday hazards this winter:
As the nights draw in and it starts to get colder, there are things to watch out for and tips that can benefit your hounds.
Fireworks and other fearful situations
Many pets are terrified of fireworks and there are numerous ways that you can help to prepare them. Scullcap & Valerian Tablets are widely used as a treatment for noise phobias and fears associated with fireworks, thunderstorms etc. It calms and relaxes dogs or cats without causing drowsiness or sedation and can be used on an ongoing basis.
Mental stimulation & boredom
With darker mornings, earlier nights and the worsening weather, walks may become less frequent or shorter and dogs may be less likely to get the same level of exercise and access to the outdoors that they had during the summer.
This can lead to behavioural problems if your dog does not have enough activity and mental stimulation.
Mentally stimulating toys help combat boredom and challenges your dog! Kongs, which are widely available, are great for mental stimulation, particularly when filled with goodies and frozen.
Dogs will spend hours licking the frozen contents, plus they don’t have the same food stigmas as we do, so be creative! We might think of mashed banana and broth combined as repulsive, but dogs love it! Do your research though as some foods must be avoided – there are tons of websites with Kong ideas and lists of suitable foods.
Remember to use these treats and snacks in moderation, especially when trying new foods with your dog. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs, and the addition of new foods can cause digestive issues.
Dogs love running through piles of leaves, but these can hide a number of hazards such as spiky conker shells which can easily pierce pad paws. Check your pup’s pads after windy walks for any cuts or abrasions and treat accordingly.
Central Heating and Fleas/Ticks
Problems with fleas and ticks peak when people start turning on their central heating. Keep an eye on your pets and treat accordingly. Garlic Spray is great as a repellent because parasites, like fleas and ticks, don’t like the pungent odour of garlic and a top tip is to comb this spray through the coat to discourage those nasty pests.
Berry Foraging & Fallen Leaves
Dogs love to forage and eat what fallen fruit they can. Dorwest has written a very insightful blog post about which berries are safe and which are to be avoided at all costs.
Even safe berries can loosen motion, cause temporary diarrhea and can also tinge poo a purple colour if too many are eaten.
Piles of leaves can develop bacteria and mould. If your dog ingests these it can lead to gastrointestinal upsets.
If you’re unsure or worried about what your dog has eaten by foraging and/or if he/she has had any reaction to foraging or from playing in piles of leaves, do seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.
Harvest mites are tiny red mites that appear at the end of summer and the start of autumn in long grass and in forests, and which can easily be picked up by your dog when out walking.
They can latch on to the skin and soon prove very irritating, causing your dog to scratch themselves to distraction to try to relieve the associated itching. Keep an eye out for mites and avoid areas where you see lots of them
Please always consult your vet if you are worried about your pets health or if you are concerned about your dog encountering any of the above.