Pet Advice Guides for Pet Owners

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Coping with problem pets can be daunting without good pet advice. If you have encountered aggressive behaviour in dogs, cats who refuse to use their litter trays, overweight pets, nervous behaviour and fear of loud noises, excitability, skin ailments and general poor health, help is at hand. Our Pet advice pages are based on years of work with all sorts of animals. Through our dog adoption services, we have seen all sorts of behavioural problems. Sadly, this usually results in owners getting rid of the problem, often due to many months (even years) of trying to cope. Our aim is to educate, rehabilitate and create harmony between owners and their pets. We provide assistance, help, maybe just a shoulder to lean on, so you can enjoy a balanced, healthy relationship with your pet.

If you have a specific pet problem and would like some advice, let us know.
All our pet advice pages are provided as a free service for you to enjoy. If you find them useful, a small donation is always appreciated.

Happy Birthday Mischa

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It’s Mischa’s birthday, she’s 15 years old today and still as beautiful as ever.   She is actually a bit older because we count birthdays according to when cats come in.  Mischa was found in a salt box at the side of the road with four kittens.  She was a devoted mother and we kept one of her kittens with her (re-homed the rest) to keep her company.  Mischa and her daughter Myrtle are still best friends and both have a loving nature.  Visitors to the sanctuary will be used to seeing Mischa who is always around Reception and on ‘duty’ as one of our greeters.   She loves a fuss!

Apart from going to the vets to be vaccinated and spayed, Mischa has never been ill or had to have a consultation for anything.  She is a fit and healthy cat and we put this down to the mostly natural diet we give her.  She has Nature’s Menu all meat and fish cat pouches, these have no additives in and are simply frozen natural ingredients.   Occasionally she’ll enjoy some of the Nature’s Menu frozen nuggets which have a bit of brown rice and vegetables in, again these are raw food and easy to feed, just defrost and that’s it. (Nature’s Menu is sold here and in stock at the sanctuary).

We use safe and natural products only on Mischa avoiding toxic chemicals which can be so dangerous to cats.  Look after the teeth of elderly cats, keeping them free from plaque and strong and healthy is important.  If a cat eats proper food, instead of mush or dry biscuits, then her teeth will stay in good condition.  Eating nothing but biscuits doesn’t keep teeth healthy in our experience – why would it?   If we ate nothing but biscuits would our teeth stay clean? It is good for the pet food manufacturers who sell the biscuits though!   There never used to be cat biscuits – they are recent cat food.    Natural food that has to be chewed is best, just watch a cat eating a piece of meat – raw or cooked and you will see why a cat fed a natural diet will have good teeth.

We also put a sprinkle of Plaque Off on Mischa’s food and this helps to keep her teeth in tip top condition.  It’s made in Sweden and contains enzymes that alter the saliva in the mouth and keep gingivitis at bay.  It works and we always keep it in stock.  Pick up a pot from here or we can post out – details on our online shop.

Goats and ponies are best friends

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The goats and ponies get on well together and especially Pixie is never far from his caprine pals.  Perhaps he likes them because they are about the same size as him, most of the ponies ate bigger and boss him about.  Goats are traditionally a calming influence on ponies and highly strung racehorses are sometimes given a goat for a  companion.  We’d be worried about putting larger horses and ponies together unless they knew each other, goats can get chased and kicked until horses realize they can’t run as fast and get out of the way.  The best way to get them on friendly terms is to stable them side by side.  Let the ponies out first so they can get their first turn-out enthusiasm over with, then let the goats wander about after them.   Our ponies are very good natured around goats, it’s Pixie who is their special friend though.


New born kittens

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Twinkle has had her kittens at last, she was wandering round looking huge and we thought she must surely burst1  They arrived quickly and safely and motherhood certainly suits this little tortoiseshell cat.  This picture is when they are just over a day old.  We leave them in the birthing nest for the first twenty four hours and only move them when we can see that mum is settled well with them.

There were no problems with Twinks, she loves her babies and is protective of them and nursing well.  The only time she leaves them is to eat!   There is a ginger and white (the biggest and what’s betting he’s a boy?), a ginger tabby, a fawn tabby and the littlest is, we think, a tortie, just like mum.

We’re not disturbing this new family as yet, she’s doing well and we like to keep it that way.

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Fat little tummies full of milk!

Friendly rabbit for adoption

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Pepperpot is a pretty multi-coloured girl rabbit with loving shadings of colour in her coat – there’s beige, orange, grey, black, white and all hues in between.  She’s a friendly girl who has been well handled and is easy to care for – like all rabbits, she would be best with a companion and a neutered male would be ideal.  They have to get on together and with rabbits – two females who don’t know each other sometimes find it hard to make friends.

We’re looking for a very good home for Pepper so if you are looking for a rabbit friend please come and meet her.   We’re open every day except Thursdays, between 11.0am and 3.0pm.

rabbits - pepper

LOST CAT – Pretty tabby

lost cat - tabby

This lovely female tabby has gone missing and her owners are desperate to find her.  She’s 2yrs old and is tabby and white, been spayed and wearing a blue flea collar.  She was last seen on 4th March in the North Wingfield area.  Please get in touch with us in the first instance if you know her whereabouts. 01246 455777.  We’ll pass all details on to her people straight away.

Lost an African Grey parrott

birds -; african greyIt’s desperately worrying to lose a much loved bird, there are so many dangers out there and the nights are still cold.  An african grey parrott, thought to be a female, went missing from Brimington on 10th March and hasn’t been seen since..  A reward is being offered for her safe return. Please get in touch if you have seen her or know her whereabouts.

Brave cat with only one eye

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Tortie is an elderly cat who has been with us for several months.  We took her in as an emergency when her owner had an accident. She’s a lady in her eighties, who fractured her hip and had to go into hospital.  Since then she has recovered but has has changed accommodation.  It’s sad but Tortie can’t go back home.   This lovely calico cat is a real favourite here though and has settled well.  She’s put weight on and is very loving and good natured.  Tortie is a well behaved cat who is clean and rewarding to care for, she is an excellent companion.   Although she is a teenager (we don’t know exactly how old she is) she is in good health for her age.  She only has one eye but it doesn’t seem to bother her at all and she gets around just fine.

It would be lovely if we could find someone to give her a gentle retirement home, alternatively if you would like to sponsor Tortie by making a donation that would be much appreciated.   You can come and meet Tortie during opening hours and she will give you a big fuss, especially if you bring her a pouch!

cats - tortie one eye 4Tortie has put weight on since this photo was taken



Good manners, good dog

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Many of the dogs we get brought in to the sanctuary have behavioural problems and a period of re-hab and re-training is necessary.  This isn’t the case with Scooby who is very well behaved and a pleasure to look after.  He is polite, good mannered, sociable and charming as well as walking calmly on the lead.  Dogs who pull are not good to take out and if they haven’t been taught their manners as puppies, they are difficult to handle.

This is why so many are thrown out as young adults, a boisterous ‘teenage’ dog is a handful.   Teaching puppies how to behave is so important, it’s much harder for them to learn their lessons when they are older.

Training classes are good ways to socialize young dogs, it helps to avoid the nightmare of the nervous adult who shows fear aggression.   Most of the training is done at home though, by example and consistent routine.   If you let your dog sit on the sofa when he’s a baby dog, it’ll be hard to stop him doing it when he’s grown up.

Why do dogs attack babies?

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With some dogs you can see their aggression straight away.   Whenever we meet a dog there is an interchange of reaction.  Without being conscious of it the dog is eyeing us up and we are doing the same.  It’s obvious that some dogs would attack a baby or child or even an adult.   What makes a family pet behave in this way though?

It’s down to scent and familiarity.   A baby is new to the household and a dog has no concept of how important this small human is to us.  Dogs are pack animals and governed mainly by instinct.   The baby is an intruder and on the lowest level of the pack, to the dog he or she is of little importance.

However, adult dogs, even those with an aggressive nature, rarely attack puppies, even though they are vulnerable and at the bottom of the pack.  At the same time they will keenly attack a new born lamb, kid or rabbit.   The birthing process leaves a food scent to a dog or other predator.  Puppies have their scent (dog) so they leave them alone.

The difference is in the smell of the baby.   We love the fresh washed talcum powdery smell but to the dog this is only masking the exciting scent of the birth and milk and the nappy.   Put a nappy on the floor and any dog will immediately go to investigate.  Then the dog will start pulling it about, he will be intrigued by the smell.

A dog will see a small human as a possible food source.  It isn’t his fault, how could he know any difference – milk, blood, nappy?   With a family pet who is normally friendly, it isn’t aggression, it’s inquisitiveness.   It starts with a lick, then a nip and it’s too late.  The baby screaming only serves to make the situation worse.

The only answer is never to leave any dog near a baby or young child for even a second.   As the baby grows up and scents change the dog will have a different perception.  The child will have more importance in the pack.   In a small house it’s difficult to keep dog and baby or young child apart and, in our busy lives, to monitor the situation all the time.  One failure can lead to disaster.  It’s a risk no one should take.

Great dog food at low cost

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What price are you paying for your complete dog food?   £30?  £40?   It’s a big expense and we think that a lot of the products on the market are overpriced.  Are you paying for the advertising, hype and marketing?   We have to keep our costs down and feed a healthy diet too.   One of the best dog foods around is Dr.John’s Platinum and we’ve been using it for years.

At only £14.49 for a 15kg bag it’s one of the most reasonably priced complete food around and bnest of all – dogs love it!  Dr.John’s suits dogs with a delicate digestion and we’ve never had an upset tummy.  It’s also excellent for older dogs and those prone to arthiritis because one of the key ingredients is Green Lipped Mussel from New Zealand.  This is believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect on joints and muscles.  It works and we’ve seen big improvements in mobility and wellbeing.

Dr.John’s dog food has the royal seal of approval and is a complete food rich in chicken and with rice.  The Platinum is the variety we use and recommend, there is also a Gold and a Silver blend, both with lower protein and a lower cost.

The price is right and at £14.49 a 15kg bag you can’t go wrong.  We have Dr.John’s Platinum in stock and every bag sold helps the sanctuary (only by a small amount but every little helps!).

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