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.

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

cats - tortie one eye 3

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

dogs - scooby 6

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?

dog - rita 5

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

pet food - plat

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!).

pet food

Tame ducks for adoption

birds - ducks 3

While most of our residents are hunkering down and keeping out of the rain, these beautiful ducks are loving it!  There are two of them, callled William and Harry, so a princely duo.  They’ve been brought in today because their owner no longer has the space for them.  They are mallards and well grown and in excellent condition.

William and Harry are not wild birds and have been reared in captivity – they are very tame and can be picked up and handled.  They would stand no chance in the wild.  Ducks respond well to humans and recognise and become affectionate with their carers.   If you can give these two fellas a safe home please get in touch.  Safe is the important word – their pen would have to be very secure from predators, foxes and dogs.   They need a hut to go in at night and water is essential – a man made pond which must be kept clean or running water or a pond is best of all.

birds - ducks 2

Aren’t they beautiful…

New pony comes to stay

ponies - holly 2Holly is a elderly pony whose owners could no longer care for her, her place at livery had been lost and there was nowhere for her to go.  They did not want to have her put to sleep but it was rapidly becoming their only option.  When we heard about her plight we offered her a place in the sanctuary.   We never put any healthy pony to sleep and although Holly is an old lady, she is still fit and well and enjoying life.  Holly had been used to living with other ponies and we hoped she would fit in well with one of our small pony herds.

ponies - holly

Holly is approximately 11.hands high and is dark brown in colour.   We were told she could sometimes be a bit grumpy with people but was always friendly with other ponies.   However, she was on her best behaviour when she arrived and showed no sign of a temperamental nature.   We gave her a feed and it looked as though she was enjoying all the attention.

ponies - holly 3

She loves food and is well behaved while she is having her dinner.   We put her in a large loose box next to some of the other ponies, she can see them but they are not together.  They can have a gossip over the stable wall and that way they’ll get to know one another.When we turn them all out together we’ll see how they are going to get along.  Ponies are herd animals and ours are a tight knit community.   How will they treat a newcomer?   Is Holly going to bully them?  She is quite a bit bigger than them and size counts in the pony world.  Introducing a newcomer isn’t easy, we’ll take it slowly.

Snuggling up to keep warm

cats - and dogs

It’s lovely to see cats and dogs getting on well together and snuggling up to sleep.   This is Mischa – the ‘salt box cat’ who came in to us about twelve years ago.  She was found in a salt box at the side of the road together with four kittens.  We still have her daughter her with us – Myrtle is still devoted to her mother and is usually not far away.  She was in a cat basket nearby yesterday when this picture was taken.  Mischa likes to sleep on the dog bed by the radiator and Heide, one of the Miss Whippets likes this place also.   No problem they’ll share!

Sometines Mischa will lick Heidi’s head and give her a good grooming.  She loves it and they are the best of friends.

If only all owners would teach their dogs to get along with cats.  So many of the dogs we get in for re-homing are confirmed cat chasers — if not worse.  Once they’ve been taught to chase cats it is very hard to retrain this behaviour.  Rearing dogs with cats and forbidding aggression is the answer.

Dogs need bereavement help

dogs - benni jumping

Life turns upside down for dogs when their owner is no longer with them.   Do dogs love certain people?   There is no doubt that this is true.   Our communication with dogs is not so good, how can we let them know that they will still be cared for and loved when the person who has looked after them for years is suddenly gone?

Benni was unsure of himself when he arrived but he is settling down just fine now and the distraction that a change of home brings can help.  A new routine is beneficial, just going for a different route on the walk, a run in the country, a trip to the seaside – these are all good for dogs who have been left behind when their owner has passed on.

Letting the dog just mope will lead to him or her feeling even more miserable.  Whilst they may not feel like playing, there are still things to catch their interest.  Meeting new dogs is sometimes the answer (so long as they are friendly).  Dogs socialize with each other and if it’s the right pal, they will start to play and look forward to mealtimes.

Familiar belongings are a help and we would never take a fleece or rug away because it was a bit grubby.   The scruffier the better at this vulnerable time.   An old jumper from the person they are missing will be a consolation for a while.   They will gradually shift their attention as time goes on.   Now is the time to offer comfort food – something they specially like and that is easy to digest.   It’s a shock to be left alone and we must make allowances and try a bit of pampering.

Sometimes wrapping your dog up is a great comfort.  This isn’t just for bereavement help but whenever your pet is feeling poorly or a bit under the weather.   A fleece blanket is ideal, wrap it loosely round him in a cocoon and sit a stroke him for a while.   A cuddle blanket isn’t just good for babies!

Music is a great healer and that goes for dog listerners too.   Try soothing music to begin with, Mozart is good.  Then you can move on to country and western and easy listening.   There’s nothing like conversation and talking to a bereaaved pet is all to the good.  Do dogs understand what we’re saying?   You bet they do.  It’s us who don’t understand them most of the time.

More on dog killer disease

dog - anxiety

Here’s an update on the lethal dog disease that’s new to the U.K. and for which there seems to be little treatment if your dog is infected.   The disease causes kidney failure and internal breakdown – it has now spread to Nottingham, Norfolk and Northumberland so it’s getting nearer to this area.  Scientists are still struggling to find a cure, the only chance of saving your pet is to get veterinary treatment as soon as possible.

The first symptom seems to be an infected cut so any injury no matter how small should be seen by a vet.   By the time the area round the cut is red and swollen it’s too late.  There is usually swelling as well.  Sometimes the symptoms come on so quickly that if you are out on a walk your dog may have trouble getting home with you.

If anything like this happens you need to go to the vet straight away, if you dog is put on a drip quickly enough he just might recover. The condition leads to kidney failure, it’s similar to Alabama Rot which is well known in the U.S.   In this country only one dog, a little terrer,  has so far survived and vets don’t know the reason except that she did receive treatment from the vet right away and was on a drip for nine days.

All breeds and types of dogs have so far been affected, symptoms also include loss of appetite, vomiting and lesions.  Post mortem effects show stomach ulcers and internal bleeding in previously fit and healthy dogs.  Nobody seems to know as yet whether this is an infection and transmitted between pets or is it because of contamination?   If you spot any cuts or lesions on your dog our best advice is to take him to the vet straight away.