Friday, July 9, 2021

The Puppy Chronicles - Preparing For Your New Arrival

 You’ve done all the legwork, decided on a breed that is suitable for you, found a good reputable breeder. Now you’ve met your new family member and put a deposit down. Now is the time to start getting excited.

The wait from meeting your new baby to actually bringing them home will feel like an eternity. However enjoy this period of quietness as once you bring that little bundle of fluff home everything will change.Use this time to get everything ready, puppy proof your home, get all of their essentials in ready.

If this is your first puppy you might be wondering exactly what you need to buy and what you don’t really need. There are so many puppy checklists around and to be honest some of it you really will not need yet.

I’ve gone through the most popular puppy shopping lists and here is my verdict from my own experiences.

New Puppy Checklist

Puppy Food

The best place to start is your breeder, ask them what food they are currently feeding the puppies. Then get a bag of it in ready.

When I brought Phoenix home I had overbought the food her breeder was using, I’d bought three bags of 15KG.

Once she had been home a few days I noticed that whenever I fed her she went absolutely hyper shortly after. I discussed it with a nurse at our local veterinary practice (I lived there the first few months) who advised I changed her food. Which I did. I put her onto Burns Puppy Food and have never looked back.

So to start off with just buy around a weeks supply of food and see how your puppy is on it.

Puppy Treats 

These will become your best buy! There are so many varieties to choose from. I would recommend a good quality treat such as Burns training treats, Lily’s Kitchen, Wagg. There are so many to choose from and your puppy will have their own likes and dislikes. Once you find some they really like you will want to use them for their training. To start off with buy 2-3 packets of different treats and see how your puppy likes them.

Food and Water Bowls 

An obvious one. Once again there are so many choices with bowls. It will mostly depend on the breed of your puppy. If it is a very small breed then you might be better off buying a rabbit bowl to start with. Puppy sized bowls are usually a good size for most breeds. For a water bowl you will want a slightly larger bowl.

Puppy Collar

This will again depend on the breed. Puppy collars are a great starting point but make sure it is an adjustable one so you can ensure a good fit.

Puppy Harness

If you plan to use a harness for walks then buy this once your dog is home and has had both vaccinations. You can then try on the harness to ensure it fits correctly and comfortably. You won’t be able to go for walks until puppy has had both vaccinations and they will have grown in that time so best hold off on a harness.


Buy one before you bring your puppy home. Even though they cannot go for walks until both vaccinations you will need one for the vet trips. It’s also a good idea to use it around the home so they are used to putting on their collar and lead.

Puppy Shampoo

Nope not yet!

Chances are you are not going to need to bathe your puppy at this early stage so again you can hold off on this one. When you do buy one ensure it is a puppy one as they have delicate skin so will need one specially formulated for puppies.

Puppy Grooming Brush

Not really an essential but something that is good to have to hand. You can then get your pup used to the idea of being brushed and groomed. However your puppy will be more interested in trying to eat the brush.

Puppy Bed

Good Luck! Puppy beds are so cute, whether puppy sleeps in it is another story. Be prepared for it to be chewed to pieces, ripped, torn, mullered. Oh and watch out for “The bed wrecking monster” a mythical creature that sneaks in and wrecks puppies beds when they’re not looking aka The puppy. 


Poo Bags

Not really needed until you can go out but a good idea to have some to hand for little accidents around the house. There will be a lot.

Puppy Pads

Buy loads, and I mean loads. You will not believe how many of these you will go through in a day. From the minute you bring your puppy home encourage them to use the puppy pad as their toilet. If you see them squatting place them on the puppy pad. A little trick puppies like to ‘circle’ before pooping. If you catch pup circling place them on the puppy pad.

Puppies can poop up to 8 or more times a day and you will want to change the puppy pad soon after or puppy will eat their poop. Seriously buy loads of these.

Pee Post

Absolutely NOT essential.

Car Safety Guard/Harness

Obviously only if you have a car or the bus driver might give you funny looks. It is always advised to fit a car guard/gate and safety harness/seatbelt to your car for your puppy or dog to travel safely.

ID Tag

Not really an essential until you can go out. However they are required by law for once you can go out. Ensure your pet’s name and your phone number are on them just incase your puppy gets lost.

Puppy Pen or Crate

I don’t really like crates myself. However a puppy playpen is definitely recommended. Especially for those first few months. The playpen was the best thing I ever got for Phoenix, I ended up buying another one and making it huge so it took over the living room. The only thing was she liked it a little too much and it took her years to feel comfortable enough to give it up.

These are also handy to keep incase of emergencies. After surgery etc when they need to be kept quiet.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

It is a good idea to get your puppy used to having their teeth brushed from an early age. Ensure you have a soft bristled brush and puppy suitable toothpaste.

Teething Gel

As long as it is for puppies. Just like babies puppies will also be teething. Usually at around five months old however it can be earlier. Phoenix was nine weeks old when she started teething. It is painful for them so having a teething gel will help them feel a lot more comfortable. It’s a good idea to put some teething gel on a chew toy.

Chew Toys

Puppies love to chew and will need plenty of different toys to chew on. Kong do some fantastic durable toys, also a classic Kong filled with treats or food can be a great chew toy.


Chew toys, cuddly toys, tug toys, all good. Avoid balls for at least the first year as puppies should not be jumping to catch a ball for the first year as their joints and muscles are not yet strong enough for that kind of exercise. Running and walking is good so toys you can play fetch with are also a great addition. Favourite toys are also great to use for training.



If you already know what you will call your puppy then you can pre-register them at your vets clinic. Most breeders will require you to have had your puppy vet checked within 48-72 hours of being home.

At the first appointment your vet will do the first vaccinations, give your puppy a thorough health check and discuss flea and worming. Your breeder will give you a record of their flea and worm treatments. Take this with you and your vet will tell you when the next treatment is due.

Before I brought Phoenix home I remember going to the pet shop and doing the big puppy shop. I think we practically bought the shop. I remember being at the checkout and unloading the trolley and my poor partner at the time was just looking at the total going up and up in disbelief.

In hindsight half of it we definitely didn’t need at the beginning. However I was a new mummy getting excited for my new baby. The day we brought her home I got all of her things out and arranged them nicely for when she came home. 


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Urgent Recall Of Cat Food

 It has been reported that a number of dry cat foods have been recalled due to a increasing number of cases of Pancytopenia. A serious illness which can be fatal if not treated urgently. 

Here is the official recall link

If you currently feed your cat any of the listed products and have noticed them becoming unwell contact your vet urgently. If you have any concerns call your vet for advice. 

You can return any of the listed products to the place of purchase for a full refund. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Keeping Your Pets Cool in Hot Weather

As I sit here writing this I look out of the window and it is torrential rain, it’s very mild but nothing compared to the last couple of days.

It’s been a long and wet winter for sure so the appearance of the sun and the accompanying hot weather is welcomed by many of us. For many pets though it’s a not so welcome change.

When we have these sudden heatwaves our pets really notice it, of course some pets absolutely love it and will sit out in the sun in the garden. I remember Vixen my black cat would love the sun and would lounge in it all day long. Until it got too hot.

It really is important to keep an eye on our pets through these warmer spells of weather, and if like many they really do not enjoy it then we need to make them as comfortable as possible. The following advice is for hot weather and heat waves.


I know there is nothing nicer then being outside with your dog on a glorious day, playing fetch, running around. Yet when we get these heatwaves and periods of very hot weather chances are your dog will really not want to be doing these things.

It is best to walk your dog early in the morning and late in the evening. I usually take Phoenix out between 6-7am during hot weather, if it is really hot then it has sometimes been 5am while the air is still cool. I then walk her late in the evening, anytime from 9pm onwards is usually good.

Do not take your dog out in the midday sun, when the sun is at it’s hottest your dog will not enjoy it. Remember they are wearing a fur coat. Try putting your winter coat on and going out in the sun. That’s how your dog is feeling when they are out in the heat.

A good rule of thumb is the pavement rule. Place your hand on the pavement. If you cannot keep it there for more then five seconds then it is too hot for your dog. Dogs pads easily burn on hot pavements and the burns are very painful for them. Be especially mindful if they walk through any water and then straight onto a hot pavement. Avoid all metal manhole covers on roads and pavements. In the heat they become boiling.

When you do take your dog out always carry cool water and offer it to your dog. It’s best to just walk your dog in hot weather, they won’t enjoy running around at all. Keep in the shade as much as possible.

It’s a good idea to also carry a cool wet flannel with you, which you can then wipe over your dog to help keep them cool. Placing a flannel or hand towel in the freezer is another good way to keep it cool and then placing it on the floor for a dog to lie on or rub it over them.

Whilst at home always ensure fresh cool water is available for your dog. If your dog enjoys the sun then they can enjoy it in the garden as they will then move to a cooler spot if they become too hot.

A great way to enjoy the hot weather is to get your dog a paddling pool. Many dogs absolutely love playing in them and it is a great way to have some fun. Phoenix also has her own parasol which I move around the garden to provide shade for her.  

Hose pipes can be dangerous for dogs. The hose itself becomes hot so when you first turn the tap on the water will come out very hot, potentially scalding your dog. Try not to let them drink much water from the hose, a little drink is fine but too much can cause problems.

Phoenix tends to stay indoors during very hot weather as she really doesn’t enjoy it. Inside she has fans on her. I got a really good one last year which circulates cool air instead of hot air.

Cool mats and pads are also a fantastic investment for both cats and dogs. These are non-toxic gel filled mats which stay cool and lower your dogs body temperature.

To help your dog cool off offer them watermelon. It is completely safe for them to eat and the added water will help keep them hydrated.

Lastly but most definitely not least please do not keep your dog in the car on a hot day, even for just five or ten minutes. Cars become very hot, very quickly. Your dog will soon suffer from heat stroke. If you pop to the shop etc, leave your dog at home, not in the car.

Signs of heatstroke in dogs Each year so many dogs are admitted into veterinary hospitals with heat stroke. More often then not it is occurring just after a walk when they have been running around. Any dog can get heatstroke but by taking as many precautions as you can you can completely minimise the risk.

Symptoms Of Heat Stroke

  • Severe Panting

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Severe Salivating

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Raised temperature

  • Blood in urine

  • Nose bleeds

  • Collapse, fainting, coma

  • Very red tongue and gums

  • Lethargic behaviour

  • restlessness

If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your dog on a hot day contact your vet immediately for advice. If heat stroke is suspected then prompt treatment and admission into hospital is vital for saving your dogs life.


CatsJust like dogs cats also struggle in the hot weather. Some may love it, some hate it. You may notice your cat not being as active in hot weather. This is normal, they do not feel like playing.

When outside cats will enjoy sunbathing as they can then move to a cooler spot when they feel too hot.

Regardless of whether your cat enjoys or hates the hot weather there are steps you can take to help them feel more comfortable.

Keep all water bowls accessible and cool. You can add ice cubes to the water to help keep it cool.

Cats also benefit from the cool mats I mentioned earlier on in this post.

If you have stone or tiled flooring you will probably notice your cat making use of the floor space. If you have neither just adding one simple floor tile to your carpet or wood floor will provide a cool spot for your cat to cool off. 

 With my cats I find wiping them down with a cool slightly damp cloth will help keep them cool.

You can also place a hand towel in the freezer to keep it cool then place it on the floor for your cat to lie on.

One little trick that worked well for one of mine was a frozen bottle of water with a tea towel wrapped around it. The coolness provided a nice cool pillow or fun play toy whilst keeping them cool. 

With all of this in mind you can make the hot summer months and enjoyable time for you and your pets. 

 Mentionned products 

Fan - Tower fan £44.99 Argos  Or £50.00John Lewis (I have both and they are great) 

Cool Mats for cats & dogs -  Amazon or Pets At Home  (Again I have both in different sizes) 

Phoenix's Paddling Pool - Argos  

Travel water bottle for dogs Pets At Home  

Phoenix's Parasol Argos  

I'm not being paid to promote these products just recommending what I personally use for my pets.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Tantrums Of A Tabby Muma

 It’s Saturday night, It’s late. I’m absolutely hooked on Line of Duty, been watching it all day. I half wonder if I could squeeze in another episode before bed? Nope not going to happen, I can barely keep my eyes open as it is.

On the sofa beside me are both cats who have both been surprisingly good and quiet all night. A perfect Saturday night in.

I get myself ready for bed, give the cats their suppers (necessity or I will only get two hours sleep) I go into the bedroom, pick up the fur magic brush to quickly brush down the bed before I crawl into it for the night, looking forward to snuggling in my new duvet and new bedding. I switch on the lamp……….

F**K, F**K, F**K

Waiting for me in the middle of the bed is a big pile of puke, as I scan round I find another pile and oh fuck a duck how the hell is it all up the wall too.

CYMMI when I get my hands on you cat” I shout.

I know it was Cymmi, this is his trademark, too lazy to get up and off of whatever he is sleeping on.

You f**king, b**t**d, where are you”

I’m furious at him, not only for doing it on all the new bedding, but he clearly did it hours ago as it’s all dried in. Neither him or Starla bothered to tell me.

He knows, as when I walk into the living room he runs, I chase him.

Come here you little twat” I’m still shouting at him. “You are banned, banned from the bedroom cat for good you hear me”

As I return to my messy fate I begin cleaning up the lovely piles, wiping down the wall. To which half of the paint came with it. Strip the bedding, rinse it out in the shower, attempt to rinse out the “washable” duvet. Which is now acting like a sponge soaking in every bit of water.

I dig out the spare duvet and chuck another clean duvet cover on it. This whole process has taken the best part of an hour.

Finally, finally I’m ready to climb into bed. The cats are both banned so are spending the night in the living room. I’m not heartless I did put extra fleecy throws in there for them. Let Phoenix out for another wee. It’s raining out, she comes in, straight on the bed. Muddy paw prints everywhere. As I finally pull the duvet back I spot something on the bed, it’s small, slimy and oh crap its moving. That’s it Phoenix has brought a tiny slug in with her. Slug removed all the while treading on bloody cat litter that’s just appeared and I am ready to at last climb into my muddy, wet dog smelling, slug ridden bed.

Oh the joys of fur babies. Of course both cats were also on the bed.

The next day both the duvet and bedding were properly washed and survived. Cymmi of course was not ill, had he been ill I would never have told him off, it was just a furball causing him to vomit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Puppy Chronicles - Finding A Reputable Breeder

You’ve weighed up all the pro’s and cons and decided you are going to add a puppy to your family. Great choice, now is the hard part, finding your right puppy.

Puppy farming is a huge problem at the moment. With demand rising, especially for certain breeds, puppy farming is becoming more of an issue.

Puppy farming is when an unlicensed breeder breeds dogs for profit, with no consideration to the mother or potential puppies welfare.

The dogs used for breeding in puppy farms are just that, puppy machines. The females are bred after each litter, usually on their very next season. They are kept in horrendous conditions, more often then not tiny unsanitary cages, covered in their own excrement, forced to breed, then left to birth alone without any veterinary care. In cases where the birth goes wrong, both the mother and pups are left to die.

Any surviving puppies are quickly removed from their mother and put into their own unsanitary conditions. With no healthcare many will have been born in a very poor state. They have no human interaction and if they survive will have behavioural issues later on. The mother is then used again to reproduce another litter.

Inbreeding is a common issue and puppies will be born with genetic health conditions. These can range from deadly infections such as Parvovirus to musculoskeletal deformities.

The puppies are then sold at high price to anyone who wants them. Unsuspecting puppy parents then end up buying a puppy who will soon be in need of urgent veterinary care as they would never have been health checked, flead, or wormed.

The only way you can guarantee you are in the safest hands and can be confident you are buying a healthy puppy, who has been raised and treated correctly is to use a Kennel Club Accredited breeder. (Link at the bottom)

KC reg breeders are licensed dog breeders who have been registered by the Kennel Club. Of course a few bad apples do sneak through the registration process.

Any notable breeder will be proud of their achievements, they will show their previous litters and most now use social media. By checking out their pages you can see how often they breed each dog, how successful their previous litters have been and most people remain in contact with their breeder so you will see updates. Signs like this show you you are using a credible breeder.

Many breeders will have waiting lists. If they have no puppies available they will give you an estimated time frame for their next expected litter.

If possible get in touch with people who already have used that breeder. If people receive a positive experience from a breeder they likely want to share that experience.

Once you have decided on a breed, draw up a shortlist of potential breeders and do your research on them.

When you find someone you like initiate contact. You should then be invited to meet the puppies.

When you go to meet the puppies ensure the mother is with them. If there are just puppies with no parents walk away. By meeting the puppies mother you will get an idea of her temperament, how well she has been cared for. The puppies should be lively and look happy depending on their age.

Good breeders will ask you lot’s of questions. Don’t be put off, they are checking to see if there puppies are going to responsible people. Take this opportunity to ask the breeder any questions you have.

The breeder will be happy to answer all of your questions, will tell you about the puppies and the mother.

If you find your puppy you will be expected to put down a deposit. You then pay the remainder when you collect your puppy. You will be shown copies of the Kennel club registration, a pedigree (family tree) of your puppy. Some breeders even include this in your puppy pack. If not you can always ask to see it.

Before you bring your puppy home it will have been vet checked and you will receive a health certificate of this visit. You will have copies of all of the worming and flea treatment dates and dates the next treatment is due. Sometimes your puppy will already of had its first vaccinations, however some vets prefer to do a full course so if your puppy is not vaccinated but has all other health documents do not be alarmed. You can always start vaccinations when you bring your puppy home.

If when you visit something doesn’t seem right then do not feel pressured into putting down any deposits.

My Experience:

Once we had decided on a Labrador puppy we set out to find potential breeders. We searched extensively online and came up with a shortlist of three KC reg breeders. The first one we got in touch with we didn’t like the sound of.

The second one we made contact with invited us to meet the puppies. We went the very next day. When we arrived the puppies were all sleeping together with their Mother. They were 5 weeks old and as soon as we walked in they all woke up. The mother came up to us and sniffed us out. I’m sure she was checking we was worthy of her babies.

We were shown the two remaining puppies available to reserve as the rest were already reserved.

 When I picked up the first puppy she was lovely, but she didn’t feel like my puppy. I then picked up the other one, the tiny tail was wagging, she licked my face and wanted cuddles. I knew she had chosen me. The breeder asked us lot’s of questions on our previous dogs, what breed they were, how they died etc. She then asked us about our home and lifestyle. We was happy to hear she was interested and we were confident we had found a reputable breeder. The mother and puppies were all in the breeders home and also present was the puppies auntie.

We got such a good feeling from this breeder and her dogs that we were happy we had made the right choice.

We put down a deposit and was given a receipt.

For the next few weeks our breeder stayed in touch, giving us updates on how the puppies were doing as well as the mother.

When the puppies were 8 weeks old we was invited back to collect her.

When we went to collect her we signed a puppy contract, paid the remaining fee and was given the healthcare certificates and records of worming and flea treatments. As part of our contract we had to get our own vet to give her a health check within 48hrs of her going home.

We was given a sample of food that the puppies had been eating and was told to get in touch if we had any questions. 

 Phoenix was a fit and healthy puppy and we have never encountered any issues with her at all.

 To find a reputable KC registered breeder and any available litters follow this link 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Puppy Chronicles - Deciding to Get A Dog

After a year of lockdown, and with the warmer summer months approaching it is a time when many people are considering adding a dog to their family. The school summer holidays are always a peak time for puppy breeders and rescue centres. Unfortunately after the holidays are over and the children have grown bored many of these dogs then find themselves in shelters or even worse abandoned.

It is also very often the case that people buy puppies without doing their research and either end up with a sick puppy or one that they have no idea how much work it entails to care for a puppy. Now let me point out I am not labelling everyone here, a majority of people get dogs for the right reasons. Unfortunately you do get some selfish people who buy them as a quick fix for their children over summer who then cannot be bothered with the upkeep. A sad story and one that many many rescue centres all over the world will confirm.

With that in mind over the next few weeks I will be adding articles on guides for getting a new puppy or dog as well as training tips and tricks, common health complaints to watch out for and nutritional needs.

If you are considering either adopting a dog or purchasing a puppy then you need to think carefully about your own home and circumstances first. There are hundreds of breeds of dogs, some need much more exercise then others, some don’t need as much. First look at your home and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have enough space to accommodate a dog?

  • Is the breed you are considering suitable for your home?

  • Are there any hazards eg stairs with no banisters, steep drops etc

  • Do you have glass furniture? Sharp edges, large windows that are easily mistaken as open doors.

You need to think about the size of the dog you are considering, and how big it could possibly grow. Look around and see if your home has enough space for a dog to get around easily, places to sleep etc. Remember many dogs also run around indoors so consider the possibility of things getting knocked over. Glass topped furniture especially. Whilst thinking about your furniture, would you be happy having to cover your sofa’s with throws, would your dog be allowed on the sofas?

Personally in my home nowhere is off bounds for any of my fur babies, they can go wherever they like and sleep wherever they like. They all have their own beds but choose to sleep on my bed or the sofas. So everyday I vacuum to stay on top of the moulted fur.

If you are considering a dog or puppy accept the fact that they can and will make a mess.

Dogs can be kept in flats as well as houses, if you are in a flat then a dog can still be very happy as long as they get enough toilet breaks and walks.

If you have a garden ensure it is safe for a dog. Check there are no holes in fences, or loose fence panels. This would cause you to fail a home check with a rescue centre.

Once you have thought about the practicality of your home, think about how much time you can dedicate to your dog. Dogs must be walked at least once a day, some dogs more then once. How long are you usually out of the house each day? Is someone home throughout the day. If you are out most of the day and nobody will be at home then you’ll need to consider hiring a dog walker or dog sitter who can check in on your dog throughout the day. Many dogs suffer with separation anxiety and if left alone for too long can become destructive. If you are considering getting a puppy then it is best if someone is home for most of the day as they will require extra attention and training.

It is also important to consider the financial commitment to getting a dog or puppy. There are a lot of costs involved that you need to consider carefully. Veterinary costs, insurance, dog walking, food. It all soon starts to add up.

The best advice I can offer anyone considering either adopting a dog or puppy is to definitely take everything I’ve mentioned into consideration then do your research. If you are considering a puppy then research different breeds to find a few that will match your home and lifestyle. Think of breeds that you like and then look at their exercise requirements, how big they may get and whether they would suit you and your family and home. If you are considering adopting a dog from a rescue centre then they will sit down with you and discuss in detail your current lifestyle, home and family life and match you to dogs that match your situation.

It’s worth considering that there are some dogs in rehoming shelters that have specific requirements. There are older dogs who may suit someone who is not very active and may only require one walk a day. There are dogs with ongoing medical conditions which should never put you off adopting them. Many conditions are very easily managed these days and if you have a good vet your dog will live a long and full life. There really are so many possibilities.

One thing I would like to add is that there are an awful lot of Staffordshire bull terriers in rehoming shelters. Due to bad press many people are reluctant to rehome them. There is no such thing as a bad dog, it is the owners who are bad. Any breed of dog can become aggressive if not raised properly. I see so many people refusing to rehome a staffie and there really is no need to be so concerned. I have met many absolutely lovely staffies. I do not believe in writing off a certain breed just because of a bit of bad press. So if you are matched to a staffie don’t panic, it has been matched to you as you match his or her requirements.

Talk to other dog owners and find out about their own experiences, talk to staff at your local veterinary practice. Get as much information as you can to be able to make an informed decision. If you do your research you will not end up with just a dog. You will end up with a new family member who suits you perfectly.

My Experience

Before I welcomed Phoenix into my family I had done plenty of research. At the time I was with my former partner and as we both worked in the music industry found we was not at home a lot of the time. Adding a dog to our family was something we wanted to do together when we had the time to focus on the dog. We had been considering it for well over a year. 

I am someone who will always recommend adopting any pet from a rescue home. Everyday there are hundreds of dogs looking for their new family. I did a lot of research on a number of rescue organisations and looked at their policies. In the end I decided we would buy a puppy purely because we already had two cats who had never been around dogs. Whilst some dogs are tested with cats at the rehoming centres there was no guarantee that they would get on as they could not meet beforehand. If you already have a dog they require your current dog to meet your prospective new dog prior to any adoption taking place. With that in mind I made the decision that it would be best for both of my cats (Sox & Vixen) if we got a puppy. That could then grow up around the cats and learn how to act around cats. For us this was the best plan and one I never regretted.

Afterwards I spent a lot of time researching different dog breeds. We considered many; Poodles, Collies, Cockers. Then finally settled on Labrador. I had previously had a gun dog before so knew a bit about the breed group. I researched Labradors extensively, or so I thought. I had been under the impression that all Labrador’s were the same. It was only when Phoenix was a little bit older and still had so much energy that I researched her pedigree family tree and found she was a field Labrador. Also known as a working Labrador or American Labrador.

Later on I will share how we came to find Phoenix.

Next week I will be talking purely puppies in my guide to choosing the right breed and breeder for you.

As part of this series I would love for you to get involved, if you have any questions in regards to getting a dog or puppy or any behaviour, feeding or training questions please use the contact form or reach out to me on Instagram. Answers will appear at the end of each blog post in this series.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Trials and Tribulations of a cat mum, or dog Mum

 People with children often say to me 

You don’t have children you couldn’t possibly understand the struggles of parenthood. Sleepless nights, tantrums, being covered in sick, not going to the loo alone” 

That’s where you are wrong, I do understand the struggles you face daily. To be honest our lives aren’t entirely that different, rather similar in fact. 

I cannot remember the last time I slept through the night, between being woken up by one of them needing cuddles after a nightmare, or taking up so much of the bed that there is no room for me. Waking up only to find I’ve been puked on, or pooped on, or on one very unfortunate night when someone had a bad case of the runs and instead of using the litter tray that was just a few steps away decided to jump up and do the lot right in the middle of the bed. To then have to clean up the puke or poo, change the bedsheets in the early hours, dealing with any other incidents they’ve had throughout the night. Only to be woken up at 5:30am or if they’re being generous 6am demanding to be fed, for me to ignore them. When they then proceed to jump on me, bite me, claw at me, attack my feet from the side of the bed, knock the lamp off the bedside table, pull the wallpaper off? Oh and yes this routine happens every morning. Once I am up, awake and fed the little darlings they then have the cheek to go back and sleep, on my bed. 

There have been many a many a night where I have been up all night caring for one of my sick babies. 

The night Phoenix was rushed into the hospital at midnight then into surgery at 3am for a three hour operation. That was the longest night of my life sitting in that waiting room unsure if she would make it through the surgery. 

The next night when she was back at home I spent the night laying on the sofa watching her sleep, just incase her sutures ruptured or she stopped breathing (something which happened previously after a surgery) I didn’t sleep properly until 10 days later when the stitches were removed. I spent two weeks sleeping on the sofa, well dozing as I was so worried I had to keep checking on her. 

Or the night when Sox was really ill and suffered a seizure in the night and I had to stay up with her just incase she went into another one. 

Ironically something I still have to do whenever Starla has a seizure. 

On two occasions I have been laying on the bed comforting two cats dying, one thankfully went so peacefully but one was a sudden deterioration that was absolutely traumatising. 

How many times I make a nice cup of tea or coffee, and then have to clean poo, feed someone or go and retrieve a “lost” toy that apparently MUST be found right this minute. It’s been under the sofa all week but no they decide this is the crucial moment. I then return to a cold cup of tea or coffee, or even worse return to find someone has already finished it for me.

More times then not my living room floor resembles a kindergarten. Toys absolutely everywhere. Balls waiting for me to trip over them, catnip mice that I swear are starting to look too realistic for my liking. I tread on damn toys all the time, or even worse a piece of what I call b**t**d f*k***g cat litter. I trip over everything, even the cats themselves sometimes. 

Quite often there’s usually a discarded body been left for me to discover. Always when I very least expect it, like just after I’ve walked through a dark room to open the curtains, finding a lifeless spider in amongst the threads on the rug. Or even more disturbing attached to my foot. 

Doing anything remotely simple takes forever, even typing this article has taken over 6 hours as I’ve been disturbed by food time, playtime, deliveries, zoom meetings. Whenever I do try to do something I always have to get up at least once. If I go to the loo someone always follows, if I have a bath I’ve sometimes got all 3 of them in there with me causing all manner of mischief. 

Counter in twice daily walks with Phoenix, cleaning the house, cooking, feeding and doing my own work I really do not get much time to do anything else. 

I may not have human children (not through lack of trying) but I have three children. A 9 year old and two almost 5 year old twins. 

Pet Mums are still Mums, we still care the same and often do the same things as mums of children. Every Mum is a Mum first and foremost. It doesn’t matter if your babies are human or furry we still do the same job. We still have to do our best, they still depend on us and we try to do it the best we can. Mums are Mums. 

This weekend is Mothering Sunday here in the UK so this article is dedicated to all Mums out there reading this. You are all amazing. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

March Recommendations - Moulting Season

Each month I will be featuring products that we personally use and can therefor recommend. As it is March and we are coming into spring it seemed fitting that this months reviews should be focussed on moulting and shedding. 

With three cats in total and a Labrador, keeping shedded fur at bay is a constant battle. During the shedding season I vacuum every single day, sometimes even twice a day if the shedding is particularly heavy. For my vacuum I use a Vax Power Nano which I got in 2018, I can't link it on here as it doesn't currently seem to be available online. 

Here are our top picks to help you keep fur at bay

Fur Magic 

I bought the fur magic in 2019 after coming across it on Amazon when looking for something else. I read a few reviews and thought it would be worth trying. When I received it I tried it instantly on my fabric sofa and it really does do a great job of collecting shedded fur. The brush sits in the holder and when you want to use it you just pull it out and brush the surface i.e sofa, bed etc. Once there is enough fur on the brush pop it back into the holder and pull it up and it is clean ready to be used again. I use this every night mostly on the bed, as both of my cats sleep on the bed during the day, my boy sheds constantly through the year so there is always a layer of white fur on my bed. This brush does such a good job cleaning it up. It doesn't leave any residue or blue fluff behind and has no smell. The collected fur sits at the bottom of the holder and when it's full you just empty it into the bin. I do put the brush in a few times to get more fur to the bottom. Two years later I am still using this and am finding it really effective at picking up shedded fur. It works on cat and dog fur. 

Fur Magic is currently selling on Amazon for £12.99 get yours Here 


Pet Room Dematting Dog brush 

When Phoenix sheds, she really sheds. I often find a layer of yellow fur all over the place. My sofa has an extra layer, the rugs are getting a slightly yellow tinge to them. Just by stroking her I get a handful of yellow fur. Being a Labrador she has a really thick multi layer coat so shedding is quite a messy time. 

I got this brush last summer just intime for her summer moult and thought I'd try it. I have been through many different combs over the years. Some I have found to be too sharp for her or she hasn't liked the feel of them. 

I will admit this is actually the only brush I use on her now. It has two sides to it which are great for getting the top coat and undercoat moult. Each time I brush her with this I get so much fur off of her I think I could quite possibly build a whole new dog out of it. It's great for getting into the deeper layers of her coat and afterwards she looks fantastic and smart. It isn't at all sharp to use on her and this is the first brush she doesn't mind me using on her. I think she rather enjoys being brushed now, whereas before I had to chase her around. I used this brush on her last week and it looked like I'd been shearing a sheep in my garden. Another handy tip, if you gather all the fur you've brushed off together, tie it loosely and place it in a tree or shrub the birds use it to line their nests. One groomed dog and many happy little birdies. 

Pet Room comb is currently seeling on Amazon for £12.59 get yours here


Homedics Desktop Air Purifier

This air purifier was recommended to me last year by a friend. I had never really considered buying one before and to be honest I wasn't entirely sure what they did. 

Basically they clean the air of any pollutants including pollen, dust, pet dander and even germs. Perfect for a pandemic. I am asthmatic and have found since buying this that I do cough a lot less. I don't use it everyday but when I do use it you do notice the difference in the air quality. It has a removeable hepa filter which you can clean out and empty. I have found it catches a lot of flying fur and lint so can also be used to keep fur at bay. It has three speed settings 1 being the quietest and 3 the loudest. It also has a 4,8 and 12 hour timer setting meaning it will switch off automatically after the set time if you choose to use the setting. It also has an ioniser which is not good for pets but you can turn that off. One of the reasons why I bought this particular one as you can deactivate the ioniser meaning you can then safely use it around your pets. The carbon filter also gets rid of any unpleasant smells in the air. It is a little on the expensive side to buy, I did purchase it when it was on offer for £79 last summer and haven't regretted it. So it's always worth checking for offers before you buy. 

 Homedics Desktop Air Purifier Is currently selling on Argos for £99 Get yours here 


Note: These products are my own personal opinion and are products I use myself, I receive no revenue for featuring these products on my blog. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

To Share The Bed Or Not Share The Bed?

That really is the question. A question I found myself faced with on a recent Instagram message I received. The message from a new puppy Mum on whether I would recommend bed sharing?

Last night I thought of that question again as I found myself hanging out of the edge of the bed, just a corner of the duvet for myself. Daring not to attempt to rollover and hit the floor with a bump.

Bed sharing was always something I avoided. Back when the only fur baby I had was Sox it was a definite no. She had her own bed to sleep in and downstairs was a perfectly good sofa, another bed, a slightly battered cardboard box with a pillow in. She didn’t need to sleep with me.

She tried, she tried, and she tried again. Most nights as soon as I’d turn the lamp off I’d hear the sound of collar bells coming up the stairs, door opens, little footsteps then a thump on the bed. Closely followed by


Then putting her in her own bed that was beside mine. She would try this a few times and then give up. Yet every morning I’d wake up with her sprawled across the bottom of the bed. I decided I was fighting a loosing battle.

Once I allowed her to sleep on the bed she did it less and less, it became something she only did when she was frightened or unwell.

When Vixen came along all bed rules were forgotten as she loved to snuggle. Vixen preferred to sleep on the pillows though, something I still never let them get away with. The bed is one thing but the pillows are off limits.

When I adopted the Pickles it soon became apparent they also preferred the idea of bed sharing.

Phoenix was never a cuddly puppy, she hated being held, wouldn’t sit on the sofa for cuddles and to be on the bed was probably the furthest thing from her mind.

When Phoenix had her scare in autumn 2019 which resulted in her needing emergency surgery at 3am all of that changed. As soon as she came home she wanted cuddles and she has been a clingy cuddle monster since. After her surgery I spent two weeks sleeping on the sofa with her on the floor. As soon as her stitches came out when I went to bed that night she jumped on my bed with me. Now whenever Phoenix is with me she sleeps on the bed, usually right in the middle. As well as both cats.

As she splits her time it’s not overly often I have phoenix on the bed. Starla usually prefers to sleep in the living room. Unless she gets cold, or it’s windy. So most nights it’s just me and Cymmi.

In all honesty I wouldn’t have it any other way. None of them actually get in the bed, they just sleep on top. Some nights I find myself cuddled up with Cymmi, cuddling him like a teddybear and I think back to the start he had in life and what he’s been through. It warms my heart that he feels safe enough with me to feel able to enjoy cuddles. When Phoenix is taking up the entire bed, kicking me in the back? I think back to the night she had her surgery and I would have given anything to be cuddled up with her instead of waiting in a cold waiting room.

As for when all three of them are on the bed with me, well I have been told we resemble a pack of Lions. 

  I love sharing with my furry family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So I have to change and wash my bedding a little more often then most. I like clean bedding, plus the bed gets a good brushing down before bed each night. So hygiene and fur really isn’t a problem. Even better when you invest in a good quality throw that they can lay on instead of your bed sheets.

So yes I would recommend it if it is something both you and your pet will enjoy. Although I will admit there is an exception to the rule, if I am expecting company in the bed then it is a no pets allowed.