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Healing Aromas

Isn’t the number of aggressive bacteria and mutant viruses nowadays just frightening?

What about antibiotic resistance when antibiotics have played such a massive part in helping mankind to survive over the years? For many of us, because of this, we’ve opted on returning back to the natural way of supporting our immune systems.

Why is it that some of us get knocked down by every virus that comes our way while others happily fly through the flu season unaffected?

We’re realizing more and more that the food we eat, our stress levels nowadays and indeed our whole lifestyle are the factors affecting how our bodies are reacting to nasty viruses and bacteria. What’s scary though, is how we used to react to these attacks in the past as opposed to how our bodies are handling these threats now.

Do you ignore your body’s signals?

Rather than listening to your body telling you to slow down and rest, you take a Lemsip, Paracetamol, antibiotics or whatever it takes to carry on with your fast life… sound familiar? I’m guilty of this from time to time too but I’m making a conscious effort of working on it.

Thankfully there’s a very effective and very pleasant way of supporting our immune systems. Yip, you guessed correctly! Essential oils!

There’s lots of different things essential oils can do with their small but mighty aromatic compounds. One of the powers essential oils have is that they can support and strengthen immune responses by stimulating our immune system and also by directly inhibiting the nasty viruses and bacteria that are attacking us.

Essential oils such as cajeput, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, niaouli, rosemary, tea tree and thyme are known to fight a wide variety of viruses and bacteria.


What about our dogs?

Let’s not forget our furry friends as they need immune system support too and we can help them with it! Upper respiratory infection (the kennel cough), also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is very common at this time of the year. There are multiple agents that cause the infection, and it’s highly contagious. Bacteria and viruses of kennel cough are spread through airborne droplets, which are produced by sneezing and coughing.

NB: If your dog shows signs of kennel cough remember to minimise contact with other dogs in order to protect them from coming into contact with the virus too! 

So this leads us to the question… which essential oils can we use safely at home, at work, in the grooming salon and in the kennels to protect and heal us and our four-legged friends?

🌿 Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus essential oil has an affinity to the respiratory system and has been clinically shown to kill the airborne flu virus. There are over seven hundred species of eucalyptus, but the most commonly used are Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiate. Both are best known as a decongestant inhalation for colds and catarrh, and significantly improve respiratory function

🌿 Lemon

Lemon is one of my favourite oils. When I feel sluggish and low on energy I open a small bottle of lemon oil and deeply inhale it a couple of times. Sometimes I put a few drops into my oil burner. The fresh aroma of infused lemon essential oil helps overcome my mental fatigue and lifts my spirits. Lemon also has antibacterial properties and is very useful in treating the symptoms of colds and flu and bronchitis.

🌿 Lavender

Lavender seems to work on everything. It’s the almighty oil of all oils and is definitely the most popular and versatile essential oil. Lavender is recommended for treatment of colds, flu, bronchitis and throat infections. Bonus is, it smells delightful too!


🌿 Niaouli

Niaouli is from the same family as tea tree oil but less known amongst the general public. It has a strong and fresh odour, similar to eucalyptus, and is known for it’s highly antiseptic properties. In fact, you can find this oil in our Ear Cleaner!

When it comes to respiratory problems, niaouli is recommended for acute and chronic bronchitis and sinusitis. It also has excellent expectorant power which means it expels mucus from the respiratory system.

Want to know how to use them?

Add 4-5 drops of your favourite essential oil to a classic oil burner (why not give our ceramic oil burners a try) or electronic diffuser, breathe deeply and enjoy!

Enjoy!!

Jitka xx

REAL Puppy Grooming Tips.

When it comes to grooming advice the internet is FULL of tips how to groom your dog. Some of them are good, some not so good, and some are just shocking!

My point of view…

Because of this, I decided to share my point of view on the subject. Over 20 years in the dog grooming industry has brought me across all sorts of puppies and youngsters, and all sorts of behaviour… from falling asleep on a grooming table to a hysterical bunch of fluff that I couldn’t even touch. But why is that? Genetics or environment? Who’s responsible? The breeder or the owner?

Like everything else, it’s not black and white but let’s try to keep it simple. 

You find a breed you like, you then find a breeder and eventually a puppy. How exciting is that? A little fluff ball (or a totally smooth little munchkin) running around and ruling your life from day one. Right from the beginning though we should start bringing some sort of structure into our puppy’s life. Feeding time, playtime, bedtime, walkies… and grooming should be a part of the structure as well.

Before you get your puppy…

Once you’ve found the breed you like and you’ve done your research, you should also find out what is required when it comes to grooming. What brushes and comb do you need? How often should you take your pup to a groomer and when to start etc?


Be aware…

Even though the internet is an excellent source of advice and knowledge, you can get some outrageous tips when it comes to grooming, especially when it comes to crossbreeds like Cockapoos, Cavachons, Cavapoos and many others. So very often they are sold as hypoallergenic and low maintenance and it says they don’t need as much grooming as a poodle. Really? Good marketing move, isn’t it?

This doesn’t only happen when it comes to crossbreeds though. There’s been many times that I’ve heard from a new Welsh (Lakeland and Wire) puppy owner that their dog must be hand stripped because the breeder said not to do anything with his coat until he’s one year old. Again… Really?

Easier said than done…

Ok, back to that little fluff ball you’ve got at home. Let’s assume your breeder showed you what brush and comb to get, and how to use it and then all you have to do is just do it… right?

This is easier said than done in many cases. Little puppies are wriggly, they have the attention span of a goldfish, and a moving brush is just calling at their little teeth to dig into it. This is usually the point where the owners will think that she doesn’t like it and will choose to rather attempt it tomorrow (by the way, she doesn’t like it tomorrow either) or choose to get a different brush or comb or put it off till Sunday… and another Sunday.

First mistake!

When it comes to brushing your puppy, consistency is key. You have to do it every day, especially if your puppy is really fluffy because I’m telling you, she will get even fluffier and wrigglier with age… unless you do something.

Little puppies are wriggly, they have the attention span of a goldfish, and a moving brush is just calling at their little teeth to dig into it.

My tips.

🐩 Put a non-slip mat or a towel on the top, and prepare your brush, comb and treats, maybe even a bone to chew on, a Kong filled with peanut butter, or a Likimat with soft cheese on to make the experience as pleasurable as possible.

🐩 Calming Floral Spray is very handy in these situations, it will keep both of you calmer.

🐩 A few gentle strokes with a brush all over the body, followed by combing will do for the first few sessions. If the puppy behaves well, follow up with a yummy treat. Remember, we are creating a positive experience here.

🐩 If the puppy is fidgeting or perhaps even trying to bite the brush or you, correct her, but don’t give up. If you give up and let go, that little brain will be thinking… aaahhh, if I jump around and bite the brush, she’ll let go and I may even get a treat… I’ll do it next time as well. WE DON’T WANT THAT. The whole process is very simple, but not always easy.

Depending on what kind of dog you have at home, you’ll need different brushes, and combs and you can find out more about different types of coats here.

So when should I take my puppy to the dog groomer?

Again, common sense is needed when taking some of the advice found online. Just some examples are… don’t take your puppy to a groomer until she is 1 years old, don’t have it clipped, just do it at home, it’s easy, just grab some kitchen scissors. I didn’t make this up, I promise! I saw a video on YouTube of a Labradoodle owner, showing how to scissor a matted doodle with kitchen scissors. I’m sure my heart stopped when I was watching it! Why, you may ask? Because it’s SO dangerous! Luckily the dog was brighter than the owner and didn’t move the whole time, bless his little heart 🙈.


Visit to a groomer… ASAP

When we’re selling puppies we recommend visiting the groomer ASAP after the second vaccination. Not much will be done at this age, but your puppy will get used to being handled by different people, get used to different noises like the clippers, hairdryer and barking dogs and will also learn it’s ok to be away from you for some time. If you’re too worried, spray your puppy and yourself with Calming Floral Spray just before the visit. Even inhaling Comfort Blend will help you with separation anxiety when leaving your puppy. It’s usually us who get more upset 💔.

Another tip…

There’s another thing you can do at home to make future visits to dog groomers and even vets, more enjoyable. Teach your puppy to tolerate different noises like a hairdryer and clipper (you don’t have to clip your dog, panic not 😂!) by borrowing your husband’s clippers, or nose hair trimmer, and gently moving it around your pup’s head and body to get her used to it. 

If you struggle I’m sure your dog groomer will happily help you and show you what tools to use and how to use them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and take professional advice over the internet 😊

Looking for a professional dog groomer?

Check The Groomers Spotlight to find a qualified groomer in your area. 

After all this, let’s not forget the importance of handling.

. Stroke your puppy gently all around the body, not just the back and the belly. Gently stroke and pick up the legs, massage the paws, gently stroke the tail and ears and don’t forget the teeth. You can even use a command ‘teeth’ and your pup will learn that you’re going to check her teeth, and eventually get used to cleaning them as well. Have you seen our Emmi-Pet Teeth Cleaning Service?

Lastly, remember, do not quit… your grown-up dog and your dog groomer will thank you… JUST HANG IN THERE!

❤️ Much love ❤️

Jitka xx

Can You Say Yum?

Breakfast Bars for You and Your Dog!

So apparently SHARING IS CARING and with that in mind, I decided to share a yummy snack that you can enjoy with your dog (even if you’re vegan😬). The bonus is that it’s a healthy treat for the both of you too!

Introducing… Breakfast bars!

Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter
4 cups quinoa flakes
6-7 medium mashed bananas

Preheat the oven to 175℃ and line an 8×8 inch tray with baking paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.

Transfer the batter to the lined tray and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden on top. A knife or skewer should come out of the centre, clean.

Allow the bars to cool down for at least 10 minutes or until firmed up enough to move and transfer to a wire rack.

Allow to cool down completely, before you and your dog enjoy these lovely breakfast bars.

These bars will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or when refrigerated, up to a week. Frozen they’ll keep up to two months.

Poochbutter

Anyone remember me mentioning Poochbutter from Nuts for Pets in my previous blog? I had a Q&A with  Amelia from Nuts for Pets and this is what she had to say about their Poochbutter

Amelia & Alistair, the founders of Nuts for Pets

What made you start making your own Peanut Butter for dogs?

Over the years we have always given Peanut Butter as a treat to our family pets. We noticed a lot of Peanut Butter’s on the market contained Palm Oil and as we are both very environmentally conscience we wanted to create a better alternative for everyone! As we researched further we found out about Xylitol and all the other additives that are harmful to dogs in peanut butters. This led us to create a dog safe and additive free Peanut Butter. We also take huge care in what we eat and feel that care should be stretched to our pets!

What dogs do you have?

We don’t have any of our own dogs :(!!!! BIG SAD FACE! But Alastair’s mum has three amazing dogs that we share on a regular basis! Isla (Jackahuahuha), Evie (Chihuahua) and Cady (Dalmation), they all feature heavily on our Instagram and are our best friends!! One day we hope to have a house full of dogs and other animals.  

Any special tips on how to use it?

Evie is an absolute diva at times and will often turn her nose up at dinner! So we mix the Poochbutter into her food to encourage her to give it a go. Works everytime!! We also love using Poochbutter when creating homemade doggy treats, we find it works really well! Plus Alastair makes an awesome Satay sauce with it!

Why should you choose Poochbutter?

Our Poochbutter is FULL of natural goodness and 100% safe for all dogs. Due to us using high-quality peanuts in our recipe it also lowers the Aflatoxin levels, much higher in mass-produced or cheap nuts, setting us apart from any other Peanut Butter for dogs. Our recipe also includes Coconut Oil and Yorkshire Honey, both of these ingredients are used instead of combining agents and are super beneficial. Coconut Oil helps moisturise skin and coats whilst Honey makes it extra sticky for longer fun times!

So there you have it… that’s why we choose Poochbutter! Give it a try and I promise you’ll fall madly in love 😍.


Ok, so now about Quinoa…

Even though it’s consumed like a cereal grain, it’s not technically a grain and is often referred to as a pseudo cereal.  

Quinoa is high in protein and essential amino acids as well as being a good source of fibre. It’s also a great source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential Omega-3 fatty acid with potentially anti-inflammatory benefits. Quinoa contains vitamins and minerals and is rich in Vitamin B Complex (niacin, folate, thiamin) as well as vitamin E. The minerals include iron, potassium, phosphorus, manganese and zinc, just to name a few.

There are no known risks of using quinoa in the food of normally healthy dogs, in case any of you were wondering, and did you know that half a cup of cooked quinoa has about 4 grams of protein? YAY TO THAT!!

And then the trusted banana…


I LOVE BANANAS AND SO DO MY DOGS! Bananas are safe for dogs as long as they eat them in moderation and only as an occasional treat (try to explain that to my dogs though lol 😂). They’re a wholesome source of nutrients and provide health benefits that can improve a dog’s general wellbeing.

The following vitamins and minerals found in bananas are of most use to dogs:

Vitamin B6
Vitamin C
Magnesium
Potassium
Biotin (Vitamin B7)

Don’t forget that bananas are high in natural sugars, in the form of fructose, but most importantly, they are NOT a substitute for your dog’s diet and only an occasional treat 👍🏻.

Let me know what you (and your dogs 😉) think.

Jitka xx
 


Is a Scottie the Dog for You?

I have a few different breeds myself but I would say that Scottie is the most comical breed I’ve ever had. Scotties expressions, their moves, the way they challenge us… even though it’s not always funny at the moment 🙈.

Mr Tank

We got our first Scottie, Mr. Tank, completely by accident. He was supposed to go to Mexico I think, or somewhere similar, and he was just going to stay with us for a few weeks to socialize, etc. Now, 8 years later, he’s still socializing with us lol 😂

Martha

Martha in her show career

Our second Scottie, Martha, came to us from Russia and from day one she was full on! Marina brought her in a crate, as she was traveling by bus for the day from Russia to the UK, and I remember thinking… poor puppy, she’ll come out all stressed and shy… but nope, not Martha! She sprung out of her travel box, ran and jumped around, all happy and confident with no sign of distress at all.

The moment we brought her home she took one look at the living room, jumped onto the sofa, then straight onto the puffy. From there she jumped onto the set of drawers and then onto the dining room table. It happened so fast that it looked like she was flying! John grabbed her, told her off and she looked at him with an expression on her face as if to say, ‘whatever’ and then did it again 😂. Over the year we’ve learned to recognize that expression as… nothing good is about to happen guys. It’s the same look when you call your dog and he/she looks at you, thinks for a second, then shoots off in the opposite direction.

Is a Scottie a dog for you?

Scotties, just like other terriers, are not for everyone in my opinion. They are indeed funny, loving, loyal and very independent… but on their own terms. Neither Mr. Tank nor Martha were very affectionate puppies… this only came later in age. Now they sit on our laps in the evenings, demand cuddles and push the other dogs away. My word of advice… if you take yourself very seriously, and you don’t like to be laughed at, don’t get a Scottie 😂.

Stripping, clipping, and little bit of both.

When it comes to grooming Scotties, they should be hand stripped. With hand stripping the coat will keep good colour and texture. Hand stripping is more labour, however. It’s harder and more time consuming and a lot of groomers don’t do it. The other alternatives are clipping or hand stripping simulation. I use this technique on Mr.Tank.

I use the Coat King on him to remove the undercoat and loose excessive top coat. The Coat King is not a hand stripping tool as it cuts the hair as well as pulls it and allows me to get loads out every time. I then scissor his body, to make it tidier or I use comb attachments. I then style the head and legs as normal.

Where to find Scottie lovers?

If you’re thinking about getting a Scottie puppy, or you already have one, there are a few clubs you can join: The Scottish Terrier Club England, South Wales Scottish Terrier Club, The West Of England Scottish Terrier Club, Midland Counties Scottish Terrier & West Highland White Terrier Club.

If you’re looking for a rescue Scottie or would like to support a Scottie rescue centre, look at Scottish Terrier Emergency Care Scheme. They took part in Vita Canis Style to Rescue for the first time in April this year and we managed to raise almost £1000 for them. I’m so excited because they’re coming again next year too 😊.

And of course the endless Facebook pages and groups and Instagram profiles ❤️

Are you a Scottie owner? What do you love about your Scottie?

Jitka xx

Keep Calm and Keep Walking

Tips how to clean your dog after a muddy walk.

The weather was unbelievably beautiful when we were in Slovakia a couple of weeks ago. It was crispy and a bit foggy in the mornings but temperatures during the day were around 20°C. Colours red, orange and dark green were seen everywhere and the mountains around the town looked like they been painted by an impressionist ❤️

Dog walks are really enjoyable for everyone in weather like this and after walk care is a piece of cake… no mud and no debris on their little feet, so a quick wipe with a towel is enough.

Then… we arrived back home 🙈

Even though the weather in the UK was dry the footpaths were a bit muddy, especially one part where the cows move from the field to their night time accommodation. In some places it’s so deep that I have to carry the Scotties, Mr Tank and Martha because they can get stuck with their short legs. It actually happened before and it was quite comical. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t laugh in front of them (obviously) 😊.

I’m very lucky that I have a grooming salon next to our house, so I can give everyone’s paws a quick shower after a muddy walk but when I didn’t have this opportunity, I had to plan ahead with a few things…

Plan ahead with a few things…

Towels

Having a pile of clean towels handy is definitely necessary. You don’t want to be searching for towels while your muddy dog is running in a hallway. 

A bucket and a sponge with lukewarm water

If for any reason you can’t put your dog straight into a shower, get a tub of water and a sponge ready before you leave. When you get back, put each foot in the tub and use the sponge to clean between the pads and toes and dry with a clean towel afterwards. If the feet are extremely muddy, you may need to change the water. Make sure to dry the feet thoroughly as the wet and warm environment between pads and toes make an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and yeast. Although bacteria are good at adapting to their environments, certain conditions promote bacterial growth more than others. Some of these conditions include temperature and moisture.

Extra Tip

If your pup has furry legs, don’t rub the coat with the towel and instead, just keep squeezing. Consistent rubbing can cause matting. Also, a quick but thorough brush with a comb will help prevent knots in your dog’s coat.

Plan the walk based on the weather

Dry days are the perfect time to discover new routes that will help your dog stay clean during the wet weather.

Keep hair and nails short

Excessive hair between pads and toes as well as long nails, like to hold a lot of mud and debris on your dog’s feet, so sometimes it make the actual walking uncomfortable for the dog. This is especially bad if we don’t clean them properly after muddy walks. Mud then hardens and presses on our dog’s pads. Dogs try to chew it out, or keep licking their paws and it just increases paw irritation. If you are not confident enough when it comes to trimming your dog’s paws, pop in to your local groomer and ask them to trim your dog’ pads, cut the hair between the toes and trim the nails. This will not only make your cleaning easier but your dog will be more comfortable.

Paw Butter & Soothing Antiseptic Spray

Have Paw Butter and Soothing Antiseptic Spray handy – in the winter months, when the footpaths are icy and the roads are full of grit, I put a layer of Paw Butter on my dog’s pads as well as in between them. The Paw Butter leaves behind a nice silky film and protects the paws and pads from the build-up of snow and grit. If I see any scratches on my dog’s feet, after a clean I spray them with Soothing Antiseptic Spray. Soothing Antiseptic Spray is an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic treatment which provides relief from scratches and has a regenerative effect on damaged skin.

Vita Canis Paw Butter is a semi solid whipped butter with essential oils which soothes and moisturises paws and dry skin e.g. elbows, near nose, etc.

Some other tips:

Winter clothes for your dog

I used to have an overall for my Kerry Kimi when I used to show her and she was in full coat but now I can’t imagine dressing 7 dogs before each walk 🙈. I found washing easier, but that’s just my opinion and only because I’ve got the facilities.

Zip-up dog bag

Zip-up dog bags are made from a very absorbent material and cover the entirety of your muddy pup so you can be sure that your car will remain clean after a muddy walk

Have some towels in your car instead of disposable wipes

It’s definitely more environmentally friendly especially now that we know that wipes contain plastic.

And Lastly… don’t have carpets, lol, and especially not in the hall way 😂

What People Say...

When we got home from the hospital with our new arrival it was clear that Perri, one of our miniature poodles, maternal instincts kicked in and went into overdrive. She was immediately acting like a mother separated from her pups and just wanted to care for the ‘naked puppy’. She has a history of being so motherly, even to the point that she has produced milk for puppies that aren’t hers even before she had a litter and has mothered every type of animal she could. She was panting, pacing and unable to relax for long at all. She could whine for England!

We tried other herbal remedies we had at hand for a previous anxious dog and nothing worked at all. She stopped eating and stressed herself into overheating too. Her stress was starting to impact the other dogs and she just couldn’t unwind. No matter if we worked off her energy with a walk and she wasn’t even interested in her usual mind games or call games. We also couldn’t offer long-lasting treats and chews too often as they gave her an upset stomach.

As soon as the Calming Floral Spray arrived I gave the bed a spritz and put some on her coat and the change was instant. She just got on her bed and fell asleep. She stopped panting and barely whines now, started eating again and she only does a bit of whining if the baby cries. We have now been able to positively reinforce her calm behaviour. I honestly can’t recommend this enough to people.
Natalie Griffiths