This Post is the second part of my blog from last week 'The Magic of tidying - Your Dogs Toy Box' where I went through my dogs toy box and did a full de-clutter and clean.
After going through all the toys I was left with an almost equal amount of toys that are no longer fit for purpose.
And there in lies my problem. most pet owners would probably throw a single toy that had reached it end of its usefulness in the bin, which will end up in a landfill. Truthfully ignorance would be bliss. But I know that these toys, which are a mix rope, plush and rubber will not simply biodegrade. They may brake down into smaller and smaller pieces but they will remain in the landfill for years. Knowing that made me feel really uneasy about chucking them in the bin, so into the shed the box went and so began my journey to find a way to avoid the landfill.
So far this journey has be long, tedious, often times confusing and contradictory and really frustrating! Surely it should not be so difficult to find out a way to dispose of dog toys (or any product for that matter) in a way that would mean they don't end up in a landfill?
My research began with internet searches and phone calls to suppliers and one of the UK's biggest pet retailers. During which Pets at Home kept me on hold for 15 minuets of my life before I was able to speak to someone who then called my local store; which I could have done myself if it wasn't for the fact that I wanted to know about the company as whole and not just one store..... and breathe.
Being such a large supplier of the products that I'm looking into; I thought that as a company Pets at Home might be part of, or be aware of a scheme that enabled dog owners to hand in old, damaged toys for recycling but no, not even a clue as to what I was asking.
Now let me just make clear that in this case I am talking about toys that are no longer fit purpose and are therefor not suitable or safe to be donated to charities. Pets at Home stores do have collection bins for donations of toys, food, bedding ect.
I did check out a company that I have read about before called TerraCycle. They seem to recycle or re-purpose just about anything and sure enough they have a collection scheme for pet products including toy, bowls, grooming items and even collars and leads, but there is a catch, a rather large £130.40 catch.
You see at the moment the scheme doesn't have a Sponsor company to support the cost of drop off points and collections (this is the information I was given when I called and asked them about it) so the only method currently available is to purchase one of their zero waste boxes for Pet products. Which starts at the lofty price of £130.40 for a box that measures just 20cmx25cmx46cm.
Imagine if every time you purchased a toy for your dog you also thought about the cost of eventual disposal. Maybe we should all be thinking with that mindset before we buy our pet products.
TerraCycle estimates that their small box can hold 55 units of waste, that equates to £2.37 per item to dispose it. At the moment most of us don't have the sort of money laying around plus a box that size wouldn't even hold all the items from this one de-clutter.
At the moment all this falls to you and me the consumer. It has become very clear to me that manufacturers and suppliers are taking little to no responsibility for the end stage of the products they are producing and selling.
Some of you might say, why don't you buy biodegradable toys if it's that important to you? And my answer will be "well I will NOW, but that doesn't deal with the issue that I have NOW"
My point being that it shouldn't be so difficult to avoid landfill. There are companies that make and produce biodegradable pet products and as a small retailer myself I feel I must also start to be accountable for the products I sell.
We all have the power to choose where we spend our money but it's equally true that you buy whats available, I strongly feel that suppliers need to be more transparent about and responsible for the toys they produce and sell. At the moment it seems to be the case that once you have bought it, it's your problem.
So as you may have guessed the box of old toys is still in my shed. The journey is not yet complete. Over the next few weeks, I'll be contacting retailers and suppliers to see what they have to say.
If you have any companies you think I should speak or any thought and ideas about what to do with old dog toys please comment below, or send me tweet @RandR_Pet
Like loads of people all over the world, I too have discovered the joy of tidying up with the KonMari method. Now, I haven't gone through the whole process for myself but this week I decided to apply some Marie Kondo's techniques to tackle my dogs toy box.
Like many dogs my two love toys, they like chasing them, chewing them, pulling, tugging and skinning them. My jack Russel, Ella has an obsession with balls and will make you play fetch over and over and over. Mim, my Yorkie is a dreaded stuffing eater!
They do have their favorites and will continue to play with the left over skins but it does get to the point when the box no longer contains anything that resembles what they were to begin with.
It's also a chance to give all the toys a good clean. If you can't safely clean a toy then you may want to dispose of it after it's been played with. Of course if you've read my blog before you will know that I'm not a big fan of waste and as I found during this process, trying to dispose of dog toys without them going to landfill is a challenge that most owners wouldn't tackle.
The first thing I did was to let the dogs outside so that I could put the toy box in the living room with out getting them all excited. If I had allowed the dogs to decided what toys "Sparks Joy" we would have to keep everything!
So this our dogs toy box, as you can see there are a load of them! We a have a varied selection, I also have a an empty box which I will be using to separate the toys when I'm done.
You can scroll through the photos to get an idea of my method.
After going through all the toys I took the keep pile in the box and washed all the toys and the box.
I just used hot soapy water and a scrubber (not the same one I use for the dishes!) to wash all the toys. Now I didn't have many plush toys but if you do you could put them through the washing machine (if you do this I would recommend that you put them in a wash bag).
After washing, I left them on the side to air dry. I was actually really grossed out by how clean they looked! It just goes to show how dirty they really were!
Once all the toys were dry it was just a case of putting them away.
I decided not to let the dogs have access to all the toys all of the time, using another box inside the toy box to separate them.
Now I just had to take out the box of old toys, but as I should have said at the beginning, you should probably do a quick whip round before you start shorting or may have a similar experience to me as I detail in the slide show below!
So this is definitely something that I'm going to start doing more often, it didn't really take all that long but next week I'll follow up with the fate of the discarded toys!
Please comment below if you have given this a go, I'd love them to see them!
This is something that I have wanted to talk about for some time. It comes up regularly on social media, it's often unclear about what is covered and where; and after getting through to page 6 of 16 on the guidance for legislation regarding sections 55-67 of the clean neighbourhoods and environment Act 2005 (and breathe); I’ve realised it may take more than just one blog!
So, what I’m going to talk about what offecences exactly are included in a ‘control of dogs order’. I will put links the sites I have referenced and used for the information here below if you too would like to read the guidance in its entirety (you may need some aspirin if you do!).
Now I am not a legal expert but I hope that this will give you better understanding of what the legislation actually is and how it may affect you and your dogs, or people you know. I will try to keep the legal thesaurus to a minimum but I have found the word use in the guidance very deliberate, seemingly to be broad and wide reaching and to make me feel like I know nothing of the English language!
The clean neighbourhoods and environment Act 2005 covers several different areas including: waste, litter, noise, abandoned vehicles and even abandoned trolleys to name a few. But it’s the dog parts we’re talking about and that comes in at section 55.
This describes the offences and penalties as well as the procedures and forms for making dog control orders. It’s important to mention that Dog Control Orders replace the previous system of byelaws for the control of dogs and the Dogs fouling of land Act 1996 (which has been repealed).
For today I am just going to talk about what offences are described by this legislation; I’ll do more posts covering the other sections, once my brain has had time to recover from all the legalese.
The regulation describes five offences which may be ‘prescribed’ in a dog control order. These offences are:
It might not seem like I’ve covered a lot today, but I still have 10 more page to read through of the guidance and it seemed best to brake it down into more manageable pieces.
If you have any questions about today's blog, please message me via the contact page and I’d be happy to try and help.
Useful links used for today’s article:
Dental care is for everyone.
This week is about dental care for dogs and cats, as dental health for rabbits and rodents is a different bale of hay all together.
If we’re being honest, there aren’t many of us who are on the ball and in the know when it comes to our pet’s dental health. When it comes to dogs, many owners feel that they can just give them a ‘specially designed’ dental chew every day and they all good, right?
Well, maybe not. Good oral hygiene is an important and often overlooked part of your pet’s overall health and wellbeing, whether they’re a little nipper, golden oldie, cross breed or top-notch pedigree.
Think about the last time you had a tooth ache, I try not to myself, but my point is you were probably miserable. Luckily for you, you are a human with thumbs and the ability to decide to take some painkillers or tell people to watch out because you’re not in a bad mood, you’re in pain; and you have reluctantly booked into the dentist this afternoon.
Now imagine you’re a cat or dog suffering the pain of a tooth ache or sore gums. This not only has health and welfare implications but can also lead to serious behaviour problems. A good example of this is a condition in cats (particularly noted in Burmese cats) called ‘Feline orofacial pain syndrome’ quite the mouthful I know; but this is where dental problems are causing the cat so much pain that they paw at their own faces over and over and over again, until it is so raw that it often bleeds!
There are some other signs that your pet could be suffering for dental discomfort such as:
For an older cat or dog, it can be stressful for both you and your pet to take a look at what’s going on. I know the only way my cat would let me see her teeth was if she was going to plant them in my hands during play time!
But there are some early warning signs to watch out for:
Even the saying ‘getting long in the tooth’; this apparent growing of upper canine in old pets is caused by periodontal infection forcing the tooth out of it socket.
A dental infection can also have affects on other body systems, if there is a high bacteria level or if the pet is immune compromised or suffering from another illness. So as any dentist will tell you, prevention is better than cure and maintaining regular oral hygiene routines will help keep those tails wagging.
Here are the things that I do for my dog’s Dental health:
There is a product that I’m going to start using next week- Beaphur tooth gel.
This product is suitable for cats and dogs, and cleans teeth without the use of a brush. The gel contains enzymes that fight the bacteria that cause bad breath and breaks down plaque. Any plaque that’s not brushed away would combine with calcium to form tartar, but this gel has ingredients that bind to calcium, to prevent further formation of tartar. This product can be used 2-3 times a week, so I’m hoping that it will be an easy addition to the pet’s routine.
I’ll let you all know how it goes!
A special thank you to Beaphar Uk training for the graphic and teeth pictures
Why worming your pets regularly is important as a preventative and not just a treatment.
I’d like to tell you about a friend of mine and her little dog, we’ll call her dog Daisy for this story. When Daisy’s owners went on holiday, their daughter, my friend was looking after her when she noticed kept shuffling her bottom along the floor. She contacted her parents to find out when Daisy was last wormed but as they were on a long-haul flight she didn’t hear back straight away. After we had a chat about Daisy, she decided to give to give Daisy a one does wormer and soon after Daisy’s poo revealed a rather large worm burden. Unfortunately, Daisy was still fussing around her back end and seemed uncomfortable. So, having still not heard back from her parents, my friend decided to take Daisy to the vet. Upon examining her the vet found that during her bum shuffling episodes Daisy had caused cuts and grazes to her genitals and anal area. She had been licking them and making them even worse. In addition, she also needed to have her anal glands expressed, antibiotics and a cream which had to be applied twice a day. When the parents were able to get in contact, they simply said that they only gave Daisy a worming treatment when they saw that she was itching her bottom.
Unfortunately, this treating worms, once symptoms become noticeable, rather than preventing them seems to be quite common. A lot of owners seem unsure about how often they should be worming their pets or why it’s so important.
The most common parasitic worms are round worms and tape worms. All dogs and cats are susceptible to worms through out their life and they can pass them on to other animals and even people!
There are three main reasons that pet owners must treat their dogs and cats against worms regularly:
You may have seen a few weeks ago I did a blog about plastic pollution, particularly plastic waste in the pet product industry. Here at the Pet hotel I often find myself trying to reduce our waste, not an easy task when you consider how many pets live here as well as the humans!
But really we all know that waste and over consumption is a problem and what I feel (and I think other people do too) is that we are tired of hearing about all the problems, all the shocking images of rubbish strewn beaches. What we really want now are solutions!
There are my top 3 things that I have already done here at The Pet Hotel, that I think can be helpful for every pet owner. There are loads more but it's easy to be overwhelmed and it's much more achievable to make small changes stick. Some them will actually save you money as well as reduce your impact on the environment.
2. Home made cleaner and disinfectant - This one is really easy and will save you money! I make my own cleaning spray for use for both the pets and around the house. The key ingredient is distilled white vinegar, buy the largest quantity you can manage, as this will give you the biggest saving. I buy around 20litres at a time on line, so far I have not needed to buy any more and that was over a year and half ago. I reuse the spray bottles from the cleaners I already had after they were empty and rinsed them out. For a general purpose spray you only need about 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water. Now if the thought of a vinegar smells puts you off (generally it makes me want chips!) you can add a few drops of essential oils (and really you just need a few drops) to get that nice smell. I put in used lemon and citrus peels in mine, which I collect from my local cafe!
If you're spending money on new cleaning sprays, for that "clean fresh" smell you really are just wasting your money and contributing to more plastic and chemicals being used and produced.
3. Switch to a green energy supplier - Honestly this is one the best things we have done to reduce our overall foot print. As it turned out for us the cost of the tarif was actually less than we were paying with our previous big supplier. They supply 100% renewable electricity and 10% green gas. For every unit of or energy that we use they make sure a unit is produced and put back into the grid by a renewable source. They source energy from solar, wind and hydro generators from across the country. The green gas they supply goes from renewable sources too, like farm and food waste.
They buy the energy from independent energy generators across the UK and where ever possible they have a direct relation with these generators to purchase their output. To cover any shortfalls, they purchase renewables from the wholesale market. Their energy sources vary from solar and wind to hydro or anaerobic digestion.
If you'd like to find out more about switching energy energy supplier please get in touch via the contact page :)
Another Friday is here already. It has been a really busy week here at R and R. On Monday I traveled up to Sandown park for PATS trade show, where suppliers, manufactures and industry professionals all get together to network, show off new products and ideas and make orders.
Its a great way to see whats going on in the pet world as a trader. I also get to catch up, all be it briefly with reps from companies that I don't get to see much of now.
There were a few products that really caught me eye and whilst I don't have pictures of them all to share just yet, I'm pretty sure that once you see them in use you will love them:
Projects in the pipeline.
So I have a few projects currently in the pipeline for R and R, the one I want to talk about is the refurbishment and build of a multi level hutch and run for my male guinea pigs. Since Donatello passed away, it has been painfully obvious how much Raphael is missing his friend. I also have 2 other single male guinea pigs and another single boy, who comes on his holidays with us who lost his friend and is lonely too. The plan is to build a hutch and run that they can all live together in but have plenty of room and hidey holes if they want some space. I have had a few people tell me that Male guinea pigs can't live together, that they will fight to the death! But it has been my experience that it really depends on the piggies themselves, they are all unique and whilst I'm not 100% sure that it will work as I have planned ( it rarely does) I do know that I would rather give them the opportunity for companionship then not try at all and let them spend the rest of their lives on their own.
You can follow the project on my justgiving page here
So this Monday was the last day of Benji’s 28 day course of treatment for a parasitic infection called E.cuniculi. Last week I went into some depth about what the condition is and how it affects rabbits. Link here. I apologies if this week’s blog seems a bit rambling, but I wanted to be as honest as possible about my particular experience. Now that Benji has made it to the end of the treatment, I wanted to share some of those experiences with you. Seeing that your rabbit has head tilt can be very unsettling, but it is by no means the end of the road. What this process has taught me is the importance of catching this illness early. The damage caused by the parasite can not be fixed but the quicker you can start treatment the less damage there will be and the fewer affects for your bunny to live with.
So, I do think it is worth getting to see a rabbit savvy vet as soon as possible and I really do mean as soon as possible, the same day, although that isn’t always possible. I didn’t notice that Benji had head tilt until late in the evening. It came on suddenly and I was able to get an emergency appointment the following afternoon.
Having said that you don’t need a prescription to get Panacur, which is the treatment used to treat this illness, so if your going to need a lot you don’t have to buy it all from the vet. I have since found it for sale online at about half the price at the vet. Luckily the medication isn’t expensive, it only cost £8.50 from the vet and in total I bought 4.
Your vet can do several other checks, as ours did to eliminate any other possible causes, such as ear infection and looking into the eyes, as well as accurately weighing them (you’ll need this to know how much medication to give). Your vet can listen to their heart and take their temperature. It could be very tempting, given that you can buy Panacure ‘over the counter’ so to speak to make your own diagnosis and start treatment; and no one will know your rabbit as well as you but I for one was very glad that we took Benji as soon as we did.
Luckily for us Benji is already living inside but unfortunately around the same time that he become sick our boiler gave up the ghost! The vet had advised us to keep him warm as his temperature was a little low. It’s important that poorly rabbits aren’t expending any unnecessary energy just to maintain their body temperature. Such would hamper their recovery. Benji has a medium sized dog crate that we leave open for him under the stairs with his litter tray at the back. we covered it with blankets and put an extra thick layer of newspaper under his mat. The old camping adage “one underneath is worth two on top” applies! If you have an outside rabbit who is poorly, I highly recommend that you bring them inside, regardless of the weather. It may not be suitable in the long term but having them in with you, not only keeps them warm and dry (away from draughts mind and not in front of a radiator) but means you are more likely to be aware of any changes and act quickly. We gave Benji a little hottie heat pack on a few of the nights though he didn’t seem too fussed.
Benji had also lost a little bit of weight, not much but we didn’t want him losing any more. I noticed that he seemed to favour the larger pellets that I gave him, usually as tip bits, although they are a complete nugget so I decided to start switching him to the science selective adult. I wouldn’t have normally thought changing food whilst a pet was poorly to be a good idea but he was far keener on them and has actually been eating an entire portion each day. The other addition I made to his diet was to add Alfalfa hay to his meadow hay. I have spoke about this product before and how it has really helped me with a severally poorly rabbit before.
Mostly Benji was easy to give his medication to. There were a few times when he kicked forward with his back legs and caught me on the arm. He also bit the syringe a couple times but that actually makes it easier to get it in his chops. One of the things I did find difficult was making sure I had put the right amount in, you need to make sure that you can see the marking on the tube as you are administering it. A couple of times he seemed to spit a lot out or it ended up on his face. On the face is ok as he’ll clean it off himself and eat it anyway.
It’s important that if you think your rabbit is not responding to the treatment or is getting worse that you get them back to your vet. I have noticed that Benji now doesn’t seem to bother going on his litter tray, he just seems to wee wherever he is. I don’t know if this will be permanent, so we may have to make some adjustments to his housing to help keep him clean.
I’ll keep you all updated as to how Benji is getting on post treatment.
So for the past 2 weeks, my mini lop Blu has been living in our front room, since he lost his friend and the n the weather got very cold. He has turned out to be a bold and confident little bunny. A little too confident perhaps, he has also developed a taste for the end of the sofa! Now I can't can't show a picture because he has gone for the end where there's a gap just big enough for him to fit between the sofa and the cabinet. So as well as blocking up these areas, I've made him several different feeders and toys to try and keep him ocupied.
Here are just a few of the things that I came up with, these were all things that I already had around the house.
Commonly referred to as E.cuniculi. As you may have seen from my Facebook page and my blog, my house rabbit Benji developed head tilt just over two weeks ago. (looking on the bright side)
The most common cause of head tilt in rabbits is caused by the parasitic infection of E.cuniculi. I have come across E.cuniculi in rabbits before but never in my own rabbits so rather than just talk about Benji’s 28-day treatment plan, I decide to do some further research into this disease and share it with you.
whilst we refer to a rabbit as having ‘head tilt’ or E.cuniculi the disease that the parasite causes is called encephalitozoonosis – you can see why we just call it head tilt! The infection affects the spinal cord, the brain and the kidneys.
A quick side note here; the information I have gathered has come from papers and studies written by vets, for vets and students. I’ll put some links to those below if you want to have a read.
E.cuniculi is a parasitic protozoa. A protozoa is a single celled, microscopic organism. They multiply within their host which causes serious and sometimes life-threatening infections.
So how is it spread?
The general consensus from the information that I have read agrees that rabbits become infected from ingesting the parasite spores that have been shed in the urine of infected rabbits, including wild rabbits and rodents. Although less common, infection can also occur from inhalation of the spores and from mother to young during pregnancy.
Can humans get this disease? Well…
If you have ever heard of zoonotic diseases you may have noticed the zoonosis part of encephalitozoonosis!! So, the answer is yes!
But please don’t panic, the only people who are really at risk are those who are extremely immunocompromised.
what are the signs? Before doing research for this blog, I thought that the first sign of head tilt was, well head tilt! However, I have since found out that hind leg weakness is a common sign, which Benji does have, something that we had put down to Benji’s age but took him to see a vet anyway and our vet thought was linked to his irregular heart rhythm. If it becomes advanced a rabbit can become paralyzed or roll around uncontrollably, which I can tell you from personal experience working with adoption rabbits, is horrible to see and must be awful for the rabbit. This symptom is thought to be caused by swelling around the parasite in the spinal cord causing damage to the nervous tissue. This damage can not be repaired. There are a few other symptoms and a rabbit may show some or all of them including:
Strangely one study showed that around 52% of healthy rabbits carry the parasite but may never suffer symptoms. It’s still not really understood why some rabbits get symptoms and other don’t. A much smaller percentage, around 6% develop signs of infection and when sever clinical signs develop it is recommended that that the rabbit be put to sleep.
What can you do? Whilst there is a test for E.cuniculi it’s not really very useful as I said more than 50% of rabbits seem to have the parasite. The best advice I can find is to quarantine new rabbits from existing ones. Be sure to thoroughly disinfect when using a used hutch. These spores are pretty resistant to environmental changes so a good 1-10% bleach solution is a good idea.
If you just got a rabbit, no matter where it came from, it would be advisable to give it Lapizole (Panacure) for 28 days. You don’t need to get this from the vet, pet shops that sell licenced medication should stock it but there’s no harm in a vet check with a new pet. I know it sounds like a lot but if the rabbit does have the parasite it can kill it off before any symptoms and irreversible damage is done. Not only will I be treating Benji until February, I will also treat my four other rabbits this year. I can tell you now, some will be more trouble than others, there will be blood – Mine!
Even if your rabbit doesn’t have any of the parasite there should be no adverse effects from giving Panacure. It would also be wise to wash any greens that have been gathered to feed your rabbits that may have come into contact with wild rabbits,
I will keep you updated on my Panacure progress.