Friday, 27 June 2008

Pooch & Mutt: Tantalising tennis balls

Pooch & Mutt: Tantalising tennis balls

Tantalising tennis balls

British summertime has finally arrived and what better way to celebrate than with a good dose of Wimbledon washed down with a cold glass of Pimms and lemonade. But if you are not fortunate enough to enjoy a front seat at the court, or like me, you’ve had your fair share of Tim Henman, then you can always venture outside with your pooch to enjoy some ball activity.

Dogs seem to be born with a fascination for chasing balls, be it footballs, basketballs, golf balls and tennis balls. I recently learnt that my dog would make an excellent ‘ball dog’ at Wimbledon fetching those small fluorescent orbs across the court.

It must be because they can bounce so high that tennis balls have a kind of magnetic power to entertain our canine friends (even the police use tennis balls as rewards for finding narcotics). I discovered this for myself when Milo, my teenage dachshund, sniffed out a round yellow ball from under my bed.

After playing with his exciting new toy for ages, Milo, who also comes with a desire to destroy just about anything, begins chewing the ball. So if, like me, you have a dog who prefers to ingest half the contents of his toys, especially those squeaky ones, then it’s probably best to reconsider letting him play with a tennis ball. For everyone else an abandoned tennis ball makes a great toy for your dog this summer, and another way to reduce your carbon paw print.

Much to Milo’s dismay I have to confiscate the terrific tennis ball, or what remains of it, and replace it with a safer option like a digestible rubber ball. This kind of ball does the trick, it bounces and rolls, but its also made from natural rubber and is 100% biodegradable so if mischievous Milo does decide to swallow some of it he can basically digest it along with his food, genius.

A ball is probably one of the most popular toys you can own for your dog so it goes without saying there are plenty to choose from out there. If the traditional rubber ball doesn’t get your tail wagging then give your dog more of a challenge and try something like the boomer ball which is pretty much indestructible!

If your pet needs more stimulation there are mint and peanut butter flavoured dog tennis balls, floating balls for swimmers, balls with tug ropes and even balls that make funky sounds - probably enough to send you ball barking mad. If the ball doesnt quite do the trick then try some more summer dog toys we sniffed out.

1. Dog frisbees - perfect for high flying dogs

2. Peppermint scented globe ball toy - the classic ball toy

3. Hemp rope toy - the natural dog toy for those green paws

4. K9 water dog toy - designer plush toy to quench posher paws

5. Tennis ball launcher - more fetching fun for active pooches

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


The winner of this month's prize draw for a free bag of Bionic Biotic is:

Pauline Mitchell from Wales and her King Charles Spaniel, Cassie.

To enter the monthly prize draw click here

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Putting the walkies into work

This Friday is take your dog to work day in the US and I can’t help thinking as I write this blog what the world would be like if we all took our dogs to work. Would we all be distracted and waste precious working time chasing tails around the office whilst trying to impress the boss? Or, looking on the brighter side, would work, that daily prison cell, finally become a happier place in the presence of a furry friend, not to mention those bonus breaks we would get in the form of ‘walkies’.

The whole idea reminds me of the day before a school holiday when we would be allowed to take our toys into the classroom for the day. Something we always associated with ‘home time’ finally became part of ‘school time’. In a similar way I felt that leap of joy when I took my dachshund puppy into work a year or so ago. I always remember that his shear presence made everyone, even the most depressed of colleagues, smile. I am a firm believer that pets are therapeutic creatures and have the power to soothe and calm us. How nice would it be to be able to get a quick furry cuddle when we are having a ruff day.

Our pets play a huge part in our lives outside work and to be able to take that part of us into a place we spend a third of it is a real treat. What could be more exciting than showing your prized pooch off to your envious and petless desk buddies. Who knows, your dog may even allow you to break the ice with certain people you may never have spoken to otherwise and if the boss is a fan of those four paws then your onto a winner!

Whilst most of us rely on pet sitters or friends to take care of our dogs when we are absent the idea of fido running around the office for the day is as exciting as it is unnerving for any dog owner. It also depends on how well trained your dog is and how it copes with unfamiliar environments and meeting new people. If you, like me, have a particularly active canine try taking him on a long walk in the morning to get his energy levels down for the rest of the day. If your dog is shy and enjoys regular naps during the day make sure you create a small space for him and fill it with favourite pet toys to give him a quiet and cosy retreat. If you want to take your dog to work make sure that you well in advance and if you are particularly worried about how it will effect your dog think about feeding him a daily probiotic. This will help balance his digestive system and prepare him for the travelling and changes to his daily routine, which can often upset a dog.

For those of you itching to give it a go The Blue Cross have an annual fundraising day in the UK on 17th September where you can take your pooch to work and raise money for the charity.

Not sure how Milo would fair in an interview when his CV interests would include activities such as chasing squirrels, barking at neighbours and digging holes. Not a hugely sociable pooch but hey its just for the day and there are no squirrels or neighbours in the office!

(Lisa Ronchetti reporting from Hound Headquarters at Pooch & Mutt)

Thursday, 12 June 2008

What is your dog's carbon paw print?

Ever thought about how as a pet owner you and your dog can do more to help the environment?

Pooch & Mutt are running a short poll to find out how environmentally friendly the nation’s pets are. To take part simply answer the questions on the left of this blog - if you are reading through a reader click here

This is not all about the negative impact that a dog can have, like when a it’s poop is disposed of in a non-biodegradable bag, but also about the benefits. How many times have you taken your dog on a long walk to the shops, when you might have driven instead? And have you ever thought about the food and products you are buying?

The poll will highlight some areas where we will all be able to make our canine more conscientious. In the mean time here are some tips to help you and fido begin reducing your carbon paw print.

1. Biodegradable poop bags – Buy some, they are much more environmentally friendly and will take less time to decompose meaning less waste in the environment and the death of plastic bags. You can find them on Pet Planet

2. Wonderful walkies - Even if it starts to rain outside get out of the car and onto the pavement to reduce those toxic fumes leaking into the atmosphere. You can find a good suggestions for dogs at

3. Buy your dog sustainable accessorieshemp collars with matching leashes look great, you can even buy pet beds made with organic cotton

4. Look for products packed in biodegradable packaging, like Pooch & Mutt.

5. Finally, spend more time with your pet - investing more time in playing with your pet means you will spend less time doing other, resource consuming things like using your mobile phone, driving a car or watching TV

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

IVY's Story

Ivy’s Story:
A German Shepherd rescued and treated by the RSPCA Leicestershire Branch

On 16th Dec 2007, Ivy the German Shepherd was found tied to a lamp post on a main road in Leicester. She was in a very poor state and had barely any fur. Her skin was very inflamed and itchy; it was obvious that she had been suffering for many months.

Ivy was rushed straight to a vet for examination. Her skin condition was a mystery as she didn’t have fleas, and all the tests for sarcoptic mange proved negative. She certainly had some kind of deep rooted infection and fears were that she may never recover from this horrendous skin complaint. The months of suffering had made Ivy very depressed, her condition had worn her down.

Ivy had been prescribed a course of antibiotics by the vet and required regular baths in a soothing shampoo to try to alleviate the itching. In conjunction with this treatment we also gave her POOCH & MUTT’SBIONIC BIOTIC” (a supplement to help aid the recovery of both skin and coat). Ivy had a spoonful of the supplement sprinkled on her on her food of each day. She never refused this supplement and it was always readily eaten without any problems.

We had been warned by the vet that her fur may never grow back as the hair follicles may be too damaged. However much to everyone’s amazement I am delighted to say that Ivy’s fur has grown back on 98% of her body. Her skin has now shown incredible improvement and although she still has slight signs of the infection on her tummy we are ever hopefully that the continued use of “BIONIC BIOTIC” will eventually get this under control.

As you can see by the photos Ivy is a lot happier in herself and is almost ready for us to re-home her.

Lisa Smith. RSPCA Leicestershire