Introducing our Barry and Penarth Dog Walking Team!

At the end of 2016 we launched our new Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan

DogWalking Penarth Barry DInasPowys

Catherine and Tess

dog walking team. Our dog walkers and pet sitters are now able to provide dog walking and pet care services in Penarth, Barry, Dinas Powys, Sully, Llandough and the surrounding areas.

Our small team of fantastic pet carers are managed by the wonderful Catherine. Catherine lives locally and, as well as being a busy mum of two young children, has her own lovely rescue dog Tess who is frequently seen out assisting Catherine with her dog walking services.

Our Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters in Penarth, Dinas Powys, Barry and the Vale are able to provide a wide range of pet sitting services from a dog walking service tailored to your dog’s requirements, doggy day care, dog holiday care, cat sitting and small pet boarding, as well as a variety of options for house sitting.

As with all of our Friends for Pets teams, our dog walkers and pet sitters are:-
· Fully Insured.
· Do not arrive in marked vehicles announcing your empty home.
· Are DBS checked.
· Are able to provide references.
· Undergo our pet sitter award scheme including training in dog behaviour, nutrition, health and disease and much much more!
· From summer 2017 all pet carer will undergo pet first aid training.

Our team over a tailor made service to suit your pets needs rather than you having to fit with us. For all dog walking and pet sitting enquiries in Barry, Penarth, Dinas Powys and the surrounding areas of the Vale of Glamorgan please contact Catherine on barry@friendsforpets.co.uk or 07502 316670.

Common Health Conditions in Certain Dog Breeds

For us as Dog Walkers and Pet Carers it is really important to know what breeds are more susceptible to certain conditions. Some have known genetic links, other conditions are just found to occur more frequently in certain breeds. Below discusses some breeds and some common conditions found within them (this list is only a guide and of course not every dog of that breed type will have this condition. Always get a Veterinary Professional to examine your dog if you are in doubt over any health issue).

Husky – With their thick coats small skin problems can sometimes be missed leading to larger sores on their skin and hair loss in the affected areas. Eye problems such as glaucoma and cataracts can be common in older dogs as well. These can usually be helped with veterinary intervention.
Bull dog – With very pure breeding lines, certain features of dogs have become more pronounced. These smaller dogs with flatter faces, small nostrils and narrower internal respiratory structures can develop breathing difficulties particularly suffering in very hot weather as panting and an increased respiratory rate is used to cool the body. If the dog is physically unable to pant then they can become overheated and overtired leading to potentially life threatening problems.
Pug – With their flatter faces and bulgy eyes, Pugs can suffer from a condition where their eyes can pop out of their socket ie. When rough playing with another dog. If this occurs then cover the eye with a damp cloth and get them to the vet asap!
German Shepherd – Again with very pure breeding lines sometimes the ball and socket joint of the hips don’t fit together properly. This can lead to pain, arthritis and problems walking. In German Shepherds this can be screened for as there has been a genetic link determined.
Labrador- With their kind nature, persuasive eyes and ‘always hungry’ personality, labradors can easily become overweight so they need lots of exercise and healthy snacks such as raw carrots or apples.
Beagle – Epilepsy and fitting as been shown to occur more frequently in beagles than other breeds.
Boxer – Have been shown to have a slightly higher risk for certain types of cancer ie lymphoma and mast cell tumours (skin cancer) which can cause secondary cancers in internal organs. However both types are treatable if caught early and the dog is otherwise healthy.
Dachshund – With their long bodies they run the risk of back injuries and spinal disk problems. Limiting jumping up and down on things and keeping at a healthy weight will help prevent injuries.
Doberman – Occasionally the chambers of the heart are bigger due to the cardiac muscle being stretched out and therefore not being able to pump blood as effectively. Due to the known genetic link, screening and medication can help regulate the heart’s rhythm in known sufferers.
Cocker Spaniel – With their ear shape and that they are hairy, this can lead to ear infections. Prevention can be helped with regular cleaning and allowing the air to circulate around the inside of the ear as much as possible. Ask a veterinary professional for advice relating to your specific dog.
Rottweiler – and other large breeds are at risk of joint problems as they are fast growing puppies and sometimes their joints to fully finish developing until they are around 18 months old. Being very careful with the amount of exercise, surfaces they are exercised on and maintaining a healthy diet can all help joints develop correctly.
German Shorthaired Pointer – Can suffer from a heart condition caused by the narrowing of the main blood vessel from the heart causing strain on the heart as it struggles to pump enough blood around the body. This can be quite common in other larger dog breeds too.
Maltese – can suffer with tremors caused by inflammation of the cerebellum (the part of the brain that helps with movement). The tremors can be helped with corticosteroids.

Indoor Games for your dog.

It’s that time of year when sometimes it’s more difficult to take your dog out for a long walk. To help keep you dog fit, active and entertained you could play some indoor games with your dog. Here are some ideas for fun boredom busters for you and your dog..

1) Hunt the treat – Hide some of your dog’s favourite treats around your house and get your dog to sniff them out! They may find it difficult at the start so hide them in sight of your dog. With practise you may be able to hide them without your dog seeing so they start to utilise their sniffing rather than their sight to detect them. If they struggle with finding treats within a room to start with you could just make them choose which hand the treat is in. You could use a choice of upturned cups with a treat hidden underneath as well for them to sniff out.
2) Toys and treat dispensers – such as Kongs or Nina Ottoson can entertain whilst you can’t!
3) Family Circle – If you have children and your dog is happy and safe with them, get everyone to sit in a circle with some treats and then they can take it in turns to call the dogs name. When the dog comes to the right person calling them, they receive a treat. Make the circle bigger and bigger as the dog gets better at the game. You can eventually end up in different rooms. This really encourages rapid recall.
4) Tug of War – Although there is a lot of different views on playing this with your dog (i.e. If they win then they perceive you as being submissive), a recent study (http://www.npr.org/2011/05/26/136497064/the-new-science-of-understanding-dog-behavior) has shown that actually the more you play with your dog and let them win at a game, the more they like you. The more you win, they less they want to play with you. Just ensure that you halt the game if they get a bit over enthusiastic with the tugging!
5) Obstacle course – If you don’t have ‘proper’ agility equipment to hand (as most owners won’t!), you could make a DIY course for your dog by rolling up towels or blankets for little jumps. Walk them through the course first and then let them have a go themselves. This is also a good way to get your dog to stretch certain soft tissues in the joints without over exerting them on a walk i.e. After surgery etc. Always follow your vets instructions for how much exercise and what type of exercise your dog can do though. Kitchen chairs or a coffee table could be used as a tunnel, a stool to balance on etc.
6) Name Game – Studies have shown that dogs understand around 200 words. If they like to play with toys, you could give a name to each toy and teach it to them, giving a reward when you say the correct toy and they bring it to you. Teach them one toy at a time and keep repeating the name until they associate it with the specific toy.
7) Basketball – Teach your dog to drop their toy or ball into a washing basket. Ensure they know the ‘drop’ command first and then show them first what you would like them to do and then reward as they start performing the desired behaviour. Once they can do this you could expand on this to get them to tidy up all their toys into a basket (please send them to live with me when they can do this!!).

Christmas 2016 Newsletter!

We have had a very busy year at Friends for Pets providing lots of high quality pet services to our clients big and small! We have opened up a new branch of Friends for Pets in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan which is run by the lovely Catherine Clarke. The launch has been very successful so far with lots of clients already using our small team of pet carers in the area. Thank you for your support and custom through 2016, we really do appreciate it and are working hard on continuing to improve all of our services that we offer. If you do have any suggestions to help us improve please get in touch with your local manager or Becca at head office on becca@friendsforpets.co.uk. Instead of sending Christmas cards we have given a donation to the charity Hounds for heroes (please see their website http://houndsforheroes.com/ for more information about them).
We wish you and your pets a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Best Wishes
Becca and the Friends for Pets Team x

Bradford-on-Avon & Frome Manager’s charity work

Charity DogsSarah, one of our lovely managers, has been doing some work with the Swedish non-profit organisation during her stays in Sweden. Here is a little bit about her work…
“As a team-leader at Friends For Pets I am passionate about animal welfare. Last year I went to Sweden and volunteered with a Swedish non-profit organisation, Hundar Utan Hem, which rehabilitates and rehomes abandoned dogs from Sweden and Ireland. This year I have returned to Sweden to help more dogs in need and I am currently fostering a beautiful one-year-old German shepherd called Jessica. Like so many other dogs, Jessica was dumped outside a pound in Ireland when she was just a few months old and would have been destroyed if it were not for the tireless efforts of Irish dog rescue organisations and Hundar Utan Hem. Now she is safe and happy and has a bright future ahead of her. This Christmas, remember how much joy your pets bring to your life and please do what you can to support your local animal welfare and rescue charities. For more information about the work please visit http://www.hundarutanhem.se/English/.”

Dog charity collections

We have been collecting equipment and food donations for the charity Dogs Friends (http://dogsfriends.me.uk/) throughout the year and matching donations with a monetary donation from Friends for Pets. This year we have raised £150 with matched monetary donations. Thanks to Axe Valley Vets and the Pet Shop in Cheddar who allowed us to place our collection bins with them as points for people to drop goods off as well as everyone who donated through the year, we really are very grateful.

Dog Agility Classes

This Summer we started our Leap Dog Agility classes in Pucklechurch. We held Introductory courses, young handlers and Intermediate sessions. All dogs and handlers had lots of fun, learning agility techniques and playing lots of games at the same time. Our agility will start again in the Spring, we will be taking bookings in the New Year so if you would like further details, and to be added to our mailing list, please email Julia on bath@friendsforpets.co.uk

Awards

We have had a successful year from the business side of things being made a finalist for Customer Service Excellence in the Sedgemoor Business Awards and our Bath Franchise owner, Julia, was made Franchisee of the Year Award winner of the National Mum and Working Awards. We are very honoured to have been part of these awards.

Christmas Office Hours

Although we are carrying out pet care everyday over the Christmas holidays we will be ‘shutting’ our offices from 5pm on Wednesday 21st December and reopening on Tuesday 3rd January 2017. This is just so our managers can have a little break over the Christmas period. Email and voice messages will be checked over this time and anything urgent dealt with otherwise we will get back to you on Tuesday 3rd January.

Pet Carer Award Scheme

Our Pet Carer Training and Award scheme has been rolled out this year with much success and we have developed this even further ready for launch in 2017. Pet carers will now receive training in Pet Nutrition, Behaviour and Communication, Health and Disease, Common Behavioural Issues, Handling Skills, Dog Law, Pet First Aid Skills as well as common traits, health and behavioural issues of different dog types. We hope this will continue to improve the quality of our services by having an even more knowledgeable and experienced team.

Franchise Opportunities

In 2017, we are preparing to relaunch our Franchise opportunities with different options to help grow the Friends for Pets brand. If you or anyone you know are interested in launching your own pet care company or would like further information sent to you on relaunch in the spring please email becca@friendsforpets.co.uk. We are also keen to hear from people currently running their own pet care company wanting support in doing this.

Find us on Social Media at:

If you have any social media accounts we have lots of extra info, pictures of our clients and lots of news through out social media pages. If you would like to follow us our details are:-
See you on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsforPets?ref=hl
See you on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/company/friends-for-pets
Follow and Tweet us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/FriendsforPets

Team Contact Details

Other Enquiries or Franchise Enquires – becca@friendsforpets.co.uk

All the Best from

Friends for Pets

The Power of a Partnership…

When we first started out in the pet care industry, nearly nine years ago, there were very few pet-related businesses around. Over the past few years we have seen the rise of an enormous number of competitors in the pet care industry. Different companies now offer a huge variety of services from grooming, training, pet care and transport services. This is great for the pet industry but due to the number of companies starting up and the work being much more demanding than people first anticipate, so many companies fail to keep going past the first few years or trading. This is a real shame for smaller companies that could have offered so much to pet owners.

Unfortunately for pet owners most trades within the pet industry are unregulated i.e. Dog walkers, pet sitters, dog trainers. For dog walkers, a membership with the Pet Services Association, part of the Pet Industry Federation, although not mandatory, shows a commitment to carrying out as professional job as possible. Currently there are no set dog walking or dog training standards or qualifications so anyone can start their business up. At Friends for Pets, we think it is so important for the welfare of pets in our care to ensure workers in the industry have suitable qualifications experience and knowledge. For all of our new pet carers that work with us they are able to undergo our in house training pet sitter award scheme covering aspects of pet care such as:-

  • pet nutrition,
  • pet behaviour,
  • dog walk management,
  • pet first aid,
  • Dog Law,
  • Dog types and breed traits,
  • pet health and disease as well as many other aspects of pet care.
  • Different companies set their own standards of work many that although start with the best intentions, end up money-focused rather than animal-focused, for example dog walkers walking dogs in groups larger than six (the maximum number to be walked together in a group covered by most dog walking insurance companies) so they are able for less time. The welfare implications for animals is very upsetting and many times the pet owner is unaware that the dog will be spending more time being transported around collecting and delivering dogs back to their homes than actually walking. It is a huge responsibility for that one dog walker to have if something goes wrong either with one of the dogs in their group or from a reactive third party dog. It is so important that standards are developed for our industry.

    Friends for Pets are supporting an All-Party Parliamentary Group to develop standards for different trades within the pet industry which once set, should filter out some of the less animal-focused companies and therefore enhance animal welfare through the pet care and training industries. Friends for Pets is currently one of three pet care companies in the UK that are associate members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare which works to keep MPs informed about Animal Welfare issues and to produce potential legislation in the UK to improve Animal Welfare Standards.

    Over the past couple of years Friends for Pets have linked up with individuals offering pet care services who have the same ethics and values as us. This benefits smaller companies hugely as they get to refocus their efforts back to the animals due to having more time. We help enhance their knowledge through our training schemes, help with the business side of things and offer a back up support for their regular clients. Not only does this help strengthen the animal welfare focused individuals, it weakens the more money-focused companies which improves animal welfare standards in the pet care industry. Improving pets welfare is why most people start their pet business and if professionals in the industry work together rather than ‘against’ each other we can make this happen. Collaboration of professionals also benefits the local pet owning communities by giving pet owners peace of mind knowing the pet is going to be safe and cared for by someone knowledgable, reliable and experienced.

    If you would like to share you experience of working in the pet care industry or understand more what we do here at Friends for Pets get in touch on becca@friendsforpets.co.uk.

    Christmas Charity Donation to Hounds for Heroes

    Our chosen charity this year is Hounds for Heroes. Hounds for Heroes provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled people from the UK Armed forces and Emergency Services. Through the assistance dogs it is hoped that their clients quality of life is enhanced though help and practical support. Puppies are carefully chosen and placed with ‘puppy parents’ for their first year of training. They then enter into advanced training to turn them into assistance dogs. The dogs are trained to open doors, pick up items, collect money from ATMs, open train doors as well as providing companionship for someone. nFor more information on these fantastic dogs and the jobs they do please see www.houndsforheroes.com. We are pleased to give our Christmas donation to Hounds for Heroes instead of sending Christmas cards to our clients this year.

    EJ and New Coat

    EJ and New Coat

    Our Bath franchisee wins National Business Award!

    On Oct 11th 2016, we attended the Mum and Working Academy and Awards after Julia, our lovely Bath franchise owner, was made a finalist in the Franchisee of the Year Awards. It was a great honour to attend and mix with inspiring business mums and entrepreneurs. Guest speakers and judges included Caprice Bourget, Sarah-Jane Honeywell, Janey Lee Grace, Debbie Bird and Sarah Willingham, famous for being a BBC ‘Dragon’!

    Julia was lucky enough to be chosen from some very high quality nominations as the winner of the Franchisee of the Year and all of us at Friends for Pets are immensely proud of her for al that she has achieved.winner_2016_mumandworking_awards

    Julia’s story!

    One of our franchise owners has become a finalist for the National Mum and Working awards! We are so proud of her as she truly deserves to be in the final! Here is a little big about Julia and her role…julia mumandworking_awards_finalist

    Animals have always played a huge part in Julia’s life. She has a vast amount of experience growing up with a wide range of different species from hamsters to horses! When Julia saw the role of pet carer advertised for the Bath area with Friends for Pets she was very excited to have a career change to what she had always wanted to do. After excelling at the role she was offered to take on the Bath franchise which she jumped at. The Bath franchise became so successful that Julia also took on neighbouring areas being Bradford-on-Avon and Frome. Julia now has her own managers running the day to day aspects of the pet care whilst she oversees all the teams and can therefore spend a bit more time bringing up her very young family. Being made a finalist for the National mum and working awards is a huge honour and it is rewarding to have all the ‘juggling’ work and family life acknowledged. We wish Julia and all of the other finalists at the Mum and Working awards the very best of luck. You are all doing an amazing job!

    Some great dog walks around Frome, Radstock and Warminster.  

    1.Heavens Gate

    A great walk with wonderful views over the Longleat Estate and Frome. There are nice shady parts in the forest for the warmer days. It’s quite a flat, pathed walk so not to stretching if you want an easier route which is also good for wheelchairs and buggies. It’s fairly popular with dog owners and walkers on nice weekends. There is free parking as well

    2.Shearwater Lake

    Beautiful lakeside walk which can be extended into woods and hills if you would like. The walk around the lake is mostly flat and wheelchair and buggy friendly. Dogs should be kept on the lead and any mess (as in all the listed places!) taken home or disposed off in an appropriate bin.

    3. Colliers Way

    A gorgeous 25 mile disused railway link between Radstock and Frome suitable for walking with buggies and wheelchairs as well. It can get very popular with cyclists and horse riders too so keep doggies close by to ensure their safety. There are plenty of attractions along the route and some lovely places for a refreshment or two!

    4. Mells

    There are plenty of fields and woodland in the area suitable for some beautiful walks. A popular one follows a river. The walks are mostly flat so not too strenuous. 

    5. Harridge Woods

    Is a beautiful nature reserve close to Nettlebridge. The reserve is made up for five sections so there are plenty of different walks within the Woods to choose from. There are pleasant streams for dogs to cool off in on warmer days and stunning views from the higher parts of the walks. There are a variety of species of wildlife here including threatened species such as Dormice so it is really important to keep dogs under control at all times when visiting. 

    We are very lucky to have such beautiful countryside for us and our dogs to enjoy!