The Luttrell Arms – Dunster

We were super excited to be invited to stay at the Luttrell Arms in the stunning village of Dunster which is situated in the glorious National Park of Exmoor. Our little trip started with a walk around the grounds of Dunster Castle which sits high on the hill overlooking the village.

  

When we arrived at the Luttrell Arms we had such a warm welcome and the hoomans were rather excited about something called an upgrade – not sure what that was but they seemed pleased! We were showed to our room by the lovely lady on reception and when we walked through the door the hoomans were making very excited noises!

Our room was super lovely, the hoomans had a huge bed (which we were not allowed on!) a door that led out to our own private terrace, and plenty of space to relax and unwind. We had been given two comfy beds to sleep on and even a towel to wipe our paws after a walk which was a really nice touch! There was a list of rules we had to explain to the hoomans but they seemed to understand OK!

       

  

Once the hoomans had unpacked their clothes we went for an explore around the hotel. The private terrace we had also led out into something called the secret garden, we weren’t allowed to run off lead here but a 20 second walk across the garden led to a furbulous field we could run around in! Plenty of space for zoomies, games of bitey face (Jelli’s favourite game with Bracken) and areas to explore!

 

Once we had burnt off some steam and done our business (there is a perfectly placed poo bin inside the gate) we supervised the hoomans downstairs and made sure their dinner was safe to eat. We led them to a lovely table in somewhere called the boot bar and settled down to eat our bones whilst keeping an eye on them to make sure they were managing their food and drink OK.

When their food arrived it did look yummy, they both had the oak-smoked salmon to start which smelt super tasty! Mum snuck us a tiny bit to taste and it was delicious! It came with a simple side salad which was crisp and tasty.

For their main meal they had roast beef which came with tender stem broccoli and a scrumptious sautéed potato side. The little saucepan had a wonderful peppercorn sauce. The hoomans both said ‘it was the best roast beef they had ever had’ and how ‘it was so tender it could be cut with a spoon’! Dad made sure mum wasn’t looking and gave us a tiny bit to try – he didn’t know mum had already given us a little bit! We agree it was super tasty and delicious!

We then all moved into the lounge area. The hoomans day on the sofa to enjoy their drinks (we tried to get up too but apparently ‘you’re not at home now’ meant we had to stay on the floor!) We had lots of fuss and strokes from people walking past us including some of the friendly staff! They were all definitely doggy people!

   

After a short while a lady bought over a huge cheese board with crackers, grapes and chutney plus a cherry chocolate baviour (think posh chocolate mousse!) I think mum and dad forgot about us as they didn’t share any of it! We saw there was a huge selection of 5 different cheeses, which I’m sure tasted as good as they smelt! The baviour looked delicious too. We think it had a crumbly biscuit sprinkled on the side next to a cherry sauce with fresh cherries too!

After we all relaxed for a few hours in the bar it was time to head to bed. Our hoomans took it in turns to stay in the big, white tiled room and came out smelling all clean. We crossed our paws we didn’t have to go in as that usually means BATH TIME! Fortunately we were safe this time and settled down on the comfy beds the nice lady had given us earlier.

We must have fallen asleep as when we woke up it was daylight and the hoomans were talking about some of our favourite things! Breakfast and walkies! Turns out we were to have both!

  

We ate our yummy breakfast in the room and then escorted the hoomans downstairs to the room we sat in last night  instead of more beef they had a rather large breakfast. One had the Full English which smelt great and judging by the lack of tasty treats for us, we can only assume it tasted great too! Mum had a Salmon and Creme Fraiche Bagel which we were allowed a tiny taste and it was delicious! They both also disappeared into another room and came back with yummy yoghurts and croissants too!

 

 

After lots of tea and coffee consumption we headed off to the car ready for our walkies! We can’t wait to go back to this place as it was so dog friendly and we were very spoilt by all the staff!

Thankyou again Lutrell Arms for inviting us to stay!

(And Bracken!)

Splish Splash!

Isla and Jelli aren’t the only pupsters finding this heat no fun. No long walks in the day and especially none of our little trips into the city for coffee as the tarmac is too hot for little paws! The most fun they are having at the moment is walks in the fields in the evening which is a) boring , b) huge risk of grass seeds and c) no water to splash in. We’ve gone to the river on a few occasions in the evenings but the horseflies seem to divebomb and eat me or the tick army are out in their hundreds trying to eat the dogs (thank goodness for tick prevention treatments!)

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This leaves me in a predicament wondering where I can take the dogs to really burn off some energy, stay cool and still have fun? So when Clair from Chapel Farm Rehabilitation Centre got in touch and invited us to go for a fun swim in their large indoor pool we jumped at the chance!

Chapel Farm lies just outside of Bristol in Pensford, with easy onsite parking, a shop, pool and qualified staff on site it’s the perfect destination for pets who want to have fun or those recovering from surgery or illness where hydrotherapy or physiotherapy has been advised. They also have a dog crèche on site which looks fabulous fun and is on our list of places to visit!

Each fun swim slot is 30 minutes long and costs £24 for the first dog and only £12 for subsequent dogs from the same family. There is also the option of being able to get into the pool with your dog if you want to join in the fun too!

Isla and Jelli were greeted by the lovely Amber and Jenny when we arrived who helped them into their life jackets and escorted them to the pool. Both dogs had a nice warm rinse before going into the water to make sure they were clean and then they were ready to go!

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The pool is a whopping 10m by 6m which is great for a proper swim and is heated to a comfortable 29-30 degrees which is perfect for maintaining the dogs’ temperatures as they won’t lose energy trying to keep warm like they would swimming in the sea or streams. The pool is also super clean so no risk of any water borne bugs causing tummy upsets as there would be in the river and no ‘tide or flow’ which might make the dogs work harder or potentially cause panic to set in.

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Amber and Jenny were fantastic with the girls and made sure they were 100% happy and not stressed at all times. Isla is a very strong swimmer so was immediately playing fetch with a tennis ball that Jenny threw for her and was clearly enjoying herself!

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Jelli on the other hand was much more nervous, her experience of swimming starts and ends with the time she half fell half jumped into the river after Bracken who thinks all water is for swimming in! Needless to say she was VERY hesitant about going in.

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Amber was brilliant with her and helped Jelli gain her water wings super quickly. A few supported laps around the pool with lots of encouragement she soon realised how much fun she could have and ended up launching herself off the ramp after her ball or Isla’s! She actually needed to be held back a few times so she didn’t over do it!

After their session time was up they had another warm shower to rinse them off and a quick towel dry. Usually I would take their drying coats with me for the journey home but as it is so hot I decided it may be nice to stay a bit cooler and dry naturally!

I highly recommend Chapel Farm, the facilities are excellent, the staff are experienced, welcoming and brilliant with the dogs. They also offer a loyalty scheme for clients which offers great savings and an excuse to return!

We are definitely returning and taking Bracken with us too, I may even get in the pool and join in the fun! Hopefully we can go and experience the onsite crèche too, that will be a whole new blog post as the facilities there look incredible!

To get in touch and book your swim click here to go to Chapel Farm’s website or here for their Facebook page. Please remember to tell them you saw them through our blog and feel free to leave us any comments if you’ve been already or if you book to go!

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GURUlicious!

Pop the kettle on and put your feet up as this is a lengthy one…..

As a veterinary nurse and diligent ‘dog mum’ I feel it is my responsibility to make sure Isla and Jelli (& Bracken) are all fed the healthiest, most nutritious food possible. I completed a Small Animal Nutrition Certificate after qualifying as a veterinary nurse so I knew what I should be feeding and why – the problem was finding the right food!

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Rewind several years and we have tried numerous foods, not one had the desired effect for the dogs. They lost coat condition or lost weight. Had a noticeable increase in excretions (yup, I mean poop!) or just didn’t want to eat it.

We tried expensive, super premium foods but found these had a tendency to make the dogs put on weight but lack coat condition, cheaper foods just made them poo more. Raw food was always going to be the best option, however that is not without certain risks and complications which I was not prepared to take – such as salmonella and pretty much needing a designated dog food freezer!

Now fast forward to June 2017! The pitter patter of tiny paws graced the household and we had 4 extra mouths to feed! Fast forward a further 10 weeks and due to some unforeseen circumstances it became apparent that one of these bundles was going to be staying put! Welcome to the family Jelli!!

As a super active working cocker spaniel with no fear or trepidation I knew I had to find a food that would support Jelli during the critical growth stages and one she actually liked – we tried several foods that she would be totally non-fussed about and then found Guru – since that point we have never looked back!

All three dogs are now fed Guru and I can honestly say that Guru is the best food for our spaniels (and no, i’m not being paid to say this either)!!

Jelli has reached a year old now and adores her food, the bowl is always licked clean, she has a fabulous coat and body condition and totally thrives on it. Isla and Bracken are also doing amazingly well on it. At the age of 8 Isla looks and acts like a puppy which I truly believe is down to being fed a great diet – Bracken on the other hand has always been a very lean dog and can sometimes look a bit ‘ribby’. Feeding more of his previous food just resulted in him bloating and then having an upset tummy. Since changing him to Guru he is fitter, has put on more muscle and weight and his coat condition has improved massively! It’s great that it will feed all the dogs regardless of their age too!

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So what makes Guru so great? Its cold pressed for a start which means it hasn’t been cooked at really high temperatures which destroys a lot of nutrients in foods. It also means it doesn’t need to be coated in fats and preservatives to make it taste nice! The pellets don’t swell up either like other kibbles do – this can lead to bloat and other very serious conditions in dogs – especially large or deep chested breeds – which can be fatal.

Have a look at the video here —> Cold Pressed Video to see how it works!

It contains natural ingredients (click here) including beef, sea fish, sweet potato and green lipped mussels. The food is pressed into a pellet form which is perfect for adding warm water and re-hydrating into a porridge  – perfect for weaning puppies or for the golden oldies who need something a bit softer! Guru comes in two flavours as well! Full on Feast (think roast dinner for dogs) and Surf and Turf (our favourite) which is a blend of beef and fish!

There are no additives, E numbers, artificial flavours or nasties hiding in the Guru food and this is extended to their treats too! Isla inspects each nag to make sure there are no little bits hiding!
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(Gosh – it really does just keep getting better doesn’t it!)

So what to treat the dog who will only eat the finest of foods? Venison Sausages perhaps, or maybe Reel Fish Skins (these are new and super yummy!) We use the Venison sausages (contain sweet potato & apple too) for our agility and obedience training. Both the cockers will work their socks off for these as they are soooo tasty!

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The Reel Fish Skins are a new addition to the Guru Family and are a ‘reel’ winner (see what I did there!) with all the dogs – a little crunchy they are super for dental health but can be soaked for a slightly softer treat! They come in a resealable packet too so great for keeping in the car for a treat or in your bag with no worries of people getting a meaty or fishy whiff!

 

BC40BB0D-5DFD-4B39-A1CE-D09EBC0C29CBFinally (yes I know i’m going on but it is a FURbulous food) for those nights away or long road trips it can be a bit of a faff to measure out and pack dog food! Introducing the Trip Bones! These can be a longer lasting treat or a meal substitute – still full of the same health benefits and absence of additives & nonsense but a chicken flavour instead of the normal Guru flavours!

 

So in conclusion (yes i’m finished now) I cannot rate Guru highly enough – it has transformed our dogs and I recommend it to friends, clients and anyone else who stands still long enough to talk about the dogs! We love being part of the Geekstar Crew and have our paws crossed we may get to be official Geekstars soon! Both Jelli and Isla would LOVE a Guru bandana to wear with pride and continue to spread the Guru Love!

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Check out their website here —-> www.gurupetfood.com/shop and change the way you feed your dog today (plus add some treats into the basket cause they are super Paw-some and your dog will love them!) Plus it’s usually next day delivery!

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(This blog is based entirely on my own experience with Guru, we have received no monetary or product incentive from Guru in return for this article)

DogFest West 2018

So we have just about recovered from DogFest West on Sunday! A jam packed day filled with LOADS of activities and things to do for your pooch! With lots of food stands (mainly for your dog) and stands selling everything from collars to clothes and beds to balls!

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It was scorching day  – 28 degrees! – so made sure we had packed travel bowls for water and the girls cooling coats and bandannas. Fortunately we had pre-booked tickets (Thanks Guru Pet Food!!) so we could bypass the queue and made a beeline for the Water stand and filled up our bottles and soaked the cooling coats.

Once settled and we got our bearings we started off having a look around to see who we knew and what lovely products there were for sale! We started off by visiting the team at Pet Drugs Online who made a huge fuss of Jelli and we finally got to see the advert she starred in for the first time on the big screen! They weighed both girls and gave them lots of fuss and treats before we set off to see what else was on offer!

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We were approached by LOTS of people asking if the girls wanted to sample their food and treats, we had to politely decline after the first few as I didn’t want to have two full up dogs with lots of different foods potentially upsetting their tummies!

We had to say hello to the lovely team at Bath Country Pets who had a stand there and just a few stalls up was the lovely Tracey from the Distinguished Dog Company! They sell the most fabulous tops for hoomans and gorgeous bowties and bandannas for dogs! We had to buy one of her lovely ‘Walkies’ T-Shirts which will feature in a blog post super soon!

By this point we had been walking for nearly an hour and it was getting hotter so we stopped off at the Fetch by Ocado rest area, the girls had a chill out on the deck chairs and I filled up our water bottles again – we then watched some of the Agility and Dog Diving which was very funny!!

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After another nice rest we made a beeline for the BEST stand there….

Once at the Guru stand both girls felt right at home! Relaxing on the comfy arm chairs they had their photos taken and made sure Lisa knew they were there!

 

Several handfuls of the delicious Guru Food later (they certainly wouldn’t need tea!) we said hello to  Megan, Woody and Wilma from the Cotswold Spaniels and had some more photos taken and chose what goodies they wanted to take home! Guru have some exciting new treats to accompany the venison sausages in the form of dried fish skins! These treats need a write up of their own so keep your eyes peeled!

After spending time here in the shade it was time to think about heading home! We couldn’t help but pass the George Barclay stand again and check out their stunning dog beds – we are even more excited that they are going to be working with us in the very near future!!

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We all had a lovely time and highly recommend the DogFest festival to anyone who loves dogs! There is one DogFest left this year at Hertfordshire in July so if your local pop along and have fun! Hopefully we will see some of you next year!

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Growing Old (Un)Gracefully!

It’s the one thing as pet owners we hate talking about. The taboo subject that we all ignore and avoid (both in humans and animals!) Aging. That one little word that fills us with dread. Now this blog will hopefully make dealing with your dogs (or any pet for that matter) a little easier and less daunting!

I only realised a few weeks ago that Isla is now technically ‘senior’ when I had to put her date of birth down on an entry form! That realisation prompted me to write this blog!

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Firstly, just because your dog has reached a certain age doesn’t mean they are old and should stop doing things they love. You’ll probably find it is doing those things that is keeping them young, fit and healthy. It just means they have reached a point in life where things may be not running as smoothly as they once were and a little support will help slow the signs of aging down.

There are lots of things you can do to support your dog, from supplements to brain games, lifestyle changes and veterinary monitoring.

Nutrition plays a huge part in supporting the older dog. Many diets have a senior range which may have increased levels of Glucosamine & Chondrotin which helps support joint health and delay signs of arthritis and stiffness, reduced phosphorus levels to help support the kidneys and special mixes of amino acids that can help brain function.

Jelli and Isla are both fed Guru and Forthglade and although Guru doesn’t have a ‘senior’ diet, it’s jam packed full of the good things to help support older dogs including that fabulous Glucosamine & Chondriton combo and the addition of some yummy green lipped mussels which have proven benefits to help reduce inflammation in the joints! We add forthglade wet food as a topper to the Guru, Jelli enjoys the Forthglade ‘Just’ wet food but Isla has moved to the Senior Trays which have double the Glucosamine & Condroiton than the 2 months + range and the same yummy blend of camomile, nettle, Rosemary and parsley. It also comes in two delicious flavours – Chicken or Turkey.

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Whilst thinking about the additional nutrients Isla needs, it’s hard to increase some things using food alone. This is why every day she gets an Animology Senior Capsule! Formulated to include important vitamins and amino acids that aging dogs need. For example the Amino Acid Taurine is included which can help maintain a healthy heart and Carnitine which can help stop fat deposits building around the heart and liver impairing how they work. They come in pots of 60 and dosed at one a day, priced at £12 they are cost effective at only 20p a day! There are lots of other important ingredients all contributing to the health of your dog!

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Lifestyle is a huge factor to consider too! A dog who is a bit of a couch potato may be more inclined to put on weight and find it harder to mobilise. So it’s super important to keep your dogs weight within a normal range as this will have less pressure on the joints and reduce fatty deposits around the heart and lungs. Isla is a very active dog and still enjoys 15 mile walks on Exmoor, agility lessons and swimming!

After any exercise it is important to make sure any pet is warm and dried off thoroughly afterwards. Older pets will particularly appreciate this as it will stop their joints seizing up and getting still, especially if they have a little bit of arthritis already. After a long walk or a swimming session, Isla is wrapped up nice and warm in her Ruff and Tumble drying coat. This keeps her warm, dries her quickly and also stops the car getting mucky!

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There are a few things you can do around the home to make your pet more comfortable. This may be more applicable to much older pets but worth bearing in mind.

As your pet ages, problems with sight may be more prevalent. Cataracts are very common and if left untreated will result in blindness. Keeping furniture in the same place will help your pet if they do lose their sight as they will be able to memories areas and navigate them safely.

If your pet does develop arthritis and they start finding it harder to jump on the sofa or in and out of the car, there are ramps and blocks you can buy to help them without the need for you to lift them which may cause discomfort for you if they are large dogs and also stops the risk of them being dropped if they are wriggly or heavy!

Dogs with arthritis may also find it harder to get comfortable when sleeping, or indeed chose to sleep more as they find it uncomfortable to get up and move. Investing in a memory foam style bed will provide much more comfort for your dog and support their bones and joints in a natural position! Isla has a rather large memory foam bed from Orvis which is big enough for Jelli and Bracken to all snuggly up on too!

Brain games are great for dogs with limited mobility too as it can mentally stimulate and tire them without the need for long walks and physical exercise. This could be something as simple as a KONG toy stuffed with food to a more complex game such as the Nina Ottosson puzzle games. Isla has one of the level two games which she loves!

Finally a trip to the vets every so often isn’t always a bad thing. Lots of veterinary practices offer free of charge clinics with their nurses to check things such as blood pressure, kidney function and general well being. Some things may be chargeable like blood tests but did you know that before you notice signs of kidney failure (thirsty, weight loss, vomiting, lethargy plus many more) 70% of the kidney function may be lost already! So having regular check ups will pick things up sooner so they can be managed and treated appropriately.

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So getting older isn’t all doom and gloom! It’s an excuse to treat your dog to some new treats and food and make sure you enjoy every day to the fullest!

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Thanks for reading our blog – all thoughts are our own and if you are worried about your dog then call your vet for advice!

No Nonsense & Natural!

After being super choosy and fussy deciding on the food to feed the girls, it would feel wrong buying artificial, processed treats that are full of additives.

So when we stumbled across JR Pet Products all our problems were solved! They have a huge range of tasty treats that are 100% natural, with no colourings, flavourings or anything else nasty!

There is an enormous range to chose from so we have selected a few of our favourites to tell you about!

Firstly rabbit 🐇 ears! These are a firm favourite with the dogs and us! Unlike some treats, they are totally odourless so perfect for having in the house as there is no smell and they are very clean to eat. No greasy residue on carpets or the dog bed and the ears are easy to eat so don’t turn into the soggy pulp that some of the mass produced raw hide chews do.

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If you want a treat that’s safe to leave with your dog when you go out or they just need something to concentrate on, then we can highly recommend the Pure Pate! It comes in three flavours and two sizes and for the indecisive among you, they come in a variety pack so your dog can try them all!

We found there is numerous ways to use the pate, slicing, cubing or stuffing! It slices and cubes really well which makes it perfect for training treats and it’s PERFECT for stuffing into a Kong toy or similar for hours of entertainment! With three flavours to choose from, chicken 🐓 , turkey 🦃  or salmon 🐟 you can give your dog a different flavour very few days!

Jelli’s favourite flavour is the salmon pate and she spends ages making sure every last morsel has been licked out of the kong! To make it last even longer once it’s been stuffed, we freeze the kong for a summery treat that lasts twice as long! The added benefits of Pure Pate is it is Grain and Gluten free! So even the pups with sensitive tummies or intolerances don’t miss out!

We have been on the hunt for a chew that lasts longer than 30 seconds, isn’t hideously processed rawhide and is completely natural. So discovering the JR Pet Products beef tails was a great find! Each pack contains 5 to 7 tails (ours had 6!) so plenty to share in multidog households or enough to last a couple of weeks if given every other day!

Jelli and Isla loved their tails! Both are usually very quick to gobble up treats but it took them AGES to finish these! Fortunately they are also low in fat, which is hugely beneficial for Isla since she has been spayed so does put on weight a bit easier! As an added benefit I’ve also noticed Isla’s teeth looking cleaner which has come from chewing against an harder surface! Similarly to the rabbit ears, the tails are odourless which makes them a great evening chew that is totally inoffensive!

The girls were lucky enough to also be sent some rolled venison sticks! Word of advice! These are VERY strong smelling so you may want to give these outside or in a ventilated room if you don’t like the smell! That aside they are again very long lasting and excellent for dogs that like to chew! The rolls take a while to soften up before ‘bits’ are able to be chewed off which means it keeps your dog occupied for longer!

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we HIGHLY recommend the natural treats from JR Pet Products and cannot wait to try more of their range! Head to their website here —-> https://www.jrpetproducts.com to shop online or find your local stockist!

Let us know what you think of the treats and what your favourites are!

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As with all chews we do not advise leaving your dog unattended whilst eating them as small bits can become lodged between the back teeth or even in the throat which could be very distressing for your pooch!

Awesome Animology!

We were asked by the lovely team at Animology to test out their Fox Poo Shampoo and Clean Wipes. Jelli especially always seems to find rather disgusting things to roll in whilst out on a walk so we didn’t need to wait long to test out either! So off we set to one of our favourite walks!
Fast forward a few hours after a lovely walk across the Mendips, we bundle back in the car with the windows open trying to minimise the smell coming from the boot! Once home it’s clear just how dirty and smelly Jelli has got! The once beautiful, clean Cocker Spaniel is now a rather unfetching shade of black, brown and smells awful!
Due to the frequency this happens, we have a warm water shower outside for the dogs and after getting Jelli wet, a small amount of Fox Poo Shampoo is lathered into her fur. It smells lovely and immediately starts lifting the dirt and mess from her fur and making her small MUCH better. Unlike other shampoos, only a small 50p size was needed to wash Jelli so the bottle should last a reasonable length of time. The shampoo rinses super easily and within a matter of minutes the once dirty, smelly pup was looking more like her former self!
After trying numerous shampoos, Fox Poo is clearly the best we have tried so far! Many of the other shampoos we have tried leave a greasy residue, don’t rinse out very well or simply just don’t do the job – the added benefits of the Animology Fox Poo Shampoo is the long lasting pleasant smell after washing (no more wet dog smell) and how soft Jelli’s coat felt once dry. This is now a bathroom essential for the girls along with some of the other grooming range from Animology.
However, not ever walk we go on results in a full blown bath being required – sometimes its just muddy paws, dirty heads or mucky legs that need a quick wipe down, towels are great but that means more washing for me and getting the dogs quite wet. This is where the AMAZING Clean Sheets come in useful!
The dual sided blue sheets, have one soft side – ideal for sensitive areas around the face – and a courser side to tackle tricky areas such as paws and in-between the toes! The wipes come in two packaging sizes, a brilliant tub of 80 sheets which is perfect for keeping in the car for walks and a handy bag size pack of 20 which is ideal for popping in a dog walking bag or coat pocket. You never know when you may stumble across a dog friendly pub or cafe and need to wipe those dirty paws and noses!
Both packaging options are resealable so no risk of the sheets drying out and not being usable, they are impregnated with a no rinse shampoo formula and similar to the Fox Poo shampoo they smell lovely! The handy travel pack sheets are an awesome 18×18.5cm so large enough for paws and faces, the sheets in the larger tub are even bigger at 20x27cm so great for dirty tummies too! We highly recommend Clean Wipes and will make sure we don’t run out!
You may have noticed the vibrant pink collars, harnesses and leads the girls are wearing too – also by Animology (yes we are a bit obsessed with the brand!) We were VERY excited to be sent a set each to test out. So with Badminton Horse Trials that weekend it was the perfect opportunity to put them through their paces!

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I immediately noticed how comfortable the leads were to hold. The black webbing is complimented by the vibrant pink (other colours are available) which is made from a non absorbent neoprene – this means after muddy walks they can be hand washed in warm water and look good as new – trust me, we can vouch for this!!
The harnesses are very easy to adjust to fit each dog and the quality of them is clear  – the metal work is double coated so rust resistant and finished in a subtle black which blends in well with the webbing. The neoprene padding backs all the webbing so even when altered as your dog grows, the soft padded section is against your dog which minimises rubs and sores compared to other harnesses on the market.

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Once fitted we were ready to go! We had a lovely time visiting our friends at our favourite trade stands and a lovely walk along the cross country course. Both dogs were walking beautifully, neither appear in any discomfort or tried to remove the harness which has happened in the past where it has irritated them! We had LOTS of lovely comments from people admiring them and giving the girls a fuss.
It’s lovely to have some vibrant, well made walking gear for them to wear as some collars and leads are a bit boring and not very comfortable to hold! The collars were just as comfortable and padded like the harnesses and the lead is simple yet strong and had the signature colour as padding around the handle.
For the owner who likes a bit of ‘matchy matchy’ the Animology Crash Pad beds match the blue, pink and green collars and having such a choice of colours means each dog can have their own identifiable set! Bracken our Springer Spaniel looks super cool in the lime green!
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So we can concur Animology have designed and created the best collars, harnesses and leads we have seen! Only problem now is having the self control not to buy the other colours!
Head over to our Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/cockersinthecountry or Instagram @cockersinthecountry to win a bottle of Fox Poo Shampoo AND a collar in the size and colour of your choice!
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Ready for some Ruff & Tumble?

Being typical spaniels, the girls do have a tendency to return from their walks far dirtier than when they set off! If there is a puddle or mud, you can be sure they will find it! So we teamed up with Ruff and Tumble Dog Drying Coats to see if their drying mitts and coats are up to the job!

Ruff and Tumble are a quintessential British company nestled in between Leicester and Peterborough. The company started life by making coats for family and friends which proved super popular and so the business was born.

The coats are a double thickness cotton towelling which is really absorbent and can be machine washed and tumble dried too! In the summer they can also be soaked in cold water to act as a cooling coat for those blissful hot sunny days!

It isn’t just wet walks the coats are useful for however, they can be used after hydrotherapy sessions, beach walks, baths and showers!

So we set off in the car to one of our favourite walking spots near Wells. Plenty of opportunity for off lead running, streams to splash in and mud to be rolled in! Fortunately the stream is the last part of the walk so the girls get to rinse off before going home. This means its the perfect opportunity to test out the drying coats as usually they end up being wet and soggy and can only get towel dried before home.

The coats themselves are very simple and easy to put on, after their walk the coats simply slide over the girls’ heads and the large belly strap neatly comes up and around the whole of their tummies, neatly velcro’ing to the side. The deep collar is perfect for keeping long spaniel ears toasty warm and dry inside which is a fabulous difference when compared to other drying coats available to purchase elsewhere. Ruff and Tumble are the only coats we have found that have this unique design.

 

If the correct size is chosen for your dog, the coats are long enough to cover the base of even the waggiest of tails and again unlike a lot of other drying coats, the wide belly flap covers the whole tummy – this is ideal for our spaniels who although aren’t hairy – do have lovely feathering on their tummies which is covered up nicely.

It takes us approximately 25 mins to get home from this walk and I am pleased to say the girls were nearly dry by the time we got back. The only damp bits were their legs which obviously aren’t covered by the coats! However in comparison to the usual soggy doggy that disembarks from the car, even their legs were noticeably drier than on previous walks!

I believe the difference in their legs was down to a) being curled up with the coats on but also b) the wonderful drying mitts we were sent to test.

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Made from the same material as the coats, the drying mitts are perfect for drying those hard to reach places before popping the coats on or keeping by the back door to dry paws off after rain.

As fabulous as the coats and mitts are, it is important to us that they wash and dry well. We popped the coats and mitts into the wash on a low 30 degree cycle and then into the tumble drier on a low setting – the result? Brand new clean and dry looking coats and mitts! We have now used these at least a dozen times over a three week period and they still look like new!

When the coats and mitts are not needed, they come with their own storage bag. Perfect for labelling which coat belongs to which dog and the handles mean they can hang tidily on a coat peg or door handle. We are delighted with the quality of both products and would recommend them to any of our friends!

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The coats and mitts come in a huge variety of colours, from the beautiful burgundy seen on the girls, right through the colour spectrum including but not limited too Navy, Red, Bottle Green and Heather. For a bit more style there is also the option of purchasing a coat from the Country Collection which has a stunning Faux Leather trim. The Cockers in the Country are spoilt princesses deep down so we were lucky enough to try this style and even after numerous washes and tumble drys the trim is still looking perfect!

I think it’s safe to say we are suitably impressed with the coats & mitts and for the dogs that have it all there is also some brilliant bed covers! I think this may be next on our shopping list to try out! I think the girls love their coats as much as they love each other!

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Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog when we team up with Animology to road test some of their exciting products!

Tea & Cake for Humans & Hounds!

With summer almost here and the days staying lighter long it’s now the perfect time to explore the countryside with your dog. Finding new walks is a favourite pastime of ours, the Somerset and Wiltshire countryside is full of hidden gems with most walks starting or ending at fabulous dog friendly pubs and tea rooms.

We were honoured to be approached by Sarah – owner and baking goddess at the No 10 Tea Rooms in Avoncliffe near Bradford Upon Avon. So groomed and tidy wearing their gorgeous Hettie Company bandanas we set off.

 

Nestled at the bottom of a steep hill overlooking the Kennet and Avon Canal, No 10 is a dog walkers haven! Several walks can start and end here and the tea rooms would make a perfect pit stop part way through an amble through the Wiltshire countryside. To be honest, I can come up with plenty of reasons and excuses to stop here!

When we arrived at No10 we were warmly greeted by Sarah and shown through to the beautifully presented garden. Borders of daffodils and tulips surround a large lawned area leading onto a gravelled section with picnic benches overlooking the aqueduct and canal below. Sarah had thoughtfully already got the girls a fresh bowl of water and a little blanket to lie on and asked us what we’d like to order. So much choice!

No 10 has two very key factors. The first is everything is homemade by Sarah and her team. None of the scrumptious cakes or snacks are made offsite and bought in to sell. EVERYTHING is made in the little kitchen area which is easily seen inside. Even the dog treats are homemade by Sarah (more about these later!) The second impressive string to the bow are the food miles. All the ingredients are sourced as locally as possible – this even includes the tea & coffee! The tea has the longest journey coming from the UK’s first tea plantation – Tregothnan in Cornwall.

I selected a mouthwatering slice of coffee and walnut cake – this is actually phenomenal and the best C&W cake I’ve had! Teamed with a large cup of coffee it was a perfect way to relax on a sunny afternoon. The coffee was as amazing as the cake, a smooth roasted blend from local micro coffee roasters Dusty Ape based near Bath. The coffee is even in the cake and very appealing to little noses!

The special part of our visit was not just the fact the dogs were welcome – they also have their own little menu to choose from!

No 10 prepare the sweetest little puppachinos! Dogs have their own mugs with little paw prints on with a warm frothy goats milk beverage – a complimentary biscuit is given to all four legged visitors and there is the option to buy a delicious homemade peanut butter and coconut ball for your pooch! The peanut butter is specially made by Neoh and Nobo a small batch, organic dog treat company in Birmingham.

We had a lovely time at No 10, fantastic setting, wonderful food and perfect hosts. The girls thoroughly enjoyed their drinks and snacks and we can’t wait to return!

We highly recommend a visit here and to sample as much as your tummy will allow! Click here to visit the website for No 10

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Special thanks to Judith White for taking more beautiful photos for us!

 

 

The PitPat Pack!

With obesity being one of the largest problems (no pun intended…honest) for people in the UK it is no surprise that our pooches are also piling on the pounds.

Lots of us humans own an activity tracker of some sort to act as a bit of a motivator to get more active and battle the bulge. With easy syncing to phones and tablets its simple to see how many calories we have (or haven’t) burnt and how well we are sleeping.

Although Jelli and Isla are not overweight, it is always interesting to monitor their activity levels, especially when I’m not home and also to make sure they are getting enough food to sustain their busy lives!

So the lovely team at PitPat sent us one of their pawsome activity monitors – the PitPat 2 –  to try out and review!

When the PitPat arrived we were impressed with the compact little box it comes in and how easy it was to just get going with. To start with you need to download the free app on either Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store – once downloaded, the app will take you through the set up step by step.

 

Once you have an account created you can add your dog’s profile to your phone, there is even the additional touch of adding a photo too! The app cleverly works out how much exercise a day your dog should be getting – although this can be overridden if required. The general rule for puppies is 5 minutes exercise per month of life – so a 5 month old puppy needs 25 minutes exercise. The app seems to follow that rule which is nice to see as so many puppies are over exercised which can cause severe joint problems when they are older.

 

The monitor itself is incredibly light weight and small – the PitPat 2 is roughly 34 x 32 x 15mm and weighs 16g. Unlike the PitPat 1 – the newer model also has the capability to track how far your dog has run/walked. This will be available on the app soon!

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Once your account is up and running and your dogs profile is set up (you can have multiple dogs on one account, but each pooch needs their own PitPat) it’s time to attach the device to your dog!

The PitPat comes with a standard velcro strap  – our collars are an inch wide and they are a perfect fit – for wider collars it is possible to purchase a longer velcro strap so be mindful of this when ordering. The strap very simply folds over the top and bottom of the collar and sticks back to itself on the other side.

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Once attached you are ready to go! The monitor is also waterproof (hurrah the spaniel owners shout!) to depths of 1m for short periods of time. So no need to be removed for trips to the seaside, rivers or ponds! However it is advisable to remove them if your pooches collar needs a rinse after playing in such places!

The monitor works using a special three-axis accelerometer that tracks motion. The advanced algorithms interpret this motion and translate it into specific activity types (walking, running, playing and resting).

From the PitPat Website – PitPat judges walking and running by sensing the natural gait motion of the dog. PitPat judges the difference between walking and running by the intensity/exertion. If a dog is constantly changing from walking, to running, to stopping and changing direction this is characteristic of many dog games and the activity is interpreted as playing. PitPat looks at the different activities over a 5-10 minute period and then classifies the activity as the one which was the most prominent in the period. For walking and running PitPat also looks at the consistency/regularity of the motion in the period of time to make sure it is owner initiated exercise that is counted towards the goal (as opposed to the dog pottering around the house).

So lets go! We went on several (wet) different walks, went to agility training and had a snoozy day to see how the tracker would fare!

 

On our walks the tracker didn’t move an inch. The velcro is very strong and even after several soakings in the river it’s still in the same place on the collar! Due to the small size and weight it certainly didn’t annoy or distract Jelli on her walks. A previous tag on her collar made her stop and scratch constantly!!! The water hasn’t affected it at all either, in fact looking at the times and activity done I think it is very, very accurate! It easily identified the zooming around at agility!

It was really interesting to see how active she is when syncing the data to my phone.  It’s also impressive how quickly and easily it syncs. Making sure bluetooth is enabled on your device simply click menu on the dogs profile and select ‘Fetch Data’ The PitPat device will show on screen and you then just press the paw on the actual monitor! You can see completed days that your target has been hit as they have a star next to them, incomplete days show a little tracker icon to prompt you to sync the monitor.

Jelli is clearly super active and does way more than I thought she did! She burns lots of calories and this is a really good way of being able to make sure your dog is getting enough nutrition. As a result I have increased her food slightly to make sure she continues to grow properly and maintain her athletic figure without looking too slim!

So it’s a huge paws and thumbs up from us! We can’t wait for the app to update so we can track the distance and we will be buying both Isla and Bracken monitors too!

You can find the monitors here —> https://www.bhequestrian.co.uk/PitPat_Dog_Activity_Monitor/p3362941_18468471.aspx and use the code ‘COCKERS’ for 10% off with free delivery!

Thanks again for reading and we’d love to hear any comments or feedback from you!

Plus keep your eyes peeled for our next review on the amazing Ruff and Tumble Drying Coats & Mitts and the awesome Animology grooming Range!

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