by Harry Roberts Managing Director My Favourite Cottages
Statistics tell us that 3.2 million UK households welcomed a new pet since the pandemic, with 59 percent now owning one. A recent study revealed searches for 'dog-friendly holidays’ had a 665 % surge last year.
For National Pet Month, Harry Roberts, Managing Director My Favourite Cottages shares his top tips for going on holiday with man’s best friend…
Preparation is key when travelling with dogs. Research dog-friendly accommodations at your destination and ensure they have the right facilities. Also check that there are plenty of walks and trails available for you and your dog to enjoy. It’s also worth finding out if there are any dog-friendly beaches nearby that allow them to roam freely.
Getting to grips with where you’re staying beforehand makes life a lot easier when you’re there, plus it saves time and ensures you’re picking the perfect spot for your stay. Before you leave, make sure you pack essentials such as a sturdy lead, harness, waste bags, identification tags, treats and pet food.
It's also a good idea to bring your pet's medical records along too, ensure they are microchipped and look into how far away you are from local vets and whether they offer emergency appointments should any health problems arise, or your pet gets lost far away from home.
Sitting in a car for hours on end can be tedious for most of us, as it is for our pets. When travelling, check your pet has plenty of food and water for the journey and stop for regular breaks to allow them to replenish and go to the toilet.
Meanwhile, your pet's safety is paramount. Use a special seatbelt or harness to ensure your dog can't roam around the vehicle and distract you. Another good option is a pet carrier which allows them to stand up and lie down comfortably.
Making the most of your stay
Remember your holiday is as much for your dog as it is for you.
Allow your dog to get to grips with their new environment, smells and sounds, to allow them to feel safe and relaxed. Kitting your holiday home out with their favourite toys, blankets and belongings will help create a little sanctuary for them.
Give your pup plenty of attention and never leave them alone in your holiday home unattended, new places are sure to make them feel anxious or uneasy.
Be cautious of letting your dog off the lead in busy areas unfamiliar to both of you, as you never know what dangers could be around the corner, be that of other animals, people or hazards.
Try and stick to a routine as much as possible, including set feed and walk times, dogs are creatures of habit, after all.
Above all, have fun and enjoy your time away with your pup!
It was a great idea of Debi Emmett's to establish a Pet Food Bank service. Based in South Wales, the charity provides pet food and pet items for those who struggle to feed their beloved companions, including the homeless, those in financial difficulties, the elderly and victims of natural disasters.
Up to March this year, the service has provided a whopping:
15,532 pet meals
827 packets of dog treats
100 poo bags
153 dog coats
161 collars/ harnesses / leads
41 Dog toys
99 Packets of cat treats
Total pet meals provided to date: 79,692
More are always needed and there are lots of ways you can help Debi to help the animals, look here: https://petfoodbankservice.co.uk/help-us
Debi runs the service ably assisted by some friends and her lovely dog Ruby, official 'greeter' for the charity and chief of quality control.
This is Ruby >>>>>>>>
To find out more, visit
email Debi at:
or call her on 0787 1926934.
images (c) petfoodbankservice
Many foods we enjoy are also hits with the birds, especially during the colder months when there are fewer natural food sources available and they need extra calories to stay warm.
Try sprinkling some of these treats on your bird table and see which birds come along. Maybe you'll see robins or starlings or you may be lucky enough to see a winter migrant bird such as a redwing.
Some ideas :
Another great option is packaged food. Sparrows, tits and finches will visit feeders containing nuts, fat or seed mixtures. Insect-eaters including dunnocks, robins, starlings and wrens prefer mealworms, while suet-based products are an all-round crowd-pleaser, their high calories providing a boost for birds through the cold nights.
As for drinks – water is key for birds, both to drink and to clean their feathers so they’re in tip-top condition to fly and keep themselves warm. Birds can find it harder to find water in the winter as ponds start to freeze, so they appreciate a bird bath. Even a dustbin lid with some stones at the bottom for grip will do the job. Water keeps freezing? Try floating a ping pong ball on the surface. The slightest gust of wind will keep the ball moving and stop the water turning to ice.
You can also help your neighbourhood birds by taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch. Every year for the past four decades the RSPB has asked people to look outside and let them know which birds they see over the course of an hour. This helps keep track of how garden birds are faring. Last year a record-breaking one million people joined in. You can take part on the 28, 29, or 30 January 2022, so for your FREE Big Garden Birdwatch guide, which includes an RSPB shop voucher and advice on how to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch. Registration opens 8 December 2021. (images copyright Ben Andrew/ Chris Gomersal/ RSPB)
Pet wellness experts, Itch, have launched the first ever pet insurance. It rewards proactive pet care, giving pet parents discounts on their insurance for taking the best possible care of their pets with Itch’s range of parasite protection and pet wellbeing products.
To celebrate the launch of Itch Insure, Itch worked with animal behaviour and welfare expert Dr Lauren Finka, to create a unique, innovative audio experience for owners and pets to enjoy together. The audio track which is voiced by Oli Juste, leading dog trainer, behaviourist and Itch advisory panellist, is designed to ensure the time we spend with our pets is as rewarding as it can be.
Research from Itch into how we reward ourselves and our pets found that over two thirds (67%) of pet owners see their pets as much a part of the family as siblings, children and parents. Over a third (35%) also say that they often go above and beyond to ensure their pet is as happy and healthy as is possible, yet just over half (57%) of Brits say they have pet insurance, leaving 43% of pet owners at risk should anything happen to their fluffy friends.
With such an unbreakable bond between pet and owner, it makes sense that a further third (34%) say they love to share rewarding experiences with their pet and admit to trying to replicate human experiences for them to enjoy such as letting them eat human food (17%) and massaging them (17%).
Itch also found ‘anxiety and stress’ are the most reported pet health conditions by owners when signing-up to an Itch subscription, as well as one of the top causes of current concerns by pet owners (23%). Respondents also expressed that their pets are one of their biggest concerns in life (44%), more than their finances (40%) or even their job (17%). As such, the audio track places a focus firmly on pet health and wellbeing and features positive reinforcement for both human and animal.
The creation of the unique Pet ‘af-fur-mations’ audio track in reaction to the findings combines classical music, affirmations and meditation for a unique, innovative sound experience for owner and pet. It provides ultimate relaxation and a moment of calm for pets and owners to enjoy together.
Dr Lauren Finka discusses the benefits of sounds and affirmations for pets: “The idea behind this audio experience is for pet owners to take a few moments to enter into a calm, peaceful and positive mental state while being close to their pets. Scientific research shows that pets are sensitive to our tone of voice, body language and facial expressions and may therefore notice (and appreciate) the changes in our behaviour that the relaxation practice using this track will bring.
“Studies also suggest that just like in humans, classical music can calm and relax cats and dogs. Additionally, positive verbal praise from owners has been found to stimulate the ‘reward’ parts of dogs’ brains. Therefore, as well as encouraging us humans to relax, the music and affirmations selected for the audio track are also designed to have a directly positive, calming impact on your pet.”
Research also found that pet owners believe one of the best ways to reward their pets is by keeping them healthy (27%). 32% reward their pet by taking them on a long walk, 23% think about regular parasite protection, 22% make sure they only give their pet ‘healthy’ food and 10% purchase some kind of health supplement for their pet.
Andrew Pinnington, CEO at Itch, commented: “It’s great to see that pet health and wellbeing is at the top of the agenda for pet owners. As well as the reward that cat and dog owners receive from having a healthy and happy pet in their lives, we think they should also be rewarded for taking the best possible care of their pets and that’s exactly what Itch Insure is all about. As a member of Itch, you’re taking a proactive approach to pet care by protecting your pet against fleas, ticks, lice and worms, as well as common pet health concerns such as ear infections and dental issues. We think this deserves great savings on your insurance, as healthy pets take less trips to the vets.”
Itch is a hassle-free monthly subscription service for pet health and well-being products including highly effective parasite treatments. By using Itch Treatments, you are focusing on your furry friends wellbeing. This means Itch will reward you with 10-17% off your insurance payments based on your subscription level. The more you protect your pet, the more you save.
Zoe Costigan, in-house Vet at Itch adds: “Insurance that promotes the wellbeing of pets by encouraging and rewarding proactive care should be a leading choice for all pet parents. When you sign-up to Itch Insure you get unlimited access to the Itch Vet Clinic. There are a range of experts, including behaviourists on hand with a friendly listening ear, whenever you need them.”
Itch Insure is provided by Pinnacle Insurance PLC. Itch Insure members can also get access to the Itch Vet Clinic, offering 24/7 free and unlimited advice from vets, nurses, behaviourists and counsellors. To find out more and to sign-up to Itch Insure, please visit www.itchpet.com/insure.
To listen to the pet af-fur-mations and for tips on setting the experience up, visit The Itch website.
A Born Free adoption is the gift that gives twice. From King the lion to the Brown Bear Orphans, there are 19 fabulous adoptions to choose from. All are real animals, either living in the wild and protected by Born Free's conservation projects or receiving expert lifetime care in the charity's sanctuaries.
Besides adopting an animal, you can buy your Christmas gifts here too. A varying percentage of profits from sales, depending on product, go directly to Born Free, the international wildlife charity founded in 1984 by actors Bill Travers MBE and Virginia McKenna OBE.
Adoption packs last one year. The recipient receives a gift pack, soft toy and a bi annual copy of Born Free’s Adopt magazine.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer, 12 x author. Credits include: Telegraph, Mail, CNN, Express, BBC mags, Britain, Country & Town House, My Weekly, etc