Autumnal Adaptations

Autumn is a beautiful time of year and perfect for lovely long dog walks. Enjoy the gorgeous colours, the mellow mists, the sparkling dewy cobwebs and the lovely feeling of coming home and getting warm. As the leaves start to fall and the nights draw in we tend to stock up on fuel, switch the heating on, and invest in a new jacket or boots. The change in season affects our dogs too; here are some of the issues to be aware of to keep your dog safe and happy this Autumn.

  1. The temperature change will affect our dogs, and some breeds more than others. Breeds such a greyhound may need a coat for colder weather.
  2. Consider your dog’s diet, and whether they need more calories to keep themselves warm. This can apply particularly to dogs that spend more time outside, such as working dogs.
  3. As we stock up on medicines for winter illnesses, make sure your dog cannot reach them. For example drugs for arthritis and ibuprofen are especially toxic for dogs.
  4. As the days shorten it is likely you may be exercising your dog in the dark. These days there is a huge choice of reflective clothing/vests, reflective flashing collars, reflective leads and other amazing gadgets to make your dog visible in the dark. Please keep yourself and your dog safe in the dark!
  5. Every year we are asked about how to best help dogs with Firework Fear; for some people this is the hardest time of year for their dogs, and can last over a few weeks. Please see our article from last November about this,

Santa Paws hits the South West!

On Sunday the 8th of December Devon Dog Boarding was proud to support the first Santa Paws event in the South West, organised by one of our clients Marie and her lovely dog Lucky. Marie wanted to raise funds for the Little Valley Rescue Shelter in Exeter, for their Christmas appeal, and the event was a great success. DDB had a stall along with sister company Exeter Pet Sitters, and sponsored the event. We also held a raffle in aid of the charity, and our own dogs were lucky enough to come along and meet Santa in his grotto and get a present! The dogs all had a fantastic time and were very well behaved, we had a huge range of breeds and ages turn up. We hope to hold some more ‘Santa Paws’ events next Christmas so watch this space!

Santa and DDB dogs

Santa Paws is coming to town!

The first Santa Paws event to hit the South West is being supported by Exeter Pet Sitters and Devon Dog Boarding, and is to take place on Sunday 8th December from 3pm to 5pm at the Pathfinder Village Club Hall, Pathfinder Village near Tedburn St Mary, EX6 6DE. Santa will greet your dog in his grotto, and give him or her a Christmas gift, all for a £3 donation. There will be photographers present offering a photographic memento of the visit at a small cost. ALL proceeds go directly to the Little Valley Animal Shelter to help their residents have a happy Christmas. The EPS and DDB team will be there to welcome you and your dogs, and you may even recognise Santa!! As Santa’s time is limited it’s best to reserve your slot, by or calling 07938 868323. The event is being kindly organised by Marie and her beautiful dog and long time client Lucky, pictured below with Santa in their old town. We hope to see you there!

Please note: All dogs must ensure that their human is on lead at all times in the Club Hall. The Club, Pathfinder Village and Residents’ Association hold no responsibility for any altercations between canines or humans, or damage or injury thereby caused

Firework Fear

Bonfire night may be a fun time of year for us, but not always for our canine friends. The loud noises and explosions can really scare some dogs, especially if they have had a bad experience with these in the past. Many of our clients book their dogs into quiet host family homes around this time of year to be away from the fireworks, and we have trained all our host families how to cope with fireworks and fearful dogs. Here are our top tips for making sure you and your dog have an enjoyable time.

  1. If you have a new dog you may not know how he is around firework time, so watch him for signs of stress, but remain calm and assertive as always yourself
  2. Walk your dog well before dark, so you are unlikely to be outside when any fireworks go off
  3. Keep your dog on the lead, in case there is a sudden bang and they bolt (and make sure they are wearing a tag with your name and number on it too)
  4. Don’t leave your dogs alone if you have concerns that they may be scared. Try not to worry, as your dog will pick up on your reaction
  5. If it’s very noisy in your area put the television or radio on to hide the noise
  6. Make sure they have a safe area to retreat to, such as a bed under a table
  7. If you are concerned the dog is showing signs of excessive stress follow basic first aid advice and call your vet

Ted goes networking…

The name’s Ted, here’s my business card….
Ted beer

On Sunday the 8th of September, I attended my first business function. Now I have my own blog and twitter account as the face of Devon Dog Boarding, I thought it was time to get out there and do some networking, make some connections, do some deals….so I was thrilled when my owners took me along to the EDBI (East Devon Business Initiative) Summer BBQ in aid of the charity Clic Sargent. My Mum goes along every Friday to the business breakfast meetings, and I was looking forward to meeting the group. I was especially looking forward to seeing my best friend Chelsea, mentioned in my April blog, owned by Jenn of Meca Car Services. The event was held at the Turf Locks, and we walked there from Starcross. I had a groom before leaving, and I did try to stay clean…but on the way I spotted a seagull in the Estuary, and it was low tide…. I have to admit I got pretty grubby, head to toe mud :( I thought I smelt great, but the humans don’t usually see it that way! Still, I washed off in the canal, and we arrived to find everyone gathered outside under a tree. It was a very British BBQ, with wind and rain and people wearing waterproofs, but soon the meat was cooking and everyone was having fun. I said hello to everyone, had a great run around, and Elsie, Chelsea and I played with the children for a long time. There was a raffle for Clic Sargent, and it’s always beautiful at the Turf Locks, looking at the Estuary and the lovely countryside. I was lucky enough to be given some small scraps of BBQ meat in exchange for my repertoire of tricks, and we returned home exhausted but very happy. This networking business is fun! Keep an eye out for me, see you next month!

Ted XX

What is McTimoney for dogs?

Rachel from Devon Dog Services is a qualified McTimoney practitioner and  tells us what the benefits are for our canine friends.

Do you ever feel niggled by aches and pains? Perhaps you wake up feeling a bit achy and stiff in the morning or have overdone it in the gym? Maybe you have had an accident and although now recovered, find that certain muscles ache more than before? Well, it is no different for our lovely four legged friends. They too suffer from musculo-skeletal aches and pains. Perhaps your dog loves to jump and catch a ball in the air, pulls on the lead, competes in agility, plays roughly with other dogs or is simply getting older and suffering from conditions such as arthritis? All of these things can place stresses and strains on your dog and lead to discomfort and even pain. Dogs are often very stoical creatures and may not show any obvious signs of discomfort which means we can often overlook problems and only notice when they get really bad.
 McTimoney Animal Therapy is a wonderful holistic treatment that helps to relieve muscle tension and discomfort. A combination of massage and very precise adjustments are used to help the body to function at it’s optimum level, focusing specifically on the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems. The whole body is treated and not just a problem area and the experience can be very relaxing for the dog. It is a fantastic maintenance treatment for dogs throughout their life and can actually help prevent problems from arising, (just as human athletes will regularly have massage and physio).
There are signs you can look out for which may indicate your dog may benefit from a McTimoney Treatment and these include:
Lowered exercise intolerance
Reluctance to play with other dogs
More sensitive to touch
Intermittent lameness
Stiffness – especially after periods of rest or lots of exercise
Crying out in pain
Reluctance to get into/out of the car
An obvious knock or fall
Lowered performance in agility
Compensations from conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Due to the calm and relaxing nature of the treatment, it can also be beneficial for anxious or stressed characters and can be incorporated into behaviour modification programmes.
If you would like to find out more about this great treatment then please do contact me for more information or visit the website



To sofa or not to sofa…

For some the family sofa is a no-go zone for the family dog, for others the evening cuddle with Fido on the sofa watching TV is the highlight of the day. So who is right, and who is wrong? This debate has long been raging; can we imagine our ancestors around the campfire with one family member allowing the wolf to sneak up on a rock, and Mum coming along and chucking him off?! There really is no straight-forward answer, the only rule should be that it’s your decision, and your dog should respect that. Even if you allow your dog on the sofa, just the word ‘off!’ should be enough to have your dog jump down and make room for a human. If your dog refuses, or even growls to defend the sofa, you need to seek help from a canine behaviourist. For very dominant dogs, it could be a good idea not to allow them on the sofa since this elevates them, both physically and within the pack.

If you do share your sofa as well as your home with your dog, you will want to make sure he/she is up to date with their vaccinations, as well as wormer and flea and tick treatment. In Summer months do watch out for ticks, as they can easily transfer from your dog to you, human blood is just as tasty, and we have not been treated with Frontline!

Consistency is really the key whichever way you jump with the sofa issue. When you bring home that new puppy make a family decision and make sure that everybody reinforces it, otherwise your dog will get confused. You may choose to allow your dog on the sofa at certain times as a privilege, and on command. Be careful though, you may find someone has snuck up when you were out of the room!

Another option is to create a special sofa for your dog, whether it is a normal sofa that is the only one they are allowed on, or one of the many ‘sofa style’ dog beds available now.

Be aware as well as your dog gets older, that it may not be very good for his/her joints or hips to jump up. Either provide a special soft dog bed, or create a sort of step or ramp for your dog to use to mount the sofa.

At DDB we have a question on our new client form whether dogs are allowed on the sofa or not, and our host families continue this with their guests for consistency.

Relaxing after a long walk - Much nicer than kennels!

Our host families head to Bicton for a day of Canine First Aid training

Last Friday seven of our host families headed to Bicton college for the Canine First Aid course. Giving our guest dogs the best care possible is one of our core values at DDB, and this includes in times of medical emergency. Host family Bob and Claire have kindly written this review of how the day went.  Below we have a photo taken by host family Jane and Tony of the materials laid out ready to bandage a paw.

“I certainly found the day enjoyable & informative.  We all received a Certificate of Attendance & got through a 20 question recap test!  We will need to ensure that an updated 1st Aid kit is carried in our car, stocked with most of the items suggested.  I’m going to keep the handouts with the kit, for reference & help. 6 or 7 ‘volunteer’ dogs were used for the Practical Bandaging section.  The aim was to bandage a cut paw.  Not all of the dogs were good patients however, & took a lot of effort working in pairs to get them to co-operate – we did all manage to produce reasonable bandaging eventually.

While there were similarities with first aid for humans, it was good to know the differences eg:

 - lay the dog on its right hand side when giving artificial respiration or heart massage

- pulse rates vary from 60 – 180 beats per min (lower the bigger the breed)

- respiration rates vary from 10 – 30 breathes per min (lower the bigger the breed)

 There was also emphasis on avoiding being bitten, even by your own dog, as it could lash out when stressed or in pain!

 Finally, there was a recommendation to feed a dog at head height, moisten foods & rest for one hour either side of exercise, to avoid twisted gut.

 In summary, definitely worthwhile & to be recommended.  Many thanks for arranging this.”

 Claire and Bob, Launceston, May 2013

Materials for bandaging

Ted takes his ladyfriend Chelsea to the Nobody Inn…


Last week I took my beautiful collie friend Chelsea to the Nobody Inn in Doddiscombesleigh. It also happened to be her owners birthday, so our humans were in high spirits. The Inn dates from the 17th century, and is bursting with character. On entering the pub there was a nice bowl of fresh water for us, which was appreciated after our car journey. We were seated at a candle lit table, very romantic, and us canines were allowed anywhere in the restaurant, we weren’t restricted to the bar. Chelsea and I settled ourselves under the table together for a catch-up, whilst little Freya cuddled up on a cushion on a comfy chair. Amazing smells of duck, slow roasted belly pork, steak and ale pie and vegetable tortellini wafted around, and we could tell our owners were having fun. When it came to dessert the birthday boys cheesecake arrived with a firework in it and everyone sang happy birthday! The garden looked lovely and as we were leaving we could hear tawny owls calling to each other, we will certainly come back on a sunny day and enjoy the garden this Summer. The Nobody Inn gets the Ted seal of approval!


What are we most proud of about our business?

Last Thursday two of us from the DDB team had a great day out at the London FSB Streamline awards. They were very well organised, and we were made to feel very welcome. The venue overlooking the Thames was lovely, and it was great chatting to a variety of different small businesses and seeing what makes them tick. We had a presentation from Roger Black, Olympic medalist, about the parallels between the world of sport and the world of business, which was fascinating. We were interviewed by Streamline and asked ‘what are you most proud of about your business?’ click on the image below to see our response!

Anna Paul and Roger - FSB awards