Hints & Tips

Hints & Tips

Beware of Slugs and Snails

Lungworm in dogs is a relatively new problem, having moved northwards from France in recent years, but it is now quite common here in the Channel Islands, as well as the UK. Dogs can catch lungworm via slugs and snails as found in almost every garden. Signs of infection can vary from a cough, to a blood clotting problems that may show up if a dog requires surgery, through to severe signs such as fits. It's not uncommon for infections to prove fatal, but thankfully the disease can be prevented with regular monthly treatments which are widely available. 

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The importance of rabbits having their vaccinations

Vaccinations offer a cheap method of protecting your rabbit from both of the following potentially fatal diseases and we strongly recommend that you contact your vet and vaccinate your pet.  These vaccinations can be given from 6 weeks, though VHD will almost never occur in rabbits before 8 weeks of age.

Prevent and Protect

Give regular boosters throughout life, see your vet.

Controlling insects may reduce infection risk. Deter flies/mosquitoes e.g. insect-proof screens. Ensure your home and all pets are treated for fleas as advised by your vet. Fleas from cats infect rabbits.

Regularly clean/disinfect rabbits’ enclosure/areas rabbit’s access, using rabbit-safe disinfectant. Change bedding/litter regularly. Never use housing/bedding from rabbits infected/suspected to have/have had RHD/myxomatosis.

Prevent contact with wild/affected domestic rabbits or access to areas where they’ve been.


What is it?

> Virus spread by fleas/mites/biting flies e.g. mosquitoes. 

> Widespread in British wild rabbits. 

> Early symptoms - puffy swellings around face/ears/eyes which can cause blindness, spreading around the anus/genitals. 

> High fever. Eating/drinking becomes increasingly difficult. 

> Death within 10-14 days. 

> Occasionally myxomatosis is more prolonged - multiple lumps appear.

How is it spread?

> Insects

> Contact between infected rabbits 

> Persists in the environment (e.g. hutches).

Treatment and prognosis

> No specific treatment, recovery is rare. 

> Euthanasia is often the best option. 

> Vaccinated rabbits can catch milder forms, often recovering with intensive veterinary care.

Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease (R(V)HD)

What is it?

> Prevalent in Britain’s wild rabbits. 

> Extremely serious causing high fever/internal bleeding/liver disease. 

> Almost always fatal. 

> Pet rabbits are often found dead with bloodstained fluid at mouth/nose, or there may be no visible signs (cause of death only confirmed by post-mortem).

> Doesn’t affect rabbits under six weeks but causes severe disease in older rabbits.

How is it spread?

> Rabbit-rabbit contact

> Persists in the environment (e.g. carriers/clothing/shoes).

Treatment and prognosis

> There is no effective treatment. Vaccination is essential.

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Puppy Socialisation

It is very important to socialise your puppy with other dogs and people, from an early age.

> Turn your puppy into a socialite! The more different and unusual places he visits in his first few weeks, the better.

> Fear of loud noises can make life a misery for many dogs. Fire works cause distress, along with thunder storms, gunshots, heavy traffic and even a baby crying. Desensitising a puppy to this wide ranges of noise will help them become a confident adult.

> Puppies want and also love to learn, so why not join up to puppy classes.

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House Training

Puppies only toilet indoors as they do not instinctively understand that it is inappropriate to do so! They will, however, naturally move away from its eating and sleeping areas to toilet which makes them easier to house train.

> When you are not able to supervise them, restrict the puppy their own area like their crate. This area becomes the puppies den, providing him with comfort and security. Dogs rarely soil their den so this will discourage toileting until you present an appropriate opportunity and location and a change to reward his successes.

> Your puppy needs to be taken to his toilet area frequently. These times should include whenever he wakes up, after eating, after playing, and at approximately hourly intervals. Use a specific word to be associated with toileting, and always reward him afterwards.

> Never punish if a mistake occurs indoors. Rather than associating your displeasure with him going to the toilet indoors, the puppy is more likely to develop a negative association of toileting in your presence.

>Areas in the house that have been soiled should be thoroughly cleaned to remove odours that will otherwise attract your puppy to the same area. Use non ammonia-based cleaning products.

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Chewing and Destructive Behaviours

Your puppies first teeth are only temporary and, as they are replaced by adult teeth, their gums will become sore through inflammation and the eruptive process. Chewing provides relief from teething pain. The following points may help:

> Offer toys into which sharp puppy teeth can sink, thereby providing friction on the gum surface. Soft ropes or rubber safety toys are ideal. Teething toys must be tough, so small pieces cannot be chewed off and swallowed.

> Cold and damp toys often provide temporary relief to the pain of teething gums. Wetting, chilling or freezing ropes are a great idea to help the pups sore teeth. One toy we recommend is the puppy KONG where you can fill it with watery gravy and freeze it to aid this problem and it also helps with entertainment.

> Chewing of unsafe or unsuitable materials, be they household or personal items, garden plants, or most dangerous of all electric cables, will all have consequences. Keep these items away from puppies. Always have an alternative puppy chew toy to occupy them instead.

> Don't forget to praise your puppy when he is playing with his own toys as reinforce the desired behaviour.

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Excessive Biting and Painful Mouthing

It is normal for puppies to use their teeth to carry things and to explore their world, including your hands! You do not want this type of behaviour to continue as the puppy nips could turn into dog bites. You need to ensure the following:

> No play fighting. Encouraging a puppy to bite your hands and clothes may be fun but you are teaching him that biting people is acceptable. Use a toys at play time.

> Should a puppy nip you, cry 'ouch'. Most puppies are shocked to hear you cry of distress and will naturally back away. When a puppy does this, wait a moment or two and then ask him to come over and make friends again.

> If your puppy nips again, repeat as above. If this behaviour continues, simply exclude and ignore them by putting him in another room or move him away from yourself. This is not a punishment, just a 'time out' opportunity for your puppy to calm down.

> Do not over-stimulate or over-excite a puppy. This is an common mistake in most people and children.

> NEVER smack a puppy. Hands should always be instruments of kindness.

> It is important to remember that a puppy is unable to differentiate between individual people in his behaviour. Do not allow your puppy to exhibit any behaviour you would not like to be directed at young children or anyone outside of your family.

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Oral Health

Benefits of feeding Dentastix

Oral health and hygiene are important for the health and well being of any animal and represent a vital mechansim for its natural resistance to disease.

4 in 5 dogs over the age of 3 suffer from some sort of dental disease...but 90% of owners think their dogs' teeth are fine!

Gum disease is one of the most common problems for dogs and 'periodontal disease' describes a number of plaque-induced inflammatory reactions that are associated with oral pain, halitosis, tooth loss, and potentially diseases in remote body organs.

The process of Gum Disease...Cycle_of_gum_disease.jpg

Plaque is a film of bacteria and its by products, some of which lead to gum disease.  Tartar forms a rough surface on teeth that makes plaque formation very easy.

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It leads to reddening of the gum but IS reversible. Periodontitis is a second stage gum disease. It leads to destruction of tissue and IS NOT reversible.


Brushing your dogs teeth regularly is by far the best way to prevent gum disease and keep their teeth and gums healthy (check out or seperate hints and tips post on brushing your dogs teeth). It is not always easy to brush your dogs teeth, so if you need a little help then feed dentastix.

Pedigree Dentastix are the only oral treat recommended by vets and when fed daily can help reduce tartar build-up up to 80%.  They are a fantastic daily treat being tasty, sugar free and low in calories (a medium stick conatins just 82 colaries).

How do they work?

1. Special Texture - They have a unique X shape, and when fed daily, its special texture is scientifically proven to help reduce tartar formation by up to 80%

2. Active Ingredients - Pedigree Dentastix contain sodium tripolyphosphate and zinc sulphate.  These 2 active ingredients bond with the calcium in saliva and slow down tartar formation.  This helps plaque stay softer for longer; making it easier to remove by chewing Pedigree Dentatsix.

We recommend feeding Dentastix daily to help prevent gum disease - and remember a healthy pet is a happy pet!

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> One un-neutered female cat can be responsible for 20,000 descendants in just five years

> Cats can start breeding from four months of age

> Cats will readily breed with their brothers, sisters and parents

> It is not beneficial for a cat to have a season or a litter before being spayed

> Neutered cats do not miss their organs or opportunities to reproduce or rear a litter

> Overpopulation increases feline infectious disease, stress-related disease, feline conflict and compromises cat welfare

> Neutering prevents some cancers and life-threatening infections such as pyometra and reduces straying, fighting and unwanted spraying.

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Puppy Care

Activities: Training and activities need to be kept short as its crucial to their development as playing for longer periods may allow your puppy to lose interest. Games such as fetch or even hide and seek will build basic skills that aid owners to keep their puppy in line and also make a loyal companion.

Breeds: There are several different breeds of dogs around and making sure you find the right breed is essential. Owners need to be advised not to pick a dog on looks, but instead taking into account and research breeds to understand their diet needed, size they will grow to, amount of exercise and the level of training that will all need to be considered.

If owners are after a family friendly puppy, then it’s important they look at the breeds temperament and behaviour.

X and Y: Choosing between male and female dogs maybe tough choice. Males tend to be playful and need more attention, and the females are more independent and can be better with children. You need to choose the right sex for your type of household and the connection you have when you first visit.

Commands: Teaching puppies commands such as “stay”, “heel” and “sit” come under obedience training. If you say commands on a puppies level will not intimidate them, nor will repeating the command to them in a loud clear voice, but this will install to the puppy that the owner is the boss. Staying positive and ensuring your pup after they have responded to a command correctly is important, they will associate obeying with praises and rewards.

Diet and Nutrition: A dog’s diet goes hand-in-hand with a dog’s health. Poor diets can lead to problems and the quality of the will help keep your puppy in good health. There are many different pet food companies out there, but the best food would be something easily digestible. The benefits of these types of food are better growth, lower stool volume and reduced feeding costs.

A puppy’s nutrition is down to its breed, activities, gender and age, just to name a few. Owners need to find a balanced diet tailored to their dog’s individual needs. Finding a food that suits your dog can be tricky, but here at The Pet Cabin we have trial packs so you can see if your pet can cope with the new food. When introducing a new food, you need to remember to do so gradually, mixing it with their current food and increase the new one over several days.

Exercise: Exercise is key when training your puppy, however it’s the duration which is more important. As puppies are still growing and tiring them out with exercise while they are growing can cause joint problems like arthritis. Staggering their exercise throughout the day will help avoid this. Owners shouldn’t exercise their puppies after eating as this may trigger bloating.

Grooming: starting early with grooming will help the bond between the owner and their pup. It will also get them used to being groomed. Depending on the breed of dog, will determine what grooming tools you’ll need.

Independence: Allowing a puppy to gain independence from a young age will mean they won’t rely on its owners for certain things. This can be taught through activities and positive reinforcement. Setting boundaries for a pup like discouraging jumping on the sofa will help them gauge the right from wrong.

Jumping Up: Puppies love to welcome everyone with lots of enthusiasm, this often results in them jumping up a lot of the time. Owners can prevent this by providing an alternative to their jumping and incorporate commands such as “stay” and “sit” with rewards for their good behaviour. You should encourage your visitors to follow your actions and not allow the puppy to jump up at them, so they know this behaviour is off limits.

Leads and Collars: With a wide range of leads and collars on show, owners need to find the right size for their puppy. Too small it will affect their breathing and too tight they will slip out. To get the puppy used to wearing a collar and the weight of the lead let them wear it around the house.

Pest Control: The most common health problems that dogs will face are fleas, ticks and worms. Many owners don’t know the symptoms of these problems as they aren’t obvious. Owners should get their puppy wormed from two to three weeks of age at regular intervals until six months. Fleas tend to be seen on the lower back, whereas ticks will attach to the head and look like warts.

Rewards: Rewarding your puppy with treats is a great way to reinforce their good behaviour, however moderation is very important. Rewards should be mixed with treats and praise through attention, cuddles and playfulness.

Toys: Destroying and chewing is second nature for puppies regardless of whether it’s a pair of shoes or the sofa, they seek out mental stimulation. To stop this, the owner can place the puppy in a safe environment with toy specially designed for chewing, they are colourful and have some flavour, this aids boredom. A few examples are KONG, Nylabone and Four Paws Lil' Ruffs.

Vaccinations: When a pup is born, like humans, their immune system is still developing. Giving it vaccinations will trigger responses from the immune system and prevent future infections, which at a later date could be costly for owners.

Sleeping: You will find your puppy will have a lot of rest in their first few months. Try setting up an area where they can feel safe and have time to sleep. If they don’t rest enough as a puppy will determine their behaviour later on in life and aid their independence.

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Why does my cat...

Pat my face when I’m asleep? As dawn and dusk hunters cats are often lively, hungry and playful at times when we would rather be asleep. Cats are also very clever and learn how to interact with us to get our attention.

Rub his face on me and my home? Cats use sent to communicate with other cats and also make themselves feel secure. By anointing familiar and safe places such as our homes and also the family dog or even other human members, the cat creates an area that feels safe where he can relax.

Grab my hand when I tickle its tummy? For a cat the tummy is a very vulnerable spot, damage to this area can cause life threatening injury. Consequently cats are naturally very protective of their tummies and generally don’t like anyone to touch this area. It’s a sign of being relaxed and gaining trust if your cat lets you tickle their tummy.

Eat grass? Although cats are obligated carnivores and don’t usually volunteer to eat fruit and vegetables, they do like to eat grass and it’s part of their normal behaviour. Whether its helps more food or hairballs go up or down, or gives them vitamins or even trace elements no one is really sure.

Bring prey into the house? It’s because they are taking their spoils into its safe place where they can relax and eat it or learn to deal with it. Some cats like playing fetch with their owners and may bring in pray to continue with this game which they enjoy. We often like to think they are bringing us ‘presents’ (dead or alive) but it’s probably not so.

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Food and Feeding

Raw Foods

Can I feed puppies and kittens on BARF (Bones And Raw Food)? You most certainly can. They can be weaned onto a raw food diet straight away, after all this is what they did for 300,000 years ago before 'puppy and kitten' diets became available. Of course, you won't want to feed that little puppy huge marrow bones! So use common sense in your feeding and ask in store for advice.

How do I start? We recommend that your dog goes without food for a 12 hour period, so the BARF diet can be fed without weaning. This is mainly because this food takes a different amount of time in the digestive system then a dry food diet would. Many people would start with the minced meats and veg, then when the animal is used to this, they would add in a raw meaty bone eg. chicken wings.

I fed a raw meaty diet and my cat was sick immediately - should I continue or revert back to the food that I have fed for years? Try introducing the raw meat more gradually. Also, the cat may have a problem with one meat more then the another, so vary what you give it.

Isn't it dangerous to feed dogs chicken bones? Never ever feed cooked bones to your dog as they are more likely to splinter and cause problems in a dog's digestive system. People have been feeding dogs raw bones for years and rarely report problems. Chicken wings are the best bet, also a minced chicken with bone content. Try Prize Choice minced meats or the wings from the Chunks range.

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Fleas! Fleas! Fleas!

Preventing Fleas in The House

Flea infestations are becoming an ever increasing problem with our climate and in homes with central heating. The most effective way to combat fleas is by treating your PET(S) and the HOME!!

Breaking the flea lifecycle is key; this includes killing adult fleas and preventing the development of flea larvae. A good spot on flea treatment used regularly (most are recommended once a month or once every 3 months) and a house hold flea spray used on carpets, places that you pet(s) sleep and all the nook and crannies around the home is recommended. Please ensure you take time to read the directions for use and safety information provided on each treatment product.

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Treating Lawn Burn

Dog Rocks


Dog Rocks are an exciting and proven 100% natural product used to help prevent urine burn patches that appear on your lawn as a result of pets urine.

> Repeat Product; needs to be replaced every 2 months

> No need to medicate your dog

> Hassle free & safe for all household pets

> 100% natural rock, all natural minerals, straight from the earth

> Safe for your dog; does not affect the PH balance of your dog’s drinking water or urine

> Endorsed & sold by vets worldwide

Dog Rocks have been selling in Australasia since the late 1990s when their beneficial properties were discovered, tried, tested & then sold with great success.

Dog Rocks are a naturally occurring paramagnetic igneous rock. They absorb and retain some of the impurities found in water which contribute to burning lawns, grass and box hedge; there are no known harmful effects on dogs through the use of Dog Rocks. Dog Rocks are only intended for use as stated.

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