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Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Sun

Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Sun

Until very recently it seemed as though we had been waiting an unreasonably long time for the seasons to change in the UK. April showers continued into May, we even had storms and flood warnings... Cut to this week and all of a sudden here we are sweltering away, wondering if there's a way we can shoehorn another fan into the office and regretting the fact that we don't have a freezer for half-hourly ice-cream breaks!

While the warmer weather can be difficult for us, at least as humans we are able to take steps to regulate our temperature and keep ourselves safe in the heat. Our furry companions however find it much harder to keep themselves cool, and of course since they cannot communicate with us to let us know they are struggling, it is our responsibility as pet owners to look out for them and make sure they are coping with the heat.

We've therefore put together a helpful guide to aid you in keeping your dog happy and healthy in the summer sun.

1. Make plenty of clean water available

Ceramic bowls, Mutts & Hounds

It might go without saying, but sometimes these things must be said! Water is incredibly important at all times, but particularly when it is hot and stuffy. Your dog will likely be taking more drinks than usual, so do make sure bowls are topped up regularly and that there are bowls of water outside in a shaded area if your dog is spending time in the garden.

2. Walk at cooler times of day

Heather Leather Collar & Lead, Mutts & Hounds

Early mornings and later in the evening are the best times to walk your dog in the height of summer, as exercise is much more taxing in hot weather, not to mention the temperature of the pavement your dog will be walking on. Avoid walking between 9am and 9pm on very hot days, and always check the temperature of the floor with your hand before taking your dog on a walk. If in doubt, don't take your dog out. The best places to walk are shaded, grassy areas, and if your dog likes to swim, a clean body of water makes a great cooling-off opportunity!

3. Freeze treats for a fun way to cool off

 A great way to help your dog keep cool and enrich them at the same time is to freeze treats or toys inside ice cubes - they will have a great time licking the ice away to get to what's inside, and in doing so will take on some nice cold water. Bonus points for keeping them in a shady spot while the ice melts!

4. Create cool zones at home

Peacock Linen & Leather Lead, Mutts & Hounds

Encourage your dog to spend time in areas of the house that are cooler, particularly if you notice they are beginning to overheat. Kitchen or even bathroom tiles can be lovely and cool for lying on, and not just for the dogs! Utilise as many fans as you can, and make sure there is at least one at a low level so your pup can benefit from the cooling air. 

5. Cooling coats & neckerchiefs

 Linen Neckerchiefs, Mutts & Hounds

If your dog is drinking plenty of water but is still too warm, a cooling coat can be an excellent way to bring their temperature down. An alternative to this is a cotton or linen neckerchief soaked in cold water, you can even pop one in the fridge for half an hour to cool it further before placing round your dog's neck. Just make sure that you leave plenty of room for them to breathe comfortably.

6. Make sure you don't do any of the following on a hot day:

  • Leave your dog in the car, even with the windows open, even for a few minutes. It's just not safe.
  • Leave your dog tied up outside a shop.
  • Lay wet towels over your dog to cool them down - instead wet a towel and place it on the floor for them to lie upon. A towel on top of a dog will soon heat up and then cause them to overheat.
  • Put ice in your dog's water bowl. While cold water is great, iced water should be avoided as the extreme temperature can be a shock to the stomach and cause bloating.
  • Play fetch or other tiring games that will raise your dog's heart rate. They may be tempted to run around but the best thing for them is to stay relaxed.
  • Neglect to have them groomed during the summer months - just imagine wandering around in a fur coat when you could be in a tshirt and shorts!

Above all, it is most important to exercise common sense and monitor your dog throughout the day. If your dog is showing signs of dehydration or heat stroke make sure to contact your local vet for advice and keep them hydrated in the meantime.

Father's Day Gifts for the Dad That Loves a Country Walk with his Hounds in Tow

Father's Day Gifts for the Dad That Loves a Country Walk with his Hounds in Tow

Father's day in the UK is fast approaching on June 18th, and we know all too well how difficult it can be to buy for the dad that seemingly has everything! Below we've brought together our picks for the father in your life that needs a bit of spoiling this year...

1. A fun silk tie to remind him of home while he's out at work

Dog Print Tie, Brooks Brothers, £75.00
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2 . The perfect dog tag for his favourite non-human child

"His Lordship" and "Her Ladyship" Dog Tags, Mutts & Hounds, £15.50
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3. A set of handkerchiefs to remind him of his country roots

Pheasant Hanky Box, Thornback & Peel, £15.00
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4. A handy washbag to pack his important bits in when he goes away for a country show

Peacock Linen Washbag, Mutts & Hounds, £24.00
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5. A tasty hamper full of treats for when he's feeling peckish

The Father’s Day Cheeseboard Hamper, Fortnum & Mason, £125.00
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6. A cosy union jack blanket for taking on picnics and draping over his favourite chair

Union Jack Blanket, Mutts & Hounds, £99.50
Top Tips for Photographing Your Dog with Spaniel Life

Top Tips for Photographing Your Dog with Spaniel Life

We all love to take photographs of our dogs, but at Mutts & Hounds we know first-hand just how difficult it can be! In a bid to improve our own skills in the office, we asked our friends at Spaniel Life to give us their best tips on how to get the most beautiful shot. Read on to find out how Stephanie takes those gorgeous photographs of the lovely Severus & Lily of Spaniel Life.

Severus wears Oatmeal Tweed Dog Collar, Oatmeal Tweed Dog Bow Tie

To us crazy dog people, taking photos of our beloved pooch is just as important as taking photos of the children... because they are our children!

As  Sev and Lily's instagram account grows, so too does the want to improve our photography more and more. Like so many other people we just love to share our furry friends lives on social media. Below are a few hints and tips to help get you started taking the best photos of your pet.

Work on Basic Training

The main question we get asked is "how do they sit for a photo?". It's simply because they have been trained and went to obedience from a young age. Of course there's lots of things you can do in photos, but to start with, getting the sit and stay commands down to a T will help you get that perfect shot.

Lily wears Grape Check Tweed Dog Harness

Remember it's also important to be patient both when training and taking a photo; small steps at a time and not spending too large an amount of time doing it will work best.

Reward Positive Behaviour

For Severus and Lily the best rewards are treats and chews. If they do what they're told for five minutes they are then rewarded. You could use toys for this too, but my two spaniels much prefer something yummy.

Severus, enjoying Mutts & Hounds Hand-baked Dog Biscuits Treat Bag

Get Low

When taking photographs, positioning yourself as low to the floor and as close to your dogs height as possible makes for the best photographs. You'll always find me with dirty or wet knees when we are out on a photo shoot! It will make the photo look so much better, and really open up to what your dog sees, drawing people into the photograph.

Use Natural Light

Either outside on a cloudy day, or inside with the dog facing the window is perfect. The light will improve the photo so much and can make you look like a professional in that one step.

Lily, playing with Balmoral Tweed Squeaky Bone Dog Toy

Focus on the Eyes

Having the dogs' eyes in focus is always what you should aim for in pet photography; the best photos always feature crisp and clear eyes. Other settings can be played around with and even edited but having those beautiful eyes in focus (and not their nose!) will make for the best photo of your four-legged pal.

Give Plenty of Time Out

Any photoshoots should be done in small chunks of time, and rewarded for afterward. Sev and Lily love to run free if we're on location for a photoshoot, and will chase their ball around for hours. If we're inside then letting them relax with a chew is also perfect for them. I love more natural photos too, so sometimes this is the best way. Either running in a field of flowers or snoozing in a cosy bed.

Severus, relaxing in Stoneham Tweed Luxury Donut Dog Bed

 A huge thank you to Stephanie, Severus & Lily at Spaniel Life for the wise words and those beautiful photographs! We will certainly be putting these into action for our next in-office shoot, and will be sure to share the results via our Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages - and we'd love you to do the same! Head over to our Facebook post and show us your best shots! Visit Spaniel Life's Instagram, Facebook & Blog for more beautiful photographs of Sev & Lily as well as all the latest in dog trends and travel!