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Paws Up for Mental Health Awareness Week

Paws Up for Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 begins on Monday 8th May, and was created by the Mental Health Foundation in order to raise awareness of the silent battle so many of us face when it comes to mental health.

This year's theme is Surviving to Thriving, and at Mutts & Hounds we've been looking at the important role dogs play in helping people to cope with difficult times. Studies have shown that having a dog around the house can make difficult day to day tasks more managable and enjoyable, as well as providing motivation to get out and about, helping to build self-confidence and offering companionship free from judgement.

While the stigma surrounding mental health has begun to ease over recent years, it is still incredibly important that the conversation continues, and that those who are experiencing difficulties feel able to speak up and get the help they deserve. We've put together a list of the ways in which four-legged friends can help us and our loved ones, to show just how important they really are.

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1. Getting you out of the house and moving

It is widely known that exercise is a fantastic way to improve mental health, but it can be difficult to find the motivation to get yourself going, as well as establishing a healthy routine. Enter the pups! From an early age all dogs benefit from daily walks, and depending on breed, the recommended length of walk tends to range from 30 to 60 minutes. As your fitness increases so will your dog's, and with them counting on you for their daily exercise, that half hour will easily build up over time, and soon you will look forward to getting up and out the house just to see the look on your pooch's face!

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2. Offering a listening ear

Sometimes you just need to get some things off your chest, be it a bad day at work, an argument with a friend or relationship troubles, and it's not always helpful to have someone giving you their opinions and telling you how you could have acted differently. Often, a knowing look or a sympathetic tilt of the head is all you need to feel better, and that's what dogs do best! No judgement, no interruptions - as long as you have cuddles to offer in return, your pooch may just be the best therapist you've opened up to yet!

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3. Keeping you mindful

One of the greatest traits of dogs is that they live in the moment, which is something we as humans are far less likely to do with all the concerns of modern life weighing heavy on our shoulders. Engaging with your pet, whether it's introducing them to a new walk, playing fetch in the house or taking cute photographs of them to share with friends, keeps you in the moment and gives you focus, allowing your worries about the past or future to melt away for the time being.

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4. Helping you to get social

A great way our dogs can help us is by facilitating contact with other people, and we've found they can be a great ice-breaker! Joining a puppy training class is a fun way to meet other people and of course some adorable pups, too! Exercising your pooch in a popular dog-walking park can also be a great way to meet new people and you may just find yourself arranging an after-walk coffee when your dog takes an unexpected liking to the lovely local poodle!

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5. Providing sensory stress relief

Stroking a pet is a brilliant way to relieve stress and begin to feel calmer. Not only does it let your pet know you love them and strengthen the bond you share, studies have shown that it can lower blood pressure and encourage the release of oxytocin, a mood-boosting hormone.

Reaching out for human help

With all of these points in mind, it is incredibly important to speak to a trusted person if things begin to get too much, whether that is a family member, close friend, GP, counsellor or samaritan. For more information about the Mental Health Foundation and the amazing work they do, please visit their website here. National organisation Samaritans offers a free, impartial and confidential ear to anyone needing to talk. They are available 24/7 on 166 123 or at their website.

"Most of all, when your confidence is at its lowest, when you feel battered – by life, death and (especially) other humans – a dog will shove her nose in your hand and tell you, with conviction and feeling, what a really good person you are."

- Julie Myerson, Author (taken from My Dog, My Friend, Clare Allen, 2014)

New for Spring - The Peacock Collection

New for Spring - The Peacock Collection

At Mutts & Hounds we have long taken inspiration for our premium pet products from the countryside, picking up on woodland colours and taking influence from the gorgeous scenery around our office and the surrounding Cotswold villages.

Our exciting, new and somewhat different collection for dogs is inspired more specifically by one beautiful and regal creature, often found wandering some of the well known estates and stately homes of the area, the majestic Peacock.

One Peacock in particular, Percy - a local celebrity no less - is well known to all those who live and work in the village, and we have watched him come and go as he pleases for many years now.

 Percy the Peacock of Yatton Keynell

The bright and eye-catching colours of a Percy’s tail feathers naturally make the most beautiful and unique pattern, which we have aimed to capture in this new fabric, designed in-house by a member of our team. This brand new colour-rich textile has been developed from a loose watercolour sketch, before being applied to a soft yet hardwearing fabric screen printed in England. 

We are very pleased to introduce this collection, and share with you some of our favourite images from our current lookbook!

The new Peacock Collection, a must-have for discerning dogs, features all of Mutts & Hounds’ customer favourites including the donut and pillow dog beds, collars and leads, toys, harnesses and neckerchiefs. For humans there is also a select range of textiles for the home which now also includes handy wash bags – perfect for a weekend away or to brighten up a country bathroom.

My favourite item from our new Peacock Collection has to be the dog lead; my dog’s collar is often hidden under his fur so I love having a good lead that is as beautifully designed as a collar and can be clearly seen when we’re out walking

Laura, company director, and Frank the Border Terrier

“I’ve chosen the Peacock collar for my dog as it’s a bright contrast against her dark coat, fun with its pattern and colour but still stylish, and quite unique compared to any other collars she’s ever worn”

Katie, office co-ordinator, and Tinker the Springador

We had such fun shooting this collection with a host of beautiful and impeccably behaved dog models who all seemed quite taken with the new fabric! It has been great to see how our most colourful products to date have worked so well with a range of different coat colours and styles, from Severus and Lily's chocolate and black waves to Eddie's sandy coloured curls and Charlie's classic Daxie black and tan.

Head to https://muttsandhounds.co.uk/collections/peacock-collection to view the collection in full and purchase a little piece of Percy for your pooch!

Please note that Collars & Leads are currently available for pre-order with dispatch w/c 24th April.

Keeping Your Dog Fit & Healthy in 2017

Keeping Your Dog Fit & Healthy in 2017

 

First of all we'd like to wish all our readers a happy new year! It's hard to believe we are already 20 days into January, but we are still trying our best to keep to our resolutions for a healthier lifestyle (save for the occasional slice of birthday cake...)!

Aside from our own health and fitness-based resolutions for 2017, we've also made some for the dogs so that they can continue to stay in good health and happiness throughout the coming year. It's so important as owners that we make healthy choices for our pets, since they are not wired to think about the big picture, and will more often than not see an open packet of chocolate digestives as a wonderful opportunity rather than a dangerous indulgence!

With this in mind we've put together a set of ideal weight brackets for several of the most popular breeds our customers tend to own. These figures are approximate and not set in stone - we know how widely breeds can fluctuate in size so if you have a particularly broad and tall Pug, it may be that they are perfectly healthy at the heavier end of the scale. If you have any queries it is always best to speak to your vet or nutritionist to get a professional opinion. 

 If your dog is a little on the portly side, fear not - there are a couple of simple things you can do to keep their weight in check.

1. Make sure you are feeding them the right amount of food for their breed and size, keeping meals consistent by weighing your dog's food or measuring it with a cup.

2. Make time for walkies every day! Not only is walking a great way for us to burn off those extra pounds we gained over the Christmas break, it is also essential for the physical and mental health of our four-legged friends. Recommended walking distances vary between breeds, ages and temperaments, but generally speaking your dog will benefit from walking for around 30-60 minutes per day, and if you can get them out of the house more than once a day, even better!

 With this in mind we've put together a list of dog-walking essentials for the current colder climes. Whether you choose to walk on a collar or harness, it is important that you pick the right size to fit your dog for both comfort and security. If you're unsure which size to go for, all the information you need can be found in our size guide. As for which style you choose, that is entirely up to personal choice, but with our carefully curated range of coloured leathers, tweeds and linens there really is a design for every discerning dog and owner. Just don't forget to don your warmest socks and a knitted hat to keep the frost off yourself, too!

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