Wednesday, 12 August 2015

What's at the end of the rainbow?

A big pot of doggy treats?

Monday, 10 August 2015

Walkies with Direct LIne.... and a giveaway!

This is a sponsored post but we will always express our own opinion

We were recently asked to review and try out the new app from Direct Line, one of the leading suppliers of pet insurance in the UK, aimed at dog walkers, called aptly, Walkies!  We also have £75 worth of vouchers as a giveaway prize, for use with the luxury online pet store, Pets Pyjamas!

The Direct Line walkies app

Developed by Direct Line to go hand in hand with their pet insurance products and with dog obesity becoming a real problem in the UK, the app has been developed as a way of helping you and your furry friends monitor your exercise level, much in the way that other popular apps like Runkeeper and Endomondo do.  Only they don't track your canines calories as well!   In conjunction with this, they have also developed an accompanying blog called Fit Fred, charting the progress of an overweight Golden Retriever on his journey to get fit and healthy using the Walkies app, and is really a very enjoyable read with lots of useful hints and tips.

How do I get it?

The app is available free from the Apple store (click here for details) and is aimed at getting you and your furry friends healthier.  Much like existing fitness apps, this one tracks your dog walks, calculating top and average speeds, distance covered and calories burned by you and your dog(s), plus the route covered.  Once downloaded, to get started, you input details about yourself and your dog(s)....


and you are good to go!

We tried it out on one of our favourite short walks, up in Aspley Heath in Buckinghamshire, always a good one for seeing how well these things track as signal can get a bit dicey!  It was a beautiful walk, as the sun was throwing its golden light through the trees, and there wasn't a soul about apart from two of us hoomans, and Lottie!

To track a dog walk, you select your dog(s)...


and tap "Start Walk".....

and enjoy your walk!  Here are a few photos from this walk - you may notice that the path is sand, but we are in the middle of Buckinghamshire!  Strange oddity about our local area, Woburn Sands.




Once you are done, tap on "Stop" and look at the results!  You can even share your walk on social media with your friends!


Walkies app verdict

I really like this app (and as I am a systems analyst in "normal" life, I am very difficult to please!) - I have used previously Runkeeper on dog walks, and I love the fact that this one is so focussed on dog walkers.  Other features I like is a little icon called "Top Walks" which shows recommended walks in your vicinity, always good if you want to try somewhere new!

If you want to be able to see the calories you and your pal are burning, or are just interested in just how much ground you really do cover, I recommend taking a look at this app - it's free after all!  And as a bonus, if you sign up with your email details, there is a current offer to get a free photographic session at a Venture Studio for your doglet.  I have booked ours for a few weeks time, so am sure it will feature on here in a future post!

Giveaway time! 

Direct Line has very kindly given us £75 worth of vouchers for, a luxury online pet store, as a giveaway prize!   Open to UK residents aged 18 and over - to enter, you must leave a comment on this blog post, we would love to know about your favourite place to walk!  Other entry options are available once this has been done.   The closing date for entries is Monday 17th August 2015 21:00, and a winner will be selected at random and notified within 14 days.  The winner must respond within 28 days with a postal address, or a new winner will be randomly selected.  The prize will be sent within 28 days of notification.  Full terms and conditions are available on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Get the lowdown on Microchipping!

As of the 6th April 2016, the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2014 will be enforced by local authorities, PC's, community support officers and anyone else authorised to act as an enforcer by the Secretary of State.  So we thought it was about time we did a post, highlighting exactly what this means for everyone!  Starting from the basics....

What is microchipping? 

A pet microchip is a chip a little bit bigger than a grain of rice, that is implanted using a needle under the skin of your pet, normally between the shoulder blades.  Injecting the microchip is normally painless, or perhaps just a little instant discomfort for your pet (we have heard of pets that haven't even noticed) and the important thing is that the chip can then be registered with your contact details. If your pet is lost, the pet can be scanned and the chip details picked up, reuniting you with your beloved pet.

Image from Wikipaedia

Does my dog have to have one?

Yes.  The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations were brought in in 2014, and will become a compulsory requirement from the 6th April 2016.   From this date, all dogs must be microchipped and registered on an approved database by the time they are 8 weeks old.  There are no exemptions, bar if your vet declares that the dog should not be chipped due to health issues.  The normal laws of wearing a collar and identity tag will carry on applying - click here to read our article on this.

What if I don't do it?

If your dog is scanned and either has no scannable microchip, or is not registered to an approved database, you will be given a 21 day notice to rectify this.  In 21 days, if this has not been complied with, you could be charged £500.  This also includes if your details aren't up to date, so don't get complacent just because your dog is chipped - check those details are right!

Where is the best place to register the microchip?

We have Lottie logged with Petlog, the main registration site in the UK - we upgraded to the Petlog Premium Lifetime Membership for a small one-off charge, and that allows us to make changes whenever we like.   Additionally, there is an app that you can use to instantly raise an alert if your pet goes missing, a 24/7 phoneline, and it is part of a European network of databases.  One useful feature we also find is the ability to log alternative contacts if you are away, or they are unable to contact you for some reason.  My best friend is logged as a secondary carer.

What do I need to do now?  

Just a few steps:

  1. Is your dog microchipped?  If not, get this organised.  Your vet will be able to do this for you for a charge - alternatively, charities like the Dogs Trust run free microchipping clinics.  Click here to search for a location near you. 
  2. If your dog is already microchipped, or once you have it done. make sure your contact details are up to date on the registration database that you are logged on.
  3. If you don't know if your dog is microchipped, or if you think it isn't working, get your vet to check. Although rare, sometimes they can slip from their original location or occasionally stop working.  A new one can then be implanted.

And that's it!

Petlog have an FAQ page for anything I may have missed off here.

Here's a cute, but very important message from the Kennel Club to enjoy!