We have picked some of our favourite valentines Day gifts and rounded them all up into a single list of amazing presents that any dog lover would be thrilled to receive. From luxury gifts to romantic gestures we hope you find something that your other half (or hound!) is sure to love.
For humans & home...
This stunning fully lined waxed coat solves the timeless drama of finding a dog walking coat that is both practical and stylish. It has two inner pockets for keeping valuables safe and two deep outer pockets for all those dog walking necessities! Finished with tweed cuffs and brass fasteners this stylish coat is perfect to brighten up those early morning walks on cold February days.
Dotty Dog Art Greetings Cards
These stunning cards are the creation of Kathy from Dotty Dog art. Featuring a variety of breeds and witty captions we would certainly love to receive one of these on Valentine’s day! Want something a bit more special? You can also commission a bespoke portrait which can be treasured forever.
We think that the most precious gift of all is the gift of memories, and what better way to do that then capture the special bond you and your family have with your four legged friend. Fur & Fables provide stunning stylish images of the heartbeat at your feet. All of their details can be found here with a new website coming soon!
Natural, Super-Soft Lambswool that’s Washable too….
This Pure Merino Lambswool Throw in Summer features soft greens and reds against a taupe base contrasted with a coloured wool fringe and is perfect for adding colour, texture and warmth to your living space.
Ideal for draping across chairs and sofas on chilly evenings, as a cosy blanket for pets or adding to the end of a bed. The natural properties of wool means the throw retains warmth in winter whilst remaining cool in summer, is hypoallergenic and easy to care for.
Dog & I Canine Spa Set
We really struggled to choose if this was a gift for hounds or their humans. Eventually we decided anything that makes bath time less of a chore is a blessing in our books! The Dog & I Classic Canine Spa set contains a full size Conditioning Shampoo, A 100g dog soap in either lavender or Lemongrass/Mint , a 15g tin of both their Nose, Skin & Paw balm & plus a shower shammy to make bathing your dog with their shampoo both easier and more economical.
Toggi Country Boots
Now we know that Valentines is normally about lingerie & chocolates but lets be honest - a good pair of boots is a dog lovers best friend. These unBELIEVABLY comfortable leather boots come in a really range of sizes (most up to at least a UK 11!) and a slim and wide width calf fitting too. Waterproof, mud proof and stylish. Find Toggi's latest range here.
For the hounds...
We all know that the true apple of our eyes are our four legged companions. We have picked out some of our favourite wooftastic gifts so that you can treat them too! From left to right:
Slumbering Hound Snuggle Sacks
Gorgeously cosy & soft snuggle sacks which are the perfect way to keep your hound toasty. Handmade from super-soft velour fleece and lined with cosy 'teddy bear' fleece - ideal for those dogs that like to burrow and snuggle!
Harley Bears Coco Bites Gift Box
Dogs melt our hearts... and these tasty treats will melt in their mouths! Treat them to their very own chocolate free selection box. Made with coconut oil, dried strawberries and a splash of lemon. Packaged in their own little gift box.
Serving size is 1 a day for little pooches and 2 for medium and large dogs. Store in the fridge and can be kept for several weeks.
Shipped from the 4th February.
Hoof to Tail Healing Collar Charms
Show your dog your love them with one of two, handmade with love, Valentine’s collar charms which not only look great, but balance the heart chakra as well.The heart chakra is about much more than love and relationships and rebalancing it can help the healing of many common ailments.
Suede House Collars (Closed Loop)
These stunning, made to order, soft suede house collars are available in three vibrant colours.
Each collar has a brass or nickel plated ring to which a split ring with ID tag and /or tassel can be attached. Perfect for the stylish hound in your life!
2. Pumpkin Carrot Bites - Holiday Dog Treat Recipe
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (get the kind that has ONLY pumpkin in it)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 cup whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir pumpkin, egg, carrots and flour in a large bowl until moistened.
Roll the batter into small balls and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes.
Source: Pawsitively Pets
5. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds - While you should never feed any of your halloween pumpkin to your dog after they have been lurking on your doorstep for a few days, the insides when fresh can provide a wonder of nutrients. The seeds, can be cleaned and roasted to provide a tasty treat for both you and your dog. They omega 3 fatty acids, which have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects. They also contain Cucurbitin, an amino acid which acts as a natural de-worming agent.
For a tasty snack that you and your dog can both enjoy, simply spread pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet, and bake in a preheated 160°F to 170°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Our October box Is going to be Howloween themed, full of ghoulish gourmet surprises and torturously fun toys. Sign up before the 25th September with code "HOWLOWEEN" to get 30% off.
You may or may not have heard of black dog syndrome.
We spoke to Izzy Tutcher, Fundraising manager at Leicester Animal Aid to discuss the issue. She mentioned how important it is to be able to create an immediate connection with a dog, as that first impression is so important. Most dogs will have markings that are either appealing to us, or help us to create feelings about their character. I for one can agree with this - Winston has ginger eyebrows that I feel give him tons of expression, but in reality, they have no bearing on his behaviour or personality.
Black dogs are definitely harder to rehome, along with brindle dogs. If you have multiple dogs who are all identical, it is harder to create that instant connection with them - Izzy Tutcher, Fundraising Manager, LAA
Another suggestion is that superstitions may have a part to play (more so with black cats) and their portrayal in television and film. Usually, the black dog is a character to be feared, and to run from, like in the Hounds of the Baskerville or more recently Harry Potter. These stereotypes have helped to enforce the negative image of the black dog. During some recently conducted studies, it was found that we generally perceive black dogs to be less able of companionship and more likely to be aggressive than lighter coloured dogs. 
To make issues worse, the longer a dog has been at a shelter, the more likely people are to have preconceived and unfounded notions regarding the dog's behaviour meaning that they are even less likely to be adopted.
A lot of people struggle photographing black dogs, it needn't be difficult. The easiest thing to do is look at how the light is falling on their face. if the main light source (eg window) is behind your dog, turn them to face the window or have them side on. Try not to have your hound facing the sun on a bright day, but if you can place them in the shade of a building, facing the light, that's a great way to photograph your black dog on a sunny day.
Adopting dogs that are in need of homes is a great thing to do, and we want to help. Sadly (as much as we'd like to!) we are unable to adopt them all, so we have found an alternative solution where hopefully, we can make a difference. Studies show that by using brightly coloured collars and bandanas, dogs of all fur colours are more likely to attract the attention of any potential adopters. Black dogs can potentially benefit the most as the colourful contrast helps them to stand out and provide that point of reference amongst the crowd. In addition, at some shelters (including Leicester Animal Aid) bandanas can be used with natural calming agents to help soothe anxious dogs who may find kennels to be a stressful environment. This in itself can help dogs become more adoptable as it helps them to relax, reduce anxiety and potentially bark less, which Lizzie says can be off-putting for potential adopters.
If you are a rescue centre that is interested in being part of our Collar donation programme, please contact us on email@example.com.
Interested in learning more about Collar Club subscription boxes? Click here.
2.Lepper, Merry; Kass, Philip H.; Hart, Lynette A. (2002). "Prediction of Adoption Versus Euthanasia Among Dogs and Cats in a California Animal Shelter" (PDF). Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 5 (1): 29–42
3.What is Black Dog Syndrome? BBC Website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-nottinghamshire-41686518/what-is-black-dog-syndrome
Do you have any favourite frozen treats to help keep your pup cool in summer? Let us know in the comments below!
Jo & Winston
Most people know that you should never leave a dog in a car on a hot day, but 48% of people still think it is fine to leave a dog if counter measures are taken such as if the windows are open, or you have parked in the shade. This is simply not the case. You should never leave a dog in a car on a sunny day, its just too risky. Even on a day where the outside temperate is only 21 degrees, the inside temperature can rocket to 31 in just 10 minutes. If you can't take them where you are going you should leave them at home, or make alternative arrangements. Below is some links to some amazing websites where you can find doggy friendly beaches, hotels and best of all restaurants! If you need some alone time, there are also details for dog walkers, boarders and day care. Why not give them a summer holiday too?
Dotty 4 Paws Dog Directory - Dog Walkers & Sitters (and much more!)
Dog Friendly Cottages &Hotels
Dogs Allowed Card - Gives you discount at dog friendly restaurants & Cafes
Okay so, we've covered cars.... so what about walking? Well, dogs will be grateful that in the summer months, the sunshine and lack of rain (we can be hopeful right?) will mean long rambling strolls in the countryside. While of course, we recommend everyone get out with their dogs, some of us don't always have rural places they can go to stretch their legs, and herin lies the problem... tarmac. Pavements and roads are normally black or grey, and therefore absorb heat. When it's sunny and the air temperature is 30 degrees, the road temperature can reach over 57 degrees... thats enough to fry an egg in just 5 minutes!
When it's this hot, try opting for early mornings or late evenings when the sun has gone down to go for a stroll, or make sure you stick to grassy areas where the ground temperature is much cooler.
A handy test to see its too hot - try holding the back of your hand firmly against the pavement. If you can't hold it there for 5-7 seconds, its too hot for your dog!
Hot dogs should be for the BBQ only, and its important to make sure that your dog is coping with the heat in the summer months. Dogs do like to sunbathe, but its up to us to make sure that they have access to cool shady places as well as fresh water at all times. Signs that your dog has over done it in the sun include:
There are some great natural products for keeping your dog's safe in the sun, or for a little bit of TLC if they have caught it a bit too much! We have linked some of our favourites below.
Natural Dog Company - Snout Soother
Snout Soother is intentionally developed to be scent-free because dogs do not like scents the way humans do! Protect your dog’s nose from sunburn with the natural SPF benefits. Snout Soother works much better and faster than coconut oil!
Dog & I - Nose, Skin & Paw Balm
A natural, lightly scented moisturising dog skin balm which is perfect for dry noses, sore and cracked paw paws, callouses, hot spots or in fact... anywhere on your dog that needs a bit of TLC. Handmade and all natural with no nasties. Safe to lick!
Contains hemp, lavender and peppermint oils.
Hownd - Playful Pup Skin, Nose & Paw Balm
HOWND SKIN, NOSE & PAW Balms protect, soothe and moisturise all year round! They are 100% vegan, unscented, fast-absorbing and natural. The balms can be used in the summer months to protect the snout and outer ear areas from UVA and UVB rays, as well as any exposed skin; and in the winter period to protect a dog’s soft pads on ice and salted pavements.
The first few weeks were tricky, while I had had family dogs in the past (both Westies!) I had never owned a Collie. My partner had; he had grown up with them as a kid. The only problem being that when your young, your childhood furry best friend can do no wrong. You remember that they (we miss you Jack!) were the BEST dog ever; they never chewed anything, they never dug, they never ate things they shouldn't and they would spin on a sixpence to heel if you so much as coughed in their direction... Yeah right. (He actually had a wonderful habit of herding lorries, but y'know...we won't mention that.)
I'm not afraid to say that there were definitely tears that first month. Not having kids, he was the biggest responsibility in my life. Literally, less than 72 hours in, we were at the vets, after Winston had decided that he wanted to help turn over the flower beds and found a lovely daffodil bulb as an afternoon snack. Those of you that aren't aware, most bulbs are extremely poisonous to dogs - I google'd it and completely freaked out.
Unfortunately (and fortunately!) Winston is extremely car sick so didn't quite make it to the vets without emptying his tummy on the way. So by the time we got to the vets and they said we need to make him sick, I confessed that he had already done so. (three times...) They gave us some charcoal to add to his dinner and reassured us that he would be fine. Fortunately, he has lost his appetite for al fresco dining.
The vet also highlighted to us that he wasn't in great condition - I was mortified by this. how had I not noticed? I mean, he was seriously skinny which we were addressing, but I hadn't noticed anything else. They recommended changing his diet (to another commercial brand) and seeing him again in 6 months.
As soon as I got home I began researching - could it be allergies? could it be a wheat intolerance? could it be this or that. I had zero idea about the complexities of dog nutrition and it became my mission to understand.
As a complete novice www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk was a bible. Rating foods by country, ingredients and quality, it became the holy grail of information on which to base my research.
A documentary called Pet Fooled also highlighted the horrors of the commercial pet industry, the poor and misleading nature of packaging, and the damaging effects that commercially produced food had on our pets really opened my eyes. Its currently showing on Netflix and I encourage you to take. a peek.
Aside from the marketing spiel, it poses an extremely interesting argument for the cost of high quality food vs veterinary care for your pet from illnesses caused by poor diet. Food for thought indeed.
Watch Pet Fooled on Netflix
From these two sources, along with countless others, I came to a conclusion. The best diet for dogs is raw food. They benefit from clean ingredients that are free from sugar, preservatives and a variety of other chemicals. It is also highly biologically appropriate.
Now while I feel that this may be the best diet for dogs, I also acknowledge that this is not always feasible. Winston is not raw fed for a variety of reasons - one being on the few attempts we had at trying to raw feed him, we ended up with beef lips and duck necks being thrown around the house and trust me - you really don't want these on your carpets! He does still get the odd beef rib bone (always raw, never cooked!) which is great for cleaning his teeth.
So we compromised - Winston's current diet consists of a mixture of 100% natural wet food (Forthglade), and 80/20 kibble. (Akela) Both made in the UK - both with science behind them to try and preserve as many of the nutrients as possible.
His skin is amazing, his coat glossy. His gut - MUCH better. The only downside? He has lots more energy too! And lets be honest - we all know you don't need to turbo charge a collie.
All of this research left me with a whole host of brands that I just wanted to shout about. Amazing independent brands that cared deeply about the quality, traceability and nutrition behind their products. It really excited me to find people that shared my own values and beliefs when it came to providing the best for your pets.
That’s why I created Collar Club. A subscription box for dogs containing only natural treats and safe, non toxic toys.
Our dogs deserve the best. At the end of the day they can't (and won't) protest to the food they are given. We make the choices for them and I believe that we owe it to them to make considerate choices. Every dog deserves food and treats that not only taste great, but make them feel good too.