Please note, while there is no evidence that dogs can transmit coronavirus, if you are self isolating please refer to the the World Health Organisation (WHO) website for guidance on interaction with pets which is changing (for the better!) daily.
Some people will have to work from home, others will have children and other dependants that need their attention so keeping the dog occupied while you carry out those tasks uninterrupted can ease frustration.
If you fancy buying some toys, we can recommend a few great small brands who provide long lasting interactive food toys.
Keep in Contact
We live in a time where keeping in contact is incredibly easy with unlimited options. Text, Calls, emails, video calls all available through online providers free of charge.
As a small business owner I have relied on several groups on Facebook, Instagram and other social media for advice, support and sometimes just an ear to bend.
Now social media can be a problem; the constant bombardment of negative information can sometimes feel like a bombardment and is hard to process which really is not great for our mental health. However, hidden between the negativity, there are also some really inspiring happy groups available.
This is applicable to both individuals and small business owners - Check out facebook and see what groups there are that are relevant to you. Search by your business type, industry areas, hobbies and local area. You might even make some face to face friends to meet when this is all over. Here are my recommendations of some super friendly groups for dog lovers below!
If you are a small business owner, speaking to like minded individuals can be really helpful, especially when so many of us are facing a difficult few months as business are inevitably going to be impacted. Here are two of the groups that I can recommend you joining for a happy, constructive space:
Petrepeneur Virtual Office - This small group is a safe space to bounce ideas off other pet businesses, have a laugh, share funny stories & frustrations and basically feel like you are part of a team.
Nottingham Petworking - This is a local group aimed at people who run pet businesses in close proximity to the midlands. While it's not advisable to go to groups during the outbreak the group offers a great digital space to network with people in the area and make new friends that you can meet with when this is all over!
Send someone a card. We always send cards for occasions but can you imagine the smile on your family member or friends face when they open a card with one of these gorgeous smiley pooches on? You can view the whole Dotty Dog Art range here!
Pick up a new hobby... (or three!)
Stock Up but Shop Small.
If you've not spent all your pennies on toilet roll...
If you are going to be stuck at home it may as well be comfortable, and you can help some small businesses while you are at it! Here are our top ten small business purchases to help you get through the crisis.
Exercising at Home
If your not quite ready to share your yoga mat, there are more traditional activities that can be done at home and in the garden while you are observing social distancing. Why not set up an agility course? Using old fence posts, cricket wickets etc you an easily set up a weave in the garden with limited space. Or if your dog is more athletic you can try setting up some jumps! (Just make sure not to put them too high at first and if they are fixed ensure they are made of soft materials to prevent any injuries!)
Other indoor ideas are hide and seek (you can practise those waits while you are at it!) or a good old game of fetch with a soft ball are perfect ways to burn off some excess energy.
Do your bit where you can.
We use Easy Fundraising and support our chosen charity Candy Cane through here when we make online purchases. If you would like to try the website, you can use our referral link which will give a £5 donation if you raise £5 for your own cause in the first year of sign up.
We hope that these tips will provide some useful ideas for you during this time. If you have any ideas, please let us know in the comments below!
As we all move towards reducing our waste, we have come up with some top tips of how to upcycle or reuse products found around the house and make fun enrichment toys for your dog. See our favourites below!
Pass the parcel "a la pooch"
Another option is a DIY tug toy. Pop an old ball (tennis, rubber it doesn't really matter!) and depending on the length of the sock, tie one or both sides of the ball and prepare for a stretchy game of tug-of-war!
Muffin Tin Hide and Seek...
If you like surprises...
Having a subscription box is fun - it can be both a surprise for both you and your dog as to what is inside. Our aim is to introduce you to some new brands, as well as give you access to new products from some classic favourites. Some of our customers are so keen on delivery day that we think they enjoy opening them more than the dog!
and you want the best natural products for your dog...
We love the variety on our boxes (of course... we are biased) and we think that its key to keep introducing your dog to new types of treats on a regular basis. The brands that we work with range from small artisanal suppliers to larger brands that are experts in their niche. All of our treats are 100% natural and contain no artificial nasties such as sweeteners, preservatives or colourings.
It's super convenient.
Reduce your carbon footprint and delivery costs.
Shipping products and excess packaging have a big impact on the environment. One of the benefits of Collar Club are that we arrange for bulk deliveries from separate suppliers, and we take the cost (and carbon!) out of trying multiple products at the same time. As you know, online retailers can charge rather hefty sums for their delivery costs but at Collar Club postage to the UK is all included in the cost.
But what if i don't want to be tied in?
The beauty of a subscription is that it comes regularly, and with Collar Club, you get to choose the frequency. You can choose from monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly and with our sophisticated system, you can pause or cancel your subscription at the touch of a button. As a small business we always try to please our customers, so if you are unable to access your account you are always welcome to drop us an email and we can sort this for you.
We have sent several boxes out over the years to pet bloggers to review. See why they would recommend a Collar Club box here:
For those not so serious cuts and grazes I wanted to be able to treat him myself so did some research on natural remedies to help with those minor ailments and annoyances that we have to deal with.
How to get rid of ticks from your dog naturally?
What are some natural ways to treat a dog's yeast problems?
Once you have addressed their diet, you can start to treat the yeast infection. Both apple cider vinegar and coconut oil have properties that will greatly help to reduce and even cure a yeast infection.
What are some home remedies for bad dog breath?
What are other natural remedies for dogs?
If you are interested in finding other natural remedies for dogs, you can find our full guide on how to treat a whole host of issues by downloading our free natural dog healing guide here. It has guidance on:
Being sustainable in our everyday lives is becoming an ambition for more and more people.
Did you also know that we have just launched our own range of plastic free treats? These gorgeous single protein treats are fully traceable from the farm, and come in a compostable pouch.
The term biodegradability is a tricky one. One that we try and stay away from as its hard to completely know what is actually doing more harm than good. Plastics which biodegrade (sometimes referred to as oxi-plastics) are actually still plastics that just breakdown into tiny little pieces. Now, depending on the final destination of these pieces of plastic, they could be contributing to the know well known issue of micro plastics which end up in water ways. We recommend compostable bags as this takes away any ambiguity regarding their eventual demise!
It is becoming increasingly easier to find dog toys that are made from natural materials. Materials such as hemp, bamboo and cotton can be used to create natural rope toys. Just be aware that some cottons may be dyed with synthetic colourings, which kind of negates the point.
While not all of our Dog subscription boxes are entirely plastic free (we hope to get there soon!) All of the toys we provide will be sustainable - whether that be made from natural materials like the above, or they will be 100% recyclable after use. We also try to pick super high quality toys so that they last longer before their life comes to an end!
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!
1. PEANUT BUTTER PUMPKIN GRAIN-FREE DOG TREATS
These tasty grain free treats are great for dogs who have a sensitivity for flour and use a mixture of coconut oil and peanut butter to help make a solid biscuit shape.
Marlynn Schotland | UrbanBlissLife.com
Why not get a spooky cutter to make them into some "howloween" appropriate shapes?
I found a great set of 12 here from amazon
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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