Handy Articles

  • We love food dispensing toys

    Have you ditched your dogs dinner bowl? Feeding from food dispensing toys can be a great way of helping keep your dog mentally stimulated and relaxed. We have a wide selection available at Just Dogs. Do you feed your dog from toys/bowls like these some or all of the time. We would love to hear what your dog likes best :-)


  • Flea and Tick Season

    We are definitely back into flea and tick season again as we are getting lots more queries about this in the shop and we have even had to help remove a few whooping big ticks from dogs in the last couple of weeks. Do be vigilant and do regular checks for these little critters (maybe incorporate it into a grooming or snuggle session). We would also highly recommend taking steps to prevent ticks latching on or flea infestations occuring. Have a chat with your Vet about the different pharmaceutical treatments out there and their pros and cons and/or feel free to pop in to us as we are always stocked up on natural repel aids (including the popular Billy No Mates from CSJ and Diatomaceous Earth), house flea sprays and the fantastic tick removing tool the Tick Twister!


  • Help with Festival Fireworks

    Now that we are in Festival time again we thought it would be handy to remind people who have nervous doggies that the annual Festival Fireworks concert is on Monday 31st August and it is a 45 min show that starts at approx. 9.30pm. The Tattoo also has nightly shorter displays around 1030pm with an extended display on Saturdays. If you are looking for more advise for helping your dog cope with fireworks we recommend checking out the dogsandfireworks website as it is a really great resource with lots of useful tips. We also supply a number of different products which can be used alongside desensitisation training including herbal calming products, thundershirts. Chews and treat dispensing toys which can be useful for distracting those with just mild anxiety.
  • Rawhide Chews: Getting Some Perspective

    rawhide_chipsRecently there has been a post circulated heavily across many doggy pages on social media about the risks of feeding rawhide chews.  We have had lots of people wanting to speak to us about it in the shop so we thought it may also be helpful to pop up some further info to allow you to make an informed choice.  Whilst the post in question makes lots of  very valid points, and it is absolutely important to be aware of risks and to make sure you look at where items are sourced from, we are also concerned that there are some points that are perhaps not as balanced as they could be and we thought it would be helpful to try to clarify some of these points. We have provided the full details in a blog article on the subject.   As a summary we would always recommend that you research where you source the hide you give your dog.  We would also only recommend giving hide to dogs whilst supervising and only to those dogs that are not too greedy with gulping down larger pieces of unchewed hide (but we would also recommend this with any harder chew).  Rawhide may not work for every dog but the same could be said for other chews (i.e. some dogs do well with pigs ears but others find them too rich).

    Point 1:   "A rawhide stick is not the by-product of the beef industry nor is it made of dehydrated meat. Rather, rawhide is the by-product of the “Leather Industry”, so theoretically it is a leather chew. ?" Although it is not a dehydrated meat product it is still a by-product of the beef industry (as is leather) and there are lots of other natural chews which are not dehydrated meat i.e. ears, snouts etc which are very popular.  We have been very careful to ensure that the main range of hide chews we stock in the shop are from highly regulated, ethical supplier.  The main range we stock are actually from Argentian/Brazilian free range cattle which are used for their meat and then the leather and hide are also produced from these cattle.

    Point 2:   "Once at the tannery: the hides are soaked and treated with either an ash-lye solution or a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming. This process will help strip the hair and fat that maybe attached to the hides themselves. "  To remove excess hair, salts or oils the hide we stock are soaked in large vats with mostly water and there are no harmful or toxic chemicals  used (they are not soaked in a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming as referred to in the original post).    They are solely made of fully digestible hypodermic interstitial tissue (AKA skin) and no harmful chemicals are used to "puff" the hide as described in the original post.  They are not bleached either.  There may be some sources of hide which this applies to but not from the higher quality ranges which we choose to stock.

    Point 3: "Basted, smoked, and decoratively tinted products might be any color (or odor) underneath the coating of (often artificial) dyes and flavors. They can even be painted with a coating of titanium oxide to make them appear white and pretty on the pet store shelves"  There are certain types of hide from poor sources which certainly  can be coloured and flavoured with potentially harmful chemicals and we would always recommend ensuring that you check out where your products are sourced from.  Again, we are extremely careful about where we source from and ensure that the hides are either uncoloured or only using natural flavouring (i.e. for the peanut butter ones we stock).  We are careful about where we source all our treats from though as other poor quality, harmful treats are also on the market - not just in hide market.

    Point 4: "When tested: Lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salts, formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals have been detected in raw hides. So it’s safe to say that any sort of glues can be used as well!"  Again we are aware that there are some products which can be from less well regulated and traceable sources (the same can be said for many treats not just rawhide).  We are careful to ensure that our hide is from very transparent, well regulated and inspected sources which do not use any toxic, harmful chemicals in their production.

    Point 5: “Choking or blockages. If your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.“  Rawhides, as with any chews, can carry a small choking risk.  We always recommend that you supervise your dog carefully when feeding and if they are greedy and prone to chewing off larger pieces and swallowing whole then we would not recommend giving these to your dog.  We would also advise this for many of the other treats though which some people argue as more "natural" i.e. raw bones, pigs ears, pizzles etc.

    Whilst we do appreciate that there can be a risk of choking if your dog is not being properly supervised, we like to let our customers balance this up with the advantages when properly supervised.  It can provide a safer outlet for chewing than other things around the house they may be focussing on. It can also be a useful addition for tooth cleaning and as an aid to combatting boredom or anxiety alleviation.

    We appreciate rawhide may not be suited to all dogs (if they are a greedy eater or if they have a sensitivity to beef etc) and for more information on the pros and cons of different chewing items please do have a look at our "to chews or not to chews" article on our blog or ask for a leaflet in store.

  • Tick Warning

    The number of ticks in the UK is growing rapidly. To help minimise the risk to your dog we would recommend the following:

    **Get into the habit of checking your dog for ticks on returning from woodland or grassland walks.
    **Regular grooming is recommend as this will help you spot any ticks that may have locked on to your dog in more hidden spots
    **Treat your dog regularly with tick preventative to help minimise the risk of ticks attaching

    **Remove the tick with care** If you do find a tick it is important to remove and dispose of it with care. We always recommend using a proper tick remover (the tick twister is the most effective tool). Do not try to burn off, smother, cut off or pull off with tweezers as this can increase the risk of the head staying in the skin which can increase the chance of infection or disease spreading.

    It may seem like this message is overkill but, aside from ticks just being nasty little critters, they can pose a serious health threat to you and your dog. Lyme disease can be spread via ticks.

    Symptoms of Lyme disease can include lameness, lethargy and fever and if they are left untreated your dog can develop kidney disease and heart failure. If you are at all worried please do contact your vet asap.

    At the shop we stock the fantastically handy tick twisters and natural remedies which can be useful for helping to deter ticks from attaching to your dog. There are also chemical treatments which are available via your Vet (or online specialists) too. If you need help identifying or removing a tick don't be afraid to ask your Vet for advice and we are always on hand with tick twisters at the shop too.

    The Big Tick Project has also been launched and this aims to raise awareness of the risks and symptoms associated with tick-borne disease, and to educate owners about how they can reduce their dog’s exposure to ticks and the diseases they carry.
    As part of the project Vets across the UK are submitting the largest nationwide collection of ticks from dogs in a bid to help scientists, led by Professor Richard Wall at the University of Bristol, track what is feared to be a growing threat to people and their dogs from tick-borne diseases. We will be watching the progress of this project with great interest and will make sure we also update on our website.

  • Peanut Butter Warning

    We often recommend peanut butter (in sensible quantities) as a potential Kong plugger/ high value reward. A number of Vets have recently published guidance to make sure you always check the label for the ingredients. Recently some peanut butters have been using Xylitol in place of sugar for a sweetener in their ranges. Xylitol can be extremely dangerous for dogs, even in small quantities so we thought it important to share this information to raise awareness and remind you to check the ingredients =) We have included a link to some handy guidance in the comments below.



  • Products to keep dogs cool

    Phew - another scorcher of a day! We've pulled together some of our products that can help to keep dogs cool in the heat: Cool mats, collapsible water bowls in various sizes, cool coats, travel cups (screw onto most bottled water in place of cap), kongs (for filling & freezing), sunmist spray (sunscreen), freezable chew toys, doggy ice cream, and bandanas (for soaking) . What do you use to keep yo...ur dog cool & comfortable in the sun? We'd love to hear your ideas and recommendations =)

    Thanks to Dan who has already helpfully suggested using a spray bottle filled with cool water to mist your dog with in the heat. NB If a spray bottle has been used to stop unwanted behaviours in the past (which we don't recommend) your dog may not like being sprayed in this way.

  • Keep Your Dogs Cool This Summer

    Summer is here at last =) It is another scorcher today so we thought it might be useful to pop up our wee reminder about keeping our doggy friends cool and safe in this weather as they overheat a lot easier than us humans. We know a lot of it is common sense but it is always nice to keep it in our minds when we are sunning ourselves.


  • Reading Dog Emotions

    Dogs communicate a wide range of emotions through very subtle signals and body language. This handy little infographic from the RSPCA highlights some of the key signals a happy or stressed dog may use. For understanding more about doggy body language we recommend checking out the article "Calming Signals - The Art of Survival" by Turid Rugaas.


  • Polly's Travel Gear

    From Dan "Annoyingly blurry picture from me going POLLY POLLY THIS WAY POLLY whilst taking it but I thought you might be interested in seeing Polly's 'Adventure Kit' given the recent posts about travelling with dogs. It consists of (clockwise from right): Red drybag for food and damp-susceptible items (just cheap one from Tiso) with dark-green travel towel (Mountain Warehouse own brand) attached b...y carabiner, Kong red collapsible bowl for food/water, black rain coat (with MOST IMPORTANT Beautiful Joe treat pot), bottle/bowl combo for attaching to bags on day trips, waterspray/mister for cooling down hot dogs in cars (inspired by our being trapped on the approach to Dartford Bridge last year), Hotterdog fleece for cold nights and, last but not least, Polly modelling her Ancol travel harness and looking after her up-to-date pet passport! (Not pictured is the ground spike and Halti we use when camping so she can roam about a bit but not wander too far)"

    Polly is brilliantly kitted out (thanks Dan for the photo and info)! What do you take when you go travelling with your dog? We would love to hear!


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