Monthly Archives: January 2020

  • Top tips for a pawsome dog walk!

    January is Walk Your Dog Month - but what, exactly, do dogs really enjoy about their walks? And what can owners do to make sure their pets get the maximum benefit?

    Walkies help to keep dogs healthy AND happy, because as well as the physical exercise, walks are also a great de-stresser for them. Here are a few tips to follow for a pawsome walk.

    Frequency: Dogs need at least one walk a day - two is best, if possible. Yes, chasing a ball in your secure garden is fun for them, but you can’t beat a decent walk in a different environment.

    When: The best time is just before feeding them. If they have already eaten, give them at least an hour for the food to go down as exercise on a full stomach is as bad for dogs as it for us.

    Length: How long you walk your dog for each day depends on its breed, age and health, but the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) suggests between 30 minutes and 2hrs+. Small breeds, puppies and older dogs won’t appreciate long treks, while fit and healthy larger breeds will usually enjoy them.  You’ll know how long your dog needs - if they are exhausted at the end, make the walks shorter; if they’re still full of energy, they might need a bit longer.

    Where: Variety is the spice of life, so try and vary the location of your walks. It keeps the walks exciting for the dog, especially with all those new trees and bushes to sniff around in!

    Do your bit: You can add to your dog’s enjoyment by actively joining in. Walking should be about bonding, as well as exercising. So put your mobile phone away and focus on your dog - otherwise, they are likely to get bored. They might even start to dislike going out for walkies. And allow them the time to have a good old sniff around - they love it and it helps them to de-stress.

    Throw in some fun: Where safe and secure, and if your dog has been trained recall, let them have a good run-out off the lead.  Always use a ball (not small enough for them to swallow), and never use a stick which might injure their mouth. Adding a few minutes of varied walking for part of the walk - short bursts of faster walking and then normal pace - is another way to add fun.  It’s also a good exercise for both you and your dog.

    And finally … It goes without saying that your dog should be microchipped or wearing an identity tag on its collar - better to be safe than sorry!

    Enjoy your walkies!

  • Count the birdies with the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch

    Every January, the RSPB invites the public to take part in its UK-wide Big Garden Birdwatch to help them monitor the state of the nation’s bird population.

    This year, the event - the world’s largest wildlife survey - is happening on 25-27 January, when hundreds of thousands of people will be recording their sightings. Last year, almost half a million people took part, spotting over 7.6 million birds.

    People are asked to spend a period of one hour, watching birds in their garden or local park, making note only of the bird varieties that land, not those that fly over. You don’t even have to head outdoors to take part if you have a good view of your garden from your home.

    The UK’s birds have been in decline for decades, with changes in farming methods and loss of habitat being the main causes.

    Some species, such as the tree sparrow, have declined by as much as 95% since 1970. Other big losers include the corn bunting (88% decline), starling, turtle dove (both 71%), song thrush (56%), bullfinch (53%), skylark (52%) and cuckoo (33%).

    The annual count gives the RSPB a clearer idea of which species are doing well and in which areas, as well as building a historical picture.

    Here are the species that topped the 2019 birdwatch chart.

    1. House sparrow
    2. Starling
    3. Blue tit
    4. Blackbird
    5. Woodpigeon
    6. Goldfinch
    7. Great tit
    8. Robin
    9. Chaffinch
    10. Magpie

    Visit the RSPB website to sign up to take part in the survey - https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/. The website also has images of the UK’s birds to help you correctly identify them.

    And there are tips on things you can do to attract more birds into your garden. The big three ways to help birds is to provide them with shelter, food and water - lots more advice can be found here https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/.

    Happy - and successful - birdwatching!

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