Category Archives: Pets

Giveaway & Review – Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

In December last year we welcomed a new addition, Penny the sprocker puppy. Despite the date of her arrival, she was not a Christmas present, she was a much longed for member of our family. When she arrived she was so tiny, a little dot of a thing who moved at lightening speed. She quickly made herself at home and now, aged nearly 8 months we can’t imagine life without her. 

She’s cheeky, greedy and rambunctious, but a great friend to us all. When we first got her she was so tiny we couldn’t find a dog collar to fit her, so for her first few months with us she wore a cat collar with a bell on it. The bell was actually quite helpful as she had a habit of getting under your feet when you don’t expect it. I miss that bell. 

Naturally she grew out of her tiny cat collar and needed something a bit more suited to her handsome doggy features. 

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

Meg Heath Dog Leads, are a small, independent business based in Lincolnshire. They specialise in making bespoke handmade dog leads, collars and harnesses as well as long lines, training leads, webbing leads, collars, head collars and their unique car safety lead. All of their products are made from soft, strong and durable cushion web.

Meg Heath Dog leads is owned and run by Sarah Greave, a dog owner and canine rescuer with over 11 years experience in crafting quality, durable, handmade collars and leads. 

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

The Meg Heath website is really simple to use. I knew what I wanted, a simple collar and a sturdy lead to walk Penny. I knew from our previous collar we needed an extra loop to hang her tag on the collar. This is called a double tag collar, it saves you trying to figure out where to hook the tag. Although she is micro-chipped I still think it’s worth having a dog tag on her, just in case. 

When you order your collar and lead from Meg Heath, you can choose from a number of options. There is a whole rainbow of colours to choose from as well as size and finish options. We went for red as she’s always worn a red collar, but I’m slightly regretful I didn’t go for something a bit different. Next time I will be braver.

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

It cost £12.99 for the collar I wanted. I thought this was excellent value as I’ve seen collars which are much more expensive in pet shops which don’t match the quality and the finish of our new Meg Heath one.

I liked that Penny’s collar had a nice sturdy clip. There’s nothing worse that trying to undo an old fashioned buckle on a wet collar worn by a wriggling dog. The collar was soft and easy to adjust and she looked very smart indeed.

I opted for a matching lead. Although there are a number of different styles of lead available on the Meg Heath website, we just wanted a plain lead to walk her with. If you’ve got a dog who pulls or needs a training lead, or perhaps a special safety lead for in the car, Meg Heath have all of these options and more.

The dog lead we chose cost £11.90 and was made to the same high standards as the collar. This was a simple lead with an O ring on the handle. The O ring makes it easier to put over your shoulder while your dog is off the lead. 

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

The lead was very comfortable to hold, sometimes I find dog leads to be quite abrasive in my hand, but this was fine and it was very comfortable to walk her with. 

Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars – The Verdict

We were very impressed with the quality of the Meg Heath Dog leads and collars. They are very well made, the fixtures are smooth and snag free and they seem comfortable for Penny to wear and are comfortable for us to walk her with too. 

The collar and lead look very smart and are easy to keep clean. We are all happy with her new collar and lead and we’d recommend them if you’re looking for a well made, comfortable collar and lead for your dog. 

For more information about Meg Heath dog leads and collars, visit their website.

Review - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

Win a Meg Heath collar and lead

To be in with a chance to win a double tag flat collar and a matching dog lead from Meg Heath, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will receive a double tag flat collar and a matching dog lead from Meg Heath.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 24th May 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Note: We were sent the  dog lead and collar from Meg Heath for review. All images and opinions are our own. Our images may not be used without our permission.

Our dogs – a short history of the dogs we’ve known & loved

Since I was 12 we’ve had a dog. I can’t imagine a house without a mutt traipsing around after me, getting in my way, or leaning on my leg when I’m sad like they know and understand. I love dogs, dogs are where it’s at. All dogs are characters and characterful, but all our dogs have really helped shape our lives.

Our dogs - a short history of the dogs we've known and loved

My first dog was Tess. A boxer/staffy cross. She was full of beans and twice as bouncy. Not great around little kids as they only encouraged her rambunctiousness, but with me and my younger brother she was an absolute star. She was so protective of us and looked a lot tougher than she actually was, a great deterrent for ne’er do wells when we were walking her alone.

I was 23 when she died, she had cancer and had to be put down, but she was a real beautiful, belter of a dog and she’s still missed.

About six months later Sam came into our lives. Sam again was a boxer/staffy cross but with a bit more staff and a bit less box than Tess. I’d left home by that point and she was my parents dog, but we took a real shine to her. She was a bit too energetic for a couple on the slide towards retirement, so she came to live with us.

Our dogs - a short history of the dogs we've known and loved

During the days she would accompany my husband to work, the evenings she’d spend snuggled on the sofa with me. She genuinely was one of my best friends, she always knew when I needed her. She was forever curled at my feet and always woke me by sticking her cold nose against the back of my knee under the covers and giving my leg a gentle lick.

In 2010 I fell pregnant. Sam was to all intents and purposes my baby and had been since she moved in. We knew having a rival in the house would be difficult, but we underestimated just how put out she would be. When we brought Benjamin home in November 2010 she moved out that same evening. For her it was hate at first sight.

We tried for months to assimilate her back into the house but she wouldn’t have any of it. Reluctantly she moved back in with my Dad and lived with him until her death. My Dad enjoyed having her around now that she was an older dog set in her ways. It seemed and was the most logical thing to do. We could still see her and spend time with her, but we weren’t putting Benjamin in any danger.

Thankfully as soon as Benjamin found his feet, began toddling and looked like an actual human being rather than a strange, alien crying thing, her mind was changed. She fell as in love with him as we did and the feeling was mutual. The boy and dog were best friends. We’d even get a growling at if we tickled him, she was so protective of him.

Benjamin was obsessed with her now and they’ve been best friends for until she died in 2014. Right until the end she was in love with Benjamin. He loved to look after her, fill her water bowl, feed her and brush her. When she died it was Benjamin’s first bereavement. Sam had gone to live in a farm in heaven. He was sad, but that’s part of life and an important part of what pets can teach children. 

In December 2016 Penny burst into our lives. A hairy whirlwind of chaos. She was not the staffy/boxer cross we’d always gone for, but she is a cocker spaniel, springer spaniel cross. Something new and very different. It had been 15 years since I’d last had a puppy and I’d forgotten how much hard work they are. They’re worth it. She is worth it. But they take a lot of looking after, much more so than a sedate old dog who knows their place. 

Pets: Review & Giveaway - Meg Heath Dog Leads & Collars

Penny is 8 months old now, she’s starting to calm down a little bit (a very little bit). She is Benjamin’s best friend. She’s learning when I need a cuddle and I’m learning when she needs one too. She goes to work with my husband a few days a week. She likes to sit looking out of his window and when the mood takes her she gets paper out of the bin and shreds it for him. She’s helpful like that. 

I’m so glad we’ve got another dog in the house, she’s great company for us all, and a decent excuse to get some exercise. 

Tess, Sam and Penny are three waggy ladies who have had a joyous, wonderful, enriching impact on our lives and I know Penny and Ben will grow up together being the best of friends. 

In praise of Penny, it’s National Puppy Day

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook you may have seen my occasional updates about the puppy who burst into our lives in December. A Christmas present she was not, but a much longed for, four-legged member of the family.

Meet Penny Sprocker. Or at least that’s how she looked when she trotted into our lives. She was tiny! Today is National Puppy Day and it’s made me look back and appreciate our lovely pup.

In praise of Penny, it's National Puppy Day

Since December she’s been a whirlwind of adorable chaos and we wouldn’t have her any other way. She’s a Sprocker – a Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel cross. This means she’s bouncy, energetic, greedy and intelligent, apparently.

She’s five months old now, give or take. In those months she’s learned some of the basics – sit, stay, lie down. She’s also learned how to climb onto the dining table to snaffle any unguarded human food. She’s also learned (hopefully) that drinking funny coloured water out of the pond will make her poorly.

This was her on her first big walk in January. 

In praise of Penny, it's National Puppy Day

Penny likes long walks, she gets three a day. I did mention she was energetic didn’t I? She also likes things she can chew (like my carpets) and lots of cuddles. 

I work mostly from home, so she gets to hang out with me most days, which is nice for us both. Sometimes she goes to work with my husband. He works alone so she is company for him and his customers seem to like her too.

This was her yesterday, we popped in to his work for lunch and to say hello.

In praise of Penny, it's National Puppy Day

She has made going out and trips away more difficult and sometimes impossible. Holidays have to be dog friendly and everything we do we now have to take her into consideration. We’d forgotten in the 18 months we’d been without a dog just how tying they can be. So don’t get a dog if you’re not able to consider their needs, just like you would consider the needs of a child.

Having said that, we wouldn’t change a thing. The benefits to having a big floppy mutt around the house far, far outweigh the other considerations we have to make. We love her and we’re pretty sure she loves us too.

Penny Sprocks rocks our world!

Pets: Ensuring your dog gets the right food all year round

When it comes to your canine companion, you need to provide them with food that’s not only nutritionally beneficial, but also makes them as happy as they make you. Dog owners usually take a considerable amount of time deciding what food is right for their pet, but knowing which foods are best can usually be a struggle.

In total, Britain spent £899 million on dry and wet dog food in 2015 alone. Depending on the time of year and whether temperatures are mild or freezing, it can be difficult to determine whether your dog should be eating dry or wet food. If you’re walking your dog in colder temperatures, it’s vital that your dog receives a sufficient amount of nutrients in order to stay fit and healthy. In the summer, dogs can rely on a much leaner diet, so they don’t need the fatty content provided by wet foods.

Provided by natural dog food retailer Feedem, this guide will help you figure out how to ensure that your dog gets the right food and nutrients whatever the weather.

Check your dog’s fitness

We’ve all been there, you’re sitting in the living room with the dog, and sometimes, they get a bit of what you’re eating as a treat. Although you may not notice it, because you see them every day, this can be a significant contributor to weight gain. This will have an impact on your dog during their walks, as it might result in sluggishness and will affect how long they can walk for.

If you begin to notice this yourself, then change their food from a wet to dry serving, as dry foods typically have a lower fat content. As well as this, fewer dog treats are an easy way of regulating your dog’s weight; think of it like this, would you keep giving yourself a treat if you stopped exercising?

Try to remember that whatever changes you make to your dog’s diet, it still needs to be tasty for your pooch. For example, if your dog is content with wet food and they need a fattier meal to build a strong winter coat, then keep a small amount of dry food in their diet so that you’re changing what they’re eating, but it’s less of a shock to them when they’re eating new foods.

How often is your dog outside?

If your dog isn’t inclined to go on many walks, and likes to sit snug beside you rather than go outside, make sure that they’re receiving a low-fat dry food diet; it seems obvious, but when they’re moving around less, they aren’t going to burn off much of the food they eat. However, if your dog works outside all day, or likes to run around a field for hours during their walk, then try to give them 10 to 90% more fatty-wet foods depending on the dog’s circumstances.

 If you’re unsure, then consider these key points as a guide:

  • Size: Depending on your dog’s size and build, you’re going to have to accommodate this through the foods that they eat. Subcutaneous fat keeps your dog warm and aids their fur coat, so it’s important their body fat remains constant and doesn’t deplete through the year.
  • Fitness: Dog foods contain a range of vitamins and minerals to uphold the general health of your dog. Look for ‘complete foods’ for dogs that are struggling with either their health or ability to complete their routine walk, these foods will help them reach their peak fitness again.
  • Fur density: If your dog carries a stronger and thicker fur, then they don’t need foods that are high in fat. This is because dogs with thicker coats don’t expend as many calories as those with thinner fur. Dogs use a significant amount of calories by shivering to keep them warm. For smaller dogs with thinner furs, make sure they’re given slightly more food than they would normally get during the winter. This will help them stay warm.

Each dog to their own

Complete foods are the best way of making sure that your pet will receive a nutritionally balanced meal that contains fats, proteins, and vitamins – everything your dog needs to stay healthy with every portion.

These types of foods are usually the best option for your dog as they are balanced, so they won’t receive more than they need of one food type, such as fat. However, we all know that dogs can be just as picky as us, so make sure it’s a gradual change if you’ve now spotted something wrong in their current diet. If you need some advice, then consider for a moment that in 2015 dry food outsold wet food by £241 million, so if you’re stuck for ideas then choose this option.  

We recommend that your dog sticks to this diet unless your dog is exposed to temperatures that are freezing on a regular basis. In this instance, try to supply them with a wetter food that contains a type of gravy. These foods will provide your dog with a sufficient intake of calories when they need it the most. Remember, try not to provide treats alongside this diet, or they’ll need to go back to the dry foods after gaining too much weight! We all know it’s harder to lose weight than it is to gain…

dog food

Sources:

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2014/october/how-much-should-you-feed-your-dog-fall-and-winter-32085

http://www.1800petmeds.com/education/winter-feeding-tips-dogs-33.htm

http://www.pfma.org.uk/types-of-dog-food/

http://www.pfma.org.uk/market-data

http://www.pfma.org.uk/using-the-right-ingredients

This is a guest post.

Our dog is for life, not just for Christmas

On 15th December a little 8 week old Sprocker puppy joined our family. Everyone who has met her has fallen for her fluffy puppiness, deep dark eyes and adorable snuggles. Make no mistake, she is a menace, an adorable menace. But she is not and never was intended to be a Christmas present for anyone. She is a much wanted and longed for, four legged member of our family and our dog is for life.

Back in October, fresh from our holiday to Majorca, my husband suggested we get a puppy. This was not an out of the blue suggestion, it was the result of two years of heavy hinting, blatant begging and sad “we want a doggy” eyes from both the small boy and myself.

In the summer of 2014 my best doggy mate Sam(antha) kept collapsing and was eventually put down. She’d been a fantastic companion for me and saying goodbye was an incredibly hard decision, but the right one. She was a boxer staffy cross, loyal to the last but probably not the kind of dog who’d do well on Canine University Challenge. We’d been dog-less ever since and the house needed a hound to make it feel like a home.

At the age of six, we felt the small boy was now old enough to shoulder some of the burden of pet ownership. I work from home and could do with an excuse to switch the laptop off and get some fresh air, so a dog seemed like a bit of a no-brainer to us all. 

Once hubs had acquiesced and given us the nod, the search began in earnest. I wanted a smaller dog than I’d had before, my family had always had boxers or boxer crosses  and I wanted a dog which wasn’t quite as strong. I wanted a dog that was bright and would enjoy being trained and I wanted a dog who would be a great family pet. 

Our dog is for life, not just for Christmas

We looked at a few different breeds. Hubs said no to a few which he thought were too small or hard to find, but eventually we settled on a Sprocker – a cocker spaniel, springer spaniel cross. If a Sprocker puppy had been available in October we would have snapped her up, but the only one we could find was an hour away in Stoke and wouldn’t be available until the week before Christmas. This was not the worst news as it gave us 6 weeks to prepare the house for a puppy and buy the things we’d need. But it did mean she’d arrive the week before Christmas.

She is emphatically not a Christmas present or a Christmas pup. If anything I would suggest that Christmas with all its household upheaval, strange indoor trees, rich food and too much coming and going is the worst time to bring a puppy into your home. They’re lovely and I wouldn’t swap her, but I’m very much looking forward to her being toilet trained and not wanting to eat the Christmas tree lights every five minutes.

Meet Penny, our adorable menace. Our dog is for life, not at all for Christmas.

Our dog is for life, not just for Christmas