How To Make Your Garden Hedgehog Friendly

The hedgehog is symbolic of Britain’s wildlife, being present in both rural and urban areas. It is the UK’s only spiny animal. But the population of hedgehogs has been on the decline for a long time. While the numbers have recently started to stabilise in towns and cities, they continue to decrease in the countryside, with hedgehogs now officially being classed as “vulnerable to extinction”. As we head towards the warmer months, we’ll see hedgehogs come out of hibernation and start looking for food and safe places to build nests. Here are just a few ways you can make your garden hedgehog friendly and more enticing to our prickly friends.

The most important thing you can do for hedgehogs at this time of year is to put food and water out. They will be weak after months of hibernation, so their priority when they wake up is to find sustenance. They also need plenty of food to build up their fat stores for the next big sleep. Brambles and Spike’s have designed food specifically for hedgehogs, featuring all the nutrients they may need. Alternatively, they’ll also eat meat based dog or cat food, either wet or dry (crush any biscuits so that they are suitable for hoglets too). Avoid putting bread out as it is heavily processed and has very little nutritional value for wildlife. Hedgehogs are also lactose intolerant so you should never leave milk out for them, but water in a shallow dish is sure to be a welcome sight.

While hedgehogs will eat the food you put out for them, it’s important to note that their primary food source is garden insects, such as caterpillars and beetles. More plants results in more insects, so planting trees and bushes is a great way to encourage insects into the area as a food source for hedgehogs. Some people like to leave a small corner of their garden “wild”, which benefits other wildlife such as bees too.

You could assume that hedgehogs have a similar diet to birds and would enjoy the same offerings as the ones on your bird table. Hedgehogs will eat pretty much anything they come across, but as with most animals, it doesn’t mean they should! Mealworms, peanuts and sunflower hearts contain high levels of phosphorus, which is harmful to hedgehogs if they consume too much. Calciworms are slightly better, but again will cause imbalances in the hedgehog’s blood if eaten excessively.

Hedgehogs don’t need to worry about their step count – they can travel over a mile every night in search of food or a mate! Accessibility is one of the reasons behind the population decrease, due to hedges and other natural barriers being replaced with more secure fencing which hedgehogs are not able to get through. This lack of access can also force them out onto roads in search of another grassy area.

So how can you help? Wildlife organisations are encouraging people to create a “hedgehog highway” by cutting small holes into garden fences. This enables them to pass safely through into different gardens and green spaces. The holes don’t need to be very big; hedgehogs can fit through gaps as small as 13cm x 13cm. However, you might want to clear this one with your neighbours first!

You’ve provided food sources, water and a way to access different green spaces. What’s next? Your spiky garden visitor needs a safe place to build a nest. Hedges, trees and bushes are great for this as well as attracting insects. Other popular nesting spaces for hedgehogs are leaf or log piles; always make sure you check these are clear of nests or animals before you tidy them away or light any fires! Also, if you have long grass that needs maintaining, try to remember to check this for hedgehogs before you start mowing or trimming it. Those prickly spines aren’t going to protect them from lawnmowers!

Other hazards the hogs may come across in your garden are drains, which should always be covered, netting and ponds. If you’re lucky enough to have a pond, it might be worth thinking about building a small ramp, so that wildlife can climb out easily.

If you’ve got pets then you’ll already be very wary about putting any kind of pesticides or slug pellets out in your garden. These can be incredibly dangerous to hedgehogs too, so should be avoided wherever possible. Besides, why would you need them when hedgehogs are natural slug repellents themselves? They’ll happily eat away your garden slug and snail populations for you.

Finally, there’s the question of how to protect hedgehogs from your own pets, which may only be inquisitive but can sometimes attack smaller animals. If you have a garden light, you could switch this on when letting your dog out in the evening or at night; the sudden illumination will warn a hedgehog that something is coming. Some people even build little houses for hedgehogs! This provides another safe nesting space, while also protecting them from any larger dangers.

There’s no need to dig out your carpentry tools – cardboard boxes are just as effective!

Head over to our Small Animal section to browse our various hedgehog foods. Now is the perfect time to start preparing your garden for our spiky friends – let’s try and get those population numbers going in the right direction!

Fun Facts About Your Pets

April is National Pet Month in the UK, so as a celebration of pets big and small, furry and feathered, on land or in water, we’ve put together some of our favourite fascinating animal facts! Did you know that female cats tend to be right pawed, while male cats favour their left paw? And we’ll bet you didn’t know that dogs can remember where they’ve been throughout the day by licking their feet! Read on for some more fun pieces of information about your favourite animals!

DID YOU KNOW?

RECORDS

IN HISTORY & AROUND THE WORLD

Have you got any strange and wonderful facts about the animal kingdom? Let us know what we’ve missed!

Spring Flowers – Are They Safe for Dogs?

It’s officially Spring! Doesn’t it feel like we’ve been waiting forever? It’s almost warm and bright enough for those sunny evening walks among the colourful flowers that arrive at this time of year. But, if you have a dog who is especially curious about the great outdoors or who has a habit of trying to eat everything they come across, there are a few of these pretty plants you should keep an eye out for. Puppies are especially notorious when it comes to this! Spring flowers may look innocent enough, but unfortunately many of them can be toxic to our pooches.

It isn’t just the flower or leaves which can cause these symptoms; often the bulb is the most toxic part of the plant as it is the most concentrated (which isn’t ideal if your dog loves digging!), but even drinking the water from a flower pot can result in some unpleasant side effects.

Here are some of the most common spring flowers which can be dangerous to your dog:

You probably already know that this plant is dangerous to dogs, but might not realise just how much. Eating any part of this flower can cause vomiting, diarrhoea or even cardiac arrhythmia if enough has been consumed.

While the leaves and flowers of this plant can cause irritation in the mouth and digestive system, the bulb of a tulip is especially dangerous. If your dog has the opportunity to eat large amounts of these, it can result in severe poisoning.

These are particularly dangerous as they tend to cover very large areas and grow close to the ground – right in the path of your dog’s enquiring snout! They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, drowsiness or disorientation.

A very dangerous plant if eaten which, in worst cases, can result in organ failure. The spring crocus is less toxic than the autumn variety, but should still be avoided.

General symptoms to watch out for are vomiting, diarrhoea or other signs of gastrointestinal upset, as well as drooling, drowsiness or weakness. It’s worth noting that it can sometimes be a couple of days before symptoms start to show, so it’s important to treat them fast if you suspect that they have been caused by the consumption of a plant.

We certainly aren’t saying you should refrain from planting any of these in your garden; the very opposite, in fact, as flowers are a huge benefit to the environment and many ecosystems. Our pets are also far smarter than we sometimes give them credit for, as most adult dogs will instinctively know to avoid something that will cause them serious harm. Despite this, you should always make sure you know which flowers your four legged friend has been around, so that you can inform a vet straightaway if they start presenting with symptoms after sneaking a floral snack when you aren’t looking. If this does ever happen, it’s worth trying to call your vet with the relevant information before you get there, so that they can prepare for when you arrive.

Pet Dental Health Care Part Two: Dogs, Cats & Ferrets

In the first part of our Pet Dental Health Care blog earlier this month, we looked at how you can try to prevent dental problems from developing in small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as which signs to watch out for. Part Two will focus on dogs, cats and ferrets. We know what you’re thinking; ferrets are small animals! However, when it comes to teeth, ferrets are actually more similar to our larger furry friends than those we’ve already covered, due to being carnivores.

Cookie, Lily & Charlie looking for their next meal.

It is thought that around 80% of dogs and cats suffer from some form of periodontal (dental) disease by the time they are three years old. While the main cause of dental disease in small animals is overgrown teeth, in canines and felines it is generally a result of poor hygiene. Much like us, our pets need their teeth cleaning regularly in order to prevent a build up of plaque. When plaque is left to come into contact with the gums, it can cause an infection known as ‘gingivitis’. If this infection is not treated properly, it can progress to further infections, resulting in pain, discomfort and possible tooth loss. Bacteria from plaque can also make its way to other organs, with a high risk of damage and serious illness.

What are the signs of dental disease?

The most common sign that your pet is suffering from dental issues is the presence of halitosis – also known as stinky breath! Nobody enjoys that smell, so this alone should be enough motivation for you to get into a dental health regime with your animal. You should also watch out for a build up of brown tartar around the gum line, along with general discolouration of the teeth. Make sure you check their mouth regularly so that you can spot any changes easily – all you need to do is gently lift their lips on either side. Other signs include reduced appetite, excessive drooling, or persistent rubbing/pawing of the mouth, as these could indicate that your pet is in pain and finding it difficult to eat.

How can I help to prevent it?

A balanced, healthy diet can go some way towards keeping teeth white and fresh, but it’s not enough to rely on this alone. Food needs to be supplemented with manual tooth brushing in order to best protect your companion’s canines. In an ideal world you would be doing this on a daily basis, but most vets recommend 3 times a week if daily is not practical. Teeth cleaning needs to be a regular practice, as once plaque has been left to harden it becomes tartar, which is much harder to remove and most likely would result in a visit to the vet.

Trusty’s Top Tips for Toothbrushing

It’s best to get your pet used to toothbrushing when they are young. However, don’t worry if you have an older animal; later is better than never! You should introduce the process slowly to avoid creating any negative associations.

Our Trusty Tips apply to all three carnivores that this blog is based around. However, cats and ferrets may require a little more patience. Ferrets are also more likely to suffer broken teeth from chewing on cage bars, so you should always look out for this when doing your regular dental checks. A small chip or fracture should not be an issue, but it’s important to monitor them for any signs of infection.

Dental Chews for Dogs

Another thing you can do to support your pet’s oral health is to provide regular dental chews. The action of chewing itself can physically dislodge plaque and tartar, but it also causes saliva to be released. This can wash away any potentially harmful bacteria which could end up stuck to your pet’s teeth. As it is recommended that dental chews are given regularly, if not daily, take care to choose ones that are not full of sugars and other unhealthy ingredients – these will do far more harm than good! We recommend Whimzees, Fish4Dogs and the brand new Lily’s Kitchen Woofbrush as great healthy ways of cleaning your dog’s teeth and freshening their breath.

Natural treats are also perfect as dental chews. The rough texture of dried meat or bone does a great job of scraping away any build up on the surface of their teeth. You’ve also got the benefit of knowing there are no harmful ingredients – they’re 100% natural.


In summary, the best thing you can do for your carnivore pet is to regularly check and clean their teeth with animal-suitable products. Encourage chewing of healthy treats and toys to further remove any plaque or tartar build up. If this build up gets too much, or if you spot any more concerning symptoms, you should always refer to a vet for advice or advanced treatment.

Take a look at our Dental Health Care page!

Pet Dental Health Care Part One: Small Animals

You’ll often see specific dental products for cats and dogs lining the shelves of pet stores; toothbrushes, flavoured toothpaste, even breath freshener sprays! Dental disease is a huge problem for the majority of pets, so why don’t we see these kinds of products targeted at small animals?

The simple fact is that dental disease in small animals such as rabbits, hamsters and gerbils is far less likely to be caused by a lack of cleanliness or hygiene as it is in our larger furry friends. Cats and dogs are similar to humans in that they lose their baby teeth at around 6 months old. These are then replaced by an adult set of teeth which stay the same for the rest of their lives and require regular manual cleaning. Small animals, on the other hand, have what is known as ‘open rooted teeth’; this means that they never stop growing.

Overgrown teeth are the main cause of dental problems for small animals. Top and bottom teeth not meeting correctly is known as ‘malocclusion’, which can stop the mouth from being able to close. Overgrown teeth can also poke into the gums and cheeks, potentially causing ulcers, bleeding and infections. All of these result in it becoming very difficult for the animal to chew properly.

How can I tell if my pet is suffering from dental issues?

It’s worth noting that many small animals will hide symptoms of illness or weakness as a natural defence against predators. Overgrown incisors (the front teeth) are fairly easy to spot, but it is much more difficult to keep an eye on the back teeth (known as cheek teeth). This is especially true if your pet is in pain, as they probably won’t want you poking around inside their mouth if that’s the case.

External signs of dental disease that you can watch out for are:

Weight loss, decreased stools and any other evidence of reduced appetite
– These could suggest that something is preventing your pet from eating as much as they should.

Drooling or swelling around the jaw area
– This could indicate the presence of abscesses or an inability to properly close the mouth.

Untidy or unclean fur
– Small animals often use their teeth for self-grooming – a lack of this would suggest that it is causing them discomfort.

So how can you prevent your pet’s teeth from growing too long?

In the wild, rabbits and similar herbivores don’t suffer from overgrown teeth at all. This is because they are constantly chewing and eating high fibre foods. The chewing action and fibre in what they eat grinds the teeth down and keeps them at a safe, practical length.

It is recommended that around 80% of a small animal’s diet should be hay or grass, combined with a handful of leafy vegetables and a small portion of species specific dry food. These proportions provide the correct amount of fibre to keep wearing your pet’s teeth down naturally.

Another great way to prevent overgrown teeth in small animals is to give them chew toys. Products made from wood, rope or other tough materials are perfect for this. Chew toys will also prevent your pet from chewing on cage bars, which can lead to broken teeth.

*Top Tip*

Get eco-friendly with your small animal and recycle your empty toilet rolls or tissue boxes – they love chewing on cardboard! It provides enrichment, makes great nesting material, and further aids in grinding down those ever-growing teeth. Always remove any staples or other potentially harmful materials before giving cardboard to your pet.

Gregor the Gerbil with his favourite toy – an empty toilet roll!

Key Points

The best way to prevent dental issues in your small animal pet is to ensure they have a healthy high fibre and low sugar diet. Supplement this with chew toys and regular visual checks, and your furry friend should be safely chewing away with no issues. If you think your pet is suffering from dental disease, you should always take them to be checked over by a vet.

Check out our range of Small Animal toys here!

Dog Joint Supplements: A Success Story

We all know that the cold weather can make your joints feel a bit achy and stiff. This is the same for our dogs, especially those who already suffer from arthritis and similar conditions. You might think that reducing outdoor exercise while it’s cold is the best thing for your pup, but this can actually make things worse. Regular, consistent exercise is key to preventing those joints from seizing up.

However, as our dogs get older, many of them will need a bit of extra support to keep them as active and bouncy as ever. This is where dietary supplements come in.

Meet Holly. She is a 10 year old Lhasa Apso. She runs our household and makes sure we all know it.

Holly has never been one for walking miles and miles, but when she was around 7 years old we noticed that she would start to limp slightly if we took her too far on her morning walk. She also started noticeably struggling to straighten her legs out properly when she’d been lying down for a while, suggesting that her joints were seizing up. Her vet recommended a prescription tablet that could be added to her food which would soothe her joints and improve her mobility. We gave her this for the next two years, and while she didn’t get any worse, she didn’t really get any better.

Fast forward to April 2021. Holly is 9 years old, but you’d think she was much older based on how limited her movement had become. We could tell she was fed up, as she’d struggle with walking much further than round the block at home. Chasing squirrels and seagulls was a thing of the past. This was understandably quite upsetting to see – nobody wants to think about their pets getting old! So when a new brand arrived at the Trusty Pet Supplies warehouse boasting significant benefits to canine joint health, I knew I had to look into it for Holly.

Riaflex came highly recommended from the online community and started flying out the warehouse as soon as I’d listed it on our website. I went home raving about the reviews and sales to my mum (the real boss when it comes to Holly), and managed to convince her that it was worth a try. We bought small tubs of the Joint Plus HA powder and the Green Lipped Mussel to start adding into Holly’s evening meal, in place of the prescription tablets that didn’t really seem to be doing much.

First impressions weren’t great – the Green Lipped Mussel powder really does smell! It took a few days for Holly to decide that her food was still edible with these powders mixed into it. We didn’t see any immediate improvements, which made us doubtful that they were going to help her. However, after about 2 weeks, I came home from work and realised that Holly had come running to see me at the door, rather than limping. Over the next few weeks we noticed a huge improvement in her energy levels and mobility. Holly became bouncier and livelier than she had been for years. She still isn’t going to win any races or complete any record breaking treks (she’d have to find a different owner for a start!), and she will never catch a squirrel, but she’s certainly got a spring in her step that we never thought we’d see again.

5 Reasons We Now Stock Proflax Natural Supplements

At Trusty Pet Supplies we aim to only stock brands that we trust and believe in and are proud to now add Proflax Natural to our ever-growing list of suppliers.

Proflax Natural is a superfood supplement range, created for dogs in beautiful Devon in the south of England. Their all-natural ingredients create oil based products that are human food-grade.

Here are just a few of the things that we love about the brand:

Just like when you are choosing supplements for yourself, to target specific areas of your health, you can do the same for your dog. Whether you want to give them a boost in their Golden Years, or give their Skin and Coat a new lease on life.

When it comes to your pets health we know that you want to see results as fast as possible, that’s why we love Proflax. All of the oil products contain a 25% herbal tincture blend which boast powerful support and visible health benefits within 7 days.

Proflax products contain NO chemicals, additives, or preservatives. Even the most sensitive dogs can enjoy Proflax supplements. And, if your dog does have a sensitive tummy – there’s a supplement to help with that too, it’s Tummy Tastic.

The Proflax products are functional, all serving a direct purpose to better your pet’s health. Each food supplement contains beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help your dog on their journey to living their best life.

We know that most dogs will avoid food containing any kind of medicine, but the beauty of Proflax is that it is not a medicine, it is a supplement that you can simply shake and pour onto your pet’s favourite food, once daily. They’ll never know that as well as chomping their usual, tasty grub, they’ll also be consuming combined oil and herbal formulas that will be boosting their health from the inside out.

If you are looking for a way to support your dog’s long-term health and wellbeing, Proflax Natural is a great place to start. Order through Trusty Pet Supplies and earn points on all of your purchases.

4 Surprising Fun Facts About A Cat’s Purr

You’ve probably been told that a cat’s purr is a display of happiness, while there is truth in that, it’s not the only reason that a cat will purr. The soft rumbling sound is used by cats for various reasons, including self healing – yes, really.

A purring cat is usually trying to communicate their emotions and needs, it’s unlikely that we will ever be able to know exactly what it is that they are trying to say but we can make informed guesses based on the situation.

Read the most surprising reasons a cat will purr below:

Unsurprisingly, there have been more studies conducted into understanding the behaviours of dogs than their feline counterparts. There may still be a lot to learn about domestic cats, but our knowledge of them is better for knowing these surprising purr facts.

Which purr fact has shocked you the most?

Eating A Rainbow Helps your Dog Live A Long And Healthy Life

All too often dogs live their lives eating the same tin of food, day in and day out, not only is that repetitive and boring for them but it’s not conducive to living a long and healthy life. Just as us humans are told to eat all the colours of the rainbow in order to live a long and healthy life, the same applies to our canine friends.

Eating Plant Foods is Good For Your Dog – again, just like humans, dogs should be eating a balanced and nutritious diet to access a full range of health benefits.

Always research which foods your dog can eat, before trying them on fruits and veggies. All of the colourful foods we list below can be eaten by most dogs but other breeds can have different needs. Any veg given to your dog should be either raw or boiled/steamed and served as is – no added oils, butter or flavourings. Cut everything into bite-sized pieces to avoid choking and feed in moderation, especially if your dog isn’t used to eating fresh veg.

The “secret” behind plant colors are their phytochemicals – they are the natural chemical pigments produced by plants (“phyto” means plant). These biologically active compounds serve a purpose for their plants, for example they may protect it from insects, pathogens and diseases. They’re also responsible for the plant’s colour, flavour and odor.

Phytochemicals Provide Important Health Benefits – scientists are only just discovering the benefits of the estimated 5,000 plus phytochemicals. So far they’ve discovered the following incredible benefits:

Different Colours, Different Benefitsof course you know that there are different coloured natural foods, but did you know that their benefits are caused by their colour? They fall into five categories based on their phytochemical content: Red, Orange/Yellow, Green, Blue/Purple, and Brown/White. Explore their differences below:

Red Foods – tomatoes, beets, red bell peppers, red apples.

These red-pigmented plant foods are rich in lycopene and anthocyanins. Known benefits of lycopene, an antioxidant in the carotenoid family, include boosting heart health and fighting certain types of cancers. Anthocyanins, a group of compounds in the flavonoid family, have been found to help prevent heart disease and diabetes, improve eye health, lower the risk of obesity, stop the growth of cancerous cells and protect the nervous system from oxidative damage and neurotoxicity.

Orange/Yellow Foods – oranges, bell peppers, pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots, peaches and melon.

These brightly coloured foods have high levels of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin – phytochemicals in the carotenoid family. These compounds are referred to as “pro-vitamin A”, as they can be converted (by dogs and humans) into preformed vitamin A! Vitamin A is an antioxidant with important benefits, including supporting healthy eyes, skin and bones, boosting the immune system and promoting optimal reproductive health.

Green Foods – courgette, cucumber, peas, broccoli, green apple.

These fruits and veggies are known as powerful anti-cancer foods. They are packed with disease-fighting phytochemicals, including carotenoids, isothiocyanates and indoles. The green pigment comes from chlorophyll, one of the most important compounds on the planet.

Blue/Purple – blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, red cabbage, figs.

Similar to foods of the red variety, blue and purple plant foods get their pigments from anthocyanins. Anthocyanins possess powerful antioxidant activity, and play an important part in blocking a number of disease pathways.

Brown/White – parsnips, banana, lentils, beans, chickpeas, cauliflower, mushrooms.

Less colour, just as full of the good stuff! These brown/white fruits and veggies are rich in anthoxanthin, a flavonoid pigment that may help promote cardiovascular health, decrease inflammation and protect against cancer.

On top of eating natural plant foods your dog should also be getting a healthy dose of protein in their meat-based meals. Choosing the raw food diet for your pet is a great way to combine all of nature’s best ingredients.

Calming Solutions for Easily Spooked Pets

A change in seasons can affect not just the weather, but our routines, behaviours and moods too. The same applies to our pets.

Your pet’s behavioural changes could be due to stress, anxiety, or even sometimes fear. Their mood could be affected by a new routine for example, if you’re now leaving the house for work, or taking them on shorter walks because of the gloomy weather they will be reactive to that. Many pets are simply spooked easily during big, loud events such as, halloween parties, thunder, or fireworks.

Whatever the cause, there are a number of solutions to offer your pet more than just empathy when they get spooked, see the list below for some Trusty Inspiration:

Physical & Mental Stimulation – diverting your pet’s attention by teaching them a new trick, or giving them something new to investigate can distract them from the thing causing them stress. Engage them in one-on-one play, teach them something new, or give them a new treat or toy. The physical exercise will not only stimulate them, but tire them out too. A tired pet is a happy pet.

For dogs a change of route during their walk will stimulate their brain with all new smells to investigate.

For cats give them new toys or even cardboard boxes to explore, or hide treats to create a treasure hunt.

Herbal Tablets – all natural ingredients are a great way to soothe your pet in times of stress. Beaphar Calming Tablets are great for both cats and dogs, providing a calming solution without a sedative effect.

These tablets are especially effective for planned stresses, such as halloween parties, long car rides or bonfire night.

Calming Spray – another natural way of tackling stress, Pet Remedy Natural De-stress Calming Spray is a non-sedating spray that works with the brain’s natural messengers (neuro-transmitters) to deliver a message of calm to your pet.

This spray is designed to be used on your pet’s bedding or a suitable material that your pet will lay near. Great for separation anxiety. This product works well for all animals.

Dorwest Valerian Compound – this calming solution is pure extracts of three herbs in liquid form. The Dorwest Valerian Compound acts within just 30 minutes, and its effects can last up to 2 hours. The compound can be dropped straight into your pet’s mouth, given on food or sprinkled onto your pet’s bedding.

Great for both cats and dogs, calming them without causing drowsiness.

Plug Ins – a plug in will release calming scents into the air, usually unnoticeable to the human nose. The Ceva Feliway Diffuser Plug-In is used to help cats feel safer and calmer in their environment. This diffuser is a synthetic copy of the pheromone that cats rub onto furniture when they feel happy and content. It is proven to reassure and comfort cats, helping them to cope with changes in their environment.

This plug in has been designed with stressed cats in mind – if they’re naturally anxious, or are newly displaying unusual behaviours – then this diffuser is for them.

The key to creating a calmer environment for your pet is to supply them with whatever is known to calm them during stressful situations. That could be a special treat, a favourite toy or by playing calming music. During events like thunder and lighting and firework displays, closing blinds and curtains and playing other noises, such as the television or radio, can help to alleviate their fear.

If your pet’s behavioural changes are unexplained and a cause of concern, please always seek advice from your veterinarian.

 

Pets That Enjoy Eating Pumpkin Just As Much As You Do

Think of October and you’ll think of pumpkins – carving them, spicing your lattes with them, eating them – but did you know your pet may enjoy the taste of this gourd-eous fruit too?

That’s right, pumpkins aren’t just a thing you can dress your pet as, or have them posing in, or next to, for photos. Most pets can enjoy the taste of pumpkin, and reap all of the health benefits as they do so too. Pumpkins are naturally high in soluble fibre, it is filling and is a source of antioxidants and vitamins.

Scroll down our list and see if your pet is safe to embrace this healthy autumnal obsession:

Dogs – a big tail-wagging YES to this one. Dog’s not only love pumpkin, but it is great for them. It’s a superfood for dogs, full of fibre and essential micronutrients. Pumpkin is often recommended as a natural remedy for diarrhea in dogs.

As with all good things, pumpkin is best served in small quantities. Don’t overdo it – we suggest just 4-5 tablespoons, depending on the size of your breed.

Be aware – overfeeding pumpkin to your dog will have a negative effect on their health. If you’re opting for canned pumpkin, ensure it is plain with no additives as these can be dangerous for your dog’s health.

Cats – purrfect for your cat’s digestive system. Served in moderation, this seasonal treat can do wonders for keeping their stomach healthy. Offer them either plain canned pumpkin or fresh, steamed chunks.

Feed your adult cat 1/2 a teaspoon to 1 full teaspoon of pumpkin daily, this can be served as is or mixed into their food.

Be aware – too much can cause diarrhea.

Rabbits – your rabbit will be very hoppy to receive a pumpkin to eat this autumn. Rabbits are attracted to pumpkin’s sweet, sugary flesh. However, you can also feed them pumpkin leaves as a valuable source of dietary fibre.

Be aware – pumpkin’s high sugar content can cause indigestion or blockages. Always feed any sweet foods to your rabbit in moderation, pumpkin is great as an occasional treat rather than a daily food.

Guinea Pigs – most guinea pigs love pumpkin! Serve them fresh, raw pumpkin that has been thoroughly washed to remove any harmful bacteria, pesticides or chemicals. Your guinea pig may even joy nibbling on the pumpkin leaves and stems, but ensure that you do not offer more than an inch of whichever part of the pumpkin you serve up.

Be aware – if a guinea pig eats too much pumpkin at once, they could experience gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Never feed pumpkin to baby guinea pigs. Don’t offer more than a 1 inch cube, just 2-3 times per week.

Rats & Mice – these pets will give most foods a try, and pumpkin is a healthy and sweet offering for them. Mice and rats enjoy nibbling on pumpkins, especially when they have been carved to reveal the soft delicious fruit.

Be aware – the seeds are high in fat and should be given to your pet in moderation.

Chickens & Ducks – your chickens and ducks will be very happy to receive an offering of pumpkin, and all the nutritional health benefits that they provide. Pumpkin is a healthy source of vitamins, minerals, protein, and calcium and will provide the added benefit of an immune boost.

It couldn’t be easier to serve your chickens and ducks some pumpkin, simply cut one in half and let them peck at it to their heart’s content, seeds and all!

Parrots – your parrot will likely be a big fan of pumpkin. Better yet, hardly any preparation is required in serving up this nutritious treat for your parrot. Many parrots are happy to eat the tough skin, and the entire pumpkin is safe for them to eat – including the seeds. Just open up the top and let them have some fun!

Pumpkin is a great food for parrots, whether cooked or presented raw. Cooked pumpkin will be softer and easier to chew, but raw pumpkin will be more nutrient-dense.

Bearded Dragons – your bearded dragon can safely and happily eat the pumpkin gut, leaves, and flowers. It is full of water, fibre, and has been known to possess some deworming properties. However, like most vegetables, feed it in moderation to avoid causing health issues as it lacks the proper nutrition your pet needs.

Ensure that you thoroughly clean, peel and thinly slice your pumpkin before offering it to your beardie.

Be aware – bearded dragons cannot digest pumpkin seeds, make sure that they do not make it into your autumnal offering.

Gerbils – when it comes to your pet gerbil, only the seeds are recommended for them. The flesh of a pumpkin contains too much water for their digestive system, resulting in diarrhea.

When carving your pumpkin separate the seeds from the flesh, give them a thorough wash and serve up just as they are. Alternatively, make a treat you’ll both enjoy by toasting them! Lightly grease a pan with pure vegetable oil, place your pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Consider turning them every 5 to 10 minutes so that they don’t burn. Offer to your gerbil with no seasoning, and top yours with salt or other seasonings.

If you are ever unsure about the food you are offering to your pet, either skip it completely or consult your vet.

Let us know what your pet makes of their treat, tag @trustypetsupplies on Instagram!

How to Stay Visible on Dog Walks as Nights Get Darker

As we wave goodbye to the summer, the lighter evenings and early morning sunshine also leave us behind for another year. For dog walkers who have to brave the elements to give their pet daily exercise, darker evenings can be a danger for them and their pet.

Heading out for walkies when it’s dark out means a higher risk of accidental injury, loss, and encountering nocturnal wildlife. Both you and your pet will be less visible to passers by and vehicles and any dangers in your surroundings will also be less noticeable.

Please read our tips and advice below to help keep you safe as the nights draw in:

Plan Your Route – your nighttime route should be planned in advance. The safest route is one which is well-lit, public, and that both you and your dog know well.

Walking a route that is already familiar to your dog is beneficial in case you should get separated, they’ll know where to go to be reunited with you and you’re more likely to be able to easily locate them.

Avoid woodlands and alleyways. These areas are dark, isolated, and you are more likely to encounter hazards such as broken glass, and wildlife. Even if you have a source of light with you in these darker areas, your safety will still be compromised.

Wear High Visibility Clothing – both you and your dog should be dressed with visibility in mind. Bright, reflective, and light up clothing and accessories will help you both to be easily seen by passers by, and oncoming vehicles. Just because you can see a vehicle, does not mean that they can see you.

For humans we recommend a reflective hi-vis vest that can be worn over your favourite winter coat. Dogs have a lot of options when it comes to high visibility accessories: reflective harnesses, leads, and even light-up flashing bands and collar attachments.

If you’re finding it difficult to source any of the suggestions above, an effective temporary solution is reflective tape. Stick it to your own clothing, or wrap it around your dog’s lead or harness.

Stay Alert – the best piece of advice we can give you for nighttime walks is to remain alert. Route planning and high visibility can only get you so far, remaining alert is the best protection for you and your dog.

Ditch the headphones, and instead listen for potential danger. If you can, buddy up for your evening walks – if there’s nobody in your household who can join you, ask a friend, or find a neighbour that would also benefit from company on their dog walk.

If you have to walk alone make sure a friend or family member is aware of your route. Use a location sharing App, or send location via WhatsApp so that somebody you love always knows where you are.

Top Tip: if you find yourself in danger and aren’t able to make the all-important 999 call, press the ‘Lock’ button on your phone five times in quick succession, this will dial 999 for you and the operator will send help to your location if you cannot speak.

The safety of you and your dog is priority, do everything you can to put yourselves in the best position during your autumn and winter exercise. Let us know any other advice you have, and share this with a friend to help stay visible on nighttime walks.

Dry Dog Food Ingredients to Watch Out For

When you’re feeding yourself and your family, most likely you prioritise food that is nutritious, tasty and healthy. Humans have strict food standards and regulations, and the food we buy must meet certain requirements to be sold legally. However, the same standards do not apply to dog food.

The ugly truth about many leading pet foods is that they often contain ingredients that lack nutrition but can also be actively unhealthy. Some common ingredients in dry dog food that you should watch out for are described and explained below.

Watch out for:

If you want your dog to have a long, healthy and happy life, you need to make sure that you are putting the right stuff in their belly. Dry dog food offers convenience and cost effectiveness, but being clued into what ingredients to avoid can ensure a higher standard of nutrition.

Meat derivatives or animal by-products

Generic animal fat

Artificial preservatives

Wheat and maize

Your dog deserves better than this! We have great news though as we are a stockist for Barking Heads dog food, which is a dry dog kibble food made with natural, safe and nutritious ingredients.

Healthy ingredients to look for:

Pre-and probiotics

Quality protein

Vitamins and minerals

High quality animal fats, omega 3 & 6

Quality fibre

Slow release carbohydrates

And certainly never any:

So what are you waiting for?

We stock a whole range of approved dog foods with high quality ingredients. Some of our recommended brands include: Edmondson’s, Eden and Fish4dogs. There are many more in a huge variety of flavours, tailored towards all dogs: young or old, small or large, and even those trying to lose a few pounds. These brands can all be found in-store and online.

Once again, it is of utmost importance that you read the ingredients on your dog’s food. Never settle for junk: this is your dog’s life, and they depend on you for their health, happiness and general wellbeing.

Trusty Pet Supplies is Opening a Brand New Store

We are very excited to announce that our new pet supplies superstore is set to open its doors next month. Our new site is six times bigger than our Trusty Mickleover shop, which will remain open, allowing us to stock even more products!

Located on the Kingsway Industrial Estate, Derby, the 7500 square foot space will be home to over 30 display freezers, and two huge walk-in freezers, for all of our raw food products. There are currently 19 brands of raw food suppliers being stocked, with more set to be added. Stocking up on your pet’s raw food diet will be even easier – whether you prefer complete or DIY raw food, we have it all.

Customers will also be able to enjoy utilising their Loyalty Cards in our larger store, with even more stock to take home. We have Loyalty Cards available for Trusty Pet Supplies spends, and for specific brand rewards too such as Burns, Edmondson’s Dog Food, Nature’s Menu and Acana. With the Trusty Pet Supplies’ Loyalty Card you will gain a Trusty Stamp for each £25 spent in store, earning you £10 off once you reach 10 stamps on your card. Our Loyalty Card schemes can also be used to redeem free bags of pet food.

The launch of the new store is not just an exciting event for the Trusty Pet Supplies brand, and our loyal customers, but for the community too. A new store means new job opportunities – we are hiring a Superstore Manager, multiple Shop Assistants/Product Advisors (full time and part time availability), and will soon be looking to hire Saturday/Weekend Assistants too.

Our original Trusty Pet Supplies store, in Mickleover, will remain open 7 days a week, with our online shop open 24/7 for nationwide delivery. This is an exciting next step for us, and we’re glad to exclusively share the news with you. If there are any brands or specific pet supplies you are desperate to see in the new store please send us a message.

We will announce the official opening date of the store on our social media accounts, and share exclusive images of the new store’s interior too, like the massive display of natural dog treats we are currently setting up. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to be the first in the know.

Top Dog Food Ingredients for a Shiny Coat

One of the best ways you can tell your dog is happy is through the shininess of their coat. It is a sign that their skin is healthy and that they have enough vitamins. This means that they are likely to live longer, more fulfilling lives.

So what sort of natural dog food should you be looking out for? For maximum coat and skin health, there are certain foods that are better than others.

Remember to read the ingredients on any dog food you are buying to make sure that it’s not stuffed with fillers and low-quality ingredients. If they don’t show the ingredients on the box, chances are they have something to hide, and you should steer clear.

Essential Fatty Acids

Fats are very important dog kibble ingredients for maintaining coat health. High-quality dog food brands will contain the right balance of nutrients and fatty acids to optimise your dog’s skin and coat. This can be either through supplemental ingredients or through fresh ingredients.

Low-quality dog foods, or poorly balanced homemade diets, do not contain the correct proportion of ingredients. There is also a danger in opting for a low-fat diet for your dog, which may lead to it developing a dandruffy coat.

Puppies also need a proper start to their lives, with a higher fat diet, which can be found in puppy specific dog foods. If they don’t consume the right amount, they are at risk of developing coarse, dry hair and, in some cases, skin lesions that are prone to infection.

This is why it is important to invest in high quality dog food, specialised to your dog.

Omega 3

Omega-3 is fantastic for the skin. It is found mostly in fish oil, such as salmon. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it an all-round great ingredient. High quality food will contain fresh sources of omega-3, to provide your dog with maximum health benefits.

Omega 6

Found in sunflower oil and other vegetable oils, omega-6 is a fatty acid that can really benefit your dog’s coat. It is also included in the majority of high-quality dog food brands, such as Edmondson’s and Barking Heads.

It is important that you keep the food properly. Essential fatty acids can oxidise and lose their efficacy when exposed to air for prolonged periods of time. Ensure you keep the dog food in an airtight container.

Other Supplements

Every dog is different! If you are feeding one of the highest quality dog kibble out there and it is still itching, then you might want to consider a dog supplement. It is important you don’t go overboard with these and stick with the recommended intake guidelines.

Brands such as Lintbells provide specially formulated supplements to promote coat shininess, skin health and nail strength. If you find your dog seems to have a dull coat, is moulting too much or has dry skin, then that’s another avenue to consider.

Health First!

Trusty Pet Supplies are here to offer you the best products for your pet’s health. If you ever need advice on what dog food may be best for your pet, then we are always happy to answer questions: Either in person at our Derby store, or online.

Returning to work and your dog

For those of us who have had the luxury of either being furloughed or been in a position to work from home, for the duration of lockdown, there have been some unexpected joys. Aside from the stress, uncertainty and boredom, this period has given us the chance to think deeply about things, ruminate and consider.

As well as that, it has given our pets full, uninhibited access to us. Dogs are very sociable animals: they get anxious and lonely if they are left for too long by themselves, and they really do thrive off our love and attention.

Over the period of lockdown, our dogs will have been jumping for joy: not only did they get full access to their human, but said human was a lot less busy than normal. Now, however, restrictions are lifting, work is resuming and furlough is ending.

This will understandably be a tough time for your dog. They had most likely just gotten used to having you around, and now will have to get used to not seeing as much of you. Here are some tips on how to make the transition easiest and least stressful for the both of you.

First and most importantly, do not leave your adult dog alone for more than six hours, or two hours if it is a puppy or senior. If you are at work for longer than that, you should organise for a dog walker, friend or neighbour to come to your house and either feed, play or walk with it. This is a necessary part of dog ownership, and if you are considering bringing one into your family, you must take the level of commitment required into consideration first.

Preparing to leave your dog at home:

If your dog has become used to being around you all the time, it is more likely to suffer from separation anxiety from being alone. You can actually help your dog out by designating a special part of the house that is their safe space.

Leave your dog in this comfortable space while you are out, and it will be more likely to relax, in your absence. Otherwise, they may wander around the house, looking for you, and potentially cause damage. As your dog becomes more accustomed to being left in the house alone, you can open up their access more.

Before you leave the house, it can be helpful to walk your dog to tire them out. Take them with you on your morning run, or to the shops. This will mean that they burn off some of that morning energy and may sleep a while

While your dog is home alone:

Give your dog an old shirt, and wrap it around a favourite cuddly toy. Having access to your scent can be of great comfort to your dog and will help reduce anxiety and loneliness if your dog is particularly averse to being alone. This is more for puppies than adult dogs, but it works for senior dogs too.

Some constant low-level chatter is useful for dogs as it fills the silence. In the same way that having the television on in the background can help people deal with loneliness, the radio has a calming influence on your dog. Either stick on a radio channel or a playlist for your dog.

Food dispensing toys, such as Kong, may help to keep your dog occupied and entertained while you are gone. They provide a mentally stimulating outlet with rewards for your dog to play with and may reduce the boredom and resulting destruction that could occur while you are out of the house.

When you are home

It is tempting to feed your dog some delicious natural dog treats the moment you walk through the door, but most likely, it has spent the entire day in a state of inactivity. You should play with your dog in the garden, to let it stretch its legs and burn off some of the energy, and treat it later.

You should also use this as an opportunity to normalise the fact that you will be leaving the house and coming back in more frequently. This means you should try not to make a huge fuss over your dog as you walk in. Be casual, and show your dog that returning home is not a huge ceremony or celebration, but just a usual part of the routine.

As your dog becomes accustomed to the everyday routine of you leaving and coming back, their anxiety will reduce.

Make sure that the time you do spend with your dog is enriching and enjoyable for you both. Your dog is less likely to feel sad and neglected by you going to work if you make an effort to play with and walk them when you’re there. Your work schedule will become easier to accept if you show your dog you care.

In conclusion

Returning to work is always going to be a difficult time, as it is, yet again, an adjustment to the new normal. Reduce the impact this has on both you and your dog by being proactive about how you leave them, and what you do with them when you are around.