Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Keeping your dog protected from parasites #furryfamily

When you have a dog it’s not all about belly tickles, walks in the sunshine and playing endless catch, you have the practical side of things to consider too. Some elements of dog ownership aren’t very pleasant at all but need to be covered to help make sure you keep your family safe and your dog happy and healthy.

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A survey of 1056 dog owners carried out by Pet Parasite Action found that 85% of us happily hug our dogs; yes I would sit firmly in that figure myself, as my dog adores fuss and attention. I have before now found a tick attached to Summer, so I regularly check her coat to see if she has brought home any unwanted visitors after playing outside (especially in long grass, woodland or heath areas).

Given that some ticks carry Lyme disease it’s vitally important that you take precautionary measures to help protect your family. If you notice a circular rash around a bite mark you must go to the doctors for treatment. But prevention is always better than cure; make sure you use a monthly tick treatment that kills ticks within 48 hours. I always have a handy tick removal tool as well, they can be tricky to remove fully otherwise. What I hadn’t realised was how dangerous ticks are to dogs too, they carry diseases that can cause fatalities so do keep your much loved furry friend safe!

I wouldn’t be without my dog even if I might not a fan of the harmful parasites she sometimes brings with her. To be honest it’s nothing to worry about really, as everything is easy to manage once you have the right products and the correct information. Just visit your vet for advice and appropriate treatment, especially if you are new to dog ownership and are not familiar with some of the most common parasites. Not all parasites are visible which complicates matters considerably.

There are actually 12 different types of worm species that can affect dogs, pretty gross when you think about it! Despite this the survey found it’s been about a year since 16% of dog owners treated their pet for parasites. Even more worryingly 23% say that they don’t know when their pet was last treated for lungworm, which can be fatal for your pet.

One of my biggest worries was the roundworm Toxocara which can potentially cause blindness or neurological disease (most commonly in children) when the eggs are accidentally eaten. Given that the eggs are microscopic and children put everything in their mouths regular treatment of our pets is necessary to reduce the risk of eggs being passed out into the environment!!!

TV presenter Jenni Falconer is also backing the campaign which aims to raise awareness of the need to treat your pet, “As a dog owner and a mum I want to be sure I do the best thing for my pet and my family. During the Pet Parasite Action campaign I’m encouraging all pet owners to visit their vet for a simple way to help protect their pet against parasites inside and out, including those that might be harmful to rest of the family. Let’s act now to help protect all the members of our family, furry or otherwise."


Please do get behind the campaign, which will be supported by vets nationwide during June and July and visit the Pet Parasite Action website for further information.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

How to make your garden child proof

A garden is meant to be a relaxing, rejuvenating place. Your own private spot where you can get close to nature, breathe easy and let your thoughts wander. A place where you can watch the fruits of your endeavours literally grow before your eyes, or lean over the fence and chat idly to your neighbour. But it also needs to be a protected environment for your family, especially if your children are very young, and need to be safe.

With kids around, it's not always that easy to maintain a balance between what you would like your garden, and what by necessity it has to be. You know what children are like, they find their way into anything, your tool shed, the pool unsupervised, or just tramp all over your vegetable patch. When they get bored, it may even occur to them to wander further afield, through the gap in the fence. So how do you manage to make your garden particularly safe? 

Rattan Direct explores things you can do to make your garden child proof. From their wide experience, here are some useful tips.

Separate out the areas

There is no need to have a massive lawn bordered by plants, what about making separate areas so that you can meander around, each with a different usage and atmosphere of its own. Try Sectioning off the vegetable patch, and importantly the swimming pool, with suitable fencing. It is a sad fact that many youngsters drown each year sometimes in very shallow water. Any time children are in a pool they need to be under supervision. These days there are many natural looking variations that will harmonise with your garden. Barriers such as hedges may hinder, but not totally prevent invasion, unless they are thorny, and that brings its own troubles, especially with toddlers.

A special area for the children

The children could have their own special space, in which you can be creative in constructing a play area. Concrete may be very useful, but it is not advisable in a play area, as any fall could result in blood being spilt, and the added risk of head injuries. Wood all weather decking would be far more suitable or even tough replaceable artificial grass to save wear. Avoid erecting swings on any hard surface and certainly not near a path. We have all seen those cam videos of accidents on the garden swing; they look funny till it happens to you.

Garden Tools

Sharp tools such as spades, forks and hand trowel need to be safely put away in the garden shed after use, and the door securely locked, even if you are going out later to continue gardening. In the hands of a child’s imagination they can become lethal weapons, and younger ones may try to emulate what they saw you doing earlier in the garden, and dig up all your flowers. Toddlers might also put sharp metal items in their mouths.

The outside world

The only way to prevent escape out of the garden is to make quite sure your fences around the property are impenetrable. This means patching up any gaps, or replacing old fences. Also make sure they are high enough, kids grow up fast. Any gates would also have to be childproof; especially it leads onto a busy road. Secure but easy to use locks should prevent any bad situation happening.

Watch out for these dangers

If you are a keen gardener there may be bottles of herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals, that if ingested could cause serious effects. These dangerous chemicals need to be stored under lock and key, not just on a high shelf, kids just love climbing. If they are out of date, pour them away safely.

Greenhouses are best made with plastic windows, glass is a disaster waiting to happen, especially if your children like playing football or cricket in the garden.

Metal garden furniture, especially if it is old and rusty, could also cause problems. Use natural materials like wood or cane. Hammocks are also popular but make sure they are not old and worn.

If it’s sunny weather remember to smear the darlings in sun cream, and try to get them to wear some sort of headgear. On holidays they will be out there for hours. It makes sense to try and educate them from an early age about things that are hot, sharp or just plain dangerous.

It seems like the garden is a dangerous place for children, but that is not true, it just takes a bit of consideration and planning to make it a haven for the whole family. 

This blog post was written by Rattan Direct, experts in safe and lasting designer lifestyle furniture for your garden.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Underfloor Heating OR Radiators?

Heating your home to a pleasant and comfortable temperature during the chilly winter months is becoming more expensive but its something you can't get round unless your willing to wear a million layers and shiver for a big chunk of the year.  I really feel the cold and like to be snug and warm, blanket and hot water bottle at the ready!

With the energy firms hiking up prices yet again, this coming winter could mean I am wearing even more layers to try and delay when I turn the heating on.  But that's not practical if you have vulnerable people living at home, very young children or the elderly who need to be kept at a consistent temperature.

But if you could invest in a new heating system, which would it be – a re-vamped radiator and central heating system or the pleasant heat given off by warm floors with underfloor heating? New systems are usually more energy efficient, but which to pick!

The Pros and The Cons of Both Systems

Our homes are all different. Our needs are different.  Budgets vary considerably. Likes and dislikes differ from one person to another too. As a result, it is fair to say that what is a pro to one person, might well be a con to another.

What could be seen as a disadvantage by some, may not make much of a difference to you – such as the fact that underfloor heating takes longer to increase heat in its system than radiators and a boiler do.

What Are YOU Looking For?

Which system suits you depends on what you need from a heating system.

Do you want a heating system that is easy to control, produces a gentle heat, has minimal maintenance requirements and is cost-efficient? Take a look at underfloor heating and what pipes laid in the sub floor with constantly circulating hot water can offer you.

To help you understand the differences between central heating and underfloor heating, examine the pros and cons infographic on both heating systems (information provided by Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies). You may be surprised what comes out on top…

I must confess I am tempted by underfloor heating as I don't have the best circulation in the world and my feet are freezing!  With lots of laminate flooring instead of carpets my feet are so cold I can feel quite miserable at times... I would love to walk on a warm floor, it would be such a treat for my feet!

I am also very interested where it says it reduces dust in the house too, as an asthmatic that would be a big plus point and it would be very welcome in terms of keeping the house cleaner hopefully!