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Focus Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Services




Posted on September 7, 2020 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (47)

Hi folks, Just wanted to bring your attention to the photo below (I have my client's permission). The thing attached to this dog's ear is not a growth or tumour, it is in fact a big fat tick. Meet Ixodes Ricinus also known as the Sheep tick, Deer tick or Castor bean tick. These ticks, are parasites, living off the blood of their hosts. The tick "nymphs", sort of a tick teenager, go for smaller hosts such as rabbits or rodents, these smaller hosts can be carriers of disease/viruses. If a teenage tick feeds off an infected host the tick will be a carrier of that disease for the rest of it's life cycle. The adult ticks, like the one in the photo below, prefer larger hosts such as deer, sheep, dogs and humans (yes, you read that right!).

How did this dog get the tick? Well, really easily, it just went for a walk. An adult tick (and it's friends!) had climbed to the top of a plant/grass/twig and just hung out, waiting for a host to crawl on to.

Ticks can carry a wide range of zoonotic diseases (i.e diseases that transmit from animals to humans). These diseases/viruses are serious and include Lyme Disease and tick-borne encephalitis.

What to do if you find a tick on your dog. Do NOT attempt to remove it if you don't know what you are doing (as a groomer I was taught how to). You can ask your groomer or vet to show you how to use a tick tool to remove them safely for both your dog and yourself. Do NOT attempt any methods such burning or applying "solutions" to them. This can make the risk of infection even higher. It is very important that the entire tick is taken off in one piece (all mouth parts), that it is not squeezed and you are protected from potential infection at all times (including disposal).

How to prevent ticks getting on to your dog: watch where you are walking; try to avoid areas of high deer/sheep populations and long grass. Use a flea product that includes an active anti-tick agent. Brush or wipe your dog after a walk. Pay particular attention to their ears, feet, armpits, groin and belly areas where ticks are most likely to feed (but they could be anywhere).

If your dog or you are bitten by a tick, make sure you find out the signs and symptoms of infection. The current advise is that you do not need to see your vet/doctor if your dog/you have been bitten but have no signs/symptoms of an infection.

Please note I couldn't source a copyright free picture of an unfed/hungry Ixodes Ricinus tick. They look completely different, much more flatter and more spider like, please search it up so you know what to look for. Pippa x


do you have dog scared by firework sounds?

Posted on August 31, 2020 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (4)

Do you have a dog who is frightened by the sound of fireworks or do you have a new puppy unaccustomed to super loud bangs and whizzes? if so, the time to start helping them is NOW. Below is a link to the Dog Trust's free downloadable booklet and free downloadable soundtrack. It does suggest having speakers etc but just use what you have i.e laptop or phone. The idea is basically you are going to very slowly and sensitively desensitise/acclimatise your dog to these sounds so they don't react fearfully and they might even look forward to those sounds because they know they are going to either get a treat or play a game. Pippa x…/sounds%20scary%20booklet%20d…;…/…/sound-therapy-sounds-scary

Why do cats lick themselves?

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (27)

Do you know why your cat licks itself?

There’s a few reasons why cats spend so much time grooming themselves:

1) At the base of the cat’s hairs are sebaceous glands, these glands secrete an oil. When the cat licks itself it stimulates the glands to produce this oil. The cat will then move this oil across itself coat with it’s tongue. The oil helps with waterproofing and keeps the coat in a good condition.

2) It helps get rid of dirt and debris in their coat.

3) It can help prevent parasitic infestation.

4) Grooming removes dead and loose hair which would otherwise led to matting.

5) A little layer of saliva can help keep them cool.

6) While cats are predators of mice and birds, they are also a prey animal for larger animals. Cleaning themselves removes the smell of food from them which would otherwise give away their location.

7) It can act a self-soothing mechanism, grooming feels nice to your cat, so can help relieve stress.

Keep an eye on your cat so you know how much it generally spends time grooming itself. if you notice your under/over-grooming itself please take it to vet.

Signs of under-grooming include a matted or greasey coat, a smell, dandruff.

Signs of over-grooming include bald patches, sores and rashes.


rabbit awareness week

Posted on August 15, 2020 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (218)

hi folks as it's Rabbit Awareness Week (running from 10th-23rd August 2020) I thought this link would be interesting:

A good resourcce for rabbit owners for all things from diet, illness etc can be found here:

 Rabbit Welfare and Research Fund:

keeping dogs safe around water (1) blue green algae

Posted on August 12, 2020 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (27)

hi folks, we are all making sure that our dogs are keeping cool in this heat wave. Please be careful and alert to which stretches of water you are allowing your dogs to swim/paddle in. Some areas in our region have blue/green algae blooms. This stuff is extremely toxic and even in small quantities can be fatal. If you're walking in areas with these blooms please put your dog on the lead. If you don't know what it looks like, it can appear as a green, greeney brown scum on the water. Any doubts = keep your dog out. x

positive comments towards my clients' dog from other dog owners

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 4:58 PM Comments comments (0)
On two seperate occasions today, owners of two different dogs I was walking have received really positive comments from other dog walkers.
One dog owner was praised by a fellow dog owner for opting for her dog to wear a muzzle.  I explained that this particular dog is such a sweet dog but has an unpredictable nature with "bouncy" dogs.  Rather than risk an incident the owner very wisely uses a soft muzzle when her dog is likely to come into contact with others, such as in the park, woods etc. The person was saying how commendable and responsible it is and he wished everyone would do the same.
The second owner was praised due to the puppy's off lead recall, general training and socialisation.  The puppy is only around 23 weeks old and already surpasses lots of other dogs in terms of his recall.  I explained that the owner has put in a lot of work into the puppy and one of the other dog owners said "well, it certainly shows".
Very proud moments and it's lovely to be able to pass those comments on the owners.

Laughing dogs

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 6:56 PM Comments comments (0)
A really enjoyable walk with our young pup client and my own dog.  The puppy really loves Sunshine and the feeling is mutual.
They were playing with each other in the woods today and it was lovely to watch them grinning at each other and I could actually hear them making noises that was really similar to laughing.
Lovely when dogs are a well socialised from a early age like this.

The cold weather is here - water watch

Posted on December 2, 2012 at 6:32 PM Comments comments (3)
When checking your outdoor animals please ensure that your animal has adequate protection from the cold and wind.
Remember that access to fresh water is vital for their health and welfare.  Even if you have insulated bottle protectors make sure that the drip nozzle isn't frozen.  I routinely check ours twice a day.

Broody chicken

Posted on August 13, 2012 at 9:18 PM Comments comments (198)
One of our chooks has gone broody for the first time.  We are removing eggs almost as soon as they are laid and moving her out of the coop.  She is less than keen about this!
If this continues our options are a) let her continue for 3 weeks or b) remove her from the coop entirely over night.  Option b) is a little drastic, and we don't want to stress her out when she is already hormonal .  However, if her general health suffers then we will need to take the second approach by the end of the week.

The sunshine is here

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM Comments comments (12)
The sun is shining for the first time in weeks, I have met lots of happy dog owners in the park today.  Even the dogs seemed relieved not to be getting soggy!
Just remember Focus Dog Walkers walk whatever the weather; sun, rain, hail and snow.  Your dog always receives a towel down and a tick check (and removal, if needed) after every walk.