For newer dog owners – Basic Products
UK animal welfare charity the RSPCA (1) have a fact sheet giving loads of useful advice on dog care. The following information echoes some of their tips on how to organise yourself product & service wise:
- A good vet – for micro-chipping, vaccinations, neutering, advice and treatment for illness/injury
- Pet health insurance (vet’s bills can sometimes be extremely expensive, depending on the condition)
- A bowl for always having fresh, clean water
- Worming products – ask your vet for suitable brands
- Flea control products – again, ask the vet
- Good quality dog food
- A correctly fitted dog lead
- Fencing for your garden to prevent the dog escaping
- A pooper-scooper device & plastic bags to clear up dog mess when out walking
- A dog brush, for daily brushing, especially for long hairs
- Teeth cleaning products (but they still need regular dental check ups at the vet)
- A bed of some description and their own blanket
- ‘Helpers’ for you – a good kennel or dog sitter for when you are away on holiday or unable to provide companionship (dogs need plenty of company)
- A good dog trainer – dogs need caring, expert training to allow harmony between them, other dogs, other animals, and humans
For other information we’ve put together for this site on buying the best collars for your dog, there is a section on the newer designs in Cool Products – Dogs & Cats. Click on it on the right hand side to read about the new, kinder design dog collars to stop dogs pulling, safety release collars and tracking collars in case your dog becomes lost.
There’s also a round up of some useful products to make life better for you and your pooch – pooper scooper bags, visibility aids, buoyancy aids for nautical dogs, anti stress products & vetinary acupuncture, some useful grooming products, car safety, and teeth cleaning
Dog Licences & ‘Dangerous Dog’ Laws
Don’t forget: get a dog licence if your country requires one. In the USA, the ASPCA advises dog licences should be attached to collars. In the USA, many many states require one by law. The ASPCA website has an incredible detailed list of topics on many aspects of dog behaviour, care and training (2). There are also various different “dangerous dog laws” from state to state, we strongly recommend seeking professional advice if these are of concern to you. In Canada, the situation is similar. In both countries, you are strongly advised to check with local authorities on these laws . For Canada, you may find a not for profit organisation, the Dog legislation Council of Canada helpful (3). Another source of good advice is of course the vet.
Dog licences were legally abandoned in England, Scotland & Wales in 1987 but were still required by law for every single dog in Northern Ireland at the time of writing (cost £5 or £2.50 for owners aged 65 and over). Be aware of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, covering all the UK. This law banned breeding or selling certain types of dog. It also placed legally enforceable restrictions on owners. At the time of writing, it appears to cover pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosas, the Dogo Argentinos, and the Fila Brasileiros and cross-breeds of them. However, the wording also stated “any type of dog appearing to him [the secretary of state] to be bred for fighting” or any dog “dangerously out of control in a public place”. Anyone interested in this law is strongly advised to seek professional advice for its actual correct interpretation.
Some breed owners may find their dog is covered by laws
IMPORTANT: yep, you guessed it – this is the bit where we respectfully advise:
No information here can ever be a substitute for professional vetinary or legal advice – all animal health issues should be taken to the vet, all legal queries to a lawyer. We regret we therefore cannot answer any individual queries on dog care or as mentioned above, any laws relating to dogs.Thank you.
Posted by Norma De Bloom
Photo Credits – aren’t the dogs gorgeous?
First dog on page http://www.sxc.hu/profile/vancanjay Application form http://www.sxc.hu/profile/EyeLens Sleepy dog http://www.sxc.hu/profile/bhchrist
1. RSPCA. Pet care- Dogs. [online]. RSPCA.
2. ASPCA. Virtual Pet Behaviourist. [online]. ASPCA
3. Dog Legislation Council of Canada.
The Basics – for newer cat owners
Hi - ok, here's mah list of demands to start with...
There are countless cat care products on sale. If you’re contemplating a kitty in your life, or have just welcome one to your home, a starter list of essentials might help you decide what to buy. The UK based charity, Cats Protection League has been caring for kitties since 1927 and has informative help sheets on many aspects of cat care at their website (1). The following list echoes some of their tips for organising basic products & services:
- A good vet! – for micro-chipping, vaccinations, neutering, advice & treating illness- injury
- Flea control products – ask your vet for a suitable brand
- Worming products – again ask your vet for a suitable brand
- Dry cat food/ special ‘dental cleaning’ dry cat treats to maintain oral hygiene
- Things to play with for exercise and stimulation – especially important for indoor kitties
- A nice comfy ‘bed’ of some description
- A bowl of clean fresh water at all times
- Cat food !
- A suitable brush – to brush longhairs daily, to avoid matting fur, which would mean a trip to the vet, for shorthairs, to be used once weekly
- Pet Care Insurance – to provide help with vets bills (which can sometimes be extremely expensive depending on the condition)
- A scratching post could be “useful” – we recommend these 100% to encourage your kitty to keep their claws in good shape without adopting the sofa as the primary work-out site. This advice especially holds for kittens & younger moggies, a.k.a. “cute furry cross-shredders”.
Don’t forget a cat licence! At the time of writing there was no legal requirement to obtain a licence for owning a cat in the UK. In the USA and Canada, you are strongly advised to check with your local authority, as in some locations, it is 100% a legal requirement to obtain a proper licence for owning a cat.
Ur honor, I owns them, they jus' lives heer 'cos I can't do teh tins
For other information we’ve put together on cat products you might like, click on Cool Products – Dogs & Cats on the right. In this section there is a round up of some of the newer products on the market. Information includes choosing a cat collar, synthetic pheromone sprays, brushes, toys and beds, with loads of useful online resources at the end of the page.
IMPORTANT: yep, you guessed it – this is the bit where we respectfully advise:
None of this article is intended as nor can be used as a substitute for professional vetinary or legal advice. All animal health issues should be taken to the vet. We regret we therefore cannot answer any individual queries on cat care or relevant laws.
Posted by Norma De Bloom
‘Cat in the bag’ http://www.sxc.hu/profile/straymuse Application form http://www.sxc.hu/profile/EyeLens Staring cat http://www.sxc.hu/profile/NLTeddy
Useful fact sheet you may like to check out:
1.Cat’s protection League. Caring for your cat. Cat’s Protection League.
Hamsters are wonderful little creatures – all wobbling whiskers and cute little eyes! Here’s some ideas for hamster products, with a special section at the end about the more essential items (and some websites to go to for general advice on caring for hamsters).
VERY IMPORTANT: This article is for general educational purposes only – NO information here can ever be used a substitute for professional vetinary advice! PLEASE ASK YOUR VET FOR ABOUT YOUR HAMSTER’S HEALTHCARE AND LIVING NEEDS. We therefore respectfully advise we are unable to answer any questions on animal care.
Beds & Nests
Hamsters have instincts to burrow, chew and hide away from sight – yes, you guessed it, you can now buy them specially designed little hamster ‘nests’. These aim to allow them to fulfil their instincts and feel secure. (A side effect is even more instant super-cuteness as well). There are also little hamster ‘houses’, in wood or plastic designs for them to hide away in. They like to sleep where no-one can see them, usually burrowing so they will need suitable material inside the nests/ ‘houses’ (see ‘new owners’ below).
There’ also mini-sleeping-bag type beds, which they can snuggle into – not so much on the chewing front but a tick for the hiding urge.
There are toys you can buy which could be beneficial for both their teeth and to stop them getting bored. Mental stimulation is important! Toys can give them something safe to chew on, and if they feature ‘hidden’ (hamster safe) foods inside, they can be kept occupied as they try to prize it out. There are special hamster friendly toys and a scaled down version of a dog-toy design for small animals, made of rubber, which again you stuff with tasty hamster snacks.
As mentioned below in the ‘new owners’ section, exercise is important. You can buy wheels, but they should be solid not open runged to stop little feet and tails getting caught. There are also plastic tunnel designs which attach to hamster homes to provide exercise and mental stimulation.
There are plenty of hamster treats products to supplement their diet in addition to their regular hamster mix food. (Only buy products designed for hamsters – all small animals need specialist feeding and products aren’t always ‘interchangeable’ between species).
Thinking of getting a hamster or just got one? Basic products/ services
The information here echoes the UK’s RSPCA and USA’s ASPCA tips on some of the things new hamster owners need to organise for their pet. The RSPCA also rehomes small animals to suitable homes, having given them vetinary checks to ensure they’re happy and healthy – a good way to welcome a furry friend to your home.
- A good vet – for all advice and healthcare needs
- A large home, indoors in a warm place, not in direct sunlight – somewhere quiet in the daytime (they’re more night animals and need to sleep in the day)
- A drip-feed bottle for water – they always need to able to drink clean, fresh water
- A nesting box in their home – they need to burrow so they can’t be seen, and they need to sleep there and stash food away there (natural behaviour)
- Clean sawdust on the floor of their home
- Soft hay sold especially for small animals (so it won’t poke delicate eyes or otherwise hurt them)
- Clean white kitchen paper so they can make their bed with it – not cotton wool, not newspaper
- An exercise wheel – but not with open rungs, should be solid – which is securely fixed to the inside wall of their home
- Toys for stimulation – cardboard tubes, wooden cotton reels
- A ‘gnawing block’ made of hardwood to help keep their teeth healthy
- Daily food and home tidying, full cleaning once a week
- A special brush designed for hamsters – to brush them daily (especially important for longhaired hamsters)
- ‘Helpers’ for you – someone to take care of the hamster if you are on holiday or unable to do so for any reason
Posted by Joe De Bloom
Hamster close-up http://www.sxc.hu/profile/red2000
Useful facts sheets
The UK’s RSPCA has hamster care fact sheets at
They also rehome small animals to suitable homes in the UK.
The USA’s ASPCA has hamster care fact sheets at