Keep Your Pet Active
  01  
March 2012
Fit and full of life
Exercise should be a natural part of your pets’ life, and giving them plenty of physical stimulation will improve their mental wellbeing, stop them becoming over-weight, help their digestion and prolong their life. Different breeds and ages of pets will need varying amounts but ensuring they are getting exercise, inside or outdoors, in a way that suits their life-stage and characteristics is one of the best ways to keep them living happily for as long as possible.

Exercising indoors
It’s important not to let bad weather put you, or your pets, off exercising. But when it is raining or worse, having a few options indoors can help prevent over-excited chaos. Sleep and general behaviour will give many clues to your pets’ overall exercise levels. If they are agitated, they almost certainly need more. Hide and seek is a great way to entertain dogs indoors. There are also loads of puzzle toys available to keep them interested. A little rough and tumble in an open space will also help burn off some excess energy. Just don’t let them get too excited, cause damage or get used to being out of control.
Your dogs will probably let you know when they need their exercise, so make sure you listen. But exercising cats needs a little more care. Simple challenges like making them work for their food by hiding it in different places helps exercise their body and mind. Making time to play with them around the house will also be an important part of keeping them fit and bonding with each other and you. You can buy dedicated toys, or improvise with something as simple as a shoelace to re-create the hunt that really gets cats excited. Encouragement with your voice, and keeping any games fresh and interesting, are both important ways of helping them stay active inside.

Great outdoors
Nothing is really better for healthy pets than enjoying the outdoors. Cats will generally exercise themselves but it’s still important to ensure your garden is safe. You also need to provide a controlled diet that provides energy without weight gain. Cats often naturally sleep a lot in between bursts of exercise, and will go through phases of higher and lower activity throughout the year. If you notice your cat seems especially lethargic, then playing with them can help encourage a more active nature.
Owning a dog means doing lots of walking, but exactly how much is really down to the breed. Walking dogs on a lead down the road is good but getting out into open spaces where they can run freely around is a far better way of ensuring they get a full body workout.
Having toys to collect and opportunities to swim will keep exercise fun and interesting, and varying the walk as much as possible will be good for you both. Just remember to listen to your dog. If it is asking to be walked a lot more than you can manage or have time for, it may be sensible to arrange for some help. Make time to enjoy walking your best friend, and keep your bathing equipment somewhere handy too. Something like The Oster™ Rapid Bathing System is perfect for keeping even intensive baths quick and easy when you arrive home mucky and tired.
Dogs and Cats Home and Professional Health
  01  
June 2012
Keeping your pet healthy
As a member of the family, maintaining your pets’ health is very important. But even in the best homes, dogs and cats can get ill at some point in their life. Knowing how to take care of simple everyday ailments is a good idea as it can save time and money, but always ask for professional advice if you are worried about the health of any pets.

Health begins at home
Grooming your pet is the perfect time to spot any health problems. Even if your pet isn’t ill, familiarise yourself with how to examine ears, eyes, fur, mouths and feet for clues that problems may be developing. For both cats and dogs, hair-loss, scratching, diarrhoea and other uncharacteristic behaviours are indicators of very common parasites like worms, fleas or ear mites. There are good remedies and advice available at the local vet or specialist pet shop.
Most dogs love finding mucky things and will roll in, or even eat, all kinds of stuff you might wish they didn’t. It means they can pick up parasites easily, but again, if you watch out for the signs and catch the problem early, it need not be serious.
Cats especially can pick up injuries whilst out roaming, like scratches from fighting or sharp objects in the garden, but as long as they aren’t bleeding heavily, or over-licking the wound, it should heal by itself. Of course, if you are unsure on any health issue with your pet, always consult your vet.

Getting better
If pets are recuperating from being ill, they can be assisted towards a speedy recovery, just like a person. Give them lots of opportunities to rest, nourishing meals – for cats fresh oily fish is good – and keep them out of the cold and wet. Essentially, everything you’d do to help your own immune system recover.

Brushing teeth
Caring for your pets’ teeth properly starts with the right food - so choose a diet that is recommended for dental health. A dental bone and regular teeth brushing will then help make sure their gnashers are nice and clean. Brushing once a month with plain water should be enough, but a dedicated dog toothpaste or gel will offer a deeper clean and help fight bad breath too.

Visiting the vet
Of course the most important thing to do in safeguarding pet health is to get good insurance and register the animals with a vet you trust. These two things will make sure you are protected and ready to act if something serious does happen. When in doubt, always ask for advice, and remember, prevention is better than cure so the correct vaccinations are essential. Remember to keep a health diary with notes on when the vaccinations were given times your pet. You can also use this to log down the times when you see symptoms developing, if your pet shows signs of being ill.
Dog and Cat Behaviour
  01  
September 2012
Good vs bad behaviour
Like humans, pets form their personalities when they are young. All kinds of factors can shape the kind of animal they become, but your influence as their owner is by far the most enduring, especially as a kitten or puppy. Encouraging good behaviour and discouraging bad is essential if you want a relaxed household and good relationships all round. However knowing how to tell the difference between behaviour that is acceptable or not isn’t always as easy as it might seem. Here are some of our favourite tips for good behaviour.

Unruly pups
A dog that won’t behave can be a nightmare, losing you sleep, costing you money and possibly even affecting your relationship with your partner. But very often behaviour that seems unruly is just a misunderstood attempt to communicate. So look a little closer at the reason for the behaviour before getting too cross.
Puppies are by their nature yappy, so be patient and don’t become frustrated if they don’t stop when you tell them to. Instead adopt an approach of giving controlled times to get excited, and times when they must be quiet. Reward quietness on command with a nutritional treat. Withdraw attention if they forget, but be consistent and don’t let mixed signals from different family members confuse them.
You should quickly be able to distinguish between overexcited barking and an attempt to tell you something. Barking is the dog’s only way of communicating it is bored, lonely or needs the toilet - all of which are your responsibility to correct.
Puppies need to chew when they’re teething, and chewing will continue to be an impulse for many older dogs too. So don’t be angry at them for chewing something you should have kept out of harm’s way. Keep chew toys handy and use play as a way of encouraging them to favour these instead of your slippers.
Puppies are most likely to need the toilet straight after eating/drinking, playing or sleeping, so take them outside straight away just in case. Scolding any toilet accidents may actually make things worse by making them nervous, so create a familiar, consistent place for them to go and play, with them straight afterwards. That way they should get into the habit of ‘going’ promptly in order to get on with something more fun.

Practice makes perfect
Don’t give up too easily. If you do, so will your dog. Practice a little every day and make sure your dog is mentally and physically stimulated to keep it as receptive to training as possible.
If you become frustrated, don’t shout or try to bully your pet into obeying you. You are in charge and ignoring it is often the most powerful tool you have in underlining your authority.

Scratchy cats
Cats are complex creatures and full of all kinds of fascinating personality traits. But again it is easy to mistake natural, instinctive behaviour for naughtiness.
Dogs chew, but cats scratch. Giving them a scratching post or similar item to use their claws on should help stop them damaging your home. Respect their boundaries and space. Cats can get bad tempered and aggressive if they don’t have anywhere they feel safe, or you are playing too boisterously. Don’t rush to scold – playing with cats and ensuring they are well fed and mentally stimulated in a calm and loving environment is the best way to encourage the kind of happy cat behaviour you want.
Animal behaviour is complex, so researching a pet by breed and background is really worthwhile and will help you have a closer more fulfilling relationship. It takes time to understand any animal’s needs and personality, but there are lots of good books and professional advice available should you need more help.
Grooming
  03  
January 2012
Good Grooming
Regular grooming is an integral part of your relationship with your pets. As well as being an enjoyable and intimate time to spend together, it will help to keep them healthy and feeling good, and make it easier to keep your house clean. It’s therefore well worth taking the time to groom your pet properly, and ensure you have all the right tools to hand when you do.

Little and often
Brushing your pets’ fur will help make sure they stay in a good condition. It removes dirt and foreign objects, all the while spreading the natural oils needed to smooth out tangles and prevent irritants. And nothing gets to work at this better than The Oster™ Premium Slicker Brush, designed to leave your pet’s fur clean, smooth and feeling gorgeous too.
How often you should brush really depends on the type of pets you have, right down to the breed. And even then opinion differs on how much is too much. On the whole, a light brushing every few days should be plenty, but if you own a long-haired breed you might need to do it more frequently. The time of year will affect the natural moulting of your pet too, so monitor the feel of their fur and adjust your routine accordingly. When you do groom your pet, make sure you use the correct type of grooming tool to suit your cat or dog. You’ll find a complete selection on the grooming tool area of our site.

Treat or trauma?
For many pets being brushed is a lovely experience, a natural extension of the attention they get when being stroked. But if your pets dislike being groomed - or actively resist it, there are a few things you can do to help them relax and enjoy themselves.

If your cats or dogs get stressed when you try to brush them, chances are you do too, which means the sheer sight of the brush will bring back bad memories and the urge to run. So start to associate the whole process with happy things. Nutritional treats and a calm, soothing manner should be used, and try to begin at a time and in a place where they already feel relaxed and will accept stroking. Give them encouragement and don’t expect too much too soon. With patience you will establish an understanding that in the end should make brushing quick and easy.

Nice clean nails
While brushing your pets can be pleasant and relaxing, clipping its nails can be more nerve wracking. But keeping on top of the job and doing it properly will help make the chore as quick and stress-free as possible.
As with brushing, offering nutritional treats, using a comfortable space and plenty of praise will help relax your pet during nail trimming. Taking breaks will stop the process from becoming a wrestling match. Many cats especially don’t like having their feet touched, so aim to get them used to this experience in short sessions before actually starting to trim their nails. Be careful not to cut the quick or pink area around the nail.
It is best to consult your vet on how regularly you should trim pets’ nails. Also it’s a good investment to buy a quality set of trimmers or better still an electric option like The Oster™ Cordless Nail Filer to help make clipping easier and quicker for you, and more comfortable for your pet.
Pet and holidays
  01  
November 2010
Holidays can pose a difficult dilemma for pet owners. Whether it’s a weekend away or a month abroad, it’s important to leave your cat or dog in trustworthy hands. But whose?

Choosing a boarding kennel for your dog
Once you’ve decided to leave your dog at a kennel, you should make time to find the right one for your dog’s needs. Contact several in your area that look suitable and ask them questions about their services. Choose the best and then pay a visit in person. Many allow for unscheduled visitation, allowing you a chance to see them on a typical day.
Check out the kennel’s certifications, and whether they are a member of a professional body. If they have vet references, follow them up. Ask about the frequency and length of the walks that kennel provides.
If they look clean, secure and well maintained, and you like the staff, you can probably holiday confident that they will look after your pet as you hope. You can also look for owner reviews online, but it may be more insightful to check with the residents themselves - the dogs currently being boarded should look relaxed and content.
Remember, if you aren't completely happy with the kennel you visit, see another. Don't leave your dog anywhere you're not completely comfortable.
Planning thoroughly will ensure your pet has an enjoyable holiday too, and finding the right place now will mean you don’t have to hunt around in the future. Make sure when dropping your dog off that they are well bathed and groomed. The range of Oster™ bathing and grooming products has everything you need to do this and keep your dog, and boarding staff, happy.

How to choose the right cattery
Much the same principles apply for choosing a cattery, but there are a few extra things to consider.
Check whether the cattery is attached to a kennel, and if so whether there will be the sound of barking. If you think your cat might be frightened, choose a non-combined cattery.
Check if it has an indoor or outdoor area for the cats to exercise, and make sure there is plenty of ventilation. If they don’t ask about your cat’s vaccinations, they won’t have asked other owners and your cat may be exposed to diseases.
Also, check exactly what is covered in the price, if your cat is long haired, grooming may be an extra charge.

Friends and neighbourgs It can be cheaper, easier and more pleasant for your cat or dog to just stay at home and be looked in on by friends or neighbours. Familiar surroundings will undoubtedly be less stressful, they can have attention from a familiar person and, if you ask nicely, it won’t cost you anything. But don’t underestimate the burden it can be, especially where dog walking is concerned. Don’t ask anyone unless you’re absolutely confident they won’t feel pressured into helping, and be certain that they can competently care for your pet. Forgetting to visit could be worse than a trip to a cattery or kennel by a long way.

Taking a pet away with you Of course, you could always take your pet away with you. Cats don’t like travel, but dogs are often happy wherever you are. Lots of guest-houses, campsites and cottages accept dogs, just make sure you check well in advance and ask specifically about their terms and facilities.
Even with best holiday arrangements in the world, your pet wants to see you and be part of your household. So if you are likely to need lots of long periods away, you may need to evaluate whether it’s fair to keep a pet at all.
Where should my pet sleep?
  01  
November 2010
Cat naps and doggy dreams
Whether you have cats, dogs, or both, your pets will sleep an awful lot. Adult dogs sleep around 12 hours a day, and cats between 13 to 16 hours, which when added up makes where they’re doing it quite important.
Whilst cats and dogs will often sleep anywhere they feel like, they probably still have a favourite place. Often it’s somewhere that smells of you. But when the lights go out, the vast majority of us let our pets sleep with us. Is that a good or a bad thing?

Sharing your bed with a furry friend
Most dogs sleep on or near their owner’s bed, as do cats, over a third of which will even share the pillow. It’s OK to let a pet sleep around you, if you’re prepared for some of the consequences.
Pets will usually leave hair where they’ve been sleeping. They can also wake you up in the night, with noise or wanting to play. Cats very rarely sleep right through the night. They can aggravate allergies, and even make you feel like you’ve lost privacy. This may sound silly, but just because you’re fine with your pet sleeping with you now, you might not be in the future. And when a pet has a favourite place to sleep, they don’t give it up easily.
Power struggles, especially when sleeping arrangements change or a new person appears in the bed, can cause complaints from pets. Singles who become couples and children, who change their mind, having previously insisted on letting their pet sleep with them, are just two examples of how the social dynamic of your household may change.
If you need to teach a reluctant pet to sleep somewhere else, an important part will be making them a bed they really want.

Creating a cosy place to rest
A good bed will help make sure they have a familiar place that is just theirs. The Oster™ Self-Warming bed is perfect for this. Available in different sizes, the design reflects your pet’s natural body heat, ensuring it’s always a cosy escape. Alternatively, baskets, blankets and bean bag beds will all make a good place to let your pet sleep to their heart’s content without affecting you.
Encouraging them to use it isn’t always easy, but persistence is essential. Don’t give in, and always show dog’s who complain who’s boss. If your dog begins to cause damage or even nip, seek professional help from a good trainer.

Sleeping clean
Wherever they sleep, keeping your pet hygienic is important, but especially so if they share your bed. Tics and other nasty things are easily brought in through dirty fur, so take the time to find the perfect Oster™ products for a clean and sweet smelling pet.
Our range of shampoos and colognes make it easy to keep your pet clean and shiny, whatever their skin type or age, and our brushes will stop them shedding hair all over your clean sheets. Our comb set will also help you find and eradicate tics, to ensure everybody enjoys a comfortable and refreshing night’s sleep.
Keeping a clean dog
  01  
November 2010
Welcoming a pet into your home will definitely mean a bit more mess. But if you keep a thorough schedule of bathing and grooming, and put a little more thought and effort in to cleaning, you and your new friend can live in perfect, hygienic harmony. And with the Oster™ range of products, you’ll find everything you need to make keeping clean quick and easy.

Mastering bath time
Like all tasks, bath time gets easier with practice. Just make sure you’re practicing the right kind of bathing. You need to know the proper way to bathe your dog for their comfort and safety, and yours. But remember: dogs should be bathed only when they are dirty, or need a flea bath. Over-bathing will remove the natural oils that keep fur and skin healthy.
To start, choose the best place to bathe, usually a bathtub or outside in a plastic tub. It needs to be robust, and it needs to have good water access. Ideally invest in a good bathing system like the Oster® Rapid Bathing System. A one handed system, that releases the shampoo directly into the shower nozzle, means you can be done in as little as 3 minutes without any spilled shampoo bottles.
Placing a rubber mat underneath your dog will stop them sliding around, and help them feel safe, and therefore relaxed. If they’re relaxed, you will find your job a lot easier.
Gather several towels, and some cotton balls. A ball should be placed in your dog's ears, just inside the canal, not too deep, to keep water out. Place your dog in the tub, then thoroughly wet their coat with the hose.
Next, apply shampoo. Choose a good shampoo, that’s suited to their coat and health. Oster™ shampoos cater for every need, from sensitive skin shampoo, to attractive Coconut scented shampoo for you to enjoy. And by using the Oster® Rapid Bathing System, you can apply shampoo directly through the shower nozzle, giving you a free hand with which to lather and calm your pet.
Now lather their body with shampoo, rubbing it into a nice thick lather. (Some flea shampoos may need leaving in for a while, just follow the instructions on the bottle).
When the body is done, lather their tail, feet and legs, so only their head is not done.
When you’re ready to do the head and face, lather your hands and very carefully wash around their face, avoiding the mouth, eyes, ears and nose. Done? Rinse them off with your hose and starting with the face. Shield their sensitive areas as you do so. Thoroughly rinse off their coat and, when finished, remove the cotton balls.
Drying can be done either with the towels, or if it’s warm enough outside in the air. If you prefer to use a hairdryer, take care not to burn them.
Now’s a good time to brush their teeth, and apply a scented Oster™ Dog Cologne, so have a look for a scent that appeals. It’s also a good time to trim their nails which will be soft from the water, and to check them over for injuries or signs of illness. Spending 20 minutes going over your dog inch by inch to wash them, it should be easy to spot things if you know what to look for.
Broken nails, scabs and sores, matted fur, foreign bodies such as thistles, and anything else that’s a clue to their health and well-being should all receive attention, possibly from a vet if you’re unsure what to do. And of course, you need to look for creepy crawlies like ticks and fleas.

Creepy crawlies
Ticks are everywhere, and the only way to keep them out of your home is to check your dog - and house - regularly. Unlike fleas, ticks stay put, making them easier to locate and identify. They like places without hair such as the belly, toes or ears. Using an Oster™ comb set will allow you to draw them out for identification If you do find them, use a dedicated tick shampoo to drown and remove them.
It’s also handy to remember that ticks hate the sun, so when you’re out keep them away from long grass and in the sun as much as possible to help kill the ticks.
Fleas can be harder to find as they jump around, but it makes them easy to identify when you see them. A flea collar will certainly help, as will regular washing. Your vet will stock shampoos and sprays, and anti-flea medication, and it’s always best to ask if you’re unsure. The Oster® Rapid Bathing System uses very highly concentrated shampoo, making it unsafe for use with a chemical flea and tick shampoo. But flea and tick shampoos work best on a clean animal, so use the Oster® Rapid Bathing System and one of the Oster™ shampoos beforehand for a quick and safe way to prepare them for the treatment.
Dogs love to pick up bacteria and all kinds of dirt and bugs when out walking. So if you transport your dog by car, it can be wise to keep dedicated dog car seat covers, and plenty of things in the car permanently, to keep your car clean. The Oster™ Paw Cleaner and Oster™ No-rinse Shampoo are perfect for this purpose, especially if they’ve taken an unexpected swim and you want to give them a quick wash before getting on your seats.