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Any dog owner will know the joys of spending time with their dogs in open fields and parks, throwing a ball, Frisbee or rubber stick for them to fetch and bring back to be thrown again and again until one or the other tires.
I was never good at hurling objects any distance and before I purchased a tennis ball chucker, my dog took the raising of my arm, as a signal for him to start running, even before the ball had left my hand. He, without fail, overestimated the distance it would travel; often resulting in my having to fetch the ball because he had not seen it fall to the ground some distance behind him.
Having bought my tennis ball chucker a couple of years ago, I cannot recall how much it cost. Now they are on sale for around £4.65 on Amazon, available in several colours, red, yellow, green and blue.
The concave, slightly flexible, plastic arm of the chucker is 22-inches in length and ends in a cup shaped holder, making the overall length about 26-inches. This is perfect for lifting the ball from the ground, without having to bend or stoop to recover it; the cup fits snugly over a tennis ball, which is held firmly enough to carry without it slipping from the holder, but loose enough to be released with the whipping action of the chucker arm.
At the top end of the arm is the handle with finger grip grooves; the empty weight of the whole thing is 104g.
When I first used the chucker, I was amazed at how little effort was required to send the ball soaring through the air and the distance it travelled was certainly beyond my expectations.
I also found that by using this ball chucker, my arm no longer ached at the end of the day.
I thoroughly recommend this simple, yet effective device to throw tennis balls effortlessly for dogs to chase and fetch when outside in the fresh air.
I have a superb dentist, whose advice I generally accepted without question, but when he advised my using an electric toothbrush, I thought it was just an expensive gimmick and would soon fall from favour as do most new gadgets coming onto the market. Therefore, for a long while, it was one piece of advice I kept putting to the back of my mind.
However, after having teeth scraped mercilessly by the dental hygienist on an all too regular basis, and realising electronic toothbrushes were here to stay, I decided to purchase a Braun, Oral-B professional care, 3000 electric toothbrush at the dentist’s surgery last year, costing about £54. They are coming down in price; I see some on Amazon for £49.
The whole package included three brush heads, the toothbrush unit, housing a rechargeable battery and a charger stand that had a case attached to hold any accessories. The charger had a two-pin plug, therefore, a three-pin adaptor is required if charged from the mains outside the bathroom. I also found a tongue scraper and an attachment that held plastic interdental flossers, plus twenty flossers in a small case.
Apart from the electric toothbrush, charger and spare brush heads, I am not sure the other items are supplied routinely, because I saw no reference to them in the instructions and before I could use them had to ask at the surgery what they were.
The brush has three speed modes for rotating and pulsating the brush heads, the first is for general cleaning, the second is a slower version of the same action for sensitive teeth and the third is a more rigorous action to remove stains, they call this one, the whitening and polishing mode.
It is recommended we brush each quadrant for thirty-seconds and the unit, stutters at 30-second intervals, indicating that sufficient cleaning of each quadrant has been achieved. A red LED on the unit shoulder flashes when too much pressure is applied to the teeth and gums.
A green LED at the base will flash when battery needs charging and whilst charging but remains steady when fully charged, which takes approximately 12 hours.
Within six months of my starting to use this electronic toothbrush, my teeth and gums had significantly improved, both hygienist and dentist have noted the difference
I found that, as well as brushing the teeth in the normal way; aiming the brush under the gum lines, helps prevents plaque build up where flossing or TePes rarely had much effect.
Coupled with interdental care with the Sonicare, the Oral-B electric toothbrush is reducing the build up of plaque by a considerable amount and of course the time spent in the dentist’s chair.
My dog has more toys than most toddlers do. Squeaky soft toys, rubber balls of various colours, shapes and sizes, rubber bones, Kongs and tennis balls and what’s more, he chooses and plays with every one of them though not necessarily in any specific rotation.
Unfortunately, like most dogs, he has a habit of de-furring tennis balls and removing squeakers from his soft toys, when in the more destructive mode, so to prevent too much destruction I bought him several knotted rope toys that he could play tug-o-war with, one of his favourite games when he was a puppy.
It was some time ago since I bought a rope-toy from our local pet shop so am not sure how much I paid; prices do vary with the size of the rope-toy. I see on line that Pets at home, are selling extra large ones, approximately 40cm in length for £6.00.
The ruff and tuff knotted rope toy is composed of hundreds of multi-coloured strands of cotton, twisted together in such a way as to form a thick, yet soft, rope. The ends are tied into a large, tight knot, leaving a fringe of lose strands at the end of the knots. There are several designs of the rope toy, some have three knots, one at each end and one in the middle, others are circular or in the shape of a knot.
The design I purchased is the one about 30cms in length with two knots, one at each end.
It did not take long for him to start dismantling it after a few games of tug-o-war.
He soon discovered he was able to untie the knots from both ends and unravel the whole thing so that it ended up looking like the remnants of a ball of wool, after being attacked by a litter of energetic kittens. It did however; take a few days of enjoyable gnawing to reduce the rope to an unrecognisable mass of cotton strands. Occasionally I had to remove a strand or two caught between his teeth, but he thoroughly enjoyed the rope toy and was kinder to the tennis balls and soft toys for a day or two after.
The claims are that this toy helps to keep the dogs teeth clean and healthy and judging by the number of times I had to remove strands from between his teeth, it is probably a valid claim.
Even when dismantled, he still on occasions plays with the tangled bundle of cotton, no doubt trying to separate each strand.
I have two dogs, and prefer to feed them from ceramic bowls rather than ones made from plastic. This is because the implements I use to chop and mix their meals, have in the past, eventually damaged the plastic variety of dishes I had purchased, causing scratches, albeit shallow ones, in the floor of the dish. This then made the bowls less easy to keep in pristine condition when food inevitably became trapped in these tiny crevices.
I bought the Trixie Ceramic bowl from Zooplus, http://www.zooplus.co.uk/, costing £3.29. The dimensions of this bowl are as follows; Weight 450g, Depth 6cm, Diameter 15.5cm with a capacity of 0.8litres, which is large enough to feed most size dogs, except perhaps the very large breeds and very small breeds.
For the larger breeds such as Bullmastiffs, Dalmatians and Newfoundlands the 1.4 litre Trixie bowls costing £4.99 would be more suitable and for the very small breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers and small puppies, the 0.3litre bowls, costing £1.79 would be better.
Both the interior and exterior of the Trixie Ceramic dog bowl is glazed, giving it a clean, smooth surface; the interior is a light, beige in colour, while the exterior is chocolate brown with doggy paw-prints, matching the beige interior, around the perimeter.
I only needed to buy one of these bowls, despite having two dogs, one medium size, Collie Cross, and one small, Yorkshire terrier since I still use the small ceramic bowl bought when she was a puppy.
I usually place their bowls on a piece of carpet, so that the whole thing isn’t pushed around the room as they try to get the last of their meal from the bottom of the dish, a common occurrence if placed on a stone or tiled floor.
I find this bowl, very easy to clean and feel confident; there are no residues of food or washing up liquid, left behind once it has been washed after their meals. The glazing withstands any mild punishment from tools used to mix the food and my dog enjoys his food, he does not care what it is served in, be it plastic ceramic or stainless steel; but I do care, because I know his food has no undesirable additives.
Over the years when working in the medical field, my hands needed a lot more care and attention than usual, because of being washed so frequently every day. Even after wearing surgical gloves over long periods of time, the skin would wrinkle as if they had been soaking in water for hours, so gloves or no gloves, my hands suffered without frequent applications of moisturising creams.
Therefore, it has become a habit to use hand creams on a regular basis, to rehydrate and keep my hands smooth, free from cracks and the skin flexible and even though I no longer expose my hands to the rigours of the past, the habit remains.
I came across Derma intensive Q10, Hand and Nail balm, last year in Tesco on sale for 50p for 75ml. Well, at that price, I just could not resist giving it a trial run, without even reading the ingredients, of which there are 19.
I will not list all 19 of the ingredients, in this lightly perfumed hand and nail balm, but point out that two of the compounds are parabens. It also contains the co-enzyme Q10, claimed to help repair damaged skin ; the bulk of the cream is composed of glycerine, which acts as a thin barrier against fluid loss from skin exposed to central heating and wind.
It is not a heavy, thick cream, yet only a small amount will be required to cover the skin of both hands and I have found that it does soak in reasonably quickly. If I use too much, it tends not to be absorbed and I have on occasion had to wipe some off with a tissue.
To use, massage a small amount into the hands and into the cuticles. It can be used also to help repair and nourish dry patches of skin on arms and legs. I do not think it would be suitable for use on the face.
In my experience, this balm does leave the hands feeling soft, lightly scented and hydrated; it also does act as a short-term barrier against excessive loss of fluid due to exposures to biting winds or a dry heat.
I rarely use it more than once a day, so it lasts me for a very long time; In fact, I still have the original tube of the balm I bought almost a year ago.
I believe it is still inexpensive selling for around 75p for 75ml in Tescos.
Tweed Parfume De Toilette has been around for as long as I can remember, and was very popular in the 50s and 60s. It is not the luxury now that it was then, when only the more affluent echelons of society could afford Tweed. It almost ranked alongside Channel; both of which have survived the test of time where many have fallen by the wayside.
I have never bought any perfumes for myself, but often got them for Christmas, when my late mum would sometimes treat me to a bottle of Tweed. I liked the fresh, floral smell, wafting from people, giving the impression they had not long stepped out of a luxuriously scented bath.
One of my nieces gave me the latest bottle of Tweed about a year ago. About half the contents remain, simply because I do not wear it every day so I cannot say how long it would last anyone else.
I know very little about perfumes in general; but have learned that they have top, middle and base notes, which are mixes of aromatic essences. I also know that a perfume can smell differently when worn by someone else.
According to the literature Tweed’s has “ top notes of bergamot, cinnamon and geranium. Middle notes of ylang-ylang, jasmine, lavender and orange flower. Base notes of oakmoss, patchouli, sandalwood, benzoin, vanilla and vetiver.”
The cost varies from shop to shop, from about £5.00 in Superdrug for 50ml bottle, to £15.00 elsewhere. The average price seems to be approximately £10. Be very wary of purchasing any perfumes very cheaply on eBay or open markets, for fakes will be around at this time of the year.
After all these years, I still find Tweed to be one of my favourite perfumes, it can be worn during the daytime or evening, it is not an overbearing fragrance, nor is it as delicate as some, but the aroma remains on the skin for hours. I just like that fresh, clean aroma that wafts from the skin.
Very little is needed and when sprayed onto the skin, at first, it can smell very strong, but after a minute or two it settles into that ‘Just got out of the bath’ smell.
Perhaps because it has been around for so many decades, that some deem Tweed to be old fashioned and will remind them of their grandmother. It reminds me of the generosity of my mother.
When I upgraded my smart phone to the Galaxy S3, I hastily purchased a tough plastic case for it before leaving the shop. But because it left the screen unprotected, I decided to search for a wallet type of case; mainly to keep the screen safe from scratches, when carried in bags and pockets, where keys, lose coins and other equally hard objects, having the potential to harm the screen, can rattle around, unimpeded.
It took only minutes to find, on Amazon, the perfect solution at a fraction of the cost of the previous case, I bought.
The Valentinus side flip case, which opens like a book, is made of high quality synthetic leather; inside the lightly padded front cover are slots for cards. A tough plastic tray, attached to the opposite side, with cut-outs for the camera, flash and side keys, holds the phone securely and safe from hard knocks, while the front cover protects the screen. A short magnetic tab holds the case closed.
It also came with one of those cellophane-type screen protectors plus a short stylus with a jack that fitted into the earphone port, at the top of the handset, when not in use. The flip-case and accessories cost me £3.49 with free delivery. I believe they can now be purchased for £3.99 post free on Amazon. The link for this is http://tiny.cc/i6z5zw another link for a less expensive one, still on Amazon is http://tiny.cc/1ssmpx
I have been using this case for almost 2-years; the protective parts and the closure are still intact and looking good, there is a little bit of wear and tear at the bottom and top of the spine, which is only to be expected after months of constantly opening and closing the case. I did not use the screen protector provided. I always manage to trap bubbles when I try to attach them to screens. The stylus is a bonus and works perfectly and safely dangles from the top of my phone.
When using the phone, I fold back the cover, and hold the phone as I would were it out of the case. The only thing I had to be careful with was, making sure when taking photographs, that the stylus, dangling over the back of the case, was not in view.
All in all, I am very happy to have found and bought this case for my phone.
Christmas time usually means our cats and dogs get extra treats, from friends or relatives, and it is at this time of the year that we need to be extra cautious about what we allow our dogs to have. Unfortunately, it is often by trial and error or through news of another animals suffering that we get to learn what treats, freely on sale in pet shops and on line, are not safe to give our dogs.
I have recently discovered that Pedigree Jumbone is not safe and I urge anyone who has bought one recently, to discard it.
Several months ago, I bought one from our local pet shop, there was nothing on the wrapper to make me think it was in any way dangerous or perhaps had ingredients harmful to dogs.
The Jumbone was about 11cms long and 3cms wide with a depth of about 2cms. I did not want to give the whole Jumbone to my dog so with great difficulty cut it in half. The fact that it was so tough should have rung alarm bells, along with the fact that no ingredients were listed. However, I gave him one-half, which he eagerly took and began gnawing.
Within minutes, I noticed he was having difficulty and on further investigation saw, he had managed to push his upper canines through the treat, and it was stuck fast, he could not remove the Jumbone, despite frantically pawing at his mouth. Fortunately, my dog is very compliant and allowed me to very gently; ease the treat from his teeth after which I threw it straight into the bin along with the other half, before any of it was swallowed.
There have been reported cases of dogs having expensive surgery in order to remove chunks of Jumbone from their intestines, when it had caused blockages and severe pain to the dog.
I have heard from reliable sources that since there have been a spate of dogs becoming very ill after eating these treats, vets have now questioned Pedigree regarding the ingredients used to make Jumbones .
So not only can Jumbones cause blockages in an animal’s intestines, it can also cause them to become extremely ill. Pedigree is now, investigating the problem and it is rumoured that it may have something to do with the sugars contained in the treat. Some sugars are toxic to dogs.
In some ways, I am glad my dog only got his teeth jammed into the treat and that he did not swallow any. I am also pleased that he was calm enough to let me remove it safely from his mouth and no teeth followed the treat into the bin.
When dogs undergo surgery, which may result in them suffering pain for a day or so, or the dog has suffered some other painful trauma, a vet will often prescribe and supply, with specific instructions, a painkiller called Metacam, to give them for as long as is necessary. It is sometimes used to control pain levels in dogs suffering chronic joint problems.
Metacam is a milky-white suspension held in a special ‘dropper bottle,’ designed to deliver an accurate volume of the solution, drop wise. It is essential when dosing the dog that an overdose is not administered. The active ingredient is Meloxicam, and must not be given to a dog allergic to that substance, or to any dog for longer than is absolutely necessary. Long term usage can cause kidney damage.
The dosage depends on the weight of the dog, for dogs weighing less than 1.5kg, the only accurate way to measure the dose is by using the dropper bottle only; the vet will advise how many drops to give and how often. For dogs weighing over 1.5kg the use of the calibrated syringe, which fits into the neck of the dropper bottle, supplied with the Metacam, is better to draw up the correct dosage from the bottle.
The first time I had to dose my dog with Metacam, was after one of my Cocker Spaniels had an ear canal resection.
Because it is in liquid form, it was easy to administer. After shaking the bottle to mix the contents thoroughly, I drew up the prescribed dose into the syringe and spread it onto his food. He did not even notice there was anything different in his meal.
Many years later, the vet gave my Collie Cross Metacam, by injection into the scruff of his neck. I often wonder the outcome had it been by given mouth, for unfortunately he was found to be allergic to this.
His nose began swelling and obviously irritating him, he looked to be morphing and continued doing so all evening, until the vet suggested I give him some Periton or its equivalent. Within minutes, his nose began returning to its original size.
A few months ago, my Yorkie needed Metacam after having some teeth extracted. To measure her dose, I just counted the appropriate number of drops directly from the bottle onto her food.
None of my dogs suffered any of possible side effects, such as diarrhoea or vomiting.
It is not advisable to give dogs Metacam unless prescribed by a vet even though it can be purchased on line. The vet usually monitors dogs on a long term, low maintenance doses, regularly.
When going on long walks with my dogs, I carry with me, a source of drinking water, because when thirsty, they will seek out water in ponds, streams and even muddy puddles. Often I have seen dogs lapping up water, flowing down the side of the road, contaminated with nicotine from cigarette butts. At least I know the water I take with us is clean and uncontaminated.
Before discovering the Trixie Dog Drinking Bottle, about two years ago, I carried water, in a plastic milk bottle, plus a plastic dog-bowl, in a rucksack; the milk bottle cap was not leak-proof, so the bottle had to be upright at all times.
I bought it for £1 at our local pound shop, but I believe it normally costs about £4, unless on special offer somewhere. There was a choice of container colours, blue or red, the bottles are not coloured.
An opaque, plastic bottle that holds about 500ml of water fits snugly within a narrow, elongated, trough-like container that has the bottle cap securely hinged inside the top of the container.
When empty, the bottle plus container weighs 104g, when filled with water it weighs 592g. The width of the container is 7cm, the depth 5cms and length, 27cms. Inside the cap is a thin rubber seal, to ensure no water leaks whilst being carried.
On the outside of the container, at the top end is a sturdy, plastic clip, which can be fastened to a belt, to leave the hands free. I have not used that facility, and imagine when full, the whole thing would be too heavy to hang from any belt, comfortably.
When the dog needs a drink, I swing the bottle out of the container, unscrew the bottle from its hinged cap and pour the water into the trough-like receptacle.
It took a while for my dogs to take to drinking from it, perhaps because it was narrow, but eventually they did succeed.
I rarely go on such long walks with them nowadays, so do not find the need to carry this with me anymore, however, I do take it when travelling with them in the car, just in case they feel the need to seek out a pond or muddy puddle at the end of the journey.
Exactly 30-years ago I bought a new dog-bowl, called the ‘Mason Cash Lettered Dog Bowl, ‘which I used to hold drinking water, for my then new puppy. I still have and use that very same bowl which looks as good today as the day it was purchased.
I cannot remember how much I paid for it that many years ago, so for the purpose of his review, checked on line and found that the size I bought costs, today, £3.49 on Amazon, delivered free of charge.
I am not sure what material it is made from, it is certainly not ceramic or even terracotta, but more like stone, the same as those very old fashioned, heavy, stone hot water bottles were once made.
It weighs in at a hefty 871g, which is almost 2lbs; the diameter is 15cm, the inner depth is 5.5cm and height 6cm, the thickness of the bowl is about 0.5cm.
On the outer edge, in relief, is the word ‘dog’. The rim is folded inwards and the whole unit is glazed inside and out.
This is not the only size dog bowl of this design, it comes in three sizes, a 13cm costing £4.57, which is more expensive than the medium size, 15cm bowl, costing £3.48; finally, there is the 18cm bowl which costs £7.29 each with an offer of free delivery.
The bowls are still being sold in most pet shops and probably vary in price, so as always, it is worth shopping around.
Whatever money I paid for it was well spent; the glaze has not cracked or been scratched, even after years of scraping the occasional build up of calcium deposits, caused by the evaporation of water around the rim.
The medium size bowl is perfectly suitable for medium and small dogs, the large bowl, which obviously holds a larger volume of water, would be more suitable for the bigger breed of dog such as Labradors and Alsatians. The smallest bowl would probably suit tiny, young puppies.
Because of its unusually heavy weight, it does not tip over when nudged by a passing foot, or an enthusiastic dog. I use it to hold their drinking water, but it can equally be useful as their food dish. It is easy to clean and unlike many plastic dog dishes, will not become scratched, allowing remnants of food to become stuck and thus difficult to clean.
I do have four different dog bowls, but for me, this one is by far the best
I have been using Olay moisturising creams since my early teens, when after a particularly cold, windy week, my skin felt as if it had been sand blasted and my mother kindly allowed me to use some of her Oil of Olay. This product has hardly changed at all in many years I have been using it, except the bottles are now plastic instead of glass and the cream is now called Olay, having dropped the words ‘Oil of.’
This particular product is called Olay beauty fluid, a nourishing day fluid suitable for normal or dry skins or a combination of the two. It comes in a square, plastic bottle costing around £3.50 for 200ml. The fluid is pink and of a light consistency similar to that of ketchup, in that, it is not runny nor is it thick.
I notice that there are 34 ingredients in this moisturiser; far too many to list here, but assume they are the same as those that were used, decades ago so have passed the test of time.
Olay seem to go for the light, floral fragrances, and this is no exception, it is not an overpowering scent, but simply a pleasant aroma, which lasts for a very short time until the fluid has been absorbed by the skin.
The moisturising fluid does not leave the skin feeling greasy or clog pores, like some face creams can, and I find that it is quickly absorbed into the skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple. A small amount goes a long way. My 200ml bottle of moisturiser, used once daily, will last me several months.
I can thoroughly recommend this moisturiser, it does not claim to be an anti-aging product, but at least it goes a long way in helping to keep the skin supple and feeling young.
I do not have a vast collection of beauty products even though some might say I need them.
I have tried many different products but some do not produce the results they claim, so once I do find a brand that suits, I tend to stick with it no matter what else comes onto the market.
However, there is one brand I have been happily using from my early teens and that is Olay. Their moisturising creams are gentle and are rapidly absorbed into the skin, so when I discovered their new face wash, Olay Essentials refreshing face wash; I had no hesitation in purchasing a tube to try.
They claim it suits all types of skin, normal and dry and a 150ml tube costs £2.99 at Boots. It has more ingredients than you can throw a spanner at, far too many to list here, but contains the soothing extracts of Aloe and extracts of cucumber, which gives that cool refreshing feel as it is massaged into the skin.
In the form of a clear gel, it has a pleasant, fresh floral aroma; 150ml will provide at least 150 refreshing, face washes.
I find that a small blob, enough to cover a one-penny coin, is sufficient to form a lovely scented lather on the face; it feels so refreshing first thing in the morning, especially when rinsed off with splashes of cold water. It leaves the face clean and feeling vibrant and unlike soap and some face washes, it does not leave my skin feeling tight and dehydrated.
Olay’s instructions for use are as follows; “Gently massage onto wet face and neck then thoroughly rinse off with warm water and gently pat dry.”
I tend to skip the warm water bit and use cold, just for that extra zingy feel first thing in the morning then, even though it does not feel necessary, I massage in some Olay moisturiser.