Just over six months ago saw the arrival of my little brother, Dexter, a fox red Labrador puppy – you may have seen him popping up on my Instagram! He arrived and literally turned my life upside down!
At first, I thought hey, this is pretty cool – a little dude to play with, but after 48 hours of him following me around like my actual shadow and sleeping on my head…and I mean SLEEPING ON MY HEAD… I’d had enough! The naughty woofer was getting on my tail!! What were my pawrents thinking getting a puppy! Everyday, I wished that someone was going to pick him up and take him right back to where he came from. But it didn’t happen. Pawsonally, I felt my pawrents were paying far too much attention to this imposter, and the humans that visited were expressing how cute this new little ball of fluff was. It was like my worst nightmare had come true – it used to be me that people fussed over – was I losing my woof-tastic charisma?
After a couple of months, I thought, this isn’t so ruff – he’s actually barking and pretty entertaining too! Some days you’d find him just sitting in a bush and other days he’d be sneaking up the stairs into the ‘dog free zone’. Since then, we’ve got up to all sorts of adventures. I’ve become his partner in crime (implicated by association and not always choice!) The good news is, I’m not even blamed for his mischievious behaviour.
My pawrents just hope that Dexter might learn some obedient behaviour from his extremely well-behaved older brother rather than the little rascal leading me astray! I think they are hoping for too much – but I guess anything is pawsible!
It’s so EXCITING when Simon visits to drop off the groceries. He seems to always remember my carrots – what a ‘Top Dog’ he is. I always have a friendly tail wiggle for him as he pulls into the gravel drive. I obviously BARK first like any good guard dog would (I’ve got a reputation to keep! I’m a 32kg Labrador… I sound FIERCE! Grrrrr……(winky face)).
Anyway, it turns out it’s not only the carrots that are edible for us dogs (I hear you yelping for more!). Here are 10 canine-edible foods that I’ve discovered I can eat from the hooman’s very own supplies:
Oh boy! oh boy! – drool…whine…drool…this stuff is darn T-A-S-T-Y! It’s drooltastic!
Cooked eggs are SO SCRUMMY and nutritious for us dogs. But watch out for raw eggs my four-legged friends as apparently they carry the risk of salmonella which as with humans, makes us dogs sick. According to my daddy this type of food poisoning is NOT COOL!
These are PEDIGREE! I haven’t tasted blackberries or blueberries, but I’ve overheard I can eat these too! #cantwait
I LOVE these juicy treats but for some reason I’m never allowed the core…something about apple seeds containing cyanide which just sounds dangerous, so I’m happy to avoid.
At first, I was a little unsure of the texture on my tongue but once it hits my taste buds I was hooked!
Chomp Chomp! A great low calorie snack but not too much as it may irritate the digestive system!!
BOW WOW…‘TOP DOG’ treat! Hours of licking to be had if it’s placed in our KONG toys – an essential for all dogs. WARNING – peanut butter must be Xylitol free.
Porridge is my FAVOURITE breakfast. Its wooftastic. I’m sure I have some Scottish blood in me somewhere! I like to think of myself as a doggy Braveheart, being a passionate, soppy, loving thing. But I’m a lover not a hater and Yorkshire’s where I call home.
Staple! Chomp … Chomp … Crunch
Obvs! After all I’m a carnivore!! The word CHICKEN sends me NUTS! Crazy like a dog! (chasing my tail) Woof!…Woof!…I’ll do ANYTHING for chicken!
So…what do my fellow canine friends get delivered in their shopping? Are there some tasty dog friendly treats that I haven’t tried yet?
I’m in dog roaming heaven, weaving my way through a magical bridleway, lined by stone dike walls and big rustling trees. We pass an old Yorkshire farmhouse where the path is followed by a parallel stream – I just LOVE a bit of water.
We carry on through a gate into a large plain where I get a sniff of a rabbit, and a whiff of pheasant – its all too STIMULATING for my senses – no dried kibble in sight! I begin to run, tracking my prey, following a scent trailing though the long grass, then SUDDENLY a pheasant takes off in front of me…I LEAP to catch it but my butt is too heavy to fly!!! I go in for the chase but its over before it began, the pheasants taken OFF and it’s out of here!
As I emerge from the grass I see some sheep and they have lambs too – I’m excited!! But I know the drill, lambing season means I’m back on the lead. Attempting my best behavior as I don’t want to scare anyone. I’m a friendly sort. A little bit too friendly for sheep so my pawrents say – I intimidate them with my extremely waggy tail and my passion to bounce a bit like Tigger from Winne the Pooh, and Tigger ‘likes to bounce’. They can’t understand I just want to play.
Past some woods we meet some friendly horses in a field before turning down a track leading onto the main road into Sicklinghall. At the end of the walk there is a charming 17th century watering hole, The Scotts Arms. And yes, dogs can drink here too. I asked my pawrents for a pint but apparently I’m underage!! Off to the dog watering bowl I go.
After catching a few rays in the beer garden and topping up the vitamin D we take the same route back to Kirkby Overblow. With an array of Yorkshire stone-built houses, a village green and a parish church – these picture postcard villages are delight, to wonder through.
Much to my overwhelming delight, there are several small streams on the route and many of them allow for us dogs to get really really muddy!!! I’d recommend saving the mud bath for the way home!
When I was a young lad I suffered terribly from some kind of allergy that manifested itself in different forms.
My first eye infection happened when I was just three months old. You’ll see from my pictures it looked pretty bad. It gave me, and my pawrents a bit of a fright.
The vet suggested it may have been something I came into contact with whilst walking through the summer grassy field. That was a reasonable explanation. That was until my second infection occurred around two months later, and a third when I was six months.
A human antihistamine helped me on these occasions. Be very careful as many over the counter antihistamine brands contain a decongestant which is dangerous for dogs, so always administer upon your vets recommendation.
The evening after my third eye infection I developed what looked like dandruff (dry flaky skin). It soon developed into something quite serious when it became itchy and blistery. I was in so much pain I had to be soothed with coconut oil. My break out began late at night so coconut oil was the only thing my pawrents had that seemed safe and natural to try and ease my discomfort, and thankfully it did. I went straight to the vet the next morning. My skin had began to heal but my pawrents had taken photos of my breakout to show the vet. It turned out I healed pretty well overnight.
Skin allergy – dry skin
Skin allergy – blistering
They started some tests to try to illuminate different factors. At first fleas and mites were ruled out. The vet, like my pawrents, didn’t find any sign of life from using the flea comb and I wasn’t showing signs of scratching. Nevertheless, the whole house was disinfected just in case.
On my check-up visit a different vet noticed my flaky skin and thought it could be a form of mites known as ‘walking dandruff’ the medical term ‘cheyletiellosis or cheyletiella mange’. Unlike other mite conditions this disease results in virtually no itching at all. This is an extremely contagious, non-seasonal skin disease of dogs, cats, rabbits and sometimes people caused by surface-dwelling parasitic mites. Well this caused panic in our household. The vet had prescribed a precautionary flea and mite medicated shampoo treatment. A skin-scraping sample was taken to detect the mites that are not visible to the eye. But my mites tests were negative.
Food allergy – hypoallergenic dog food
This left two further main possibilities; my environment, or my food. Was my house too hot, was I allergic to the washing powder or something else in the house. It turned out my allergy was due to food sensitivity. My pawrents started to look at alternative natural food options moving me only a locally sourced dog food called Millies Woofheart (www.millieswolfheart.co.uk). They produce a bespoke recipe dog food formulated without gluten and grains, and are naturally hypoallergenic. Luckily for me their mixes are extremely tasty – the countryside mix is my favourite. After a few weeks my skin condition cleared up and my coat was looking glossy. Be careful though; the key to changing our food is to do it gradually. My new food was extremely rich and the change needed to be more gradual than the brand suggested, this was probably due to my sensitive tummy. It’s just trial and error at this stage I’m afraid.
I’ve been happier and healthier since changing my food. Thank goodness it wasn’t my environment – I love my family home. And I’m so glad I found this delicious new cuisine too. After all I am a Labrador, so I’m ruled by my belly!
Common allergies in Labrador Retrievers
According to thelabradorsite.com Labradors tend to be more allergic that other dog breeds due to their immune system. Check out more at https://www.thelabradorsite.com/common-allergies-in-labrador-retrievers/
Last Saturday I discovered a new gem of a place to visit in Harrogate. We’d driven passed this unassuming pretty looking café on a few occasions, but never had a reason to visit. It wasn’t on one of our normal walking routes. Well how wrong we were not to have stopped at this watering hole sooner, and how we’ve been missing out.
Dog friendly cafes
So we were invited for a Saturday morning coffee, which turned out to be morning coffee and lunch. Hanging out with hoomans is a hobby of mine – one which I thoroughly enjoy. Sometimes I prefer their company to dogs! I’m also becoming accustomed to hanging out in dog friendly cafés. You know the ones that welcome you with a smile and a ‘hello doggy’.
Doggy treats on a plate
A lot of places have upped their game by putting out a dog bowl and ensuring it has fresh clean water throughout the day. Well the Kitchen has set a new level. I got served my own plate of dog treats ‘here you go sir, I hope you’re allowed these’. Sold – The Kitchen is my new favourite haunt. You just can’t beat that kind of 5 star service. Oh but you can – despite taking up a lot more room than a little doggy, the staff and other guests were just so nice to be and many came over to say hello. Including a little girl who had the most beautiful curly hair and a stuffed cat called Jess. Other doggies came and went, so it seems to be a well-known place for dogs in the know.
Child friendly lunch stop
It’s baby friendly too. My bestie Harry was throwing me some scraps of his lunch, not his gently warmed beans though – that would have been messy!
It appears the coffee and lunch dishes were delicious but I can’t vouch for that – there were no leftovers to try and steal. The bacon did smell delicious. I hear that we’re going back soon to try the homemade cakes and boy did they look paw licking good.
Family run café with quality produce
It’s a wonderfully cute, bright and airy family run business with top quality food. Check out their insta account https://www.instagram.com/thekitchenht for some mouth-watering images of their creations from their small but perfectly formed menu, with interesting on trend dishes to compliment all-day staples such as the bacon sandwich.
Its located on Otley Road between Harlow Carr and Valley Gardens, so plenty of places to work off those gravy bones. We took a stroll to Valley Gardens and then through the woods towards Harlow Carr. Its dog walking heaven there, I get to run around and explore off the lead.
My pawrents went through a really hard time with me when I was biting as a puppy. Out of nowhere, suddenly every time we went for a walk I liked to dig my little teeth into my pawrents legs and not let go! Apparently it hurt like hell!
My parents tried most things: standing still, turning their back and ignoring me. Squealing like a dog, clapping or making a loud noise. I just held on strong and kept tugging away. They tried to hold me away from them but it just felt like more of a game, and I could reach most wrists. Then, they tried placing me at the other side of the wall or gate. Now this worked – I couldn’t get at them but I found a way round this – open spaces like in the middle of a field where there is no getting away from me. I win!! Or so I thought. Actually to tell you the truth I can barely remember these incidents and certainly wouldn’t have wanted to cause any pain. I even caused my own pain, as at one point I cracked a tooth trying to bite off a buckle from a welly boot still attached to my pawrents leg.
I had entered into phase of over stimulation. I’d got myself so over excited that my hyperactivity was resulting in me behaving erratically, running around and chewing or biting things I wouldn’t normally show interest in. It was like I had been possessed and nothing could coach me out of it. During these times we can appear to be aggressive and some people mistake that we are biting because we are fearful. In my case it was just that I was over excited and had become mouthy and nippy. We play bite with other dogs all the time, I just didn’t realise I shouldn’t do this with my fellow hoomans; they don’t like it. And if you bite too hard sometimes they’d cry, especially that one time I pierced their skin.
Toning down the stimuli is the solution but sometimes this is difficult when you don’t know just what exciting things on a walk may cause it, or you’re not familiar with the signs from your dog.
Understandably, my pawrents were at their wits end and didn’t know what to do. They begun to investigate getting professional help and started sharing their challenges with other dog owners. Listening to similar stories from some friends and colleagues they heard about one solution they hadn’t tried that may have potential. Some remedies for one dog won’t necessarily work for another, as we’re all different, so it’s trial and error.
The answer in my case was a can of compressed air. Yes you read correctly – not hot air but compressed air in a tin! When I entered into the phase of overstimulation, my parents were able to refocus my attention and get me out of my fixated state by letting off compressed gas into the air. It made a hissing sound that shocked me. I suddenly woke up returning to the adorable soft puppy that I was, and wondering what the hell had just gone on. But it worked a treat. It kept me, my pawrents, and potentially others safe from any unintentional harm. It took 2-3 weeks for me to outgrow this stage and allowed my pawrents to notice the tell tail signs of the beginnings of my over excitement. This allowed them to stop, sit me down, and stroke me for 5-10 minutes to avoid my hyperactivity before continuing on our walks. Everyone was happy and to think I’m such a friendly softy today. I will only lick you when I’m excited and potentially hit you with my very waggy tail; unintentionally of course. The excited tail can’t be tamed and who’d want to come home to a dog with no friendly, so happy to see you, waggy waggy tail!
Take a walk along Church Lane at Harewood and you’ll find yourself wondering into the grounds of Harewood House, one of Yorkshire’s finest stately homes. Built in the 18th century it’s meant to house an art collection that rivals the finest in Britain. Well, this is what I overheard my pawrents discussing and when they’d next visit. We didn’t venture into the house but we did walk around some of estates 700 acres. It includes 100 acres of gardens. Can you believe it? If only my own garden was a fraction of that size. Check out more on their website www.harewood.org
On our walk around the estate we passed a herd of deer, such beautiful creatures. I was outnumbered significantly so I politely watched them play from afar rather than joining in on a game of tig (aka tag).
We ventured on down the hill through the woods passing lots of other furry and non-furry friends and their siblings. It was very interesting to see other families out and about. Some young ones were learning to ride their bikes.
A word of warning there are some grids. Apparently these are to stop cattle roaming out of the grounds. Be warned that these are not easy to jump. My advise is to listen to your pawrents who recommend to follow them through the gates at the side of the cattle grids that way you don’t get hurt or stuck right in the middle. Although it mostly bruises your pride!
A very scenic walk but it’s not exactly roaming heaven. It’s more of an on the lead walk – see my dog walking guide below. There was a small amount of private traffic on the ground, and lots of families as well as other dogs both on and off leads. Most did not venture far from their masters side. I haven’t learnt that skill just yet!
Ripley is a wonderful historic little village on the outskirts of Harrogate, home to the picturesque Ripley Castle – a 14th century country house. The village of Ripley boasts a famous ice cream store, as well Chantry House Gallery with a reputation for being one of the most interesting and affordable art galleries in North Yorkshire. Unfortunately I didn’t get to visit either, or take a guided tour of the castle but I did visit it’s website to see what I might be missing www.ripleycastle.co.uk
Instead I wondered down Hollybank Lane into the grounds behind the castle. A pathway that leads onto a number of walks taking you to Bedlam, Clint Bank, Hampswaite & Burt Yates.
On route I was very tempted to take a plunge in the Castle pool but it turns out it’s a feature waterfall and not a swimming area for dogs!
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable walk; quite busy at times on the main pathway, other dogs taking out their pawrents and hooman siblings.
It’s well worth a visit. I’d class this as a popular dog walking area – see my dog walking guide below.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve been on this walk and hear which path you took?