PET owners will testify that there is nothing so fulfilling as handing their faithful friend a treat.
It seems that, no matter what time of year it may be and no matter how hard-up, we have the means and the will to lavish gifts upon the animals in our lives. With summer fast approaching, and owners likely to spend more time with their pets outside, what can you buy to help you and your pet really stand out from the crowd? There is a spectacular range of products out there, at all manner of prices, designed to suit whatever animal it is that welcomes you home at night.
The Highland News Group Tried and Tested team take a look at some of the ways you and your pet can make the most of the sunshine.
Horizon dog pattern socks
£7.99 for pack of two. www.horizonsocks.co.uk
EVEN in the summer, welly socks are always needed for horse lovers.
A staple wardrobe accessory, they stop heels from being chaffed to pieces whilst mucking out or alternatively carrying out more general horse duties.
I liked the material and the thickness of the socks; which keep feet warm on chilly mornings, but because of the breathability factor, don’t leave your tootsies sweltering when the temperature is warm either.
There’s also a novelty factor, which I would presume would go down well with dog lovers young or old. Good value for money too.
Purple suede dog collar
Available from www.luxuryhound.com, £50.
THEY sound good enough to eat, and to be quite blunt about it, I think that is what my unruly hound would do with this particular collar.
Scottish-based boutique Luxuryhound specialises in creating beautiful collars and leads for pampered pooches everywhere, and their violet suede and leather custom shaped creation certainly looks the part.
According to the manufacturers it is "decadent" and "simply divine" and made of luscious suede lined with vegetable-tanned leather for a smooth but long-lasting surface.
Certainly, I could not fault the workmanship or the quality of materials used, but for a working Springer Spaniel more used to bogs than beauty parlours, I would say its a no, no.
Oh, and there is the £50 price tag – and if you want a matching lead as well, add a further £45.
I think I’ll just stick to a good bit of rope!
Union Jack squeaky bone toy
£16 from www.thestylishdogcompany.com
JACK Russell Maggie has proved herself capable in her two years’ experience of destroying new toys in a matter of hours. Whether stuffed or not, they offer little resistance to her tough jaws.
So I have to admit to not having high hopes for this luxury bone toy, which looked lovely and felt...expensive.
And I was proved right. Both ends of the bone were penetrated in under four hours.
The tightly-packed fluff spilt out onto the floor, and, although she is no stranger to toy fluff, I had to take it away from her.
However, the look on her face when I presented her with the toy earlier on and the fact she wouldn’t let me anywhere near it for hours suggests an admiration for it. Big, blue, squeaky and hers, it was a hit.
I should reveal she is deeply intelligent, and is now probably trying to get to the fluff in these toys just to prove she can, so less inspired, more boring dogs will probably take less time to kill it, but I had really hoped the inflated price would be matched by a resolute lining.
It wasn’t to be, and the hunt for a toy up to the challenge continues.
Make an Entrance doormat
HERE is something you can share with your pet all year round, if they can be trained to use it. It is a hard wearing doormat, available with ink silhouettes of your breed of dog, cat, horse or even chicken.
The first thing you notice is how thick and durable the mat feels. Sometimes, doormats can appear flimsy, and not at all suited to the task, but here is 20mm of woven coconut, with a hard pile, a mix that feels like
it will easily stand the test of time.
Coming home after a wet or muddy walk can wreak havoc on carpets, particularly if muddy paws, hooves or trotters (I know a man who kept a sheep as if it were a cat) are allowed any further than the front door. However, the mat absorbs water and mud as soon as it touches the surface, like a hard sponge, to reduce the risk of ruined kitchen tiles.
The price seems reasonable and, after a few days it should stop casting without being combed, which is more than you can say of a puppy. The different designs are a welcome gimmick, and the terrier example we tried is perfect if you want a pooch on your porch at all times.
You can purchase the mat online at www.makeanentrance.com
Reversible waxed dog raincoat
£47 from www.thestylishdogcompany.com
SPENDING nearly £50 on clothes for your dog may induce nausea, but at least you can rest assured when you see this product that it is worth it, in the sense that it will seemingly last forever. Think of it more as an investment in your dog’s future, and your heart rate may cool.
Because the coat is reversible, it seems fair to say you can get twice as much use out of it. Certainly, it is a lovely looking coat, but when you approach the dog, the trouble begins.
Simply put, if your dog won’t wear a £3 coat, it won’t wear one worth £50. They won’t know the difference, and couldn’t care less if it is waxed and reversible. However, if you can force the dog into it, which the HNG would not recommend, it really helps to protect them from the rain, and, vitally, doesn’t collect dirt.