5 Tips For Keeping Your Dogs Safe In The Cold Weather!

It is snowing!!! I do not think we have ever seen snow like this before in Somerset, we never get snow, unless it has been a quick passing flurry.  It has been great seeing everyone running around outside, throwing snowballs and having fun. Who hasn’t had a snowball fight this week? 

But as much fun it is for us humans, for our pets, it might not always be as enjoyable.

Photo: Pixabay

The Tips:

Dogs love walks, and some love them in the snow, it has taken us 3 days to get our dog used to the snow just so she would go to the toilet, but now she doesn’t want to come back in when she goes outside. Although she now loves it, we have to take some care when out and about so she stays safe. Below are some tips to keep your pups safe:

1. Look out for grit, rock salt and anti-freeze.

Look out for coloured substances on the pathways/snow, as this will often by anti-freeze, which is toxic to dogs, so be extra cautious when walking your dog, and that they do not eat any they find. Anti-freeze is said to be sweet tasting but can have devastating effects on your dog’s brain, liver and kidneys.

Watch out for rock salt and grit as well as it can upset the dog’s stomachs, but can also rub on their soft foot pads causing irritation and cuts.

2.  Watch their body temperatures.

Not all dogs can stand the cold, or keep their body temperature. Different breeds have varying thresholds. Watch your dog while out in the snow/cold, and maybe even invest in a nice coat to keep them warm if you do take them out.  However, the coats will not prevent frostbite in other areas such as the ears and the feet, so limit the time your dog spends outside.

3. Watch the snowballs.

Photo: Pixabay

Snow can often turn into ice balls and stick to their coat and feet, which can be cold and painful. There are an arrange of ways to help get the balls off as they are often solid ice. Melting them with a hairdryer is one way, although be careful that the heat doesn’t burn them. Another way it washing the ice off with warm water and then blowing them with a hair dryer until dry, so they do not catch anything in the cold weather. Watch the video by Herky the Cavalier to see how it is done.


4.  Take care of their skin. 

Some dogs have sensitive skin, and just like us the weather can make it worst, make sure you have the correct lotion or supplement, to help ease itching and flaky skin. Try to avoid washing them to many times during cold periods as essential oils in their coats could be lost, along with making their sensitive skin worst.

(Make sure you consult your vet before trying anything new with your pet, as not all products will benefit your dog.)

5. Don’t leave them outside! 

I can not stress this enough. If it is too cold for you outside, then it is 100% to cold for your dog. Don’t leave them outside. Bring them in and give them a warm and comfy place to sleep off the floor, maybe on a blanket, dog pillow or bed.  Leaving your animals in the cold, can cause health issues, or they could get injured, lost or stolen if not supervised.

The cold weather can be enjoyable, but it isn’t all fun and games, our dogs can’t tell us what they are feeling so it is our duty as owners and their family to take care of them.

Hope you all have a fun, safe winter with your pups!

Photo: Pixabay

(If you have any questions or queries about how to keep your pet safe, make sure you contact your vet, as they will give you the best advice.) 

Mysteries Of The Dhole

Image: Neil McIntosh. Found: Flickr

It is no secret that my favourite animals are dogs especially their cousins the wolf.  Their loyalty and love have no bounds, whether it be with humans on within a pack.

But, what I love about dogs is that they are not just our best buds, which we share our homes with, but they are part of a larger group of canines that cover many different species. All of which I have fallen in love with, from the African Wild Dog to the Racoon Dog. But one of my favourite is one of the least known about; The Dhole.

The Dhole

Originating from East Asia, the Asian Wild Dog otherwise known as the dhole is one of the most mysterious breed of canine within the wild. Over the centuries the dhole has faced scrutiny and prejudice, much like their close relatives. However, as environmentalist and scientists begin to learn more about them, their social structures and their behaviours, the myths start to shatter, and the truth comes to light.


Little is written about the dhole, or Cuon Alpinus, as there have only ever been a few sightings that have been recorded. But when they have been spotted, it has been documented that the average size of the dhole is 90cm in length while having a shoulder height of around 50 cm, resembling the size of a typical border collie dog. Their bodies, other than the underside and chest are covered with rustic fur, which blends into the forest surroundings making it even more difficult to spot. With markings so unique to this canine, it is difficult to separate them from the 3 subspecies, which are all similar in size and appearance.

Photo: Ozzy Delaney. Found: Flickr

When the wild dogs have been spotted, it has been noted that they are very sociable animals living in small packs of 6 to 10, while some packs can reach up to the size of 40 or even more, however, this depends on what food is available. Unlike their relatives the wolves, these canine packs will let the young cubs eat first from a kill and not leave them to last. Dholes are also different to other canines due to their unusual communication skills, as they converse via high pitch yelps, like a bird’s whistle.


The species can thrive in many different environments, from forests, savannahs to jungles; to any habitat that the dholes can hunt food in. But the more frequent sightings have been in Asia. The variety of hunting grounds provide these dogs with different prey. They can scavenge berries and grubs while also hunting rabbits, lizards and animals considerably larger than themselves, such as deer, wild goats, sheep, gaur (the Indian bison) and banteng (the wild cattle that roams within Asia).

Image: Neil McIntosh. Found: Flickr

Hunting is a time when the family unit is at their strongest. Sometimes the hunt will include most of the family when tackling large prey, but if the prey is smaller, they will often hunt in twos or go alone.

Techniques used in pursuit of the prey have shown the pack opts for splitting into groups while chasing their target. One group will pursue the animal, while the next group will head the animal off by running a different route.

Unlike many wild canines, the dhole does not grab the throat and then strangle the animal to death, but are said to run with the animal, biting and ripping flesh, until the prey can no longer stand causing it to fall and then be devoured alive by the pack.

Being the small size they are, it would be understandable to believe that the dhole has a lot of natural enemies, but it is, in fact, the opposite. Reports have stated that packs have killed tigers, possibly for food. However much research is still needed to determine whether this statement is more myth than reality.

Photo: Jonas Löwgren. Found: Flickr


Although they are known for living in the forest of China and Indian, the dhole is also native to many other countries; Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and more. Unfortunately, as these countries become more popularised by humans, much of the dogs’ original homeland is lost, causing them to expand their territory, leading to conflict with civilisation.

As the destruction of their native home continues, they begin to lose their pray and hunt what is available, usually livestock. This provokes humans to poison the leftover carcasses, or leave traps in hope to kill the dogs and project their cattle.

Other threats contributing to the loss of the species are domestic dogs living among the towns, cities and forest. The feral dogs bring diseases such as rabies and mange that the dhole has no natural immunity to, sometimes resulting in the decimation of an entire pack. These threats continue to kill many individuals placing them as endangered as released by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) in 2015.

Although conservationists are working hard to save the dhole from extinction, the public can also work towards making a positive change for the species. One way to make a difference is by buying sustainable palm oil products, along with providing awareness about the dhole and the life it lives. Although these are small acts, it could be the beginning of saving one of Asia’s last carnivores.


Images uses are creative commons on Flickr

The Sassy Animal – Releasing Myself

The Sassy Animal – Releasing Myself

Where Have I Been???

Well, the short answer is not very well.  I have two different conditions, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, and after a view terrible incidents I had a flare up and dip in fatigue levels, which made it difficult to do anything for a few weeks.

This post is not something I would typically write because this is an animal blog, but I can not deny that I have to live with this condition every day. I struggle to accept it myself because I feel like I have let myself down, by not being able to live up to my potential or feeling like I don’t have it as bad as some other long-term conditions, so shouldn’t be feeling upset.  I need to acknowledge the fact that the doctor’s diagnosis is right and this is happening to me. Not just so I can accept it, (because I struggle to do so) but so that I can also set up a support network for others with long-term conditions.  To do this, I have added a new section,  which will feature the content specific to those conditions.



Many people are unsure of what  Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia are, and can often say inappropriate things because they believe that it is a ‘lazy condition’. So below is a quick overview of what both of the conditions are and what they intel for those that do suffer from them.

Chronic Fatigue:

Chronic Fatigue is a long-term illness, that can affect people all there life. It is more than just being tired after a busy day, it is being so tired that you are unable to move when you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet. There have been times when I couldn’t make my own food, clean or even leave my bed. There is more to CFS than just being fatigued continuously, such as flu-like symptoms, along with headaches, muscle and joint pain, dizzy and sickness and much more, all of which suck!


Fibromyalgia is similar to Chronic Fatigue, with a lot of the symptoms being the same. Although this condition also gives you fatigue, you also have chronic pain in all the joints and muscles, while also having extreme sensitivity to pain. Another symptom is fibro-fog which causes memory and concentration issues, which I can say,  sometimes makes stringing a sentence together hard. Fibromyalgia is a relatively new illness that has been officially recognised as a condition. For more information head over to the NHS, page to find out more.

A New Begining 

So I have both of the above, which can make work and life hard. I know others with the condition are also struggling day to day, but I do not want to let my circumstances defined me or my future. I am one of the lucky ones that have been told I could eventually recover and I hope this is the case, but until then I have to learn to work and live with my illness, which currently I am struggling to do.  It has been around 5 years since getting symptoms, and only now I am learning to accept it as part of me.

I know this is not the norm for The Sassy Animal, but it is important to me as a writer, that I write about this. I hope you as readers understand. Please feel free to comment below or message me if you want to know more, or just have some tips to help out the Spoonie community.

Thank You.

Does your dog have a bucket list?

Skydiving, running a marathon and a road trip around Europe are often on the top of many personal bucket lists. I know I have them, but have you ever thought what your dog would have on their bucket list?

After gaining inspiration from the Dodo’s video, with the pawsome Kaylee and her family fulfilling her dying wishes, I wanted to create one for my dog.

You have all meet Pepsi. She is a 15-year-old Jack Russell, and I am not planning on her going anywhere soon, but I want her life to be full of great moments and memories.



So below is what I believe my girl would have on her list, based on whether I think she would enjoy them.

1. A night in a doggy hotel.

2. A trip to Montacute house.

3.Traveling on the train/bus to Nan’s house. (She loves both her Nans)


4.  Shopping spree in pets at home. – She has never gone into a shop where the whole trip is dedicated to her.

5. Go to a dog show.

6. Personal Christmas cards.

7. Matching PJs (Is this on my bucket list or hers?)

8. Watch the Puppy Bowl.

9. Watch Marly and Me.

10. Win a dog show. Clearly cutest dog! (I am not biased)

11. Have homemade dog-friendly biscuits.

12. Have a doggy ice lolly.

Image: Pixababy


13.   Dog art, with dog-friendly paint.

14. Try a doggy beer.

There may only be 14 on this list so far, but I am sure more will be added and join the ones she has already done previously.

Completed on Pepsi bucket list.

  • Go trick or treating.
  • Sit in a lorry.
  • Ride in a lorry.
  • Going to the beach.
  • Have a sleepover with a doggy friend.
  • Go caravaning.
  • Making a new doggy friend.
  • Professional photoshoot.


What do you think of Pepsi’s ever growing bucket list? I’m I missing anything pawsome you think she would enjoy? Do your dogs have a bucket list or any similar plans to Pepsi? Let me know in the comments!

What shouldn’t your dog eat this Christmas?

Christmas is tomorrow!!! Who is excited? This girl is!!

However, with the great food on offer, (Does everyone have a selection of food they’re not allowed to touch yet?)  it can be easy to sneakily give your pets some of the treats, yet did you know that a lot of the food we eat can cause awful consequences to our dogs. Below is a list of food not to give your dog this year!


Picture: Pixabay

Chocolate contains a substance called methylxanthines, which, when consumed, can cause diarrhoea, panting, vomiting, and in more extreme circumstances seizures and death. It has been documented that the effects can be different for each breed, and size of the dog, yet, if your dog does eat chocolate contact your vet for advice as soon as possible.

But there are dog alternatives, such as dog safe chocolate which you can purchase from many pet shops. They do not contain caffeine, theobromine, phenylethylamine, or formamide, which is why human chocolate is toxic to dogs.


Alcohol can cause your dog a lot of issues, similar to those, that they could experience when having chocolate. If your dog has gotten alcohol, seek a vets attention ASAP.

But there are dog-friendly brews! Check out the Barkpost’s article for some of the best doggy brews.


In short, it has been discovered that bones could kill your dog. They can splitter off, into small or larger parts, causing digestive damage, blockages and choking. Cooked bones have been recognised to be even worse for breaking then non-cooked, but both could be equally dangerous.

If you thought buying bones from shops for your dog would be safe this Christmas, think again! The FDA released a warning in November that the bone treats you can buy (also made from real bone) are also causing severe health issues for your dog.

Some of the more serious problems have resulted in dog fatalities. So please do not give your dog a bone from your Christmas dinner, or just stay away from real bones altogether.

Milk Or Anything Dairy 

Like a growing amount of people, dogs can also not digest lactose well, and like us can cause tummy troubles and vomiting.


Do not feed your dogs nuts.
Picture: Pixabay

Nuts and similar foods like almonds and walnuts contain high levels of fat and oils. Which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, but can also cause pancreatitis in your dog.


Xylitol is in a lot of different foods, including candy and baked goods. The intake of Xylitol could lead to liver failure, as it could cause insulin release, which in turn could lead to hypoglycaemia.

Signs include vomiting, lack of energy, and loss of coordination, which could progress into a seizure.  For more information on dog seizures head to WebMD or contact your local vet immediately if you suspect your dog is having a seizure.


Please be wary of what your dog is eating and have a tremendous and issue free Christmas.

Disclaimer –  I am not a vet, or medical professional, if there are any foods you are unsure of please talk to a veterinarian professional before giving it to your dog. It is not worth losing your cherished pet because you were unsure. 

My First Step Into Veganism!


As mentioned in my first blog post, I have wanted to become vegetarian for a while, yet I had no idea how to even start, so Saturday I went to my first vegan festival.

Luckily, I am not alone in my mission to become vegetarian, my mum also wants to change her diet and become cruelty-free, so together with open minds, we went to Taunton, parked up and went to the festival.

We received free goodie bags for being one of the first 50 people to walk through the door. We were the first in the queue, if that doesn’t show our dedication to wanting to change, I don’t know what will! The goodie bags had been put together by the vendors in the hall, giving free samples of vegan products and merchandise.

Cruelty-Free Products and Food

So much food! And it all tasted good!

I tried seaweed hummus from the company ebbtides, not something I would even guess could be food, but tasted uniquely nice. Spicy yet earthy. I had never had hummus before, so it was interesting to eat it for the first time, especially as it was made of seaweed.  Seaweed can actually be used in a lot of different recipes, and one I found from the company website is perfect for this time of the year; hot Mulled Wine. One I will be trying with the seaweed shaker we brought.

I was always told to take pictures of the food you are going to write about, but the cake from Secret Gardens Cakes didn’t quite make it. I was eating it before I had left the stall. Being allergic to dairy has often meant cakes, don’t taste like cake, but I can not even explain how moist and sweet their cakes were, all you need to know is it didn’t last too long because I ate it!

17035390_1850200735022231_2123863301_nI did manage to take a picture of my vegan pizza, by Those Vegan Pizza Guys, before I ate it, (I love food if you haven’t guessed!).  It was very different to my usual pizza, yet surprisingly, I preferred the taste of all the vegetables covered in melted vegan cheese, you didn’t miss the meat with the range of flavours.

I didn’t just spend all my money on food, one of the stalls the New Haven Project ( a not-for-profit company selling homemade cosmetics to fund their rescue sanctuary) had a range of eco products, such as soap, lip balms, candles and moisturisers, all of which had been made cruelty free, vegan and ethically sourced, so no palm oil.


I spoke to many animal charities throughout the festival, as I am passionate about non-profits and how I can help improve their awareness. I was absolutely horrified to find out that universities in the UK are testing on animals! The charity Animal Justice Project was giving out free literature and promoting their new initiative ‘Campus without Cruelty’. A campaign to stop animals being tested in laboratories on university campuses. For more information and how you can help make a difference head over to their page.

Another charity I spoke to was Animal Equality, who were also advertising their work and how we could make a difference just by using plant-based foods. They had a VR system in place to show people the farming industry, however, I couldn’t bear to watch it, I was getting upset over the images in the leaflets, I couldn’t have stomached the video.

Both charities are doing fantastic work to stop the suffering of animals and I applause them in doing so.


Having seen that many different products can be made vegan, has got me looking at products I use everyday. I do not use make up that is tested on animals, and haven’t for a long time, but having checked out other products in my life, a lot of them aren’t ethical or from sustainable sources. It is shocking that people are voicing the concerns of animal welfare and how we need to save our environment, yet many companies are yet to hear the warning. I guess this is why a lot of the people I met at the festival are trying their best to make the world a better place.

I may be just a meat reducer for now, but my passion is being fuelled to make a difference to the animals and the world, one step at a time.


Instagram is fighting against animal abuse!

Instagram is fighting against animal abuse!

It is nothing new that selfies are taking over our social media feeds. From birthday celebrations to eating cake, anything can and will be selfied, including wild animals.

However, many people are unaware of the horrors that go into getting that perfect animal selfie! Many animals are abused in order to cooperate with visitors and their selfie needs.

It is no secret that tigers have been drugged within parts of Thailand for a selfie. However, they are not the only animals to have been subjected to this around the world. Sloths, lions and other ‘cute’ creatures are often taken from their homes,  illegally trafficked, and put up for photos.

If that wasn’t bad enough, there have also been cases of tourists pulling wild animals from their habitat, leading to the animals death. For example, the poor baby dolphin that died in Argentina, having been dragged from the sea and passed around for photos.

But Instagram has made a dent in stopping these abusive selfies! Having gone live at the beginning of December, Instagram has created triggers for hashtags surrounding certain wildlife selfies, such as ‘Sloth Selfie’ or ‘Koala Selfie’ alerting people about the behind the scenes horror of the animal selfie!

Below you can see what pops up when searching for any tags related to animals selfies.


It is important to mention not all people are aware of the behind the scene abuse that takes place. It is impressive and inspiring that Instagram has found a way to create more awareness on the issue, whilst also educating people and participating in the crackdown on animal abuse.

Well done Instagram.

For more information on Instagrams new feature head over to their page.