Tails Blog

Care for your pets while your away

Steve Coppell - Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pets are an ongoing responsibility so when we do need to go away for any period of time and can't take our pets with us, we need to know there are options available to allow this.

Kennels and Catteries
This is commonly the first option looked at with pet owners. You must be prepared to book early for this service especially over the big holiday periods such as Christmas, Easter and school holidays. So this isn't the best option when the break is last minute, unless it's off peak. A lot of pets do well with this option if they get used to it early, the more timid pets can be taken for a night earlier to get used to it, so you and they know it can be a good option.

Neighbours friends and family
Depending on how well you know your neighbours, this can be a good option especially if they also have animals. This also gives you added security for your home as they can clear your mailbox and check on your house, even closing curtains and turning on and off lights so to make the house appear to be occupied and not a target for burglars. Your pets might be familiar with the people doing the caring while you are away and that can be reassuring to them. 

House Sitters
This is another house based option which means there is someone living in your house while you are away taking care of your house and pet, mail, plants etc.


Pet Feeding Services
Feeding services are becoming more popular because we don't always know our neighbours well enough to ask them to feed our pets. Some people don't want to impose on neighbours. So a paid option is preferred. Services often include having your mail collected and plants watered and all the needs of your pet can be asked for and met. Pets generally feel happier in their home environment and their daily routines don't need to change too much.


Steve Coppell - Monday, October 07, 2013

Because it's spring let's talk about allergies

Allergies occur when a persons immune symptom reacts to substances that are normally harmless.



Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, sore, red or itchy eyes, itchy skin to name a few.

Allergic reactions to pet hair

People often associate an allergic reaction to pets and more especially to pet hair, when in fact this unpleasant reaction is usually caused by pet dander, which is flakes of dry dead skin released with the hair.

Low allergenic dog breeds 

People who suffer from allergies can still have dogs for pets. There are a number of breeds that are naturally low allergenic. These include Shih tzu, Bichon frise, Schnauzer, poodle to name a few.

Dogs that suffer with allergies

Dogs can suffer with allergies too. They can react to plants and weeds that grow in their yard, foods they shouldn't eat, or flea bites.

Allergic reactions often show up as red raw itchy skin. Left untreated this condition can lead to on going skin conditions that may include bare skin, sores and infection. A quick trip to the vet is often required. 

Dust mite

This is what a dust mite looks like up close. Dust mites and pet dander are the leading cause of allergenic reactions in pet owners. 

Grooming your dog

Steve Coppell - Sunday, September 29, 2013



How often should I groom my dog?

Its a good idea to groom your dog regularly, depending on the type of coat your breed has.  High maintenance breeds need a professional groom every 6 to 8 weeks, as opposed to low maintenance breeds that may only need grooming twice yearly.

Why do I need to groom my dog?
Dogs generally go through a seasonal coat change twice a year. A groom helps to clear the old coat to allow the new season coat to come through. 
Grooming helps to decrease the shedding, this means less mess in your house.
Your groomer should get your dogs coat to look, feel and smell great, but while they groom they also get a good look at your dogs skin, ears and eyes and can identify any issues relating skin complaints etc.
Dogs often enjoy the grooming process and they certainly appreciate the feel of a clean groomed coat.

Care of my dogs nails

Groomers also take care of trimming your dogs nails.
Walking your dog regularly on hard surfaces like concrete paths will help to keep your dogs nails trim. Often though smaller breeds don't maintain a good nail length on their own this way, or they may have dew claws that don't make contact with a path surface. This could lead to sore feet and other on going issues.
Often your dog will be more excepting of the process of a nail trim from a groomer than they will be for their owners.

What if I want to groom my dog at home?
Tails has a great range of products if you decide you'd  prefer to groom your dog at home. Just click below to find out more

Great range of products for grooming your dog at home.

We offer grooming services here in Lower Hutt!!

Are you in the Wellington region? Perhaps you would like to make an appointment for your dogs groom or just want some advice. We would love to hear from you!

Contact Emma at home 04 5653133 or on her cell phone at 0277238726
Or e mail emma@tails.co.nz

Find a solution for your dogs anxiety

Steve Coppell - Friday, August 03, 2012

Many dogs suffer daily with anxiety. Fear of thunder, separation anxiety, car or travel anxiety. Dogs react to stress and change just like we do, the list goes on. 

How do I know if my dog is suffering with anxiety?
Your dog can't tell you why they are anxious, but you can be sure they will express stress and anxiety in their day to day behaviour. So your looking at your dogs body language and behaviour. 

For example the body language of fear might include:

*The tail tucked under their bottom
*Ears back flat against the head
*Head lowered with cowering type behaviour
*Frequent licking of lips
*Nervous behaviour and frequent yawning
*Body shivering 

Examples of separation anxiety might include:

*Excessive drooling
*Barking, howling
*Chewing of furniture and property
*A generally depressed or withdrawn nature

What can be done to help alleviate my dogs stress and discomfort?

One method of soothing and calming anxiety in dogs is the use of pressure or anxiety wraps. Wrapping is similar to swaddling an infant and uses a technique called maintained pressure. The wrap provides constant, gentle pressure to your dogs torso and chest. This has been found to work as an effective alternative to anti depressant drug therapy.    

Tails is please to offer the Thundershirt as an effective, drug free, alternative treatment for anxiety in dogs. They are available in sizes to suit your dog.

Click here to learn more about the thundershirt

Bees and bee keeping

Steve Coppell - Friday, July 06, 2012

Bees probably evolved at the same time as flowering plants. This means that there have been bees for at least 135 million years.

Bees that we see working among the summer flowers are collecting nectar and pollen.The bee will land on a flower and push it's long tube shaped jaws down inside it. Then the bee extracts sweet nectar using its proboscis or tongue. The nectar is carried in a honey sac inside the bees body.

Bees collect pollen almost without trying. While it is extracting nectar, grains of pollen from the anther of the flower stick to its furry body and legs. The bee will comb the pollen off its body and press it into pollen baskets on its legs.

As the bee moves from one flower to the next, any grains of pollen still clinging to its body rub off on to the stigma of the new flower and pollination occurs.The bee will visit hundreds of flowers to fill its honey sac and the contents of sixty honey sac's produce only a thimbleful of honey.

When the bee gets back to the hive with its load of pollen and nectar, it is met by a hive worker bee. The forager bee regurgitates the nectar and the worker bee swallows it. Digestive enzymes inside the worker bee's stomach change the nectar into watery honey. The bee then regurgitates tiny drops of this watery honey on to the tip of its tongue. The warmth of the hive will evaporates it. The end result is honey which we all know and love.

The modern hive has several layers. Frames are provided for the bee's to make combs in. Often the frames in the top section are where h
oney is harvested from. The bottom section is the brood chamber, where combs are made for the hives eggs, that later become larve. The queen lives in this chamber. A grid above the brood chamber prevents the queen from entering and laying her eggs in the top chamber. 

Thanks to www.tokresourse for the above picture.

Harvest time

Harvest usually happens at the end of summer when the honey combs are at their fullest. The bee's use stored honey during the winter months for food when there are no flowers to collect nectar from. Centrifugal force is required to easily extract the honey from the combs.

So it's not hard to appreciate all the effort that goes into producing one of our favourite foods. Harvesting honey is an ancient pastime. Evidence of organised bee keeping exists on rocks paintings of mesolithic cave dwellers. Our connection with the humble bee is understated. The honey we spread on our toast in the morning is just the beginning.


Teach your parrot to talk

Steve Coppell - Saturday, June 16, 2012

For many parrot lovers, teaching their pet to speak is more than a novelty its an obsession. If your keen, and you have the time and patience, you can teach many parrot breeds to mimic your favourite sound, word or verse. 

Just be careful what you teach them.

Getting started
Be patient!! Be very patient

Let the bird sit on your hand in a quiet room.

While looking into the eyes of your parrot repeat it's name over and over again in a slow clear voice.

If the bird tries to say it's name, reward it with it's favourite treat and use praise.

You will need to be prepared to teach your parrot at least twice a day for 5 to 10 minutes every day. Some people believe birds learn groups of words faster than single words. Patience and repetition are real keys to success. Don't be surprised if it takes 6 months for your pet to say a single word. 

Water and an aquarium set up

Steve Coppell - Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It really does't matter how big your fish tank is or what you plan to keep, the condition of the water in your fish tank is often the difference between success and failure.

Why can't I add fish to my fresh clean water?

When you set up an aquarium for the first time, it's important that you age the water you intend to use in the tank before adding fish. Failure to do so will almost certainly end badly for your fish. 

What does it mean to age the water?

You will need to allow at least a week ( but it may take 10 to 14 days) between filling the tank and adding fish, during which time the filter system will develop a population of bacteria necessary for biological filtration. At some stage during this period a very high nitrite level will occur; when nitrates return to zero after this peak it will be safe to introduce fish.

So these bacteria are actually good for my fish?!

Yes, your tank water becomes polluted from fish waste, decomposing left over food and plant material. Ammonia is a by product of this process. The good bacteria convert the ammonia in tank water, to nitrites and then into less toxic nitrates. Nitrates are consumed by any plants in your tank and the water is made safe for your fish.

Can I speed up the process?

You can buy additives which speed the maturation process, but always monitor the nitrite levels with a test kit rather than relying on time estimates on the container. An alternative solution is to obtain a couple of handfuls of substrate from a mature disease free tank, which can be sprinkled on to your substrate to act as a bacterial starter culture. Likewise an active filter can be transferred to a new tank. 

Test the waters

It's a really good idea to regularly test the ammonia levels of your tank water. This doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming. Click on the device above to learn more about an easy to read stick on ammonia monitor.

Building a pond

Steve Coppell - Saturday, April 21, 2012
Ponds add a real sense of tranquillity to your home environment. They also offer an opportunity to raise fish, turtles and other water loving creatures in a setting completely orchestrated by you.  

It might be something simple. A feature that adds value to your garden setting.

Or something really special, that lifts you each time you visit. 
What ever you have in mind for your pond, here are a few key points to consider before you get started.

Spend some time deciding where best your pond will feature. Mark the area out using your garden hose. Consider how close it is to trees that might drop leaves into it, and where it sits in relation to the days sun. 

When you know where your pond will feature, you can better determine what kind of pond you want. Will it be dug into the ground or raised? Will it be modern or more natural? If you want a raised pond, will you use manufactured materials such as concrete or ceramic tile; Or would you prefer natural stone and earth to hold your waterproof liner? 

Are you planning to have fish in your pond? 
If so, you need to consider how you will add oxygen to your watery habitat. 
You might add a waterfall, fountain, stream, or pump powered aerator to increase the movement of the water, thus adding oxygen to the water. 

Sometimes it's a good idea to call on some help from your friends before you start the dig. Notice the pond in this shot has been dug to achieve a variety of depths. This has been done so that the fish can swim in the warmer shallows and because you can vary the plants you grow in the pond. Some grow well in the shallows and others are more suited in deeper water. 

Once the hole has been dug a layer of sand will cushion the waterproof liner and offer it some protection from stones and gravel.

Next comes the waterproof lining.

Build up the sides with rocks and stones.

Add the pump and any other electrical equipment your pond requires, using rocks and stones to hide the hoses and chords.

Fill the pond with water and leave the pumps and fountains running for at least two weeks before you consider adding any fish. Like an aquarium the water needs to condition before the fish are added.

Plant your new environment as you see fit. But seek advise about suitability when buying plants for your pond. Remember as well your fish will use them both as cover and for food. 

Let us know if we can help

Tails can help you with many products associated with keeping a pond and the creatures inside it.  If your looking for a product and you don't see it listed here on tails website, please don't hesitate to ask. We will gladly make enquiries on your behalf and help where we can.

How to care for my rabbit

Steve Coppell - Friday, March 16, 2012


Before you bring your rabbit home, you will need to get some basic supplies, such as a hutch where they nest, an enclosure where they can exercise, a carry box for transportation, bedding, food and water bottle. These are important basic requirements.

 Rabbit Hutch with enclosure

Clipper Caymen Pet Carrier


Hay for bedding and food





Bring your new rabbit home

When you bring your new rabbit home for the first time they will likely be a bit nervous, but they will settle in time, so be patient. Put the time in, earn their trust. You might try lying on the floor in a rabbit safe room. Your rabbit will find you less of a threat if you sit or lie down next to him.

Your rabbit can be taught to use a litter tray and to come when you call. If you put the time in you might be surprised what can be achieved. Use treats as encouragement. 

Rabbit food
Rabbits are grazers, so they eat little, but they eat often. You should try to vary your rabbits diet occasionally to keep it interesting. So offer them a bit of variety in their fresh veg.  

What should I feed my rabbit?
Always offer fresh clean hay and grasses, this should make up the bulk of what they eat. Make sure their water bottle is full and that it works. Give your rabbit a bowl of pellets in the morning. In the early evening - before it gets dark offer them fresh vegetables.


Keep your rabbit and it's hutch clean! It might be a chore, but keeping your rabbit's hutch clean and your rabbit groomed is important for it's health and happiness. The time you spend grooming your pet will enhance the bond you share with your rabbit.



Optional extras
If you need anything for your pet rabbit don't hesitate to check us out here at Tails!











Everything you need to know about ...

Steve Coppell - Friday, February 24, 2012

Keeping Horses

Keeping Chickens

Keeping Kunekune Pigs

Keeping Fresh Water Crayfish

Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

Keeping an Axolotl

Treating worms in dogs