In the early oughts (00’s) Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie made pet fashion a big deal when their pets became a regular on the hit reality show, The Simple Life. Fashionable carry bags/purses/backpacks – you name it – became an accessory paired with a miniature breed of some sort. Not only were pets being tagged along everywhere, but the pups were dressed for success too. From cold-weather jackets and booties to stylish leash and collar sets, pet owners can find a wide variety of luxury pet fashion.
Fashion designers like Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Armani have all created haute couture lines for pets, and it seems dogs are the preferred pet to play dress-up with. Pet clothing is now more popular than ever and you can thank the pandemic for that.
As much as people want to spend money on their homes, they also feel more inclined to invest in some stylin’ outfits for their pets. With more people working from home, pet owners have also spent more time with their pets, rekindling and bonding with man’s best friend.
Some people are going so far as to give their pets their own Instagram accounts. Some being really popular. Check out Boobie Billie, It’s Juniper the Fox, Jiff the Pomeranian or Guinness World record-holding Nala the cat. Other fashion famous pets include the late Karl Lagerfeld’s Choupette, and Jason Wu’s Jinxy and Peaches.
High fashion is a big deal in pet fashion. It is an emerging market and owners are willing to invest thousands in their pet’s wardrobe. Dressing your pet is essentially an extension of your personality. There is even a pet Fashion Week annually in New York City to celebrate the clothing made for animals.
Cecilia Rodriguez writes “Woolen coats, hooded jackets, striped t-shirts, cashmere polos all in exclusive designs and made-to-order for each pooch according to size and breed, and to match the owner’s elegance and style are among the offers of the new Italian sartorial experience for human and dogs by Temellini Dog A Porter“. This fashion house works from dog-shaped mannequins to create various sizes for different breeds. Clothing for your pet can start in the 100s of Rands with a Versace raincoat for your furry friend coming in at around R5850.
Keep Em’ Warm
Designer clothing aside, clothing your pet is a good idea if it gets cold. Whippets, for example, hate the cold and will freeze if their already fat-free bodies are not kept warm with a hoodie or jacket in the cooler months. Fashion Week Online shares “This is a practical side of using pet wear. In case you are often going for a walk with your pet when it is cold and windy outside, it is necessary to wear a coat on your pet. If you are searching for a new costume for your four-legged friend, pay attention to its size and style. Moreover, some little pets might also need to wear footwear to avoid undercooling and snuffling”.
Other than keeping your pet warm by helping to regulate their body temperature, there are other benefits too. Protecting your pet’s fur and skin may be necessary, especially in light-skinned pets who can get sun burnt easily. A lightweight shirt in summer can also protect your animal from insect bites and other irritants found in the garden or out on a hike.
PetMD warns that owners must always ensure a good fit. Clothing that is too big or too small can cause injury and even death. They conclude “Is there anything pets love more than being the centre of attention? No? We didn’t think so. Dress your pet up and he’s sure to receive tons of attention from anyone he comes across”.
Invest in your pet. Find more HOMEMAKERS pet tips and advice here.
Have you been woken up during the night by your four-legged family members flapping their ears, scratching, licking or even nibbling and biting their feet? This can make you feel helpless in your effort to stop the itch and to help them settle down again. Dog allergies can keep you and your pet up all night.
According to WagWalking, there are an endless number of things that can cause allergy reactions. Some of these include pollens and grass, carpet deodoriser or even the substances in the flea collar your pet is wearing. Another possibility is ingredients in your dog’s food and so the list goes on.
Allergies are as real to dogs as they are to humans. They can suffer from allergies from as young as 6 months, even though most only occur over the age of one or two. Allergies are often seasonal and can blow over quickly. It can however turn into a nasty allergy with prolonged symptoms where you will need the help of a veterinarian. As allergies can be managed but not cured, there are a few natural remedies that you can try alongside the protocol that the veterinarian has put in place for your furry companion.
According to the website VCA Hospitals, the most common symptom associated with dog allergies is itching of the skin, either in one area or all over the body. These are often caused by plants, insects, animals or foods. If the reaction is more severe the symptoms may involve coughing, sneezing and a runny discharge from the eyes or nose. In other cases, the allergic symptoms affect the digestive system resulting in vomiting and diarrhea.
An easy way to determine whether your dog has a food allergy is to exclusively feed a specific diet for eight to twelve weeks. Keep in mind that sauces, wet food, treats and chew bones all contain certain ingredients that might also flair up an allergy. So, when you do make the effort to put your pooch on an exclusive diet, keep away from these treats. Rather invest in fun toys that can also give your pet endless pleasure to play with and chew on. Let your vet assist you during this process.
There are a couple of natural and home remedies to consider and you can read more about these remedies on Wagwalking.com, Dogtime.com and Thesprucepets.com. You will find that these are all items that you already have in your grocery cupboard.
Apple Cider Vinegar
An easily available and affordable product that acts as a natural skin soother, while warding off fleas. It is also a powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal treatment by mixing 50 percent apple cider vinegar and 50 percent water. Do so in a clean spray bottle to spray your dog’s itchy spots or dip cotton wool in the mixture to wipe out an affected yeast ear infection. You can even soak those irritated paws in the mixture for 5 minutes. Just make sure to never use it on raw or open wounds, it will be extremely painful for your dog.
Oatmeal is a natural moisturizer and an oatmeal bath can often give a dog with itchy skin immediate relief. It reduces inflammation and washes away allergens that get trapped in the fur. Simply blend a cup of oatmeal in the blender until it becomes fine like a powder and add it to your dog’s bath. The best part is that Oatmeal is totally non-toxic, so no worries if your dog takes a couple licks from the bathtub. Make sure your dog’s itching is not due to a yeast infection, as an oatmeal bath will then worsen the infection.
Chamomile and Green Tea
Chamomile and green teas are well-known for their soothing, anti-inflammatory effects in humans but they work just as well for dogs, too. Spraying irritated areas with cooled down tea or a soak bath in these teas will help your dog’s hot and itchy patches of skin.
Even though Epsom salt is called a salt, it actually really isn’t, it is a mineral combination of sulfate and magnesium with a healing compound. Great for healing wounds and once again relieving the itch of allergic dermatitis. Dissolve half a cup of Epsom salt in a bath tub and soak your dog for five minutes twice a day or soak a washcloth with the mix and hold it on the inflamed area for soothing and healing.
A good organic, unrefined or virgin coconut oil is full of good fats. Not only is the oil used as an oral supplement for metabolic function and bone health but can be massaged into the skin to help with discomfort associated with doggy eczema, allergies, skin infections, and even bug bites. You can also use the oil as a lotion for sore footpads and it contains lauric acid, which decreases yeast production.
Aloe vera is a natural hero with its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it perfect for treating burns, itches, and hot spots when applied to the skin. A 100 percent natural aloe vera is easily available from a pharmacy and is certainly a must-have for any home.
A pantry staple, baking soda can do much, much more than making your baked goods rise. When combined with water and blended into a thick paste, baking soda can dry out rashes on the skin, alleviate itching, and reduce redness and inflammation. All you have to do is combine 50 percent baking soda with 50 percent water and apply the paste to your dog’s skin. After about 20 minutes, rinse completely.
Thyme contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antifungal properties, which make it great for use where skin and yeast infections are common, like between your dog’s toes. Simply make an infusion out of dry or fresh thyme and apply it to the affected areas. Make sure it gets deep between the toes.
Cat “owners” will know that you never actually own cats, you are merely the provider of food, warmth and scratches when your kitties allow it. Above this, your duties as a “good human” also include regular litter box cleaning and ensuring there is adequate space and objects to play with between naps. In the interest of keeping your cat in top physical and mental condition, here are some ideas to try.*
Whether it’s a thunderstorm; the growl of the dreaded vacuum monster or an unwanted visitor, cats, especially shy cats, need a safe space to snuggle and hide. Behind headboards and couches, in cupboards or under the bed are favourite choices but, in a panic, your cat may manage to squish themselves into spaces where they could get hurt. Ensuring your cat has a number of safe spaces to sleep, snuggle or hide when they need, will help them feel more secure.
Options for spaces around the house include soft cat cocoons, semi-enclosed beds and cat tents. CatLife, a Columbian-based cat furniture company, have designed a bed base cat maze that gives your cat their own place while using generally unused space.
Room with a View
If your cat’s favourite nap spot is on the windowsill, why not make it an official spot with a cat hammock or window perch? Animal behaviour research has shown that 84% of indoor cats spend a total of five hours or less a day looking out of windows. A sunny window spot provides warmth and environmental enrichment, especially for cats who enjoy trilling or chirping at birds.
Even though they are domesticated, cats have retained their hunting instincts. This can be seen in their preference for being in high places where they can easily survey their surroundings. Tree climbing, walking on tables and counters or perching on top of the couch are all ways in which cats use height to their advantage.
Using vertical space, especially in apartments where gardens are out of reach, is a clever way to give your cat space to explore and exercise. Creating cat walkways out of shelves that blend with your décor is a seamless solution that you can design yourself.
When DIYing, make sure that the maximum shelf weight is less than the weight of your cat or cats and that the shelf is wide enough for your cat to lie on without falling off. Adding non-slip material such as carpet or rubber will also help keep your cat safe.
If your couch hasn’t been destroyed at least once, well done! Clawing and scratching is how cats mark their territory, stretch out and remove the outer layer of their claws as they grow. Having a scratching post with good “scratchability” and a variety of angles in the areas where you spend the most time should help deter your cat from using your couch.
As obligate carnivores, cats get the nutrients they need from meat. They may however need a helping of grass to aid digestion and clear out hairballs every now and again, this is especially true of long-haired breeds.
Cat grass is a specially grown selection of grasses such as wheat, barley, oats and rye that has recently become a popular choice for cat owners. Providing your cat with their own patch of safe, edible roughage is ideal for apartment owners or as a deterrent for cats that like to snack on your pot plants.
Looking to give a cat a loving home? Contact your local pet shelter or SPCA to find your purrfect match!
*A consultation with your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet or environment is recommended.
Musician, composer, producer, animal lover and adventurer, Ann Jangle has been performing music across Africa and Europe for over twelve years. After living in Germany for two years, her return to South Africa and the adoption of her furry best friend, Kevin set Ann Jangle on “the most ambitious journey of her life” – cycling, woman alone from South Africa to Kenya to raise awareness for the endangered animals and uplifting communities through music as part of the “AFRICAN DREAM PARADE”. Ann Jangle took some time out to share her adventure before setting off to complete the trip up the East Coast of Africa, cycling from Kenya to Cairo on the “AFRICAN DREAM ODYSSEY”. A story by Ann Jangle.
You can listen to this article in Sotho in our June DigiMag.
Nothing, aside from judging someone by their skin colour, baffles me more than the words: ‘time to settle down’. In my world, this is a natural phenomenon which happens at the right time and cannot be forced, so I settled down the only way I knew how and got a dog, called Kevin. Kevin made such an impact on my overall health and happiness that I decided to spend the rest of my life using music to help animals. Kevin and I sold off everything we had (luckily, he travelled light with only a tennis ball and some pellets) and bought a van.
We started the AFRICAN DREAM PARADE back in Cape Town. Joined by close friends and brilliant sound guy, Mike Hunter and trumpet player Keegan Steenkamp we travelled over 25 000kms across the country and raised 3 tons of dog food, which we donated to Animal Welfare organisations in the area where we performed. Word spread that we were helping animals through music and got asked to perform in every Province across the country.
After almost a year on the road I got invited to perform at the Kilifi New Year’s Festival in Kenya. We were back in the Western Cape. I dropped the guys off at home and decided to sell the van and buy the oldest Toyota I could find to prove a point by driving, woman alone across the continent with my two dogs. I found a 1996 Toyota Rav 4, had it fixed up with a new engine, clutch, brakes, almost to a point of a brand-new vehicle, and got all the animal injections and paper work up to date for my dogs to cross borders to Kenya.
By the time I reached Kenton on Sea in the Eastern Cape, a 10-hour drive from Cape Town, I realized that petrol was going to cost a pretty penny. I also had no idea on how to fix a car in the middle of Africa. I did a mini crash course on mechanics and had enough time to do more planning. I took on a job for some extra cash at a local lodge, running a marine and wildlife conservation program for youngsters from overseas who had finished school and wanted to learn more about the environment, as a type of gap-year. One good thing that did come from my short time there, was that I got to meet a woman who changed the entire course of my life, forever – Blanca Fernandez a.k.a Blanca on a Bike.
She arrived late one afternoon on her bicycle – she had been cycling across the world. I remember her ridiculous shoe tan and her short, scruffy, wild grey hair. I asked her where she had come from. She said: ‘London, about a year ago.’ At the age of 61 she cycled, woman alone, from London to China, flew to Egypt, cycled Cairo to Cape Town via the East Coast of Africa and back to London via the West Coast of Africa.
I decided then and there that I was going to cycle to Kenya instead. I knew that if she could do it, I could too. At this stage I had only cycled around the block a few times in Berlin to a nearby market. I had no idea about anything related to cycling, I didn’t even own a bike, but like with everything in my life, once I decide to do something, nothing on this planet can stop me from following through. Even if it kills me. Guess I`m too stubborn to quit.
I had no idea where to start though. I resorted to Facebook and asked publicly if anyone had a bicycle for me to cycle to Kenya with. After realising how ridiculous this sounded, I deleted my post an hour later. Two weeks later I saw a message in my inbox from a guy in Centurion who was importing NORCO bicycles from Canada. Matthew De Jongh, a man I hold very dear to my heart, sponsored me a bicycle, panniers and a tool kit to embark on the most ambitious journey of my life. Matthew showed me how to change a bicycle tyre and work the tools he had given me a week before embarking on my solo cycle across Africa. I was then dropped close to the Ramotswa border post of Botswana on 11 June 2019. My birthday. After crossing into Botswana, the staff on the South African side of Passport control ran over to the fence to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. It really made a huge difference. I was petrified.
Over the next 8 months I endured the greatest hardships, the biggest challenges, not only physically but emotionally too. Being alone for so long you really do a lot of inner work. You face your demons head on and there are no distractions from that. I almost froze to death on the Trans Kalahari Highway in peak Winter. I was pretty clueless about good quality gear needed for the trip and my useless sleeping bag’s zip broke about a week in. I had no idea about head wind, climbing hills, how to deal with elephant encounters or how much water to have. As dumb as this sounds, it was a blessing in disguise because I think if I knew more about what I was in for, I might not have done it.
As hard as it was, it was also the most free and fulfilled I’ve ever felt in my life. I wrapped my tent cover around me after freezing in Botswana one night and was left to sleep in, the equivalent to a tiny mosquito net, which allowed me to fall asleep staring at the stars each night. My little tent. This was home for the next 7 months.
I left on this journey with one goal in mind. To raise awareness for endangered wildlife and uplift communities through music. I was also sponsored a Martin Mini Backpackers guitar and strapped it to my bike. We might not all speak the same language, but we all speak `music`. Especially in Africa. I spoke and sang to thousands of children at different schools in many different villages across Africa. Most of the kids sang to me too. We communicated as best as we could with words, but with music, we spoke for hours, dancing, singing, making sounds. I learned a lot about endangered animals as I visited many organisations. It was important to me that my message to the children was that our relationship with animals and our environment directly affects our relationship with self.
The greatest moment was reaching that Kenyan border. The overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, knowing you really CAN do anything you put your mind to. Every achievement comes with sacrifice and hardships. Victory comes when you push past the things that scare you. You are only faced with challenges because it builds character and all those qualities you need further on in life. I returned back to South Africa from Kenya in February 2020, just before lockdown started. The journey was intense but changed every aspect of my life. From the way I now write music to the way I see people, my adaptation to daily life was a struggle at first but as with every great adventure, it only sparks off a desire to continue onto the next one.
Currently I am on the “AFRICAN DREAM ODYSSEY”. We have spent the last month getting a vehicle to drive us to Tanzania. From there we will be finishing the East African cycling route to Egypt. With the vehicle we can revisit the organisations and schools I spent time with on my cycling trip. See how they have grown or the struggles they now face after Covid. Follow up is important to sustain relationships. I fell in love with Bagamoyo, a small village about 62km North of Dar Es Salaam on the coast of Tanzania. I knew when I arrived there on my bicycle that my heart belonged there. Funnily enough, Bagamoyo means “To lay your hearts down”. There is a lot of work to be done with the community there. My dream is to grow my independent movement known as “CONSCIOUS CONCERTS”. “Conscious Concerts” involve the community. It`s a screening of motivational local documentaries, currently my own, for now, but later I would like to screen local artists at work, whether dancing, singing, working with animals, doing good, wholesome acts to help build communities, a talk on community upliftment and a musical collaboration with local artists. I started this movement upon my arrival in Cape Town after returning from Kenya. Lockdown put an abrupt stop to it but I saw the potential. I believe in the movement.
We start this journey to Tanzania our first shows booked starting in mid-May in Namibia. The gig money will cover our fuel, food expenses and fund the next documentary. Thanks to `JUST MUSIC SOUTH AFRICA` you can now view my cycling documentary called AFRICAN DREAM PARADE on Youtube”.
For more information please visit www.annjangle.com
For a donation of $100 or more, you can have your logo displayed on our vehicle making its way across Africa on the AFRICAN DREAM ODYSSEY - raising awareness for endangered animals and uplifting communities through music.
You are not the only one who had to deal with lockdown. For your pets, the change in routine and having you around 24/7 may have caused some stress as well. Now with the colder months starting and you going back to a regular routine, it may be more of a challenge to exercise and treat your pets. Here are our tips for keeping your furry family members healthy. (more…)Read More