Tag Archives: forest

About Alabama Rot

I’m sure many of you have heard of Alabama Rot and it’s occurrence in the UK over recent years. While the number of cases have remained small, it is still a disease worth looking out for. Alabama Rot often leads to fatalities in dogs, so please take a moment to read this post which explains the disease and also gives advice on how to try and prevent it.


What is Alabama Rot?

Alabama Rot was first discovered in the USA in 1980, and primarily affected Greyhounds. However, especially after its arrival in the UK, it has been discovered that the disease can affect any and all breeds of dog, and so far the disease has been found to only exist in dogs with no other animals contracting it thus far (including humans). While the number of the cases in the UK are quite low (around 60 cases between 2012 and 2015) the fatality rate is 9/10 and so is not something to be taken lightly. While the last thing anyone should do is panic, it is important to be aware of the seriousness of the condition so that any suspicions that your dog may have contracted it are reported immediately. Currently, the cause of Alabama rot is unknown.


What are the signs of Alabama Rot?

There are several symptoms of the disease that present themselves in dogs. While some of these symptoms may also be related to different conditions it is advised that you stay on the safe side and get your dogs checked out at the vet.

  • Skin lesions (usually on lower leg and elbows. Also on the tongue and mouth)
  • The hair around lesions will fall off, potentially causing the dog to lick excessively
  • Kidney failure (vomiting, fatigue, lack of appetite)
  • Ulcers and sores

The average time between skin lesions and kidney failure is around three days so it is imperative you get your dog to the vet in this window. While it can be difficult to distinguish lesions from cuts and other wounds, it is advised that you take action even if you are only a little concerned. As the disease is rare, most vets will not know how to treat this illness and so it is worth either calling or getting referred to the Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists. They have extensive knowledge of the disease and have dealt with the majority of cases. They are also an amazing practice, our experience with them when Inky was sick (with an unrelated illness) was amazing.


How can you protect your pet?

While there is no vaccine for Alabama Rot and no known means of cause or prevention, there are a few things you can try and do to help to protect your dog from the disease. The main thing you can do as an owner is keep a close eye on your dog while walking to monitor anything they may pick up, chew, or eat on their walks. If they become ill, call a vet as soon as possible and provide clear and accurate details of the illness.

It is advised that you try to avoid walking your dog in forested areas if possible, as this is where the disease is often contracted, however there is no certain evidence that the disease is based on environmental factors. So far, cases have occurred as far apart as Cornwall and Yorkshire with a spike of cases appearing in the New Forest in 2013. Recently, Gloucestershire was also affected along with Northern Ireland.

The disease is currently thought to be picked up on muddy paws and legs so it is strongly advised that you give your dog a thorough wash after a mucky walk. This may help prevention of the disease.

While the disease can be contracted all year round, the vast majority of cases occurred between November and May. This suggests a possible association with winter and spring, but unfortunately we still have no certain evidence.


How can you keep updated?

The Alabama Rot website is excellent for updates on recent occurrences of the disease and also for giving advice on what to do if you are afraid your dog has contracted it. We highly recommend that you follow them and their reports so that you can stay updated on news about Alabama Rot in your area and any signs that a cause or vaccine may have been discovered.

Please also be sure to keep Anderson Moores Veterinary Surgery’s details to hand in case you should encounter the condition, as they are specialists and know how to best treat the condition.

There are many dogs who have survived Alabama Rot, if you are even a little afraid that your dog may be sick with it then please do not hesitate to get veterinary advice. Please note that we at Philomena London are not veterinary professionals, and while we do our best to gather reliable sources information may not always be 100% accurate.

5 Great Places to Walk Your Dog: Cheshire

Thank you for joining us for another week of discovering great places to walk your dog. Sorry for the delay in posting this week, we had some technical difficulties and so were unable to post on time. This week we’re taking a trip to Cheshire as we explore some really great walking spots.


1. Dutton Locks

Dutton Locks

Starting off with an accessible route, the Dutton Locks route is very much wheelchair friendly, and so for those of you who have difficulty getting around with your dog this walk would be great for you. This riverside walk has a lot to offer, from long journeys that are sure to wear your dog out to a large river that might be good for some shallow paddling on hot days. If you’re looking for a peaceful walk this is the one for you. Make sure to stock up on poo bags before you set off – you can pick some up on our website!


2. Sandstone Trail

Sandstone Trail

This walk is definitely for those of you who are looking for a good workout. A hilly environment with beautiful woodland, this walk is for the dog and walker who really want to exercise as much as they can. Of course, the physicality of this walk should not dissuade you from giving it a go, as the views are spectacular and the walk itself is wonderful to look at. Why not stock up on some balls and have a game of fetch to keep your dog running while you take a break?


3. Spike Island Walk

Spike Island

From four miles to ten, it’s up to you how far and long you walk out here. With gorgeous views and wonderful flat lands to walk across you and your canine companion are sure to enjoy this adventure. If your dog is the swimming kind there is plenty of water en route that they are sure to enjoy splashing about in. With miles of open land, every walk can be a different one, and with plenty of places to stop for refreshments along the way you can keep going for hours, after all what perfect time is there for a day long walk than the weekend?


4. Delamere Forest

Delamere Forest

For the walker who doesn’t want a hardcore walk but certainly wants a bit more exercise than the average, this walk is the one. With both flat and hilly land, it covers a large area and offers different levels of walking. For those who enjoy the woodlands, this walk is excellent, and when you want a little bit of open space there’s a park area to explore as well. Your dog is sure to enjoy the excitement of this adventurous walk, with so many new sounds and scents. Not only this, but there are plenty of places to pick up a quick drink and a snack on your travels.


5. Grappenhall Heys

Grappenhall Heys

Open fields and woodlands make up this scenic route in the Grappenhall Heys. With a forest and several different fields, this is a walk that your dog will no doubt enjoy to the full, and it’s the perfect place for a game of fetch. If your dog is the swimming type there’s also a river that your furry friend might enjoy taking a dip in, especially during the hot spring and summer days to come (and they likely will after the heat we have been experiencing lately!).


So concludes another week of the great places to walk your dog. Next week we will be looking at the walks available in Durham, so be sure to check in! Also, on Wednesday we will be looking at Philomena’s favourite pet treats, so be sure to keep an eye out for ideas on what to give your dog as a little treat to say ‘well done!’

5 Great Places to Walk Your Dog: Devon

Another week, and another update on the great places to walk your dog. As usual, we have five places to show you that we think would be great for you and your furry friend. Sit back and enjoy our continued guide across the country.

1. Haldon Forest Park

Haldon Forest Park

This week I’m going to start with the wheelchair accessible route. This place is really good for those of you who are not physically able and have a hard time getting around. There are actually quite a large number of trails you can take, and the majority of them are solid tracks so you won’t come across any bumps in the road on your travels. Aside from you loving this area, your dog is going to go mad for it. If there’s one thing I have found with dogs over the years (through walking our own) it’s that they love walking through forests. New smells, new dogs, what more could your dog want? A sweet cafe and toilet facilities are available on site, and I will say that parking is expensive, but well worth the walk.

2. Northam Burrows

Northam Burrows

This great site combines grassland and the beach. It acts as an access point to the stretch of beach in the village Westward Ho! and will surely leave your dog exhausted. The burrows are a site of scientific importance due to the wildlife and habitats there. There is a rule that if you are asked to put your dog on a lead you must, but there is still the beach to walk and run along should that happen. The burrows are so picturesque that it’s something I do not recommend missing. This area is made up of salt marshes, sand dunes, grassland, and a two mile beach. After this walk your dog is sure to need a long sleep, and we would recommend one of our deeply dishy dog beds and a sumptuous faux fur blanket to keep them extra warm and snuggly.

3. Stover Country Park

Stover Country Park

Once again, I bring you a glorious mish-mash of places to explore in the form of this beautiful Devon conservation. There are 114 acres of woodland, heathland, marsh, and lake for you and your furry friend to travel across. Through this there are places for your dog to swim (which is great exercise), and then forest and heathland for them to run across in order to get dry again. Dogs enjoy new places, and with all the scents and sounds that come with this area, your dog is going to be sure to want to come again. There is a vast number of wildlife living in this conservation area, and if you’ve come prepared with lunch the picnic area is the perfect place to view these creatures from.

4. Exmouth Seafront

Exmouth Seafront

Exmouth seafront is a vast and really excellent beach. Dogs will love this place, especially those who are quite partial to paddling in the sea. As with most large beaches, there are restrictions in the summer in that some parts of the beach do not allow dogs (and there’s a fine if you let them on) but during the winter you pretty much have free reign over where your dog wants to walk, run, and play. If you’ve brought the children along on this venture there is a fun park on the seafront that they are sure to enjoy. As with most beaches, there is certainly something for everyone here!

5. Mount Edgecumbe Country Park

Mount Edgecumbe Country Park

This country park is really quite exquisite. The park is situated by a grand house (perfect for the historian dog walker) and consists of a number of different park areas. The piece de resistance is the deer park (although it is advisable to keep dogs that might want to chase deer on the lead), and it takes a really peaceful, picturesque route. There are forts and a temple elsewhere on the grounds, as well as a collection of over a hundred different types of tree. If that wasn’t enough, you can contI use to follow the different trails until you reach the beaches and cliffs – which make beautiful places to walk. In many ways I feel I’ve saved the best until last with this outstanding dog walk.

Well, so concludes another week of the places to walk your dog. Hopefully, you’ve found a new place to explore and you and your companion will have many new and exciting adventures there. Next week, we’re mixing things up a little and moving up north for a look at the 5 great places to walk your dog in Derbyshire.

5 Great Places to Walk Your Dog: Surrey

Here we are with another Friday update on the great places to walk your dog. This week, we’re moving onto Surrey – an area where I feel there are many great places to walk and adventure. You never know, you may find a new weekend walking spot.

1. Virginia Water

Virginia Water

This is my favourite place to walk in Surrey, and while these sites are not generally in order of preference, there’s a reason I placed this walking spot first. Firstly, it’s a great place to bring your family for a day out as there are plenty of places to picnic, as well as a restaurant where you can enjoy excellent food and an equally wonderful view. Dogs are very welcome at Virginia Water, and are generally able to walk off the lead.  Dogs must be kept on the lead in the Deer Park, the Virginia Water Pavilion, The Valley Gardens, the Obelisk Lawn, and the Savill Building (well behaved dogs only). Don’t forget to visit the totem pole! However, there are thousands of acres for your furry friends to run across as well as plenty of places to swim and play. In fact, our Beco Balls would be perfect for games of fetch here…

2.  River Wey

River Wey


In Pyrford there’s the picturesque, romantic, River Wey – a popular location for walking the dog. They’re allowed off the lead everywhere except by the golf course, and the walk is just lovely. It takes about an hour and a half to get around the whole route, but it’s well worth it,  and is quite accessible for those who have some difficulty walking. If you don’t feel like your whole walk being river based, there are some fields surrounding the area that are great for games of catch and running with other dogs. The Anchor Inn is nearby if you fancy stopping off for some lunch or dinner after your walk, and from what I’ve heard it’s a very warm and welcoming place to go.

3. Bushy Park

Bushy Park


Even the name of this park makes it sound like a great place to walk – and it is. Situated near Hampton Court Palace, it is one of the eight Royal Parks (and the second largest). It’s perfect for the dog walker and wildlife lover alike, as the park consists of woodland, ponds, gardens, and grasslands, so there is something for everyone to enjoy on this adventurous route. After you’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching the deer, and walking to you heart’s content, there’s a lovely restaurant for you to stop at to quench your thirst and perhaps grab a bite to eat after your long journey. With all these different areas to explore, it’s bound to be fun for dog and owner alike.

4. Puttenham Common

Puttenham Common

This common is made up of what was once a large area of lowland heath, but it boasts a thriving fungi population during the autumn, for those of you that are interested in plant life. There is an abundance of trees, as well as two ponds that are great for observing water life, but also give an aesthetic appeal to the walk. The route is scenic and quite lovely, and the vast stretch of land gives your dog plenty of room to roam and explore. For those of you interested in history and archaeology, the main feature of this great walking spot is the iron age hill fort which is a key interest, as well as the surrounding area being associated with WWII.

5. Alice Holt Forestry

Alice Holt Forestry

Near to Farnham, we have this beautiful forest area. There are a number of different walks that you can go on, some that focus on exercise, like the Nordic walking, and others that revolve around general wandering. The Nordic walking is excellent if you’re looking for good exercise and a fun way to do it. When it comes to those of you that find it difficult to get around or are in a wheelchair, there are easy access trails that will allow you to take your dog out with ease as they are suitable for wheelchairs. The longest walk is 2.5 miles, and will take you through pond land , although it is a really lovely walk. There are a variety of routes, and each of them are equal in beauty and pleasure when it comes to walking them. When you have finished walking your dog, there’s even a little cafe that you can stop at on your way home if you fancy taking a break before the journey back.


So that concludes our look at five great places to walk in Surrey. Hopefully, you have found a place that looks interesting to you for you and your friend to go walking in. After all the adventuring that they will be doing, we’re pretty sure that they’ll want to snuggle down in one of our Beco Pet Beds for a comfortable night’s sleep! Next week, we will be looking at five great places to walk in Kent as we work our way across the country.

5 Great Places to Walk Your Dog:Berkshire

5 Great Places to Walk Your Dog: Berkshire
Another Friday, and another look at places to take your best friend on new adventures. Last week,  Philomena London looked at five great places in Hampshire to walk your dog, and this week we’re moving on to the wonderful county of Berkshire. Whether you live in the county or you’re just looking for a new place to walk, this guide should have something for you. Without further ado, here are 5 great places to walk your dog in Berkshire.

Greenham Common

Formerly an RAF base just outside of Newbury, Greenham Common has become a very popular place for people to walk their dogs as well as to explore the now abandoned RAF buildings. For the modern history buff, this is a great place to look at for buildings relating to both WWII and the Cold War. The landscape is made up of vast, green grasses, and a little river that flows through it. The river is great for both owners and dogs to paddle in during the summer, and when the winters come thin ice often forms over it. It makes a truly beautiful place to walk. There are small wooded areas to seek shade or shelter in, and from the common you can get view of Watership Down, another beautiful area as well as being a prominent landmark.

Cookham River Walk

Located near to Maidenhead, Cookham offers a picturesque walk by the River Thames. There are several great things about this particular walk, but the main one to touch on is that it’s a highly accessible walk. If you have trouble getting around or are in a wheelchair with your dog, then this is a great place for you to go. The route itself is mostly flat or tarmac and it takes you around the beautiful village of Crookham before leading on to the River Thames where there are swans as well as other birdlife surrounding the area. It’s a really beautiful route, filled with lots of places for both you and your dog to travel, and there will likely be lots of other dogs to meet too. With disabled access bathrooms as well as places to stop to eat and drink, this route is truly great.

Donnington Castle

Just outside Newbury is Donnington Castle. On a calm day, this place makes an excellent walk for dog and owner alike. The ruined castle is yet another site of historical interest and makes for excellent exploration space. If you tire of green fields and hills, the Castle Wood lies right beside the ruins and makes an equally peaceful place to carry out your walking activities. Not only this, but a small stream runs nearby also, which gives Donnington Castle an excellent advantage when it comes to choosing where to walk – it has everything you could want to walk an exercise your dog, as well as giving them a new place filled with new scents.

Black’s Park

In Slough, there is a truly beautiful place to walk your dog. You only have to look at the picture to see just how wonderful it looks. The woodland is both massive and thick, making for great walk-time exploration and a whole new area for your dog to adventure in. Within the wood is a beautiful lake which makes for wonderful views while you saunter along. This route really does make for both a beautiful and peaceful walk. There’s over ten miles of land to explore, and if you fancy taking your family to walk with you then there are loads of activities for them to enjoy too. There are cafes for you to rest and have a drink, but do be aware there are some areas that do not allow dogs to be off the lead – mainly the areas designated for children’s activities.

Snelsmore Common

Chieveley is the home to Snelsmore Common. Home to many rare species of bird and insect, this place is a cornucopia of habitats, and that means many different areas to introduce you furry friend to. There’s wet bog which is home to some exquisite birds, as well as a vast woodland which covers a lot of the area. The heathland is equally wonderful to behold, and like the wet bog, is home to several species of rare bird. Make sure you remember that the park does adhere to opening and closing times, and while the opening time (08:00) is visible on the website, the closing time is not so it would be best to call ahead if you’re not planning an early morning walk.
Hopefully, you were able to find a place that you would like to visit in Berkshire with your dog. The 5 places are truly wonderful to walk in, and hopefully you and your dog will have a great time exploring them. Whether it becomes a regular walking spot, or an occasional day out, visiting new places is always important, both for your dog in terms of experiencing new smells and places, but also for you so you don’t get tired of walking in the same place all the time. Next week, we will be looking at places to walk in Surrey. If you live further north in the country, don’t worry, we’re working our way up through the United Kingdom.

Don’t forget your poo bags!