Revealed: Lettuce Is Killing Rabbits

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For years, poor rabbits have been chomping away on foods, including carrots and lettuce, that we assumed were good for them, but are in fact doing more harm than good…

As part of Rabbit Awareness Week – an annual campaign to raise the profile of rabbit welfare – Lucy Ross, Head of Training at Pets Corner, warns that Bug’s Bunny’s favourite carrot snack should be rationed, and that iceberg lettuce should be banned completely from the pet’s diet.

“We are all familiar with Bugs Bunny, who would regularly whip out a carrot to munch on, but carrots are not the best thing to be feeding rabbits on a day-to-day basis,” Lucy says.

“The bulk of a rabbit’s diet should be made up of hay with 10% of what they eat comprising of vegetables. For example, curly kale is among some of the veggies rabbits can enjoy on a daily basis.

“But iceberg lettuce – a popular staple among humans that can often make it into the pet food pile is dangerous and should never be fed to rabbits.”

A healthy diet for a pet rabbit should mimic what his cousins in the wild forage for – grass, plants and vegetables.

Good quality hay is an excellent alternative to grass and the foundation of a healthy diet for pet rabbits. As well as strengthening teeth and jaws, it provides fibre to maintain a healthy gut and nibbling on hay keeps bunnies busy, reducing boredom and helping prevent behavioural problems.

Lucy added: “Alongside hay, which should make up 80% of your pet’s diet, we recommend adding one and a half mugs of fresh, raw fruit and veg per rabbit every day with complete nuggets and mix making up the remaining 10%.”

Lucy has put together the following feeding guide for rabbit owners:

  1. Feed often – most days: bell peppers (remove seeds), raspberry leaves, watercress, coriander, courgette, curly kale
  2. Feed frequently – two to four times a week: parsley, blueberries, cabbage, cauliflower leaves, broccoli, tomato (not stems or leaves), mangetout, Brussels sprouts
  3. Feed occasionally – once a week: apple (remove seeds), mint, carrots, pak choi, blackberries, cucumber peelings, dandelion leaves, celery
  4. Never feed: avocado, coconut, garlic, iceberg lettuce, hot peppers, chillies, potatoes, tomato leaves and stems, onions
  5. Fresh water – always ensure your rabbit has plenty of fresh, clean water

Lucy added: “Take care to introduce any new foods gradually. An abrupt change to a rabbit’s diet can trigger digestive upsets, which could prove fatal to some.”

Rabbit Awareness Week runs until Sunday 26th June www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk

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How To Get Fit With Your Pet!

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Research shows that people with pets, and dogs in particular, are generally healthier, happier and fitter than those without a pet(1). The reason for this is simple – if you have a pet dog, you’re probably taking them for regular walks.

Taking your dog out for a walk is a fantastic way to keep them happy; however, you don’t need to limit your outdoor activities to a simple walk in the park.

Here’s Jayne McPherson from evolution to wellbeing introducing her new work-out guide in association with Petbarn to keep your pooch pal entertained while keeping you both fit and active.

Raise your heart rate with your pooch:

Interval training is the perfect activity for dogs as they have short bouts of energy.

What to do:

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Throw the ball up a hill (or across flat ground) and sprint/jog/power walk in same direction as the ball with your furry friend – even challenge yourself and race your dog to get the ball!

After each sprint, switch up the activity in order to create an active rest. Give your legs a break by working on your core.

Jayne says that bodyweight exercises are a simple and effective way to improve fitness, strength and flexibility. Use a bench or the ground to do any of the below exercises in between each sprint or throw of the ball. Your pet can also join in by being part of your sit ups or even step ups. (If appropriate, hold your pet for some extra resistance.)

16 x step ups (8 on each leg)
16 x push ups
16 x squat jumps (or squats if you can’t do jumps)
16 x tricep dips
16 x sit-ups or crunches

After you have completed the above exercises, take a rest by playing fetch with your dog until you catch your breath. If your pooch looks parched make sure to give them plenty of water and adequate rest. Make sure you do this for yourself as well.

After your breathing and heart rate have settled, repeat the sequence between three and five times for a great cardio and body workout.

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Two people and a pet work-out:

This routine is designed for two people.

What to do:

The first person throws the ball and runs against the dog to catch the ball

Meanwhile, the second person performs a body weight exercise using the sequence below which alternates between lower and upper body:

16x lunges (8 on each leg)
16 x push-ups
16 x squats or squat jumps
16 x running mountain climbers
16 x sit-ups or core exercises

When the first person returns they swap roles, and the second person throws the ball and runs against the dog, while the first person performs their body weight exercise

Aim to complete one full round each (i.e. working through all the above exercises).

Smaller breeds:

The advantage of having a smaller breed is that you can use your pooch as a power prop. When doing this, ensure both you and your dog are comfortable and your posture remains the priority.

Squats – To create added resistance, cradle your pet in your arms against your chest.

Sit Ups – Hold pup against the chest for added resistance.

Elbow plank (on knees or toes) – Come up into a straight arm plank position, reach out and pat your dog for a few seconds for an added challenge. Reset, hold and repeat with other hand.

Larger breeds:

Squat – with dog sitting in front of you. Hold squat position and ask dog for paw. Stand up and repeat with other paw.

Push ups – with dog sitting in front of you. Perform a push up and come back up to starting position for a wet sloppy kiss or ass a pat / treat.

Sit ups – Command dog to sit at feet, assume sit up position and give a treat every five sit ups.

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Important work-out tips

Where to work-out:

A dog-friendly park

What to bring:

A ball
A ball thrower
Leash
Poo bags
Dog treats
Water and a container
Your best friend

Tips to keep your work-out interesting:

Find an area with varied terrain i.e. combination of hills and flats. You’ll also need a bench or solid surface.

Perform the different exercises by holding the position for longer, going through the movements faster or slower changing the rate at which you perform each movement and /or change the amount of repetitions (reps) i.e. 14 reps, 12 reps, 10 reps.

When performing any exercise (which includes walking your dog), ensure that your posture is strong.

This means:
a. standing tall
b. relaxing the shoulders
c. keeping the head back and the chest lifted.

This will ensure that you and your pooch get the most out of your workout and maximise the amount of calories burnt.

If your dog has to be on a lead then a harness is a better alternative as they distribute pressure over a wider area and this minimises the risk of neck injury.

1 study from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that dog owners who regularly walked their dogs were more physically active and had a reduced chance of being obese than those who did not own or walk a dog. Source: http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2009/February/feature1.htm

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3D Artists Create Sculpture of The Supervet’s Dog Keira

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3D printing experts Arty Lobster are hoping to meet Channel 4’s Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick at Britain’s biggest dog festival this coming weekend – to present him with a mini me of his cute Border Terrier Keira.

Arty Lobster are exhibiting at DogFest, which is taking place at Windsor Great Park for the first time (25-26 June). The show dubbed ‘Britain’s biggest dog festival’ will be a hive of all things doggie and a brilliant day out for all dog lovers.

London-based Arty Lobster takes 3D tech to the limits by creating items that are truly bespoke and unique. Highly skilled artists create the 3D pet sculptures from customers’ photos of their pet, which are then 3D printed before being delivered to the customer.

Lars Andersen, Founder and MD of Arty Lobster, said: “We wanted to be part of the first Dogfest to be held at Windsor and decided that we must have a stand there. We have a huge amount of respect for Noel and his pioneering work in saving animals’ lives and improving the lives of countless others’, and so were excited to find out that he would be there too.

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“The Keira sculpture is something fun and unique that hopefully he will like and think is a good likeness of Keira. We would love a chance to catch up with him at DogFest and give him the sculpture. Perhaps he’d like to pop by our stand when he’s free? We’d love to meet him.”

Arty Lobster produces 3D prints in three options, including sandstone, porcelain and bronze with prices starting at £140.

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Rescued Magpie Becomes Best Friends With Shop Owner

Peter Redwood-Smith with Pica the Magpie

Peter Redwood-Smith with Pica the Magpie

A man has become best friends with a magpie after rescuing the garden bird from the clutches of a cat at just two weeks old.

Peter Redwood-Smith, 21, became a devoted adoptive father to the black and white bird named Pica after saving it when it fell out of its nest.

He has hand reared and nurtured the tiny chick he named Pica, and the bird now happily sits on Peter’s shoulder throughout the day.

Pica is capable of flying away now and can come and go as he pleases – but instead has chosen to stay close to his friend’s side.

Peter, from Rayleigh, Essex, said: “Pica has free roam and he follows me from room-to-room.

“He’s started to pick up a few little tricks now and he will try to steal things.

“He will run off with a number of things, he takes money quite a lot like five pound notes and coins.

“He’s even tried to run off with a pair of scissors and will hide things around the shop.

“But when I call him he comes to me and he tries to speak to me as well.

“Apparently they are very clever and have the intelligence of a five-year-old.”

Peter has even set up a Facebook page where his fans can keep up to date with the pair’s latest adventures.

He rescued the bird almost six weeks ago when it had no tail feathers and was so weak it could barely stand.

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Peter feeds him a number of different things including duck, chicken, pheasant, meal worms, crickets and locusts.

The shop owner added: “I found him right outside my shop and brought him in and said ‘here’s a present’.

“There was a cat just outside and Pica was so tiny he couldn’t have outrun the cat.

“It’s very lucky he was saved just in time otherwise he would almost certainly have met an untimely end.

“I have hand-raised Pica and looked after him. I had to feed him by hand so that he could build up his strength.

“I am just trying to give him the best life I can, he’s a lovely little bird. He’s very friendly.”

Pica has flown away twice but has returned to his adoptive dad not long afterwards.

He goes outside for up to two hours a day where he forages for food such as earth worms, but mainly he enjoys sitting on Peter’s shoulder.

Magpies are known to be clever and inquisitive garden birds which pick up all sorts of things to explore them – and they can even recognise their own reflection in a mirror.

But the birds are also a nuisance to other garden birds as they eat songbird eggs and chicks.

Their natural diet is quite broad as they eat insects, mice and other small rodents, as well as berries and fruits.

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Pets Eat The Strangest Things!

Hooch needed emergency treatment after swallowing corn on the cob

Hooch needed emergency treatment after swallowing corn on the cob

Stones, babies’ dummies, socks and even kebab sticks were among hundreds of weird and wonderful items PDSA vets surgically removed from pet patients last year.

The vet charity treated nearly 400 pets for swallowing things they shouldn’t. And it appears that pets in Bradford are the most curious in the country, as the charity’s vets saw a whopping 33 cases in the city alone.

PDSA, which has 51 Pet Hospitals across the UK, has compiled a list of the ‘top ten’ items pets swallowed according to the number of cases:

  1. Bones – 59 cases
  2. Stones – 29 cases
  3. Corn on the cob – 28 cases
  4. Plastic e.g. parts of kids toys, food wrapping – 25 cases
  5. Rubber balls – 19 cases
  6. Rubber e.g. parts of dog toys – 19 cases
  7. Socks – 11 cases
  8. Thread – 9 cases
  9. Babies’ dummy teats – 9 cases
  10. (Joint) Kebab sticks/Peach stones – 7 cases of each

PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman said staff have also removed more bizarre objects in the past, from tent pegs and knives to radio aerials.

Rebecca said: “You’d be amazed at some of the crazy things pets eat. Our top ten list highlights the objects we saw most frequently last year, but every now and again we see even more unusual cases.”

Thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, PDSA is educating pet owners about the phenomenon of pets eating strange objects – known as ‘pica’ – and how to keep their animals’ safe.

Rebecca added: “Pets, especially puppies and younger dogs, like to use their mouth to investigate objects as well as to eat. Sometimes a pet will swallow an item by mistake, even though they had only meant to investigate it.

“We might think it’s comical but in some cases it is incredibly dangerous and can even prove fatal. If an object moves along the digestive system, it can cause a tear or life-threatening blockage.

“If you have pets at home, try to keep anything dangerous or easy to swallow out of paws’ reach. Only let them play with suitable pet toys and try to supervise them to avoid any accidents. If you do suspect your pet has swallowed something you should contact your vet for advice immediately.”

PDSA vets say training pets from a young age can help to curb their temptation to chew objects, and they can learn basic commands like ‘drop’ and ‘leave’.

For more free pet health information and advice visit www.pdsa.org.uk.

Case study

Hooch has made a full recovery

Hooch has made a full recovery

Greedy American Bulldog Hooch needed emergency surgery after wolfing down a corn-on-the-cob husk from his owner’s bin.

Sarah Baldwin, from Elland, West Yorkshire, had placed the husk in the bin after having a quick bite to eat before work. But no sooner had she left the house when Hooch (11) stuck his head in the trash and got his paws on the tasty treat.

“The next day he wasn’t himself at all,” said mother-of-three Sarah (40).

“He was sick, he wasn’t eating and didn’t want to walk. One of my sons had seen him finishing off the corn-on-the-cob so we did a quick Google search and were horrified at how dangerous they can be for dogs.”

Hooch was rushed straight to PDSA’s Bradford Pet Hospital where vets performed X-rays which revealed something lurking in his intestines.

The family were warned that their beloved pet would need an emergency operation to remove the cob as it could cause a fatal blockage.

PDSA Head Nurse Miriam Wilson, said: “We could feel an obstruction in Hooch’s intestines and the X-ray was consistent with a foreign body.

“As Hooch was getting increasingly unwell we knew we had to perform emergency surgery to remove the corn-on-the-cob husk. We had to open up Hooch’s intestine to remove a large piece of corn husk and some smaller pieces that had broken off”.

“Unfortunately Bradford seems to be a bit of a hotspot for pets swallowing strange items and corn-on-the-cob cases are ones we see quite a lot. It’s important pet owners recognise how dangerous they can be, especially at this time of year as it’s barbecue season. In most case it is fatal if it’s not treated, as the husk can completely block the digestive system.”

Hooch was kept at the hospital for two days before being discharged on pain relief and antibiotics. He has since gone on to make a full recovery.

Sarah said: “I was so worried when Hooch was in hospital but I can’t thank PDSA enough for saving him.

“The whole thing has really scared me, so much so that it’s put me off corn-on-the cob for life!”

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Why We Need National Pet Remembrance Day

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In the run up to national Pet Remembrance Day on Tuesday July 5, MARIE CARTER, Editor of Pets Magazine, writes on why there was a real need for such a day on which to celebrate the lives of our precious departed pets.

The death of a beloved companion animal can leave a massive hole in a family’s life. But, unlike the death of a human family member, the death of a precious pet can leave a caring and devoted animal lover in emotional turmoil for other reasons, aside from the very real sense of grief experienced.

Not only is the bereavement real and very raw – that overwhelming sense of loss felt by anyone who has truly loved a pet – but other people may fail to understand the loss. They may even demonstrate prejudice or ridicule. Employers, friends, and even other family members, may react as if the death means little and that the individual should just ‘pull themselves together’. Naturally, the death of a parent for example will sting more and be endured more than perhaps the death of a pet. We know from the start that our pets’ lives are transient. Close, particularly familial and blood-bound, human bonds usually also surpass those created between a person and a pet.

Our pets intrinsically live much shorter lives than us, however the bonds of love and devotion that develop between a person and a pet companion should not be underestimated. Dogs, like us, are known to develop the kind of attachment that can be described as love. When they see their beloved person, scientists have proven that the ‘cuddle’ chemical oxytocin is produced in their brains. We also experience the same rush of this feel good hormone when we see or stroke our pets. This is why owning them has been shown to lower our blood pressure and help get our stress levels under control. This, in part, explains the real emotional pain felt by us on the loss of a beloved companion animal.

These very real feelings are compounded by the now thankfully outmoded viewpoint that we should somehow ‘hide’ our emotions.

Thankfully, most bereaved pet owners can now expect to have a level of sympathy and support when a companion animal dies that may even include time off work. But, there is still a feeling that our pets’ lives should not be celebrated and that once they have been laid to rest they should gradually be forgotten. However, when a living creature with the capacity for love brings so much joy into our lives, isn’t it a crime – that only the most hard-hearted would ascribe to – that we should not also remember and celebrate their lives?

With this thought firmly in mind, Pets Magazine partnered with 3D pet sculptures creator Arty Lobster, who have a big market for pet memorials, to launch national Pet Remembrance Day in the UK. We felt there was a need for this special memorial day for pets to allow grief, and remembrance, to come into the open.

Lars Andersen, Managing Director of Arty Lobster, explained: “As a country, we still do not really know how to remember our pets and to deal with their loss. Pet Remembrance Day provides a space for people to remember departed pets and to celebrate their lives.

“A growing part of our customer base is served by people looking for that lasting memento mori of their pet. People want to have a good send off for their pet, which is most usually their dog or cat companion. They also want ways of remembering their pet and its quirks and character traits and the importance it played in their lives and the life of the family.”

This year, Pet Remembrance Day, which takes place on Tuesday July 5, will raise vital funds for The Oldies Club. We wanted to fundraise for a special cause that would help older pets find loving homes in which to see out their final years.

Olive Armstrong, The Oldies Club, explains: “Our pets are members of our families too, and to dedicate a special day to remember them is a great idea.

“At The Oldies club, we have so many older dogs desperately in need of new forever homes in which to see out their final years. Older dogs can be the most loving and special dogs and they crave love and a nice spot in a warm home to snooze.”

We had amazing support for last year’s Pet Remembrance Day with many poignant stories of pet loss and grief as people shared their feelings, memories and photos of their departed pets on social media. The day also generated major support from groups such as The Rabbit Welfare Association and the campaigning group Cavaliers are Special as well as from a host of online and offline media. Using the hashtag #PetRemembranceDay, over 1000 people shared their stories in a national outpouring of grief over pet loss.

Celebrities including TV vet Emma Milne are already lining up to support the day.

Emma explains: “As a vet and a pet owner, I have experienced the devastation of pet loss from every angle. One of the hardest things for any vet is helping owners through the most difficult times of their lives but it is also our most important job. Having had to make the decision to end my own pets’ lives as well as those of my clients’ pets I completely understand the incredible sense of guilt and the mix of other emotions we all go through.

“For me, like everyone else, animals are part of the family. My ‘boys’, Pan and Badger, were with me for 15 years through thick and thin and their loss utterly crushed me. Events like Pet Remembrance Day are hugely important to bring people together through shared anguish and unite them to help them remember the great times with their pets rather than just the final moments.”

Brilliant services such as the PDSA’s Pet Bereavement Support Service have emerged that can help people cope with their grief. Many people worry about asking for time off from work after the death of a beloved companion animal, and the PBSS can advise on ways to have this important discussion with employers, as well as helping in other ways.

On July 5th, I will be joining the hundreds, and hopefully thousands, of other bereaved pet owners who will be remembering their beloved departed companion animals. Please put Pet Remembrance Day in your diary this year.

You can donate to The Oldies Club at: https://www.justgiving.com/oldies/donate

How you can take part on Pet Remembrance Day:

 Pets Magazine and Arty Lobster have come up with several ways in which people can remember deceased pets on National Pet Remembrance Day, including:

  • Give to The Oldies Club and help to support an older dog.
  • Share the ‘I’m proud to support’ banner above on social media.
  • Take part in a Twitter Chat to share stories and experiences and win a 3D sculpture of a beloved pet (competition to run from mid-June to July 5).
  • A memorial service in a place where the pet liked to walk or play.
  • A memento mori such as a sculpture of the pet
  • A living memorial by planting a tree or flowerbed
  • A pet portrait featuring the pet or their image printed on a coaster or other accessory
  • A scrapbook, blog or social media channel, with photos and other reminders of the pet.
  • A poem about the pet

Other ideas include:

  • Keeping the pet’s favourite toy, collar or blanket
  • Volunteering at an animal rescue centre in remembrance of the pet

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Septuagenarian Vet Cycling From Norfolk To Cape Town For Animal Welfare Charity

Retired vet Graham Duncanson

Retired vet Graham Duncanson

Retired vet Graham Duncanson is celebrating 50 years in the profession by cycling over 8,000km from the UK to South Africa to raise money for the British Veterinary Association’s charity, the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF).

Graham, 72, who worked at Westover Veterinary Centre in Norfolk for 40 years, set off on his bike from his home in Crostwick last week (4 June). Graham, who is a trustee of AWF, aims to complete his journey in two years, following a route that will take him through Western Europe and into Greece before flying to Ethiopia and cycling through Kenya, where Graham spent eight years as a government veterinary officer in his early career. He will then follow the Indian Ocean down the African continent’s east coast to Cape Town.

Graham is raising money for AWF, a charity set up by a group of vets just over 30 years ago to improve the welfare of animals. Today the charity funds research, supports veterinary education, provides pet care advice and encourages veterinary and public debate on animal welfare issues.

Graham said: “I’m no stranger to life on the road – my first job on qualifying was as a field vet in Kenya which I did for eight years. This will be a real adventure though as I am definitely not an accomplished cyclist, however I look forward to the challenge and to raising money for AWF.

“The route may change slightly as the trip goes along, but that’s down more to government travel advice than my decision – for example, although not currently on my route, I would still like to cycle through Egypt to give a lecture or two, however we’ll need to see what’s possible.”

Graham cycled via London to join the annual AWF Discussion Forum in Westminster, attended by other vets, parliamentarians and key stakeholders from the sector, before continuing his cycle to the English south coast with TV vet Emma Milne. Along the way Graham will also be working with equine charitable organisations including the Brooke, SPANA and World Horse Welfare, giving equine welfare and dentistry talks, as well as occasionally returning to the UK to lecture and attend AWF Trustee meetings.

If you would like to sponsor Graham and donate to AWF, or simply find out more about his trip through his regular blog posts, please visit vetduncdares.wordpress.com.

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Appeal Launched For ‘Stowaway’ Cat

Matilda ©Town and Country Photography

Matilda ©Town and Country Photography

A stowaway puss who gave birth to three kittens in the back of a lorry which had travelled 1,800 miles from Turkey to the UK is recovering from her ordeal, thanks to the charity Cats Protection.

Now, the charity is appealing for donations to help fund Matilda’s quarantine, vet bills and documentation fees.

The tortoiseshell cat, named Matilda, was severely dehydrated, thin and shaken when she was discovered by a surprised long distance lorry driver as he unpacked his load after arriving at his destination in Northampton.

Tragically, as well as finding Matilda, who is thought to have climbed on board in Turkey, the driver also found the bodies of her three newly-born kittens, who did not survive the journey.

Having been taken to a local vet, Matilda was immediately placed in a quarantine unit and would have been put to sleep had it not been for kind-hearted cattery owners who contacted Cats Protection for help.

Despite her ordeal Matilda, who is thought to be two years old, is recovering well at the Caragran Four Paws Pet Hotel, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, where she was taken for her quarantine period.

Co-owner of the cattery and kennels Maureen Adams said: “Unfortunately as Matilda isn’t microchipped, we have no way of identifying her and government guidelines dictate that in cases like this cats should be euthanised if an owner can’t be found in 15 days.

“Clearly, she needs to be held in quarantine and that’s why she was transferred to us. But we are very committed animal lovers and putting a healthy cat to sleep is not something we want to be part of.

“As rehoming cats isn’t our area, we needed expert help and we contacted Cats Protection who agreed to take her on. It means that after her quarantine period Matilda will go to the charity for rehoming.

“She was clearly once a pet, as she is very tame. She is a very sweet, friendly and affectionate cat and she really deserves a loving home after all she’s been through.”

Cats Protection’s Branch Support Manager Beverley Mitchell said she was pleased that the charity could offer a second chance to Matilda, who will be transferred to one of the charity’s adoption centres after her four-month quarantine period.

She said: “Matilda has been through a dreadful ordeal being stuck in the lorry and losing her kittens. It must have been hot, dark and terrifying for her, and with no food and water she is fortunate to have survived.

“She is a lucky cat to have found so many animal lovers along the way who have helped her out – from the lorry driver who discovered her and took her straight to a vet, to the cattery staff who have refused to give up on her and contacted Cats Protection for help.”

Beverley added that the charity is appealing for donations to help fund Matilda’s quarantine, vet bills and documentation fees.

She said: “We are so grateful to the staff at Calagran Four Paws Hotel for halving the normal quarantine fees and keeping costs to a minimum. But we still need to find around £1,000 to fund Matilda’s costs.”

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats and kittens each year through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.

To make a donation to Matilda’s appeal, please call Cats Protection on 0800 917 2287. Any funds raised over the quarantine costs will go towards helping other cats in the charity’s care.

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Third Of UK Dogs Enjoy Up To Two Holidays A Year

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British holidaymakers spend £387* million extra on their holidays each year in order to take their pet dog away with them according to new research.

Eighty nine per cent of pet owners now take their pet on holiday, with the majority of these (85%) spending time researching pet friendly accommodation and activities, according to a study by Pets at Home and holidaycottages.co.uk. Thirty per cent have even missed a holiday to avoid leaving their pet behind, and 45% would rather not go on holiday at all than go somewhere without their pet.

Almost a fifth (19%) spend at least £75 extra on top of the usual accommodation and entertaining costs for their pets. Five per cent spend £101-£250 extra and 1% spend up to £500 to ensure that their furry friend enjoys the perfect break.

A third of owners (31%) take their pet on holiday twice a year, 13 per cent taking their pet on holiday three times a year and six per cent more than five times. In fact 14% of those surveyed said they would rather take their pet on holiday than their partner!

Gavin Hawthorn, Head of the VIP Club at Pets at Home, said: “Brits treat their pets as one of the family, so it’s not surprising to see that the nation’s pet owners are splashing out on making holidays extra special for their furry friends and taking the time to plan the trip around their needs.”

James Morris, Managing Director at holidaycottages.co.uk, said: “We have a portfolio of more than 1,400 dog-friendly properties available across the country and last year alone we saw over 20,000 dogs holiday with us. For so many of our customers their pet pooches are unquestionably one of the family and travel with them on their holidays, and this is why we jumped at the chance to partner with Pets at Home’s VIP Club.”

Pets at Home’s VIP club members receive exclusive benefits when booking through www.petsathome.com/dogsgofree.

*Figure created based on RSPCA research that there are nine million dogs in the UK

**Based on a survey of 2,100 pet owners who are members of Pets at Home’s VIP Club

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Dogs’ Favourite TV Programmes Revealed

TV addicts: Square-eyed canines

TV addicts: Square-eyed canines

The average dog now watches more than nine hours of TV a week – with Crufts emerging as their favourite show, according to new research.

A staggering 91% of owners admit their pet regularly sits on the sofa and watches TV with them. A further 36% say their pets is a “TV addict”.

And according to the study, carried out by Wagg, the average British dog spends one hour and 20 minutes a day in front of their favourite TV shows and often barks along to popular theme tunes.

A whopping 20%  of the nation’s dog owners say Crufts – the world’s largest dog show- is their pets’ favourite, while 13 percent said it was Britain’s Got Talent. A further 11% said Emmerdale was top of the soaps, beating EastEnders and Coronation Street, while another nine per cent  said their canine pals loved The Simpsons.

And when it comes to the TV personality most likely to get tails wagging it was a three way tie between Ant and Dec, David Attenborough and Paul O’Grady with 30% of dogs barking when they see their favourite celeb on screen.

Kirsty Allsop, Helen Skelton, Chris Packham and Piers Morgan emerged as the nation’s dogs least favourite stars.

Unsurprisingly football is our dog’s favourite sport (43%), followed by horse racing (12%), tennis (12% and greyhound racing (nine percent).

When it comes to TV turn offs, five per cent said the distinctive Doctor Who theme tune was the signal for their pets to take their leave, while another four per cent said Keeping up with the Kardashians was their dogs idea of viewing hell.

Border Terriers come top of the TV watching list, clocking up an average 12 hours a week, while Boxers watch 11 hours. Cocker Spaniels watch the least at just eight hours.

24% owners say their dog enjoys sitting down and watching a good box set with 15% claiming Game of Thrones is their favourite, followed by 14% who said their pooch enjoys zombie apocalypse show The Walking Dead.

A further 71% of owners say watching TV strengthens the bond between them and their pet.

Clinical Animal Behaviourist Rosie Barclay added: “Dogs are social creatures and love being with humans. Watching TV snuggled up with their best friend in a relaxed environment is going to appeal to them.

“They may even gain pleasure from seeing the things they enjoy most being batted from one end of the screen to another or scuttling about in the undergrowth.

“They may also be positively stimulated by the sight and sounds of other dogs and people, and there may even be the chance of a tasty snack or two! As long as your dog is showing relaxed and happy behaviours and comes back for more, then all is good.

“However, if your dog is barking madly at the TV, tries to move away, is panting, shaking, licking its lips or showing the whites of its eyes then perhaps it’s time for some quiet time away from the screen and you should ask your vet to refer you to someone who can help your dog cope better with the things that humans enjoy.”

Wagg commissioned the study to mark the launch of Dogglebox, a one-off spoof specially created for YouTube with a completely canine cast. The video sees pooches of all shapes and sizes parody the Channel 4 TV show, Gogglebox.

Here’s Dogglebox:

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