Jack the Border Terrier is Nation’s Top Dog Hero

Friends for Life winner Vanessa Holbrow and Sir Jack Spratticus with Geri Horner. Credit Flick.digital.

Beloved rescue Border Terrier ‘Sir Jack Spratticus’ has been announced as the winner of the dog hero competition, Friends for Life, at Crufts 2018.

Owned by Vanessa Holbrow, from Burnham on Sea, Somerset, Jack, had been to four homes before being rescued at the age of 13 months by Vanessa, and he is credited with changing her life, helping her to live with complex mental health issues, by giving her confidence, companionship and stability.

Jack, who was selected from the Breed Rescue category, was one of just five dogs to make it to the final of the Friends for Life competition at Crufts, which celebrates the close bond between man and dog and celebrates heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity. The winner was chosen by public vote and was announced in the Genting Arena at Crufts by Geri Horner nee Halliwell.

Together they raise awareness and breakdown stigma attached to mental health issues. Jack has given Vanessa the motivation and confidence to speak on local radio and write articles for Rethink, and together they have raised thousands of pounds for mental health charities. Jack was accepted by the organisation Canine Generated Independence in August 2017 and is now nearing the end of his training to be an official assistance dog to Vanessa.

Vanessa and Jack were presented their award and a cheque for £5,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for charity Border Terrier Welfare, the charity that rescued Jack. The four other finalists also received £1,000 for their chosen dog charity for getting through to the prestigious final.

Speaking about their win, Vanessa: “I am in absolute disbelief and am so proud of Jack. He had such a bad start in life and it took me a year to train him, but this just shows what love and patience can do. He is training to be an official assistance dog, he helps to raise awareness of mental health issues and he is my family. I don’t know what I would do without him.”

Geri Horner, said: “Before Vanessa, people had given up on Jack, but Vanessa never did, and Jack never gave up on Vanessa, which makes this such a beautiful partnership. This competition epitomises what Crufts is about – we care for dogs, and they care for us as well.”

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Huge congratulations to Vanessa and Jack for their incredible win – their story is so moving and inspiring, it really shows how dogs can transform the lives of their owners.

“We have had some amazing finalists for this year’s Friends for Life competition, and they all should be extremely proud to have got through to the final five. Each finalist has helped to change and improve the quality of their owner’s life, showing unwavering loyalty and they are a great example of the incredible difference that dogs can make to people’s lives.”

The five dogs which made the 2018 final were selected by a panel of judges from the Kennel Club, where they were chosen for the lifetime of love and loyalty they give to their owners and for the way that they have irrevocably changed their lives.

We will be featuring an inspirational story by Vanessa on how Jack has changed her life in two parts – May and June editions.

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Why ‘No Pets’ Rule in Rental Sector Is Wrong

Roughly 54 million people in the UK are pet-owners (statista). We are also experiencing an increase in the number of people renting over buying, due to the cost of house prices and flexibility.

So, when landlords state ‘no pets allowed’ on listings, this not only causes problems for people looking to find a new home to rent but also significantly reduces the scope of people who the advert appeals to.  Therefore it should be addressed why having pets in rented accommodation is not only beneficial for the tenants, but it’s actually a good thing for the landlord too!

NatWest’s Landlords and Tenants Survey revealed some very telling results about what pet-lovers we are as a nation. Out of the 1000 tenants across the country surveyed, one-fifth stated a pet-friendly property was the most important attribute, trumping cleanliness and affordability. Interestingly, 81% of this fifth were female! This proves just how essential pets are to our lives.  

The Benefits To You

We know the joys that our pet brings us. However, there are numerous health benefits that we don’t even think about when playing with our cat or dog. Our stress and anxiety levels decrease when we have a pet, this has a positive knock-on effect on the reduction of risk for more serious issues like high blood pressure and heart disease. Taking our dog for a walk seems ordinary, but we don’t consider how this daily walk reduces obesity and cardiovascular disease and increases sociability for us and our dog.

The benefits extend to children as having a cat or dog is might actually be a preventative method for them to develop allergies and boost their immunity.  It also gives them an introduction into responsibility and taking care of something other than themselves.

We are building a better understanding of the importance of mental health, and it has been found having a pet has a positive effect on our mental health and can help combat loneliness. This has been recognised widely and dogs are welcomed into nursing homes to lift the moods of those feeling lonely, the charity Pets As Therapy.

The Benefits to the Landlord

After discussing some of the benefits your pet brings you, address why it will be a good thing for the landlord too. Firstly, having a dog, for example, adds additional security, preventing burglaries. Discuss how pet-owners don’t want to cause disruption in their pets lives with constant moving around, hence will stay in the property for a longer period of time. This means they won’t have to keep finding new tenants year on year.

Understanding their point of view is crucial, so try and address their concerns. These are things you would do without a second thought, but conveying this to your landlord will help them see how responsible you are. Cleaning up your pet’s messes, grooming them, repairing any damages they cause and training your pet properly so they are approachable and sociable are all tangible ways of depicting your cat or dog won’t be a problem.

Some Simple Solutions

If your landlord is still having some doubts, think of some ways to put their mind at ease. Offering a slightly higher deposit than a tenant without pets will depict your willingness to take responsibility for any damage your pet could cause. You could arrange for your landlord to meet your pet so they feel comfortable with them and remove some of the mystery as to who your pet is and what they’re like. The landlord might have a misconception as to what damage pets can cause and the level of noise they make, so if they meet your pet, it can relax them. To show you are a responsible tenant, uphold a level of cleanliness you’re both happy with. If you have dogs, give them plenty of exercise so they don’t become restless, and treat the rented property with respect.

Finally, if your landlord has agreed to allow you to have pets, don’t break their trust and keep any more than you both agreed upon. This will damage your relationship and could cause some legal issues. Ultimately, you want a positive relationship with your landlord, so think about ways you will both be happy, so you and your furry friend should be able to stay for the long haul.

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COMPETITION: Win a year’s supply of Zoflora’s Pet-friendly Disinfectant, Fresh Home

One lucky Pets magazine reader is in with a chance of winning a year’s supply of pet friendly disinfectant worth around £60.00 in total, from the UK’s most popular liquid disinfectant brand, Zoflora, helping you to keep your home fragrantly fresh and clean.

Containing patented malodour technology, Zoflora Fresh Home has been tested against pet-specific odours and eliminates nasty whiffs with ease – even that unpleasant wet dog smell! The refreshing Mountain Air fragrance has been specifically tested to be kind to your pets’ noses, whilst leaving a beautiful long-lasting scent in every room, creating an inviting atmosphere for your family and guests.

Like all Zoflora products, Fresh Home also kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses including Bordetella Bronchiseptica (a cause of kennel cough in dogs), Campylobacter Jejuni (diarrhoea in dogs and humans) and MRSA (antibiotic-resistant infections in dogs, and other pets).

Keep up-to-date with Zoflora and follow them on: Twitter: @loveZoflora, Facebook: www.facebook.com/LoveZoflora and Instagram: lovezoflora.

For more information on Zoflora visit www.Zoflora.co.uk


To enter our competition, please visit the following web page and answer the simple question: http://www.competitionshub.co.uk/competition/win-a-years-supply-of-zofloras-petfriendly-disinfectant-fresh-home-23/

The closing date for entries is Friday 2nd March 2018 at 4.00pm. Ts&Cs apply.


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Can YOU Give Patsy His Forever Home?

Patsy, age 8, has been homeless for 3 years and his carers would love him to have a warm, loving home as soon as possible.

Handsome Patsy is quite shy and takes a little while to show his true personality, which he will do when he has a forever family.

Patsy is tall, black and absolutely stunning, however, since he retired he has been going a bit grey round the face.  He is, of course, a greyhound and is sad that, so far he has been overlooked.  Ideally his new family should be experienced in looking after one of this fantastic breed.

Contrary to public belief, greyhounds only need two 20 minute walks a day and like nothing better than cuddles on the sofa with their humans.

At the moment, staff at Greyhound Trust, Dunton do not know if Patsy is other dog or cat friendly, as he has spent his whole life just with his own breed.

Can you help Patsy get a new home?  Then do get in touch with the Trust on 07852 734 958 to go and meet Patsy and arrange a home check.


Email: [email protected]


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Give Pet-friendly Petals this ‘Pawlentines’ Day

You may have heard of ‘Galentine’s Day’? When gals celebrate their pals by sending gifts to one another. Well, another trend is on the rise this February 14th for those with pets… we like to call it ‘Pawlentine’s Day’!

As a *poll reveals that 50% of pet owners would rather splash their cash on their furry friends than on their partners, and 14% have even admitted they loved their pet pal more than their other half, many people are now giving flowers to their four-legged friends.

As Valentines Day approaches, research by Euroflorist has revealed an increase of bouquets being delivered from pets to people and even people to pets!

“Most people think Valentine’s Day is a time when people buy flowers for their other half, but over the past few years, we’ve noticed an increase of deliveries being sent to, or on behalf of a pet. Living proof that it’s not just romantic love that is celebrated at this time of year, “ says Euroflorist CEO Laszlo Varga.

However, if you are planning Valentine’s flowers to celebrate your furry friend, bear in mind that some flowers and plants can be toxic to animals.

“We frequently have customers enquiring as to whether our bouquets are pet-friendly,” says Laszlo, “and we believe it’s crucial to point out the hazards of particular flowers to domestic animals.”

With this in mind, Eflorist has teamed up with animal welfare charity Blue Cross who have some valuable tips about pets and petals…

“Blue Cross is warning pet owners that some flowers and plants can be deadly to our four-legged friends so to take care if flowers are in the house or garden. Among the most common toxic plants are lilies which can cause kidney failure if eaten by cats. The pollen can rub off easily onto a cat’s fur when they brush past. If they lick just a small quantity it can be very dangerous and a vet should be contacted immediately. African daisy, calendula and nasturtium may be safer alternatives to add to your bouquet.”

Caroline Reay, Blue Cross Vet, says: “A nice bunch of flowers can really brighten up your home, but there are certain plants and flowers that can be harmful, even fatal, to pets. Lilies can be extremely dangerous, even in tiny amounts or by picking up pollen on fur, and should be avoided all together. Other plants such as tulips, amaryllis and begonias can also be a threat if consumed by your dog or cat.  

“If you’re thinking about sending a bouquet or plant to a pet owner, it’s worth doing some research to make sure the flowers are pet friendly. If you’re worried your pet has eaten something it shouldn’t, seek veterinary advice immediately.”

For more flower advice please see our list of pet-friendly-flowers, visit www.bluecross.org.uk or contact your vet.

If you have a pet who you love, tag them with their favourite pet friendly flower on Instagram @efloristflowers @the_blue_cross and with #bemypawlentine.

(*Poll by Natures Menu of 1000 pet owners.)

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Blue Monday? Millions of pets face an Unhappy BlueYear, says PDSA

Forget Blue Monday – millions of pets face a Blue Year unless their owners take steps to end their stress, obesity and loneliness, according to leading pet wellbeing charity PDSA.

The warning comes on Monday 15 January – dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ – where short,  dark days, empty pockets and dwindling New Year’s resolutions all add up to create the most melancholic day of the year. But PDSA is urging pet owners to spare a thought for the pets who face another year of loneliness and boredom going far beyond the joyless ’January blues’.

According to the 2017 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, 1.8 million (19%) are routinely left at home alone for five hours or more on a typical weekday, leaving them facing another solitary year with little company.

Katy Orton, PDSA Veterinary Campaigns Manager, says: “Loneliness can be incredibly damaging for our four-legged friends. Dogs require lots of mental and physical stimulation, as well as human companionship, and shouldn’t routinely be left alone for longer than four hours at most. Bored dogs are unhappy dogs – they can show their frustration by chewing and being destructive, barking, toileting in the house, or developing other habits.

“Our 2017 PAW Report also revealed the shocking news that 93,000 dogs* are never walked, leaving thousands unstimulated and at risk of becoming overweight or developing obesity. This can predispose them to serious health problems such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. Given an estimated 40% of UK cats and dogs are thought to be overweight**, this is only adding fuel to the fire of a growing pet obesity epidemic.”

Rabbits are also suffering in silence throughout the year, as PDSA warns of a general lack of understanding about what they need to be happy and healthy. Bunnies are incredibly social animals who require compatible cotton-tailed companions, but over half (56%) are still living alone, causing lifelong boredom and stress.

Many rabbits also live in small hutches at the bottom of a garden, rather than the large hutches with constant access to large exercise areas, toys, and places to hide and explore.

Furthermore, many are fed incorrect diets, with 31% of rabbits being fed too little hay (i.e. less than their own body size daily) and a quarter being fed muesli as part of their main diet, which leads to digestive problems, dental issues, and obesity. Rabbits’ diets should be fibre-rich with plenty of high quality feeding hay and small amounts of pelleted foods and fresh greens.

PDSA research also found that cats have a reason to be down in the dumps too, with 2.1 million cats (20%) living in a house with one or more moggies that they don’t get along with.

“Unlike dogs and rabbits, cats usually tend to prefer living alone”, Katy adds. “Living in a multi-cat household can lead to stress, fighting, spraying indoors, over-grooming and urinary problems. If you have multiple cats living under the same roof, it’s important each cat has their own resources and there should always be one more litter tray available than the number of cats in the household. Make sure there are plenty of cat beds, hiding places, scratching posts and feeding areas as they may not want to share! These should also be dotted around the house so they can have their own space if they want it, and should help them to be much happier and friendlier felines.”

If you are concerned about your pet, or need pet advice on keeping your pet happy and healthy, book an appointment to see your vet. Free pet health tips can also be found on PDSA’s website: www.pdsa.org.uk.

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Giving a Rescue Dog the Best Second Chance Possible

Rescue dogs are special. They have often been through difficult circumstances in their lives, and because of this, they really need some extra care and attention on both the emotional and physical sides. In fact, it’s only right to give them the best second chance possible. Read on to find out how to do this.

Choose carefully

To give your rescue pup the best second chance, it’s vital that you think long and hard before you choose which one you will rehome.

This is because you need to consider many different factors such as how much time you can spend at home with your dog. After all, it may not be fair on a pup that has a bad time of it if you are at work all day, especially if they are nervous and have possible attachment issues.

It’s also important to consider things such as the size of the dog you are looking to get. Ask yourself questions like will there be enough room for them? Can you afford all the food that they will need, and will you be able to handle them when you take them on walks outside the house? All of this is vital because you want to make the right decision the first time. Otherwise, the rescue dog will have to go back to the kennels and start the whole process again. Something that can be very difficult and upsetting for them.

Look after their health

While rehoming shelters and kennels often do a lot for their canine residents in term of physical health and wellbeing, some rescue dogs may have ongoing health conditions that you will need to continue to treat.

To do this, you will need to get as much information from the kennel and the vets on their health as possible and make provision for any issues they do have.

This may be something simple like switching them to a grain free food like some of the ones listed at https://www.stopthatdog.com/best-canned-dog-food/ if they have an allergy. However, it could be something much more complicated like paying for them to have an operation or long-term treatment for a chronic condition.

Give them time

Next, when you bring any puppy or dog home, you will need to give them some time and patience to get used to their new family and environment. With rescue dogs, this need is amplified, often because they have been through a lot of change and can even have been mistreated by their former owners. That means you can’t expect them to be like a normal family dog straight off the cuff.

A quiet space with a good dog bed is vital for a rescue pup.

Instead, give them plenty of love and treats, but be patient and ensure they have a quiet, protected space like the examples at https://www.rover.com/blog/ that they can retreat to away from the noise and bustle of the family. Yes, It may take some time, but with good treatment and a loving attitude, they should begin to learn that you are not a threat in the way their past owners were and they can be more relaxed in their new home than they have ever been before.

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Choosing the Right Dog Food

Just as you pay special care and attention what you put into your own body, you need to be doing the same for your dog. Of course, there is no single food that is best for every type of dog. It very much depends on a number of different factors including their age, breed, health condition, and how their general digestive system works. Sometimes, it takes a bit of trial and error until you find what is right for them. Here are just a few tips that can help you out when it comes to choosing dog food.

Consider Stage of Life

First of all, you need to consider what stage of life that your dog is currently at. Puppies eating adult food will not get the increased amounts of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals that they need to grow big and strong. On the flip side, an adult dog eating puppy food is likely to become overweight very quickly. Older dogs may need to switch to a senior food brand that is more easily digested.

Select Food Type

The most common types of dog food include dry, semi-moist and canned. Which one you go for on a regular basis depends very much on your dog, though dry food tends to be recommended most often. The internet is a valuable tool that will give you more information, but you should also consult with your vet if you are having any issues deciding.

Look at the Ingredients

High-quality ingredients obviously make up healthy food, so it is worth taking the time to check out what goes into your dog’s food. This type of information is readily available online for brands like Betsy Farms. There are certain legal specifications when it comes to the percentages of the basic food groups that dog food contains, but some may have lower energy values and lower-grade proteins. Look out for meat, fish and egg content as these are all things which have a high biological value.

Take Your Time When Switching Foods

Once you have finished doing all your comparisons, the time has come to present the food to your dog. If you are offering them something completely different, you need to allow plenty of time for your pooch to make the transition from their old brand to the new one. A sudden change in food can lead to problems with your dog’s digestion. You should be aiming to introduce the new food into their diet slowly – ideally, over the course of 7-10 days. Start with a small amount mixed with their old food, and you can gradually start to increase the ratios over time. If you encounter any problems along the way, don’t try to force the issue. Speak with your vet to see if you can identify what the problem is.

Once your dog is happy with their new food, take a closer look at them once they have been eating it for about a month. Bright eyes, a shiny coat, a healthy body condition, and good energy levels are all signs that you have got it right.

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RSPCA Welcomes Government Crackdown on Illegal Puppy Breeders and Smugglers

The RSPCA has welcomed plans announced by the Government today (Friday 22 December) to crack down on dog breeders in England who put profits ahead of the health and welfare of the animals – as the charity revealed 2017 was its busiest year yet tackling the illegal puppy trade.

Defra has today announced proposals to tighten regulations around the breeding and selling of puppies in England – in a move which it’s hoped will help eradicate the underground, illegal puppy trade which is worth millions of pounds a year. It is the biggest change in pet vending for 66 years.

The Government has announced that it is developing proposals, including:

  • Ensuring that licensed dog breeders must show puppies alongside their mother before a sale is made;
  • Tightening regulations so that puppy sales are completed in the presence of the new owner – preventing online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first and only allowing sales of puppies from the premises;
  • Insisting licensed dog breeders can only sell puppies they have bred themselves;
  • Regulating adverts, including on the internet, by ensuring licensed sellers of all pets, including puppies, include the seller’s licence number, country of origin and country of residence of the pet in any advert for sale.

Under the new rules puppies bred by licensed breeders will have better protection under law; anyone selling a puppy, including online, will need to get a licence and display that licence number; and buyers will need to see the puppy with the mother at the place it was bred before being able to complete a purchase.

RSPCA interim chief executive Michael Ward welcomed the announcement: “This is good news for the hundreds of thousands of dogs bought and sold in England every year.

“This year our inspectors, working with the police and councils, rescued hundreds of puppies and breeding dogs being kept in miserable, squalid conditions by heartless people cashing in on the growing market for puppies.

“We hope these proposed licensing conditions for England, which include a ban on breeders selling puppies other than from their licensed premises, will improve the welfare of puppies and their parents and also crackdown on the multi-million pound illegal trade making it less likely that people are duped by rogue dealers.

“We also welcome moves to stop the illegal smuggling of puppies which is a vile trade resulting in the suffering and death of countless dogs.”

The RSPCA is opposed to third party sales of puppies and hope these new measures will go some way to achieving that goal.

The RSPCA is also pleased to see Defra pledging to look into future measures to tackle the illegal smuggling of puppies, which is another major welfare issue within the underground puppy trade.

It comes as the RSPCA reveals it rescued 295 dogs from puppy farms and unscrupulous breeders in 2017 (up to 20 December) – bringing the total number of dogs rescued since 2013 up to 1,749. The charity has seen its busiest year yet investigating complaints relating to the puppy trade with 4,125 calls in total in England. That’s an 11.8% increase compared to last year.

Just last month we – as part of a multi-agency taskforce called Operation Delphin – intercepted a shipment of seven puppies being smuggled through Fishguard Port, in Wales.

The puppies – two foxhound types and five cocker spaniels – were found in two crates in the boot of a car which disembarked a Rosslare to Fishguard ferry at 1.30am on 23 November. The dogs were thought to be between eight and 10-weeks-old and were subject to welfare concerns.

The charity also welcomes the news that there will be plans to address the breeding of dogs with harmful genetic disorders.

RSPCA dog welfare expert, Lisa Hens, said: “The RSPCA has long held grave concerns for the many dogs who continue to suffer ill-health and welfare because they have been bred primarily for how they look. ​

“We believe that all those who breed dogs – whether pedigree, purebred or crossbreed – should prioritise health, welfare and temperament over appearance when choosing which animals to breed, in order to protect the welfare of both the parents and offspring​, and welcome​ proposals to address this.

“We would welcome further information on these proposals and how they would be enforced.”

The Government has also confirmed that it will be taking forward the recommendations made by Defra earlier this year in respect of the consultation on the breeding and selling of animals in England. The RSPCA is hopeful that this set of new regulations and licensing conditions will better protect the welfare of dogs and puppies, and help keep people safe from falling victim to these unscrupulous sellers.

The RSPCA always encourages people to consider rehoming a rescue dog and encourage anyone thinking of taking on a dog to look on its website. For those who want to buy a puppy, the RSPCA is urging them to download the free Puppy Contract to help ensure they buy a happy and healthy dog.

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3 Pet Parasites That Are Still Active In Cold Weather

We all love our furry friends and do everything we can to ensure that their lives are fulfilling, active, happy and healthy. This includes keeping an eye on pesky parasites that can make a home for themselves in your beloved pet’s fur, skin and even their digestive systems. As vigilant as we are in the fair summer and spring months we have a misplaced faith in the winter to kill off any unwelcome nasties that can compromise our pets’ health.

Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Indeed, there are some parasites for which winter weather is not only survivable but provides the prime conditions for breeding and infestation. As a responsible pet owner you must be vigilant in fair or foul weather to prevent your fuzzy buddy from potentially damaging parasitic infections.


It might have aname that sounds like a pretty creeping vine in your garden, but giardia is a profoundly unpleasant parasite that can affect both dogs and their human counterparts. When the parasite breeds it leads to giardiasis which is a potentially serious condition that results in diarrhea and potential malnutrition and even inflammatory bowel disease. Dogs tend to ingest these parasites when they come into contact with the feces of other animals which contains giardia cysts. They are in fact most commonly transmitted in water which contains this feces. Keep a close eye on your dog when walking them through snowy areas as snow can hide potentially malignant feces from your view. If your dog exhibits frothy, greasy and particularly foul smelling diarrhea this is likely a sign of giardiasis and must be treated immediately.


Mites can affect all kinds of pets from the largest to the smallest, causing irritation, pain and the possibility of more serious infection in animals from horses to mice. Mites can survive for weeks without sustenance and once they’ve set up shop in your pet’s fur they can create a range of problems (especially if you let them in your bed). Use mite spray regularly to prevent this. Be sure to select a repellent spray that uses natural ingredients to reduce the risk of damage or irritation to your furry friend’s skin. Apply 1-2 times a day rubbing against the grain of your pet’s fur and applying to affected areas of skin where applicable.


Fleas may not be able to survive for long in extreme cold but they’re crafty creatures and will often enveigl their way into your home by latching onto a warm blooded host like a passing rat or even in your pet’s fur. Once an adult female flea has found a host she can lay several hundred eggs throughout her life cycle. Once one of these eggs has been shed they can develop pretty much anywhere and when they’re allowed to breed in your house, they’re insulated from the effects of winter. If your pet exhibits signs of a flea infection the best thing to do is enlist a professional exterminator to remove all traces of infestation from your home.

Unfortunately, the cold offers little protection from nasty parasites, but with a little vigilance you can ensure that your pet has a safe and happy winter.


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