Office Worker’s Pregancy ‘Outed’ at Work by Colleague’s Dog!

A dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a human’s (depending on the breed)

A Manchester office worker was surprised to find that a colleague’s dog was able to detect her pregnancy during a meeting, suggesting there may be some credence to the research that four legged friends are able to spot pregnancy ahead of their human owners.

Freya McNally, senior content manager at Pets at Home, was able to successfully conceal her pregnancy from all of her colleagues, except for one nosey office dog.

Freya said: “When I was about eight weeks pregnant – and long before I told anyone – I was in a meeting with a colleague, senior designer, Angie Keay and her dog, Chesney, a  a Yorkshire Terrier, Jack Russel, Chihuahua cross.

“Although our pets often come to meetings with us, I had never spent much time around Chesney, so I was quite surprised when he snuggled up to me. Angie was a bit embarrassed and kept trying to remove Chesney, but he would just cuddle up again!”

When the meeting was over, Freya forgot all about it. But Angie told a mutual colleague that Chesney had a history of snuggling up to pregnant women, despite normally being very shy. Experts agree that both cats and dogs can detect when a woman’s pregnant, although they’re not sure exactly how. Some dogs detect very early hormonal changes using their sense of smell – and its thought this may be why Chesney reacted as he did.

So, when Freya announced her pregnancy at work a few weeks later, Angie wasn’t the least bit surprised. She said: “In fact, Angie said she was so glad she had told our colleague about Chesney’s super-sense because otherwise no one would have believed her!” says Freya.

“The hormonal changes must have made me smell different to Chesney, but it’s not something that can be detected by the human nose.

“I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and family; it’s now my favourite work story!”

More information on pets and pregnancy can be found in the latest issue of Pets at Home’s My VIP magazine. The magazine is free to VIP club members and available at Pets at Home stores throughout the UK.

For more information about Pets at Home’s VIP club, please visit: vip.petsathome.com.

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Canine Health Campaigners “Dismayed” by Crufts ‘Best in Breed’ Champ

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Campaigners for tighter health checks on Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, a breed beset by hereditary health issues, say they are “dismayed” the Kennel Club is “ignoring” their concerns – after a dog crowned ‘Best in Breed’ at Crufts has “been bred flouting health guidelines.”

Cavaliers suffer in high numbers from an inherited heart condition called Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) and Syringomyelia, a painful neurological disorder. Almost  31,000 have signed an online petition asking the Kennel Club to only register puppies from Cavaliers screened for these conditions.

Last Friday, Margaret Carter, Charlotte Mackaness and TV vet Emma Milne presented Bill Lambert, Health and Breeder Services Manager at the KC, with comments from the petition at Crufts. They told Mr Lambert that there would be no need to petition the KC if sufficient breeders were carrying out health checks and followed guidelines.

The three have since written an open letter to Mr Lambert expressing their dismay that the Cavalier that won the Best of Breed title at Crufts later that day had seven litters of puppies registered with the UK Kennel Club before he was 2.5 years old.

“Two years ago the Cavalier awarded Best of Breed had sired a litter of puppies before his first birthday. If one looks only at the dogs entered in the Crufts’ show guide for this year’s Open Dog Class, eight sired litters registered with the UK Kennel Club before they reached 2.5 years old, some well before this age,” they write.

Breeding guidelines put in place in the 1990s state that Cavaliers should not be bred before this age.

The Cavalier Club’s website states: “Reputable breeders are aware of these health problems. Those intending to purchase a puppy are recommended to buy from a breeder who health tests their stock, who follows breeding guidelines issued by veterinary experts, and who is prepared to discuss and advise the purchaser on health issues.”

Pets Magazine’s Sophie, a ruby Cavalier

 

In addition, the health campaigners claim that not only is the Best in Breed winning dog, Castlewytch Rave On With Russmic, owned by a Cavalier Club committee member but his second registered litter was bred by the then chair of the Cavalier Club who is still the Kennel Club Cavalier Breed Health Coordinator.

The group also highlights that one of the dogs entered for the class they examined starting siring puppies before his first birthday, despite being bred and owned by a regional Cavalier Club puppy coordinator.

TV vet Emma Milne explained: “When the people giving breed advice, including the Club’s own health liaison and puppy coordinators, are producing animals outside of protocols, what hope is there for the breed or for puppy buyers trying to be responsible.”

There is no official heart testing scheme in the UK for Cavaliers, despite MVD being their biggest killer and 20 times more prevalent than in other breeds. There is a long-standing heart scheme run by the Cavalier Club that campaigners would like the Kennel Club to adopt but make mandatory.

“Research published earlier this year by respected cardiologists found that in 20 years the age of onset of MVD has improved by only six months and only in bitches examined by a GP vet,” says Margaret Carter. “Only four per cent of breeders were following the MVD guidelines at some stages of the study.”

Many European countries have mandatory health testing for Cavaliers, including Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark, which has seen it’s the risk of MVD in Cavaliers fall by 73 per cent since introducing a compulsory heart testing scheme for the breed.

“The winner of this year’s Best of Breed at Crufts makes a total mockery of the breed club and Kennel Club claims that they are committed to Cavaliers’ health and welfare,” believes Emma Milne. “Litters should not be registered from breeders that are so blatantly ignoring well-accepted specialist research and advice. These health problems are widespread and devastating for the dogs and their owners. Nothing concrete has been done to improve things for decades. It’s way past time for change.”

In response, Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Health and Breeder Services Manager, said: “We fully support attempts to highlight the health and welfare issues that can affect Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and as dog lovers, we fully understand how passionate those who have signed the petition are about their Cavaliers.  We are glad that Crufts is able to shine a spotlight on dogs and provides a chance for these types of issues to be discussed more widely.

“Whilst the Kennel Club promotes health screening and makes many tests a requirement under its Assured Breeder Scheme when they are proven to work, health testing is not a legal requirement for breeders and registration with the Kennel Club is only voluntary. Therefore making the test mandatory for registration will simply drive breeders away from the Kennel Club, where they will continue to breed, resulting is us having fewer health test results and less information about the specific condition.  The Kennel Club only registers an estimated thirty per cent of the pedigree dog population, so it is important that we maintain influence over those who do register their dogs with us.

Mr Lambert added: “Instead, we need to understand breeders’ concerns about tests if they are not all using them, and support and incentivise them to do so. Where tests do not produce definitive results about whether puppies will be affected by a condition, such as the CM/SM test for syringomyelia, and because of the cost and risks associated with tests like this, we believe collaboration with breeders who are passionate about improving breed health will be much more effective than making the test a mandatory requirement for Kennel Club registration.

“We are realistic and we know that not all breeders will wish to put their dog forward for testing, but we do not need large numbers to produce results and to build a picture about the health of the breed in order to improve it.

“We have recently agreed to publish results of the Danish heart scheme for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and are working with both breed representatives and veterinary cardiologists to develop a UK-based scheme that will be easier for breeders to access. We will continue to work with the relevant experts to develop solutions for all health conditions, to assist breeders in breeding healthy puppies and help buyers make informed choices.”

View and sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/the-uk-kennel-club-stop-registerin-g-cavalier-king-charles-spaniel-puppies-unless-their-parents-are-mri-scanned-and-heart-tested

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Insight: Horse Care Tips

Horses are beautiful creatures and buying your first one is sure to be one of the most exciting moments of your life, but you shouldn’t let your giddiness stop you from thinking about the needs of your horses.

If you’ve never owned a horse before, here are some key horse care tips to help you on your way:

Horse-y Language

As soon as you become a horse owner, you will be bombarded with a whole host of new words referring to your new companion. If you want to be able to chat with other horse owners, vets and other professionals, knowing your horse terminology is a must. It will make your life easier, and you’ll be more able to express any concerns you have regarding your horse.

Horse Nutrition

Even if you are planning to stable your horse at a facility that takes care of all their needs, it is important that you get to grips with the basics of equine nutrition.

Horses are natural grazers, who when left in the field will continue to much throughout the day. If you are keeping your horse in a stall and fed only one or two meals of concentrated horse food, they can develop digestive problems. In order to avoid this, you need to do what you can to ensure your horse always has a little bit of food in his digestive tract throughout the day.

You can achieve this by feeding your horse hay before you give him any grain. Horses tend to wolf down grain, but if they’ve quelled their hunger with a nice bit of hay, they are less likely to do so and will be less likely to develop digestive problems as a result.

Additionally, you should also try to feed your horse little and often, to mimic his natural grazing tendencies. Feeding grain around four times a day will reduce the likelihood of colic developing and help your horse’s gut to maintain constant levels of important bacteria.

Horse Insurance

It is essential that you take out an equine insurance policy on your horse as soon as you become his owner. Emergency vet treatments can be very expensive, so you need to take out a policy to ensure you can meet your horse’s health needs whatever they may be, and without delay. There is nothing worse than having to put a much-loved animal to sleep simply because you can’t afford the treatment they need. Don’t put yourself, or your horse through this when taking out a policy has never been easier.

Learn First Aid

No matter how careful you are and how well you look after your horse, accidents can and do happen, and you need to be able to look after your horse when they do. Luckily, there are quite a few horse first aid and equine health courses, which will not only teach you what to do in an emergency but which will also show you how to spot the tell-tale signs of a sick animal. Attending one of these courses is one of the best things you can do for your horse.

Enjoy your horse, but be mindful of your actions and you will have lots of great new experiences together.

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Arty Lobster to Show ‘3D Dogs’ at Crufts this Week

Visitors, and those showing dogs, at Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show, this week (9-12 March), will be able to immortalise their beloved dog in 3D thanks to innovative technology from Arty Lobster.

3D printing experts Arty Lobster have taken a stand (Hall 2, Stand 1) at Crufts where breeders will be able to have their dogs presented in breed-specific showing, or ‘stacking’, positions. They will also be able to have the dog’s Cruft’s success engraved on the sculpture’s bronze base. Dog lovers can also have the name of their pet engraved.

Show goers will be able to take advantage of a 15% discount on the cost of having their dog immortalised in 3D.

Lars B. Andersen, Founder and CEO of Arty Lobster, said: “It’s exciting to be exhibiting at Crufts, as it’s such a vital part of the pet industry’s calendar, and the biggest and most important dog show in the world. The 3D sculptures are perfect mementos of Crufts, as winners will be able to celebrate their dogs’ success with a specially engraved sculpture, and have their dog presented in their breed’s stacking position.

“We’re bringing a wide selection of 3D sculptures of dog breeds that customers have ordered from snapshots of their own dogs. All people need to do to have their own 3D dog created for them is to upload several photos of their dog to our website at www.artylobster.com. The process is really simple.”

Visitors will be able to check out a recently created 3D sculpture of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s dog ‘Beast’, a Hungarian Sheepdog.

Arty Lobster is known for taking 3D tech to the limit 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 added: “We’re finding that these sculptures are both perfect gifts for dog lovers and also unique and extremely fitting pet memorials for bereaved pet owners. It’s a growing market and these are hugely exciting times for us as we continue to innovate and invest in truly cutting edge equipment and hire additional world-class designers in 3D modelling.”

Arty Lobster produces 3D prints in three options, including sandstone, porcelain and bronze with prices starting at £195. To find out more, visit www.artylobster.com.

Every year, Crufts attracts around 140,000 dog fans with around 22,000 dogs taking part and 2.5 million watching on TV at home.

Crufts is taking part at the NEC in Birmingham and promises to be a hub of all things dog and a brilliant day out for all dog lovers.

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How to Spot Food Intolerance in your Cat

By Dr. Jeremy Campbell BVSc, MANZCVS (Feline Med) RCVS Advanced Practitioner (Feline Medicine) MRCVS

The Pets At Home AVA brand food recall over the Thiamine problems is the stuff of every cat owner’s nightmare. The cat is eating, everything seems to be fine but suddenly it begins to deteriorate. So how should we feed our cats and what are the signs to look out for if something is amiss?

Let’s start with a bit of background. Cats have non-negotiable requirements for certain essential nutrients that they would normally obtain from their natural diet of animal protein.

Thiamine or Vitamin B1 is a member of the B-complex group of water-soluble vitamins which are essential for the proper functioning of an almost infinite number of different molecular systems in your cat’s body.  Cats have increased requirement for these compared to other species and absence or reduced levels of these can result in significant wide-ranging health problems as seen with the Thiamine (B1) issue.

It is not just vitamins that are important; there are also 11 essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) that cats must obtain from their diet, the two important ones being taurine and arginine. Taurine is very important for normal reproduction, neonatal health, vision and heart-muscle function. Your cat can make small amounts of this themselves but the vast majority of it is obtained from the protein in their diet.

Arginine is another essential amino acid and deficiency results in toxic levels of ammonia in the blood causing severe gastrointestinal and neurological signs. Arginine is only obtained from animal protein.

Being smaller mammals, cats don’t have large reserves of these key nutrients so it was no surprise that after less than two months on the thiamine deficient food they were seriously unwell and exhibiting alarming symptoms. Once the problem was identified all three affected pets made full and swift recoveries but how do we avoid the problem happening in the first place?

The fact is as yet we do not know what the optimal combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates (macronutrients) for the perfect feline diet is. We do know the minimal requirements and these are required to be supplemented or present in all manufactured complete cat foods. It is very rare when manufactured foods get the balance wrong and there is a lot of control measures usually in place to prevent this.

Some commercial foods will have higher quality ingredients than others and in order to choose a suitable diet for your cat research the company, the ingredient list and the nutrient profile of the foods you are feeding – Read the back of the pack!

However, as we have seen, mistakes can still occur and by having a degree of variety in your cat’s diet it is not only interesting for them it but it may also have the unexpected benefit of reducing the chance of a deficiency occurring. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Remember, food prepared for humans is not balanced for your cat’s requirements, cooked chicken for example can have a lot less taurine than cats need depending on the processing method. If this is fed alone as the sole source of food it can result in taurine deficiency causing eye and heart problems. Similarly, thiamine deficiency can occur when the vitamin is destroyed during food processing, it can also occur in meat products where sulphur dioxide is used as a preservative and interestingly by an enzyme present in certain types of fish. A 100% raw fish diet – not a good idea.

Remember, food prepared for humans is not balanced for your cat’s requirements

Any food labelled as complementary means that is has not been assessed for nutrient content and balance and should only be fed alongside a complete diet.

We generally recommend mixed 2/3 wet and 1/3 dry diet appropriate to your cat’s life stage and body condition. This enables them to experience a range of tastes and textures. When choosing a food choose the best quality you can comfortably afford. For canned or wet food go with the one that has the highest percentage of high quality protein (think mouse in a can!).  If your cat prefers dry food over wet, you will need to get creative to get a balance in there but this can be fun as well as challenging!

Signs that your cat may not be getting a complete diet:

A dull coat with flaky skin or a change in the colour of your cat’s coat to a lighter ‘dilute’ shade can be due to lack of quality protein and the essential amino acids they require.

  1. What goes in must come out…..if your cat uses a litter tray you should see their poo as a well-formed log that is moist. If it is runny or poorly formed or very hard and crumbly, diet may be a contributing factor
  2. Changes in your cat’s muscle condition and weight. If you cat is losing muscle (we look along their back and hind quarters) which you might have noticed when you stroke them, insufficient protein in the diet could be a cause.
  3. Bone problems -Your cat needs calcium to form strong bones and teeth. Often homemade diets are not adequately supplemented with calcium and phosphorus in the right proportions resulting in damage to bones.
  4. Your cat’s eyes and heart, if you have noticed your cat struggling to see where they are going, missing some easy jumps or they seem to be breathing more rapidly and you have been feeding what you now know might be an unbalanced diet, taurine deficiency could be to blame
  5. Changes in your cat’s behaviour, seizures, weakness and stumbling, unusual head position could all be attributed to a vitamin and amino acid deficient diet

If you are feeding your cat a 100% raw fish, cooked chicken, vegan, vegetarian or complementary manufactured diet, it is not balanced.

Dr. Jeremy Campbell is founder of The London Cat Clinic, a feline only veterinary practice opening in May 2017. In 2015 he became a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Advanced Practitioner in Feline Medicine, 1 of only 15 people to currently hold that qualification in the United Kingdom.

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Exclusive Interview with The Kennel Club on New Health Group for Cavaliers

Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show, kicks off next week, but in recent years it has been dogged by controversy ranging from alleged poisoning of a dog to ‘deformed’ or unhealthy dogs winning trophies.

One such breed that has attracted attention is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a breed that has sadly become a victim of its own success. Increasing numbers of these dogs are suffering from heart problems and another painful condition caused when the dog’s skull is too small to accommodate its brain causing fluid-filled cavities that destroy the spinal cord.

Campaigners say Cruft’s organiser The Kennel Club has failed to take a strong stance, despite outrage after the TV documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed that showed Cavaliers screaming in pain. This resulted in the BBC ditching its coverage of Crufts in 2008. They claim The Kennel Club is not doing enough to ensure that Cavaliers are screened for Mitral Valve Disease and Syringomyelia before they are bred from.

“The Cavalier is in serious trouble and the Kennel Club needs to do much more. Mandatory testing for both these conditions is the bare minimum,” says Jemima Harrison, the documentary’s director.

Some positive steps in the right direction are however now being taken.

Last week, The Kennel Club announced the establishment of a new working group to review and improve the heart screening of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels within the UK. We speak exclusively to The Kennel Club’s Caroline Kisko.

 

Q: What prompted the Kennel Club to set up the new working group?

CK: “The Kennel Club decided to set up a working group to make sure the most effective scheme possible evolves from the breed club initiatives that already exist, following consultation with the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society and the Cavalier breed clubs. We did this to ensure that data gathered via screening programmes is collated centrally so it can be better used to draw inferences about aspects of the disease and its genetic parameters.

“The working group is being set up following consultations between The Kennel Club and representatives of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed clubs and the Veterinary Cardiology Society. It will review the current breed club scheme within the UK and ways in which it can collect information more robustly to a stage where it meets criteria where the results may be recorded on the Kennel Club database and be published on the Health Tests Result Finder, alleviating the need to submit echocardiograms to Denmark.”

 

Q: Who will be members of this group?

CK: “The group is being led by the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society (VCS) and will involve several members of the VCS, as well as the Breed Health Co-ordinator for the breed and representatives from the Kennel Club – Dr Katy Evans, Kennel Club Health Research Manager who leads the Breed Health & Conservation Plans project and Dr Tom Lewis, Kennel Club Genetics & Research Manager.”

“The Kennel Club believes that only healthy dogs should be winning prizes at Crufts and any other show.”

 

Q: Is there a timescale for decisions to be made?

CK: “The group has a very clear aim and unlike other working groups has a sole focus of developing a protocol for a heart scheme for Cavaliers, therefore no other factors are being tabled for consideration and only those essential to progress have been invited to attend.”

 

Q: Is there a future for breeds like the Cavalier that are so beset by genetic health issues or as many people think, shouldn’t real action have been taken long ago?

CK: “The health concerns which affect Cavaliers are extremely complex and the Kennel Club and other organisations are working to progress with the situation, which does take time particularly as the complexities of certain conditions, such as syringomyelia,  mean that new research is still emerging and in order to make genuine improvements in the breed any action taken needs to be evidence based.  

“When existing screening schemes are proven to work we will aim to make them available in the UK, as we did recently with the Danish heart testing scheme developed by the University of Copenhagen and Danish Kennel Club.  The Kennel Club will continue to monitor research, potentially fund new research and seek to provide additional support through the development of new health screening schemes. Our breed health & conservation plans project is key to this and the Cavalier has been identified as a key priority breed for the project.

“It is likely that there will always be a demand for Cavalier puppies, even by those who are aware of the health concerns that can affect the breed, both inside and outside of the Kennel Club’s umbrella of influence and therefore we must continue to endeavour to work with all stakeholders to improve the health of this breed.”

 

Q: What about Crufts….has health screening improved? Do we still see dogs that look deformed or are beset by health issues winning?

CK: “The Kennel Club believes that only healthy dogs should be winning prizes at Crufts and any other show.  Breeds identified as Category Three under the Breed Watch system can have visible health conditions or physical exaggerations that can be detrimental to their health and welfare and as such each of these breeds have to complete a veterinary check before any Best of Breed award can be confirmed at general and group championship shows licensed by the Kennel Club, which includes Crufts.

“In Professor Patrick Bateson’s well respected independent inquiry into dog breeding, he said that dog showing and judging can be a powerful lever for change, which the Kennel Club is still intent on ensuring is the case and we have already seen vast improvements in certain breeds because of the united efforts of both breeders and judges working to improve the health of the dogs that compete in shows.”

The Kennel Club has agreed to record the results of the Danish heart scheme, so for any dogs that have participated in the scheme their results will be recorded on the Kennel Club system and published on the Health Test Results Finder.

 

THE HEALTH ISSUES:

WHAT IS MITRAL VALVE DISEASE?

MVD is a degenerative disease of the heart valves that leads to congestive heart failure. In 2009 a report by a leading veterinary cardiologist stated that 50 per cent of Cavaliers develop MVD heart murmurs by their fifth birthday. It is the biggest killer of Cavaliers under 10.

WHAT IS CM/SM?

Syringomyelia is a painful neurological condition most often seen in Cavaliers, although other breeds like their close relations the Brussels Griffon are also seriously affected. It is often attributed to Chiari-like malformation (CM) of the skull. Put in lay man’s terms, the skull is too small for the brain causing severe pain and forming fluid-filled that cavities that destroy the spinal cord.

Campaigners started a petition, now signed by over 30,000, to call for the ending of the registration by The Kennel Club of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies unless their parents are MRI scanned and heart tested.

View the petition at https://www.change.org/p/the-uk-kennel-club-stop-registerin-g-cavalier-king-charles-spaniel-puppies-unless-their-parents-are-mri-scanned-and-heart-tested

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The Best Horsecare Advice For Beginners

Horses make fantastic pets, and they’re gorgeous creatures. Having said that, there’s a lot you need to know about looking after a horse if you’ve never owned one before. Don’t worry, all the best advice you need can be found in the points below:

Find A Large Open Field For Your Horse To Live

Horses aren’t going to live in your house or in your garden like most other pets. Instead, you need to find a large open field for them to live in. This is because horses are big animals that like to walk around a lot and stretch their legs. They need a sense of freedom, and a field is the easiest way to provide it. Plus, horses eat grass which means they’ll essentially be living in a giant buffet at all times as they can graze on the grass as they please. It’s important that you find a field that’s big enough and doesn’t include too many other horses as well. An overcrowded field will soon be a big problem as your horse will struggle for space. Lastly, try and find somewhere that’s close to where you live as it makes visiting your horse so much easier.

Make Sure You Provide Your Horse With Shelter

Depending on where your horse lives, there may or may not be stables by the field. Ideally, you want to find somewhere that does provide stables that you can use. However, don’t fret if there isn’t, as you can easily get your hands on field shelters for horses that they can live in when the weather gets rough. It’s much better if you can provide shelter for your horse on the field they’re in as it makes everything easier. It’s easier for you to move them to the shelter and groom them, and it’s easy for them to just trot in there if they’re getting too cold outside.

 

Groom Your Horse Regularly

Horses are truly beautiful animals, but their beauty comes with a cost. The cost is that it will cost you hours of your time grooming your horse regularly. While it may take long, the benefits of it are easily seen. Your horse will look much better and be more healthy too. Grooming includes lots of things, most notably brushing their coat, checking their teeth, and making sure their hooves are in good condition too. To do all of this you’ll need to purchase a horse grooming kit, but it will end up lasting you a long time.

Buy A Horse Trailer For Your Car

Finally, you need to get your hands on a little trailer for your car that can be used to transport your horse. There are many reasons you may need to do this, perhaps you’re riding your horse at an event and need to take it to that event? Or, you just want to go for a ride somewhere that’s far away. Of course, you may need to move your horse if you’re switching fields or taking them to a vet. Regardless, you need a horse trailer for transportation.

Use this advice if you’re a first-time horse owner and life will be a lot easier for both you and your horse.

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Top Tips for Holidaying in the UK with Pets

By Sophie Orr, SEO Executive, Sykes Cottages

At Sykes Cottages, we understand what an integral part of the family your four legged friends can be. We also know that pets enjoy holidays as much as people do and more holidaymakers than ever are choosing to take pet friendly breaks in the UK rather than jetting off to sunnier climes.

It can be really difficult to arrange care for your pets whilst you go on holiday. Looking after someone else’s pet can be a huge responsibility and the alternatives, such as placing your dog in kennels, aren’t always the right choice for everyone. With this in mind, we thought it would be extremely useful to offer our top tips for holidaying with pets, from choosing the perfect location to packing and commuting.

Choosing the location

There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the location of your pet friendly holiday. Most importantly, you want to rest assured that there will be plenty of pet inclusive activities and facilities to visit and take advantage of. Dog friendly beaches, parks, walking tracks and pubs are some of the most popular searches potential holidaymakers research when deliberating destinations.

Some of our favourite pet paradises include North Wales, with its award winning beaches, stunning coastal path, the Snowdonia mountain range which will leave you spoilt for choice when it comes to taking long, brisk walks amidst a spectacular backdrop, plus it’s interspersed with luscious green countryside. Yorkshire is another great choice for its true rural beauty, its charming hamlets, a stunning Heritage coast and the delightful Yorkshire Dales National Park. Lastly, Cornwall has some truly exceptional and idyllic sandy beaches, rolling green hills and quaint villages.

Packing for pets

It may seem like an obvious one, but packing the necessities that you use as part of your day to day routine would be the first place to begin. Don’t forget to pack essentials like pet food, bedding, a collar and tags, any medication (where applicable) and plenty of water as your pet will surely get very thirsty during a long car journey. Pack a favourite toy or two as this will keep your pet engaged, entertained and calm due to the reminder of familiar surroundings.

Comfortable travel

Some pets relish jumping in the car alongside you, but others may feel unnerved taking long journeys that break their normal routine. It’s therefore very important to make sure that your pets are comfortable during a prolonged journey, to make the trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible. First and foremost, a secure carrier which offers enough space for them to move around a little is integral. Perhaps you can test out the carrier with your pet ahead of your trip? Placing their food inside it or just leaving it available to them so that if they are curious they can explore it. This could help take some of the fear of the unknown away. Plan in regular stops along the way to allow them to get some exercise and have toilet breaks. It is also a good idea to feed your pets a good few hours before travelling, as they will travel better when they do not have full stomachs.

If you would like to find your perfect pet friendly holiday cottage, Sykes Cottages has an extensive range of over 4000 properties to choose from. Find out more here.

This is a sponsored blog post. Please contact us for rates.

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Dog Eats Chew Chew Train!

Cyril with vet David Jones and Lesley and Cameron Mellor

A Plymouth pooch who swallowed a toy train has survived thanks to emergency surgery by vet charity PDSA.

Nine-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cyril, got his paws on a ‘Clarabel’ toy – the famous character from Thomas the Tank Engine at the family home in Torpoint.

The family realised something was wrong when their beloved pet stopped eating and started vomiting. Worried owner Lesley Mellor (40) rushed him in to Plymouth PDSA Pet Hospital, where x-rays revealed the cause of poor Cyril’s plight.

He was taken straight to the operating theatre, where PDSA vet David Jones carried out the life-saving surgery.

David said: “Whenever a dog swallows a foreign object, there is a very real risk of a blockage in the intestines, which could be fatal. So once we’d x-rayed Cyril we took him straight into theatre to operate. Surgery like this is very risky, because you never know what you might find, or what damage the object might have caused.”

Once the toy train carriage was removed, Cyril quickly recovered and was well enough to return home to Lesley and her son, Cameron, the next day.

Lesley added: “We were really worried about Cyril because he was so poorly, and needed a big operation. But I knew he was in the best place and would be taken care of. We were all relieved when we received the phone call to say the operation had gone well. I can’t thank PDSA enough for getting Cyril back home to his family.”

Every year, PDSA vets see hundreds of dogs who have eaten things they shouldn’t, including golf balls, tent pegs, rubber ducks and even knives, as vet David explained:

“As well as using their mouths to eat, dogs also use them to investigate objects. But in doing so they can swallow an item by mistake. This behaviour is known as ‘pica’ and can have disastrous consequences, which is why it’s important to keep small items away from hungry dogs.

“Cyril is just one of the lucky pets to benefit from PDSA’s emergency service which has received generous funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Thanks to their support we’re able to provide thousands of life-saving treatments across the UK.”

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COMPETITION: WIN A Bespoke Pet Coat featuring the UN-endorsed Blueheart Tartan – Worth £129!

One lucky Pets Magazine reader is in with the chance of winning a bespoke pet coat featuring the striking Blueheart tartan by stylish and ethical pet clothing company Lulu & Robbie!

Lulu & Robbie is a pet clothing company that designs garments that put your pet’s welfare first and foremost. Made in the UK, Lulu & Robbie’s Blueheart coat features a unique tartan design, the UN’s endorsed tartan for its campaign against human trafficking.

The tartan fabric is made of 100% pure new wool woven in Scotland and lined with British corduroy from Brisbane Moss based in West Yorkshire. The Blueheart is one of Lulu & Robbie’s warmest and smartest coats, designed with the guidance of veterinarians to maximise your pet’s welfare!

20% of profits from the sale of the Blueheart coat are donated to a trust set up by the UN to support organisations working to put an end to human trafficking. Find out more about Lulu & Robbie here: www.luluandrobbie.co.uk

TO ENTER:

TO ENTER THIS COMPETITION, PLEASE VISIT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE TO ANSWER A SIMPLE QUESTION: http://www.competitionshub.co.uk/competition/win-a-bespoke-pet-coat-featuring-the-un-endorsed-blueheart-tartan-worth-129-21/

The closing date for entries is Tuesday 7 March at 12 midnight.

PLEASE NOTE: ENTRIES POSTED ON PETS MAGAZINE’S BLOG WILL NOT BE COUNTED.

Ts&Cs apply.

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