New website to help elderly forced to put pets to sleep when moving into care

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Research published by www.stayinmyhome.co.uk has found that over two million people in Britain say they know an elderly person who had to have their cat and/or dog put to sleep because they were moving into a residential care home.  

The survey also found 20% say the elderly people they know with pets would refuse to go into care without their pets.  In addition, 18.5% said they knew an elderly person who had to have their cat or dog rehomed.
                               
The study provides a graphic insight into one of the most distressing decisions facing a growing number considering moving from their home to residential care: what to do with a much-loved pet that is not permitted to join them. Up to 71 per cent of residential homes and sheltered housing schemes refuse to allow residents to have pets. Their refusal is causing current and future generations of elderly people real distress.

To ease their suffering, a group of the UK’s leading live-in homecare providers have partnered to launch an information resource that offers people valuable insight into an alternative to residential care that means they need not be separated from their much-loved pet. The website, www.stayinmyhome.co.uk, has been developed by The Live-in Homecare Information Hub, a coalition of 13 leading live-in homecare providers. The site illustrates how, with the right professional support, elderly people can stay in their home, close to family, in familiar surroundings with the animal they love: rather than face a future in residential care without them.

Dominique Kent from The Live-In Homecare Information Hub explains: “To support the launch of www.stayinmyhome.co.uk, we commissioned fresh research in a bid to highlight the distressing choices facing elderly people destined to be separated from their pets. The vast majority of older people in the UK don’t want to move into residential care, with what is often an institutional and regimented way of life, away from familiar surroundings, friends, family and pets. In fact, 97 per cent of people feel most comfortable in their own home with 71 per cent wanting to be living in their own home when they are over 75+.”

The Live-in Homecare Information survey also found that the prospect of entering a care home and being separated from their pet could cause some elderly people to consider taking steps that might actually cause them harm: To avoid going into a home for much-needed care, 17.4% of elderly people would pretend they were in good health. To avoid being separated from their pet, 8.8% would make themselves more ill rather than leave their pet. Shockingly, when asked about elderly pet owners they know who have moved – or about to move into residential care, 4.3% of respondents said they would consider taking their own lives or talk about taking their own lives due to concerns about their pets.

Given elderly people’s fears about moving into a care home and being separated from pets they love, it is little surprise the survey found support for live-in care at home. Over 18% of respondents believed that those elderly people they knew would, if they were aware of live-in homecare, try to arrange to be cared for at home in order to remain with their pet.

Dr. Glen Mason, Director of People, Communities and Local Government, Department of Health comments: “Live-in care is a long established but relatively unknown, growing alternative to residential and nursing care that substantially extends the care choice available to the individual. It allows someone with high levels of need to remain in their own home and community and lead a good quality life in familiar surroundings. I expect live-in care to continue to grow in popularity and to become the high quality first care choice of many people.”


Health benefits – pets and the elderly

The Society for Companion Animal Studies, which promotes the study of human-companion animal interactions and raises awareness of the importance of pets in society, highlighted research that shows the benefits pets can bring to people suffering acute illness. According to the report, “pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decrease in cardiovascular dementia risk and may have some causal role in reducing CVD risk”. The benefits experienced by elderly people who choose to remain in the familiar surroundings of home supported by professional carers is made clear in a survey of adult social care published by Age UK.

Margaret & Henry’s story*

Margaret, 83, benefited greatly from live-in homecare, which allowed her to stay with her beloved golden retriever, Henry. Margaret’s family became concerned in 2012 when she seemed to be more distant and vague. After a fall, she was hospitalised, where her one concern was to get back to Henry.  Margaret was diagnosed with early stage dementia. It was clear she needed care, support and guidance for her memory impairment. Margaret’s family contacted The Good Care Group who matched her with live-in carer, Anne. Anne began to build a relationship with Margaret in hospital and managed the transition from hospital to home. Margaret is now well and supported by two carers, Anne and Olga, she walks Henry regularly and sees friends and neighbours. Her carer, Anne, says: “Henry has been such a comfort to Margaret over the years that I firmly believe he has been a fundamental influence to her wellbeing and recovery.”


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An inspirational journey into pet-centred self-employment

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Pets Magazine reader EMMA LEVINGS shares her inspirational story of how she radically changed her life in order to pursue her dreams. Emma now runs a pet-sitting PetStay franchise and loves getting out of bed every morning!

I’m SO thrilled with how my life has changed since my HUGE career change only five months ago. Having just turned 40 ensuring that the rest of my working life was going to be a happy one was very important to me so I made a major life change!
 
BACKGROUND
I’ve worked in a sales capacity since I was 25 for L’Oreal, Toni and Guy, Benefit Cosmetics and in my late 30’s studied part time at University alongside my HR Manager role to obtain my CIPD Post graduate professional qualification. However, I didn’t ever feel that the corporate world was really where I “fitted”.  Even though I was a success at all the roles I took on throughout my working life, I didn’t ever REALLY enjoy any of them. 
 
I wanted to have a better work life balance. I wanted to be able to be self employed but still earn a good salary. I wanted to be able to enjoy getting up every morning and look forward to my working day and to be able to do some voluntary work also….WAS THIS POSSIBLE?!?!
 
A PLAN BEGUN
As 2014 came along, I began to wonder if I had it in me to work for myself and if this would finally see me happy in my working life…I started looking at various options including becoming an HR consultant, after all this was what I had worked so hard to become qualified in. But that didn’t really appeal to me.
 
SO I sat down one day and wrote down lots of things that interest me and amongst that list was dogs, people and marketing! So I started to think about a business which incorporated all these elements. I didn’t fancy dog walking, dog grooming or dog training. 
 
However, I had always struggled with the concept of putting my two dogs into kennels and when I looked for a local alternative I came up with nothing. There were a few local people who looked after dogs in their own homes but my dogs would be staying with lots of others and this just wasn’t going to work for my two – Hendrix my Labrador can be a little grumpy with other dogs and my working cocker spaniel is a complete wimp and is terrified of other dogs!
 
So the idea of setting up my own business to offer this service locally really got me thinking.
 
After a lot of research into the various companies out there and also at setting up completely on my own, I stumbled upon PetStay. 
 
I loved the branding, the ethos, the franchise owner, the business model and I was SOOO excited!! I zoomed up to Hull to meet with Carole Davy and could have signed on the line there and then…..but I didn’t. I continued my research but everything kept coming back to PetStay. 
 
A few days later, as I was desperately trying to make my mind up if to take this leap of faith and spend some of my hard earned savings on this franchise offering, my boyfriend asked me a question “If you were to call Carole tomorrow and say I’ve decided to go for it and she was to tell you that someone else had just taken Gloucestershire how would you feel”. My immediate answer was – I would be DEVASTATED and there was my answer! So I DID sign on the bottom line and have never looked back!
 
HOW DOES IT WORK?
It’s a Doggy Holiday!
You’re packed and ready to go on holiday – but “Fido” has a sad face…
He doesn’t like the kennels – and you know it.
Who can you turn to? PetStay!
 
We offer your dog all the comforts of their own home while you’re away on holiday.
PetStay was the idea of dog lover Carole Davy over 10 years ago up in Hull and Emma. It is a one to one service for dogs offering a safe, secure and loving alternative to boarding kennels.
 
Your dog is placed with a “vetted” carer for the duration of the holiday however long that may be. And even before the doggy puts a paw thought the door a home visit is arranged for the owners to see for themselves where their beloved pet will be staying.
 
Carole says “Our research shows that many dog owners aren’t happy putting their family pet in boarding kennels. They’d go on holiday and worry about how their dog was coping. We’ve always felt boarding kennels can be a stressful environment. As dog lovers, we came up with the idea of PetStay as a reassuring service we would want for our dogs.”
 
So when I took on this franchise, suddenly dog owners of Gloucestershire have a choice of care, it’s a kinder way to have your dog looked after.
 
The one to one service means your dog is the only dog at a LOCAL carer’s home at any given time. Dogs love a routine, that’s why we feed and walk hem as instructed by the owner. If Fido has a treat in the afternoon, likes to watch Vets in Practice an goes to bed at 10pm then our carers will make sure he receives this.
 
Not only that but our carer’s are fully insured and licensed. We interview the carer’s in their own home, they have to match our criteria and abide by our guidelines and must be, 100% dog lover.
 
Emma says “all our carers have many years’ experience in looking after dogs. Most are people who have retired and have plenty of spare time for your dog. They are doing something they absolutely love and that is reflected in the dog when their owner returns.” “We specify our carer’s are genuine dog lovers, are at home during the day and have a secure garden.”
 
When an owner rings PetStay, we ask many questions on Fido, any special diet, medication, walking and feeding routines. From the information we gather, we then match Fido to the carer which we think will suit them both. We then set up a meeting for the owner and Fido to go and meet our carer. This is a great time for Fido and the owner to ask questions, tell all about Fido and have a general sniff around. We find this is a great benefit; to the owner, carer and of course Fido. Most dogs settle in very quickly at a PetStay carers home, I do believe they can be a little spoiled by our Carers.
 
The ethos of our service is that people can rest assured their dog is being cared for in a safe, loving home environment – a home from home. Our first concerns are to the well-being and happiness of your dog.
 
PetStay are THE alternative to Kennels.
 
SO HOW HAS IT BEEN?!
I was earning a very good salary as an HR Manager of a large local business and enjoyed having a regular income which allowed me and my partner to have the lovely things in life. However, I realised that this wasn’t everything when I became so unhappy in the corporate world. 
 
It was going to be a gamble and some of my friends and family thought I was mad to go it alone! However, I’m delighted to say that Petstay Gloucestershire has been a roaring success from day one!
I worked really hard following all Carole’s advice and making use of her amazing support. I do believe that without the back up of a franchise I wouldn’t have been able to hit the ground running as I did.
 
And what a fantastic 5 months PetStay Gloucestershire has had!
 
I have found holiday homes for no less than 90 dogs since June and have received nothing but positive feedback which is just so encouraging. 
 
We have had a real variation of guests from a 13 year old German Pointer called Hector to a 6 month old Jack Russell, Gabby. My all time favourites though were Trouble and Mischief the Beagles – and yes, they did live up to their names but were adorable.
 
PetStay Gloucestershire has proved to be a HUGE hit in the county and dog owners are delighted that this service is now available to them. 
 
What customers have been particularly happy with is that they are asked to visit their selected carer prior to their doggies stay so that everyone can get to know each other and the owner can be sure that they are happy with the holiday home for their beloved dog. Also, that the carer looks after their doggie guests in exactly the way that the owners request. This means that the number of walks isn’t limited, that if the dog usually sleeps in a bedroom, this is where they will sleep and so on.
 
I now have a team of amazing carers across the county. They all have something different to offer, ensuring that we can cater for the many varying needs of our doggie guests. Some of my carers have their own dog but many don’t, so owners can choose if they would like their dog to be on their own or with some company. Either way, we don’t mix guest dogs so the stays are exclusive.
 
Without my carers commitment, dedication and support however, the success I have experienced so far would not have been possible and I am so proud of every one of them and ever grateful to them.
 
The shows I have attended this summer have been lots of fun and I’ve met so many lovely people and their beloved 4 legged friends. I can’t wait for next year to attend even more shows and spread the word further about PetStay Gloucestershire.
 
Bookings are now coming in fast and furious for the rest of the year and 2015 is shaping up nicely too!
 
AM I GOING TO ACHIEVE MY GOAL?

  • I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my working life – box ticked!

  • I expect to be regularly earning a similar salary to the one I left behind in the next 6 months (so within 1 year of being in business). – box ticked!

  • I’m choosing the hours I work and am having more quality time with my boyfriend and family – box ticked!
  • I’ve applied to volunteer with Riding for the Disabled – box ticked!

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS?
YES YES YES!!! If there is anyone out there who is looking for a new way of life, being self employed, have the opportunity to grow a business with the support of a Franchisor with over 10 years experience, then I would say GO FOR IT!!
 
Home Boarding for dogs is absolutely THE way forward for our beloved dogs to be cared for when their owners go away for a short break or a holiday. Kennels 
just aren’t the boarding option of choice now days with dogs very much being viewed as family members. I love comments from my customers when they ring me such as “Oh I am so pleased I found you, now I can go on holiday with peace of mind, knowing my dog is going to be impeccably looked after” etc. It really is such a great business to run.
 
The Petstay Franchise team are all from quite different backgrounds with different areas of expertise which we all share regularly. This means we have SO much to offer as one of the leading dog home boarding companies in the UK. HOWEVER, we all have one thing in common – we are mad about dogs and are passionate about putting dogs happiness and welfare first.  


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Dog that helped student to walk again is nominated for Crufts award

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Faye, a black Labrador who has helped Salford student Natalie Preston to walk again for the first time in over a decade, has been nominated for the Kennel Club’s prestigious Eukanuba Friends for Life award.

Natalie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at six months old and before meeting Faye had struggled to walk for over 10 years.

However, after being partnered with Faye by the charity Canine Partners, Natalie’s level of independence increased dramatically. She is now able to study for a Masters Degree in Children’s Digital Production at the University of Salford.

Speaking about her specially-trained Labrador, Natalie said: “When I first met Faye I fell in love with her and I immediately felt a very special connection with her.  I always remember meeting Faye for the first time and remember when her trainer brought her into the room the environment around me became brighter – I didn’t realise how dark the environment looked for me.  It was as if someone switched a big light on.

“Faye has completely changed my life. She has given me a life that I thought I would never have.  I can now go out with confidence, I’m not worried about what people may think of me or worried about how I will cope when I am on my own because I know Faye is by my side, supporting me.  People stop to speak to me now when I am out because of Faye, she is a great ice breaker.

“All my friends and family love Faye.  She is a huge part of our family.  It gives my Mum and Dad peace of mind when I go out because they know that I am not alone and Faye is taking care of me.  

“We are a partnership, a team, so everyone knows that where I go, Faye goes too.”

The Kennel Club’s Friends for Life competition recognises humans and dogs that have transformed each other’s lives and faced down adversity through their friendships. The award will be presented at the final on Sunday 8 March, during the world-renowned Crufts festival.

However, even before the Friends for Life competition is decided, Natalie already feels like she’s got the top prize in Faye: “When I was told that I had been nominated I was really excited!  I would like to visit Crufts this year, but to think that there might be the possibility of competing is just fantastic.

“I just hope that people vote for us but Faye is a winner in my eyes.”

Professor Allan Walker, Dean for the School of Arts & Media at the University of Salford, said: “We’re very proud of Natalie and Faye’s achievement.  They’ve shown all of us here at the University just what can be achieved through determination and working together.  Everyone’s got their fingers crossed that they bring home the prize.”


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Over 55’s Confide Most in their Pets 

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 Nearly 30% of Brits aged over 55 confide and find most comfort in their pets on a day to-day basis

• More than three-quarters admitted to talking to their pet regularly

  50% chose their pet because they are loving and 63% see them as their companion



New research by Vetsure has revealed that our pet relationships run deep with almost a third of over 55’s finding most comfort and confiding in their pets on a day-to-day basis. A further 50% chose their pet because they’re loving. Our relationships with our pets now resemble those we have with family and friends. January can be a lonely time following the buzz of Christmas. So could a pet be the perfect partner for some of the million* people facing the new- year alone?  

More than three-quarters of people surveyed over the age of 55 regularly talk to their pet, with 29% saying they would be most likely to confide or seek comfort in their pet on a daily basis. A further 14% said they spoke to their pets more than they spoke to other people on a daily basis.

Ashley Gray, vet and founder of Vetsure Pet Insurance says: “Vetsure has always known that pets offer affectionate companionship and unconditional love to their owners. But these results show that for some people the role of the pet can be even more important and their absence could result in loneliness. Pets clearly have positive effects on such individuals including: offering a reason to get out and meet other people as well as being an incentive to undertake moderate exercise.”

Almost a quarter of those surveyed said they chose their pet to encourage them to get out and about. The responsibility and care-taking role involved in pet ownership can give many an increased sense of purpose. Pets create more opportunities for interaction with other people, whether that be a short walk when you speak to other dog owners or a chat with the neighbour because your cat is a regular visitor! Even trips to the vet, where you can engage with other pet owners in the waiting room.

 Gordon Wright, who lives with his border terrier, Cheers in London says: “I had her as a puppy, she very dependant then, minute. Now she’s nine and she’s always there to say cheerio if you’re heading out and hello with her wagging tale when you arrive. She seems to have a built in clock and know when my meal time is. If I am on my computer and its lunchtime she’ll come up nudging me. Borders are quite independent, but certainly loyal. She keeps an eye on me and I keep an eye on her.”

The research highlights that animal companions enrich our days, giving us a sense of optimism, safeguarding us from loneliness and helping to break down barriers of isolation. Wood Green, The Animals Charity is one of the leading animal welfare organisations that re-homes all kinds of animals and offers guidance on what kind of pet would best suit every lifestyle.

Wood Green, The Animals Charity advises anyone interested in adopting a pet to consider their routine first: “Think about your lifestyle and support network before making your choice of pet.  Would you have time for a dog, or would a cat fit your life better?  Remember puppies and kittens need lots of attention and ongoing training so a mature dog or cat might be easier to manage.  If you can’t commit to a pet long term think about fostering for a local animal charity, this could provide company for you and vital help for a pet in need without the financial commitment.”

*http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/blog/latest-statistics-over-a-million-lonely-older-people-in-the-united-kingdom/  


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Celebrity Cavalier Owners Join Battle with Kennel Club 

PictureKookie: now 2 years old, was diagnosed with SM/CM at just 4 months old

PIXIE Lott, Strictly star Craig Revel Horwood, Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden and a host of other celebrities have joined thousands of campaigners urging the Kennel Club to take control of a health crisis among Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
 
A lack of screening means more and more Cavaliers are falling victims to 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.
 
Cavalier lovers, including Revel Horwood and his partner Damon Scott, TV presenter Lisa Riley, Made In Chelsea star Binky Felstead, Dr Dawn Harper from This Morning, magician Paul Daniels, dancer Robin Windsor, Pixie Lott, Deborah Meaden, Linda Robson, Fern Britton, Michele Collins, Annabel Giles and Mark Evans, the TV vet are among over 3,000 backing an online petition.
 
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.
 
Craig and Damon were told recently their Cavalier Sophie, who has MVD, has months to live. “She is the most beautiful little girl. We need to make sure all Cavaliers are MRI scanned and heart tested before breeding,” says Revel Horwood. 

“We should be breeding for health, not creating awful problems for our loved pets,” insists Deborah Meaden, a well-known animal lover.

Has the KC learnt nothing?
Despite labelling itself “the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs”, campaigners say 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.
 
“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.
 
“How many more scientists need to raise the alarm before something is done? How many more Cavaliers have to suffer before we see real action to save this breed?”

A “Cavalier” attitude to health and welfare
“Many people wrongly believed losing the BBC’s Crufts’ coverage was a watershed but most breeders continue to mate Cavaliers that are untested. Even puppy farmers are able to register their litters with the Kennel Club,” reveals Margaret Carter, petition organiser and Cavalier campaigner.

“There is a voluntary MRI screening scheme for CM/SM but most of the small number of breeders who do scan don’t submit their results to it,” concedes Carter. The need for an official scheme for MVD was agreed in 2008 but nothing has materialised, showing there is no genuine will for reform.”
 
The Signatories
Catherine Farnsworth bought two-year-old Kookie started showing severe symptoms of CM/SM at just four months. “He was KC registered but his parents were not tested,” she says. “On bad days, he is very vocal. It’s distressing to watch and the vets are running out of options to keep him comfortable.”
 
Mother-of-three Charlotte Mackaness says her family was distraught when their first Cavalier died of MVD. “Just months later our two-year-old, Beebee, was diagnosed with CM/SM. Like many with SM, much of Beebee’s pain is around the head and neck so my children can’t play with her like before.
 
“Beebee’s breeders have won several Crufts’ Best of Breed titles and came highly recommended from a Cavalier Club puppy coordinator but we’ve since learnt their health record is far from ideal. While they collect trophies, all our darling dog has to look forward to is a life of pain.”

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.
 
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

For more information, please contact Margaret Carter at [email protected] or call 01707 262035.
 
  


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Haylage company reports increase in demand due to winter ‘weather bomb’

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Silvermoor Haylage, a company that produces forage that is tailor made for the equine market, has reported an increase in demand for its product due to this winter’s ‘weather bomb.’

Silvermoor, which is based at Silvermoor Farm in Denwick near Alnwick, produces haylage made from rye grass mixes using specialist processes that have been developed over the past decade. In developing its products, Silvermoor has used experts such as Peter Schofield of ‘Oliver Seeds’ for growing advice and Lesley Barwise-Munroe for feeding expertise.

Ralph Thompson, Managing Director of Silvermoor Haylage, said: “We’ve been experiencing an increase in demand from retailers as we enter the predicted poor winter weather. Horse owners naturally want to keep their horses healthy during a colder winter.

“We have different varieties of haylage which will provide suitable levels of digestible fibre, energy and protein for every type of horse. Haylage has also been proven to be much better for horses as a forage material compared to hay, as it’s been shown to prevent or improve respiratory conditions; a fact that is particularly relevant as we enter a cold snap.”

He added: “Our haylage is made specifically for horses, and is produced from specially grown and managed grasses. They have consistent feed values which include low protein, low sugar and high fibre.”

Silvermoor Haylage comes in four specialised varieties – Silvermoor Active, Silvermoor Recreation, Silvermoor Timothy, Silvermoor  Lite and a fifth which is due to be launched in the new year.

 Pictured: Ralph Thompson, Managing Director of Silvermoor Haylage with horses and haylage product. 


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Win a Pack of Burgess Light 

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After the indulgences of the festive season, our beloved dogs can also gain weight. Now January is here, it is important to get your dog back in shape with regular exercise and a balanced, well proportioned diet.

For your chance to win a pack of Burgess Light, simply answer the following question:

Question: Name one way to get your dog back into shape?

Email answers together with your name and address to [email protected]. Entries must include ‘Pet Food Comp’ in the subject line. 

Burgess Pet Care is a family-owned, British business that is passionate about making pets lives better by making great food that’s good to their health. Burgess Pet care offers a dog food which is specifically made for overweight dogs. Burgess Light contains L-Carnitine to help reduce, then maintain your pets weight at the correct level.

Terms and Conditions

  • The prize is one 2kg pack of Burgess Light.
  • The competition closes on Friday January 30 at 12 midnight. 
  • No cash alternative will be offered.
  • In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the promoter reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value.
  • The promoter’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • We reserve the right at any time to cancel, modify or supersede the competition if, in our sole discretion, the competition is not capable of being conducted as specified in the competition rules.
  • Contact details may be used by our competition partners for marketing purposes. 



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#PetXmasFactor Winners Revealed!

We’re delighted to announce the winners of our festive #PetXmasFactor competition who will each receive a cushion cover featuring their pet from digilabeluk

Judging has been tough as we’ve been inundated with wonderfully festive photos of readers’ pets. Here are the three winners together with a selection of some of the best festive dog, cat and even reptile photos. 

Winners will need to email the photo they would like to use on their cushion to [email protected].

10% Discount On All Orders
Promo code: PETSMAG1
Valid until: Midnight on Wednesday December 31st. 
Please enter your code on checkout and it will automatically discount the 10% before payment. Paypal is the swiftest way of payment but a bank transfer option is also available. Please note, if paying by bank transfer your order will only be confirmed upon receipt of payment into our account. Digilabel will not be held responsible for delays in the payment process from bank to bank.

PictureWinner 1: Hugo the Pug – looking very smart!



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Winner 2: Molly the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – after having had a bit too much Christmas spirit!


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Winner 3: Sooki the cat: Looking very festive!

The best of the rest:

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Celebrity Cavalier Owners Join Battle With Kennel Club

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STRICTLY Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood and other celebrities have joined thousands of campaigners urging the Kennel Club to stamp out a growing health crisis among Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

A lack of screening means more and more Cavaliers are falling victims to heart problems and another painful condition where the dog’s skull is too small to accommodate its brain.

Cavalier lovers, including Revel Horwood and his partner Damon Scott, TV presenter Lisa Riley, celebrity chef Richard Corrigan and Made In Chelsea star Binky Felstead are among more than 2500 who have signed an online petition.

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.

Craig and Damon were told recently their Cavalier Sophie, who has MVD, has months to live. “She is the most beautiful little girl. We need to make sure all Cavaliers are MRI scanned and heart tested before breeding,” says Revel Horwood.

Has the KC learnt nothing?

Despite labelling itself “the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs”, campaigners say 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.

“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.

“How many more scientists need to raise the alarm before something is done? How many more Cavaliers have to suffer before we see real action to save this breed?”

A “Cavalier” attitude to health and welfare

“Many people wrongly believed losing the BBC’s Crufts’ coverage was a watershed but most breeders continue to mate Cavaliers that are untested. Even puppy farmers are able to register their litters with the Kennel Club,” reveals Margaret Carter, petition organiser and Cavalier campaigner.

KC and breeders blame everyone but themselves including owners

“There is a voluntary MRI screening scheme for CM/SM but most of the small number of breeders who do scan don’t submit their results to it,”concedes Carter. The need for an official scheme for MVD was agreed in 2008 but nothing has materialised, showing there is no genuine will for reform.

The Signatories
Catherine Farnsworth bought two-year-old Kookie the Cavalier from a Kennel Club assured breeder. “Kookie’s parents were not tested. He started showing severe symptoms of CM/SM at just four months old,” she recalls. “On bad days, he is very vocal. It’s distressing to watch and I worry about the long-term impact of the medication.”

Mother-of-three Charlotte Mackaness says her family was distraught when their first Cavalier died of MVD. “Just months later our two-year-old, Beebee, was diagnosed with CM/SM. Like many with SM, much of Beebee’s pain is around the head and neck so my children can’t play with her like before.

“The Kennel Club is all talk,” she continues. “The breed club seems exactly the same. Pet owners understand testing isn’t a guarantee. All we ask is breeders do everything possible to reduce the risk.

“Beebee’s breeders have won several Crufts’ Best of Breed titles and came highly recommended from a Cavalier Club puppy coordinator but we’ve since learnt their health record is far from ideal. While they collect trophies, all our darling dog has to look forward to is a life of pain.”

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.

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

For more information, please contact Margaret Carter at [email protected] or call 01707 262035.


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Dog owners have “gone to war” with Kennel Club over genetic defects in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels 

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Dog owners have declared war on the Kennel Club for failing to act over two potentially fatal conditions affecting Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

They claim the Club is failing to ban shoddy breeding practices that cause pets to die of heart failure or an agonising condition where a dog’s brain becomes too big for its skull.

In a matter of days more than 1,700 owners have signed an online petition demanding that only the puppies of Cavaliers screened for Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) and Syringomyelia (SM) could be registered by the Kennel Club. Breeding from dogs screened clear significantly improves the chances of producing unaffected offspring.

MVD is the same disease Sophie, the Cavalier of Craig Revel Horwood, suffers from. The Strictly judge recently admitted his agony when the terminal condition was diagnosed.

Has the KC learnt nothing?

Despite labelling itself “the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs”, campaigners say the Kennel Club has failed to take a strong stance, despite outrage caused by the TV documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed that showed Cavaliers screaming in pain that resulted in the BBC ditching its coverage of Crufts in 2008.

“The Cavalier is in serious trouble and the Kennel Club needs to do so much more. Mandatory testing for both these conditions is the bare minimum,” says Jemima Harrison, who directed the documentary. “How many more scientists need to raise the alarm before something is done? How many more Cavaliers have to suffer before we see real action to save this breed?”

A “Cavalier” attitude to health and welfare

While signatories were leaving comments describing the distress involved with losing and caring for dogs with serious painful and life-limiting conditions, the Kennel Club was promoting National Canine Health Testing Week. “What an irony. Our breed is heading for disaster yet the Kennel Club is asking for people to post ‘healthyselfies’,” says Margaret Carter, petition organiser and long-time campaigner.

“Many people wrongly believed losing the BBC’s coverage of Crufts was a watershed but most breeders continue to mate Cavaliers that are untested and, because of the lack of rules regarding testing, even puppy farmers are able to register their litters with the Kennel Club,” she reveals.

KC and breeders blame everyone but themselves including owners

In a statement the Kennel Club blamed poor uptake by breeders of its voluntary MRI screening scheme for CM/SM. “It is true that even of those breeders who do MRI scan, very few submit the results to the scheme,” concedes Carter. “Breeders claim the scheme is imperfect but how can researchers improve it if nobody uses it, and how is the puppy-buying public able to make informed choices without information being made available? The need for an official scheme for MVD was agreed in 2008 but nothing has materialised, showing there is no genuine will for reform.

The statement also said more pet owners should volunteer their dogs for the scheme. “To ask Cavalier owners to shoulder more responsibility, when they are already have the emotional and financial burden of caring for sick dogs, is astonishing. Medication is extremely expensive. Plus, an MRI to diagnose SM costs well in excess of £1,000, while the official scheme for breeders is a mere £350,” says Carter.

The Signatories
“My own experience of pain has at times made me feel like I just want out,” says Lynn Burton, who suffers the human version of CM/SM. “How people can breed Cavaliers without doing everything possible to reduce the risks is unbelievable. I can explain how I feel. A dog has no voice.”

Catherine Farnsworth bought two-year-old Kookie the Cavalier from a Kennel Club assured breeder. “Kookie’s parents were not tested. He started showing severe symptoms of CM/SM at just four months old,” she recalls. “He has seven different daily medicines. On bad days, he is very vocal. It’s distressing to watch and I worry about the long-term impact of the medication.”

Mother-of-three Charlotte Mackaness says her family was distraught when their first Cavalier died of MVD. “Just months later our two-year-old, Beebee, was diagnosed with CM/SM. My young children find it hard to understand why she’s no longer a lively little dog. Like many with SM, much of Beebee’s pain is around the head, neck and spine so the children can’t play with her like before.

“The Kennel Club is all talk,” she continues. “The breed club seems exactly the same. Pet owners understand testing isn’t a guarantee. All we ask is breeders do everything possible to reduce the risk. Beebee’s breeders have won several Crufts’ Best of Breed titles and came highly recommended from a Cavalier Club puppy coordinator but we’ve since learnt their health record is poor so we are taking legal advice. While they collect trophies, all our darling dog has to look forward to is a life of pain.”

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.

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

For more information, please contact Margaret Carter at [email protected] or call 01707 262035.


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