Charity seeks urgent funding to save Borneo’s street dogs & cats

PictureNicky Stevens with one of the stray dogs that her charity has saved

A British woman who founded the International Aid for the Protection & Welfare of Animals (IAPWA) to help fund vital veterinary treatment for Borneo’s stray cats and dogs, is urgently appealing for donations to help save more animals. Here is her story and details of the appeal.
Nicky Stevens, from Haddenham in Buckinghamshire, first visited Borneo in 2009.  Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is known for its beautiful, yet endangered orangutans and pygmy elephants.  It is also home to thousands of equally beautiful stray dogs and cats that struggle for survival on a daily basis.

Although Nicky quickly fell in love with Borneo, she was saddened to see so many animals suffering as a result of cruelty and neglect and these haunting images stayed with her.  Upon her return to the UK, she made a commitment to do everything that she could to help create a better future for the animals whose lives were filled with so much sadness.  

In August 2010, the IAPWA was subsequently formed and registered with the Charity Commission.

During the following three years, Nicky regularly visited Borneo to attend meetings with the local government in the hope of finding a mutually acceptable way to help protect and care for its street animals.  Eventually her efforts paid off.  In July 2014, IAPWA was awarded management of the local dog pound in the city of Kota Kinabalu and its first project, ‘Change for a pound’, was launched. This project enabled the local team to change from the previously used methods of dog population control to a more humane solution, whilst also providing much needed veterinary care, and marked the start of a very exciting journey in the improvement of animal welfare within the country.

IAPWA has since gone from strength to strength and, thanks to its supporters, has been able to provide veterinary care to hundreds of stray dogs that would have otherwise suffered in silence.  In recognition of its work to date, IAPWA has been nominated as one of three finalists in the ‘Charity Team of the Year’ category at the forthcoming CEVA Awards for Animal Welfare 2015.

“In many countries around the world, inhumane methods of dog population control are often practiced,” said Nicky Stevens, Founder and Chief Executive, IAPWA.  “In addition to the obvious suffering that this causes the animals, these methods rarely address the underlying problems regarding strays.  At IAPWA we focus on providing long-term solutions that make a difference and change the lives of animals in need.

“As well as managing the dog pound in Kota Kinabalu, where we provide much needed veterinary care and rehoming services to dogs unable to cope on the streets, we also engage with and educate the local community about responsible pet ownership.”

IAPWA is now at the stage where it desperately needs to expand the size of its facility in Kota Kinabalu so that it can regularly treat a greater number of street animals that require immediate veterinary care.  To do this, the organisation urgently needs to raise GBP £10,000 to fund the programme of works.   

“When a much loved family dog or cat becomes ill or is involved in an accident it’s a pet owners’ worst nightmare and they will do all that they can to ensure that their animal receives the best veterinary care that they can afford,” said Karen Churches Peacock, Director of Fundraising, IAPWA.  

“The stray dogs and cats of Borneo are not so fortunate – without loving owners, there is no-one to take care of their day-to-day welfare. This is where IAPWA steps in and you can help.   

“As IAPWA receives no government funding, we rely entirely on the generosity of the animal lovers that support us. Please help us help more stray animals by making a donation to IAPWA today so that we can increase the size of the dog pound in Kota Kinabalu, expand our work in Borneo and improve the lives of many more street animals: GBP £25 will pay for five puppies to be vaccinated to protect them against preventable diseases; GBP £10 will pay for the neutering operation of one dog and prevent many puppies being born to a life on the streets; and GBP £5 will pay for the food for a stray dog whilst it is in our care.”

To make a donation online, please follow the ‘donate’ link at  To make a donation by text*, simply text IAPW01 £10 to 70070 to donate GBP £10, or text IAPW01 £5 to 70070 to donate GBP £5.  To make a donation by cheque, please make your cheque payable to IAPWA and send it to IAPWA, 1B Rudds Lane, Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8JP, UK.

*This option is only available to IAPWA supporters based in the UK.  There is no cost for sending the text and the donor’s free allowance/bundle will not be affected – the only charge will be the donation itself which will be added to their mobile phone bill or deducted from their pay as you go credit. IAPWA will receive 100% of the donation, including Gift Aid.

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Animal charity issues Easter warning


Our pets could be put at risk this Easter, as many people innocently, but potentially harmfully, indulge dogs and cats with seasonal treats.

Leading animal charity, Wood Green, has seen cases of cats and dogs suffering after eating chocolate eggs and other Spring-time treats. The charity wants to highlight that chocolate is in the top 10 of poisoning incidents reported by Veterinary Poison Information Service.

Among the biggest mistakes made by well-meaning pet owners, is allowing dogs and cats to have even just small amounts of chocolate eggs and holiday sweets. Chocolate can be highly toxic when consumed – particularly by dogs – and should NOT be deliberately given to them in any circumstance.

Certain plants exchanged as house gifts at Easter can also be a poisonous threat. The Easter Lily, for instance, is highly toxic to a cat and would leave the animal at risk of vomiting and possible kidney failure if swallowed.

Wendy Kruger is a dog welfare and training consultant at Wood Green and notes that the veterinary team often see cases of animals arriving on or around the Easter period.

“It’s a time of year where we as humans get very excited because it’s an extra Bank Holiday, time with the family, and hopefully better weather,” she said.

“This combines with eating lots of nice food like hot cross buns…..and chocolate.

“Every year, we see cases where people have offered their pets pieces of a chocolate Easter egg as a kind gesture, but it’s ended up making their dog or cat very poorly. It’s so important for owners to understand that this is something they should avoid at all costs.”

Wendy points out that other Easter season factors can pose risks of potential harm to pets.

These include:

  • More family and friends in and out of the home – this can leave a nervous pet feeling distressed or wanting to isolate. Do ensure you spend time with the animal throughout the holiday season and don’t neglect that the chaos may be causing them angst.

  • An increase in time spent outdoors can mean walks in woods, forests and wildlife areas. Ensure you check your dog after a long walk for any sign of peculiar bites or insects clinging to their coat.

  • If you are going on holiday, don’t assume your pet is ‘perfectly capable’ of fending for itself. Do make formal arrangements with your neighbours, or place your pet in a reputable kennels facility for the duration of your stay. Many pets will wander off after a few days of assuming you aren’t returning to feed them.

  • Recognise that Easter treats like hot cross buns also pose a threat! Raisins, sultanas and currants can, at the most extreme, cause kidney failure in dogs.

  • Place chocolate and other treats out of reach, and likewise small toys that can be found inside eggs. If you suspect your animal has ingested something and is showing signs of being poorly, contact a vet at the earliest opportunity.

Wood Green has a number of events taking place over the Easter weekend, including Field Good Friday on Good Friday, April 3rd. Families can try their hand at chicken agility, ask the experts about keeping certain pets, or take part in an Easter egg painting competition.

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Dogs put at risk when owners move house


  • Almost a quarter British dog owners admitted that their dog strayed after a property move
  • 22% admitted their pet left within just 48 hours of being in the new area
  • 46% of dog owners admit to not updating their dogs’ microchips each time they moved home

As one of life’s more stressful events, research conducted by Dogs Trust has identified that there is more to relocating than simply unpacking boxes and updating the digital TV subscription. With a third of respondents having moved more than once over the last five years, almost half confessed they have not updated their pets’ microchips each time.
Almost a quarter surveyed admitted that their much-loved family dog strayed after a property move, with 22% admitting their pooch left within just 48 hours of being in the new area. Despite the nation usually seeing their pet as a family member, over a quarter have put him or her at risk of not being found by waiting an entire month to update vital information on the chip after settling into a new place. This makes it even harder to reunite owners with their animals even once they have been picked up by a Local Authority. Furthermore, 72%* of dog owners are unaware that they only have seven days to recover a missing dog from a Local Authority before he/she is rehomed or potentially put to sleep – proving just how vital it is to update pets’ address details as soon as possible.
Trevor Cooper, Dogs Trust Dog Law Specialist, said: “The first week of a house move is such a crucial time for our pets. Our research shows that 26% of dog owners have experienced their canines straying within seven days after a move. Of those found, one in four informed us their dog travelled back to their old home and almost a third to their favourite place, suggesting the dogs craved familiar surroundings. To help avoid stressful situations during what is actually an exciting new chapter, we wish for all dog owners to ensure that updating microchips is brought to the top of their priority list.”
The recent research also unearthed further surprises surrounding general microchipping knowledge, with a significant 57% of respondents not realising that microchipping will be compulsory in the UK.
Adrian Burder, CEO of Dogs Trust said: “Losing a dog is an extremely upsetting time for both dog and dog owner, incorrect address details can only intensify an already very stressful moment. We encourage all dog owners who have recently moved to update their dogs’ microchip details; you can do it online, by telephone or by post.”
Along with microchipping, updating dogs’ microchips with the correct details will also be compulsory in England and Scotland by April 2016 and the Welsh Government is currently consulting on its plans for compulsory microchipping.

To find out more information on microchip databases and how to update a microchip, please visit <> .

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WIN a 3D Sculpture of your pet!

PictureSophie the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as a 3D pet sculpture

We’ve got a fantastic prize up for grabs this month – an extremely life-like 3D sculpture of YOUR pet!
Arty Lobster ( creates the hi-tech sculptures from around ten pictures of a dog or another pet which the owner uploads to the company’s website. The result is a perfect little replica of the pet.
To Enter the Competition:

Please click here to go to our competition page. Unfortunately, entries made on this blog will not be counted. 
The lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive a 3D sculpture of their pet. One winner will be notified via email. Please see further Ts&Cs on the competition page (link above.)
The closing date for entries is Monday April 20 at 12 midnight.

To buy a 3D pet sculpture, please visit:

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A tail of five puppies, two engineers and one generator


When Geoff Hutley from Mulben in the north east of Scotland called his electricity supplier SSEPD during the Jetstream storm in early January to say his power was out, he had more to worry about than just the welfare of himself and his wife.
The day before the storms hit, their German Shepherd dogs – Bertha and King – had become proud parents to nine pups, but within just a few hours four had died. The following morning the couple found themselves with no electricity; in freezing conditions and with a desperate need for heat to keep the surviving pups alive, the situation looked hopeless. Geoff and his wife, Sharon wrapped each of the remaining pups in blankets with a hot water bottle and placed them next to their home’s only source of heat – a wood-burner – but even then it was clear that they needed a more powerful source of heat or face losing the whole litter.
When Geoff called SSEPD’s customer services to report that the power at their rural farm was off, the operator asked if they needed any help while they were waiting for power to be restored. Geoff explained the situation with the newly born puppies and his concern that they couldn’t survive much longer. While additional help can be provided to SSEPD’s vulnerable customers and those listed on the company’s Priority Services Register, the operator was unsure how she could help when it came to day-old German Shepherd dogs, but promised to speak to an engineer to see what could be done.
The mobile phone signal at the Hutleys’ farm was badly affected by the storm and when an engineer called back just a short time later, Geoff wasn’t even sure that he’d got the message across. Luckily, Geoff had spoken to Bill Collie – a linesman from the nearby Elgin depot – and after carrying out checks to ensure that all customers in the area were provided for, he and Site Manager, Keith Hay arrived at the farm with a spare generator.
“I hadn’t even thought about asking for help with the pups when I originally called to report our power off, but when the operator asked if we had any concerns, I mentioned them; not thinking for a moment that SSEPD could do anything to help. We’d already lost four pups from the litter the day before the storms had taken out our electricity and the thought of losing any more was unbearable, but it was the reality we were faced with,” said Geoff.
“When Bill and Keith arrived with the generator and fitted it up for us so we could run a heat lamp, we knew the pups were in with a fighting chance. When the power was restored the next day, they came back to remove the generator and by then we knew the five surviving pups from the litter were out of danger. We have to thank not only Bill and Keith for that, but also the operator who took my call and said she would do all she could to help.”
Sharon has previously shown their dogs at Crufts and a pup from a previous litter had won ‘Best Puppy in Breed’ at the German Shepherd Show. Only six litters of puppies have been bred by the Hutleys in the last two decades – all German Shepherds – and this most recent litter was the second and possibly last for Bertha, so it was all the more distressing when she and Geoff thought nothing could be done to save them.
The couple decided that there was only one way for them to show their gratitude to the two engineers who came to their rescue, as Sharon explains; “We were preparing to register the puppies with the Kennel Club and realised that the best way to say thanks for everything that Bill and Keith had done for us was to name two of the dogs after them. They’re now officially registered under the names Keith Hay and Bill Collie; we did have to smile at the additional dog reference when we found our Bill’s full name.”
The puppies are all due to go to new homes but not before Keith and Bill got to return to the Hutleys’ farm and meet their canine namesakes.
“When I spoke to Geoff, I could hear how hopeless he felt the situation was for the remaining puppies and initially Keith and I weren’t sure how we could help, so when we checked and found we had the additional generator we knew we had to get to the farm before any more of the litter was lost,” said Bill.

“Our aim at SSPED is to keep the lights on and during the extreme storms we experienced this January, we also aimed to ensure that all of our customers and those in their homes were safe, warm and fed while we worked to get their power back on; in this case, that just happened to include day-old German Shepherd pups.
“We’re genuinely delighted to have these two named after us and it’s great to see them now, fighting fit and ready to go on to their new homes.”
Stuart Hogarth, Director of Distribution for SSEPD, said: “Whilst people are always our top priority, we encourage everyone who works for SSEPD to put our customers first and to go the extra mile where possible which, in this case, just happened to include saving a litter of day-old German Shepherd pups.”
Video footage of the pups and their story can be seen here:

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Confessions of a Guide Dog…


“…such a change for Uska, spilling the beans, instead of trying to eat them,” jokes his ‘mum’ Joanne Roberts while Uska, the guide dog, licks her face. 

‘Confessions of a Guide Dog’ has been written by the guide dog’s owner, sharing how she still loves life, living it blind, with an animal that changed everything. It’s a funny and heart-warming read, made all the more compelling as it’s written from a dog’s eye view. 

Joanne is now appealing to Pets Magazine readers to help raise money for Guide Dogs – please see below for more information. 25% of the royalties will go to Guide Dogs and will help to fund dogs like Uska.

The love between Joanne and Uska is expressed by the dog as he tells the story of their first momentous year. Like when they originally met: 

“Before Mr Nick’s finger touched the bell, the door flung open and there she stood, my new mam, a vision in odd socks.  She looked like fun, but the silly moo burst into tears as she knelt down to put her arms around my neck, hugging me like I’d never been hugged before. What more could a young handsome lab do but lick her face. I never have forgotten the taste of those tears.” ‘Chapter 3, Me and my Mam’

But what did Uska mean to Joanne?  She puts it like this:

“From day one, Uska gave back something precious, something most of us take for granted. I’m talking about day-to-day independence. The freedom to choose if, why and when I got out of the house, without asking for help, brought back some of the old, sighted me. And God, had I been missing her!

“He’s still taking the pressure off my family as he helps me get safely down busy streets, on to buses and trains, across the town, the country and over SO many barriers I could never express to him what he has meant to me. O.K., I shouldn’t forget he’s a dog and this is his job, BUT every time he guides me down a flight of stairs, or round a manic shopping centre, or head butts me out of bed to get his breakfast, I want to shout out to the world exactly what Uska means to me.” 

Joanne continued: “Writing about it felt like I was doing just that. Using what I love about his character, I imagined his side of our first year together, with all its mishaps, fun, dramas and love. At the same time I visited schools and relayed my favourite tales, making everybody laugh. So, I brought it all together in this book, and electronically self-published it, alongside some gorgeous photographs. He is such a handsome boy, you know…”

The book is a revelation about living blind, helped by a guide dog, who’s also a dog, and a Labrador to the max! 

Things don’t always go according to plan, as Joanne explains:

“Those Business Breakfasts smelt lovely, of dribbly eggs, salty bacon and buttered toast. I was only ever given a sausage once, by an old man, like Big Granddad, but with a suit and teeth. He pretended to drop his sausage on the carpet, again just like Granddad, so I knew to be quick and swallowed it, whole ,when he winked at me. Mam couldn’t get too cross, you can’t when you’re marketing.  But I was sick on her shoes outside the office. After that, she insisted nobody fed me at those gatherings.” ‘Confessions of a Guide Dog,Chapter 5, Hair of the Dog’. 

‘Confessions of a Guide Dog’ is available to download from Amazon and iTunes, for around £3.99. 25% of royalties will go towards Uska’s bid to raise the fee to sponsor another guide dog  like him. Search for the book by title when you visit Amazon or Apple Books online, or follow one of the following links:

Amazon UK:  Link to book.

Apple UK: Link to book.

Read more about Uska’s adventures in the April issue of Pets Magazine.

Uska is now nine, and grows more precious to Joanne with every new, silver hair. He will have to retire soon, and Joanne will have to join a long waiting list for a new guide dog. As each amazing dog takes £50,000 to fund she really would like to help.  She hopes to raise enough money to sponsor another guide dog and call him Uska  II.  As this will take 5,000, anyone who is moved by his story can make further donations, in his name, direct to Guide Dogs for the Blind UK. 

This can be done in the following ways:

Donations by cheque: cheques should be made out to ‘Guide Dogs’ and posted to ‘Uska Appeal, Guide Dogs, Hillfields, Reading Road, Burghfield Common, Reading, RG7 3YG.

Donations by phone: people should call 0870 240 6993, and stating that you want to donate to the Uska Appeal.

Online: at, you can donate and should select ‘Uska Appeal’ from the drop down option.

For more information about the Uska Appeal, please contact Joanne Roberts:

Mobile: 07973 192 724


Twitter: @uskadog

Facebook: Joanne Uska Roberts

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3D Pet Sculptures help people remember precious pets


An innovative company is helping people remember their beloved pets by creating life-like 3D printed sculptures.

London-based Arty Lobster ( creates the hi-tech sculptures from around ten pictures of a dog or another pet which the owner uploads to the company’s website. 3D printing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The designer makes a 3D CAD/CAM computer model of the pet, which is then turned into a 3D print.

The result is a perfect little replica of the pet, which captures even small variations in fur colour and other characteristics.

Lars Andersen, Managing Director of Arty Lobster, explained: “With more and more households considering their pet to be one of the family, demand for a wide choice of quality products including bespoke pet memorials has never been higher.

“Pet memorials represent a significant part of our customer base. As our pets are becoming members of our family, we also increasingly want a memento of them to cherish forever.”

The pet memorials market is a growing one. With almost 13 million households or 45% of the UK population owning a pet, the pet market as a whole is worth £4 billion a year. In 2014 it was estimated that 13 million (46% of) households have pets.  The current pet population stands at around 65 million, according to figures from The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA.)

For more information and to order your 3D sculpture, which also comes in a bronze version, visit the Arty Lobster website at:  

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Kennel Club “shuns” pet owners’ petition at Crufts


By Cavalier campaigner Charlotte Mackaness

Frustrated by The Kennel Club‘s refusal to receive an 8,000 strong petition at Crufts this week, dog lovers have started a “virtual march”. Owners who are caring for sick pets hope this will make the Club take on board their concerns about a health crisis in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

The ‘Cavaliers Are Special Virtual Health March to the Kennel Club’ is taking place on Facebook. Many of the virtual marchers have posted photographs of Cavaliers who have died at a young age from painful inherited disease.

Over 8,000 Cavalier lovers, including a host of celebrities, have signed a petition asking the KC to only register puppies whose parents have been tested for the breed’s two most serious hereditary conditions.

The campaign is also backed by the RSPCA. The BBC ditched its coverage of Crufts after a 2008 TV documentary raised serious concerns about Cavalier health and breeding practices. Despite labelling itself “the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs”, the KC has refused to accept the petition, claiming it is not “appropriate” for its “positive celebration of dogs”.

As someone who has lost one Cavalier from heart disease and is now caring for a two-year-old Cavalier with an extremely serious neurological condition, this feels like another kick in the teeth for pet owners. As far as Cavaliers go, Crufts is a celebration of beauty at the expense of health.

According to Margaret Carter, who started the petition: “It is possible to produce healthier puppies by health testing and removing young, affected Cavaliers from the breeding programme but the KC’s own registration figures reveal 50 per cent of the Cavalier breeders exhibiting at Crufts are not following the Cavalier heart protocol.“

“This is discrimination against pet owners who have signed the petition and posted thousands of heart-breaking comments,” says Carter. “Why is the Kennel Club so reluctant to accept the petition? I suspect because there is a conflict of interest between its claim to represent all dogs and the fact that acknowledging health problems will antagonise the breeders who provide its main source of income.

“Most Cavaliers are in pet homes and it is pet owners that are left to pick up the pieces. They care for the sick dogs and they are the people fighting for the survival of this loving breed – doing the job that the Kennel Club and breed clubs should to be doing,” she says.

A host of celebrities is backing the Cavalier health campaign, including Pixie Lott, Craig Revel-Horwood, Deborah Meadon, Linda Robson, Binky Felstead, Tony Parsons, Fern Britton and TV vet Mark Evans.

To join the March:

To sign the petition:

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Six Top Activities To Enjoy With Your Canine Companion

PictureBy Jack Titmuss of Time for Paws

When it comes to a man’s best friend, there is nothing dog owners want more than to interact with their pooch and take part in lots of activities with them to build upon that special bond. 

As a dog owner, your pet’s mental and physical wellbeing are top of your agenda, and there are a host of activities you and your pooch can enjoy which will not only enrich your dog’s life but which you can enjoy too.

With boredom and excess energy being two main factors leading to behavioural problems in dogs, we’ve compiled some of our favourite fun activities that will channel your dog’s energy, keep you both active and maintain that precious bond.

What better way to exercise your dog’s brain and body than by taking part in this fantastic form of exercise?

A favourite amongst canines, many dogs love nothing more than leaping high in the air to chase the flying disc and enjoying the sense of achievement after mastering the perfect catch.

Whether it’s just the two of you or you embark on an organised ‘disc dog’ competition, you and your pooch are sure to love this extremely fun and enjoyable outdoor activity.

Frisbee games are ideally suited to lean dogs who weigh less than 50 pounds.

Dogs adore exploration and discovering new things. What could be better than taking to the great outdoors, letting your pooch roam free to embark on exciting hiking adventures by your side?

The UK boasts a host of dog-friendly country parks with plenty of picturesque nature trails and routes you can both explore.

You could even pack a local map and make a day of it by stopping for a picnic to break up your hike.

With plenty to uncover and explore, it is easy to see why hiking is a popular choice for dog and owner alike.

Take four hurdles, a tennis ball and a spring-loaded launcher, combine them with an excitable pooch, and you have flyball.

Your dog will love racing over the hurdles to catch the ball before racing back to the start for more.

If your pooch’s favourite activity is chasing a ball, they are sure to love flyball.

A superb way to burn excess energy, flyball also teaches interaction with other dogs, as they can take part in races in larger groups.

Obedience Training 
What better way to spend time together teaching, learning and practising than by taking part in obedience training?

All dogs should receive some form of obedience training, though its duration and intensity are in the hands of the dog’s owner.

Obedience training helps to hone a close and healthy relationship between you and your dog, opens a clear line of communication between the two of you and sets rules to help educate your dog.

Better communication and a stronger bond are just some of the benefits you and your dog will enjoy as a result of attending obedience training.

Holiday Time 
Everyone loves a holiday, and pooches are no exception.

With a host of dog-friendly B&Bs and hotels nationwide, it is easier than ever to enjoy your well-deserved holiday with your dog by your side.

Whatever your holiday preference, your dog is sure to enjoy going on an adventure with you, giving you plenty of time to practise your frisbee throwing and enjoying lengthy hikes together.

Most of us have fond recollections of playing hide-and-seek as children. Why not relive the memory by playing this fun game with your dog using a toy or item of clothing?

As well as adding an additional fun element to the game, the item or toy acts as a tracker challenge for your dog, keeping them mentally alert and always guessing.

If you’re tough enough to brave the cold weather, try hiding a glove with a treat inside under the surface of the snow during winter months.

It’s A Dog’s Life 
These six top tips offer practical ideas to help enrich your dog’s life, look after their physical and mental well-being and reduce the chance of behavioural problems arising in the future.

Regular interaction with your dog will not only keep you both smiling but will also encourage your close relationship to blossom even more.


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Hi-tech dog collars help vets monitor health improvements


Painkillers can help dogs with osteoarthritis to run about nearly in the same way as healthy dogs, a study of their movements has shown.
Vets used GPS technology attached to collars to track dogs with osteoarthritis and see how they responded to treatment.
The collars monitor the dogs’ every movement when outside and can give vets vital information about their physical performance.
Vets can see how fast the dogs are moving, how quickly they speed up and slow down, and how far the animals travel during outdoor activities.
The collars give a very accurate overview of the dogs’ activity during their normal exercise regime.
The team at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies used the collars to monitor healthy dogs and dogs with arthritis while they were on walks. The data collected from the collars could differentiate between different activities, such as on-lead walking, off-lead activity and play.
They found that dogs with osteoarthritis could run as fast as healthy dogs but their acceleration and deceleration was significantly affected by their condition.
When the animals were treated with an anti-inflammatory painkiller (Carprofen), their performance was restored to a level comparable with healthy dogs for most of the measures taken.
The study also showed that, on average, healthy dogs ran faster, and accelerated and decelerated harder when they were encouraged through play than they did when left to their own devices off the lead. This shows that the intervention of owners during exercise can directly affect dogs’ performance.
The research is published today in the journal PLOS ONE and was funded by the PetPlan Charitable Trust.
The lead researcher of the project, Dr Dylan Clements, said: “GPS collars have given us an insight into the levels of physical performance dog exhibit during their normal daily activities, and show us how much we can alter a dog’s performance by keeping them on or off a lead, or playing with them.
“We found that they were a sensitive way for us to measure how well dogs recover from a disease that affects activity, such as osteoarthritis. We hope to be able to use the collars to understand more about how activity might contribute or help prevent diseases in the future.”

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