RSPCA Video Shows Flood Teams Rescuing Pets 


The RSPCA has released footage taken by some of the charity’s flood rescue teams which have rescued animals and people across Cumbria and Northumberland in the aftermath of Storm Desmond.

So far, RSPCA flood rescue teams have rescued eight dogs, seven cats, four rabbits and three chickens.

The footage includes the rescue of a dog called Ronnie who was trapped in the upstairs of a flooded school in Carlisle, before he and his owners were evacuated through a window after RSPCA officers had waded through the building’s dark and flooded corridors to reach them.

The crews operating in Carlisle also worked alongside the emergency services and helped rescue an elderly man from a nursing home in the town, before he was transported on a stretcher by one of the RSPCA’s boats and taken to hospital.

Others rescued included a man and woman who were rescued through an upstairs window after their home was flooded during the storm.

A short compilation of the footage can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/1jM8pEW

The RSPCA has received calls about 88 flooding incidents since Friday (4.12.15). More than 20 flood trained officers travelled from across England and Wales to join their colleagues in Cumbria and Northumberland to assist the ongoing rescue operation.

The flood rescue teams have now stood down as the water levels begin to drop, although the RSPCA has been in contact with Trading Standards and the National Farmers’ Union and has offered to assist with any remaining stranded livestock.

Inspector Ben Strangwood, who has coordinated the RSPCA’s flood response, said: “I am extremely proud of the RSPCA flood rescue teams and that we have been able to help animals and people who have been affected by the floods.

“It has been a huge challenge as the flooding is so widespread across a large geographical area.

“We have received a lot of calls, mainly to help people who have had to leave their animals when they have evacuated their homes. However, we have also had to contend with extremely dangerous conditions and fast flowing water.”

With more rain forecast in some areas later this week owners of animals in areas at risk of flooding are advised to move them to higher ground or other areas of safety.

Members of the public are urged never to put their own or another person’s life in danger to attempt an animal rescue. Anyone who wishes to report an animal emergency can call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

The RSPCA’s full flood advice is available at http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/seasonal/floods

The RSPCA can only carry out rescues and assist during the floods thanks to your help. Please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

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Ultimate Gift Guide For Your Pet At Christmas


Pets are now rightly considered to be members of the family, and most people will have included their dog, cat or house rabbit on their Christmas list. The variety of gift options for pets is getting better every year and ranges from the practical to the pretty wacky. We also suspect that your beloved pooch or kitty is a little more interested in edible pressies! But an interactive toy, warm jacket or jumper or comfy bed will also go down a treat. Here’s our selection of the best Christmas ideas for your pet.

1. Luxury pet bed – Comfortable and super stylish, this designer bed by KZW Pet Interiors is ideal for the pampered pooch or feline in your life. Click here for your chance to win one in our Christmas competition.

2. A 3D sculpture of your pet – If you’re looking for a unique gift for yourself or another pet lover, order a bespoke pet sculpture in 3D from Arty Lobster. Click here to enter our competition to win one!

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3. NineKay Pet Bandanas – These bandandas from new pet boutique on the block NineKay are stylish and very festive. Priced at £5.50 each.

4. Cat toys – Mungo and Maud has a great range of cute toys for your feline.

5. Piper nv smart home gadget – a fantastic smart home / security gadget that lets you watch your pets when you’re not at home, speak to them through the microphone and save clips of them – so you can watch them later or share with friends on social media. We loved its functionality and think it’s one of the best on the market. Priced at £229.99 and available from Amazon.

6. Ancol festive toys & clothes – the pet product company Ancol has a great range of Christmas gifts for the pampered pooch in your life.

7. Waitrose dog jumpers & gifts for pet lovers – responding to ‘customer demand’, Waitrose has launched its very own collection of dog jumpers and gifts for dogs, cats and small pets.

8.
Luxury dog accessories Teddy Maximus has a range of lovely accessories for your pooch ranging from brass collars to dog beds. Made in England.
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Does Your Pet Have The ‘Xmas Factor’?

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One lucky reader can win an amzing 3D pet sculpture of their own pet by 3D printing specialists Arty Lobster

We’re searching for the most festive of pets in our annual #PetXmasFactor competition. Up for grabs is an amazingly life-like 3D sculpture of YOUR pet designed by 3D printing specialists Arty Lobster.
 
To enter, simply take a photograph of your pet looking a bit Christmassy. We’ll leave it up to you to figure out how to do that!

Then, visit the Pets Magazine Facebook Page or Twitter page (@Pets_Mag) and post your pet photo with the hashtag #PetXmasFactor. IMPORTANT – it must include the hashtag #PetXmasFactor for the entry to count. 

The deadline for entries is 6.00pm on Wednesday December 23rd, 2015. One lucky winner will be announced by the first week of January 2016. The prize of for a large (15cm high) 3D sculpture of a reader’s pet, which can be any type of pet – with the proviso that you must have / be able to take at least six photos of the pet.

About Arty Lobster (www.artylobster.com)
Arty Lobster creates 3D printed sculptures from around six to 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. It all starts with making a virtual design of the pet. This virtual design is made in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using a 3D modelling program for the creation of a totally new object. The software slices the final model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. When this prepared file is uploaded in the 3D printer, the printer creates the object layer by layer. The 3D printer reads every slice (or 2D image) and proceeds to create the object blending each layer together with no sign of the layering visible, resulting in one three dimensional object. This technology uses a special glue to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic or glass powders into a mass that has the desired three-dimensional shape. The result is a perfect little replica of the pet, which captures even small variations in fur colour and other characteristics.


Terms & Conditions 

  • There will be one winner in this competition
  • Cash alternatives to the stated prize are not available
  • The judges’ decision is final
  • All entries sent in after the above date will not be counted.
  • The competition is open to owners of all types of pets
  • All entries must be either uploaded to our Facebook page or Twitter page and must include the hashtag #PetXmasFactor.
  • The deadline for pet photos to be shared on social media is Wednesday December 23 at 6.00pm.
  • One winner will be announced and contacted by the first week of January 2016
  • After notification of winning, the lucky reader is required to send half a dozen additional photos of their pet
  • Please allow approximately 3-4 weeks for the creation and dispatch of your 3D sculpture
  • This competition is only open to UK residents.
  • By submitting images you are allowing us to use them for marketing purposes.
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Statement On The Registration Of ‘Designer Dogs’ 

PictureCockapoo: A designer dog Copyright Dreamstime

The Kennel Club, the bastion of pedigree dogs, has controversially announced that it is considering introducing a register of designer crossbreed dogs.
 
We have decided to publically back the Kennel Club on this issue.  We believe the move will help to introduce more transparency into the breeding and origins of these increasingly popular dogs and weed out unscrupulous breeders and puppy-farmed dogs.
 
The rationale for introducing a register is simple: many sellers of crossbred dogs make false promises about the health and origin of their dogs and a register could help regulate the trade. Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, says: “Our primary concern is to ensure that all dogs live healthy, happy lives, and consideration is being given to the way that crossbreeds are registered with the Kennel Club…and how we can best help to encourage responsible breeding.”
 
Traditionalists and breeders alike have reacted with consternation and horror to the announcement. Breeders of pedigree dogs have said that the move will only line the pockets of the breeders. This is a spurious argument, as market demand regulates prices. Trendsetters like Kate Moss, Rita Ora and Jake Gyllenhaal all own designer crossbreeds and this has resulted in an increase in their popularity over recent years. More importantly, many pedigree dog breeders will be worried about the affect of such a register on their own profits.
 
An Internet search of Labradoodles and Cockapoos, which are two of the most popular designer dogs, shows that these dogs already command premium prices. The typical price for a Cockapoo is £750 while for a Labradoodle it is £850; both of which are roughly on a par with their pedigree parents, the Cocker Spaniel or the Labrador. Their prices and popularity have been elevated by their celebrity following and will not be affected by being listed by the Kennel Club.
 
The Kennel Club is right to respond to the fact that the breeding and sale of these designer dogs is unregulated and lacks transparency. At present, there is no register of breeders of crossbreeds. Another quick Internet search reveals that these dogs are sold on a wide variety of websites usually associated with the buying and selling of household and consumer goods such as sofas and bikes. This puts the onus solely on the seller to be truthful about the health or origin of the puppies they are selling. Many breeders of these dogs claim that they are ‘hypoallergenic’ when many are not and will still cause allergies among affected people.

Their sale is at present wholly unregulated and open to widespread abuse.
 
There are two major problems with the status quo. The first is that there is no onus on the breeder to produce health certificates relating to the sire and dam of the puppy. Many pedigree dogs have serious genetic health problems and crossing them with another dog does not mitigate against the puppy being similarly affected. Poodles, which are commonly bred with to produce the designer pup, are also prone to a whole host of genetic problems. They are affected by hip dysplasia and a serious eye condition.
 
The second major problem is that puppy farmers regularly advertise their dogs on the Internet. Potential owners of a pedigree pup dog at least have the chance of securing a dog from a responsible breeder. Those looking for a designer crossbreed might as well be playing Russian roulette. That’s why we’ve decided to back the Kennel Club on this occasion.


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Human Sufferers Speak For Dogs With Same Agonising Condition

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People suffering from a rare but incredibly painful neurological condition are pleading with the Kennel Club to do more to halt the spread of the condition among Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia (CM/SM) affect the brain and spinal cord, causing a number of unpleasant symptoms, including searing pain, vision and hearing loss and paralysis. Studies have revealed that up to 70 per cent of Cavaliers are affected because of being bred with skulls too small to accommodate their brains.

This week is the KC’s National Canine Health Testing Week (#NCHTW) – an initiative to raise awareness of buying puppies from health tested parents. However the Club has found itself accused of hypocrisy and its social media accounts filled with images from those asking why testing isn’t compulsory for Cavaliers: a breed so badly affected by genetic problems.

Harrowing photographs, including those of patients recovering from brain surgery and close ups of newly stitched shave skulls, have been posted on social media by sufferers. “Some days the pain is beyond excruciating. I can tell you, a dog can’t,” reads the selfie of Lynn Burton, who has been through two major brain surgeries.

“This is a rare and complicated condition. I can understand why many don’t want to acknowledge that it can cause terrible pain for dogs,” she says.

“A major concern of sufferers is passing this to their children. That people breed from dogs without doing all they can to reduce the risks is so sad.”

Lynn added: “I have heard people say that dogs with Chiari Malformation are fine; it doesn’t cause a problem so you can breed them safely. I think perhaps if the people who think like this had experienced the pain associated with Chiari Malformation they may think differently. Chiari Malformation is a congenital condition, meaning we are born with it, rarely is a Chiari Malformation acquired.

“I myself have gently stroked the neck of a CM dog, this lovely dog didn’t move his head, wasn’t aggressive but gave a low growl to let me know he wasn’t comfortable being touched, I didn’t realise at first what this meant but when my hand gently brushed his neck again the same happened. He had been running around, jumping excited to see me in his home, but then as in humans, this activity has a price….pain. His owner settled him with pain medication and he had a good night. But the pain was there and as someone with Chiari I knew exactly why he growled on being touched at the back of his head, there are many days when I feel the same way.”

Over 21,000, including a host of celebrities, are supporting a petition asking the Club to introduce mandatory testing for CM/SM and also a heart disease called MVD, which is 20 times more prevalent in Cavaliers than any other breed.

Amy Alldred from Kent is just 28 and has already undergone major surgery. She posted pictures of herself in hospital.

“I felt compelled to speak out. There’s no cure for this. Just like many Cavaliers, I take a cocktail of medication to control the pain but with little success. If MRI screening breeding dogs reduces the prevalence it must be worthwhile and the Kennel Club must make it mandatory.”

Dog owners have also taken to social media. One such is Donna Farrand. Her four-year-old Cavalier, Freddie, underwent cranial decompression surgery this week in an attempt to reduce his SM pain.

“While the KC has been messing around with soundbites, Freddie has had part of his skull removed.”

According to long-time owner Nicki Hughes, all kinds of breeders are guilty of not health testing properly: “The KC and breed clubs would like people to think it’s just backyard breeders and puppy farmers. I lost my beloved Teddy at six. He had MVD and SM. His breeder? An international judge. There is an official CM/SM screening programme but breeders have boycotted it.”

The Cavalier health crisis was revealed in the 2008 documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which showed top show Cavaliers with inherited disease being used for breeding against veterinary advice. The BBC later ditched its coverage of Crufts, the KC’s most prestigious event, because of the outcry.

The KC describes itself as “The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the welfare of all dogs” but TV vet Emma Milne believes it is motivated by money.

Emma says: “The UK is way behind much of Europe where countries have seen dramatic improvements in disease prevalence through robust testing. When will the KC stop seeing pound signs and starting seeing sense?”

Numerous famous faces are backing the campaign, including Tony Parsons, Binky Felstead, Linda Robson, Fern Britten, TV vet Mark Evans and many others:

“Please can I ask you to sign and retweet this petition to save dogs’ lives”, Pixie Lott has urged her Twitter followers.

“We need to make sure all Cavaliers are health tested before breeding,” believes Craig Revel Horwood, who has a Cavalier called Sophie with hereditary heart disease.

“We should be breeding for health, not creating problems for our loved pets,” says Deborah Meadon, who has been a staunch supporter of the Cavalier health campaign.

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

Follow the campaign on Twitter @healthycavalier and on the ‘Cavaliers Are Special’ Facebook page.


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Popular Sweetener Is Dangerous To Pets – RSPCA

The RSPCA is warning about the hazards to pets from an ingredient called Xylitol.

 New statistics show that The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) received 102 enquiries about xylitol last year. More than in 2013 (91) and 2012 (98).

Around 35 per cent of these cases involved chewing gum including sugar free gum. Others involve medicines including nicotine gums and throat lozenges also containing xylitol. 

Xylitol is used as a sweetener and is also known as E967 – it is also commonly used in baking. With more food and sweet treats in the home over the festive period the RSPCA is warning owners to keep hazardous food away from their pets.

RSPCA Behaviour and Welfare expert Alice Potter said: “Sometimes owners may be harming their pets without realising.

“You might think saving a bite of cake for your dog is harmless but actually you could be feeding them something toxic.

“What is ok for you to eat may not be ok for your dog or cat. This is especially important over the festive season when there is more food and sweet treats in the house than usual – we would urge people to think about what they are giving their pets to eat.

“Some of the more common foods like onions or chocolate many pet owners are aware of but 100 calls a year is too many so we need to raise awareness about the dangers of this artificial sweetener.

“It really is a secret poison – many people just aren’t aware of the dangers.

“Always check the ingredients of anything you feed your pet and if you think your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have then you should ring your vet straight away.”

Of the 291 calls to the VPIS over 3 years, there were 282 dogs (97%), 7 cats and 2 rabbits involved.

Forty cases were followed up which included one fatality.

A spokesperson for the VPIS said: “Xylitol is found in a wide variety of foodstuffs and medicines; it is also available as the chemical itself for use as a sugar substitute in baking. 

“Xylitol can be extremely hazardous to dogs because it can cause a very rapid drop in blood sugar and later there is the risk of liver damage. 

“Keep any xylitol-containing product out of sight and out of reach of dogs, this includes pain killers and chewing gum kept in handbags, products delivered through the letterbox and cakes and cookies baked with xylitol. 

“If your pet has accidentally ingested xylitol contact your vet immediately.”

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Cavalier Campaigners Accuse Kennel Club Of Inaction Over Health Crisis In Breed

The Kennel Club (KC) has found its social media accounts flooded with posts from owners of one of Britain’s best-loved dogs, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, accusing the KC of “hypocrisy” over its handling of a health crisis affecting the popular breed.

This week, saw the start of the Club’s National Canine Health Testing Week to raise awareness of the importance of buying puppies from health-tested parents.

At the same time, over 21,000, including a host of celebrities, are supporting an online petition asking the Club to introduce mandatory testing for the two most serious conditions: a heart disease called MVD and SM, a neurological disorder caused by dogs being bred with skulls too small to accommodate the brain.

The KC has invited dog owners to post canine selfies on social media under the hashtag #NCHTW in support of health testing but has found its Facebook and Twitter accounts filled with images asking why health testing isn’t compulsory for Cavaliers: a breed so badly affected by genetic problems.

The Cavalier health crisis was revealed in the 2008 documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which showed top show Cavaliers with inherited disease being used for breeding against veterinary advice. The BBC later ditched its coverage of Crufts, the KC’s most prestigious event, because of the outcry.

“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.

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 21,000 backing the petition.
 
The Kennel Club has this week responded by saying that: “The health test is not a legal requirement for Cavalier breeders and registration with the Kennel Club is only voluntary, so making the test mandatory will simply drive breeders away from the Kennel Club, meaning that we have fewer health test results and less information about the condition.

“Instead, we need to take time to understand breeders’ concerns about the test and support and incentivise them to use it. Because the test does not produce definitive results about whether puppies will be affected by the condition and because of the cost and risks associated with the test, 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.”

The spokesperson added: “The Kennel Club and the BVA would like to find out why breeders are or are not screening their breeding dogs.  It is hoped that this data can be used as a basis for a workshop which breed club representatives and breeders will be asked to attend in order to discuss how to resolve the problem as a matter of absolute urgency.”

Yet figures released days ago from Denmark reveal its compulsory heart scheme for Cavaliers saw a 73 per cent reduction in MVD, and campaigners are asking why the Kennel Club does not “even have an optional heart scheme for Cavaliers despite promising one over seven years ago.”

TV vet Emma Milne comments: “The UK is way behind much of Europe where countries have seen dramatic improvements in disease prevalence through robust testing. When will the KC stop seeing pound signs and starting seeing sense?”

Even human sufferers of SM have been posting selfies in support of Cavaliers. Lynn Burton has had two major brain surgeries. “As a human, I can tell you about the constant pain, tingling and numbness. Some days it is so excruciating I feel like my head is ripping apart,” she says. “Cavaliers can’t speak. To allow puppies to be born without doing everything possible to reduce the chances of them suffering like this is inexcusable.”

Owners of sick Cavaliers have also rallied behind the campaign. One such is Donna Farrand. Her four-year-old Cavalier, Freddie, is undergoing cranial decompression surgery today in an attempt to reduce his SM pain. “While the KC messes around with meaningless soundbites, Freddie is having part of his skull removed.”

Barry Richardson’s Cavalier, Archie, lost his battle with SM aged three: “Words cannot describe my anger at how trivially the KC treats this issue. It’s saying #itshiptobehealthy; this should be the norm. It needs to ditch the gimmicks and do the right thing.”

According to long-time owner Nicki Hughes, all kinds of breeders are guilty of not health testing properly: “The KC and breed clubs would like people to think it’s just backyard breeders and puppy farmers. I lost my beloved Teddy at six. He had MVD and SM. His breeder? An international judge.”

Here are some comments from celebrity dog lovers backing the petition:

“Please can I ask you to sign and retweet this petition to save dogs’ lives”, Pixie Lott has urged her Twitter followers.

“We need to make sure all Cavaliers are health tested before breeding,” believes Craig Revel Horwood, who has a Cavalier called Sophie with hereditary heart disease.

“We should be breeding for health, not creating problems for our loved pets,” says Deborah Meadon, who has been a staunch supporter of the Cavalier health campaign.

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

Follow the campaign on Twitter @healthycavalier and on the Cavaliers Are Special Facebook page.

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Win A Beautifully Handcrafted Luxury Dog Bed

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Pets Magazine is giving you the chance to win a fabulous handcrafted dog bed from a range by luxury pet brand KZW Pet Interiors (http://kzw-petinterior.com).

These sumptuous dog beds are perfect for the pampered pooch in your life and are designed to fit in beautifully with your home’s interior design.

KZW’s unique furniture, beds and accessory collections are made and hand finished to the very highest standards and specification. They are designed by Princess Katalin zu Windischgraetz inspired by her life-long passion for the dogs in her life.


To enter our competition, please visit the following page and answer the question:

http://www.competitionshub.co.uk/competition/win-a-beautifully-handcrafted-luxury-dog-bed-16/

The closing date for entries is Tuesday December 15, 2015 at 6.00pm. Ts&Cs apply. Please note that comments or contact details added to this blog post will not be counted as valid entries into the competition.

KZW is also offering 10% off and free delivery until Christmas Day. Use Promo Code KZWXMAS2015 at Checkout: http://kzw-petinterior.com/


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‘Impulse Buy Pets’ Leading To Welfare Crisis

PictureCross breed Maggie was a victim of the cruel puppy farming trade

Millions of pets are being taken on with little or no research into what they need to live healthy and happy lives. And this lack of knowledge can result in stressed, lonely, obese and aggressive pets, according to the UK’s leading vet charity in its ground-breaking report released today.

Findings from the fifth annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report*, the largest, most comprehensive insight into the state of our pet nation, shows millions of pets are still suffering in silence.

Produced by PDSA in conjunction with YouGov, the PAW Report is the biggest-ever annual survey of pet owners and veterinary professionals, uncovering the truth about pet wellbeing in the UK.

A ‘want it now’ consumer culture is evident in pet purchasing with over 4.5 million owners doing no research at all before getting a pet. Familiarity with the Animal Welfare Act has decreased significantly over the last five years, with less than one third (31%) of pet owners stating they are familiar with their responsibility as a pet owner as detailed in this legislation which outlines the basic welfare needs of our pets.

Commenting on the worrying findings, PDSA Head of Pet Health and Welfare, and vet, Nicola Martin, said: “PDSA’s research shows that as a nation, we’re still in love with the idea of pet ownership with over half of UK households owning a pet and 88% of pet owners believing that owning a pet improves their lives. But impulse acquisitions and busy lifestyles mean some people are totally unprepared for the realities, and the effort, that owning a happy, healthy pet entails.

“Sadly, too many people are continuing to underestimate the financial cost and the importance of choosing the right pet for their lifestyle before taking on a new pet. Ultimately, this is contributing to the suffering of millions of pets.”

Five years on from the inaugural PAW Report, millions of dogs are still being left alone for long periods of time, with owners vastly underestimating the lifetime costs of their pets. In dogs, this can be up to fifty times more than owners expect**.

Alongside this nearly a quarter (22%) of pet owners would still consider getting a dog from a puppy farm; an intensive establishment where dogs are bred in high volumes for profit, with little or no consideration for the health or welfare of puppies or breeding bitches.

“This needs to change and we all need to stop and think whether we are providing everything that our pets need to live healthy and happy lives,” added Nicola Martin.

#PawsFirst campaign launched to tackle the welfare issues

To tackle these serious welfare issues, PDSA is launching #PawsFirst – a campaign which highlights the problem of rushing into getting a pet without understanding their needs***.

“Our #PawsFirst initiative encourages prospective pet owners to ask themselves if they are prepared for every aspect of pet ownership, challenging a developing culture of ‘click and collect’ for buying pets,” said Nicola.

“PDSA wants to help turn public affection for pets into positive action by helping them find all the relevant information before making a decision.”  

PDSA’s new Get PetWise quiz provides practical information to help people understand if pets are suitable for them and their lifestyle. We would also encourage people to speak to their local vet practice for more advice, or to visit a reputable online resource, such as PDSA’s website, which contains extensive expert information about popular pets and what’s involved in their care.”

Released today, findings from this year’s PAW Report, which surveyed over 33,000 pet owners and veterinary professionals, exposes the alarming reality of how millions of UK pets are living:

Dogs

  • 2.3 million dogs (25% of the UK dog population) are routinely left alone for five hours or more, while advice suggests that four hours should be the maximum time.
  • 28% of dog owners believe it’s acceptable to regularly leave a dog home alone on a typical day for SIX to TEN hours.
  • 465,000 dogs (5%) are never taken for a walk (on the lead for ten minutes or more)**** despite daily walks and socialisation with other dogs being essential for a dog’s physical and mental health.
  • 465,000 dogs (5%) show aggression towards other pets every week.

          Cats

  • 2.6 million cats (24% of the UK cat population) live indoors all the time, which  could be causing stress and contributing to feline obesity.
  • 4.8 million cats (44%) live in multi-cat households and of these 58% have to share their food and water bowls and 50% their litter tray, which can be source of significant stress for cats.
  • 2.8 million cats (26%) have never been vaccinated, leaving them susceptible to fatal diseases.

Rabbits

  • Nearly 700,000 rabbits (57% of the UK rabbit population) live alone, potentially causing mental suffering for the highly-social animals.
  • 29% of rabbit owners feed rabbit muesli, despite this leading to painful dental disease and poor nutrition.
  • 29% of rabbits are provided with less than the recommended amount of hay, which is an amount equivalent to their body size or more every day.

The charity says that by working together with pet owners, the veterinary profession, other animal welfare organisations and the Government, positive change can be achieved and these serious issues can be tackled.

President of the British Veterinary Association, Sean Wensley, said: “For the past five years, the PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report has highlighted where pets’ needs are not being met, what progress has been made, and on what scale. Issues such as social isolation in dogs and rabbits, and obesity in all species, must be understood and addressed if we are to claim that we are treating our companion animals fairly.

“Improving animal welfare is a top priority for BVA and we support our members to help address issues such as those revealed by the PAW Report.”

Thinking about getting a pet? #Pawsfirst and Get PetWise at www.pdsa.org.uk/pawsfirst

Case Study: Maggie
 
Dog lovers Gary and Samantha Crouch, from Fareham, Hants, inadvertently fell victim to the cruel puppy trade when they bought their five-month-old crossbreed puppy, Maggie, who was left fighting for her life.
 
When searching for a small dog to join their home, they spotted a local online advert. They went to visit the breeder and came home with an adorable bundle of fluff – Maggie, a Pom-Chi (Pomeranian Chihuahua cross). 
 
But just a week after joining her new home, Maggie became dangerously ill; vomiting and passing severe bloody diarrhoea. She was rushed to the vet, which is when the Crouch’s nightmare really began.  Maggie’s immune system was failing and the vet suspected she had parvovirus, which can be fatal. She spent the next ten days fighting for her life. Her weight plummeted and she lost the sight in one eye.
 
Gary said: “We didn’t think we were dealing with a puppy farmer and completely fell for their lies. We paid £350 for Maggie and were told she was nine-weeks-old.  We were led to believe she had been well-looked after and socialised. But within days of getting her home, we knew something was wrong:  she was very small, clingy and we were having to hand feed her. At first we assumed it was because of her breed and she was just missing her mum.”
 
To date the family have spent over £4,500 on veterinary treatment for Maggie, who thankfully is on the road to recovery. Tragically, this wasn’t the case for all of Maggie’s littermates: the family traced some of her brothers and sisters who suffered similar problems but sadly did not survive.
 
Gary added: “The vets believe she was probably only four or five weeks old when we brought her home – far too young to leave her mum. Her parents were also unlikely to have been vaccinated – leaving Maggie without the protection normally passed on from the mum and at very high risk of picking up parvovirus and other serious diseases.”
 
The family are now helping to raise awareness of the heartbreak puppy farming can cause:  “We were naive. We don’t want other people to be conned in the same way or go through the terrible trauma that we have experienced. We fully support PDSA’s PawsFirst campaign and encourage people to do their research before taking on a pet. I’d definitely encourage people to get expert advice before making impulse buys,” concluded Gary.
 
Find out more about Maggie’s story on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/maggiemakinghermark
 


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Beloved Assistance Dog Given ‘All Clear’ After Double Hip Replacement 

A Cambridgeshire teenager, who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), has said her dreams have come true, after her Assistance in Disability (AID) dog was given the all clear following a double hip replacement.
 
Vets have now discharged Hunter, just six months after his owner, Sophie Perkins, was told that the German Shepherd needed urgent surgery for Hip Dysplasia that left the 22-month-old dog barely able to walk.
 
Sixteen-year-old Sophie, from St Neots, had been left distraught by the news and launched a fundraising campaign to raise the estimated £9,000 for the two operations.
 
But following an intervention from the Pets at Home Vet Group, Hunter had both hips replaced at the group’s specialist orthopaedic centre in Cheshire, after the fundraising total had reached just £3,663.
 
“The last six months have been a whirl, but I’m so happy that Hunter is now back to his old self,” said Sophie.
 
“I still can’t believe the generosity and kindness of the public who helped us raise the initial money, and then the Pets at Home Vet Group for offering to do the surgery at its Northwest Surgeons specialist centre.
 
“Hunter is so important to me, he helps me with everything. So when I was seeing him in pain, I knew I had to do everything I possibly could to try and help him back to fitness.
 
“He has never looked better and I couldn’t be more delighted. Hunter gets to play in the garden again, we’ve been going out for trips to the countryside and he can now climb the stairs to give me a cuddle when I’m in my bedroom.”
 
Hunter’s operations took place at Northwest Surgeons the Pets at Home Vet Group’s specialist hospital in Sutton Weaver, near Runcorn, which meant he was away from Sophie and her mum Carolyn for nearly a week each time.
 
But his recovery is now complete and Hunter has now been given the all clear to live life to the full.
 
“When Hunter first came to the surgery earlier this summer he was obviously struggling with both hips and replacement was the only option,” said Dr Chris May, managing director at Northwest Surgeons.
 
“He had the worst affected hip replaced first, and following his successful recovery from that surgery, it was felt his other hip would require replacing too.
 
“His recovery from both operations has been excellent and it’s great to see him being able to run around and enjoy a life as a dog should.
 
“We loved meeting Sophie and Hunter, and everyone at Northwest Surgeons was more than happy to help them with their special case.”
 
Prior to his operations Hunter was undergoing training to become an officially recognised AID dog and now he’s clear to complete the training and help Sophie with simple tasks such as getting up and walking around the house.
 
Sally Hopson, CEO at the Pets at Home Vet Group, said: “At the Pets at Home Vet Group, our main ethos and number one priority is a pet’s health and wellbeing.
 
“In this case we were not only able to help an animal in distress, but a suffering owner too.
 
“It’s fantastic to see that Hunter is now running about with no problems, all thanks to the orthopaedic experts at Northwest Surgeons.
 
“We all wish both Hunter and Sophie the very best for the future.”
 
Hunter came into the Perkins’ household when he was just eight weeks old in 2013. His and Sophie’s bond has grown stronger and stronger over the years, as he has helped her to become a more active person. 
 
Carolyn added: “Hunter has significantly changed Sophie’s life for the better. Before he came into her life every single day was a struggle.
 
“I’m just so grateful to everyone who made his surgery a reality; from the people who donated to the fundraising campaign to everyone at Northwest Surgeons and the Pets at Home Vet Group.
 
“Seeing the dynamic duo, Sophie and Hunter, back together again is just so perfect, they have a very special relationship. 
 
“It was so hard seeing them both suffering, but now Hunter is back to full physical health, he can help keep Sophie’s suffering at a minimum.”
 

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