WIN a bumper pack of food for your rabbit

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Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) springs into action in May this year (9th – 17th) and to celebrate Burgess Pet Care is offering one lucky Pets Magazine reader a goody bag full of Burgess Excel pet food. 

The aim of the week is to highlight the health and welfare needs of one of the nation’s most popular pets.

The focus this year will be on improving the environment for the nation’s one million pet bunnies. You can ask any rabbit related questions or show your support by using #RoomforRabbits.

Please enter by visiting the following page: http://www.competitionshub.co.uk/competition/win-a-bumper-pack-of-food-for-your-rabbit-12/

The deadline is Sunday May 17 at 12 midnight. Ts&Cs apply. 


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Dogs Trust has 75 home moving kits for dogs to give away today only!

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Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has created a limited edition kit for new home owners to help furry family members move into their new pad. But pet owners (or pet parents!) should hurry as the charity only has 75 kits available to give away in a special competition that will run TODAY between 9.30am and 10.30am.

As well as containing essentials like toys and a collapsible dog bowl to help make moving house easier for dogs, the kit has been created to encourage responsible dog ownership when moving house, most importantly, keeping microchip details up-to-date. 

The Doggy Moving Day kit is available via an exciting competition only. For a chance to win the Dogs Trust kit, interested members of the public (UK only) are invited to email [email protected] with a 25-word response as to why they should win one. The competition runs today (Thursday 23rd April), and responses will be accepted between 9.30am – 10.30am. Dogs Trust will select their favourite 75 entries, and winners will be notified by email. 

In recent research conducted by the charity, 46 per cent of British dog owners confessed that they had not updated their pet’s microchips each time they moved home. Reasons for not updating chip details following each house move included; 15 per cent forgot to update them, 9 per cent claimed it was too expensive and 3 per cent thought that they updated automatically. However, with close to a quarter of those surveyed admitting that their beloved dog strayed within just two days of being in the new area, dog owners could be putting their pooches at risk by waiting to update vital information with their database provider.
 
To combat the issues found in the research, Dogs Trust’s limited edition kit provides dogs with much needed essentials and a printed tea towel to remind dog owners to update microchip details alongside their address, bank details and home insurance after they move home. With research finding that a third of dog owners admit to forgetting items belonging to their pooch in the flurry of a home move, the kit also includes a chew toy which 12 per cent of those surveyed said that they forgotten by mistake.
 
Adrian Burder, CEO of Dogs Trust said: “Whilst moving home is exciting, it can be a busy time for the whole family including four-legged members. We have created this limited edition kit to help dog owners in those first few days. Lots of respondents in our recent survey mentioned that they would have loved a dog sitter to help them with the day, and whilst we can’t provide that, everything from a collapsible dog bowl to a chew toy should keep beloved pets soothed during the move. Of the 46% of dog owners who had not updated their details, 15 per cent simply forgot and we want the kit to act as a reminder and make sure that this moves up the priority list ahead of compulsory microchipping coming into force in April 2016.”
 
Along with microchipping, updating your database provider with the correct details will also be compulsory in England and Scotland by April 2016 and the Welsh Government has committed to also introducing the legislation in Spring 2016. To find out more information on microchip databases and how to update a microchip, please visit www.chipmydog.org.uk/update-your-dogs-chip.


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Penguins predict a P-P-P-Prince 

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It’s time to get the blue bunting out – penguins at The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham have waddled their way to a right Royal prediction.

The feathery friends, renowned for their psychic abilities, have prompted great excitement and hope to add another jewel to their crown by correctly guessing the name of the highly anticipated Royal baby.

As the nation gears up for the new arrival, members of the Gentoo colony will sit back and relax in their icy home, as they await the birth of Prince James.

James Robson, curator at The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham, explains: “Our penguins are really enthusiastic and enjoy playing new games, especially those that put their predicting powers to the test.

“We gave the penguins a choice of four rocks, each representing potential baby names for the newest addition to the Royal family. The Gentoos were quick to waddle towards the stone crowned Prince James – they even hopped on just in case there was any doubt.”

He added: “James is a perfect name for Baby Cambridge; the penguins couldn’t have picked better, even if I do say so myself!”

With Prince George’s sibling expected in April, the team at The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham is hoping the Royals will soon plan a fun-filled family day out and give their little ones an insight into an amazing underwater world.

The aquarium is home to over 2,000 creatures, such as sharks, as well as a rescued Giant Green Sea Turtle, otters, jellyfish, piranha, octopus and rays.

For further information or to pre-book tickets online before your visit please go to www.SEALIFE.co.uk/birmingham. Reduced prices are available for tickets booked in advance.

For regular news, updates and competitions, The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham is also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sealifebirmingham and Twitter https://twitter.com/sealifebham. You can also keep up-to-date with what penguin resident, Ginny the Gentoo, has to say by following her on twitter at https://twitter.com/ginnygentoo


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Is your pet a member of your family?

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By Marie Carter, Editor & Publisher, Pets Magazine – As published at Huffington Post.

Pets are increasingly regarded as members of our families. They are our companions, our best friends and our most trusted confidants. We love them and they love us back. Science has proven that, when a dog sees its owner, the so-called ‘cuddle chemical’ oxytocin is released in its brain.

Steven Kurlander in his Huff Post US blog has railed against the increasing humanisation of pets. He echoes, although in less pious terms, a rant by Pope Francis last year against the rise of pet parenting.

What’s so wrong anyway with treating a dog or even a cat like a ‘fur kid’? Or perhaps I am already on a losing argument when I use the term ‘fur kid’, as it is so often derided?

Pets, and particularly dogs, love us – as science has proven. A recent series of studies in the US prove that dogs experience emotions like love and attachment: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0038027

Pets have ‘personhood’; they can act and create a relationship. They can actively shape peoples’ connections with them and with other humans. At the positive end, they can teach those with learning difficulties or autism, for example, to engage and interact with the outside world. They can encourage the lonely to move outside of the home and interact with other people, thus improving mental health. Pets can also cause jealousy if they choose to attach more to one person than another. Like us, animals make choices.

The BBC’s Laurie Taylor on ‘Thinking Allowed’ this week talked about pets as family. He interviewed sociologist Nickie Charles who has carried out research into pets as kin. She has identified a special connection between people and pets that is largely intangible, but nevertheless complete. She cited the case of a woman visiting an animal shelter where a cat chose her – it meowed at her and it was love at first sight. Dogs and cats came out as having the greatest connection with humans. People tend to treat pets that live in cages such as rodents or rabbits as least likely to be classified as members of the family.

Pets are not an adjunct or an accessory in the family, they ‘are’ family. Responsible pet parenting simply means that you’re responsible for another living being, and if you don’t have your own kids, pets can fill a gap in our hearts. From the moment we bring a kitten or a puppy, or a rescue pet, home, we’re responsible for another life, for its sustenance, health and wellbeing. We buy a bed, food and toys and in the case of puppies, train them to do their business outside and away from our precious carpets and upholstery.

If you live alone, pet parenting can help stave off loneliness and encourage feelings of responsibility and maturity in caring for another being. On starting out in their new lives, many couples buy a house and then a pet, which is often a puppy, to make their new family more complete. Some years later, they might choose to have kids; but increasing numbers are not becoming parents and will instead stick to pet parenting. The birth rate is *falling but that’s not because people are choosing to become pet parents instead. That’s rather like the chicken and egg argument. The truth is that the birth rate is declining because of economic and societal pressures, and pets are filling a gap.

My dog reduces stress and contributes to my mental wellbeing. She gives and takes affection so wonderfully because hers is a pure emotion. Dogs are the only species that, like a human child, runs to its human when it is frightened, anxious or just pleased to see us. It is also the only animal, aside from other humans, that actively seeks out eye contact with people, and truly wants to be with us, unlike the aloof, still wild-at-heart cat.

It seems incongruous and anachronistic that dogs and other pets are still classified as property in law. Dogs at least should be given some form of legal guardianship. With the advent of ‘Pet Nup’ agreements in divorces, where pets are treated more like children in custody cases, dogs at least could one day soon have the legal recognition they deserve. Our pets should be classified as members of our family and not bundled in with the rest of our property. We are pet parents and not pet owners, after all!

As published at Huffington Post UK: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/marie-carter/pet-parenting-whats-so-wrong-with-it_b_7079174.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

* In 2013, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) decreased to 1.85 children per woman, from 1.94 in 2012, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS.)


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Most families value pets above in-laws…

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We all know that pets are an important part of the family, but new research has revealed that dogs have supplanted the in-laws.

The finding emerges from research carried out for the retailer Matalan as part of its “Made for Modern Families” marketing campaign.

Data compiled by YouGov reveals that a dog is now more than just a man’s best friend, with almost half (49%) of pet owners questioned claiming that they were an important family member, while 22 per cent cited their pet as a close family member; just below grandparents (26%) and above in-laws (21%).

Mark Earls, a leading behavioural expert and fellow of the Marketing Society, said: “Pets really add to the richness of the modern family and are considered just as important as close relatives and friends. Dogs are more like us than many other pets – they’re social creatures who appreciate being part of a family and those who look after them.”


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Charity warns of threat from antibiotic resistance in pets

PictureCharity founder Jill Moss with Bella who died after contracting an MRSA infection

Infection control charity calls for better hygiene and end to dependence on antibiotics to protect people and pets, following news of Government’s AMR death figures  

Following the release of dramatic Government forecasts on the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), The Bella Moss Foundation (BMF) has responded by urging the public, pet owners and clinicians to stick to the basics of good hygiene and responsible use of antibiotics.

Figures from the 2015 National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies* made headlines earlier this week, after AMR made the register for the first time.

Officials predict an AMR blood infection outbreak could affect as many as 200,000 people in the UK – potentially killing 80,000. The risk register document states: “High numbers of deaths could also be expected from other forms of AMR infection.”  

BMF believes widespread AMR outbreaks are likely to be more of a threat in developing countries – opposed to the localised episodes we may see in care homes, prisons or veterinary and animal rescue settings in the UK – however, our experts agree “there is a genuine concern about returning to a pre-antibiotic era”.

Two of BMF’s clinical advisors, both expert veterinary dermatologists, are reiterating calls for good hygiene and prudent use of antibiotics.    

Edinburgh vet school academic and BMF supporter Tim Nuttall said: “There is now a genuine concern about returning to a pre-antibiotic era, and while new drugs are welcome, the long-term solution involves better antimicrobial stewardship. We must use these drugs less often and more effectively.

“This will mean the public putting less pressure on clinicians for antibiotics for themselves or their animals, better diagnosis and treatment by clinicians, first-class standards of hygiene and infection control and better ways of managing infections without using antibiotics – many cases can be managed by addressing the primary disease and using antiseptics.”

Royal Veterinary College lecturer and BMF supporter David Lloyd said: “There is no question we are facing increasing challenges from bacteria resistant to antibacterial drugs, both in human and veterinary medicine. This is a serious worldwide problem and requires international action – focused on the two key areas of disease prevention and reduced use of antibacterial drugs, applied to human and veterinary medicine and livestock production.

“In hospitals and clinics, rigorous attention to hygiene is a vital component of disease prevention. In farming, good hygiene and the adoption of husbandry methods which reduce stress among animals will also reduce infection and, therefore, the need for antibacterial drugs. Vaccination will continue to be a very important method of disease prevention in both human medicine and animal husbandry.

“The great majority of bacterial infections are still caused by organisms which are sensitive to existing antibiotics. If we use these drugs wisely then levels of resistance are likely to decline but there is an urgent need in both human and veterinary fields to promote the adoption of best practice in the maintenance of hygiene and the prudent use of antibacterial drugs.

“The development of new drugs will be important and is needed. However, it is likely bacteria will be capable of developing resistance to any agents we produce if we use those drugs unwisely. We should therefore also concentrate on measures which reduce our dependence on antibacterial drugs.”

* To view the 2015 register visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-risk-register-for-civil-emergencies-2015-edition.


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RSPCA Warning: Don’t kill your dog with kindness this Easter

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The RSPCA is issuing a warning to pet owners that chocolate is toxic to dogs and can kill them.

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which is toxic to dogs, and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions and even death. Cocoa powder is the most toxic chocolate product, followed by dark and then milk chocolate.

The RSPCA would advise any pet owner to take their animal straight to a vet if they are worried about what their dog has eaten.

Never watch and wait in any case of suspected poisoning. The effects can take hold extremely quickly, so knowing the symptoms and how to respond to them can be the difference between life and death

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Richards said: “We all know that our dogs can sometimes beg for food but if you give in and feed your dog human foods like chocolate, you risk poisoning your dog and it could even die.

“Other human foods like hot cross buns are also a danger to our pets, so if you want your dog to share in a treat with you this Easter, please stick to specially made canine treats.

“Taking some kibble from their food allowance to use as a treat is also a good idea.

“The RSPCA is also advising gardeners planning on spending time in the garden this Easter to be wary of a mulch product which is potentially lethal to dogs.

“If dogs eat cocoa mulch – which is sold in garden centres and DIY stores – it could poison them in the same way that chocolate can. Some manufacturers warn consumers of the dangers on mulch packaging, but others don’t.”

Cocoa mulch, which to dogs may smell very appetising, contains a strong concentration of theobromine.


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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 www.iapwa.org.  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

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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

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  • 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 www.chipmydog.org.uk/update-your-dogs-chip <http://www.chipmydog.org.uk/update-your-dogs-chip> .
 


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