The new way to meet your perfect pet match

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An innovative new website has been launched to matchmake rescue pets all over the UK with their perfect owners.

The not-for-profit Find a Pet service allows members of the public to find new pets quickly and easily – and helps shelter pets find the loving homes they deserve.

Pet rescues list the pets in their care, and potential pet owners use a powerful search tool to pinpoint just the right pet for them. They can search by pet type, breed, location, age, sex and even temperament.

So, whether someone is looking for a dog that’s good with children, a rabbit that’s happy to live indoors, or the perfect lap cat – Find a Pet is an excellent place to meet a new best friend.

Animal welfare journalist and presenter Serena Cowdy developed Find a Pet primarily to address some of the most serious pet welfare problems that exist in the UK: Irresponsible breeding, and pets being sold like household goods online.

Figures from the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) indicate that some 250,000 pets come into rescue centres every year. The Find a Pet project wants to get the ‘adopt don’t shop’ message out to as many people as possible – and to become the standard destination for anyone looking for a new pet online.

However, Find a Pet is also a fun, engaging, family-friendly experience. A user can share the pets they find on social media, build their own ‘favourites’ pinboard as they search for their perfect companion, and even sign up for email alerts, so they’re told as soon as their perfect type or breed of pet is listed on the site.

Serena explained why the project is so important to her: “In my work with pet charities, I’ve seen and heard some heartbreaking things. When you come across yet another kitten that’s been dumped in a bin because no one wants it – or yet another dog that’s been used in an illegal dog fight, you realise just how big the pet welfare problem is in the UK.

“I believe that Britain is still a nation of animal lovers – and with so many wonderful pets waiting patiently in rescues, I would encourage any potential pet owner to adopt, rather than to breed or buy.

“If you take on a rescue pet, you really are helping to save a life. Find a Pet just makes it as easy as possible to be a hero!” 

TV vet and PupAid founder Marc Abraham said: “There’s currently a huge animal welfare problem in UK around the cruel puppy farming industry over-producing poorly pets sold in pet shops, garden centres, and online. Meanwhile, thousands of healthy pets are simply abandoned, dumped in rescue, or worse put to sleep, because they’re no longer wanted.

“Why would anyone buy a sick puppy from a pet shop when there are so many fantastic animals waiting in shelters for their loving forever homes? This groundbreaking Find a Pet website is a brilliant new resource to help tackle this serious problem, and I support it wholeheartedly.”

Find a Pet – www.findapet.org.uk – is a not-for-profit project developed by animal welfare journalist and presenter Serena Cowdy. Find out more about Find a Pet email alerts: www.findapet.org.uk/email-alerts

More information about Serena can be found on her website: www.serenacowdy.com.

More information about Marc Abraham can be found on his website: www.marcthevet.com.

More information about PupAid can be found here: www.pupaid.org.


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“Restrain pets in cars to prevent accidents”: RAC

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RAC urges drivers to ensure safety of cats and dogs on the move

More than one in four (27%) dog-owning motorists unwittingly break the law when it comes to transporting their pets by not keeping them restrained when their vehicles are on the road, new research has found*.

The RAC Pet Insurance study also revealed that 4% of pet (2% dog and 2% cat) owners have had an accident, or a near miss, as a result of a cat or dog being loose in their car.

According to the Highway Code dogs or other animals** should be suitably restrained in a vehicle so that they don’t distract the driver or injure them if the vehicle stops quickly. Official advice from the RSPCA is that dogs are both secure and comfortable during transport.

While the majority agree that it is a hazard to allow a dog to be loose in a vehicle, 28% said they would let their dog move freely, even in a vehicle full of luggage. Also of concern is that 21% usually leave their dogs unsecured on car seats while 6% let them travel in passenger footwells.

Of those who do secure their dogs in transit on the road, a third (34%) restrict their animals to the boot, less than a quarter (24%) use a pet seatbelt or harness, and just 15% transport their dogs in a cage or carrier.

As many as 78% of dog owners travel with their dogs in the car whereas cat owners do not tend to drive with their cats as much, with only 50% saying they ride with them.

Cat-owning motorists, however, are seemingly more safety conscious as 92% of those surveyed said their felines were kept in a secure carrier when travelling by car. And, 96% said they would never consider letting their cat loose in the vehicle.

RAC Pet Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said: “As a nation of dog and cat lovers it is surprising that we seem to give so little consideration to their safety when they are transported in vehicles. Unsecured pets in moving vehicles are a real danger, not only to the driver and passengers, but to themselves in the event of an accident or if the driver has to brake suddenly.

“Our research suggests that a sizeable amount of people are prepared to take a risk and leave their dog unsecured, and, worryingly, that more than one in 10 (13%) do not actually consider it to be a driving hazard.

“While pet owners may feel they know how their dog behaves in the car, nobody can predict what might happen round the next corner or how a dog would react in or after an accident. The best way to ensure the safety and security of everybody in a vehicle when travelling with a pet is to make sure it is properly restrained.”

For pet owners looking to ensure the safety of their dog or cat in the car, the RAC has just launched an improved and expanded range of its popular and market-leading pet travel products.

Together with leading pet manufacturer Pet Brands, the RAC has built on the range – first launched seven years ago after identifying a gap in the market for pet travel safety products – so dog and cat owners have a wider choice of quality pet transport products to choose from.

The range, which is available through RAC Shop pet travel section and a select number of pet wholesalers and retailers, comprises 33 additional travel safety and outdoor accessories, extending the range to 57 items. Customers can choose from a Standard RAC product or pay a little extra for slightly higher quality Advanced premium products.

Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, says: “It’s important that when you are taking your dog on the road in a vehicle that they are travelling in a safe and comfortable way. There are many ways in which this can be done, so that the journey is a smooth experience for both dog owner and the dog themselves.”

Below are our some Dogs Trust top tips, whatever the time of year:

  • Secure your pet – make sure your dog is secure and comfortable on a journey for their own safety and so they cannot distract you. They should be fitted with a correctly sized harness or positioned within a travelling crate or container

  • Never leave pets alone in cars – don’t leave your dog alone in the car. Even if it seems cool outside it can become very hot very quickly. Parking in the shade and/or keeping the windows down does not make it safe!

  • Keep pets cool – make sure you keep your dog as cool as possible when driving. Avoid travelling during the heat of the day, use sun blinds on the windows and consider opening a window a little to allow a cooling breeze to circulate in the vehicle

  • Stop en route to give pets a drink – make sure you have a supply of water and know where you can stop off en route for water breaks. Dogs are not able to cool down as effectively as humans so could suffer from heat stroke and dehydration very quickly

  • Allow pets to adjust to travelling – allow your dog to become familiar with car journeys by ensuring they have positive experiences over a number of short trips before embarking on a long journey

  • Plan journeys and routes carefully – plan your journey time and route carefully as you’ll need to stop at regular intervals to exercise your pet

  • Consider suitable pet destinations – consider your pet with regards to your destination. Busy environments, such as bustling city centres or loud carnivals and public events are not always suitable for dogs as they can get distressed

  • Feed your pet in advance of travel – feed your pet no sooner than two hours before a long journey to ensure that your pet does not have a full stomach when travelling

  • Always have food at the ready – take a supply of your dog’s usual food in the event that you get stuck in traffic or have a breakdown

  • Always have a harness or lead at the ready – keep the dog’s harness or lead close to hand in case you need to get out of the vehicle

  • Do not let dogs hand head outside cars – Dogs Trust advises that owners shouldn’t allow their dog to hang their head out of the window while they are moving as this could be potentially dangerous for the dog as well as distracting for the owner

  • In an emergency – if you see a distressed dog in a vehicle please call 999, or either the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999


Real life story

Pet owner Matthew Evans was involved in a multi-car accident on the motorway whilst travelling last summer on a camping holiday at the seaside with his four-year-old son and his dog.

Matthew said: “Our dog Barney is a German Short Haired Pointer. He is our prince and we worship the ground he walks on. We never really understood the importance of pets being restrained in the car with a safety harness or crate until we were involved in a pile-up on the motorway and Barney got hurt!

“Barney damaged his paw after falling forward from the back seat down into the footwell. He was sad whilst it was bandaged up as he couldn’t put any weight on it. Our vet told us we were lucky as he has seen much worse car safety accidents with pets.

“Just like we strap our four-year-old little boy into his car seat, we don’t ever set off in the car now without Barney’s travel safety harness or crate.”


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Rags to riches stories of Cats Protection’s calendar cats

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They were once abandoned, unwanted or unloved but a selection of cats adopted from Cats Protection have found rags to riches glory by becoming calendar stars. 
 
The 14 moggies will grace the kitchen walls of households throughout the UK after they were chosen to star in the charity’s 2015 ‘Home Sweet Homed’ calendar. 
 
All had previously been in the care of Cats Protection, the nation’s biggest cat charity, before finding loving new owners.
 
They were chosen from more than 500 cats after the charity launched a search for its 2015 calendar stars on its Facebook page. 
 
Cats Protection’s Creative Designer Martin Green explained the charity wanted to celebrate the real-life happy endings of some of the cats it had helped. 
 
He said: “We wanted a calendar that would truly reflect the work we do and there’s no better way to do that than focus on the cats themselves. 
 
“We chose cats from around the country that had been rehomed from Cats Protection and were now enjoying life with their new owners. 
 
“Local photographers were drafted in to capture the cats in their own homes to show the happy lives they are now living.”
 
Success stories featured in the calendar include Yara, who was discovered in a rubbish tip at just 10 weeks old and Amber, who was found abandoned in a box on Southampton Common. 
 
Cats were chosen for each month, as well as for the front and inside covers, and a short biography with each photo explains how they came to be rehomed by Cats Protection. 
 
Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat welfare charity, rescuing, rehoming and reuniting 46,000 cats and kittens every year through its network of over 250 voluntary-run branches and 31 adoption centres. 
 
Martin added: “We think the cats and photos we’ve chosen show off the many personalities of the cats themselves – from the playful and mischievous to the proud cats that seem to love posing for the camera.” 
 
Cats Protection’s 2015 Home Sweet Homed calendar is available priced at £4.95 + P&P by visiting www.cpchristmasshop.co.uk <http://www.cpchristmasshop.co.uk

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And now the weather…for dogs

Former boxing heavyweight champion of the world, and proud Chihuahua owner, David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye delivers a knockout performance of a completely different kind today as he presents the world’s first-ever weather forecast just for dogs. The unique national ‘Weather Pawcast’ has been launched by MORE TH>N Pet Insurance to raise awareness of the climate-related dangers dogs face during these hotter, humid and more stormy summer months.
 
Using a bespoke temperature risk scale developed by a veterinary expert, David pinpoints the regions of the UK where hotter temperatures and higher humidity levels could put some of the nation’s nine million dogs at greatest risk of dehydration and heat stroke, as well as the areas where thunderstorms are likely to occur, potentially causing undue stress in canines.
 
Dog temperature risk scale developed by vet Robert White-Adams:

·      The “Medium Risk” range (approximately 16-19°C outside air temperature) for dogs over-heating is based on the equivalent environmental temperature range at which we start to see humans shedding their layers of clothing);

·      The “High Risk” range (approximately 20-23°C outside air temperature) for dogs over-heating represents temperatures where humans also start to employ additional heat reduction mechanisms such as reducing their activity and seeking shade, breeze or air conditioning;and

·      The “Very High Risk” (over 23°C outside air temperature) represents those temperatures at which humans struggle to stay “cool”, and therefore dogs with their much more limited capacity to lose heat are going to be highly susceptible to developing hyperthermia and heat stroke.
 

Commenting on his debut as a canine weather forecaster, David Haye said: “I’ve been a two weight world champion and fought in front of millions but being a weatherman for dogs is definitely a first. However, as a dog lover and owner I know too well the hazards our four legged friends face on a hot day. I hope that by presenting a weather pawcast I can help raise awareness of the issues that MORE TH>N is highlighting and encourage all dog lovers to be more mindful of how the warm weather affects their pets especially given the current temperatures”
 
Based on this weekend’s forecast, almost one million dogs have been identified by MORE TH>N Pet Insurance as being in ‘very high risk’ temperature zones, with the mercury expected to rise to 28 degrees celsius in London and the South East. Dog owners wishing to view the Weather Pawcast for the 25th, 26th and 27th July should go to www.youtube.com/morethan <http://www.youtube.com/morethan> .
 
Vet Robert White-Adams’ 10 Tips for Hot Weather:

1.     Get your dog’s coat stripped, or even better, clipped short.

2.     Change walkies time to early morning or late at night when the temperature is cooler. Take it easy and let your dog take things slow. It’s too hot for running, fetch and ball games.

3.     If your dog is panting then stop and slow down and if possible find some shade.

4.     Take water with you at all times and on walks gently spray your dog with a mist of water. Repeat often as the water evaporates and cools them down. However, do not douse or drench your dog with cold water. 
Sudden cold shock can divert blood flow away from the skin and can actually make your dog hotter!

5.     Make sure plenty of fresh drinking water in a clean bowl is available at all times (not too hot; not too cold). Check and refill throughout the day.

6.     If you’re inside, open windows but keep the curtains drawn to keep the temperature down and make sure your dog has lots of space to move around.

7.     Dehydration happens much quicker in warmer weather so if your dog is vomiting, has diarrhoea or stops drinking then seek help from your vet immediately.

8.     Create somewhere cool for your dog to rest, such as placing a wet towel in a shady spot outside.

9.     Place a fan near your dog and try putting an ice pack in front of the fan to cool the air it’s blowing.

10.  Check up on your dog more often. A lot can happen in just a few hours so change your routine to keep an eye on your dog.
 
The Weather Pawcast follows research by MORE TH>N Pet Insurance which reveals just how ill-informed some dog owners are when it comes to their dogs’ in hot temperatures. Among the results of the research, conducted with 2,000 dog owners, was the finding that one in five (18%) has been forced to make an emergency visit to the vets after their dog suffered overheating and dehydration in the summer sun.
 
Further findings from the research include the shocking admission from 10% of dog owners that they will leave their dog in the car on a hot day, while 14% have forgotten to give their dogs water after taking them for a walk. Another 25% claimed they do not adapt or reduce their dog’s activity and exercise on in warmer temperatures, putting the animal at greater risk of heat stroke.  What’s more, nearly a quarter (22%) of those polled admitted they do not take any water with them when they walk their dogs in hotter temperatures.
 
Matthew Poll, of MORE TH>N Pet Insurance, commented: “Unlike us, dogs can’t simply remove layers if they’re too hot and the consequences of over-heating can be fatal for them. As this research shows, greater attention needs to be given by owners to the weather and how to adapt their dogs’ routines and environments in relation to it. We hope that the Weather Pawcast will go some way to raising awareness of the issue and help dog owners better ensure the wellbeing of their dogs whatever the weather.”
 
The MORE TH>N Weather Pawcast will continue throughout the summer on MORE TH>N’s Facebook page. To see a seven-day doggie weather forecast for the UK visit www.facebook.com/morethan <http://www.facebook.com/morethan> .

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Dogs take the heat from jealous partners

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Women are far more likely to talk to their dog than their partner when they are feeling jealous, according to the preliminary results of a new study.

Our furry friends also get an earful when females are feeling apathetic, although emotions of anger and fear were directed to partners.

Researchers are now looking to widen the study to male participants, to see what feelings drive the way they speak to their dog.

The survey has been designed by a student from the University of Lincoln, UK, with the aim of assessing dog owners’ tendencies to reveal certain thoughts, feelings and emotions to their dog versus their long-term partner.

Third year undergraduate Aislinn Evans-Wilday, who is carrying out the research mentored by Professor Daniel Mills within the School of Life Sciences, said: “The purpose of the study is to find out how close we are with our dogs and characterise the form of relationship we have with them. 

“It is well known that men and women tend to deal with stress in very different ways. Women typically talk more openly about all issues with friends, whereas men tend to talk about positive emotions with partners but keep negative problems bottled up. Research indicates that men only really confide in someone when they want a solution to a problem. Men talk in a hierarchy state and are always trying to gain the upper hand. Therefore, it may be they are willing to talk to dogs because they won’t get judged.”

The wider aim of the research is to look at how dogs could potentially be used to reach out to people in therapy sessions, similar to the benefits dogs can bring to partially sighted, blind and deaf people.

Aislinn added: “It’s my belief that by determining whether or not people are more or less willing to talk to their dog about certain feelings (particularly negative feelings) there is the potential that dogs could become a recognised tool for therapists to encourage patients to gets things off their chest. If possible I would like to expand this research even further to assess people’s willingness to confide in a dog that isn’t their own, such as a therapy dog, versus a figure such as a therapist.”

If you would like to take part in the study, are 18 years of age or over, currently married, in a civil-partnership or are in a stable, long-term relationship and own at least one dog, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/self-disclosurewithdogs

Both your human relationship and dog-ownership should have lasted at least six months. 


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Help pets get to Paris! 

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PetsPyjamas are spearheading a campaign to get Pets to Paris via Eurostar. They have launched a petition calling on Eurostar to make one carriage on each of their trains dog-friendly.

The petition needs 100,000 signatures by September 30 and will then go to the House of Commons for discussion.

A spokesman for Pets Pyjamas said: “If you don’t own a car it’s almost impossible to get your pet to Paris – you can take your pet on a train either side of the channel but just not the bit in between. And when you get to Paris it’s  so pet-friendly with hotels, restaurants and bars welcoming your pooch with open arms!  You can take your pet with you for cocktails at Hotel Costes or lunch at the Louvre or stay in the lap of luxury at Le Meurice.

“A pet-friendly Eurostar carriage allowing pet owners to travel with their dog, without affecting the quality of travel for other passengers would provide much requested service.”

According to the Pet Industry Federation 90 percent of dog owners took their pets away with them last year when they went on holiday. The pet travel industry is the fastest growing section of the £2.7 billion per year pet sector.

If enough of us sign the petition we can make it happen so please click here to join the campaign and help get our pets to Paris!


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One third of pet owners don’t microchip their pets – 1 in 5 pets go missing

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A quarter of all dog owners (26%) and over a third (40%) of cat owners have not microchipped at least one of their pets, a new study has found. 

A shocking one third of owners are not safeguarding their pets by having them microchipped, and worryingly 21% of pet owners have had a cat or dog stolen. The independent survey carried out by Animal Friends also found that 14% of pet owners who have had a pet stolen or go missing never got their pet back.

Official police data shows the equivalent of at least three cats and dogs were stolen each day last year, according to the organisation Vets Get Scanning. With such high pet theft figures, and since microchips are intended to help reunite a lost pet with its owner, micro-chipping should be an important aspect of owning a pet.

However, this new study reveals that for almost one in six owners this is far from the case: 15% chose ‘I haven’t thought about it’ as the reason behind not micro-chipping their pet, making this the most popular reason given, and demonstrating a lack of public awareness of the identification method.

The animal insurance provider’s research found that one in ten people (10%) chose ‘my pet never leaves my side or somewhere safe like a house’ as their main reason for not getting their pet micro-chipped. However, recent statistics released by Vets Get Scanning found that 52% of pets are in fact stolen from their own gardens, while 19% are taken from people’s homes in a house burglary.

Awareness of micro-chipping may not be enough to secure a safe return should your pet go missing, though: Animal Friends’ study also addressed an issue concerning vets not making use of the microchips pets are carrying. 

Currently, vets do not routinely scan animals brought in to them – something that the majority of people questioned view as wrong: 72% of those surveyed think that all animals admitted to a vet’s care should have their microchips checked. Just 21% believe the vet should need a reason, saying this should only be done if the vet is suspicious that the pet may be stolen.

From April 2016, it will be mandatory for all dogs to be micro-chipped, and Vets Get Scanning notes that the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has now stated: “We support scanning new patients as best practice”, indicating that micro-chipping pets is the future, and that it should become increasingly effective as scanning becomes routine.

Debbie Matthews, daughter of presenter and entertainer Sir Bryce Forsyth, is one high-profile believer that vets should routinely scan pets admitted to their care. After her Yorkshire Terriers, Gizmo and Widget, were stolen from her car, Debbie was horrified to hear that vets don’t scan pets for microchips – meaning that the identification devices in her dogs wouldn’t necessarily help her find them.

In fact, it was only through the media attention the case attracted that Debbie was reunited with her pets. Debbie is now an active campaigner of the Vets Get Scanning petition to get vets to adopt a practice policy where all dogs that come into their practice are routinely scanned for microchips on their first visit.

Debbie told Animal Friends: “Each vet practice sets their own practice policy, which means although BVA (British Veterinary Association) now states it is ‘best practice’ to scan new registering pets, they don’t all have to. We started the campaign after we found out that when a stolen dog is sold on to an unsuspecting new owner, no scan would be done on registering a new pet accompanied by an owner.

Microchips only reunite pet and owner if a pet is scanned. Owners of microchipped pets assume that this is already happening but it appears they are wrong. You only find out who is and who is not scanning when your pet goes missing or is stolen. This campaign is now aimed not just at vets but also rehoming centres, dog wardens, highway agencies and rail networks. It’s not hard to see why so many missing dogs and cats are never found with the lack of scanning going on.”

Further stats can be found here: http://www.animalfriends.org.uk/blog/uk-microchipping-attitude/


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Dog bounces back to health

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A Sunderland dog suffering from a mysterious illness has been cured after PDSA vets removed a ball from her stomach – which is believed to have been hiding there for two years!

Border Terrier Trixie swallowed the ball while playing in the garden at her owner Melanie Pounder’s home in High Barns two years ago. Obviously concerned for her pet pooch’s welfare, Melanie, 42, took her to a private vet practice but no trace of the ball was found, as they assumed it had been passed and she wasn’t showing any problematic symptoms.

More recently however, Trixie (10) began being sick, despite appearing fit and healthy. Melanie took her to PDSA’s pet hospital, the Reay Hudson Centre, in Hepworth Road, to try and solve the mystery. 

Emma Holt, PDSA vet, said an X-ray revealed the cause of the problem:

“Trixie was well in herself, but we knew that something wasn’t right. So we took an X-ray and spotted a small object in her abdomen, which looked suspicious. Exploratory surgery was carried out, and we soon discovered it was a bouncy ball.

“I’ve seen a few strange cases during my time as a vet, but never something like this where a foreign body has just been hiding away for so long before causing a problem.”

Emma said Trixie was fortunate the ball had not moved to her intestines, where it could have caused a fatal blockage. She also warned that owners should take special care when selecting the size of balls, for their dogs to play with, as ones that are too small can cause choking or swallowing. 

Melanie says she is extremely grateful to PDSA and delighted that Trixie has made a full recovery: 

“When it turned out to be the ball, I couldn’t believe it – we just assumed Trixie had passed it through her system two years ago. To think it’s been there the whole time is just incredible! I’m so grateful to PDSA for helping Trixie to get well again, as I love her to bits and we would be lost without her.

“I’m now very careful about which toys Trixie plays with, and I make sure she only has ones that are too big to swallow.”

PDSA is on a mission to educate the nation on pet wellbeing and is delighted that funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is helping the charity to continue this vital work. For further pet health advice, please visit www.pdsa.org.uk/pethealth 


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Some dogs find kennels exciting, not stressful 

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New research suggests that dogs who spend a short time in boarding kennels may not find it unduly stressful and could in fact find the change of scene exciting.

This hypothesis directly contradicts previous research which suggests that dogs experience acute stress following admission to kennels, and chronic stress in response to prolonged kennelling.

The study, published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, also suggests that dogs may even view kennelling as an exciting change of scene, at least in the short-term.

The team, which included academics from the University of Lincoln, UK, University of Birmingham, Queen’s University Belfast and The Royal Veterinary College, measured a range of stress parameters in 29 privately-owned dogs – both at home and in one of three private boarding kennel establishments in Northern Ireland.

The study aimed to test the validity of a range of physiological, physical and behavioural welfare indicators and to establish baseline values reflecting good dog welfare. 

Physical measurements included skin dryness, nose temperature, core body temperature and amount of food eaten. Behavioural measurements included spontaneous behaviours such as lip licking, paw lifting, yawning, shaking and restlessness. Physiological measures included stress hormones (corticosteroids) and epinephrine (adrenaline).

The research revealed that dogs have higher levels of arousal, colder noses and were generally more active in kennels than when they were at home.

The welfare of kennelled dogs is of concern, given that many experience minimal social contact, exercise and control over their environment as well as unpredictable and high levels of noise, novelty and disrupted routines. 

Based on existing research it was assumed that dogs would show higher levels of stress in the kennel compared to the home environment.

The most widely used physiological indicator of canine welfare is urinary cortisol (hormone secreted following activation of one of the major stress response systems) and creatinine (chemical waste product created by the liver) ratios (C/Cr), which is considered a valid measure of acute and chronic stress in dogs. However, the reliability of this has been questioned.

The study revealed that C/Cr was significantly higher in the kennel compared to the home environment but cortisol levels have also been found to increase after exercise and excitement, and appear to provide an indication of arousal without specifying the emotional reason of that arousal.

Dr Lisa Collins, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK, said: “Many owners find leaving their dog at a boarding kennels a stressful experience.  However, this study suggests that although dogs appeared to have a higher level of overall arousal or excitement in kennels compared with their state at home, this arousal is not necessarily due to dogs experiencing kennels as negatively stressful. The emotional reasons for the behavioural and physiological responses of the dogs were ambiguous and no definitive evidence was found to suggest that dogs were negatively stressed by kennelling. 

“Our findings did strongly suggest that C/Cr, epinephrine and nose temperature are robust measures of psychological arousal in dogs. Nonetheless, these measures can be easily misinterpreted and do not provide unequivocal indicators of psychological stress. Findings appear to suggest that the dogs in this study did not perceive admission to boarding kennels as an aversive stressor and perhaps, instead, perceived kennelling as an exciting change of scene, at least in the short-term.”

The team recommends further investigation to determine the validity of measurements tested as indicators of acute and chronic stress in domestic dogs. 

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‘Government must do more to protect animal welfare’ – poll 

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New polling of public, politicians and animal welfare experts highlights the need for the Government to lead the way – and identifies the plight of research animals, breeding animals and those hunted for sport as top priorities. 

The RSPCA  has hosted an animal welfare debate with leading animal welfarists and members of parliament at the site of the charity’s  very first meeting back in 1824.

The panel was chaired by RSPCA’s head of Public Affairs and included the shadow animal welfare minister, the Parliamentary under secretary of state for DEFRA, the president of the Born Free Foundation and the founding member of the government’s Farm Animal Welfare Council.

At the event, Lord De Mauley (Parliamentary under secretary of state DEFRA) praised the contribution the RSPCA has made to animal welfare since its inception in the very same spot almost 200 years earlier. He said, “A huge congratulations to the RSPCA for 190 years of doing the right thing and achieving so much.”

“The big challenges are tackling irresponsible behaviour, increasing education and how best to deal with people making demands on finite resources,” he added.

Alongside a panel discussion about the challenges facing the animal welfare sector, voting was also held to decide the issues most affecting animals today and, ultimately, whose responsibility it is to improve the lives of animals across the country.

Who is responsible for animal welfare?

After listening to the debate, forty percent of those present thought the Government bore the most responsibility  for animal welfare, with the general public pulling 30 percent of the votes and those who make money from animals (such as farmers, retailers and breeders) taking 21 percent.

Surprisingly, only nine percent of people thought the RSPCA and other animal welfare charities were the ‘most responsible’ for animal welfare, showing a disconnect between public expectation of the charitable sector and the ‘power’ they actually hold to change law.

However, the  vital role the RSPCA plays in  fighting for better lives for all animals was acknowledged by the panel, with Angela Smith MP (shadow animal welfare minister) saying:

“We are all responsible for animal welfare, but the RSPCA and the Government do bear the responsibility for helping to deliver the kind of animal welfare we hope to see in this country. It is a dual role.

“The RSPCA’s recent campaign on the badger cull illustrates how charities do change people’s attitudes in the long term. We should not allow any polarising of political views to get in the way of this.”

The panel and invited guests also voted on the animal welfare issue they would most like to see resolved by the time the RSPCA celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2024.

Better alternatives to the use of animals in research came top of the poll, with 45 percent of voters making it their primary concern. Tougher regulations for animal breeders came in second with 29 per cent of the votes, followed closely by an end to hunting animals for sport,with 16 per cent..

Bringing abusers to justice is “most important” say public

The RSPCA also wanted to hear the views of the general public, and so launched an online survey to coincide with the debate.

The poll, of more than 7,500 people across the UK, highlighted the fact that the public and the decision makers share similar concerns on some issues.

The call for ‘better alternatives to the use of animals in research’ also ranked as the highest concern among the public with 25 per cent of the votes, and stricter rules on animal breeders also taking the second spot with 19 per cent.. 

The poll also showed that the public think investigating people who abuse animals and bringing them to justice is the most important aspect of the RSPCA’s work. Thirty three percent of respondents ranked it as the ‘most important’ aspect of its work, followed by ‘rescuing animals’ at 32.5 per cent. Campaigning for better welfare for animals also ranked highly with 11.5 percent of the votes.

This comes as the charity published its Prosecutions Annual Report on Wednesday (18 June) which documents a shocking catalogue of deliberate cruelty and neglect.The latest figures showed complaints of cruelty investigated by the RSPCA rose from 150,833 in 2012 to 153,770.


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