The arrival of ‘puppy passports’

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UK’s first ‘bring your dog to work day’ to help pet charities 


The phrase ‘working like a dog’ is often associated with long-hours at the office, fuelled by several cups of hot coffee. But that phrase may adopt a new meaning this summer, as employee wellbeing takes centre stage in the UK’s first Bring Your Dog To Work Day. 

Set to be held on Friday 27 June 2014, businesses from across the UK will welcome their dog-loving employees into the workplace, along with their loyal four-legged companions.

Both businesses and individuals can make online donations of £50 and £2 respectively to participate, with all proceeds being split between All Dogs Matter, Animals Asia and Pup Aid – three organisations that make a huge difference to the welfare of animals.

“Many scientific studies have shown that the presence of pets can substantially reduce a person’s stress level in the workplace and be beneficial to a person’s well being,” says Jo Amit, co-founder of natural grooming product company Butch & Bess, one of two pet industry businesses behind the initiative.

“But what really inspired Bring Your Dog To Work Day was my own experience of taking my labradoodle Laila into the office. She was such a calming influence whilst developing our first range of products. It even made me ask our building manager if I could bring her in on a regular basis, but he declined and sent Laila packing with her bed, treats and water bowl!

“So we thought an annual Bring Your Dog To Work Day would be an excellent way to highlight the role dogs can play in creating a productive work environment, while raising money for three organisations that champion the rights of animals. And if you already take your dog to work, even better!”

Businesses can participate in the day by becoming an official sponsor. In return for a minimum donation of £50, a company logo and website link will be displayed on Bring Your Dog to Work Day’s homepage.

Providing there is employer permission, individuals can also bring their dogs to work. For a minimum donation of £2, an individual can submit a picture of their dog to be published on the official website’s gallery entitled the ‘Dog With A Job Hall of Fame’, along with a description of the dog’s work duties for the day.

“We’re absolutely certain that Bring Your Dog To Work Day participants will create a new kind of Friday feeling in the company of man’s best friend,” explains Leean Young, director of healthy dog treat company LoveSniffys, who also helped organise the event.   

“The amount of interest we’ve seen from businesses across the country has blown us away, so we’re really hopeful of raising some significant funds for the three animal organisations we’re working with.”

The animal organisations that stand to benefit from Bring Your Dog To Work Day were chosen because of their noticeable work for protecting and promoting the welfare of vulnerable animals. 

For instance, All Dogs Matter rescues and re-homes more than 300 dogs a year in London, Norfolk and the surrounding areas. The dogs in they care for are usually homeless, or come from local dog pounds. A mixture of foster homes and kennel spaces are used to take care of the dogs.

International charity Animals Asia is devoted to ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming, as well as improving the welfare of dogs and cats in China and Vietnam. 

Pup Aid is an organisation that aims to end the practice of puppy farming in the UK. Last year it launched an e-petition to help ban the sale of young puppies and kittens. Over 100,000 people provided signatures and the topic is guaranteed debate in parliament.

Please visit for further information on how to donate and participate.

In the June issue of Pets magazine, we visit a business that has a one regular canine member of staff called Ted, the Westie.

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Pawprints on a heart


This will ring so true for anyone who has ever known the unconditional love of a canine companion 🙂 It was shared by a friend who has just lost her beloved dog. My heart goes out to her xxx

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New research to explore genetic causes of aggressive behaviour in dogs


An interesting new study by academics at the University of Lincoln is looking at genetic factors that may contribute to impulsive aggression in dogs.

Some dogs may be predisposed to act aggressively with little warning, which can lead to people being injured and the dogs then being rejected by their owners and euthanised without treatment. Life Sciences PhD student Fernanda Fadel is trying to identify the genetic risk factors of dog aggression.

She said: “While aggressive behaviour is a normal part of every animal’s make up, it is important to identify individuals who represent a higher risk, in order to manage this risk effectively. 

“A central theme to this work is the recognition that we all have the same core traits; we just tend to express them to a greater or lesser degree as individuals. Thus anyone can be aggressive, but some may be more likely to show this in a given circumstance than another.”

The aim of the project is to develop a method that allows identification of at-risk individuals who may need specific management measures to help them live happy and fulfilling lives, at minimal risk to others. 

For this, Fernanda is recruiting dogs based on components of their personality, measured using a questionnaire developed at the University of Lincoln called the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (DIAS). 

She will then need to collect DNA samples from the saliva of those dogs that fit a certain profile. Some will be considered lower risk subjects and some may be higher risk. Fernanda needs to compare both low and high risk dogs’ genome, so all dog owners can help out.

When the relevant genes have been identified, researchers will aim to develop a genetic test to identify dogs with a tendency towards aggressive behaviour. By knowing which dogs have a high risk to potentially behave aggressively, the owners may be able to undertake measures to prevent accidents.  

The latest and simplest method for collecting DNA samples from pet dogs is to take a saliva swab. A small sponge is placed in the dog’s cheek and from this, scientists can extract DNA and analyse their genome. 

This method is non-invasive, which means it does not cause any pain or discomfort to the dogs. Individuals will not be specifically identified and the data will not be shared with any outside body. 

However, if you are looking for help with managing your dog’s behaviour, you can contact the University’s Animal Behaviour Clinic team for further information at

To take part in the survey please visit

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The spas where dogs are welcome too


By Bonnie Friend

The mere mention of taking your dog to a spa indicates that you really must be having a giggle.  That or you are Paris Hilton; surely there is no middle ground on this subject matter?  This at least, is the thought process unless you happen to be a dog owner, at which point it is entirely logical that he/she/it should also come along on a spa day or break, and maybe pop in for a facial as well.

In a world where even your cat is likely to have its own Twitter account however, it is perhaps needless to say that it is actually becoming increasingly common to be able to take your dog with you on a spa day.  In truth, it makes a lot of sense; this is a character that brings you much joy, so should only enhance a day of wellbeing and general happiness.  There may be an extra fee for their attendance in many instances, but come on, if you are going to treat ‘Fluffy’ et al as though they are unusually hairy people, it’s only fair that they acts like it and pay their way.

The question is where can you go … together?

Luton Hoo Hotel, Bedfordshire:  Surrounded by 1065 acres of land, this is as much a paradise for pets as it is for people.  You potter off and have your spa treatment, and for a £35.00 supplement your pooch can chill out in the gardens and will also be given a bed and dinner.

Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa, West Sussex:  Cuddling up by the fire is one of the highlights at Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa after a day of exploring the surrounding historic town of Midhurst and relaxing by the pool, and no doubt the dog will agree, particularly as for £15 a night he/she also gets dinner – no reason why you should have all the fun.

Clumber Park Hotel and Spa, Nottinghamshire: With a view of Sherwood Forest and just over the road from the National Trust’s Clumber Park estate, both you and your pet can get an outdoor workout in before winding down for the small supplement of £15 per dog per day.

Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland:  On a cliff top surrounded by one of Scotland’s most famous golf courses and looking out across the sea, Fairmont St Andrews is a five star experience for everyone to enjoy, particularly as the Pets Perks Package comes at a mere £20.00 per night.

Armathwaite Hall Country House and Spa, Cumbria:  You will find few places more picturesque than this 11th century castle, and the £15 per dog price tag should ensure that they remain man/woman’s best friend for life.

Bonnie is editor of

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The Internet’s most popular pets!

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Is ‘renting’ a dog right for the dog?

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Human foods which can poison pets


It’s Easter and we’re all tucking into chocolate, and we may also be tempted to feed our pets bits of Easter egg. But chocolate, like many other ‘people foods’, can be dangerous to our feline friends and canine companions.

Here’s our list of human foods which are most toxic to our pets: 

Chocolate, coffee & alcohol 
The substances in chocolate, coffee, and caffeine, methlxanthines, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and potentially death in pets. The higher the cocoa percentage, the more dangerous the chocolate is, making dark chocolate more toxic than milk or white chocolate. All these products can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even death.

Grapes & raisins 
These can be toxic to dogs and cause kidney failure. Researchers say there are still many unknowns about the toxicity of grapes and raisins, including whether only certain types of dogs are affected, but it is advised not to feed grapes or raisins to dogs in any amount.


While many pet owners say they feed their pets avocados with no problems, studies have shown that their leaves, fruit, seeds and bark can contain a toxin called Persin.

Onions, onion powder, chives and garlic
These all can lead to gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. All forms of onion can cause problems including dehydrated onions, raw and cooked onions. Cats are more susceptible than dogs, but it can be toxic to both.

Foods with a high salt or fat content
Excessive fats can cause upset stomach and potentially inflame the pancreas causing pancreatitis. Salty foods can pose a risk for the development of sodium ion toxicosis. Be aware that if your pet gets into food with a high fat or salt content, he could experience stomach problems including diahorrea and vomiting.

Left-over bones
Left-over bones pose a choking hazard to pets, and they can also splinter and puncture your pet’s gut or intestine. Additionally, do not feed your pet undercooked meat or eggs, as they can contain harmful bacteria.

Macadamia nuts
These nuts can cause weakness, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Symptoms generally last up to two days, and usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion.

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Insights into the primate pet trade 

PictureKodak ©Wild Futures

By Paul Michael Reynolds MSc, Education Officer and Primate Keeper at Wild Futures.

Wild Futures is a UK registered charity founded upon five decades of experience as a leader in the field of primate welfare and conservation, education, and sustainable practice. We are committed to protecting primates and habitats worldwide, with our UK flagship project “The Monkey Sanctuary” housing monkeys rescued from the primate pet trade and other abusive captive situations. 

Our primary focus at Wild Futures is to protect primates and one of our main methods for achieving this is through education. Our education program raises awareness of the serious conservation and welfare implications for victims of the primate pet trade and other issues affecting primates worldwide. 

Some of the monkeys at our Sanctuary were born in the wild and through both legal and illegal means, have ended up as pets in Europe. Kodak the capuchin (see photo above), started his life in the rainforest and probably witnessed his family group shot. He then found himself transported across the globe to Greece where he was kept in a photo shop, until his owner realised he needed to be with others of his own kind. He is now the alpha male of his own group at our Sanctuary. 

We estimate with the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) that there are at least 7,000 privately owned primates in the UK, with further evidence suggesting it is far higher and there are signs that the primate pet trade is on the increase.  Our Sanctuary witnesses the damage caused by this trade every day.  Of the 37 monkeys residing at our Sanctuary, many of them display serious physical and psychological problems resulting from their time kept as pets.  

Our campaign work has led to much advancement, including political recognition that the trade in primates as pets is an issue within the UK, the publication of the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Privately Kept Non-Human Primates (to be used in conjunction with the Animal Welfare Act 2006) and strong public support, which has resulted in a parliament led committee discussing the UK primate pet trade.  

We are working hard to protect primates and their habitats worldwide and strive for the day when all monkeys are free from the threat of the pet trade, free from malnutrition, mental, physical and emotional suffering.

Author bio:
Paul Reynolds started off at Wild Futures as a volunteer after completing his MSc in 2010, he swiftly advanced to become a primate keeper intern and then entered his current role as Education Officer. He is driven and committed to ending the exploitation of primates for any purpose. You can email him at [email protected] 

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A fantastic campaign to get our pets fighting fit!


Take-aways, biscuits, chips and even alcohol – are all fuelling an ongoing obesity crisis for British pets, whose collars are bursting at the buckles due to our addiction to high-calorie, fatty diets.
According to vet charity PDSA, more than 10 million pets* are getting fatty treats, due to owners sharing their own unhealthy eating habits with their pets in a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to make them happy.
The research shows that around nine out of ten owners (87%)* give pets treats, despite the fact that 91% realise the resulting obesity can reduce their pet’s lifespan. Around 2.5 million dogs (one in three) and over two million cats (one in four) are currently overweight and, not only could they have their lives cut short, they will also have a drastically reduced quality of life in some cases.
Scotland topped the lardy league table when it comes to lavishing animals with potentially deadly junk food, with 72% of owners admitting to giving fatty treats. Welsh pet owners are the next worst offenders, with 69% of owners over indulging their pets. Two in three North West pet owners (64%) are also loading their pets up with high-calorie, unsuitable snacks. While London pet owners scored the best, around half (48%) of owners are still feeding inappropriate food to their four-legged friends.  
To help combat the problem the charity has launched its annual fat-fighting competition, PDSA Pet Fit Club. Over the last eight years, the contest has transformed the lives of some of Britain’s fattest pets, many of whom simply wouldn’t have survived had their weight issues not been tackled.
Owners can enter their pets at; the deadline for entries is Sunday 27 April 2014.

Elaine Pendlebury, PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, said: “Sadly, seeing morbidly obese pets is now an everyday occurrence in vet practices across the UK; it is one of the biggest welfare concerns facing the nation’s pets. It’s effectively a silent killer leading to long term health issues for pets that can cut their lifespan by up to two years.
“Pet obesity significantly increases the danger of developing major health problems such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease and can also bring about the onset of these chronic diseases much earlier. It’s tragic to think that millions of pets are suffering under the strain of carrying too much weight, when it is an entirely preventable condition.”  
PDSA’s 2013 PAW Report*, produced in conjunction with YouGov, provides the biggest annual insight into pet health and welfare and has discovered a wide range of inappropriate treats are being fed to pets. These include fast food leftovers, crisps, biscuits, chocolate and chips. In some cases, it appears pets have also been helping themselves to leftover alcoholic drinks.
Dr Philippa Yam, leading animal obesity expert at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, said: “PDSA’s findings are very worrying and demonstrate that diet remains one of the most misunderstood welfare needs for pets. Obesity is one of the most pressing health issues affecting companion animals. PDSA’s work in this area is hugely successful.
“I am delighted to see that Pet Fit Club is continuing to make a real impact on pet obesity, by raising awareness of the issue and helping to transform the lives of many pets who were heading for an early grave due to the severity of their weight problems. PDSA’s programme clearly demonstrates that with tailored veterinary support and education, this devastating condition can be reversed.”

Watch the PDSA Pet Fit Club video.

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