Website for the over 60s  February 2017
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      Dora's Diary

Dora


             A monthly dog blog

Hi folks. Hope all’s okay and that 2017 is progressing well for you.

Bossman, being a vet, is often asked what sort of animals he treats and are there any that he doesn’t get on with. Well, I can tell you for sure, there is one animal that makes him twitch. And that’s a horse. They’re no fools. They can sense when someone is uneasy in their presence. The prick of their ears. Here’s one coming. The snort as they look down their nose at you. Bossman’s arrived. The pawing of the ground. Let’s kick him in the nuts. And that’s why, as a budding vet, he was apprehensive of working with them.

So it was really unfortunate that Bossman’s first equine patient once he’d qualified happened to be of the equine variety. A miniature donkey called Doug. By all accounts, he was a real beast in every sense of the word. An absolute horror. It was as if, when the characteristics for a good donkey were being drawn from the gene pool, it were the dregs left lurking at the bottom that surfaced in Doug.

From Bossman’s description of him, he was an impressive little chap to look at. Standing at three feet tall, he was a spotted skewbald – mainly white with some grey patches over the cross on his shoulders, and with black tips to his huge, upright ears.

Bossman was called in by his owner, Jacantha Stokes, to check him over as she was worried he had a skin infection.

As soon as he saw Bossman, Doug rolled his eyes, pulled back his head and trotted off across the paddock behind him with a loud snort.

He then disappeared into a field shelter from which he emitted a loud ‘Hee-Haw’ – his equivalent of ‘Come and get me if you can.’

As you can imagine, folks, that’s when the fun and games began.

Jacantha lifted a halter and lead off the gate post. "Fraid he’s not very well halter-trained," she confessed. "But maybe we’ll manage."

"Right little fella, no messing around, eh?" Bossman said, as they drew level with the entrance to the field shelter and Bossman stepped slowly towards him, his knees slightly bent, his arms held out wide. I can just picture the scene.

Chance was a fine fling when Doug took his chance to dodge Bossman and attempted a giant leap for donkey-kind. This barrel of equine flesh become airborne and flew towards Bossman like Pegasus on Speed.

Doug’s chest connected with Bossman’s and they both collapsed to the ground with the donkey on top. As Doug scrabbled to his feet, Bossman lunged up and threw his arms round the creature’s hindquarters in a rugby tackle, only to find him being dragged several yards across the paddock.

Eventually his weight forced Doug to the ground again, where he began to thrash. At which point, Jacantha sailed across holding out the halter and attached lead rope. Now astride Doug, Bossman turned to snatch them from her. As he did so, a searing pain shot through his left hand.

"Ouch!" he roared, looking down to discover his whole hand was in Doug’s mouth, his incisors clamped to it.

"Why you bugger," he shouted, pulling his hand free. He forced the halter over Doug’s muzzle and secured it. He then rolled off him and staggered to his feet. The donkey did likewise. They both stood there, quivering, their chests heaving, both done in, knackered. However, that close encounter with Doug had enabled Bossman to confirm his suspicions that Doug was suffering from sweet itch. An allergic action to midge bites.

He advised Jacantha to buy a good insect repellent. "One that you’ll only need to apply weekly," he said, adding, "though I realise it will still be a bit of a challenge."

You could say that again. A challenge indeed. Apparent by the way Doug’s ears shot up and his eyes gleamed with devilish delight.

That’s all part of life when you’re a vet. At least Bossman doesn’t have to battle with me so long as there’s a lap to lie in and the prospect of a tummy tickle.

But if I sense he’s up to no good with an impending vaccination or dose of ear drops then I’m out of the room like a shot. No way will he catch me. No sir.

Till next month, take care.

Love and licks


Dora

Pets Aplenty by Malcolm Welshman
 

P.S. My Bossman is Malcolm Welshman.

His latest novel, Pets Aplenty, is published by Austin Macauley Tel: 0207 038 8212 at £7.99, Kindle version £0.99 and available to buy from
www.amazon.co.uk  

Malcolm Welshman has his own website at www.malcolmwelshman.co.uk 

 

  RSPCA Pick up the
   Pieces as Charity
 sees Impact of Rise
in ‘Designer’ Breeds


Petunia was found in a blanket in the street in Cricklewood, north-west London


The RSPCA is starting to see the effects of a soaring demand for a number of ‘designer’ breeds such as pugs and French bulldogs.

The animal welfare charity has started to see an increase in the number of these popular, fashionable breeds coming into its care.

In 2016 alone, the RSPCA rescued a number of pugs and French bulldogs who had been abandoned, seemingly unwanted.

Poor Petunia

The RSPCA was called late at night on 18th March after a member of the public found a pug collapsed in a blanket in the street in Cricklewood, north-west London.

The poor dog, who was found curled up in a blanket where she’d been dumped, was rushed to Putney Animal Hospital with an infected, ulcerated eye and severe ear infections (pictured above). She was treated but, a week later, vets made the difficult decision to put her to sleep to end her suffering.

Petunia was scanned and found to have an Irish Kennel Club microchip which was not registered so an owner could not be traced.

Feeling blue

RSPCA Cymru launched an investigation after an emaciated blue French bulldog was taken into a veterinary surgery on 21st July.
The dog was thought to have come from either Newport or Cardiff and had serious health issues.

Puppy dumped

Milo was dumped by a bin in Congleton, Cheshire


Milo the pug pup was just eight-weeks-old when he was dumped by a bin in Congleton, Cheshire, on 1st October. The little dog was lucky to be found by a passerby and was taken into RSPCA care where he was treated for a skin condition before being rehomed.

RSPCA animal welfare officer Stephen Wickham says, “It is so sad that someone deliberately dumped Milo like this, knowing that as a young pup he would be completely defenceless. We don’t know for certain how long he was there for before he was found, but he would have been very vulnerable out there on his own.”

‘Free pug’

A tiny pug puppy was found abandoned in a garden in Wimbledon on 20 October alongside a note reading: ‘Free pug xxx’. The little puppy, named Pumpkin by RSPCA staff, was found in a plastic pet carrier without a door and had a nasty injury to his eye and later had to have the eye removed.

Inspector Phil Norman says, “The note indicates that Pumpkin has been dumped deliberately so it may be that he was an unwanted pet and his owner didn’t realise the amount of work it takes to look after a puppy, or that they did not want to pay the cost of vet care.”

Pumpkin was rehomed by one of the veterinary nurses who cared for him.

Basket dogs

A pug-type dog was found dumped in a metal basket with a mastiff cross in a park in Swansea, Wales, on 30th October. The two dogs were found at Ravenhill Park and were rushed to a vets nearby for treatment but, sadly, the pug had to be put to sleep to prevent her from any further suffering.

The eight-week-old pup had problems with her heart as well as a serious skin condition. The mastiff cross, named Henry, was treated for a skin condition.

Petrified puppies

A pair of frightened French bulldog puppies were found in a cardboard box in Pontypool Park, Wales, on 12th November. The male pups were very emaciated and had severe skin conditions so required veterinary treatment after being rescued by the RSPCA.

Neither dog was microchipped and it was unclear why the youngsters had been abandoned in such a sorry state.

Breeding bulldogs

Keith and Albert were found in a park in Burton


Just a few weeks later - on 25th November - the RSPCA was contacted again when two French bulldogs were found in a park in Burton.

The three-year-old males, neither of which was microchipped, again had severe skin conditions and both had badly overgrown claws - with one of the dogs with claws so long that they curled under and into the pad of his foot.

Keith and Albert, as they were named by RSPCA staff, were taken into the charity’s care after being found by the member of the public in Stapenhill Gardens.

RSPCA inspector Nicola Johnson said the dogs had been suffering for “some time” and were in a “despicable condition”.

She adds, “Neither of them have been neutered and therefore we can’t rule out the fact that they have been used for breeding and then dumped when they were no longer needed.”

Pug thrown out of car

Crumble was found by the side of the road


The RSPCA were contacted on 4th December after a pug was found lying by the side of the road with serious injuries, having been thrown out of the window of a moving car.

The three-year-old, named Crumble, was found collapsed in Writtle, Essex, and rushed to the vets. The poor little pug was paralysed and had organ failure so had to be put to sleep a few weeks later to end her suffering.

It is believed the dog had previously been used for breeding as veterinary staff said there were signs she’d had several litters and the RSPCA feared she’d been cast aside as she could no longer produce pups to sell.

‘The price of poor puppy breeding’

RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs, who leads the charity’s special investigations into the puppy trade says, “There’s huge demand in England and Wales for certain breeds of dogs that have been popularised and glamorised by celebrities, social media and popular culture.

“In this country, we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of people buying pugs and French bulldogs and now the RSPCA is starting to see that trend first-hand.

“Unfortunately, as responsible and reputable breeders of these types of dogs cannot keep up with demand, underground breeders and traders are filling the gap in the market and are offering buyers the chance to buy puppies at cheaper prices and without waiting lists - often with disastrous consequences.

“This is the price of poor puppy breeding - consumers faced with sick and dying puppies who need expensive veterinary treatment or lifelong behavioural support; a surge in these breeds coming into the care of rescue centres and charities from people who did not do their research before taking on a dog that requires a lot of time and commitment; and an increase in the number of these breeds being abandoned either because, as puppies, they didn’t sell or became poorly, or as breeding stock they couldn’t produce litters anymore.

“Once again, organisations such as the RSPCA are left picking up the pieces, and the animals are paying the ultimate price - often with their lives.”

RSPCA England’s Scrap the Puppy Trade campaign is calling for stricter legislation around the breeding and selling of dogs.

For more information visit the website at www.rspca.org.uk/scrapthepuppytrade
 

Pet Care  


Feeling Blue? A Pet's Affection May Help

Feeling blue? A pet's affection might help


Feeling down in the dumps? It’s dark outside and the weather’s cold and grey – it’s no wonder the nation is feeling glum. But all is not lost. Pets can have the power to improve our mental and physical health, and they can be beneficial for sufferers of depression.

PDSA Vet, Rebecca Ashman says, “There are many studies which support the belief that our four-legged friends help us feel better, both mentally and physically. Their unconditional love and loyalty provides us with companionship, and this can have a significant positive effect on our health and wellbeing.”

Mental health charities suggest pets have a positive impact on owners who suffer with depression. Owning a dog and taking them for walks can also be a great way of meeting other dog owners, making new friends and getting exercise; which has positive health benefits. Taking dogs for walks can also have physical benefits and pet owners can have significantly lower cholesterol levels compared to people without pets.

Pets often add structure to people’s lives, with regular feeding and exercise to add to the day’s list of things to do. In many cases they give people a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Cat owners needn’t feel left out though. According to a study by the University of Minnesota, they have a decreased risk of death from a stroke. Another recent study showed that simply watching fish in an aquarium can help to lower blood pressure, as can stroking a contented cat.

Rebecca adds, “Caring for our pets can provide focus and purpose for many of us, which can be particularly important for vulnerable and lonely people. Pet ownership can be a huge benefit in helping us lead happier, healthy lives.”

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 more pet care tips visit www.pdsa.org.uk

Things to Consider Before Getting a Cat

Things to consider before buying a cat
 

  By Maia Boylla, Product Manager
           for Argos Pet Insurance


Is there a cat-shaped hole in your life? Well, there’s a new soft, furry, purring friend out there just waiting for you to take it home, but do stop and think before you make the cat leap into pet ownership; there are important things that need considering first.

Cats are wonderful pets, and in some ways an easier animal to take care of than dogs, which tend to demand much more attention and outdoor exercise. However, bringing any living creature into your home is still an enormous commitment, so make sure you make the following considerations before you buy or adopt a cat:

Can you make the time commitment?

Cats can live from 15 to 20 years and sometimes even longer depending on their breed, so you need to be certain that you and your family will be able to commit to caring for a cat for such a long time. Cats can be independent creatures, but they do still need continued companionship to stay happy, so if you’re rarely at home it wouldn’t be fair to bring a cat into the situation.

Depending on the breed, some longer-haired cats will also need a lot of grooming to keep their coats in good condition, so you need to factor in this additional time commitment if you’ve got your heart set on this type of cat.

Does anyone have allergies?

Before you bring a cat into your home you need to take the rest of your family into consideration. Cat hair allergies can range from very mild to very severe, and can therefore be a deal breaker when it comes to deciding whether or not to get a cat. If the health of any members of your family will suffer as a result of a cat being in the house, you shouldn’t go ahead. If you’re unsure if anyone in your household has a cat hair allergy, tests for this can be done with your local GP.

Do you have permission?

If you own your own home, move on to the next point. However, if you’re living in a rented house or flat you will need to obtain permission from your landlord to move an animal into the property. Some landlords operate a strict no pets policy to avoid damage to the property, but others will be open to the idea provided the tenant agrees to pay for any damage.

Don’t be tempted to move a cat into the property without asking for permission first; if you’re rumbled you could potentially find yourself in a difficult situation and risk having to find another home for your new cat, which is both heart breaking and not fair on the cat.

Is your house suitable for a cat?

You will need to ensure your house is cat-ready before you move your new furball in. If you’re going to have an outdoor cat, you should make sure you have a door in which you can install a cat flap, otherwise your cat will not be able to come and go as they please. You can have cat flaps fitted to glass doors, but it can be expensive!

Cats need to have somewhere they can go to feel safe and secure, so it’s essential that you provide high resting places such as cat towers and raised beds, as well as cosy, private areas for them to sneak off to if they want some quiet time. Cupboards and under-bed spaces are ideal for this.

Your local area should also be taken into account before you buy a cat. If you’re planning on getting a house cat this isn’t so important, however an outdoor cat will be at high risk in an area next to very busy roads or large bodies of water. If you’re adopting a cat, an adoption officer will visit your home to ensure the home and surrounding area are suitable and safe enough to be a great new home for your cat.

Have you budgeted for the long-term cost?

With the cost of food, cat litter, grooming, health care, vaccinations, spaying and neutering, toys, furniture and pet insurance all to be taken into account, you need to run the numbers and work out if you can afford to care for your new cat in the long term.

Without pet insurance, for example, your cat’s health care could end up costing you a small fortune, especially if illness or injury suddenly strikes, so this is something you should invest in. The average annual cost of owning a cat stands between £650 and £910, and if they become ill or get injured these costs can quickly add up.

Have you taken breed into account?

Different breeds of cat carry different characteristics and qualities, which can make them suited to certain types of household more than others. Some breeds, are known for being good with children, while others are generally more affectionate and need more attention from their owners. If you have a breed of cat in mind, make sure you do extensive research into their characteristics and needs before you go ahead and buy.



For more information about Argos Pet Insurance visit www.argospetinsurance.co.uk
 

Ruff and Tumble Drying Coats

Ruff And Tumble Dog Drying Coat


Keep your dog warm and dry with a gorgeous Ruff And Tumble Drying Coat.

Ruff And Tumble Drying Coats are made from high quality, double thickness, cotton towelling. Modelled on the design of a horse blanket, the coats are very simple to put on and take off.

With a Ruff And Tumble Drying Coat there's no more wet and muddy shaking on your floor, no more back breaking drying of soggy dogs and no more dirty old towels!

Ruff and Tumble Dog Drying Coats are available in a selection of sizes and colours

Available in a range of sizes and colours to suit all dogs, the coats can also be personalised. Ideal if you have more than one dog, or as a special gift for a pet owner.

Ruff and Tumble also offer Cotton Towelling Drying Mitts, the perfect accompaniment to a Drying Coat.

Ruff and Tumble Cotton Towelling Drying Mitts

The Mitts are made from high quality, double thickness cotton towelling. This pair of cosy mitts are the ideal solution to drying wet and muddy paws without having to wrestle with old towels.

One size fits all and they are fully machine washable. Ruff and Tumble drying mitts are also great for horses!

For best results use with a Ruff and Tumble Dog Drying Coat.

For more information about Ruff and Tumble visit www.ruffandtumbledogcoats.com

Is Pet Ownership Falling?

Pet ownership is falling


Pet ownership could halve by the end of the decade. New analysis from Petmeds.co.uk indicates that if recent trends continue, pet ownership levels in the UK could be half their 2013 levels of 69 million by 2020.

Pet ownership was at just over 69 million in 2013, and has fallen by over 10 million over the last three years to approximately 58.4 million in 2015.

Changing living patterns and the cost of owning a pet are likely to be contributory factors in the decline. Ownership of cats, the second most popular pet in the UK, is falling faster than that of dogs. In 2013 there were 8.5 million cats, on par with the number of dogs, now down to 7.4 million. Just 46% of households owned a pet in 2015, compared with 55% in 1999.

In a recent survey on the expenses associated with having a pet, 90% of customers said that they would be willing to shop around for better quality food for their pet if it wasn’t too expensive.

Chief Veterinary Officer at Petmeds.co.uk says, “While there are many factors that contribute to the decline in ownership levels, such as a rise in the number of people living in rental accommodation, there are definitely signs that pet ownership is seen as less affordable than now than it has been in previously.

A recent survey found that 73% of pet owners strongly believe that having a pet is good for their mental health. While there are multiple benefits of pet ownership, such as companionship and reducing stress, it has been proven that having a pet makes us live longer and animals can be useful in predicting seizures, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, and even monitoring their diabetic owners’ blood sugar levels.

Pet ownership should definitely not be seen as a luxury, but with the cost of owning a dog or cat over its lifetime up to £31,000 and £17,000 respectively, many are unprepared for the financial management that goes into owning an animal.

“However, there are several things owners can do to reduce the cost of owning a pet and keeping this valuable life experience open to everyone.”

Shop online

Pet supplies can be up to 30% cheaper if you buy them online, and when it comes to food it’s a great idea to buy in bulk. Bigger bags will last longer and they also work out cheaper in the long run. Medicines are much cheaper online, too, which is a big help if your pet has a chronic condition.

Get insurance

Pet insurance can be a lifeline if your animal falls ill, but shop carefully. It’s best to insure your pet before they reach the age of seven, as many insurers will turn older pets away. Remember premiums can vary depending on where you live and that most insurers will not cover the cost of treatment related to a pre-existing medical condition.

Open a savings account


It’s a great idea to open a savings account so you can manage your pet budget. A recent report found that almost four in ten claims were rejected by insurance companies, and it’s best to have a buffer. If you can’t afford pet insurance, I’d advise putting aside between £50 and £70 per month so you’re not caught off guard by a medical emergency.

Don’t forget the vet

Prevention is always better than cure. It’s essential to see a vet regularly if you want your pet - and your bank balance - to remain healthy. I’ve had to put animals down in the past who could have easily been saved had their owners reported health problems before they spiralled out of control.

I advise taking your animal for a health check at the vet at least once a year. The earlier problems are detected, the easier - and cheaper - they are to manage. Desexing your pet is also a wise move - not only does it prevent unwanted pregnancies, it reduces the risk of a range of costly health problems.

Ask for help

If you're struggling to cope with the cost of looking after your pet, help is out there. From April this year, it is compulsory to microchip your dog - but some charities, such as the Dogs Trust, can fit your dog with a chip for free. This will make it far easier to locate your dog if he or she goes missing.

Also, if you’re receiving certain benefits - such as universal credit, council tax support or housing benefit - and unable to meet the cost of vet bills, the PDSA may be able to secure free treatment for your poorly animal through their veterinary services scheme, which covers most household pets.

For more information visit www.petmeds.co.uk

 Drinkwell® Sedona

      Pet Fountain


Drinkwell® Sedona Pet Fountain by PetSafe®

Are you worried that your cat or dog is not drinking enough clean water during the day? Then the Drinkwell® Sedona Pet Fountain by PetSafe® Brand, is the ideal solution.

Perfect to use if you’re unable to refresh your pets' water bowl as often as is needed. The fountain is designed to encourage dogs and cats to drink more water by providing them with an enticing continuous circulation of fresh, filtered water.

Holding up to three litres of water, more than the daily requirement for a large adult dog, it typically only needs to be filled up once a day, and boasts special features including carbon and foam filters to remove any bad tastes or odours as well as capturing hair and debris.

Tried and Tested by Timmy the Cat

Timmy tries the Drinkwell® Sedona Pet Fountain by PetSafe®

I was very keen to try the
Drinkwell® Sedona Pet Fountain by PetSafe® Brand as my cat, Timmy doesn't tend to drink a lot and I wanted to encourage him to have more water.

The Pet Fountain was easy to set up and came with a full booklet of instructions. All you need is fresh water, a power supply and a clean towel to place underneath in case of any spillage.

As soon as we switched it on, Timmy was fascinated by the jet of water which spurted out of the fountain and he watched, bemused!

It did take a little while, however, to encourage him to use it, as he doesn't drink a lot of water, so we made sure to remove his usual drinking bowl from his feeding area and place it elsewhere.

We tempted him with his favourite cat food and biscuits, carefully positioned by the side of the towel, and it wasn't long before he was enjoying a refreshing drink of water from the fountain.

As well as Timmy, I'm also particularly impressed by the attractiveness of the fountain and the soothing sound of the water as it is cleaned in the filter. It makes a pleasant feature in my kitchen and a good way of encouraging my cat to drink water regularly.


It's also handy to use if you tend to go out for the day, as you know that your cat is always being provided with clean drinking water.

The Drinkwell® Sedona Pet Fountain is available from
PetSafe® Brand and has an RRP of £85.99.

For more information visit the PetSafe® Brand website at www.petsafe.net/uk

 

 Look Out for Arthritis
           in your Dog

Look out for arthritis in your dog

Winter weather spells aching, painful joints for thousands of arthritis sufferers. But as the country wraps up against the frost and ice, spare a thought for man’s best friend who can also suffer terribly when the temperature plummets.

Arthritis is a common condition that affects thousands of dogs of all breeds and ages. And a canine health expert - who successfully treats scores of arthritic dogs every year – is calling on pet owners to consider whether their four-legged friends could be suffering this winter.

Julia Robertson is the founder of Galen Myotherapy, a unique hands-on manual muscle treatment that helps dogs suffering from arthritis, compensatory issues and underlying pain. She is calling on dog owners to look out for arthritic symptoms over the winter months, so they can make early inroads to prevent the condition from worsening.

Julia, who has a background in veterinary nursing and farming says, “As man’s best friend dogs only want to please their owners and this ingrained devotion means they will often suffer in silence, not wanting to cause a fuss.

“They can also struggle to communicate their pain so they may not start to show the physical effects of arthritis, such as a limp or reluctance to walk, until they are in agony.”

Tell-tale signs of arthritis in your dog

· Uneven walking – are they avoiding putting weight on a particular leg?
 
· Stiffness, especially when getting up after they’ve been laying down /sitting for a while.

· Persistently licking or chewing their feet – to distract from the pain.

· Avoidance of grooming, stroking or being touched in a particular area.
 
· Lameness or limping.

· Irritability.

· Difficulty/reluctance to do a physical activity they never struggled with previously.

· Change in body shape – neck (collar size) and shoulders becoming larger, hind quarters looking ‘smaller’, and a hunch developing.

As with humans, canine arthritis can also be prevalent in young dogs. Osteoarthritis can be brought about by previous damage to a joint so, Julia warns, if your pet suffered an injury or accident as a puppy or teenager, they could be susceptible in years to come.

Osteoarthritis can be brought about by previous damage to a joint

Julia is making her call as she launches a Crowdfunder campaign to support a trip she is taking to India in the spring, where she will be teaching myotherapy to a vet and a dog trainer. India is a new audience for myotherapy and Julia will be providing all her training and expertise - including how to spot signs of arthritis - for free.

She adds, “Now is the time to start looking for tell-tale signs they could have arthritis as the cold, wet weather will aggravate any problems they may have been able to hide or ignore earlier in the year. Spotting arthritis early and getting a plan in place to manage their pain will help in the long term and stop the condition becoming unbearable.

“I developed Galen Myotherapy to give dogs a better quality of life and I am determined that no animal should suffer in silence.

“One of the main steps to fulfilling this is ensuring people have as much knowledge as possible to support their pets and that is why I’m calling on all dog owners to keep a close eye on their animals this winter.”

For more information about canine arthritis, how Galen Myotherapy can help and Julia's Crowdfunder campaign visit www.caninetherapy.co.uk 
 

    ‘Oh! I Didn’t Seal
        You There!’

Naemi Kilbey from Blakeney found a seal in her garden

A New Year often means a new start for lots of us who use the date to start searching for a new home. And one little seal decided to get a head start and scout out a new home just before the crowds, on New Year’s Eve, but found himself in a bit of a pickle when he ended up in a garden - 2km from the sea!

A woman was at her holiday home in Blakeney, Norfolk, when she spotted the grey seal lying in the garden, amongst some trees and shrubs.

RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Naemi Kilbey said, “The seal had managed to make his way into the garden, just off a coastal road, through the fence. The homeowner spotted him late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve and, despite being well and truly lost, he luckily didn’t have any obvious injuries or illness.

“I managed to get to the seal on New Year’s Day and thankfully he was in very good condition and didn’t need any further treatment so we loaded him up in the van and took him straight down to the beach at Blakeney to release him.

“It was so lovely to start the new year watching him swim back out to sea where he belongs. Hopefully, he’ll find the new home he was looking for somewhere that’s a little more seal-friendly!”


Naemi Kilbey from Blakeney found a seal in her garden

RSPCA officers believe the seal had swam inland from the sea along the River Glaven, just a few hundred metres from the garden where he was found.

“It's not uncommon for seals to venture up rivers away from the sea looking for food and they normally manage to find their way back,” ACO Kilbey added.

“But it looks like this guy’s internal navigation system got a bit frazzled and he ended up a little lost! The lady certainly had a shock when she spotted him lazing around in her shrubbery!”

The RSPCA advises members of the public to keep a distance from any seals on land and not to interfere unless necessary.

It’s not unusual for seal pups to be left alone for short periods of time so if you spot a youngster who looks fit and healthy, it is best to monitor him for 24 hours to ensure a parent returns. If the mother doesn’t return within 24 hours or you think the pup is sick or injured, please call the RSPCA’s emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

Similarly, if you spot an adult seal which looks sick or injured, or is stranded a long way from water, please keep a safe distance and contact the RSPCA. Please keep other animals, such as pet dogs, away from the animal, and never return the seal to the water yourself.

For more information, visit the RSPCA website at www.rspca.org.uk

To support the charity’s work, please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).

 

     Keeping Your Pet
    Warm in February

Keep your pet warm in February

February can be a very cold month, so it's more important than ever to think about your pets and ensure they stay warm. PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman offers her top tips on keeping pets safe and warm.

With the freezing cold weather that February often brings, our furry friends will be looking to us to help keep them warm and snuggly. PDSA has put together top tips to help fend off the cold and keep our pets safe and warm when it’s freezing outside.

Despite pets’ fur coats, they are not immune to the cold. Their small size means they can lose heat quickly and become prone to conditions such as hypothermia. Some smaller pets can also quite easily get frost bite in icy conditions if the necessary precautions aren’t taken to protect them from the cold.

PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman says, “It’s important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to keep pets warm and healthy during the winter months.”


Keep your dog warm in a suitable, waterproof coat

To help owners and their pets this winter, Rebecca has provided her top tips on keeping pets warm:

· Try and take your dog on short walks more often. If you can, walk them in the daytime. If they get wet while out walking, towel dry them when you get home.

· Keep your dog warm in a suitable, waterproof coat when on walks if they are very young, old or have very thin fur.

· Try and keep your cat indoors on dark, wintery nights, giving them toys to play with to keep them occupied.

· Never leave a pet in a car, caravan or an unheated conservatory as the temperature can rapidly plummet.

· If you see your pet shivering, this is the first sign that your pet is very cold. You should bring them into the warmth straight away.

· Ice and snow can be painful when it gets between the pads of your pet’s paws so try to keep the hair and claws trimmed to prevent this.

· Relocate rabbits and guinea pigs to a warm and sheltered spot such as a shed or car-free garage. They should still have access to natural light and a run for exercise and stimulation.

· Provide your pet with additional bedding during cold spells and cover hutches and runs with a duvet or thick blanket to help keep the cold out, but make sure it’s out of reach and can’t be nibbled and there’s still a good air-flow.

· Regularly check water bottles haven’t frozen in the cold weather.

If you think your pet has hypothermia you should contact your vet straight away. The first sign is shivering, but this can stop if their temperature falls dangerously low. They can then become confused, have cold ears and feet, and their heart rate and breathing may also slow.

For more information on keeping your pet safe and warm visit
www.pdsa.org.uk