A monthly dog blog
Hi folks. Hope all’s okay and that 2017 is progressing well
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
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
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
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
Malcolm Welshman has his own website at
RSPCA Pick up the
Pieces as Charity
sees Impact of Rise
in ‘Designer’ Breeds
The RSPCA is starting to see the effects of a soaring demand
for a number of ‘designer’ breeds such as pugs and French
The animal welfare charity has started to see an increase in
the number of these popular, fashionable breeds coming into
In 2016 alone, the RSPCA rescued a number of pugs and French
bulldogs who had been abandoned, seemingly unwanted.
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
Petunia was scanned and found to have an Irish Kennel Club
microchip which was not registered so an owner could not be
RSPCA Cymru launched an investigation after an emaciated
blue French bulldog was taken into a veterinary surgery on
The dog was
thought to have come from either Newport or Cardiff and had
serious health issues.
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
For more information visit the website
Feeling Blue? A Pet's Affection May 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
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
to Consider Before Getting a Cat
By Maia Boylla, Product
for Argos Pet
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
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
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
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
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
For more information about
Argos Pet Insurance visit
Ruff and Tumble Drying Coats
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
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.
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
For more information about Ruff and Tumble visit
Is Pet Ownership 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
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
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.”
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
For more information visit the PetSafe® Brand website at
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
‘Oh! I Didn’t Seal
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
To help owners and their pets this winter,
Rebecca has provided her top tips on keeping
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
Never leave a pet in a car, caravan or an
unheated conservatory as the temperature can
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