Pet Care

Super Star Pet Picture - May Sixtyplusurfers

Millie, is our Super Star Pet for May

Millie, is our Super Star Pet for May

Our cute pet picture has been sent in by Sixtyplusurfers reader, Alison Veasey

Get Your Pet Picture in the next Star Spot in our June 2019 issue.

This is a picture of Millie, who is Alison Veasey’s gorgeous Westie.

Alison says, “This is Millie our 15 year old Westie, she is so adorable and so loving.

“We only got her 8 years ago as the owners needed a new home for her, so we are so lucky to have her as part of our family!”

Thank you to Alison for sending in the picture of Millie. We can see that Millie is a very happy dog, and lovely and cosy in her wonderful new home!

We’d love to see pictures of other readers’ pets and why you nominate them for the Super Star Pet Picture of the Month!

Would you like us to feature your pet in our June 2019 issue?

Then send us your very best pet pictures and we will select one to be the Super Star Pet Picture, for everyone else to look at and love. 

This competition is just for fun, and gives you a chance to put your pet in the spotlight.

We’ll feature a different picture each month!

If you’d like us to feature your pet, then mail your picture in JPG format to:

sixtypluscomp@hotmail.co.uk

Make sure you put ‘Super Star Pet Picture’ in the subject field

* Please note – There are no prizes for this competition! It’s just for fun!

Dora's Diary

A Monthly Dog Blog

Hi folks. Bossman thinks of me as his bundle of joy. Well so he should. I’m forever pleased to see him when he returns home, happy to be with him whatever mood he’s in. And sometimes he really is a grumpy-guts, I can tell you.

I don’t have to speak. The signs are all there. In the wag of my tail, the sparkle in my eye, the toy gripped in my mouth ready for a tug-of-war. My body language says it all. “Hey, great see you again, pal.”

However, there can be a number of subtle differences in the emotions expressed by a mutt’s body language. Most people think that when a dog wags his tail, he’s happy. But that’s not always the case. When I’m in pleased-to-see-you mode my tail sweeps furiously from side to side. Sometimes, in an ever-so-happy mood, I step up a gear, and the whole of my rear end wags as well.

Being of a slightly nervous disposition, my first encounter with a stranger is accompanied by a slight, slow tail wag – a cautious, “hello”. But you should see me when in stalking mode. Then my tail is erect, all of a quiver. An indication that I’m just about to streak after the squirrel I’ve spotted on the lawn.

There’s another factor involved in wagging. Studies have revealed that dogs wag their tails more to the right when greeting people they know. But if they feel threatened there is more tail wagging to the left.

Other dogs pick up on this. It has been shown that the heart rates of dogs encountering strange dogs increase when meeting a left wagging dog but not so much when meeting a right wagger. There. I bet you didn’t know that.

Then there’s the matter of what I call “the guilty look”. You dog owners know just what I mean. Head down. Ears folded back. Look pleadingly up at owner. Even a roll onto the back. All signals of appeasement. “Didn’t mean to be naughty, honest.” As you stare at the chewed chair leg or pile of poo in the hall.

But it’s not canine guilt at what’s been done. It’s the dog sensing you are angry – a raised voice perhaps or a shaking finger. I have an acute perception of Bossman’s feelings even when he does his best to keep them hidden. I maybe in my basket when he comes down first thing to discover I’ve done an overnight piddle in the utility room. Whoops. Just couldn’t hold on.

But as Bossman mops it up – albeit with a sigh but no admonishments I grant you – it’s enough for me to skedaddle out and disappear into the sitting room at the other end of the house, all of a quake.

I also have an additional “look” that I’ve acquired over the past year. Let me explain. You see, I simply adore having my neck tickled. On my back, on Bossman’s lap, having my neck gently scratched, just under the left ear, is my idea of heaven. Shear bliss. Wonderful. I’d let Bossman do that for hours.

When we settle down to watch TV of an evening, it has been customary for him to stretch out at one end of the settee, feet crossed at the ankles on a pouffe, with me stretched out alongside. One evening, after an encouraging pat from Bossman, I crept onto his lap, rolled onto my back in the crook of his arm and fell asleep as he tickled my neck.

From that moment on, every evening he’s been subjected to a tilt of my head and an intense stare with the whites of my eyes slightly showing. Irresistible. And I persist with that look until he pats his lap and, whoosh, I’m there in an instant.

I’ve now got it down to a fine art so that the moment he uncrosses his ankles, the look vanishes and I spring over and snuggle down. “Tickle-time, please.”

Who’s the master, eh?

Love and licks

Dora

P.S. My Bossman is Malcolm Welshman.

His memoir, An Armful of Animals, is available from www.amazon.co.uk  £7.99 Kindle price £1.99.

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

Taking your Pet on Holiday

How to “Stay-cation”
With your Pets

Taking your dog on holiday

Many of us will already be planning our summer breaks and holidays and, for pet owners, many of these plans will include their four-legged friends. But how can you ensure that your furry family members enjoy the holiday as much as you do?

PDSA Vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan says, “With more and more pet-friendly options available, people are understandably choosing to spend more quality time together by taking their pets on holiday. However, not all pets will enjoy the travel and new experiences associated with a holiday, so it’s important to plan carefully.”

To help would-be stay-cationers, Olivia has put together her top tips on picking the ultimate pet-friendly holiday.

Consider your pet’s temperament – most cats and certain dogs might not feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. Consider whether your pet would be less stressed with a pet-sitter or boarding than coming on holiday.

Pick pet-friendly – narrow your search to look for pet-friendly accommodation. Check for details like the size of the property, whether there enough space for your pet, if the outdoor space is securely enclosed, and whether there are hazards like ponds to be aware of.

Research the local area – make sure there are plenty of dog-friendly trips and locations nearby, like pubs that allow dogs (some even offer dog menus!) so you can bring them along for the fun.

Consider travel time – lengthy journeys can be stressful for many pets, so keep travel as short as possible, and plan in plenty of rest breaks along the way. If travelling to other countries, consider how they will cope with the journey. If they are likely to get stressed, consider staying closer to home.

For detailed tips on getting your pet used to travel, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/car-travel

Make plans for vet care – visit your usual vet before you go to get the right preventive care for the area you’re visiting. For instance, some diseases and parasites such as ticks can be more common in certain areas. Note the details of a vet near your holiday home – hopefully you won’t need to use them, but should anything happen you’ll be glad you have them handy!

Top-up on training – even the best-behaved dogs will benefit from occasional training top-ups. Make sure they respond well to commands such as leave, stay and recall. This way you can keep them safe when out and about, such as walking near cliffs or wildlife.

  Stick to usual routines – although things will undoubtedly be different while you’re away, try to stick to usual r times for feeding and walking as much as possible. Bring everything you need from home as familiar objects will help your pet feel more comfortable.

With some careful planning and preparation, you and your pets can enjoy some wonderful breaks together.

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

For more information about PDSA click on www.pdsa.org.uk

Rustic Pet Beds

A Pet Collection for Interior Enthusiasts

Cox and Cox are the first interior brand to introduce a pet collection designed with your home in mind.

Offering a hand selected range of products to complement any interior style, the collection features rustic pet beds made with natural materials such as wool and rattan.

Travelling throughout Europe to explore and develop the pieces that will bring their visions to life, Head Buyer Dani Taylor describes the collection as an extension of the current interior collection

“We have combined style with both practicality and comfort, and applied the same rules to our pet range as we would to any other area of our business,” says Dani.

“As the business grows, we felt it was the perfect time to expand in an area that is close to our hearts. We love our pets and know our customers do too. Our customers have great interior style, and we feel that this shouldn’t be limited to their furnishings.”

The capsule 13-piece collection includes rattan pet houses, luxurious wool beds, and matching collars & leads. The rattan pet houses are available in small and large and have been crafted from rustic round rattan in a sweet house shape with a cosy cushion.

Cox and Cox also offers a snug Round Cocoon Chair for Cats. Each charming bed has a rustic feel with a matching round cushion for added comfort.

Cox and Cox also offer a range of dog leads. This gorgeous Blush Herringbone Dog Lead is made from pure wool, and is strong and durable. A matching collar is available.

For more information about Cox and Cox visit www.coxandcox.co.uk 

Home and Pet Sitting

Home and Pet Sitting Can Help you Save
on Your Utility Bills

With utility bills set to rise, home and pet sitting can be an ideal way to save money on bills and outgoings. Homesitters tend to be retired people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who stay in people’s homes when they go away, keeping the home safe and secure and looking after any pets.

According to Alan Irvine, Managing Director of Homesitters Ltd, people can make savings on their bills, especially those that take on several assignments a year, with average savings of around £128.58 per four weeks that they are away.

Alan says, “Most retired people are on a fixed budget and look to supplement their retirement income. Home and pet sitting is a great option that many won’t have thought of, which is flexible and offers a modest remuneration. Attractions include the chance to travel in the UK, staying in people’s homes and looking after people’s pets.

“Homesitting also provides an opportunity to make savings on household bills. For homesitters that take on a lot of assignments, particularly during winter these savings can make a big difference to those on limited incomes and boost their income.” 

As well as the savings on bills, home and pet sitters employed by Homesitters Ltd can earn around £560 per month for one hour 45 minutes of duties a day including a daily food allowance. Homesitters are also reimbursed for their travel to and from the assignment.

One couple that have been home sitting for over three years is Jim and Ros Slaughter, a retired couple from Chichester in their early 60s. The couple are very active and in retirement they wanted to do something a bit different but still purposeful.

Jim explains, “Getting a part time job or setting up a business didn’t really appeal because we didn’t want to be tied into a routine anymore. We wanted the freedom to travel extensively, visit new places and meet new people.”

Jim and Ros love being able to pick and choose their assignments around their own travel plans. They particularly enjoy home sitting over the winter as they have a place in Spain where they spend 10 to 12 weeks a year and they like to travel there by car stopping in different places on the way.

Jim says, “Home sitting is really fun but it’s also purposeful. We can do it as much or as little as we like, combining all our interests together and spending time with animals is the best part of all.”

Another retired couple in their 60s, June and Mick Palmer from Berkshire also enjoy home and pet sitting over the winter months. The couple own a mobile home in Wales so they love the fact home sitting is flexible so they can make sure they have time free to spend there too.

In the past, they had owned several pets and both are great dog lovers. The couple wanted to make the most of their retirement and home sitting appealed as it combines looking after dogs and going on walks with staying in different parts of the country.

June says, “Home sitting gives us a chance to stay in gorgeous locations and get out in the countryside. We joined the National Trust so we can visit lovely houses and gardens wherever we are based. We love looking after the animals which have included cats, guinea pigs and chickens, but most of all we love walking the dogs – we go out with them for two hours or more and it’s great exercise for us.”

For more information on becoming a homesitter visit www.homesitters.co.uk

Rescue a Dog and Feel Great

Rescuing a Dog is Good for your Health

Rescuing a dog is good for your health

Saving one dog won’t change the world – but the world will change forever for that dog and new owner.

Dogs help man in many ways; from acting as the ears and eyes for those impaired of sight and sound, to sniffing out lost people or harmful substances, to protecting our family and property. But dogs can also perform an incredible, life-saving role – with no training.

For people suffering from mental health problems, feeling lonely or struggling to come to terms with a bereavement, dogs can provide a lifeline. And the RSPCA is encouraging more people to consider rescuing a dog in a bid to improve a dog’s life as well as their own.

Dr Julia Wrathall, chief scientific officer at the RSPCA explains, “Animals can make wonderful companions for those who find themselves feeling lonely or struggling with depression. As well as pets helping people, pairing prospective new owners with a suitable animal could also help ease the pressure on rescue centres who are full to bursting with unwanted pets.

“As well as providing vital companionship to people, there are also a number of other benefits to owning a pet. Evidence suggests that when we stroke animals – or in the case of dogs, when we just look into their eyes – our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone that brings about bonding between individuals as well as helping us feel more optimistic and lowering blood pressure.

“Owning a dog also makes people less vulnerable to the physical effects of stress and can encourage people to get out and about for exercise and can also help initiate interaction with other pet owners. This can be great for a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. And just as importantly, providing a suitable new home to a previously homeless animal clearly offers huge benefits for them as well!”

Stephen Buckley, head of information at mental health charity, Mind says, “Many people, not just those with mental health problems, find that connecting with animals or caring for a pet can have a positive impact on their wellbeing. Lots of people who experience a range of mental health problems also report that playing with an animal or taking a dog for a walk helps them switch off from everyday pressures, clear their head and relieve stress.

“Having a pet is about a relationship and, much the same as human relationships, this plays an important part in people’s lives. However, it is important to note that having a pet such as a dog is expensive and takes a lot of time and care so might not be beneficial for everyone with a mental health problem, for example, you need to be sure your home environment and personal circumstances are suitable.”

The RSPCA’s Dr Wrathall adds, “Of course, owning a pet may not be suitable for everybody and it’s essential that the many responsibilities associated with taking on an animal are fully understood beforehand.

“If getting a dog isn’t right for you, then there are lots of other ways to help animals in need – and to help your mental wellbeing. People can foster an animal in order to have a companion without taking on a long-term commitment or could even volunteer at a local charity shop or animal centre.

“Whatever takes your fancy, interacting with animals can be a great way to relieve stress and get out of the house – while also helping to improve the lives of the many animals in need as well.”

Head to the RSPCA website for more information about offering a rescue dog a new home

And meet all of the RSPCA dogs waiting for homes at www.rspca.org.uk/findapet

Pet Bedding for RSPCA

Pet Fleeces Support Animal Welfare Charity

Vetfleece

Fleecy pet bedding that is used to keep animals warm and comfortable is set to help rescue animals too as a UK manufacturer has teamed up with the RSPCA.

Vetfleece, a third generation family run business, manufacture super soft pet bedding that is widely used by those involved in the care and welfare of animals. It has been designed for use in kennels, crates and domestic homes for dogs and cats.

The bedding is popular with veterinary surgeries, kennels and catteries as it has been designed to let fluid drain straight through to help keep pets warm and dry whilst also retaining body heat.

The products have been designed to offer comfort to pets during all stages of their lives and the RSPCA are delighted that Vetfleece are donating a percentage of their sales to help with their mission to prevent cruelty, promote kindness and alleviate the suffering of animals.

Ellen Camillin, Licensing Manager at the RSPCA says, “Having somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep is vitally important for pets, whether they are lounging in their favourite spot in the home or sleeping at a clinic or hospital when undergoing treatment. We want our pets to feel comfortable and clean which is why we were happy to partner up with Vetfleece, whose range of blankets are practical and comfortable and pet-approved!”

Vetfleece is perfect for all stages of a pet’s life, from the youngest to the oldest as well as animals that are recovering from an operation. It is non-allergic, non-toxic, non-irritant and is machine washable.

There are three versions of Vetfleece, all of which can be cut to fit any area:

Non-Slip which is perfectly suited for polished, tiled or wooden floors and will add a touch of luxury in transport crates. There is a wide range of patterns and colour choices to match any room in your home. Machine washable up to 40°.

The original Greenback which is a medical grade fleece with a robust backing to help protect against chewing and scratching. 25-28mm pile height, four colour choices and can be washed up to 90°.

Heavy Duty Greenback which is commonly used for older or post surgery animals. It has an extra thick pile height to help distribute weight and aids the prevention of pressure sores.

It is the perfect bedding for older pets with incontinence problems as it allows the free passage of fluids keeping your pet dry and helping to prevent infection. 32-35mm pile height, five colours to choose from and also can be washed up to 90°.

Richard Ward, Managing Director of Vetfleece says, “Everyone at Vetfleece is excited to be working with the RSPCA.  Both organisations have the shared values of putting the care and welfare of animals first and the team at Vetfleece continue to develop new products whilst keeping these values in focus.

“We see this relationship as mutually beneficial, not only for the pets who receive “the best a pet can get” bedding, but also for the extra-funds we contribute to help the RSPCA prevent cruelty, promote kindness and alleviate the suffering of all animals.”

For more information about Vetfleece click on https://vetfleece.com

Playtime Ideas for Cats

Playtime Ideas for
Pawsome Cats

Playtime for Pawsome cats

Playing with cats helps boost your bond and keep them active. The RSPCA gives its tips on how to play and train your cat to keep them fit and healthy.

Cats are active animals and many, even as adults, enjoy playing. Play can be great exercise both for your cat’s brain and body – preventing them from getting bored and keeping them in shape.

Depending on their age and temperament, play can last anywhere between a few minutes up to about 15 minutes. Cats will usually play with items that resemble their prey for longer and with more intensity, whether they prefer feather toys, smaller mouse-size toys, or  bigger, challenging toys.

It’s a great way to bond with your cat and spend some quality time interacting with them.

Have fun playing with your cat

Here, Sam Watson, RSPCA Cat Welfare Expert, gives her tips on playing with your cat successfully.

“Cats enjoy playing with their owners and not only is this great exercise but also great for bonding with your feline friend. Some cats will enjoy playing on their own as well so make sure there are always suitable, safe toys available.

“Cats tend to like small multi-textured toys but they will all have their favourites – take time getting to know which toys your cat most enjoys. Making time to play together with your cat is really important for adding variety and fun into their day.

“Playing together can also help to strengthen your bond. There’s a bit of an art to playing with cats and if you’re a first time owner it might take a little practice to master your skills.

“Cats like to chase objects which are moving in rapid and unpredictable ways, just like a mouse or bird. Use a stick and string toy and encourage your cat to stalk, chase and grab the toy. Many cats get very curious if their toy ‘hides’ out of view for a few moments.

“Be sure to always let your cat grab and hold the toy during play to prevent them from getting frustrated. For this reason, laser pen type toys and onscreen tablet games are probably best avoided unless the game can end with a physical toy to avoid them becoming frustrated.

“No matter how irresistible it is, in particular with sweet, gentle, kittens, always avoid using your hands and feet as targets during playtime. It seems harmless, especially with young cats who can inflict little damage, but it can form the basis of a potentially injurious habit later in life. Cats who wrestle human hands as kittens are more prone to sudden, unprovoked ‘attacks’ on humans later in life, and it can be a tough habit to break.

“Toys for your cat don’t have to cost very much and there are some things you can make yourself to keep them entertained, from cat treat jars to wand toys and this love heart for your cat. Cats can become habituated to toys and seem ‘bored’ of them, so it’s a good idea to swap which toys are available every few days.”

Although cats may not need to learn how to sit or walk on a lead like dogs do, they can still benefit from training and despite the myths – it is possible. Cats respond well to clicker training and with a small, tasty treat as a nice incentive they can be trained to get inside their cat carrier or come when called, making those trips to the vets much less stressful for both the owner and the pet. 

Sam adds, “Learning new behaviours is an excellent form of physical and mental exercise and teaching a few tricks like giving a paw or rolling over can be a great way to get them thinking and moving.

“Some even learn to play fetch, most likely because we reward them with praise or by throwing the toy to chase again. All training should be reward based which will motivate them to show this particular behaviour again. This may be in the form of a chin or head rub or could be a treat such as some dried fish or small pieces of chicken. The key is to choose a reward that your cat will enjoy.

“The treat should be small – about half the size of a fingernail and will count towards your kitty’s daily food intake.

“Train your cat at a time when they are most active and awake in a room where they feel comfortable. Practice makes perfect and training can take time so don’t expect results immediately. It’s also a good idea to break up training into short but regular sessions to keep their attention.”

More information on caring for cats can be found on the RSPCA website.at www.rspca.org.uk

Dental Care for Pets

Brushing up on Your Pet’s Dental Care

Brushing your pet's teeth

We wouldn’t let a day go by without brushing our teeth, but did you know it’s just as important to ensure our pets have a dental routine to keep their teeth and gums healthy?

This year PDSA is raising awareness of pet dental care. With dental disease a common problem for many of our four-legged friends, the vet charity is encouraging UK pet owners to ‘brush up’ on their pets’ dental health.

PDSA vet, Olivia Anderson-Nathan says, “Dental disease causes pain and can be linked to other health problems. It’s often more obvious in older animals but starts early: four in five dogs have serious gum disease by the age of three.

“As with humans, plaque – a mixture of food particles and bacteria – sticks to the surface of our pet’s teeth. Over time, the minerals in pet saliva harden the plaque, turning it into tartar which firmly attaches to the teeth. Problems come when plaque and tartar develop under the gums, causing discomfort and damage of the tissue surrounding the teeth.”

If allowed to develop, dental disease will damage the gums and, in time, the gums can recede to expose tooth roots, affected teeth may become loose and infection. Long-standing infections in the mouth can even transfer into the blood and cause other problems around the body, including in the kidneys and heart.

“The best way to prevent plaque from building up is to brush cats’ and dogs’ teeth every day. If this is introduced in the right way, ideally when they are kittens and puppies, daily brushing will become normal for them and part of their daily routine. The same technique can be used with older animals, but it may take a little longer for them to become used to each step.”

Olivia’s top tips to improve your pets’ dental health

1. Get your pet used to the taste of pet toothpaste by letting them lick a small amount from the end of your finger. It doesn’t have fluoride like human toothpaste so can be safely swallowed, and is usually a chicken, fish or malt flavour which your pet should enjoy.

2. Get them used to the idea of touching around their mouth and gums, starting by gently touching their face, giving positive praise or a treat as a reward. Next, lift up their lips gently, pulling them back so you can look at all their teeth.

3. To get them ready to accept a toothbrush, it’s a good idea to start by gently rubbing a soft cloth along their outer gums and teeth – this gets them used to the idea of having something in their mouth.

4. Apply toothpaste to your finger and rub along the outer gums and teeth, gradually progressing to a toothbrush. At first try just a single swipe at a time and build up to daily brushing.

Other ways to help slow the development of dental disease include feeding specially formulated dental diets, using special toys to help with tooth cleaning, offering dental chews and avoiding sticky, sweet foods. Ask your vet to recommend a product so you can get one which is proven to work.

If you notice any signs of dental disease, such as bad breath, excessive drooling, difficulty eating or rubbing the face with their paws, make an appointment with your vet.

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. They are on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. 

For more information about PDSA click on www.pdsa.org.uk

Microchip your Pets

RSPCA Reminds You
to Chip ‘n’ Check

Basset Hound Puppy  Being microchipped at a veterinary surgery

Three years since the introduction of compulsory dog microchipping, UK’s largest animal welfare charity urges owners to microchip and check their details

The RSPCA is reminding dog owners to ensure their pets are microchipped and their up-to-date details are registered with a database.

Unfortunately, despite it being required by law, the charity still finds thousands of dogs coming into its care each year are either not microchipped or have out-of-date owner details.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens says, “Sadly it seems the message hasn’t got through to everyone and lots of injured, neglected or abandoned dogs are ending up in our centres because our officers aren’t able to trace their owners. And a large number of stray dogs who are dealt with by local authorities sadly can’t be reunited with their owners because of incorrect or missing details.

“It’s been three years since the Government made it a legal requirement for owners to get their dogs microchipped and part of this legislation includes ensuring details are registered with an online database and kept up-to-date.

“A big problem we encounter is out-of-date phone numbers of addresses which is so frustrating. The ideal outcome for dogs who come into the care of the RSPCA, other charities or local authorities is to get them back home where they belong as quickly as possible. But we can only do this is they’re microchipped properly with the correct details.”

Microchip your pet

The RSPCA – the UK’s oldest and largest animal welfare charity and largest rescuer of dogs in England & Wales – launched its Chip ‘n’ Check campaign three years ago and is, this week, reminding dog owners to chip their pets and check their details.

“I’d encourage all dog owners to microchip their pets, it’s a cheap and easy procedure that can be done by your vet or even at your local animal shelter,” stresses.

“And for all of those responsible owners who know their pets are chipped, I’d urge them to check their details and ensure they’re up-to-date. This is particularly important if you’ve moved house, or changed your telephone number.

“We’d also like to remind anyone thinking of taking on a dog to ensure he or she is microchipped. And for those families planning to buy a puppy, remember: all breeders must microchip their puppies before they go off to a new home.”

Microchip your pet

For more information about microchipping visit www.rspca.org.uk/microchipping

Separation Anxiety Advice

RSPCA Campaign to Help 7 Million Dogs Who May Suffer from Separation Anxiety

Sammy gets separation anxiety

The RSPCA has launched a campaign aimed at helping millions of dogs in the UK who could be struggling to cope when they’re left home alone.

The UK’s oldest and largest animal welfare charity is launching a nationwide campaign to help millions of dogs suffering in silence.

The RSPCA has launched #DogKind to help the 7 million dogs who find being away from their owners difficult – a large number of which suffer in silence, without showing any clear signs that they’re struggling to cope, meaning owners don’t often realise there’s a problem.

Separation anxiety

#DogKind aims to raise awareness of this often hidden issue and help owners ensure their dogs are the happiest pooch on the block.

Daisy Hopson, #DogKind Campaign Manager Daisy Hopson says, “We know that the love between owners and their dogs is unconditional – the centre of each other’s lives. So, when you leave your dog for any period of time, it can be incredibly difficult for them.

“It’s nothing to do with their age, breed or where they have come from, it’s because many dogs don’t know how to cope when their owner isn’t at home and are unhappy when left alone.

“Pioneering research suggested that 85% of dogs may be struggling to cope when left alone and with an estimated 9 million dogs in the UK and 26% of households with a pet dog, it’s shocking to think that more than 7 million of our four-legged friends could be feeling frightened, lonely or sad when home alone.

“More worrying is the fact that many dogs won’t show signs that they are struggling (50% of dogs in the 2016 study showed no signs) so it’s easy for owners to miss. In fact, many owners may have no idea as 75% were unaware that their dogs were finding it hard to cope when on their own.”

A survey conducted by the RSPCA to coincide with the Chinese Year of the Dog (2018), found that 22% of owners left their dogs for four or more hours a day and 53% of dogs were left shut inside the house when their owners were out.

I used to chew the sofa because of separation anxiety

Dr Samantha Gaines RSPCA Dog Welfare Expert says, “Some dogs who find it difficult to cope when on their own bark or destroy things to show their feelings, others will simply sit there suffering in silence – like people, dogs express their emotions in different ways, which means you may not always know if there is a problem.

“The good news is that you can help your dog learn that it is okay to be left alone; there are things to help your dog to feel calmer and happier when you are out.

“Even if you are unsure whether your dog is struggling, #DogKind will guide you through steps you can take to help discover if your dog is finding it difficult to cope and what you can do help.

“It’s a really important part of any dog’s training to teach them that being left alone isn’t scary, and so we also have lots of advice on how to teach your puppy or new dog that being on their own is not a bad thing.”

The RSPCA’s research also discovered:

87% of respondents agree or strongly agree that ‘dogs need and enjoy the company of people and dogs and don’t like being on their own’;

20% of people reported signs associated with separation related behaviour – but 45% of these people didn’t seek help, with 20% saying it was because ‘the behaviour doesn’t really bother me or my family’;

Only 62% of people think dogs can experience worry while 63% believe dogs can experience sadness;

But 74% think dogs can experience boredom;

25% of people agreed that ‘working hours make it difficult to care for my dog as I’d like’.

Dr Gaines adds, “There are lots of ways we can help our dogs if they’re struggling being home alone. If they need something to occupy them then it can be a great opportunity to provide enrichment and stimulation such as toys stuffed with treats or puzzle games.

“If your dog struggles without company or you are out for longer periods of time then you could ask a neighbour, friend or relative to spend time with your dog or take them out for a walk. If relying on friends and family isn’t an option, there are services like DogBuddy which help you find a dog sitter near you for boarding, day care or walking.

“However, if you’re concerned that your pet is displaying signs of separation related behaviour then we would strongly recommend speaking to your vet or a clinical animal behaviourist for some specialist advice tailored to his or her needs.”

Tug feels separation anxiety when left alone

One RSPCA rescue dog who has struggled with an extreme case of separation related behaviour is 12-year-old bearded collie cross, Tug (pictured above).

He was rescued by RSPCA inspectors in September in a poor condition and taken in by the charity’s Coventry, Nuneaton & District branch. He was rehomed before Christmas but sadly returned to the centre when his new owners struggled to cope with his separation related behaviour.

He loves being with people so much that he was really worried when he was left on his own so staff are now looking for owners who can work with him to help him with his anxiety.

About the #DogKind campaign

The aim of the #DogKind campaign is to help owners better understand their dogs’ emotional needs and raise awareness of separation related behaviour, especially the fact that it is preventable and treatable.

This is so dogs like Tug can stay in their home, rather than be put up for adoption, as their owners discover how to help their dog overcome these issues in the comfort of their own home.

Separation anxiety

Whether you think your dog is struggling or not, we’d love all owners to try at least one of our #DogKind methods and see if they can improve their dog’s experience of being home alone.

For more information about #DogKind click on www.rspca.org.uk

Adopt a Kitten

UK on the Brink
of a Cat Crisis

RSPCA Hull Animal Care Assistant Carina Mclean whose dog Missey helped raise four hand reared stray kittens, pictured at 5 weeks Hull, UK. Photograph by Philip Toscano/RSPCA

RSPCA is bracing itself for an influx of cats and kittens as latest figures reveal that on average the charity takes in three cats EVERY HOUR.

Last year (2018) the RSPCA‘s centres and branches took in 28,986 cats and more than 90,000 cats over the last three years.

Most kittens are typically born between April and September which means during the ‘kitten season’ the charity ends up with large amounts of young cats coming into its care.

July sees the most cats coming into the charity’s centres and branches with 2,622 in 2018, 3,386 in 2017 and 3,143 in 2016 in that month alone.

The charity has also seen a shocking peak in abandonments over the summer period with 58% more cats being dumped in July last year compared to January. (July: 9,691. January 3,990).

Overpopulation crisis

Carrie Stones, the RSPCA’s Cat Population Control Manager says, “With an average of 86 cats coming into our care every day and a peak in the number of abandoned cats reported to us in summer this clearly highlights that the UK is facing a cat overpopulation crisis with so many cats ending up in rescue centres.

“We would always urge people to think about the long-term commitment that caring for a cat entails and avoid making a snap decision about whether to take on a cat or kitten, for example from family or friends or buying online.

“Sadly, we see so many litters of kittens dumped like rubbish in the summer months because often owners have made this quick decision and can no longer cope, or the kittens have been an unplanned litter and a shock to the owner of the moggy mum!

“There is no denying that kittens look cute but the reality of caring for them can be hard work, time consuming and costly.

“We, and other cat and vet organisations, believe the solution to this crisis is to neuter cats from four months old before they can become pregnant and therefore avoiding these unwanted litters.”

Kitten dumped in Costa Coffee toilets 

Kittens found at Costa Coffee

A kitten who was abandoned in café toilets may have been reunited with his mum and littermates thanks to the RSPCA.

The three week old kitten was found abandoned in the toilets of a Costa Coffee in Woodford Green on Saturday, 23 March.

The black kitten who was dumped in a plastic box with a little bit of cat food was too young to be away from his mum. When the cafe staff discovered him in the toilets, they contacted the RSPCA and Animal Collection Officer (ACO) David Eckworth came to the collect the small kitten.

He said, “When kittens are so young often they can need hand-rearing but luckily a foster mum became available at RSPCA Harmsworth Animal Hospital where the kitten was being looked after.”

The mother cat and her litter of three kittens came into the hospital on Monday, 25 March after they were found on the same road as the kitten in Wallers Close. Staff at the hospital suspect they could actually be the same family – now reunited.

Mother cat and kittens rescued from tube station 

Mother cat and kittens rescued from tube station

Workers called in animal rescuers after spotting a stray cat and her kittens living underneath new escalators at a London Underground station

A woman contacted the RSPCA shortly before 5pm on Wednesday, March 20, after spotting the black and white puss and her four tiny kittens under the escalator at the new HS2 line at Moorgate Tube Station which is under construction.

Animal welfare officer (AWO) Siobhan Trinnaman rushed to the scene to help the feline family. She managed to rescue the kittens, who were just a few days old and still had their eyes closed, and later their mum was also rescued and are now at RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre in Surrey 

The moggy mum was wearing a collar but isn’t microchipped.

Kittens dumped in cardboard box near bins

Kittens dumped in cardboard box near bins

Four kittens were found after they were “dumped like rubbish” in a cardboard box and left at the side of some bins.

The shocking discovery was made by a woman on Scafell Drive, Birmingham, on Wednesday March 6. She saw the box by some bins near to Wyrley House block of flats and as she walked past she noticed it move.

Inside were four black and white kittens – who are believed to be aged around ten-weeks-old.

ACO Cara Gibbon rushed the two female and two male cats to the Coventry branch of the RSPCA for care.

She says, “It is awful to think these kittens were just dumped like rubbish and left by the side of some bins. It is just lucky that the lady saw the box they were in moving and cared enough to investigate.”

If you can give a cat a loving home or want to find out more visit www.rspca.org.uk

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