RSPCA braces for summer surge in abandonments

The RSPCA is bracing itself for a surge in abandoned animals and fears the fallout from the Covid crisis could see more owners struggling to keep their pets.

Typically, the charity sees abandonment peak in the summer months, with 16,519 animals reported abandoned between June and August 2019, which accounts for 30% of all animals abandoned last year.

During the summer months the charity had nearly 180 calls about dumped animals – 5,600 about cats and 6,400 about dogs.

The RSPCA is braced for an even bigger impact this summer following the easing of lockdown and the financial impact on the coronavirus pandemic and has launched an emergency appeal to continue its vital work.

Dermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: “During lockdown we’ve seen pets become a source of comfort and support for people and it appears many people have taken on new animals. Fortunately, during this time we’ve dealt with fewer abandoned pets however we are worried that as lockdown eases, people return to work, go on holiday or struggle financially we will be facing a massive surge of animal abandonments.

“Sadly, summer tends to bring with it a surge in abandoned animals. We don’t know why but it may be a combination of the warmer weather making people feel less guilty about dumping a pet to fend for themselves and people going away on holiday abandoning pets instead of arranging care for them.”

What people can do if they’re struggling to care for their pets:

  • Ask friends and family for help
  • Contact your vet about payment plans, discounts or vouchers for neutering or any other treatment needed
  • Get in touch with local rehoming charities for advice
  • Visit the RSPCA website for welfare advice

To help the RSPCA continue to rescue animals that have been abandoned this summer, please visit rspca.org.uk/abandonments

 

Dog tied to tree and left in dark woods

The RSPCA is appealing for information after a Staffordshire bull terrier was heard barking for help after being left tied to a tree and left in the woods.

RSPCA inspector Rebecca Goulding was called to Gledholt Woods in Huddersfield on Tuesday evening (30 June) by local people who’d heard a dog barking from the woods.

Rebecca said: “People who live nearby heard barking coming from the woods and went to investigate. They found this poor dog tied to a tree with a harness and lead. They told us he’d been there for at least two hours and it was clear no one was coming back for him.

“It seems a strange place for someone to tie up a stray if they found him running loose in the woods without telling anyone as he was very remote, so it seems as though someone has deliberately walking him into the woods to abandon him.”

The brindle and white, adult male Staffie was unneutered and wasn’t microchipped.

Rebecca added: “Thankfully he wasn’t injured and seemed to be in a good condition so I contacted the dog warden. He’s now being cared for by Kirklees dog warden so anyone who believes he may belong to them should contact the council.

“I understand that things are difficult right now and that there may be a very good reason for a family to need to give up their pet. But they should never have taken this poor boy into the woods and tied him to a tree and just left him. There are always other options and animal welfare organisations that can help.

“Anyone with any information about who may be responsible for abandoning him in this way should contact our appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

 

 

 

Celebrity canines raise over £21k for PDSA in just seven days

Kerry Irving and his Spaniel companions, Max, Paddy and Harry have raised an incredible £21,764 for PDSA in just one week, ahead of their Ben Nevis challenge next month.

The fundraiser breaks the charity’s records for the largest sum raised for a single volunteer challenge in such a short timeframe.

Kerry will be taking on the UK’s highest peak with two of his Cumbrian canines, Paddy and Harry to raise vital funds for PDSA, who are facing a fundraising crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Spaniels are known for the life-changing role they played in helping Kerry to overcome crippling depression after a car accident left him with chronic pain back in 2006.

In 2018, Max and Paddy were honoured with a PDSA Commendation for the vital support they gave Kerry, along with the comfort and joy they provide daily to the hundreds of thousands who follow their outdoor adventures on social media. Harry joined the gang in 2019.

Since then, Kerry has published a best-selling book called ‘Max the Miracle Dog’ and continues to use his influence to fundraise and raise awareness for charities close to his heart, especially PDSA, who provide free and reduced-cost veterinary care to vulnerable pets in need.

Over the last three years, Kerry has raised over £165,000 for various charities through his fundraising initiatives. He was awarded the PDSA Fundraising Volunteer of the Year Award earlier this year for his amazing support for PDSA, which has seen him raise nearly £32,000 for the charity through his various fundraising challenges in 2020 alone.

Kerry said: “In 2006 I was involved in a road accident which changed my life completely. In 2009 after numerous operations, pain relief medication and crippling depression, I met a dog called Max. He turned my life around when I was at my lowest ebb – he saved me.  In 2012 I walked Ben Nevis with Max, but at nearly thirteen he’s a little too old for that now so I’ll be joined my Paddy and Harry – it will be the first time they take on this challenge.

“I have been overwhelmed with the response to our fundraiser in such a short space of time. My original target was £2,000 and I was amazed this was smashed in a couple of hours. I promised to wax my legs if we exceeded £20k – which I’ll be sticking to and I’ll be sharing that experience live on Facebook soon– but it would be really wonderful to reach £25,000.”

Kerry’s key-worker role as a locksmith means he has continued to work throughout lockdown providing essential services and is looking forward to getting into the open air when Ben Nevis reopens for tourists.

PDSA’s Director of Fundraising, Nigel Spencer, said: “Kerry and his four-legged fundraising friends Max, Harry and Paddy are an inspiration to us all and we’re extremely grateful for their incredible, ongoing support. It’s the largest total raised by a single fundraiser through a challenge like this in such a short amount of time and we are so thankful for their support, especially at this difficult time.

“The support of Kerry, his canines and everyone who has donated means the world to us. PDSA is facing a massive funding crisis so vital support such as this will help ensure the charity can continue its life-saving work, treating sick and injured pets in need across the country. PDSA’s veterinary care – which is a lifeline to so many owners across the UK – costs £60 million a year to run. But with most of our shops still closed and fundraising events cancelled, we’re losing around £3 million a month in income.

“And with the country plunged into financial uncertainly, and more than a million extra Universal Credit claims, we expects the number of pets needing care will increase by around 50,000. We don’t believe pets should suffer because of financial hardship and the support from Kerry will help us to continue our vital work.”

Kerry is urging others to support his vital fundraising appeal for PDSA by donating to his JustGiving page.

 

 

Pet owners with low immune systems need to be vigilant, warn experts

Experts are calling for pet owners with weakened immune systems to be especially vigilant in treating their pets as fleas can pass on blood borne infections that can be fatal.

Pet owners with compromised immune systems can have fatal complications to blood borne infections from parasites, such as fleas – and almost one in five with a cat or dog are unaware of this, according to research.

A study of 1,000 pet owners with weakened immune systems conducted by ITCHpet.com reveals this lack of awareness is most prevalent amongst the over 55s – where the figure rises to one in three.

Many conditions and treatments can affect the body’s defence systems (making a person ‘immunocompromised’ or immunosuppressed’) including organ transplants, heart disease, lupus, lung disease and diabetes.

Experts are warning that parasites pose a threat to the nation’s immunosuppressed more than ever this summer, as flea numbers are set to soar due to a dangerous cocktail of humid weather, heavy rains and a fall in people using preventative treatments on their cats and dogs during lockdown.

Zoe Costigan, resident vet at ITCHpet.com explains: “Nationally, our research tells us that one in ten owners of cats and dogs found it more difficult to treat their pets for parasites during Covid-19*.

“Concerningly, this figure jumped to 41 per cent when we delved more closely into the habits of pet owners whose immune defences are more fragile.” 

Unsurprisingly, nearly a half of respondents said they did not feel comfortable or safe going out to the shop or vets to purchase treatment during lockdown.

According to the study, at least 72% said they missed at least one preventative treatment between March and June during lockdown. While 33% admitted they had forgone three consecutive months: March, April and May.

For those who went without treating their pet during lockdown, over a quarter were under the impression that their pet didn’t need it as they were self-isolating.

Zoe added: “As fleas can also harbour in the home, it’s important to continue regular preventative treatment for your pets.

“Also, because fleas have four main stages in their life cycle – adult, egg, larva, and pupa – the total flea life cycle can range from a couple weeks to several months, depending on environmental conditions, so missing the odd treatment really does matter.”

 The study uncovered nearly half of immunocompromised pet owners consider their pets’ health first and foremost, without pausing to consider the health risks posed to them by parasites.

Alarmingly, 16% of those surveyed said they were not aware that fleas could pose a health risk to humans.

“‘Diseases transmitted from fleas can include the likes of tapeworms – parasitic worms which can infect humans and migrate from the gut to cause cysts in other organs” explains Zoe Costigan.

“Worse still, fleas can also pass on bloodborne infections to humans. And for those who are immunocompromised or elderly, they are at much higher risk of having severe complications. When a person has a weakened immune system, or immunosuppressed as it can also be referred to, it means their immune defences are weaker.”

“When defences are lower, a person becomes much more susceptible to infection. The Big Flea Project published in 2019 which looks into the types of bacteria circulating in the UK flea population, showed 11 per cent of fleas submitted tested positive for Bartonella – a nasty bacteria which causes Cat Scratch Fever. Rickettsia Felis; an emerging, insect-borne pathogen is also on the rise.”

“An infected flea can prey on a cat, then all it takes is for the cat to scratch or bite a human to infect them. A build-up of infective flea dirt in the home can also prove dangerous in people who have compromised skin barrier conditions.”

According to the research commissioned by ITCHpet.com, 62% didn’t think fleas could infect humans with tapeworms and 17% have never even heard of Bartonella; the bacteria which causes the disease Bartonellosis – also known as Cat Scratch Disease.

Also, a similar number of respondents 16% are not familiar with Rickettsia Felis; the flea-transmitted human pathogen which can be dangerous to those who are immunocompromised.

Over half of those surveyed were also unaware high temperatures teamed with rain can create an ideal breeding ground for fleas.

“The recent hot and humid weather combined with missed preventative treatments are fuelling the rise in flea numbers this year” continued Costigan.

“The nation’s cats and dogs have provided a great source of comfort during such troubling times. As the rules continue to relax and people start enjoying the outdoors more, now more than ever people need to be vigilant and ensure they are treating their pets properly for parasites – for everyone’s health.

“Worryingly, a quarter even confessed that they have not treated their pets for the past six months. Pets need to be treated monthly for fleas and every three months for worms to prevent tapeworms.”

 

 

Paper bags to replace plastic in RSPCA charity shops

The RSPCA is replacing plastic bags with more environmentally friendly paper ones across its branch charity shops in a big to become more eco-conscious.

The animal welfare charity has launched paper bags across its shops this week so branches can choose to use paper bags over plastic ones. The RSPCA is one of the first charities to move away from single-use plastic carrier bags.

In an average year, the charity bought 510,000 RSPCA plastic carrier bags. It takes hundreds of years for as plastic bag to degrade in landfill and instead of completely breaking down they become microplastics which continue to pollute the environment.

RSPCA retail specialist, Jenny Eden, said: “We wanted to replace our existing plastic carrier bags with something easily recyclable, and being a charity that cares for wildlife, we wanted to make sure that no wild animal could be harmed by one of our bags if it was accidentally discarded.

“As a charity, we have received more than 21,600 reports of animals injured or caught in litter over the past five years and plastic bags play a huge part in this which is why we wanted to play our part in helping animals, the environment and the planet by cutting down on single-use plastic.”

The new paper bags are made and printed in the UK and are made of 100% recycled paper and are fully recyclable.

Customers may see carrier bags in their local branch shop for a while whilst the existing plastic bag stock is used up and replaced with paper ones.

Jenny added: “A big part of achieving a kinder world to animals is working towards our goals in a more conscious way. By striving to be more environmentally conscious each day, we can do our bit to reduce humans’ damaging impact on our planet and our wildlife.

“We’re far from perfect and we have a way to go yet but we’re committed to making the necessary changes and to doing everything that we can to make a difference.”

Other ways the charity is cutting down on plastic:

  • Using fully biodegradable disposable gloves at its national centres, hospitals and branches
  • No longer sending out magazines in polythene wrapping and instead using a more environmentally friendly potato starch wrap (which is 100% biodegradable and compostable)!
  • Removing glitter and foil from our FSC – certified Christmas cards and offering a plastic-free eco option for Christmas crackers from the online shop and catalogue.

Jenny said: “The very principle of charity shops is to recycle preloved items for a good cause. Last year, we launched our Charity Shop Challenge which highlighted the impact fast fashion is having on the environment and encouraged people to shop at our RSPCA charity shops. It is estimated that each charity shop saves 29 tonnes of textiles from ending up in landfill each year and with over 300 RSPCA branch shops that’s around 8,700 tonnes saved or the equivalent weight of over 1,200 African elephants!

“It’s also estimated that a 10% increase in second-hand sales could save 3% carbon waste, 4% water waste and 1% waste per tonne of clothing. So already we really are making a difference!”

To find your local RSPCA charity shop visit: www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/yourlocal

 

 

 

 

 

Dogs Trust help your hound out of lockdown as restrictions ease

Following the latest government announcements, Dogs Trust releases top tips for owners to help their dogs adapt to the ‘new normal’.

Dogs Trust is advising owners on how to help their dog adjust to life as lockdown restrictions ease – from how to cope with being left at home alone preventing nervousness around visitors.

For most dog owners, lockdown has meant spending more quality time with their four-legged friends. Just like us, dogs will need to readjust as restrictions ease but some dogs may find it hard to adjust to the ‘new normal’ and will need a helping hand.

The charity has come up with a quick and handy guide of important tips to refresh any training dogs may have forgotten during lockdown.

Dogs Trust top tips for leaving your dog home alone

  • Make sure your dog has a comfy bed or den, where they can relax in peace.
  • Give them something fun to occupy them when they are alone, such as a long-lasting treat or puzzle toy.
  • Get them to start spending more time in a different room to you as part of a daily routine.

    Photo Credit – Clive Tagg

  • Slowly build up the time they are left at home alone.

Tips for having guests over to your home

  • Teach your dog to behave calmly when they hear the doorbell by ignoring strong reaction and rewarding them with a treat when they are quiet.
  • Ensure your dog has their own safe space to retreat to when you have visitors, remembering that they can find excitable human noises worrying (as no doubt you’ll be excited to see your friends and family after lockdown).
  • Make sure you actively supervise your dog’s interactions with visiting children.
  • Always remember to wash your hands regularly before and after interacting with your dog and ask your guests to do the same. A dog’s coat, lead, toys etc could carry coronavirus just like any other surface.
  • Do not be afraid to ask people not to pet your dog if you don’t feel comfortable or if your dog wants some alone time.

Tips for getting out and about with your dog

  • It is summertime so make sure your never leave your dog in a hot car and refresh their training around picnic food and ball games.
  • Use Dogs Trust’s handy guide to teach your dog to feel comfortable with seeing people in facemasks, particularly if you are using public transport.
  • Remember that social distancing is still in place, so you may want to continue to use a lead when out walking or polish up your recall training.
  • Get your dog re-accustomed to travelling safely in the car using a harness or crate by using lots of tasty treats or their favourite toy to reward calm behaviour and make the experience a positive one.

Dogs Trust’s Chief Executive, Owen Sharp said: ““As the nation prepares for the next step in the lifting of lockdown, it’s important that we factor in the impact this may have on our four-legged friends. Dogs will have become accustomed to having their favourite humans by their side day in day out, as well as having their homes to themselves and little interaction with the outside world.

 “While people may be excited to take advantage of restrictions easing over the coming weeks, keep in mind that our dogs may find this a more difficult transition, which is why we have lots of top tips to help them ease back into their ‘new normal’.

 “For some people, the lifting of lockdown might also come with a realisation that they can no longer accommodate a pet in their lives. In these difficult times we understand that circumstances can change, and there are many things that are beyond our control, so we would encourage anyone who is thinking about giving up their dog to contact us and we will do everything we possibly can to help.”

Whilst Dogs Trust Rehoming Centres remain closed to walk in members of the public, the charity is still taking in dogs that need to be rehomed, using an appointment system. Members of the public who want to give up their dog can get in touch on 0300 303 2188 to discuss their options and book an appointment.

For more information and access to more training, tips and tricks please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/easinglockdown.

Photo credit – Clive Tagg

Win six packs of Natures Menu Country Hunter Superfood Bars

It’s competition time and we’ve teamed with Natures Menu for a super giveaway!

Natures Menu, Europe’s leading expert in raw and natural pet food, is giving away six packs of its Country Hunter Superfood Bars to three lucky winners!

For 39 years, Natures Menu has been creating 100% real, wholesome pet food that is packed full of naturally nourishing ingredients.

Made from the finest cuts of meat and fish, blended vegetables, fruits and superfoods, the Natures Menu Country Hunter Superfood Bars offer a high protein and balanced snack for your four-legged friend. Gently air-dried to retain the natural goodness of their ingredients and provide a mouth-watering chewy texture, the bars are available in a range of delicious variants including Beef with Spinach and Quinoa; Salmon and White Fish with Cranberries and Kelp; Duck with Carrot and Pumpkin Seeds; Chicken with Coconut and Pumpkin Seeds; and Turkey with Cranberry and Pumpkin.

Grain and gluten free and naturally gentle on digestion, the Country Hunter range is ideal for dogs with sensitive tummies and allergies.

Natures Menu believes that dogs and cats deserve real, wholesome food, free from artificial colours and flavourings to satisfy our pets nutritional needs in order to provide them with a healthy diet, packed full of pure and natural goodness.

To be in with a chance of winning simply visit our pinned post of the Companion Life Facebook page and:

The County Hunter Superfood Bars are m ade using premium quality raw meat and fish

T&Cs apply. Three winners are entitled to three six packs of Country Hunter Superfood Bars each. No cash alternative. Delivery not available to Northern Ireland

For more information on the County Hunter bars visit www.naturesmenu.co.uk/country-hunter

Rover.com reveals the UK’s Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2020

The top three dog breeds of 2020 have been revealed as mixed breed, Labrador Retriever and Cocker Spaniel.

A report released by Rover.com ranks the top 20 most popular dog breeds across the country within 10 major cities.

Similar surveys were run in the US and Canada where both countries also selected mixed breed as the most preferred breed this year.

According to a 2019 poll of 10,000 people from the UK, the Labrador still ranks among the top three in most popular breeds, but mixed breeds have moved up 10 spots to the country’s favourite in 2020.

Pet trends expert, Thea Mathias said: “These days we’re more likely to think of dogs as family members than pets. We confide in our pets, snuggle with our pets and exercise with our pets. Fortunately, there’s a dog out there for everyone, whether you’re looking for a companion for yourself, your family, or for your other pets.”

To help prospective parents learn more about the best dog breed options based on their lifestyle and personal preferences, Rover created the Dog Breed Selector Tool.

The UK’s Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2020: Report Findings

Rover analysed and ranked the 20 most popular dog breeds across the country, and looked at the 10 largest U.K. cities, including London, Birmingham, and Liverpool to find the top five most popular dog breeds.

Top 20: UK’s Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2020

  • Mixed Breed
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Cockapoo
  • French Bulldog
  • Border Collie
  • Shih Tzu
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Pug
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Beagle
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Miniature Schnauzer

To view the full report on popular dog breeds, please visit this page.

 

 

Dogs Trust charity shop in Stratford Upon Avon reopens as Government lockdown measures ease

Dogs Trust is reopening six of its charity shops across the UK, including its Stratford Upon Avon shop.

With Government measures easing and more high street shops opening, the charity is excited to open a small number of its stores, whilst following the latest guidelines to keep staff and supporters safe.

Staff at the charity shop can’t wait to start receiving pre-loved goods from their supporters again, although visitors are being asked to familiarise themselves with new safety measures that will be in place.

Each charity shop will operate under reduced trading hours and will have dedicated time slots for when pre-loved goods can be received. This is to make sure that all pre-loved goods can be quarantined for 72 hours before being resold to reduce any risk of infection. Our shop teams are also asking that where possible, card or contactless payment, is used when making purchases.

In the last couple of weeks, staff have been preparing shops by adjusting their layout to meet social distancing requirements, installing more hand sanitizing units and fitting ‘cough guards’ at till points. Staff have also been provided with gloves, face masks and aprons which they are being asked to wear throughout the day.

For the moment the charity shop teams won’t be able to collect pre-loved goods from supporters’ homes as they are operating with reduced staff; and temporarily there are some limitations on the size and type of pre-loved goods they take; currently they are unable to take larger items such as furniture as well as books, soft toys and children’s games.

Diane Walden, Shop Manager at Dogs Trust’s charity shop in Stratford Upon Avon, said: “We are really excited to welcome our supporters back – albeit from a safe distance! It is great to be able to get our shops back up and running again, after so many of our fundraising activities have been impacted by the recent crisis. Now more than ever we will be relying on the generosity of the dog-loving public to help us through these uncertain times, as demand for our frontline services looks only set to increase in the coming months.

“Our supporters are vital to the continued work of Dogs Trust and we are so grateful to them for everything they do for us. In order to maintain social distancing, for the moment we have had to reduce the number of supporters allowed in the shop at one time, limit our workforce to essential staff, and ask that supporters refrain from bringing their canine friends with them when visiting for the time being. If you are in any doubt, then please do get in touch with us or visit our website for more information.”

For more information on our charity shops and our new working measures, please visit: www.dogstrust.org.uk/shopping/charityshops

 

New e-petition launched to ban puppy imports

This week a new e-petition was launched calling for the ban of exploitive imports of young puppies for sale in the UK.

This comes after the recent high-profile case of Love Island stars Molly Mae Hague and Tommy Fury’s puppy ‘Mr Chai’ passed away after just six days of arriving in the UK.

Behind the petition is Marc Abraham, and a young lady named Lucy Parkinson from Preston – a dog lover who decided something needed to be done to stop this from happening again.

A perfect example of grass-roots campaigning – Lucy’s passion for the cause is her drive and she is determined to see this through to the end, no matter what it takes.

Since its launch on Saturday (27th June), the petition now has over 17k signatures and counting, receiving over 10k in 24 hours and meaning the government must respond.

With the online support of celebrities including Ricky Gervais and Katie Piper, and influencers with huge social media followings including Olivia Attwood and Paige Turley – it’s hoped that the petition will reach the 100k signatures required to be debated in parliament.

In April this year, Lucy’s Law came into effect, banning UK puppy farms and the awful conditions in which puppies and parents lived.

TV vet Marc Abraham spent seven long years campaigning to get the law in place – an incredible achievement.

Despite the change in law, there continues to be major problems with the puppy buying industry in the UK with a huge amount being imported abroad, meaning their start in life is extremely traumatic.

Puppies are not meant to be transported over until 15-weeks, yet they’re being sent over as young as five-weeks old, often gravely sick, and being separated far too early from their mothers.

To sign the petition visit – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/326261