Kennel Club warns owners to make sure microchip details are up to date

The Kennel Club is urging dog owners to make sure their microchip details are up to date in time for the fireworks season.

With Diwali and fireworks night coming up, the Kennel Club is warning pet owners to be extra vigilant following statistics that show that 71% of owners’ details on microchipping databases are inaccurate.

Petlog, run by the Kennel Club, is one of the largest databases for microchipped animals and one of the only databases where users can ensure the money spent on microchipping goes back into dogs.

To give even greater peace of mind, the Kennel Club has the Petlog Premium upgrade which offers pet owners a comprehensive range of lost and found services, which ensures they maintain accurate contact details, so if the worst happens and their pet goes missing, they can go to the Petlog website and alert local authorised agents to help with their search.

Since compulsory microchipping was introduced in April 2016, approximately 90% of dogs are now microchipped, but statistics show that only 29% of dogs have microchips with accurate contact details, meaning that should a pet go missing on nights such as fireworks night and is subsequently found and scanned, the reunification process won’t work.

What dog owners also aren’t aware of is that it is now a legal requirement to ensure that contact details are kept up to date.

Jacquie Easton, Kennel Club Chief Operations Officer said: “Dogs can react very badly to the unfamiliar sights, sounds and even smells that are common on fireworks night – research shows that 40% of dogs are scared of fireworks. The experience can be terrifying for dogs and result in them behaving unpredictably which can put their safety at risk.

“It is a good time of the year to ensure that owners’ microchip details are up to date and by registering with Petlog owners can be reassured that their money is put back into rescue and welfare organisations, which are being supported by the provision of free services to help them rehoming process.”

For more information on microchipping and Petlog you can go to






Puppy with infectious skin diseases nursed back to health by Battersea

A stray puppy suffering from one of the worst skin infections staff had seen in a long time has found his happy ending thanks to Battersea Brands Hatch.

Possum, who was named because of his resemblance to the native Australian animal, was taken into the Kent rescue centre after he was found wandering the streets in Sevenoaks.

The puppy, estimated to be around 12-14 weeks old, was covered in scabs and open sores – a result of sarcoptic mange, a highly infectious skin disease. He was immediately quarantined by Battersea’s veterinary team and put on a course of medication.

Kathryn Davenport, Rehoming & Welfare Co-ordinator at the Brands Hatch centre, said: “Possum’s case was one of the worst skin conditions we’d seen in a long time at Battersea and it was a long road to recovery – it took almost two months for his skin to heal.”

Keen to ensure the puppy could experience as normal a life as possible, Kathryn fostered him in her own home.

Kathryn added: “Despite the discomfort he had to endure, he is such a loving and playful puppy. We were so pleased he found a new home in Sevenoaks with a family that could look past his scars and see him for the wonderful dog he is. Rescue animals may not be perfect, but they’re definitely worth it.”

Battersea launched its new campaign, ‘Rescue is Our Favourite Breed’, earlier this month to celebrate rescue animals and their individual quirks.

To mark 20 years since it first opened its doors to unwanted and abandoned dogs and cats, Battersea Brands Hatch is holding a special open day on Friday 25th October to give supporters an exclusive look behind the scenes.

Find out more by visiting




Adoptober: RSPCA rescues 340 ‘small furries’ a month

The RSPCA is urging animal lovers to think carefully about buying a small furry as a ‘starter pet’ for their children.

The animal welfare charity has revealed that they are rescuing 340 small furries a month and say there is not such thing as a starter pet. Rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, ferrets, chinchillas, hamsters are often seen as an easy, ‘starter pet’ for children. However, small does not necessarily mean simple as they can have complex needs.

Across England and Wales last year, the RSPCA recued 4,081 rabbits and other small furries from cases of cruelty, neglect and abandonment.

Dr Jane Tyson, the RSPCA’s rabbit and rodent welfare expert said: “Many people think the RSPCA only reduces and rehomes cats and dogs, but this is not the case. We see thousands of small furries coming into our care every year and often this is as a result of owners being unable to cope with caring for these animals who they thought would be easy to look after.

“Small furries are often very misunderstood pets. One of the biggest issues we see with small pets such as these is people taking them on with little or no research, often buying them on impulse because their children have asked them. This can lead to families struggling to cope once they realise the large amount of time, money and care these animals actually need.

“It used to be a common sight to see a lone rabbit in a small hutch at the bottom of the garden or a hamster in a tiny cage in the corner of a child’s bedroom but hopefully these images are consigned to the past and people realise that these complex animals need so much more than that.”

This Adoptober the RSPCA is shining a light on rabbits and small furries in its care which are looking for homes. Last year, the charity rehomed 2,752 rabbits.

While many of the 44,000 animals the charity rehomes every year, are snapped up by new families within just a few weeks, others can spend much longer patiently waiting for their fur-ever home.

Himalayan rabbit, Joy (pictured above) was taking into care by RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch in September 2018 as one of a litter of tiny, baby bunnies.

The owner of the rabbits had purchased the mum from a pet shop but the bunny subsequently gave birth which came as quite a surprise.

The one-year old female rabbit has been in foster care and is now ready to be rehomed to an adopter with a neutered male bunny companion.

Susie Hughes, manager at the RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch said: “Joy’s foster family says she is a lovely rabbit who is very curious and loves to explore and rearrange her home.

“She isn’t comfortable with being handled just yet, so new owners will need to be understanding of this. She will happily come up to you for a sniff and to see if she can get any more food. She will sit and wait for her foster carers in the morning, ready for her breakfast. When she is let out to play, she does plenty of binkies and loves nothing more than eating her hay and demolishing any grass left for her with relish.”

Joy can be a little timid and wary of people but has always been very content with a rabbit friend.

Susie added: “Like all rabbits, Joy is very sociable with other buns and doesn’t like to be alone. She really needs to find a companion now so if you have a lonely neutered male, they could be the perfect match.”

Joy likes living outdoors with her two-tier hutch and run attached with opportunities for extra playtime as well. However, she could also live indoors if a suitable space can be provided. She is neutered, microchipped and vaccinated.

Joy has been in RSPCA care for more than 330 days and is looking to find her forever home this Adoptober.

If you think you can offer Joy or any animals currently in RSPCA care a new home, you can visit








Dog owners worry they are feeding pets wrong kind of treats

A study of 2,000 dog devotees found the average family hound will consume 27 treats a week, but six in 10 fear they aren’t good for their dog.

Behaving well for a photograph, acting ‘cute’ and performing a trick are among the reason’s dogs get spoilt.

But three in 10 owners will also pamper their pooch if they’ve been home alone for too long while 16% have fallen for the puppy dog eyes and given in when their pet begs.

More than six in 10 even admitted to giving their dog a treat or two when feeling guilty about not being a good ‘pet parent’.

Henrietta Morrison from Lily’s Kitchen, which commissioned the study, said: “We’re a nation of dog lovers and we believe our four-legged friends are an integral part of our family.

“So much so that we love to treat them just as much as our two-legged family members. In fact, nine in 10 owners admit getting real joy from treating their pets. Our pets treat us by giving us unconditional love, laughs and cuddles, so it only seems right that we want to spoil them whenever we can.

“The act of treating brings you closer together with your dog and helps you form a stronger bond with them, whether you’re giving them a treat for training or treating them just because. And there is nothing wrong with treating a pet often, as long as you’re doing it with healthy and nutritious, proper treats.”

But the study also found that it’s not just dog treats getting scoffed by the handful – ice cream, bacon and cheese are among the unhealthy ‘human foods’ used as dog treats.

And although half of pups prefer dog treats over other options, one in 10 owners admitted to serving up grapes and chocolate to their pampered pets, despite them being highly toxic to dogs.

As a result, three quarters have had to take their dog to the vet because they got poorly after eating something they shouldn’t have.

Another 38% regret treating their pet too much. In fact, one quarter have been advised by their vet to change their feeding habits for the sake of their dog’s health.

Other than becoming unwell, feeding a pet the wrong thing or too much can also cause problems for their weight and overall health.

More than half of the nation’s dog lovers worry about their furry friend’s weight and seven in 10 have limited their snacks when they’ve started to get too heavy.

But six in 10 believe treating their pet shows them how much they love them. It also emerged that while more than a third know to look at the back of food packets, research online or talk to their vet for nutritional information, one fifth don’t know what their dog should or shouldn’t be eating.

And two thirds of the pet lovers polled, via OnePoll, worry about the quality of ingredients in store-bought dog treats.

Henrietta added: “As we have so much love for our four-legged family members, we obviously want to treat them, but it’s important that we treat them in the right way so they can live happy and healthy lives.

“And there are so many wonderful guilt-free ways to treat your pets. Just like looking after our own health is important, we’re responsible for our pet’s health too. Feeding your dog, the wrong things can cause a number of health problems for them, and the signs that they’re struggling may not be obvious.

“The best way to ensure your four-legged friend stays fit and healthy is to feed them proper treats and complete meals made with fresh ingredients that give them a well-rounded, balanced diet.”





Britain’s best Dogpelgangers revealed

A competition to find the UK’s best dog-owner lookalikes has had hundreds of entries from people up and down the country.

The competition showcases hilarious spitting image snaps of dogs and their owners, from matching hair colour and styles, to like-for-like beards, matching outfits and identical expressions.

Dog-friendly cottages provider Canine Cottages is running the contest, with each entrant sending in photos through social media to showcase their best images in the hope of winning.

Entries have been whittled down by a strict dog-loving panel, leaving only 50 in with a chance of winning the ultimate DOGpeganger title.

Joe Caley from Canine Cottages comments: “In a recent report featured by the BBC, research showed people are more likely to choose a dog that share similar physical attributes to them.

“Here at Canine Cottages we like a challenge and wanted to see whether there’s any truth behind this theory – the response we have had is unbelievable. It’s now up to the public to help us decide which if our final 50 entries are most deserving of the title, so please get voting.”

Entries have included people going to extreme lengths to dress up as their pet companion and even one submission from one owner whose pooch had matching heterochromia iridis (two different coloured eyes).

The view the final 50 entries and vote for your favourite due, you can visit the Canine Cottages website here.

A selection of the shortlisted 50 entries are below:

Ruby’s hair is matching with his best friend










This Welsh terrier looks like his dog-owner grandad









Michelle and Chino’s matching hairstyles











Lauren and her matching fluffy friend











Philip and Max are all about the freckles











Hannah has matching locks with her dog Lady

Feline lucky? Win a special stocking for your kitty

Companion Life has teamed up with Cattitude Box to make Christmas extra special for one lucky kitty.

The team at Cattitude Box are giving you the chance to win this beautiful Cat Stocking from their Christmas Special Cat Subscription Box.

If your cat has been a good kitty (we won’t tell Santa who knocked over the Christmas tree), this lovely stocking will be purrfect for Santa to leave his presents under the tree in.

To enter the competition, visit our Facebook page and the pinned post and:

Competition closes Monday 28th October, and one winner will be chosen at random.

You can also use the code ‘CATMUM10’ at checkout to get 10% off your one-time gift boxes or monthly subscription.

For more information on the Cattitude Box you can visit launches cookbook of dog treats with Annabel Karmel

Sean McCormack, Head Vet for tailored dog food brand, has partnered with Annabel Karmel, to publish The Happy Dog Cookbook.

New research amongst UK dog owners has revealed the rising popularity of celebrations and home baking for four-legged friends, with 80% of owners celebrating their dog’s birthday with a cake or treats. A staggering 44% of UK dog owners made homemade treats for their dogs.

Tapping into this appetite, The Happy Dog Cookbook is packed nose to tail with nutritious treats that readers can bake at home for their dogs. All profits from the book go to StreetVet, the UK charity who offer free vet care to the homeless and their pets.

With 24 beautiful, easy to make recipes created by Sean using simple, healthy ingredients from the kitchen cupboard, The Happy Dog Cookbook spans all four seasons throughout the year.

The collection also includes treats for Pancake Day, Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas, meaning that your dog doesn’t have to miss out on calendar date catering.

As well as seasonal celebratory recipes, the book also includes a delicious and nutritious canine birthday cake, iced treats to keep your pup cool in the summer and even a perfectly tailored Sunday roast.

Sean McCormack comments: “We’re excited to launch this collection of recipes which I’ve created to ensure that owners can bake and make delicious treats for their dogs, whilst also ensuring they’re correctly balanced nutritionally.

“Our research demonstrates the interest owners have in making treats for their dogs – with 44% saying they now gave their pet homemade treats. This finding echoes the rise in enquiries we’ve seen regarding nutritious baking for dogs from Annabel and I are delighted to introduce these 24 recipes and think they’re definitely get tails wagging across the UK.”

Annabel comments: “Having raised dogs all my life, I understand the importance of giving them the very best diets to help them thrive. My days spent in the kitchen recipe testing and batch cooking wouldn’t be complete without my doggie trip tracing my every move, and I’m no stranger to adapting my family favourites for my four-legged kitchen helpers. Hugely passionate about packing doggie diets with goodness, I’m honoured to be part of this incredible recipe book for dogs.”

The Happy Dog Cookbook is published by White Fox and available to buy from Amazon,, priced at £14.99.









‘Pawsome work’ as puppies graduate across the UK

Natures Menu and Puppy School are celebrating as groups of puppies across the UK successfully graduate from puppy training.

Puppy School has a network of training classes across the UK for puppies and pet parents, offering help, support and advice on how to train your puppy.

Groups of over five puppies, including Cavalier King Charles cross Poodle, Honey (pictured above), Beagle cross Springer Spaniel,, Bella and Miniature Daschund, Oscar and their owners have completed a comprehensive programme over the last six weeks learning obedience basics to give them a solid foundation for life and to graduate from Puppy School.

To mark their success, Natures Menu has been rewarding the top pups, with tasty, nutritious treats, as well as offering advice to pet parents on responsible raw and natural feeding and how to provide a complete and balanced diet as their puppies grow into dog-hood.

Alongside Puppy School, Melanie Sainsbury, Natures Menu Veterinary Education Manager, also offers some top tips for new puppy owners:

Miniature Daschund, Oscar

Life Lessons – try and introduce socialising with other dogs, adults and children as early as possible. During this process, they will also need to get used to a wide range of events, environments and situations. Puppy parties run by your vet and Puppy School classes are a great way of increasing your puppy’s socialisation skills with some useful training and behavioural tips thrown in too. Puppies can all react differently in various situations and a Puppy School trainer will be able to advise you on how to handle particular events.

Training for Life – during training, food treats will be needed to reward your puppy when they performed desired behaviours. Puppies will work for very small rewards so make sure the treats are natural not sugar based and are no bigger than a small pea, to ensure they don’t get full up too quickly and to keep them healthy. Puppies will work harder for smelly, moist food, so Natures Menu’s Real Meaty treats are ideal, made from 995% real meat.

Patience and praise – getting a puppy is life-changing and while it can be rewarding, it can also be a challenge. To start with you’ll need to develop a relationship with your puppy, so they build trust. Offering praise to them when they do something good can help this along. Some puppies don’t grasp things straightaway, so it’s important you persevere and keep trying. Shouting, screaming or physically correcting your puppy can have a serious detrimental effect on your special bond and make training difficult in later life. In some dogs, it may even lead to aggression. Always keep training sessions positive with plenty of rewards and seek a professional trainer to help you through those more exasperating times.

A sense of safety – young puppies need a safe place to call home as well as an attachment figure who is with them most of the time who can help them feel safe, protect them from frightening experiences, guide them and help them to navigate an unfamiliar world. In a busy family, giving your puppy a ned of their own which is off-limits to children, can make a real difference to a puppy’s wellbeing, as cam having a special human who is never cross or too busy to attend to essential needs each day.

Nutrition – ensure you give your puppy the best start by feeding them a healthy, natural diet. Natures Menu works closely with a team of in-house vets to design complete and balanced raw meals, cans and pouches, and natural, complete dry puppy food to nourish your growing puppy. Raw Puppy Nuggets, cooked pouches and cans can be fed from weaning and include a range of natural, nutritious and wholesome ingredients for pups under 20 weeks of age.

Craig Taylor, Manging Director at Natures Menu, said: “Congratulations to everyone graduating from Puppy School’s across the UK. Responsible puppy ownership and nutrition is essential to wellbeing, and Puppy School is a great initiative which highlights the importance of both. The addition of the new puppy to the family is an exciting but busy time for any pet parent and finding the right diet for your new addition can sometimes be overwhelming. We like to keep it simple at Natures Menu with a full range of raw and natural foods that are perfect for puppies and gentle on their small stomachs.

“With the help of our team of vets we have also put together a feeding guide on weaning puppies onto a healthy, natural diet and through our sponsorship of Puppy School, we are working towards educating new puppy owners on feeding wholesome food.”

Gwen Bailey, Founder and Director of Puppy School, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating the graduation of some of our 2019 classes. The puppies have worked incredibly hard and are a true credit to their owners, we look forward to hearing how they progress after their graduation.

“Working with Natures Menu has enabled us to inform and educate puppy parents on the importance of nutrition and the benefits of raw feeding. I’ve personally seen some amazing results in some puppies and adult dogs when they switch to raw.”

Natures Menu has been creating ‘real in every way’ food for pets for over 38 years and became an official sponsor of Puppy School in 2016 to offer a range of benefits to clients joining puppy classes, including a ‘Puppy School Welcome Pack’ which includes a free advice manual, exciting money off vouchers and tasty samples from Natures Menu.

To find out more about feeding your puppy the 100% wholesome and natural way, visit or ask your Puppy School tutor for more information.

For more information on Puppy School and training classes you can visit










Owning a pet helps you stay young at heart

A nationwide survey has revealed that owning a pet could be the answer to staying young at heart.

Nearly half (42%) of people aged 65 and over agreed that owning a cat or dog is important for their mental and physical health.

One of the best ways to avoid loneliness is having a pet according to the survey, with 64% of people believing it helps prevent isolation, and one in three agreeing their pet made them laugh and feel happy.

Despite cats and dog bringing so much joy to our lives, almost 40% of over 65s shared concerns about what would happen to a young pet if something happened to them, which is why Agria Pet Insurance is running an Age Amnesty, in a bid to encourage pet owners to secure lifetime insurance for their furry friends, no matter their age.

Simon Wheeler, Managing Director of Agria Pet Insurance, who commissioned the study to mark the launch of Agria’s Amnesty initiative, said: “The survey has uncovered some fascinating insights into how we can stay young at heart as a nation. The research demonstrates a wealth of ways older Brits can do so, with adopting an older pet really helping the over 65s stay fit, active and ultimately young at heart.”

The study also found that a third (33%) of people surveyed said their pet gives them a reasons to be active every day, with 28% saying dog walking keeps them feeling young and healthy.

Simon continues: “To encourage people to stay young at heart, support existing older pets and inspire people to adopt an older animals, we are holding Age Amnesty between October 1st and November 31st, removing the upper age limit that usually applies to pet insurance.

“During this time, owners of older cats, dogs and rabbits will be able to take out new lifetime policy for them with Agria Pet Insurance, whatever their age.”

Other ways to stay young at heart include never thinking you’re too old to so something (63%), laughing as often as possible (57%), and always eating well (56%).

Joseph Kelly, 64 recently adopted his 13-year old Jack Russell called Cindy following the death of his partner three years ago.

He was apprehensive about getting a puppy due to their training needs and sometimes destructive tendencies, but he still wanted a pet that could accompany him on walks in the countryside.

He was worried about the veterinary costs that can come with older dogs, but Agria have relieved those worries with their Age Amnesty campaign and Joseph credits Cindy with helping to keep him young at heart.

For more information on the Agria Age Amnesty campaign, you can visit










Ten facts you didn’t know about Iguanas

To help celebrate National Reptile Awareness Day, ExoticDirect some impressive info about Iguanas.

National Reptile Awareness Day falls on Monday 21 October and Exotic Direct Pet insurance shares 10 facts you may not know about Iguanas.

1 There are around 35 species of iguana

And they’re all a bit different – although the family has undergone some reclassification in recent years. The iguana that most people are probably most familiar with is the Common Green iguana, which is also a popular pet. Some others include the Marine iguana and the Lesser Antillean iguana (both of which we’ll learn more about later), the Desert iguana which doesn’t even really look like an iguana, and the Sony Tailed iguana which can be smaller than a meter in length.

2 They like it hot

Iguana as native to tropical areas, including Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Being cold-blooded creatures, they spend a lot of time lazing about in the sun in order to regulate their body temperature. It’s all right for some! But although they do lie around in the sun a lot.

3 Iguanas aren’t lazy as you might think

Iguanas certainly look cumbersome, and they’re mostly big creatures – some have been found to be over 2 metres long and over 19 pounds in weight. However, they’re actually quite fast animals, some smaller species are able to run over 18mph.

They’re nimble climbers and are able to make short leaps from branch to branch, and some have been observed falling up to twenty feet with no harm in their health.

4 Most are good with heights, but some prefer the ocean

Most lizards are predominantly land animals, and spend their time eating, resting and regulating their body temperature in the sun. That being said, some species of iguana don’t mind getting a bit wet. The Marine iguana, found only on the Galapagos Islands, has the ability to forage in the sea, something no other lizard can do. It feeds mostly on algae and can dive up to 30 metres, remaining underwater for more than half an hour if it needs to.

These iguanas also have mutualistic relationships with some other animals, such as Mockingbirds and crabs which feed off the mites and ticks on their skin, and they’re often found living close to Sea Lions to no apparent mutual benefit. The two simply ignore each other.

5 But it isn’t only the Marine iguana that likes taking a dip

The aforementioned Marine Iguana lives predominantly off of algae, hence its proximity to the ocean. But other iguanas are generally good swimmers too. One-way attempt to escape from predators is by jumping into the nearest body of water and swimming away.

However, some hawks, a natural predator of iguanas have developed a technique of singing which makes the iguana freeze, meaning it can easily swoop in and pluck it up in its talons.

6 They’re vegetarians – but they aren’t that strict

Iguanas are mostly vegetarians, feeding on leaves, flowers, fruit and shoots. Some have, however been observed eating bird’s eggs and small insects in the wild and occasionally mine and fish in captivity, a bit like when some vegetarians can’t help but get a cheeseburger after a night at the pub.

7 They’ve got eyes in the back of their heads

Well, not really. What they do have, though is a so-called ‘third eye’, also known as the parietal eye. This eye can’t see like a regular one, but senses movement and shifts in light. Iguanas use it to detect predators and stay safe. Obviously, this technique isn’t 100% effective when the hawks are around, though.

8 Some iguanas have become endangered due to unnatural predators

Numbers of the Lesser Antillean iguana have been sharply declining and are now considered critically endangered. This is due to habitat destruction, hunting, hybridisation with the Green iguana and the introduction of feral predators.

The latter of these is important because these new predators – dogs, cats and Mongooses, mostly – have a way of hunting the iguana isn’t used to. Iguanas aren’t good at adapting to new threats and can’t properly defend against them, a phenomenon called ecological naivete.

Getting cosy with its neighbours is also a problem, because the more common Green iguana has been introduced to areas in which the Lesser Antillean iguana used to thrive, numbers of the latter have been decreasing. The two species are in direct competition for food, and moreover, because the two sometimes interbreed, the Lesser Antillean iguana has a declining population.

9 Iguanas aren’t so easy to save

Only twice has the Lesser Antillean iguana been successfully bred in captivity. This is because most of the eggs they lay in captivity are infertile. At the Durrell Wildlife Conservation in Jersey, once in 1997 and once in 2000, iguanas were successfully hatched. The first project hatched just one iguana successfully, and the second eight.

The Marine iguana is also a protected species, as it is, while not critically endangered, considered threatened. Feral dogs and cats pose a threat to them, much the same as they do to the Lesser Antillean iguana. Added to this is the problem that Marine iguanas have been bred in captivity, and there’s a big conservation problem.

10 Humans like them as pets, but they don’t do well in captivity

Iguanas are among the most popular pets in the United States. They are generally docile creatures (though they can sometimes be aggressive in captivity) and can be a rewarding pet to have.

However, they are relatively difficult to care for and many die in captivity within the first year. Make sure you look after your iguana properly by feeding it the correct diet at the appropriate times and ensuring its tank is large enough.

Make sure you’ve done your research and know how to effectively look after your pet. That way you’ll be contributing to maintaining our awesome population of iguana’s, that have it so tough out in the wild.

Written by James Alston for ExoticDirect Pet Insurance.