Getting to know…..

Paul Manktelow BVMS, MSc DMS, MRCVS- Resident celebrity TV vet for ITV’s ‘This Morning’ programme.

Paul has been a practicing veterinary surgeon for over 13 years and currently looks after PDSA operations in 17 Pet Hospitals in the South of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Paul has a wealth of medical and surgical expertise and an impressive media presenting portfolio. Paul loves speaking about pet health and welfare issues and he regularly fronts national press campaigns for PDSA. As a media vet Paul has presented five independent series for various primetime channels including “Junior Vets” – BBC, “Animal Madhouse” – Channel 4, “Help My Dog’s as Fat as Me” – BBC and “Fat Pet – Slimmer of the Year” – ITV.

What are the main pet health issues that you see regularly?

As a vet you see a whole range of pet health issues on a daily basis, no two days are ever the same! Having said that, there are lots of conditions that you see more regularly than others. Some examples are dental issues, joint and skin problems, parasites, and of course tummy upsets. Sadly, obesity has become an increasingly common problem in the UK and it comes with a whole range of pet health related conditions. Behavioural issues are also increasingly common, especially in dogs.

How could these health problems be reduced? Or, prevented if possible?

You can’t avoid all health issues in pets, however, you can certainly prevent a lot of problems by making sensible decisions around nutrition, exercise, and preventive healthcare. Feed a nutritious and balanced diet that is appropriate for your pet’s size and weight. Engage them with regular exercise that is appropriate for their age and breed. Finally, make sure you are treating regularly for all the nasty parasites such as fleas, ticks and worms.

What advice would you offer to pet owners during summer months?

Summer is a great time for your pets to get out and about and enjoy lots of healthy exercise so I always encourage owners to maximise the amount of outdoor activity you have, especially with dogs. Holidays with your pet are becoming more and more popular and I am a great advocate of taking pets with you on vacation. However, you need to take precautions to do this safely. Make sure you watch out for heatstroke, particularly when travelling. Also, you need to make sure you are careful with your pets when they are in unfamiliar surroundings. Finally, speak to your vet about the right vaccinations, parasite treatments and the requirements for your pet passport.

Why do you think our love for pets has grown so much over the years?

Pets have become a very important part of the family across all ages and demographics and they provide endless joy and companionship to people of all ages. They can help teach children about nurture, care and responsibility and they provide essential companionship to many elderly people who would otherwise be socially isolated.

We all learn first aid for ourselves, but how vital is first aid for pets?

Learning some quick and simple tips on pet first aid can be vital in an emergency. Our pets love to explore, play and eat things so they inevitably get themselves into all sorts of trouble. Remaining calm and acting quickly can be the difference between a problem and a disaster.

Why are events such as DogFest important to get key messages across to pet owners?

One of the main reasons that owners fail in looking after their pets is due to lack of education, Events such as Dog Fest, which is happening at three locations this summer, are a fantastic way to engage pet owners in a fun and enjoyable environment, whilst communicating some key pet health messages.

What can people expect to see at DogFest?

DogFest offers dogs, their owners, and dog-lovers an action-packed, fun-filled weekend. There are loads of experts and informative talks on everything from behaviour to ticks and more. In fact I will be talking in the Knebworth VIP tent on 8 July on ‘First aid for pets-life saving techniques every pet owner should know’. But really it’s like ‘Glastonbury for Dogs’: a full-on fiesta of ‘have-a-go’ activities such as hay bale jumping, flyball and the watery hilarity of dog diving, plus great bands, wonderful food and a shopping village with goodies for dogs and owners alike.

DogFest is at: BRISTOL: Ashton Court, 23-24 June and HERTFORDSHIRE: Knebworth House and Gardens, 7-8 July. Further details: Adult £16.50, child £10.50, senior £12.50, family £45 (2 adults, 2 children under 16) For tickets visit www.dog-fest.co.uk or call 0844 5814917