Prospective owners warned of risks of pandemic pet purchases

Leading animal welfare charity, Battersea is warning anyone considering getting a new pet of the potential risks of buying dogs or cats online.

The warning comes after the charity recently took in a puppy sold under false pretences and a sickly kitten sold to an unsuspecting couple.

Three-month old Role was taken to Battersea’s Old Windsor Centre when his owner discovered she had been duped into buying the wrong breed and promised a ‘trial period’ by the breeder – who then disappeared.

Desperate for help, she contacted Battersea and the much-loved rescue charity has now found a new home for Role, with owners who had been looking for an energetic companion.

Battersea’s Head of Operations, Rob Young, said: “Rolo’s previous owner, who had never owned a dog, had been promised a housetrained Jack Russell puppy from the breeder she found online and reassured that she could take the pup on for a trial period before committing.

“When Rolo was dropped off at her house, it quickly became apparent that he wasn’t a Jack Russell but a Lurcher with bags of energy and no training in place. Despite trying for days to get hold of the breeder, the woman realised she’d been scammed and got in touch with us at Battersea to see if we could help.

“This was by far the most responsible decision under the circumstances and exactly what Battersea is here for. We know there might be thousands of owners out there struggling to cope with their pets and want to reassure them we’re not here to judge – we’re here to help. Taking your pet to a rescue centre like Battersea means they’ll be cared for, loved and have the best chance of finding the right new home.”

It’s not just puppy owners that are sadly learning the risks of buying a pet during a pandemic. Unscrupulous breeders are also misleading people looking for a kitten to love. Last month sickly kitten Morris was rushed to Battersea’s London centre at only nine weeks old with chronic diarrhoea and vomiting, after his owners had spent the first week with their new pet going back and forth to the vets and trying to get hold of the breeder to find out why they had been sold a clearly unwell animal. Battersea’s expert veterinary team provided round the clock care and fortunately it wasn’t too long before Morris recovered and was able to go to a new home.

Rob added: “At Battersea we would always encourage people to consider giving a rescue animal a second chance at love, but if you do decide to buy a pet, we urge you to do thorough research first to ensure you know what to look for, to avoid potential heartbreak down the line.”

Battersea has remained here for every dog and cat throughout the pandemic and the three centres in London, Berkshire and Kent remain open for those that need help.

If you can no longer care for your pet, please contact Battersea or your local rescue centre where help and advice is available.



Dogs Trust Worldwide to support Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand

Dogs Trust Worldwide has confirmed it will continue to support Thailand-based Soi Dog Foundation this year.

The charity will fund half of the costs of the Soi Dog Foundation campaign to neuter 80% of street dogs in Greater Bangkok, which represents what is thought to be the biggest programme of its kind in the world.

Soi Dog recently neutered their half a millionth animal in the country since the charity began in Phuket in 2003. In Bangkok alone, 250,000 animals have been neutered since the programme started in 2016.

Dogs Trust Worldwide has supported Soi Dog’s work in Bangkok through its International Grants Programme since 2016 and has just approved the latest round. The funding represents 50% of that required for the Catch Neuter Vaccinate Return (CNVR) project, which focuses on street dogs in the Thai capital city.

Applications are now open for other charitable organisations to similarly apply for a grant from Dogs Trust Worldwide.

Karen Reed from Dogs Trust Worldwide said: “Dogs Trust Worldwide set up in 2016 so we could continue the great work of Dogs Trust UK overseas. A big part of what we do is our International Grants Programme, through which we provide a range of funding to help better support dog welfare across the world.

“Soi Dog is a fantastically-run charity doing amazing work, and we are extremely happy to continue to partner with them, as they continue their aim to neuter 80% of street dogs in Greater Bangkok. Our support for their work actually goes back to 2012; what they have accomplished so far is an astonishing achievement and has dramatically changed the lives of street dogs for the better in the country.”

Dogs Trust is currently supporting 41 groups whose work includes: CNVR projects for street dogs; educating children to be safe around dogs; carrying out rabies vaccination campaigns; and providing subsidised vet treatment to low-income groups, in countries including Guatemala, India, Latvia, Malawi, Mexico and Romania.

Dogs Trust Worldwide will support well-governed work taking place outside of the UK and Ireland, and well-planned projects that have the potential to make a strong impact.

The charity will take applications for innovative projects that other organisations can learn from, and that contribute towards encouraging responsible dog ownership or humane management of dog populations. All projects must be sustainable and make a measurable difference.

The deadline for the submission of applications for the next round of international grants is Monday 10 May, 2021.

For more information you can visit:

Pawfect launches Nature’s Feast dog treats

Pawfect Foods launches freeze-dried multi-purpose dog treats, bringing a NEW ‘meaty’ dimension to their range.

With a presence in 15 nation states it’s fair to say that Pawfect Foods isn’t hanging about when it comes to selling in its grain-free/all-natural/human-grade ingredient agenda.

Whilst nutritionally-dense/meat-free dog treats have historically sat at the heart of the Pawfect proposition: Himalayan Chhurpi cheese sticks, Nature’s Munch (fruit & veg jerky), it was only a matter of time before Pawfect tipped its hat to dog’s deep-rooted flexitarian leanings with a beautifully balanced range of 80% freeze-dried chicken (plus 20% fruit, veg, spices & herbs) and 100% freeze-dried goat meat/goat liver snacks.

According to Pawfect founder, Prash Patwardhan: “The unrivalled versatility of chicken (blended with pineapple, mango or apple) meant that it would always be central to our ambitious freeze-dried vision, whilst the addition of two exotic goat variants underpins our ongoing commitment to push indulgent World Cuisine meets nutritious boundaries.”

Whilst freeze-drying as a food preservation technique has existed for a while, discerning ‘pet parents’ are only now truly appreciating how freeze-drying (unlike mass-market, heat-based technologies), enables recipes to retain a lion’s share of its original characteristics (shape, texture, colour and nutritional gravitas).

This is in stark contrast to old-school kibbles where raw ingredients are blitzed with heat (325F) and then blended with lazy fillers (carbs, starches and even the odd synthetic nasty) to create an overworked dough that can be extruded into little gravel-sized pellets.

Prash added: “There’s no doubt, that for all our global success (in both branded & private label), that our presence in the UK remains a long way from where we want it to be, which is why we decided that in 2021 we needed a well-rounded family of meat, vegan and dairy-based snacks to truly wow the UK’s discerning buyer network.”

Nature’s Feast Chicken plus Pumpkin Spice, Asian Greens or Tropical Twist is priced at £5.99 for a 50g tub, and Nature’s Feast 100% Goat Meat or 100% Goat Liver is £7.99 for a 50g tub.

For more information visit


New homes needed at the double for devoted doggie duos

Dogs Trust Merseyside is seeking new homes for two pairs of inseparable canine companions.

Five-year-old brother and sister, Jack and Ruby, have lived together all their lives, and golden oldies eleven-year-old Tyler, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross, and Bella, a ten-year-old Jack Russell (pictured above), have also lived together for most of their lives, and are hoping to sniff out a retirement home together.

Georgina Lowery, Dogs Trust Merseyside Manager, says: “These four are absolutely adorable and they have all found themselves looking for new homes due to a change in family circumstances. We are really hoping that it won’t be long before some big-hearted dog lovers with enough room on their sofas fall in love, twice over.”

The team at the Huyton-based rehoming centre say Jack and Ruby, who are Collie Terrier Crosses, are a lively pair always on the look-out for an adventure, whereas Older Age Pooches (OAPs) Tyler and Bella like a nice quiet walk and are then more than happy to settle down and have a fuss made of them.

Georgina says: “Jack and Ruby were with us a couple of years ago and are lovely dogs. Brothers and sisters often don’t get on but these two definitely do! They need an active family who will be happy to head out on day trips with them, particularly to quieter areas where they won’t meet too many dogs as although they love each other’s company, they are less inclined to mix with dogs they don’t know.

“Tyler and Bella are looking for a loving retirement home, but they have lots of life in them yet, so it won’t necessarily be a case of long afternoon naps for these two! They are both very friendly and Bella in particular loves to play. They are all really lovely characters, so we just hope there are two families out there who are looking for double the doggie love.”

Both pairs can live with children aged twelve and over. If you think you could provide the homes these doggie duos are looking for, please call Dogs Trust Merseyside on 0151 3181339.

Five-year-old brother and sister, Jack and Ruby

Winner of the UK’s best pet competition revealed

Pet business insurance provider Protectivity reveals the winner of ‘The UK’s Best Pet’ competition, with the prize of pet store vouchers and pet charity donation.

Over the past month, Protectivity has been asking pet owners across the UK to write a ‘love letter’ to their pets, letting them know how they’ve been a source of comfort and company during a turbulent 12 months.

The competition received 123 entries, from budgies and guinea pigs, to cats and dogs, submitted by loving owners from all around the UK, for the chance to win Canvas Creatures and Pet Planet vouchers, along with a further £100 donated to the animal charity of the winner’s choice.

After sifting through some incredible entries, they decided to crown Carol Phile and her German Shepherd Bertie (pictured above), from WItham, Essex as the UK’s Best Pet.

Carol penned a touching letter to her German Shepherd Bertie, telling him how much she appreciates his love and devotion, especially during the past year when Carol became disabled.

In her love letter, Carol wrote to Bertie: “Over the last year I have become disabled and I can’t walk or play with you like I used to. I was afraid that our bond would be affected when I couldn’t do as much, but we are closer than ever. You keep me going with your love and clowning, you get me off the floor when I fall or fetch my phone so I can call for help and you never let me down. I love you Bertie xxx”

After being told Bertie had been crowned the UK’s Best Pet, Carol said, “We have had Bertie since he was a puppy, he lives to learn, so he enjoys finding new ways to help me, some taught and some that he’s thought of himself. For example, when I struggle to get up he will put his head under my head and shoulders and push me up to a sitting position.” Carol has also chosen German Shepherd Dog Rescue to be the recipient of the £100 charity donation.

But who were Carol and Bertie up against in the running for the title of the UK’s Best Pet?

There were dozens of incredible entries into the competition, which made the decision for the judges so difficult. A close runner-up was Suzanne from Southampton’s cat. G-Man, who plays fetch and keeps her son, Dom, company when he’s missing his friends during lockdown. Suzanne says, “with your fondness for plumbing fittings and your endless games of ‘Fetch’ (you do know you’re not a dog, right?) you never fail to put a smile on the faces of all of my kids.”

Another emotional entry was from Bethia in Hastings, who called her cat Strawberry a ‘clockwork cat’, due to him knowing exactly when it’s dinner time. Bethia describes Strawberry as the “funniest, silliest, chirpiest and sweetest cat I have ever met.”

Sean Walsh, Marketing Manager at Protectivity comments: “Reading some of the incredible and touching stories from pet owners across the country shows just how much of a huge part of our lives our pets are. They are our companions, our sleeping-buddies, and never fail to put a smile on our faces, especially during such a difficult time. We’re thrilled to crown Bertie the UK’s Best Pet, and make a contribution towards the German Shepherd Dog Rescue charity.

“The road towards the provisional end of lockdown on June 21st may seem like it’s some way off, but thankfully for pet lovers up and down the UK, they have furry, feathered and scaly friends to keep them company, and put a smile on their face.”

RSPCA Scarborough appeals for funds to help elderly dog left out in the cold

The RSPCA Scarborough branch is appealing for funds to help with the care of an elderly dog who was rescued from the cold.

A 15-year-old crossbreed dog who was found in an exposed porch in the cold and lying on a wet blanket, was rescued by the RSPCA from Hull on Tuesday, 9 February. The dog, now named Bill by RSPCA staff, had been left out in the cold for two days as his owner thought he had died.

When Inspector Laura Barber attended, the elderly dog was clearly in a bad state but his tail started to wag at her approach.

She said: “This poor fella had been left out in sub-zero temperatures as sadly his owner thought he had already died. I have no idea how he survived but I was so grateful to see his tail wag when I arrived. Bill was signed over into our care as he was in need of costly veterinary treatment. The poor fella was thin and had a huge, open sore on his back. The RSPCA Scarborough branch have been absolutely brilliant and agreed to take him into their care as he needed surgery to remove the lump on his back, as well as neutering and a dental procedure.”

Bill is now doing well at the vets following his operation and has become a hit with the staff as the friendly, playful golden oldie begins to come out of his shell. Altogether, his treatment alone is expected to cost around £900 so the RSPCA Scarborough Branch is appealing to help fund the cost of Bill’s treatment.

Kath, Dog Coordinator at the RSPCA Scarborough and District Branch, said: “I’m really pleased our inspector was able to rescue Bill and he’s now getting the care and love he deserves. It really shows that we don’t give up on older animals. We all want to see Bill recover and live out the rest of his retirement years in a warm and cosy home. RSPCA branches are separately registered charities so we raise money to help care for local animals in our area.

“The last year has been particularly tough for charities like ourselves due to the impact of the pandemic, so we are appealing to kind members of the public to help support Bill’s recovery and donate to our Just Giving page.”

You can donate tohelp fund Bill’s treatment, here.

What to consider before getting a puppy

The experts at Tractive have worked closely with its resident Dog Trainer, Marina Sellinger to share the top 5 things you should ask yourself before getting a puppy.

Despite the overwhelming excitement of knowing you may finally be able to have a puppy of your own, there are still numerous factors that need to be considered before taking the plunge.

1 Think about why you want a dog

The most common reasons are I feel alone, I want someone for the kids to play with or I need a distraction to name a few but these reasons, in short, are not good enough. A puppy is a lifelong commitment, and you have to be willing to invest the time and resources it takes to take care of a dog.

2 Is this the right time to get a dog?

Getting a new puppy in a global pandemic, during home office or for Christmas are a few very problematic times to even consider, let alone get a puppy because these situations do not represent your normal everyday life. Yes, the children may be over the moon on the day but are they mature enough to handle the responsibility when it’s 7am and it needs a 30-minute walk? Additionally, WFH for most is not permanent and it’s important to consider the factors post your current situation.

3 Which puppy fits my lifestyle and activity level?

It’s very common for people to choose a breed based on its look (normally if it’s cute or not) but it’s important to consider whether you fit the dog’s needs and vice versa. For example, if you love the idea of a husky but live in a tropical area and aren’t very active – it wouldn’t be suitable as huskies like colder climates and lots of walks!

4 Am I ready for this time of commitment? Am I willing to do the work and not just play?

A puppy is not just there to fill your Instagram feed. It is a long-term commitment, in which you need to be prepared to invest time and energy in too. If you aren’t ready to give up your lie in or the patience for dog training, then you probably aren’t ready yet.

5 Can I afford a dog?

One of the most important things to consider is are you able to provide for your pup? Puppies are expensive, from insurance to food, the list of their needs is endless. If you can afford one, that’s great but make sure you consider beyond just the basics – will you need a dog walker? If you have a tight schedule, will you need to factor in a dog trainer? Set yourself up with a budget tracker so you can see exactly what it’s going to cost before you jump in.





Help your cat adjust when you go back to work after lockdown

The RSPCA is urging cat owners to prepare their pets for their return to work and the likely change to their lockdown routine.

For many of us, life has changed significantly during the Covid-19 lockdown – and it’s changed for our pets. When the restrictions are lifted, we will have to adjust again to returning to our normal routines and so will our cats.

Now the Prime Minister has outlined the roadmap to easing lockdown restrictions and returning to normal life, the RSPCA s encouraging pet owners to help their cats adjust again.

Sarah Tapsell, one of the RSPCA’s regional clinical animal behaviourists, said: “All cats are individuals, and some may enjoy human companionship and time with people more than others. This means there will likely be some cats who are enjoying the increased time spent with their owners during lockdown whereas other cats may be happy to have more quiet time when you return to work.

“Whichever kind of cat you have, cats can be sensitive to change, and so a change in routine can cause stress to your cat. It is important to make any changes gradually, whilst still ensuring all their need are met.

“Before going back to work it’s a good idea to gradually reduce the amount of interaction you have with your cat to help them prepare for your return to work. For some cats, a sudden reduction in interaction could lead to stress and frustration as the cat’s expectations are not being met, although others may be happier to have less interaction.

“It’s important to try and identify how your cat is feeling especially if they are doing something that us unusual for them compared to how they are normally. A cat who seeks more interaction from you and maybe plays more roughly with you may be frustrated or bored and struggling with the reduction in attention. A quiet and withdrawn, or more irritable cat may be stressed and in need of their own space. It can be useful to recognise this so you can give them their own time and a safe place to rest. If you know your cat well, you will likely know where their favourite places are.

“Once you do go back to work, ensuring you still spend quality time with your pet when you return, and doing things which they enjoy such as playing or grooming is also important in helping them get used to any changes.”

Top tips for preparing your cat

  • Any changes in routine should be introduced gradually
  • Ensure your cat has hiding places and elevated resting places which help relieve stress for cats by offering them a safe place to hide
  • Ensure you aren’t over handling your cat to try and comfort them. Being picked up or followed around can add to their stress if this is not their choice
  • Gradually adjust your routine to what it will be when you return to work i.e. feeding times and frequency, play times
  • Help prevent boredom whilst you are at work by providing puzzle feeders, toys and scratching posts – this is especially important for indoor cats
  • Your life may become a lot busier after lockdown but it’s important to ensure you still spend quality time with your cat every day

Alice Potter, the RSPCA’s cat welfare expert, said: “Compared to dogs, who are a highly social species, cats naturally live in small family groups and can often cope with a more solitary life. This means they can sometimes seem aloof to us and at times, just want to do their own thing without us. But even if your cat isn’t a fuss loving, attention seeking lap cat they can still get stressed from your return to work so take time to make the transition as smooth and stress free as possible. After spending so much time together during lockdown you’ll probably be excited to see your cat after a long day at work.

“Once you get home though, it’s best to keep things calm and give them time to greet you on their terms. Look out for the cues that your cat gives to show they want to spend time with you, or if they’d rather have some alone time. For example, approaching you with their tail held up with the end pointed horizontally is a friendly greeting and a cat that is hiding needs to be given space.”


Hill’s launch new revolutionary skin product for dogs

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has announced the launch of a new revolutionary product that tackles both food and environmental sensitivities in dogs.

The new Prescription Diet Derm Complete food is the world’s first and only nutritional solution that is clinically proven to tackle both food and environmental sensitivities in dogs.

With 40% of vet visits by dogs due to skin issues, the new product has been developed following years of research and three clinical trials in an effort to tackle the growing problems.

Formulated with optimal levels of key nutrients to help strengthen the skin’s natural barrier against environmental allergens, the product also contains the Histaguard complex with bioactives and phytonutrients to help manage a dog’s response to environmental allergens. Moreover, the use of egg as a single intact animal protein source which avoids 96% of adverse food reactions and has shown the ability to dampen the inflammatory response in dogs, helps to further reduce itching.

With a long list of potential triggers for dermatological disease, successful treatment outcomes have historically been dependant on an accurate diagnosis and managing the various components of the disease.

Dietetic foods have also only been available for either AFR or environmental sensitivities. Hill’s Derm Complete is a breakthrough product; helping veterinarians to manage both types of sensitivities from the inside-out, making their lives easier and the pets’ lives more comfortable.

Michael Unsworth, Hill’s Vet Affairs Manager, UK & Republic of Ireland said: “Supporting patients with skin sensitivities can be extremely challenging. Not only is it uncomfortable for the pet themselves, but it can cause a lot of distress for owners who just want to give their dogs a happy and healthy life. There can be a lot of pressure to find a quick, effective and affordable solution.

“Our new Prescription Diet Derm Complete is truly a ground-breaking product; the result of years of trials and clinical studies that has seen visible skin healing in dogs with AFR in as little as 21 days and not a single dog showing signs of recurrence after using the product.

“We’re thrilled to introduce this innovative, life-changing product to the market, to the benefit of dogs, dog-owners – and of course veterinary professionals – everywhere.”







Nine hamsters abandoned in sealed box

The RSPCA is investigating after nine hamsters were found abandoned in a sealed box in a Rotherham park.

The charity was called on Friday (19 February) after a member of the public found the hamsters inside a closed box which was covered in nibbled holes and bite marks.

RSPCA animal and rescue officer Liz Braidley who went to collect the hamsters said: “They’d been abandoned together inside the box with nothing but food scattered all over the bottom. The hamsters had been chewing at the cardboard to try and escape but, thankfully, were found just in time.

“The member of the public found them in a local park, took them home and moved them to another cage to take care of them before calling different charities to see who could help. Five had been taken in by a centre we work closely with while four have remained in our care at RSPCA Manchester & Salford branch.

“They’re really lucky to have been found and rescued when they were because they would have been very vulnerable to other animals and could have easily been killed or died due to the cold temperatures at night.”

The hamsters are now being cared for by staff and will remain with the charity and specialist centre until they’re ready to be rehomed.

Liz added: “Syrian hamsters are naturally solitary animals and shouldn’t be kept with others or in groups. Unfortunately, that means that these hamsters had been fighting. The four males were covered in fighting wounds while the five females are all pregnant so we’re preparing for the arrival of many more hamsters soon.”

Anyone with information about these hamsters should call the RSPCA’s inspector appeal line on 030 123 8018.