Blue ‘Smurf cats’ and dogs after Clacton ink fire

Cats and dogs were left resembling “Smurfs” when the air turned blue in a seaside town.

Blue CatBBC News reports that the pets were a little off-colour after sacks of ink powder ruptured in a fire were blown around parts of Clacton, Essex, in the wind.

The fire broke out in a shed on Tuesday, the East Anglian Daily Times first reported. Essex Fire Service said the powder was nonhazardous and was expected to fade as the animals were washed. The fire broke out in a boat and shed on Coronation Road in Clacton shortly before 21:00 GMT. Eight sacks of blue ink powder next to the shed also caught light.

Environmental health officers confirmed the powder was harmless, and a trench was dug to isolate it. However, the fire service said it was likely to smoulder for several days, and the ink – carried in the smoke and wind – has covered nearby roofs and patios as well as several animals.

Builder Terry Oliver, who lives close to the site told the BBC he first realised all was not quite right when he saw the first blue animal. “It’s not often you see a blue cat sitting on your driveway,” he said. “My little girl thought they looked like Smurf cats.” He added: “It’s quite blue around here and a bit strange.” A number of cats, dogs and even rabbits are reported to have turned blue since Tuesday.

(Story source: BBC News)

Wakey wakey! What you can do if your dog keeps waking you up in the early morning?

Having a set routine is important for dogs, because this helps to make them feel secure and lets them know what to expect at different times of the day.

Wakey wakey! What you can do if your dog keeps waking you up in the early morning?A dog that is used to being fed, walked, and put to bed at around the same times every day will be happier and generally easier to manage than a dog that doesn’t know when they will be fed, walked, or let out for the toilet, and this can help to reduce anxiety and behavioural problems in the dog too.

Additionally, by setting your dog’s routine and sticking to it, you can help to make life somewhat easier for yourself too because you can plan your dog’s timings around a schedule that suits you. This means that you can plan your dog’s final toilet break and bedtime to coincide with the time that you also settle down for the night, so that you can get an uninterrupted night’s sleep without worrying about the dog needing to go out or get up.

However, if your dog keeps waking you up earlier than you would like them to and this is not related to physical needs like toileting, this can be very disruptive for your own sleep schedule, and soon start to mess with your own routine too.

If your dog keeps waking you up early in the morning and you are wondering if there is anything you can do about it, this article is for you. Read on to find out how to stop your dog from waking you up before you are ready.

Meeting all of your dog’s needs

First of all, if your dog is waking you up too early, you need to consider if all of their needs are being met, or if something about your dog’s lifestyle or routine is interrupting their sleep or making them unable to sleep for a normal amount of time.

Perhaps the first thing to look at is if your dog needs the toilet; dogs that are housetrained will be very reluctant to toilet inside even if they are desperate, and a dog that needs the loo and can’t wait will tend to be very persistent about waking you up.

Look at whether your dog is being exercised enough and has a walk late enough to tire them out for bed, if their feeding routine matches their needs and if they get enough chances to toilet, particularly after their final meal of the day and before they settle down for the night.

Setting an appropriate routine

If your dog spends most of the evening relaxing on the sofa with you and napping, they might not sleep through the night as they will already have caught up on their rest earlier on.

Your dog’s routine should be designed to meet both their needs and yours, so work out the routine to enable this, planning walks at times that support your dog’s lifestyle, feeding times and toilet breaks to coincide with times that suit you, and ensure that your dog is tired and looking forwards to rest at bedtime.

Not all dogs can settle down for a full night’s sleep

Old dogs and puppies both tend to sleep a lot more than young adult dogs, but their sleeping patterns might tend to be more erratic too. Many older dogs snooze a lot but may not be able to sleep through the night, and the same is true for pups.

Puppies and elderly dogs might also need to use the loo more than other dogs, and not all dogs (particularly very young and old ones) will be able to go through eight hours at night without toileting.

If your dog’s routine is a good fit but they need to use the loo during the night, this is unlikely to be something that you can change, and you should always ensure that your dog’s needs are met and that they can go out to the toilet when they need to.

Creating a restful sleeping spot for your dog

If your dog’s bed and sleeping spot isn’t comfortable and welcoming for them, they won’t sleep very well. Ensure that the temperature of the place that your dog sleeps in is warm enough at night, that their bed is comfortable, and that they find the area that they sleep in to be relaxing and comforting.

Learned behaviour and resolving it

Waking you up in the early morning can begin to become a regular behaviour for dogs if this happens for a reason but is then reinforced by the responses of their owners. Even if your dog needed the toilet the first time or had another valid reason to wake you up, once they have learnt that you will get up and interact with them if they wake you, they may keep doing so simply for the added attention.

If your dog’s routine is a good fit for them and your dog didn’t have a good reason to wake you up, their actions may be learned, and so you will need to train your dog out of doing this in future, which will generally mean closing the bedroom door and ignoring them even though this will probably mean you won’t get to sleep for the duration.

Reinforcing the behaviour by shouting at your dog or giving in will simply make it harder to deal with next time!

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Winter walkies: 10 of the best winter dog walks in the UK

While many loathe winter for its endless grey skies and the bitter chill of the winter wind, few seasons offer the same dog walking opportunities.

dog walkFrom deserted beaches perfect for your pup, to crisp walks in the morning frost and windy walks followed by a cosy afternoon in a dog friendly country pub, it’s time to embrace the darkest and most dismal season of the year. Pull on your wellies, wrap up warm (that means a coat for your dog too!) and venture out onto one of our favourite winter dog walks.

1. Widemouth Bay, Cornwall

Widemouth Bay near Bude in Cornwall, is a stunning coastal walk perfect for you and your canine companion this winter. With car packs and cafes at either end, pet owners will love the Widemouth Bay Café which serves tasty dishes and are dog friendly to boot. With both sand and stone and plenty of rock pools, it’s a great spot for your pooch to run wild, and offers owners unbeatable views of the Cornish coastline.

2. West Wittering, East Sussex

A sizeable beach ideal for furry friends in need of a serious walk, East Sussex’s West Wittering beach has sand-dunes a plenty and is great for the more adventurous hounds wanting to paddle in the shallows and explore the famous East Head Spit.

3. Dunkery and Horner Wood, Exmoor

The National Trust’s Dunkery and Horner Wood circular walk is a dog-friendly 3-mile route that will take approximately an hour. The paths can be steep and stony so ensure your canine companion is ready for a work out prior to leaving. Incorporating streams, footbridges, a beaten path and a bridleway, this walk takes in some of Exmoor’s most breathtaking countryside.

4. Seven Sisters, Sussex

The chalk cliffs of the famous Seven Sisters in Sussex make for a scenic coastal walk, whatever the weather, but doing the walk in winter will certainly blow away any cobwebs left over from the festive season. Walk the route anti-clockwise, to keep the wind at your back, and be sure to keep your dog on the lead to avoid any chasing of rabbits.

5. Rhossili Bay, Wales

Cited by many as one of the UK’s most beautiful beaches, Rhossili Bay in Gower is an area of outstanding beauty and makes for a stunning winter walk with your four legged friend by your side. The sandy beach is backed by dunes, and the 4-mile stretch of beach gives you and your furry friend a scenic back drop to a wild and wintery walk.

6. Roundway Down, Wiltshire

The scenic area of Roundway Down near Devizes is a brilliantly invigorating walk for you and your pup during the winter months. Take in the stunning views of the Wiltshire countryside as well as the 1643 battle site; the perfect fusion of history and outdoor activity for both you and your four-legged friend.

7. Penrose Beach, Cornwall

For the ambitious among us, the 7-mile walk around Cornwall’s Penrose Estate is hard to beat when it comes to an adventurous dog walks this winter. Taking three to four hours, the walk takes in wide open fields – ideal for your pet pooch to roam – river banks, and a National rust holiday lodge. Have a hot drink to warm your cockles at the National Trust stables café on the Penrose estate.

8. Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire

An easy trail in the heart of Cambridge, this dog-friendly walk features a varied landscape of reedbeds, open water and wet grassland. Boasting splendid plant life and trees, including ash trees, arrowdowns and water lilies, this is a stunning walk for nature lovers.

9. The Thames Path, London

For anyone located in London, a winter’s walk along the Thames Path is a hard one to beat. A well-trodden path by well-heeled dog owners who live locally, start your walk at Barnes Bridge, and head west towards Chiswick, taking in scenic views of the river and ample townhouses as you go. The path stretches as far as Twickenham, with a number of dog friendly pubs en route.

 10. Bushy Park, London

The least well known of the capital’s eight royal parks, is Bushy Park. The second largest of the eight parks and with a close proximity to Hampton Court Palace, this scenic landscape is a fabulous spot for a winter walk with your hound. Featuring a mixture of grassland, ponds and gardens, perfect for your pooch to explore, Bushy Park is a prime place for a walk this winter.

(Article source: Styletails)

Tired Tiddles: Why does my cat spend so much time asleep?

One trait that even people that don’t really know cats well tend to be aware of is that cats spend large portions of their time asleep, and most of us who know cats have been shocked and somewhat impressed at times by just how long our cats can sleep for at a stretch.

Tired Tiddles: Why does my cat spend so much time asleep?Your cat probably sleeps for far longer in total each day than you might think too – around 16 hours a day in fact, and potentially even longer for kittens and elderly cats. Whilst cats might well sleep for many hours at a time when they have nothing better to do or if the weather is very cold, most of this sleep is taken a different times throughout the day, interspersed with periods of activity. However, it can’t be denied that whenever and however your cat chooses to catch their zzz’s, your cat probably spends more of their time asleep than awake – but have you ever wondered why this is?

In this article we will explain all of the various factors that dictate how much cats sleep, and why they sleep as much as they do. Read on to learn more.

Evolution and survival

The sleep patterns of cats and how much and when they sleep comes down to how cats have evolved over the course of millennia, in order to adapt and thrive within their environments. Cats are obligate carnivores that in the wild, get most of their food from hunting, and scavenging too to a lesser extent.

This means that finding and catching food takes up a lot of the time of a wild or feral cat, and this is a very energy-intensive process. Cats have evolved to find food and eat what they need to, and then to conserve energy until they are hungry again or otherwise need to respond to a physical or environmental need.

Cats are opportunistic about when they sleep – they will sleep when they are tired of course, but they also know the value of taking their rest where they can get it, in case they don’t have the opportunity later.

Cats and their circadian rhythms

Many cat lovers hold the mistaken believe that cats are nocturnal, but this is not the case. Cats can see well at night and may well be active during part of the night, but their peak times for being awake and active are at dawn and dusk, which makes them crepuscular rather than nocturnal.

Cats originally evolved within hot, dry climates when the peak of the heat would occur during the day, and this means that cats are just a likely to be snoozing in daylight hours as they are to be awake. You might well notice that your cat is the most alert and wakeful at dawn and dusk, and that they will spend large parts of the rest of the day and night asleep.

Conserving warmth and resources

Cats also tend to sleep more when the weather is cold or when resources are in short supply, as this allows them to conserve energy and resources when hunting will be challenging, food scarce, and conditions inhospitable.

Winter weather will generally see your warm-blooded cat spending more time in the house and catching up on their sleep than summer does, and they will also tend to be keener to stay close to sources of warmth and food.


Cats are very responsive and adaptive to their wider environment, and their behaviour and activity levels will vary depending on what the situation at hand requires. If your cat is well fed and safe from predators, they will sleep more; whereas if they are in a new place, know that threats are nearby or that food is scarce, they will spend more time awake and alert accordingly.

When the situation changes, your cat will catch up on the sleep that they might have missed out on before, all ready to face the next challenge.

How deeply do cats sleep?

Cats might spend around 16 hours a day asleep, but this is not the same deep type of sleep that we humans usually enjoy. Because cats are both predators and also, potential prey for larger animals themselves, they can awaken quickly, and their bodies and minds remain ready to respond and spring into action when needed. It is quite easy to wake a cat sufficiently that they will assess their surroundings and see if the cause for waking up warrants attention or not, and a lot of the napping that cats do is not as immersive and deep as human sleep.

Cats will also get to know when they can expect to be fed, have their owner come home, or when they will get some fuss or attention, and our pet cats also tend to somewhat alter their own natural sleeping patterns to better fit in with our own lifestyles.

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)


Random rescues: RSPCA officers reveal their wackiest pet rescue operations of 2018

Playful pets and thrill-seeking wildlife kept frontline animal rescuers on their toes last year with their madcap exploits.

random rescuesFrom squirrels trapped down toilets to dogs stuck in television cabinets, hardworking RSPCA emergency officers often had to hold back the laughs while saving a menagerie of mischievous creatures great and small.

Whoever said about never working with animals certainly had a point looking at some of the wackiest rescues from the charity’s emergency call-out log for 2018. With more than a million calls coming through to the RSPCA over the last 12 months, often reporting shocking and disturbing acts of cruelty and neglect, these stories reveal there are moments of mirth for the dedicated inspectors and collection teams that safeguard the nation’s pets, wild creatures and livestock.

Here are 10 of the most surprising rescues from last year’s archive:

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier puppy Ringo Starr gave RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes a hard day’s night when he got his head stuck in a wooden television cabinet in Birkenhead, Merseyside, last March. Despite the owner’s efforts to extract Ringo, the eight-week old pup could not be released and it needed RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes and some trusty vegetable oil to ease him free. The inspector explained: “Poor Ringo Starr was very uncomfortable and panicked, but the hole was fairly tight and I wasn’t able to free him at first, so with his owner’s permission we quickly grabbed some vegetable oil from the kitchen to gently rub around his neck to help loosen him, and with some very careful manoeuvring, Ringo’s head slid out of the cabinet and he was free.”

Grey Squirrel

A grey squirrel got into a wee spot of bother when it went exploring in students’ accommodation in Southwark, South London, last May. RSPCA animal collection officer Kirstie Gillard saved the creature by luring it out from a toilet pan with a mop handle before it was dried and released. ACO Gillard said: “I think he must have come into this house through the roof and slipped into the toilet. Fortunately the squirrel wasn’t injured at all and I could release him back into the wild where he belongs.”

Fox cub

A curious fox cub had to be wheedled out of an abandoned car wheel when he went exploring in Leyton, London, last June. RSPCA Inspector Kate Ford answered a worried animal lover’s call to save the cub and was soon putting her kitchen skills to the test. She explained: “The cub was beginning to panic and I knew we needed to work quickly. I tried to ease his head back through the hole, but it just wouldn’t go. He clearly needed some lubrication, so I used some cooking oil, which the animal-loving resident had retrieved from his house, and that did the trick. Happily, the fox was none the worse for his ordeal and soon ran off, hopefully to be reunited with his family.”

Corn Snake

What should have been a relaxed breakfast turned into an emergency when an early morning diner discovered a three-foot corn snake in his box of cereal last May. RSPCA animal collection officer Katie Hetherington arrived at the man’s home in Sheffield on the trail of the snake which had subsequently slithered into a dishwasher. After capturing the escaped pet and taking it to a specialist centre, she said: “I think the man was expecting to have Cornflakes for breakfast – not corn snakes. The poor chap was absolutely terrified. I think it was the last thing he expected to find in his kitchen.”


An inquisitive fox ended up becoming a garden feature after getting its head stuck in a trellis. The animal was left teetering precariously on top of a seven-foot high wall at a property in Loughton, Essex, last March. RSPCA Inspector Karl Marston had been called out in perishing cold conditions to collect the fox in the courtyard garden, only for it to bolt and become trapped between the wooden struts. Luckily, this made it easier to catch the animal and release nearby.


A chilly cat looking to escape the cold became an unexpected guest at a hotel in Luton when it got stuck between two automatic doors last March. Staff at the Premier Inn alerted the RSPCA and animal collection officer Kate Wright managed to pull the moggie, nicknamed Lenny, to safety. She said: “I’m not sure whether he was actually trapped or whether he was just trying to find somewhere safe to rest. He was soaking wet and freezing cold and had been trying to find somewhere warm and dry to curl up. Unfortunately, he chose a rather hazardous spot.”


A fruit-stealing badger had to be rescued after clambering up a tree to get at some juicy plums. Somehow, the animal slipped and was left wedged between branches with an injured leg. Inspector Callum Isitt came to the animal’s rescue in Harefield, London, last August. He said: “The badger was in a walled garden full of vegetable plots and fruit trees so it must have been very tempting for him. “I suspect he’d been trying to climb the plum tree to get to the ripe, juicy fruits when he slipped and trapped his front leg in the ‘V’ where the two small branches met about three feet off the ground. He was left dangling there and was obviously in some distress.”

Muntjac Deer

An adventurous muntjac deer was left upside down after managing to clamber on to a garage roof but then falling down between two walls in Bedworth, Warwickshire, last March. RSPCA animal collection officer Adam McConkey used a grasper to save the deer and later release the trapped animal. He explained: “The poor little chap looked very uncomfortable and was probably disoriented. We think he somehow climbed up onto the garage roof, but then lost his footing and fell off the edge. We found him upside-down and stuck tight between the garage wall and the house. It was such a narrow space, he couldn’t move an inch.”

Stray cat

A stray cat looking for a quiet nap sparked an emergency rescue when it became trapped in the mechanism of an electric reclining sofa. RSPCA Inspector Simon Coombs was called out to release the animal in Bristol last January. He explained how the children at the property had pressed a button on the recliner unaware the cat was hiding underneath. He said: “The cat’s tail was obviously resting on the mechanism and, as the spindle started rotating, the fur became trapped. The homeowner had the right tools and set about dismantling the sofa while I helped keep hold of the cat and keep her calm. Luckily, we were able to free her and she was absolutely fine, if a little shaken up.”


A mother goat made a bad example to her watching kid when she got her head stuck between the bars of a metal fence near Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, last May. Animal collection officer Emily Welch responded to the emergency call and managed to free the goat by clearing the soil under the fence. ACO Welch explained: “She was struggling to free herself and she had her kid with her who was also very distressed.”

If you see an animal in distress, call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency line on 0300 1234 999

(Article source: The express)

Canine calendar: Fun things to do with your dog every month of 2019

All dogs need to be walked and exercised daily to keep them fit and healthy and to provide mental stimulation, as well as to provide your dog with a valuable opportunity to play and socialise with other dogs.

Canine calendar: Fun things to do with your dog every month of 2019As well as giving your dog their daily walks and play sessions, it can also be nice to arrange special trips or walks now and then too, to give your dog a change of scenery and the chance to enjoy a new environment, experience, and to make some new friends.

If you are looking for inspiration on what to do with your dog and want to provide them with some new experiences and chances to play and have fun in 2019, check out our list of fun things to do with your dog for each month of the year.

January: Get fit with your dog

At the start of the year it is a good idea to start getting your dog a little fitter after Christmas and the New Year, when both ourselves and our dogs often pile on a few extra pounds!

Structure a plan for the month and start gradually to ensure that you don’t overestimate your dog’s abilities, and to form the foundations of a fit, active year trying lots of new things with your dog.

February: Hydrotherapy session

During February we often face snow and bad weather that can make giving our dogs as much exercise as they want a challenge, and dogs that are getting older, that suffer from bone and joint problems or that particularly feel the cold can find this time of year quite uncomfortable.

This is a good time to think about booking your dog in for a canine hydrotherapy session, which allows your dog to swim under supervision at a special dog swimming pool, to provide low-impact exercise and warm up those cold joints.

March: A day at a doggy play centre

Doggy daycare centres and play centres have become popular and common across the UK over the course of the last couple of years, and these venues can be invaluable for working dog owners looking for something for their dogs to do during the day. Book your dog in for a day at a doggy play centre, and take your dog along to have a great time playing with new friends and toys.

April: Have-a-go agility session

As the weather starts to warm up a little, many of us start looking for things to do with our dogs over the summer, and if your dog is fit and reasonably smart, canine agility might be a good pick. Most agility clubs and groups run taster sessions or welcome newcomers to come along and have a go, so find a local club and schedule a day to take your dog along and see what they can do!

May: A camping trip

A camping trip to a new area is a great way to spend time with your dog and let them enjoy exploring a new area, and the UK has a large number of campsites in national parks and beautiful, unspoilt areas that can allow you to do this. Check out the rules in the area that you plan to camp in, and ensure that you keep your dog on a lead around livestock and always bag and bin the poop!

June: A day at the beach

June is a great time to pack your car up and take your dog along to a beach, when the weather is mild but not overly hot. Many of the UK’s more popular beaches restrict or forbid dogs on the beach either at certain times of the day or during certain months of the year, which are normally the peak times of the summer tourist season. Plan ahead and pick a dog-friendly beach, and remember that the water itself is still apt to be quite cold, so don’t let your dog go bounding in and potentially run into difficulties.

July: A group walk

Get your friends with dogs together or join a local dog walking group and take your dog along to meet some new dogs and people, that may result in brand new friends for both of you. If there are no group walks scheduled in your local area, why not consider setting up a group of your own? You could even consider hosting a sponsored dog walk to raise money for a canine charity in your local area too!

August: A dog-friendly holiday

August is holiday season for many of us in the UK, and there are a huge number of brilliant dog-friendly holidays that you might want to consider booking if you plan ahead. Camping holidays, many cottage holidays and rural guest houses and hotels all welcome dogs, and there are a number of other options too, such as a boat holiday or activity holiday for both dogs and their owners.

September: A flyball taster session

If your dog got on well with that agility session earlier in the year, why not consider seeing how they fare at flyball too? Canine flyball is a fast-paced and very exciting sport for competitors, which requires speed, accuracy, and the ability to work as part of a team with other dogs and owners. As is the case with agility, most flyball clubs and groups hold have-a-go and taster sessions, so contact your local group to find out more.

October: A canal-side walk

There are over 3,000 miles of inland waterways in the UK that provide a perfect place for rural walks with your dog, which are off the beaten path but often, highly accessible from our towns and cities. Always keep your dog on a lead on the towpath and pick up after them!

November: A training refresher session

During November, why not book your dog in for a training refresher session or a short course to teach them some new skills and identify any special talents they might have? Whether you want to go back to basics or teach your dog some complex commands, there will be a local trainer or group who can help.

December: Go carolling with your dog

December is a very busy time for many of us, and your dog won’t want to be left out of the action. Why not take them carolling with you (assuming that your dog has the type of temperament to enjoy this) and maybe even raise some money for your favourite canine charity at the same time.

Have a great year!

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Paws for thought: Caring for your dog’s paws in the snow

Whilst we don’t usually have to contend with months and months of heavy snow during the winter months here in the UK, many areas of the country will get some snow at some point in the winter, and the novelty of this often leaves us unprepared in many ways.

pawsJust as driving in snow and getting around in general come with additional challenges and things to bear in mind in the winter, so too does walking your dog and caring for their paws in snowy weather require a little extra attention.

In this article we will share tips and advice on how to care for your dog’s paws when it is snowy, to keep them healthy, safe and well. Read on to learn more about dog paw care in snow.

Keeping your dog’s feet in good condition in cold weather

Your dog’s feet should have hard but supple pads, and be healthy and well suited to the types of surfaces that they walk on.

The winter cold and damp can cause problems for some dog’s paws, causing chapping, chafing or sores and cracks to form, so keep an eye on your dog’s feet in the winter and if needed, use paw balms or wax to help to protect them from hard ground and damp, snowy or icy conditions.

Could your dog benefit from booties?

Some dogs that feel the cold badly, that have delicate paws or that tend to suffer from chapping and soreness may well benefit from wearing specially designed canine boots for winter walks.
These are soft booties with a warm lining and waterproof outer, which can be bought in a huge range of styles and sizes to fit dogs of virtually every type.

It can take a while for a dog to get used to wearing boots and the odd sensation of walking in them, so practice putting the booties on and allow your dog to get comfortable in them a few times before your first trip out in the snow when they are really needed.

When out walking in snow

When you walk your dog in the snow, you (and they) won’t be able to see obstacles such as potholes or small steps, or potential hazards like broken glass or sharp objects.

Stick to walking your dog along routes that you know well and ideally, that have been cleared of the worst of the snow and ice, and take your walk slowly while keeping an eye out for potential hazards.

Checking and cleaning your dog’s paws after walks

After a walk in ice and snow, your dog’s paws and lower legs are likely to be wet and cold, and also, possibly quite dirty as they will probably have wandered through slush and mud as well.

There might also be various substances on your dog’s paws too, such as antifreeze agents or caustic road grit, which your dog has picked up on the pads of their paws during their walks.

When you get back from a walk in the snow with your dog, the first thing you should do is to thoroughly wash off their paws and feet using warm water, to rinse off any muck or mess, and to clean away the residue of anything toxic.

Thoroughly dry your dog’s feet and legs afterwards, including between the toes.
This post-walk clean-up also gives you the chance to check your dog’s paws and legs over for any signs of problems, to keep your dog’s paws in good condition.

Should you trim the fur on your dog’s paws in winter?

If your dog has very heavily feathered legs and dense clumps of fur between their toes, these areas will often turn into a magnet for muck, dirt and mud, and solid balls of ice and snow can also build up in the feathering of your dog’s legs and paw pads too.

If you find that cleaning your dog’s legs and paws after a walk is overly onerous or you cannot properly clean them due to the amount of fur present, you might want to consider trimming some of the denser fur off so that it is less apt to pick up muck and ice.

However, this thick fur helps to insulate your dog and protect their paws (and legs) against the cold and also hard surfaces, so only think about doing this if your dog regularly comes home with clumps of ice and snow on their legs, and never remove more than necessary.

If you have any concerns about caring for your dog’s paws in the snow or if you’re not sure if they might benefit from having some of the fur on their paws and legs trimmed, talk to your dog groomer and ask what they recommend.

If your dog develops sores, cracks or any other paw problems in snowy weather, pop them along to your vet for a check-up and treatment, and to get some advice on how to prevent those problems from happening again in the future.

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Climate change: Will insect-eating dogs help?

Do you fret that your pet pooch is blamed by environmentalists for turning rainforests into poo in the park?

Climate Change

BBC News reports that have no fear – you can now fatten Fido on black soldier flies instead of Brazilian beef.

A pet food manufacturer now claims that 40% of its new product is made from soldier flies. It’s one of many firms hoping to cash in on the backlash against beef by people concerned that the cattle are fed on soya. These soya plantations are responsible for the release of greenhouse gases in significant quantities.

Is it good for the dog?

The key question is whether a diet of 40% soldier flies meets the nutritional needs of your beloved canine.

We put the question to a pet diet expert at the Royal Veterinary College, Aarti Kathrani. Her conclusion was a cautious “yes”.

“Insects can be a very useful source of protein,” she told us. “More studies are needed to show how much of these nutrients can actually be absorbed by a dog’s body – but some studies suggest that insects can provide nutrients for dogs.”

Does it help the climate if dogs eat flies?

At first sight it seems obvious that feeding your dog meaty food is bad for the environment. The link between humans eating meat and the allied emissions of CO2 and methane is well established – and pets are estimated to eat 20% of global meat.

It’s also true that flies produce protein much more efficiently than cows – using a small percentage of the water and land.

But actually the analysis is more subtle than that – because as societies become more wealthy, people often turn to muscle meat and reject the animal’s offal.

That offal is just as nutritious – and it gets made into pet food. That means that dog food is just as sustainable – or unsustainable as humans eating meat.

In fact, if dogs were weaned off meat and on to insects, the industry would have to find another purpose for the offal. More sausage, perhaps? Or more humans eating insect protein. Or more going vegan?

Could cat food be made out of insects, too?

Dogs are omnivores – they eat more or less anything. Cats are much more choosy, because they can’t make an essential amino acid, taurine. They find it instead in meat and fish.

But Dr Kathrani says studies show that insects do contain taurine, so it’s possible that insects could also form a useful part of the moggie diet.

The new product is from Yora, a UK start-up. The insect grubs are fed on food waste in the Netherlands.

There are several competitors which also produce pet food incorporating fly protein. They include Insectdog, Entomapetfood, Chippin and Wilderharrier.

(Story source: BBC News)


‘Love at first sight!’ Overweight dog dumped with ‘sorry’ sign re-homed after diet regime

A porky pet nicknamed Nelly the Elephant was dumped on the streets weighing an enormous five-stone and with a sign that read: “sorry”.

Dumped DogThe Express reports that the heavyweight bulldog needed surgery to help tackle her breathing difficulties – a problem most likely made worse because she tipped the scales at more than 20lb over her healthy weight. For poor Nelly, surgery meant having to spend double the time most rescue pets wait in kennels before being homed by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Her story is being highlighted today at the start National Obesity Awareness Week to show the tragedies faced by overweight pets: the victims of being fed to much food and not being given enough exercise.

Ten year old Nelly found her way into Battersea after being left tied up in a park with the note that simply read, “sorry”. Like many flat-faced dogs she was having problems breathing but, say Battersea’s vets, her size is likely to have hindered her further and made exercise and weight-shifting more difficult.

Battersea vet Claire Turner explained: “The most common reason that pets become overweight is eating too much food and not getting enough exercise.

Much like humans, pet calorie intake and expenditure need to be balanced to maintain a healthy weight. Nelly’s been on a strict diet and a gentle exercise regime at Battersea, as we need to help her peel off the pounds, while being careful with her breathing. Pet obesity is something we see a lot here at Battersea, and research shows more than half of British dogs are overweight, so this is something every pet owner needs to be aware about.

Pet obesity can cause serious health issues, so, if you think your cat or dog might be overweight, it’s best to consult your vet, who will be able to assess your pet and advise you on how to help them lose the extra pounds.”

Nelly’s weighty problems appear to be disappearing. After 82 days in kennels, she has been rehomed with Roz Funnell in Hertfordshire who fell in love with her at first sight.

Ms Funnell said: “After losing my old Battersea dog, Millie, to a heart attack last year and then having a hip replacement in the summer, I was in absolutely no rush to rehome another dog. But, on a visit to Battersea with my nephew in November I saw Nelly walk past, and it was love at first sight. When I got the call to say that she was medically cleared to be rehomed I was absolutely over the moon. I’ve been waiting for her for such a long time, but it was so worth it.

All of the staff at Battersea have done an excellent job of looking after her, making sure that she was healthy enough to finally come home. I have a fantastic vet who will help me set a diet plan for Nelly, and hopefully with some gentle exercise we can both get a little bit fitter together.”

(Story source: The Express)

Cat Festival is coming to the UK this summer – and it sounds purrfect

Cat lovers aren’t going to want to miss out on an exciting event that’s scheduled to head to London in June.

CatfestThe Mirror reports that when you think of a festival, your mind probably drifts to the likes of Glastonbury and Reading.

But music isn’t the only thing that can be celebrated at a festival.

Each year a number of weird and wonderful festival events take place in the UK, in honour of everything from cheese to Jane Austen.

And if you’re looking for something a little different to do this summer, you’re probably going to want to keep reading because a festival dedicated to cats has just been announced.

Known as CatFest 2019, the event is set to take place in Beckenham Place Mansion in South London on Saturday June 29.

According to the CatFest website, the festival will offer a wide range of fun for fans of our feline friends, including showcasing stylish cat-related products, books, films, face painting, craft workshops and a live art show. There are also going to be cat-themed cocktails on offer, plus a range of vegan street food to tempt your taste-buds.

Organisers have also arranged meet and greets with ‘feline superstars’ as well as “inspiring” talks from renowned writers and animal experts, including Homer’s Odyssey author Gwen Cooper and Giles Clark, the star of BBC’s Big Cats About the House. If all that weren’t enough, there’s going to be a load of cats there because what cat festival would be complete without them?

Those interested in adopting a pretty kitty will be able to head on over to the Meow Parlour lounge run by ERHAM, a charity which helps vulnerable Moroccan street cats and Freshfields Animal Rescue Wales.

Adult tickets for the event are priced at £20, with the early bird deal having already sold out. Early bird tickets for children under the age of 12 are still available and cost just £8, while those under three can attend the festival for free. Movie tickets for the day can be purchased separately.

(Story source: The Mirror)