The Bangkok pet patrol

The recent floods in Thailand have been terrible to watch on the news – and in times of disaster it’s always terrible to learn of distraught pet owners who have been forced to leave their animals behind as they evacuate their homes.

That’s why it is heart warming to read about the team of pet rescuers in Bangkok, who have tasked themselves with rescuing the cities pets as the flood waters rise.

Their boats loaded with animal cages are in high demand as pet owners frantically try to save their animals while evactuating – and it’s not just animal lives at risk, with rescuer speaking of a woman who refused to leave her house before all 48 of her cats were saved.

I know I could never leave my dog in this situation, so it’s good to know that there are volunteers who understand the plight of pet owners in a crisis, and are willing to rescue and care for the pets until their owners can reclaim them.

The report also outlines, that being a largely Buddhist country, many people believe in kindess to animals and care about helping them in times of need. A sentiment I’m sure many animal owners can relate to – with cat and dog insurance being standard to protect pets from harm, and a huge market for pet treats, toys and comforts.

And thankfully for the pets in Thailand, the government pay to care for the pets until they can be reunited with their families – which must be a huge relief to them. But let’s not forget that the people who head up these teams are volunteers, and are willing to put their own safety at risk to help animals and their owners – which is truly admirable.

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Dog health: Is you dog getting enough meat?

I read an excellent article on feeding your dog a more natural meat based diet recently and thought I would share it, as it’s certainly a question I’ve been wrestling with for a long time. So having read the article I’ve compiled my list of the top takeaway points.

Should you be feeding your dog meat?

The simple answer is yes. However it’s best to serve them plain meat i.e. it can be cooked but most dogs stomach’s can easily digest meat whether it’s cooked or not. The trouble starts when you give them meat that has been prepared for humans as the spices, sauces and seasoning can all make the meat harder for your dog to digest.

Is raw meat safe for my dog?

It turns out raw meat can actually be better for your dog. However you must be wary when it comes to uncooked chicken as dogs can get salmonella as well.

As a matter of fact raw meat is actually a lot better for animals as when cooking the meat a lot of vitamins are lost. And if you think about it all members of the canine family like wolfs and coyotes etc. eat raw meat so there really isn’t much of a risk.

Meat safety

Raw chicken can be dangerous so is best avoided. They chicken bones are particularly dangerous as they are small and break easily. Also avoid any meat coated in spices etc. as it can upset a dog’s stomach.

What is the best meat for dogs?

The general consensus is that beef is best – it’s safe to eat raw and for a special treat you can even give your dog beef on the bone (cow bones are a lot bigger and safe for dogs to chew on).

Read the full source article…

 

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Pooch pester power…..

Yes thats right, your canine chum could soon be helping you decide which at first looks like a standard pet food advert, makes use of high-frequency squeaks and signals to try and grab the attention of any dogs in the room. The idea is that the dogs will become so excited they will bark and wag their tail at the screen, thus indicating to the owner that this is their favourite. The advert was created for Nestle, who own the Purina brand of pet food.

The advert was created on the understanding that dogs’ hearing is at least twice as sharp as humans. As such they can pick up frequencies which are beyond our range and are also better at differentiating sounds.

The advert is first being aired in Austria and could hit Britain as soon as next year if it proves successful. The advert features various scenes of a golden retriever and his owner playing in a field, interspersed with shots of falling vegetables. Aside from the picturesque visuals the soundtrack contains various chirpy squeaks and bells as well as some higher pitch sounds which humans are unable to hear.

Interestingly this is not the first time Purina has tried out pet targeted ads. In 2010 they put up a series of billboards in Germany that gave off the smell of pet food, in the hope of catching the attention of dogs being taken for a walk.

I think if this works it could be applied to all manner of pet products from toys and treats to pet insurance (though I’m not sure how they would get the dog to respond to insurance). Feel free to send in your suggestions for pet friendly adverts.

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Pets to inherit £26 billion…

According to a recent study by More Than Pet Insurance, pet owners are planning to leave in the region of £26 billion from their estates to their much loved pets.

According to the study, the majority of those leaving cash to their pets will not tell family members they are planning to do this.

In fact over 35% of animal owners will be leaving sums greater than £10,000 to their pets. Greater still 37% have stated that their beloved pets will receive more money from their estates than anyone else including friends, family or relatives.

In fact, it has recently been revealed that famous fashion designer and dog lover Alexander McQueen left his beloved dogs £50,000 in his will.

But money’s not all the pets are getting these days, as over 20% of UK pet owners have taken the necessary steps to ensure that their pet gets the family home once they pass away.

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Does your pet need a trip to the dentist?

Us humans might put an emphasis on dental hygeine, but you could hardly say there’s a focus on teeth brushing for cats and dogs. Which might explain the recent US report which claims that the majority of our feline and canine friends will suffer from gum or dental disease at least once.

Apparently 70% of cats and 80% of dogs will experience from dental problems – and although this report is US based, it should act as a warning to owners globally, as mouth and teeth infections can often lead to more serious conditions, including diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

So what are the signs of a dental problem? Things to watch out for in your cat or dog include bad breath, a change of colour to the teeth and a change to weight or eating habits.

And as many pets don’t enjoy having their teeth inspected, avoiding the problems might not seem easy – but twice yearly vetinary checkups, yearly cleaning and the use of chew toys designed to improve dental health can help. You can also look out for special pet dental health waters, that include special ingredients to avoid the build up of plaque. Those who can approach their dog or cats mouth without being bitten are advised to try and brush their pets teeth – but there is one warning attached to this message, don’t use toothpaste designed for human use – it is toxic for pets. Luckily pet toothpaste can be found in most good pet shops.

What do you think of this study on dental care for dogs and cats?

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Caring for obese pets

The number of obese pets in the UK is on the rise and according to animal charity PDSA, over a third of dogs in the UK are overweight, this figure could increase by as much as a further 20% by 2013. In recent months the PDSA has been trying to publicise the dangers of people over feeding their pets.

The simple fact is that much like their human counterparts, pets that are overweight suffer from a reduced quality of life. They are going to be less sprightly and not as keen to exercise thus continuing the cycle of weight issues.

The RSPCA refers to obesity as “an extremely serious welfare issue”, emphasising the fact that it causes a great deal of unnecessary discomfort to pets. Most importantly it can result in a reduced life expectancy.

As a general rule of thumb with cats and dogs, you should be able to feel their ribs (but they should not be sticking out) the animal should also have a waist which is visible from above and a tummy that looks pulled in when viewed from the side. If a cat or dog does not have these features then it could be overweight, or even obese, depending on the scale of the problem it can often make sense to contact your vet.

Interestingly it’s suggested that owners feed their pets ready made pet food (proper veterinary approved brands are best) as opposed to providing a home made diet, this is because the ready made  pet foods make it far easier to judge the level of nutrients the pets are getting. It is also recommended that you follow the instructions on the packet to ensure the pet is not over or underfed.

The other responsibility of owners is ensuring that your pet gets plenty of exercise. In general, a slim pet is more likely to be healthy than an overweight pet. As a final measure it is always recommended that you insure your pet, this is because a large number of people can often not afford the vet fees that come with a pet taking ill. Pet insurance can help to greatly reduce any of the medical costs incurred by your pet taking ill and ultimately help your pet get the proper care.

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Top Ten TV and Film Dogs

We feel that we’d been a little ‘wordy’ recently – so its time to break it up with some fun images and memories of our favourite Dogs from Film and TV! Feel free to chime in with your own favourite fictional dogs in the comments.

So, here are our selection of our Top 10 TV and Film Dogs

Lassie – A lovely Collie, Lassie has appeared in tv, radio shows, movies, toys, comics, cartoons and novels the early 1950s onwards. Best known for ‘Lassie Come Home’.

Vincent from Lost - A Golden Labrador, Vincent becomes embroiled in the strange events of the great TV mystery series Lost – and without spoiling anything, he has a starring role right up to the very end………

Bouncer from Neighbours – Another Golden Lab, Bouncer moved between various owners in Ramsay Street – his most notable partnership was probably with the hapless Joe Mangel, played by Mark Little – they made a great comedy duo.

Wee Jock from Hamish Macbeth - A lively West Highland Terrier, Wee Jock accompanied Robert Carlyle on his numerous investigations in the Scottish Highlands as Hamish Macbeth. Of course, Carlyle has went on to Hollywood stardom.

Muttley from Wacky Races – Described as a ‘bloodhound, pointer and hunting dog’, Muttley appeared in the Wacky Races cartoons as the loyal companion to Dick Dastardly – he is best known for his distinctive snigger!

Bullet from The Scheme – Bullet rose to fame as part of a UK TV documentary set on a Scottish housing estate. Bullet was loved for his bright and vibrant nature.

Fred the Basset Hound from Smokey and The Bandit - Fred is a very cool Basset Hound, and partner to truck driver Cledus “Snowman” Snow (the late Jerry Reed).

The Dogs of Blue Peter – we all remember them from our childhood (Goldie was mine). There’s a great list of all the Blue Peter dogs on Wikipedia.

The Littlest Hobo – A wandering German Shepherd, most people don’t remember too much about the TV show except the instant classic theme tune.

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Eddie from Frasier - An intelligent and perceptive Jack Russell, Eddie was the dog of Martin Crane – father to Frasier. Throughout the series, Eddie was used to great comic effect, often as a counterpoint to the pomposity of Frasier and his brother Niles.

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So, there you have it – our top ten TV and film dogs. Who have we missed? Let us know………..

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Social Networking Pets

It seems that many pet owners are using social networking sites to show their love for their pets. More than half of UK pet owners share pictures of their pets online and it’s understood that one in ten of all UK pets have their own Facebook page, Twitter account and Youtube profile.

The rise in pet appreciation online has also seen the number of dedicated pet social network sites (also known as social “petworking” sites) increase. Sites such as Critter, Lovemypets and Mydogspace allow pet lovers to share photos, blogs and other pet related stuff.

To some, making social network profiles for pets can seem a little crazy or over the top but many pet owners think of their pets as being part of the family and as such, want them to involve them too. Other pet owners like to hear about other pet’s stories and that’s why pet social networking sites are in demand right now

A list of pets online

Beast – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pet dog has more followers than some celebrities.

Boo – A dog on Facebook liked by over 1.3 million people. He is also the subject of a book to be published in the near future entitled “Boo: the Life of the World’s Cutest Dog”.

Maru – A cat from Japan that has over 140,000 followers on Youtube.

Sockington – This cat was found by the roadside outside Boston. Now living with new owner Jason, has amassed over 1.4 million followers on twitter.

Bizkit – Has become a bit of a celebrity on Youtube due to several sleep walking videos

 

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A New Craze for Pet Pyjamas?

We all know it’s not unusual for pets to become part of the family, but is snuggling up with your critter at bedtime taking things a step too far?

According to new article from the BBC, a quarter of all owners are in the habit of taking their pets to bed with them – and 4% even admit to dressing their dogs or cats in pyjamas!

I’m not sure it’s something I want to get into the habit of, especially now I’ve read the report which has opened my eyes to the illnesses and insects that could be passed on – including salmonella, roundworm and fleas. Yuck!

And I really don’t think my dog would appreciate getting put into a pair of pyjamas before settling down for the night. In fact I’m pretty sure we would both be far more comfortable if he stuck to his basket! What do you think about pets in PJs?

 

 

 

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Are We Neglecting Pet Rabbits?

Famed for being cute and cuddly, rabbits quite rightly hop into third place when it comes to Britain’s favourite pets. I myself am allergic, but that doesn’t stop me wishing I wasn’t when I see how friendly they can be.

Rabbits are naturally sociable, and many treat their owners with as much affection as dogs or cats do. This made the news that 75% of pet rabbits aren’t being properly cared for by their owners particularly hard to take in.

According to recent findings, most rabbits are kept in cramped hutches and fed the wrong diet for their delicate digestive system. Vets are also reporting that they see many rabbits which are bored and unhappy, often suffering from obesity or rotting teeth.

It is thought that this problem is largely due to misconceptions about the care rabbits require and poor advice from shop assistants in pet shops.

Rabbits need daily attention and often become lonely or bored in a cramped hutch at the bottom of the garden. Many are also feeding them the wrong type of diet, and forgetting that there are many foods that rabbits just cannot digest. This is leaving many uncomfortable, unhappy and perhaps the saddest of all – forgotten about.

Many people are also not told of the costs of rabbits before buying. Rabbits require vaccinations to ward off common illnesses and regular vet check-ups to ensure their teeth, claws and digestive systems are in check, which is usually not considered when people are first buying a pet. This can be costly, and I cannot help but worry that rabbits aren’t getting the proper care because people do not want to spend money on pet insurance to reduce vet bills.

Pet shops need to start warning people about the real costs and responsibility involved in pet rabbits. It takes some money and a lot of time to properly care for a rabbit – so please read up before bringing one home.

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