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New research reveals the average cost of veterinary treatment for dogs and cats has risen by four per cent over the past year, with the average claim rising by £29, from £728 to £757.

The overall cost of medical treatment claims for dogs and cats in the UK totalled £775 million last year, an increase of ten per cent on 2016. With more than a million pet insurance claims made during 2017, an average of nearly two every minute, pet owners are advised to look out for early warning signs of illness and injury to ensure their pets are given the best possible care and to reduce the likelihood of increased veterinary bills further down the line, according to the study by Direct Line Pet Insurance.

The data shows that there are clear differences between the most commonly claimed-for ailments for cats and dogs. The most common illnesses in cats last year were identified as wounds (15 per cent), gastrointestinal disorders (14 per cent) and tumours, growths, warts or cysts (11 per cent). Poisoning and physical disorders (six per cent) were also prevalent in cats, which raises worrying questions about how to protect them from ingesting noxious substances or toxic plants when roaming freely.

Dogs are more likely to need treatment for tumours, growths, warts or cysts, which accounted for a fifth (20 per cent) of all claims in 2017. This was followed by musculoskeletal disorders such as lameness, arthritis or ligament damage (19 per cent) and gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting, pancreatitis and gastritis (12 per cent).

Across all pets, mouth and oral disorders such as abscesses, ulcers and wounds, saw the sharpest increase in claims between 2016 and 2017, rising by 25 per cent. This was followed by disorders of the lymphatic system (20 per cent increase) and hernias (10 per cent increase). However, claims for poisoning or physical disorders of unknown cause fell by a third (33 per cent), while there was also a fall in the number of claims for liver disorders, which fell by 20 per cent year-on-year.

Table one: The most commonly claimed-for ailments for dogs and cats, 2017

Rank Ailment claimed under insurance Percentage share of all ailments
Dogs
1 Tumours, growths, warts and cysts 20 per cent
2 Musculoskeletal disorders 19 per cent
3 Gastrointestinal disorders 12 per cent
4 Wounds 10 per cent
5 Skin disorders 4 per cent
Cats
1 Wounds 15 per cent
2 Gastrointestinal disorders 14 per cent
3 Tumours, growths, warts and cysts 11 per cent
4 Musculoskeletal disorders 8 per cent
5 Mouth and oral disorders 7 per cent

Source: Direct Line Pet Insurance, 2017

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, commented: “Our analysis reveals the importance of insuring your pet against illness and injury, as owners can be left footing bills running into thousands of pounds. Many conditions can be easily treated so it is important to get your pet checked out as soon as you suspect something is wrong.  Comprehensive pet insurance provides the vital peace of mind that a trip to the vet won’t always result in a trip to the bank.”

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Taking his dog for a walk in the park has sparked a nurse’s decision to raise more than £1m for a dementia support centre.

Marty Pumbien was out exercising his dog Stumpy, so named because of his shorter than average legs, in Abington Park, Northampton when he noticed an elderly lady also out taking the air.

Seeing that she was confused, but also comforted by Stumpy, Marty struck up a conversation about him. Marty recognised the lady possibly had dementia and needed more assistance so the group took a joint stroll back to Marty’s house, which overlooks the park. Their conversation continued over tea and the lady remembered where she lived so Marty was able to drive her home, contact her family members and organise a wellness check for her. She was also reunited with her own pet dog.

This simple meeting led to a light-bulb moment for Marty, a nurse for more than 20 years and for whom working with dementia patients such as the ‘Lady in the Park’ was not unusual.

Passionate about providing great care and having seen that dementia support can sometimes be lacking, Marty resolved to put his money where his passion lay by putting his four bedroom home into a ‘Win a House’ competition – with a difference.

Part of the proceeds from the competition will go toward funding Northampton’s dementia support centre UnityDEM, co-run by the University of Northampton and First for Wellbeing.

Marty said: “I never thought a chance encounter between our dog and an old lady in the park would snowball like this. But after a year of planning here we are, poised to hand the keys of our house over to the lucky winner.

“In one way or another, we all know someone affected by dementia. In fact, 1 in 3 children born in the UK in 2015 will go on to develop a form of dementia* and currently there is no cure.

“UnityDEM offers a type of ‘brain rehab’, based on research that shows this type of intervention can slow the progression of dementia and, possibly, keep people at home for longer.

“This has massive benefits for everyone from those with dementia, their carers and centres like these could even reduce the burden on the NHS and social care bodies.

“Annie and I would both like to say a big thank you to everyone who has taken part so far. We really hope people continue to help support UnityDEM and try winning a house for a fiver.”

* https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/one-in-three-2015-develop-dementia/

UnityDEM is a ‘one stop shop’ for care, information, training and guidance for people who have been recently diagnosed with a form of dementia. Crucially, their carers have access to the same support at the same time.

Supported by the University and the Northamptonshire Community Foundation, the competition involves entrants successfully answering a simple question about Northampton to take part.

Each ‘entry’ is then £5 and people who are interested can enter as many times as they want, providing they meet the eligibility criteria. Details about the layout of the four bedroom house, worth £650,000 its features as well as the full terms and conditions can be found on their website.

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Pet sitters Clive and Yolanda Noble

It’s National Pet Remembrance Day tomorrow 5th July – a day to celebrate the lives of deceased pets.

With the rise in the number of people owning dogs and cats – more people will go through losing a pet which can be a very distressing time, akin for many to losing a family member.

A study by the Co-op found that more than a quarter of respondents had found their pet’s death as difficult as the death of a family member, and a third thought it was on a level with the loss of a friend. Nearly half of the bereaved owners were still mourning after two months, and 16 per cent were struggling a year later.

One way to deal with this is to become a home and pet sitter – looking after people’s homes and pets when they go away. According to a recent survey by Homesitters Ltd when asked why they don’t have a pet of their own – almost a fifth of homesitters said it was too upsetting when they die or they were taking time out after losing their dog or cat before considering a replacement.

For 63 per cent of homesitters looking after pets was the main reason they chose the role and for just over 70 per cent looking after animals was thing they enjoyed most. Other highlights of the job include time away from the usual routine, staying in different places and exploring the UK.

Alan Irvine, Chairman of Homesitters Ltd says: “When a much loved pet dies it can be devastating, so it’s understandable this puts off some people from getting another pet. Even the Queen was said to be heartbroken following the death of her last Corgi earlier this year.

“Homesitting can give animal lovers the chance to spend time caring for dogs and cats without the commitment of having one or the prospect of future heartbreak when they die. Many of our homesitters say it’s the best of both worlds and looking after animals was the big draw of the role.”

For older people especially who don’t want to take on another pet in their retirement or perhaps live somewhere that doesn’t allow pets it’s the ideal choice of flexible employment. 77 per cent of the company’s homesitters are aged 55 to 74 years old and 65 per cent say home and pet sitting contributes financially towards their retirement.

Yolande and Clive Noble, from Telford in Shropshire have been homesitting for 15 years. The couple were previously pet owners and their pets have included dogs, cats, mice and chinchillas, however, when their last two dogs died they didn’t want the upset of having to go through that again, so home and pet sitting provides them with the ideal way to spend time with animals, particularly dogs.

Clive says, “Being a homesitter is a change from the hum drum and gets us out and about, staying in new places. We also get our dog fix. We idolise the dogs we look after and over the years have met so many wonderful dogs.

“We also enjoy exploring local villages and towns when we’re on assignment – it’s just like a holiday with the bonus of getting paid!”

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Pet owners across the UK will remember beloved pets that have passed over the Rainbow Bridge this Thursday 5th July as national Pet Remembrance Day takes place.

The national day of remembrance, launched four years ago by Arty Lobster 3D pet sculptures, provides an opportunity for people to celebrate the lives of pets and the increasing number of ways in which we can commemorate them.

Pet Remembrance Day is once again proud to support The Oldies Club, a national charity, which re-homes dogs aged seven and over in need of homes.

A Twitter chat will take place on Thursday using the hashtag #PetRemembranceDay for people to show their support and share thoughts and photos of deceased companion animals.

Best-selling author and speaker Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL (Certified End of Life and Pet Loss Grief Coach and Founder of Center for Pet Loss Grief, LLC) explains: “Pet Remembrance Day is a time for outwardly expressing your deepest love for your pets that have reached the end of their lives.

“Paying tribute to those animals that touched your heart with a pet funeral, memorial, and remembrance will help you heal your loss all the while keeping the love of your companion close by.”

Founder Lars B Andersen, CEO of Arty Lobster, said: “Pets are like family, and this national day is an important day when people will take time out, even if just a few moments, to remember deceased pets.”

On Pet Remembrance Day, there are many ways in which people can remember deceased pets, including:

  • A memorial service in a place where the pet liked to walk or play.
  • A living memorial by planting a tree or flowerbed
  • A pet sculpture or portrait featuring the pet or their image printed on a coaster or other accessory
  • A scrapbook with photos and other reminders of the pet.
  • An online memorial with photos of the pet
  • A poem about the pet
  • Donating to charity like The Oldies Club or volunteering at an animal rescue centre in remembrance of the pet
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Going away on holiday can be a very exciting time for the whole family. After all, you may feel as though there is so much for you to do and even more for you to see. You may also have the whole thing planned out from start to finish and this is a great way for you to make sure that you avoid any unexpected problems along the way. The problem that a lot of people have when they go away is that they find it hard to find a reputable sitter. If this sounds like, you then you can get some help and support below.

Online Resources

If you don’t know where to start looking for a pet sitter then the best way for you to get around this would be for you to look online. You can search by your location and there are even websites where you can see the reviews that people have left for these services as well. This is a fantastic way for you to find someone who you can really count on and you’d be surprised at how many pet sitters are actually available in your local area. Another thing that you can do is try and talk with other pet owners. If you know that a friend used someone and they had a great experience with them then there is no reason for you to not look into this as an option, so do make sure that you keep that in mind.

Signs of Quality

It helps to look out for signs of quality when booking your pet sitter. When you look up the names of your pet sitters, you don’t want to waste your time with those who do not have any credentials, as they may not have the required experience to look after your pet. Of course, it also helps to make sure that your sitter has liability insurance and some kind of formal training. Some pet sitters are also able to work with veterinarians as well, so if your pet ever experiences any health issues while you are away then you know that they have the means to look after them and even get them the emergency help they need.

References

References are very important and if your sitter is not able to provide any then this can be a warning sign. After all, your pet sitter is probably going to have access to your home so it helps to make sure that they are who they say they are. It is very easy for someone to impersonate a pet sitter and the last thing that you need is to come back off your holiday, only to find that something has happened to your home while you were away. When you have all of the information you need, you then start making a list of all the people who are options and then list them in order of how much of a good fit they are for your pet.

Prices

Price can be an issue when booking a pet sitter. After all, some may ask that you buy a dog crate ready for when they arrive. At the end of the day, you need to find someone who can meet your price range but you don’t want anyone that is not able to meet the needs of your pet either. There is a very fine line between cheap and poor in quality, so don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price and always make sure that you have an idea of how much you can spend every day or even per night.

Interviews

It is a very good idea for you to give your pet sitter an interview when the time does come for you to hire them. Ask them why they love what they do and find out if they genuinely love pets. If you know that someone is only in it for the money then this can make it very difficult for you to trust them and they may not be willing to go that extra mile to make your pet truly happy. At the end of the day, you do want someone who is enthusiastic and passionate about what they do, but you also need to go with your gut instinct as well.

Services

Another thing that you need to do is check to see if they can provide you with any services. After all, your pet may have some special needs that need tending to. Making sure that your pet sitter is able to provide for these needs is crucial if you want to get a good result out of your experience with them. For example, if you have a dog that has very long hair then they may need grooming or brushing on a weekly basis. If your sitter is not willing to take the time to groom your dog then they may not be an option, so do take that into account.

Experience

You may know that your sitter has ten years of experience, and this is great because it will help you out with your peace of mind. If you have a Great Dane however then you won’t want someone who has ten years of experience working with Toy Poodles. If you want to get around this then try and find someone who has experience in looking after the specific type of dog that you have. After all, it is a known fact that certain dogs require way more exercise when compared to others and having someone who can meet this need is a huge plus.

All in all, it’s important to know that two weeks, or more is a very long time in the life of a dog, so if you are not able to find someone who you can trust for this period of time then you need to carry on searching. When it comes to your pet, you should never settle for anyone who is second-best because your pet will be completely dependent on them when you are away, and this is one of the most important things that you need to remember.

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Paul Hollywood, ice cream vans, the theme tune to Coronation Street and pizza delivery men have emerged among a list of common PHOBIAS – for the nation’s pets.

According to a new poll of British pet owners – nearly half (48 percent) of dogs and cats in the UK suffer from some sort of fear or anxiety – with more than one in four claiming their pet is terrified of the vacuum cleaner.

Over one in five (22 percent) said their pet refuses to be left alone in the house and one in ten saying they will not venture into the outside if it is raining.

Spiders, babies and even feather dusters are also the nemesis of the UK’s furry friends.

The extent of anguish felt by the nation’s cats and dogs was revealed in the study of 1,000 pet owners – with dogs emerging as the most likely pet to be afraid.

41 percent of respondents said their pet’s fears were so bizarre they had become a talking point among their family and friends.

The most common reaction to a fear is to bark (33 percent), but a timid 29 percent of animals go and hide.

Tin foil was also listed as a genuine anxiety for many of our four-legged friends, as was the vet, being kept on a lead and the stairs.

The poll by Ceva, Animal Health found 14 percent of animals tend to howl when they have an irrational fear, but for an unfortunate 30 percent of owners, their dog or cat will poo or pee on the carpet.

Over a third of the animal-owners surveyed, said they were genuinely worried about their pet’s behaviour and 22 percent said it was causing stress within the household.

In fact, the average cat or dog owner said their life was affected by their pet’s behaviour as many as three times a week.

According to the research the best way to deal with their pet’s episodes is to try and calm them down by stroking them and 19 per cent will remove them from the situation.

A spokesman for Ceva said: “Some of the fears dogs and cats suffer from are fairly common – such as the stairs, the postman and being left alone.

“However, there is no valid explanation as to why the nation’s pets would take such a dislike to certain celebrities, theme tunes or TV programmes.

Andrew Fullerton, Technical Manager for Behaviour at Ceva Animal Health, said: “These results are really interesting and show a level of education is still needed in assessing, interpreting and understanding our pet’s behaviour and looking at solutions and products such as pheromone based sprays, diffusers and collars, that can help handle stressful situations and prevent unwanted behaviour.”

According to the study, 46 percent of pet owners said their animal had ruined their home with the carpet (49 percent), the sofa (43 percent) and wallpaper (23 percent) the most likely victims of a badly-behaved pet.

One in twenty said their pet has set them back over £1,000 as a result of the damage they have caused in the house.

TOP PHOBIAS OF THE NATION’S PETS 

  • Vacuum cleaners ​​​42 percent
  • Fireworks ​​​​37 percent
  • Thunder ​​​​28 percent
  • The vets ​​​​24 percent
  • Being left on their own ​​​22 percent
  • The postman ​​​​14 percent
  • Mail coming through the letterbox ​12 percent
  • The car ​​​​​12 percent
  • Sleeping by themselves ​​​11 percent
  • Rain ​​​​​9 percent
  • Babies/children ​​​7 percent
  • Pizza delivery man ​​​7 percent
  • Being on a lead ​​​​5 percent
  • Tin foil ​​​​​5 percent
  • Buses ​​​​​4 percent
  • Spiders ​​​​​3 percent
  • The stairs ​​​​3 percent
  • Hats ​​​​​3 percent
  • Feather dusters ​​​3 percent
  • Ice-cream vans ​​​​2 percent
  • The garden ​​​​2 percent
  • Coronation Street theme tune ​​2 percent
  • Paul Hollywood ​​​2 percent
  • Grass ​​​​​2 percent
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Sapphire with PDSA Vet Kate Cavanagh and a chicken bone similar to the one swallowed

PDSA issues BBQ warning after puppy undergoes emergency op after swallowing chicken bone…

With temperatures set to soar this weekend, vet charity PDSA is bracing itself for an influx of emergencies – after saving a Staffie puppy who wolfed down a six-inch chicken bone.

The vet charity says that with glorious sunshine forecast over the next week when temperatures could hit as high as 30C (86F), many people will be enjoying some al-fresco dining in the garden. But while there will be barbecues aplenty, common treats such as ribs, corn-on-the-cob and chicken drumsticks, can prove fatal to pets if swallowed.

PDSA is sharing the story of Sapphire, a seven-month-old puppy from Stoke on Trent, who had a lucky escape after swallowing a bone. She had been eyeing up a chicken drumstick that 13-year-old Abi Paterson was eating during a family meal, and pounced the moment Abi dropped her guard.

The mischievous pooch ran off with her prize bone and swallowed it whole before the family could stop her.

Quick-thinking mum, Lesley (51) from Northwood, immediately contacted PDSA’s Stoke Pet Hospital, and staff told her to bring the pup in straight away. Sapphire was x-rayed before being rushed for emergency surgery to remove the bone.

Kate Cavanagh, PDSA Vet, said: “The x-ray showed the bone lodged in Sapphire’s stomach. There was a real risk, due to its size, that it could have led to a life-threatening blockage in her bowel.”

“We knew we had to carry out an emergency operation to remove it as quickly as possible.”

Thanks to the charity’s vets, the surgery was a success and the bone was safely removed just an hour-and-a-half after Sapphire swallowed it. The pup was kept in overnight for observation before being allowed home the following day.

Lesley said she is hugely grateful to PDSA vets for the treatment Sapphire received.

She said: “The service was five-star and I really can’t thank them enough. I knew as soon as she swallowed the bone how dangerous it could be and we were all on tenterhooks the whole time she was in surgery.

“Needless to say we’re now much more careful with Sapphire where food is concerned.”

PDSA warns that bones can be dangerous to dogs as they can cause digestive tract damage caused by splinters, particularly with cooked chicken bones. Larger pieces of bone can also cause blockages in the throat or bowel, which is life-threatening.

Kate added: “We would advise keeping unsuitable foods out of paws’ reach and sticking to dog friendly chew toys – these don’t present a choking or blockage risk and can also help keep your dog’s teeth clean.”

For advice about how to keep pets safe during barbecue season visitwww.pdsa.org.uk/bbq-safety

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The countdown has started to national PET REMEMBRANCE DAY, which takes place on Thursday 5th July.

Pet Remembrance Day was launched four years ago by 3D printing specialists Arty Lobster (www.artylobster.com).

The national day provides an opportunity for people to celebrate the lives of pets and the increasing number of ways in which we can commemorate them.

Pet Remembrance Day is once again proud to support The Oldies Club (www.oldies.org.uk), a national charity, which rehomes dogs aged seven and over in need of homes.

A Twitter chat will take place on July 5 using the hashtag #PetRemembranceDay for people to show their support and share thoughts and photos of deceased companion animals.

Best-selling author and speaker Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL (Certified End of Life and Pet Loss Grief Coach and Founder of Center for Pet Loss Grief, LLC) explains: “Pet Remembrance Day is a time for outwardly expressing your deepest love for your pets that have reached the end of their lives.

“Paying tribute to those animals that touched your heart with a pet funeral, memorial, and remembrance will help you heal your loss all the while keeping the love of your companion close by.”

Founder Lars B Andersen, CEO of Arty Lobster, said: “Pets are like family, and this national day is an important day when people will take time out, even if just a few moments, to remember deceased pets.”

On Pet Remembrance Day, there are many ways in which people can remember deceased pets, including:
  • A memorial service in a place where the pet liked to walk or play.
  • A living memorial by planting a tree or flowerbed
  • A pet sculpture or portrait featuring the pet or their image printed on a coaster or other accessory
  • A scrapbook with photos and other reminders of the pet.
  • An online memorial with photos of the pet
  • A poem about the pet
  • Donating to charity like The Oldies Club or volunteering at an animal rescue centre in remembrance of the pet
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Precise figures for the number of animals abandoned in the UK each year are hard to come by but in 2017 the RSPCA found new homes for more than 44,600 animals, so given that the RSPCA is just one of a number of animal re-homing charities, it gives you an idea of the scale of the problem.

There is no shortage of abandoned pets in need of a home and choosing to adopt an abandoned pet is a way in which we can all do our bit to help alleviate a continuing national problem.  Although dogs and cats are the most popular choices you can also adopt rabbits, rodents, reptiles, birds, fish, poultry and even horses.

Whatever animal you choose to adopt, you need to give it a little forethought and a little planning, remember, you may not have a full history for your new pet and you won’t always know what trauma or illness your pet has endured. So, here are some suggestions for things you ought to consider.

Bonding

Make sure that you’re going to be able to spend time with your new pet so that you can get to know one another.  It won’t do to bring a frightened, disorientated animal into a new environment and then rush off to work and leave it alone for eight hours.  Maybe you’ll need to take a few days off work so that you can spend time settling your new pet into its new home, that way it will become comfortable and trusting much sooner.

Vaccinations

Your pet might have spent time living on the street at some point so make sure that it’s had all the necessary vaccinations and isn’t carrying any diseases.

Insurance

In order to make sure that your pet will always be taken care of, no matter what happens, you should take out pet insurance.  Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive available and will cover you for things like medical care, the cost of kennels or cattery if you are unable to look after your pet for a period of time and third-party cover should your pet harm another person or their property.  Interestingly, cats are legally regarded as ‘free spirits’ and consequently you won’t be liable for their actions.

Prepare your home

Depending on the kind of animal that you’re bringing into your home, you’re going to need to make sure that you’ve removed dangerous or precious objects and that your pet has its own safe place with plenty of toys.

Microchipping

The rescue centre will be able to tell you if your pet is microchipped, they may even have done it for you.  Microchipping an animal is the best way to ensure that if they go missing they can quickly be identified and it’s a legal requirement for all dogs in the UK.  The microchip is inserted by a vet in a simple, painless, procedure.  It’s important that once your pet is microchipped, you update your details when necessary.  This can be done online, by telephone or by post.

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Our Editor Marie Carter-Robb has a very dog-friendly cottage available for holiday lets.

Wagtail Cottage is a traditional cottage built in the 1890s and situated in the wonderful rambling countryside of rural County Durham, less than 2 miles from Raby Castle.

​Cosy and pet-friendly, Wagtail Cottage is located in the rural hamlet of Esperley, 3 miles from Staindrop. It’s the perfect retreat for anyone wishing to explore the local countryside or just take it easy.

View from garden

The surrounding area is ideal for walking and sightseeing, with a host of historical buildings to visit nearby, including impressive Raby Castle, The Bowes Museum, Egglestone Hall, set in attractive walled gardens, the ruins of Barnard Castle.

The cottage is self-catering and there will be welcoming treats for both pets and people on arrival. Warm and welcoming, the cottage is cosy and tastefully decorated.

To book and to find out more, visit: www.poochfriendlycottages.co.uk

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