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ISSN 2046-7303

Small change The rise of mini dog breeds

On the move

Keeping pets safe while travelling Why dog owners should be encouraged to take part in the life-saving blood donation scheme

The home stretch The wide range of reptile enclosures on the market are as varied as the creatures who inhabit them

A weighty issue Pet owners should keep a close eye on their animals’ diet to avoid becoming part of an obesity epidemic

This month

Editor’s letter

APRIL 2012 Contents Roundup 4 The latest news from the industry

Three minute interview


New appointments


Richard Rockett, brand manager, Burgess Pet Care Pastures new for professionals in the pet trade

Taking stock


Pet foods packing a punch


Small change


On the move


A weighty issue


The gift of giving


Focus on…pet beds


The importance of education


The best of British


An innovative and varied range of pet products Angela Baker looks at the pet food brands that have secured their position on the market by promoting a healthy approach to eating With more dog owners choosing smaller breeds, Naida Ally looks at the growing range of foods and accessories for these pint-sized pets Tim Berrisford stresses the importance of keeping animals safe on journeys at home and abroad Ray O’Mahony MVB MRCVS CVH offers advice on counting the calories and keeping animals’ weight in check Wendy Barnett, head of clinical and professional services at Pet Blood Bank UK, explains more about this service and how simple it is for dogs to donate their blood

More than just a place to sleep for the night, Naida Ally discovers that modern day pet beds provide comfort, support and endless commercial opportunities Michael Bellingham of the PFMA shows that educating pet owners can be the key to improving responsible ownership UK pet sector suppliers and manufacturers will be out in force at Interzoo 2012, showcasing their latest ideas and innovations to a global audience

Reptile special Roundup 51 The latest news for the reptile trade

Taking stock


The home stretch


Voice on the highstreet


A range of products and accessories for reptile owners There is a huge range of specialist reptile enclosures on the market, says John Berry

Andy and Jane Cooper, The Mutz Nutz, London


pril has been a busy month for many of the companies selling to the pet sector, with two key shows – Crufts and PATS Sandown. From what I saw on the first day at Crufts, trade certainly appeared brisk with the aisles in all five halls packed with visitors to the event. However, many in the trade have reported mixed fortunes with several exhibitors commenting on how many consumers were clearly reining in spending and being reluctant to spend large sums of money. The talking point of this show was undoubtedly the stance taken by the Kennel Club when it banned several breeds from going through to the Best in Group judging. Following veterinary checks, the dogs were found to have problems as a result of being bred with exaggerated characteristics. Many have welcomed the Kennel Club’s decision, including British Veterinary Association president Carl Padgett who said: “This strong action by the Kennel Club will be a wake-up call to those breeders and judges who still need to embrace the message that health should always be at the top of the agenda.” Also in the news this month was the announcement of the end of Petindex at Glee after a successful 12-year partnership. Pet exhibitors will now be able to participate in the main Glee show, which event director Nick Davison says “represents a valuable and growing sales opportunity,” and allows pet exhibitors to maximise their visibility to this valuable market. We are also planning a feature in a forthcoming issue on trends in the pet retail sector and will be looking for input from owners and managers of pet shops, so if you would like to air your views please email me. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue.

Sam Guiry




PET GAZETTE Established 2008

Managing Editor

Louise Hoffman Editor

Sam Guiry Editorial Assistant

Naida Ally Design/Production Editor

Tracy Jarvis Deputy Production Editor

Lewis Bowes Online Editor

Michael Northcott Group Advertisement Manager

Kelly Smith Advertisement Manager

Julie-Ann Kwok Accounts

Maureen Scrivener Customer Services

01206 767 797 Contributing writers

Angela Baker, Wendy Barnett, Michael Bellingham, Tim Berrisford, John Berry, Ray O’Mahony

ISSN 2046-7303 Pet Gazette is published monthly by:

Mulberry Publications Ltd, Wellington House, Butt Road, Colchester CO3 3DA Tel: 01206 767 797 Fax: 01206 767 532 The editor and publishers do not guarantee the accuracy of statements made by contributors or advertisers, or accept responsibility for any statement that they express in this publication. The opinion of the contributors may not necessarily be the opinion of the publishers. Articles are considered for publication on the basis that they are the author’s original work. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the permission of the publishers.

Pet suppliers to be allowed in main Glee exhibition

Annual trade show Glee and the Pet Care Trade Association (PCTA) have announced the end of Petindex by mutual agreement. Pet exhibitors will now be able to reach garden retail buyers by participating in the main Glee show instead. The existing licence between the PCTA and Glee’s organisers, Emap Connect, finishes “with immediate effect,” according to a statement from Glee. Glee, which takes place from 17 to 19 September at the NEC in Birmingham, will now feature pet exhibitors within its main garden retail areas, including emerging companies showcasing new ideas within Glee’s Innovation Zone. As part of Glee’s new agreement with the PCTA, the latter’s members will continue to receive a 12.5 per cent discount on exhibition space at Glee in 2012 and in the foreseeable future. The PCTA, which will regain its ownership of the Petindex brand, is thought to be considering options for its continuation and development. According to Glee’s statement, the decision to incorporate pet exhibitors into Glee’s main floor plan was reached following an extensive research project undertaken with Glee exhibitors and visitors during and after the 2011 show. Event director for Glee, Nick Davison, said: “Petcare represents a valuable and growing sales opportunity for the thousands of garden centres, online retailers, DIY retailers, supermarkets and high street names that Glee attracts. We therefore decided to integrate pet product suppliers into our main Glee exhibition, rather than in a separate Petindex show aimed at pet retailers.”

App is a first for the animal health recruitment sector Noble Futures has become the first company in animal health recruitment to launch a smartphone app. The app is available free of charge from iTunes, where people can search for the ‘perfect job’ or seek that elusive ideal candidate for a post, even while on the go. Quick to download and simple to navigate, prospective candidates can opt to have the latest vacancies sent to their iPhone, iPad or iPod in complete anonymity, allowing them to grab the opportunity to make an instant application when the time is right, or share the details with others to canvas their opinion. Noble Futures only operates in the animal health, agricultural and equine and pet sectors, focusing on sales, marketing and technical positions. More information can be found at, or the app can be downloaded from iTunes.

Pet experts warn of killer parasite in dogs across the UK The majority of UK dog owners (84 per cent) admit to not being able to identify the symptoms of a potentially fatal parasite in their dog. Dogs become infected with the lungworm parasite (Angiostrongylus vasorum) after eating common garden slugs and snails carrying the larvae. Once inside the dog’s system, the parasite travels through the body eventually ending up in the heart. If the infection is left untreated, the dog’s health can rapidly deteriorate, often resulting in death. A recent survey of 1,000 UK dog owners, launching the Be Lungworm Aware campaign, has revealed that 60 per cent admit their dogs eat things they shouldn’t. Furthermore, nearly 40 per cent don’t feel confident about always being in control of what their dog eats, while on walks or in the garden. Veterinary surgeon and award winning TV spokesperson, Luke Gamble, said: “Once a problem seen only in isolated areas, lungworm is spreading at an alarming rate in the UK. While dog owners are becoming more aware of lungworm, there is still a real lack of understanding as to the warning signs associated with the condition and that monthly prevention is vital and easy to achieve.” For details on lungworm, including a video on how dogs become infected with the parasite, visit


National pet event


Three minute interview

Now in its 23rd year, National Pet Month includes events across the UK that fundraise for local animal charities, while raising awareness of how pets make people’s lives happier and healthier. Running from 7 April to 7 May, there are plenty of ways to get involved, whether it’s setting up an event or entering one of the competitions. Phil Sketchley, chairman of National Pet Month, said: “Keep in touch with what’s on in your area by looking on our website. National Pet Month is an opportunity for us all to learn more about responsible pet care so we can enjoy our pets and make a winning team for many years to come. By following our 10 top tips, our animals will enjoy healthier and longer lives.” Details of how to join in and become a supporter can be found at

New association to help promote a scientific approach to animal welfare The Association for the Scientific Study of Veterinary and Animal Physiotherapy (ASSVAP) has been set up to provide a base for veterinary surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists and students to get the latest research and news relating to their profession. Formed by Gillian Elliot, the association came into being after Gillian’s dog, Morgan, was involved in a road traffic accident. Although Morgan was stabilised, Gillian was told that, because the dog’s quality of life would be so poor, she should consider euthanasia. Fortunately Gillian was advised by a friend to take Morgan to a local veterinary physiotherapist. The treatment was a success and Morgan made a full recovery. One of the key aims of ASSVAP is therefore to promote and champion the use of veterinary physiotherapy as an evidence-based discipline. Gillian said: “I was determined that I would try and help make a difference and after doing a lot of research I decided that there was definitely a need for an organisation like ASSVAP.” While anyone can apply for membership, each application is considered on its own merit. Full membership is £100 per annum, while student membership is £50 per annum. For more information, visit, find ASSVAP on Facebook, or follow on Twitter@assvap.

Dates for your diary 7 April – 7 May National Pet Month Nationwide

6 – 8 July The East of England Show Peterborough

29 July Suffolk Dog Day Helmingham Hall Suffolk

16 – 17 September PATS Harrogate IC Yorkshire

Writing about animals could secure top prize of £1,000 Poets from around the UK are being invited to share their love of animals by putting pen to paper in an annual competition. One of the largest publishers of new poetry, Forward Poetry, is offering budding writers the chance to tell their stories about a favourite animal for inclusion in the Animal Antics anthology. It could be about their quirks, habits or simply how much they mean to someone's life. Entrants will have the opportunity to be published in the special anthology to showcase a selection of talented poets and the chance to win £1,000. Poems must be with Forward Poetry by 27 April 2012 and entries must be no longer than 30 lines. For further information go to

Richard Rockett, brand manager, Burgess Pet Care Describe yourself in three words Enthusiastic, determined, diligent.

What is your earliest memory? Throwing a tantrum for being made to leave the house without the pushchair!

When you were at school, what did you want to be and why? A fighter pilot! I have a brother in the Air Force.

What was the first music single you bought? Morning Glory by Oasis.

If you could have dinner with one person, who would you choose and why? Comedian Stewart Lee. In my opinion, one of our greatest comedians.

What is the best advice you have been given? Always try to do more than is expected of you.

What is your next goal in life? To start a family. My first child is due in five weeks!

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why? Thailand – for the food.

What is your favourite quote or saying? “If dogs could talk, it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one” – Andrew A Rooney.

What is the most important thing your job has taught you? Keep things simple and uncomplicated.



and briefly Date for Suffolk Dog Day is set Suffolk Dog Day is back for the fifth year on Sunday 29 July to generate funds to help people and communities throughout the county through the work of the Suffolk Foundation. Helmingham Hall will open its gates and gardens to welcome all breeds, shapes and sizes of four legged friends, with their two legged owners and familes. The action-packed day of canine capers includes dog classes, entertainment and competitions judged by a team of experts including Peter Purves.

Bespoke pet insurance product Insurance broker Alan & Thomas (A&T) has launched a new insurance product aimed specifically at pet shops. Following extensive research and working in conjunction with a number of the UK’s leading insurers, the new policy seeks to cover all possible eventualities affecting pet shops including public liability and stock cover. Commercial account executive at A&T, Matt Gowing, said: “Pet shop owners and managers are advised to seek a bespoke policy tailored to their individual needs.”

Cranswick is a fast-growing firm Food and accessories manufacturer Cranswick Pet & Aquatics has been named one of the fastest growing private-equity-backed companies in the UK. The Buyout Track 100, published by the Sunday Times and accountancy firm Deloitte, named the manufacturer as being among the firms with the fastest growing profit in the UK over the last two years. The firm posted a 35 per cent increase in annual profit; success which it attributes to investment in expanding its factories and more advanced manufacturing equipment.

Bakers foods in hound and vision Dog food brand Bakers Meaty Meals launched the first-ever TV ad in the UK specially designed for dogs. Following a study into the sounds which really appeal to dogs, the commercial includes high frequency noises above 17,000 hertz, which are usually inaudible to the human ear, but set tails wagging. Other sounds include bells, barks and whistles popular with canine ears. Mark Zaki, Bakers brand manager, added: “With these special sounds we hope this delivers enjoyment for both dogs and their owners.”

World’s biggest canine competition closes amid controversy Crufts 2012 will not only be remembered for the crowning of a Lhasa Apso as champion but also the landmark decision to exclude several dogs from the Best in Group judging. The dogs, including a bulldog and Pekingese, which had been chosen as best of their breeds all failed the new veterinary health check. Prior to the event, the Kennel Club announced that it was to implement stringent checks of 15 high profile breeds that have been identified as having particular health problems as a result of being bred with exaggerated characteristics. Commenting, Carl Padgett, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said: “Breeding dogs with exaggerated features must be tackled robustly. The veterinary checks are sending out a strong message that dogs, with health problems will not win in the show ring and only visibly healthy dogs will be rewarded.” The checks were implemented by the Kennel Club in response to criticisms that it was not doing enough to promote good health in dogs and the decision to stop these breeds from taking any further part in the competition shows that it aims to enforce its ideal of “celebrating happy, healthy dogs.” Controversy aside, the 2012 show proved a success with a huge influx of visitors over the four days and many traders at the event reporting brisk business. Crufts has also established itself as more than just a dog show with a wide range of events celebrating all things canine from fast-paced flyball to heelwork to music. Commenting on the event Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club communications director, said: “This year has been such a great show; from rescue dog agility to Best in Show, there really has been so much going on.”

Pet pig movements to be controlled by a licence The eAML2 electronic pig movement system is to become mandatory at the beginning of April for all owners of pet or micro pigs in England and Wales. To be legal and comply with the Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Orders (PRIMO) 2011, pig movements must be reported through the eAML2 system, either by owners setting up the movement themselves online, or by This Little Piggy by Jane Croft with photography by Kate Whitaker. contacting the eAML2 Bureau Service. “Pig keepers do not need to worry if they have not got a computer or internet access,” said Dorothea Schiemann of the British Pig Executive (BPEX). “They can contact the Bureau Service by telephone, fax or post and they will set up the online movement on the pig keepers’ behalf. There will also be third party providers such as the BPEX.” From 1 April the current carbon copy AML2 paper form will no longer be a valid form of pig movement reporting. Go to for more information and to register for the service.


New appointments

New appointments Pastures new for professionals in the pet trade Pets at Home

Pets at Home has appointed former Dixons managing director Nick Wood as chief executive. Nick joins Pets at Home from American Golf, the private equity-backed retailer. He said: “Pets at Home has a unique place in the retail landscape, built on a strong identity and a real passion for people and pets. There’s an excellent management team and a real enthusiasm at all levels to achieve great things. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead such a talented team and drive the business to the next level.”

Ceva Animal Health UK

Malcolm Laurie has been appointed small animal marketing manager at Ceva Animal Health UK. Malcolm will be leading the marketing team to continue the strong growth of the company’s small animal portfolio of POM-V and pheromone products, which includes the veterinary behaviour products Feliway and Adaptil. He is an experienced sales and marketing manager from an industrial and consumer durables background, with expertise in marketing management in wholesale, trade, retail and ecommerce channels. Malcolm, who is originally from New Zealand, joins Ceva from TTi where he was trade marketing manager.

Allen & Page

Due to company expansion Allen & Page is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members of staff to its nutrition team. Briony Mitchell has joined the Norfolk-based company as an equine and animal nutritionist, working across all three brands – Allen & Page, the Smallholder Range and the Organic Feed Company. Also joining the team as feed advisor is Rachel Harrison, who will be working closely with the nutrition team and manning the busy feed helpline.


Shaun Wright has joined the ALF sales team as area sales manager for Scotland and the north of England. He will be working across all sectors of the ALF product range, including aquatic, pond, reptile and pet. Shaun brings with him a wealth of experience having worked within the industry for over 15 years and has a particular passion for marine fish, inverts and reptiles. Also new to ALF is Monique McQuinlan who joins the sales team as area sales manager for the south east and Isle of Wight. Monique brings with her a strong commercial background with over 25 years’ experience in customer services supporting sales teams globally, and more recently she ran her own specialist dog food company prior to it being sold. Ossie Jopp, who has been south coast area sales manager with ALF for over two years, now makes way for Monique McQuinlan, but will continue to cover London as well as now taking responsibility for additional areas in Bucks, Herts and Essex.

Has someone recently joined or moved to a new role within your company? You can send the details and a photo to


Taking stock



Nose2tail New canned premium complete dog food, Nose2tail, has been created with the help of leading herbal vet, Ray O’Mahony MVB MRCVS CVH. Manufactured in the UK, it contains a blend of 66 per cent human grade meat or salmon, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, berries and medicinal herbs. Optim Pet Products is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Chung and Smaranda Jim, who were inspired to produce a range of pet foods that were all made from natural, British ingredients without any artificial colourings, preservatives, flavourings or aromas. The 400-gram tins contain three varieties: chicken and potato loaf, lamb and potato loaf and a salmon and potato terrine. The food is available to buy online and will soon be available to stock by pet shops.

Dog Rocks Dog Rocks is a 100 per cent natural rock placed in a dog’s water bowl, used to help stop canine urine burn patches on lawns, shrubs and box hedges. “During the last three years, the average growth per annum has been 53 per cent, while Dog Rocks passed sales of one million packs in 2011, mostly in the UK and Australia,” reports the company. About a quarter of its sales are via veterinary wholesalers and Dog Rocks is now widely available through veterinary practices. The company adds: “The small unit takes up little shelf space, can be hung or placed on shelves and is a relatively high value item. Dog Rocks is a repeat purchase product; customers need to replace their Dog Rocks every two months thereby increasing footfall.” Information: 01628 822 243, or

Information: 01905 359 475, or


The Little Dog Laughed “If you can’t treat your best friend, then who can you treat?” says The Little Dog Laughed. The company’s new treat tins come highly commended by the Giftware Association in this year’s Gift of the Year 2012 competition. The round tins measure 14 by 23 centimetres with one for dogs and one for cats. The company adds: “They were the ‘must have’ product at our Crufts stand this year. We know there are lots of lucky mutts and moggies out there enjoying lots of lovely treats.” Information: 01332 290 605 or


Tag Smart Pets Tag Smart Pets has launched a unique QR (quick response) code pet identification tag which can be scanned by anyone with a smartphone, allowing a pet’s personalised web profile to be viewed online. Non-smartphone users can still access the profile by entering the tag ID into a search box on the website, via a traditional web browser or internet connection. The profile can be updated as often as required and at no extra cost by the owner. There are no additional fees whatsoever. “The beauty of the product lies in its simplicity, taking advantage of technology to ensure pets are even better protected,” explains Tag Smart Pets. Information: 07700 007 288, or

Taking stock


The Company of Animals The Company of Animals is launching an exciting new range of Pet Head bathing products to complement its existing grooming range. The company says: “With products such as the Dirty Paws Footbath, Playin’ Dirty Scrubby Towel and the Wet and Wild Grooming Apron, they are set to be firm favourites.” Using innovative designs and funky colours, all products are designed to be practical, fun and an essential for any Pet Head fan. Information: 01932 566 696


Burgess Excel Burgess Excel has extended its range of products for rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas to now include paper bedding. The company says: “Pet owners can spoil their beloved furries with a new super soft, cosy and ultra-absorbent bedding from within the same Excel range.” Made from virgin wood pulp – a by-product of the UK sustainable paper making industry – this fully recyclable and environmentally-friendly new bedding locks away moisture and liquids quickly and securely, which is important as standing around in damp conditions can cause real problems for a fibrevore’s feet. Not only does this mean a more hygienic, comfortable and safe bedding for pets, but the natural odour control means cleaning-out time is a little less smelly for owners. Information: 0800 413 969 or


SureFlap The multi-award-winning SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap identifies cats using their unique microchip number, preventing intruder cats from entering the home. Available in white or brown, SureFlap is a collarless, battery-operated cat flap which runs on four AA batteries. The company explains: “It is the only cat flap compatible with all common microchip types and can be installed into a door, window or wall.” Presented in attractive and robust packaging, SureFlap offers a range of accessories to assist fitting. SureFlap’s trade package provides a range of sales tools including a point of sale stand and microchipped plush cat for in-store demonstration. Information: 01954 211 664 or


Denes Denes Deluxe Meals for dogs are highly palatable, super premium foods packed in innovative and convenient two x 150 gram packaging, making them ideal servings for smaller dogs. The foods have a high meat content and are free from wheat-gluten and artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives. Cooked in the tray for freshness, they are available in three flavours: chicken with parsley, beef with potatoes and rice, and lamb with carrots and rice. The company says: “Since launching in late 2011, it has enjoyed increasing popularity in both the UK and Japan.” Information: 01273 229 084, or



Taking stock


Natural Dogs Making its entry into the European market, Natural Dogs will launch a range of natural pet remedies from the US at Interzoo. On special promotion is its Tear Stain Supplement which comes in tablet, chew or powder form, and the company says: “The product provides one of the first natural solutions to tear staining, a problem suffered by many small, white breeds.” Natural Dogs’ products treat a wide range of behavioural and physical problems from chewing and barking, to joint and skin conditions. Further information can be found at Interzoo (Stand 133, Hall 9) where it will be offering a free topical eye solution with every purchase. Information: Kim Harpur on 0208 841 5077, 07718 919 209 or

Before � After�


Supreme Petfoods Fibafirst uses a process developed by Supreme Petfoods to produce monoforage, a long fibre/high fibre component. Fibafirst contains 30 per cent fibre, making it very similar to a natural herbivorous diet. Developed in conjunction with specialist exotics vets, Supreme says: “Fibafirst is completely different from the foods currently available and takes the small pets’ category into super premium territory.” Boxed and with a striking graphic design, Fibafirst is available in trial size packs of 500 grams in Fibafirst rabbit; and 350 grams in Fibafirst guinea pig. Larger packs are also available in 1.5 kilograms for guinea pigs and two kilograms for rabbits.

Wicked Or What “The CarPET best-ever pet hair remover concept is magical!” says Wicked or What. “With little effort and at low cost, it has earned great respect from all those who love and live with pets.” It lifts, gathers and removes even the trickiest pet hairs and fluff while being hygienic and easy to use. Simply brush the block over any textured surface in the car or home, or it can even be used on horse rugs. Ideal for pet stores and a number of other markets, including groomers, equestrian, cleaning services, caravan and motor home, garden, hardware, mail order and the giftware market. The company says: “It has sold worldwide and beyond forecasts and expectations,” and both UK and international enquiries are welcomed. Information: 01285 760 656, or

Kong � 


Information: 0845 034 3330 or

Kong is launching three new products, available from wholesalers from late April 2012. The Kong Safestix for dogs are a safe, flexible and fun alternative to sticks. They are available in three bright colours and three sizes: small (30 centimetres), medium (50 centimetres) and large (70 centimetres). There’s also the Kong Cozie for dogs, which the company says has “enough stuffing to be soft and cuddly, which is great for quiet time and [comes] in nine adorable designs.” Finally, there’s the Kong Cat Wobbler – a treat and food dispenser providing mental and physical stimulation. A catnip-stuffed fluffy tail adds to the excitement and a simple, twist-off top allows easy filling and cleaning. Information:


Taking stock


Pure Dog Stagbars are the original, 100 per cent natural antler dog chew. The company says: “These popular and oft-requested chews last an incredibly long time. They are full of minerals and are natural teeth cleaners. They don’t splinter, don’t upset sensitive tummies or leave a mess, have minimal fat levels and are also suitable for puppies.” Call or email for trade prices and eye-catching display information. Information: 0845 272 5992 or


Mars Fishcare Quick Start is a “breakthrough in the aquatics industry,” allowing for the safe and immediate introduction of fish to the aquarium by starting the biological filter. Containing live nitrifying bacteria with a non-refrigerated shelf life of two and a half years, it limits toxic ammonia and nitrite, which helps prevent fish loss. Mars Fishcare explains: “This product will reduce drop-out rates and minimise fish loss, while keeping consumers engaged with the hobby. Beyond starting a new aquarium, Quick Start is recommended when adding fish, changing water, changing the filter or filter media after medicating or whenever ammonia or nitrite is detected.” It is available in three sizes: 30 millilitres, 118 millilitres, and 237 millilitres with a gravity feed display. Please contact your Mars Fishcare representative for special introductory offers, or call the main office. Information: 01895 431 624 or


Mr Johnson’s Mr Johnson’s Advance Rabbit Food is a mono-component nugget that prevents selective feeding and is formulated to support the health and wellbeing of rabbits. It contains essential fibre, which assists with normal digestive function and aids dental wear; Bio-Moss, a pre-biotic that maintains gut health and helps with gut micro flora; and De-Odorase, which contains yucca extract, known for its ability to reduce ammonia in animal waste resulting in reduced hutch and litter tray odours. It also contains glucosamine to aid joint mobility, and vitamins and minerals to boost the immune system, support normal growth and development, and help cells and organs perform effectively. It is available in 1.5 kilogram and 10 kilogram bags. Information: 01476 577 670


Cranswick Pet Products Nature’s Feast Finches Favourite from Cranswick Pet Products is a high-energy food, suitable for a range of feeders. The mix has been specially formulated to include a balance of our feathered friend’s best-loved seeds: nyjer seeds, chopped sunflower hearts and red millet. Customers can expect to attract a bright array of colourful songbirds with this blend, including chaffinches, greenfinches and goldfinches. The seeds are also suitable for great tits, blue tits, tree sparrows and house sparrows, adding vibrant colour to any garden. Information: 01377 200 800 or


Pet foods

Pet foods packing a punch Angela Baker says that pet food brands with personality and healthy ingredients are the key to financial success for retailers. Here she takes a look at the improvements made to pet food and how companies are coming up with increasingly innovative ways to position their products in the market


ver the past three to four years there has been a huge growth in the number of new pet food brands coming on to the market. Cat and dog owners can now choose from a vast array of diets including wet, dry, organic, raw, holistic and gluten-free. With this vast range, how do dog and cat owners decide what to feed their pets? And what should pet retailers be stocking to meet their requirements? When I first started working in the industry, pet food was getting something of a bad press. Stories in the media raised concerns over the types of ingredients that were being used in pet foods, and by speaking to various people at shows throughout the UK, I became aware that dog and cat owners did not always trust the advice they were given on nutrition. This was particularly the case if they thought a dog or cat food brand was being pushed on them, and as a result, they asked some very searching questions as to what was or wasn’t in the food they were buying. This has ultimately led to an increase in the popularity of premium foods, BARF diets and organic or gluten-free recipes. Despite the recession, dog and cat owners are still prepared to pay that little bit extra for what they see as peace of mind when it comes to buying the right food for their pets. This is borne out by a recent survey by the PFMA, reported in last month’s Pet Gazette, where

retailers said they wanted more information and choice on premium and special diet foods to meet consumer demand. Like human beings, every cat or dog is different and each pet has to be treated as an individual when it comes to nutrition. From talking to pet owners, some of the most common ailments affecting their pets include allergies or intolerances to grains or gluten, often resulting in itchy skin or biting of paws. The onset of joint or arthritic conditions is also a major concern, and quite often they are looking for foods to help counter these problems in cats and dogs. When stocking products, retailers should look for brands that offer a comprehensive range of foods based on the size of pet, activity level and age – protein levels in particular should vary according to the age and activity levels of a cat or dog. One of the newest brands to enter the UK market is Happy Dog from Germany. The company has developed what it calls its unique ‘Life Plus’ concept. It has put together a range of core ingredients in its foods including New Zealand mussels and ingredients inspired by healthy cuisines from around the world in its Supreme Sensible Nutrition Range, to give cats and dogs what it believes to be “food for life.” Its premium ranges cater for different sizes of budgets, sizes of cat or dog, and also takes into consideration the activity levels of the owners’ pets.

Many of the premium brands now include vitamin and vitamin-booster packs which include additional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin for joints and cartilages, as well as supplements for the immune system. The addition of omega oils also helps the coat, skin and joints and the emphasis is on helping with the ageing process, enabling cats and dogs to remain active for longer. Companies are also looking at herbal supplements as a means to improve pet health, with Lily’s Kitchen including botanical herbs in its organic range of wet and dried foods. One of the most recent additions in this category is Optim Pet Products’ nose2tail, which uses medicinal herbs in its recipes which it says, “boosts the effectiveness of other ingredients, vitamins and minerals in its foods.” The company has also developed a food for itchy skin problems with the help of leading herbal vet Ray O’Mahony of Phytoforce Herbals Tonics. With increasing numbers of pets suffering from food allergies and insensitivities, more pet owners are demanding hypo-allergenic foods. Retailers should look out for foods that do not contain grains and gluten and perhaps use potato instead as a substitute for rice, and wheat or maize for pets that have problems with food intolerances. Other recent trends include the use of pre- and pro-biotics in food to help with a

Pet foods

pet’s digestive system. Dicksons Just Delicious is one of a number of dog food brands to go down this route and it uses a key ingredient in its food called Vetoxan for this purpose. There are now a few other brands which also use pre- and pro-biotics in their ranges and again this is something for retailers to think about when stocking products. Many of the companies now offering these ‘healthy’ foods have been inspired to develop their own recipes or ranges through personal experience and by wanting to improve the nutrition of their own pets. This proved to be the catalyst for a number of brands including Lily’s Kitchen, Natural Instinct, Fish4Dogs, Barf Pet Foods, Healthy Paws and now, Nose2tail. Company director David Brock says: “Natural Instinct was born as a result of the repeated health problems of our Welsh terrier, Maggie. She suffered constantly with scratching, hot spots, chewing her paws and severe ear infections.” His solution was the development of a range of foods that combines human-grade meats, Scottish salmon oil and no fillers, additives or preservatives. It is a similar story for veterinary nurse Lisa Horne, who looked at diets of the animals in her care and in conjunction with nutritional advisors and vets, produced the Healthy Paws range. She explains: “Our focus has been to produce an overall feeding philosophy that incorporates both a completely nutritionally-balanced food along with a herbal supplement and treat range which complements this.” Many of these companies believe that if the food is not good enough for them to eat then they shouldn’t be feeding it to cats or dogs. These brands rely on human grade meat products in their ranges and even some of the canned dog food ranges coming out now include organic or human grade meat in their recipes. This is again something to consider when choosing your stock as pet owners are now looking for this kind of reassurance from their purchases. In conclusion, the improvements to pet food that are now being made by the latest class of entrepreneurial pet food manufacturers can only be a good thing, leading to longer and healthier lives for all of our pets. Retailers should look to stock their shops with a choice of premium dried, wet and BARF diet ranges to suit all budgets. They should check ingredients, look out for things such traceability and consider what sort of pets these foods are suitable for. Getting under a brand’s personality is often the key to giving the right advice to a customer, and finding out why a brand started out in the first place can often be a good starting point, as well as gathering support material and testimonials from satisfied customers. If you follow the above formula, then you should be stocking the right sort of foods to cater for today’s discerning customers and their equally discerning pets.

Supplier Listing Barf Pet Foods: Dicksons: Happy Dog: Nose2tail: Phytoforce:



Miniature dog breeds

Small change M With miniature dog breeds becoming the companion of choice , Naida Ally finds out more about their nutritional needs and the range of accessories available to the owners of these popular pint-sized pets

iniature dog breeds, also known as ‘toy dogs,’ are generally those weighing up to 18 pounds. They may be of a variety of types, including spaniels, pinschers and terriers that have been bred down in size. The very smallest dogs in this category are sometimes called ‘teacup’ size, although no major dog registry recognises that term. Most of a small-breed puppy’s growth occurs in the first six months of its life and at 10 months it will be fully grown. To fuel this rapid development, a proper ratio of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals must be provided. Small dogs also have a higher metabolism, the process by which food is converted into energy within the dog’s body. They lack the energy reserves of their larger counterparts as well. In terms of the specific nutritional needs for mini dog breeds, Gudi Stuttard, veterinary support manager for Royal Canin, says: “The canine species is highly diverse, with adult body weights from less than one kilogram right up to 100 kilograms or more. So it makes sense that there are also very specific physiological differences which can affect the nutritional needs of different sizes of dogs. At Royal Canin we classify mini dogs as those with an adult body weight, or expected adult weight, of 10 kilograms or less. We also have a special

category for extra small dogs weighing under four kilograms as adults.” Mini and extra small dogs tend to grow at a much faster rate than bigger dogs, multiplying their birth weight rapidly and reaching adult weight in just eight to 10 months. In comparison, a giant dog may take two years to reach adulthood and needs to grow at a very steady, sustained rate to support healthy development. A mini or extra small puppy’s nutritional programme needs to be adapted to support this rapid growth. Gudi explains: “Mini and extra small dogs also have a tendency to live longer than other dogs, with an average life expectancy of around 15 years, compared to 12 years for a medium dog, so supporting longevity through nutrition is important.” These pint-sized pooches also have a higher energy requirement than bigger dogs, needing nearly double the calories per kilogram of bodyweight to support daily maintenance and activity. This makes sense when you consider how much harder they have to work to run the same distance! A dog’s size can also influence certain health sensitivities, which can be supported through nutrition. Gudi says: “Mini and extra small dogs are prone to dental health issues because their teeth are crowded into their small, delicate jaws. Many mini and extra small breeds are prized for their beautiful coats, so skin and coat health is a key consideration too.” As these dogs are also more likely to live an urban, sedentary lifestyle, and may even be frequently carried rather than walked, owners need to watch the dog’s weight and as these dogs know what they like, a fussy appetite is also common.

Miniature dog breeds

One might wonder whether there is much nutritional difference between speciallyformulated miniature dog food and products tailored towards larger dogs. “Nutrition specifically formulated for mini and extra small dogs tends to be richer in protein and fat to support their higher energy requirements,” explains Gudi, “although rations must be closely controlled and body condition carefully monitored in order to avoid the risk of weight gain. Mini and extra small junior diets are adapted to support the rapid growth and development of these dogs.” Specially-tailored diets for mini and extra small dogs are also designed to support their lengthy ageing process, with high levels of antioxidants, essential fatty acids and a reduced phosphorus content to help keep the kidneys healthy. The amino acid L-carnitine encourages the use of fat for energy and supports muscle mass, while calciumchelating agents can reduce the build-up of tartar, supporting dental health. Gudi also adds: “Special combinations of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals can help to keep the mini and extra small dog’s skin and coat in the best possible condition. The use of highly digestible raw materials, including low indigestible proteins (LIP), along with pre-biotic fibres to support healthy digestive flora, helps to maintain a healthy digestive system; and a highly palatable formulation, adapted to the appetites of smaller dogs, helps to encourage consistent intake and enjoyment in fussy mini and extra small dogs.” Gudi also stresses the importance of kibble size with Royal Canin producing a shape and

size, adapted to little jaws encouraging good chewing activity to promote dental health and slower eating, which is good for digestive health. Gudi concludes: “As more is understood about the impact of diet on health in humans, there is an increasing trend among dog owners to choose tailored health nutrition products for their dogs. This means feeding diets adapted not only to life-stage, but also to size and activity levels, health status and even breed.” Breed health nutrition is a recent development, with certain species recognised as having very particular nutritional sensitivities. For example, miniature schnauzers have a tendency to urinary issues and fat metabolism problems, while dachshunds benefit from extra support for bones and joints as their unusual body shape puts their spine under extreme mechanical stress. Along with nutritional options, there are a multitude of products available for tiny tail waggers – many of which have been publicised in the media through celebrities and reality TV stars, who treat their pups to the latest fashionwear and accessories. The products on the market range from clothing and jewellery, to handbags, perfumes and even sunglasses! Bell and Barker, which provides pet accessories, has witnessed the rise of the miniature pooch, with its specialist range. Sue Barker points out that the range “is popular, but it’s not all about dressing up your dog. There are practical benefits to all of the products Bell and Barker offers. The Alqo Wasi range is made from Alpaca wool, which is lanolin-free making it suitable for dogs that cannot tolerate ordinary wool, and it’s also approximately 10 times warmer than merino wool. They are very popular in the smaller sizes – but cater for all dogs – and the most popular styles in the range are the Red Splendor, Paco Design and Argyle sweaters.” Due to their size, mini dog breeds are a convenient companion of choice and their popularity has increased in recent years. While figures suggest a positive influence on the pet trade industry, there are also concerns about the rising trend. Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, explains: “Celebrities, popular culture and fashion play a big part in today’s society and dogs are not immune from our fickle tastes. This unfortunately is reflected in the growing number of exotic breeds coming into our breed rescue societies, as people realise they can’t give them the exercise, grooming or care they need. We are still very concerned about people choosing dogs simply because a celebrity has one. This relates to small dogs but also designer cross breeds and fashionable exotic breeds.” Likewise, Paula Boyden, veterinary director of dog welfare charity Dogs Trust, comments:

“Toy dogs represent those breeds of dog that are bought as fashion accessories often to be carried in a handbag. In the past five years we have seen a 39 per cent increase in the number of toy dogs handed into our rehoming centres. Nearly half (48 per cent or 493) of fashion dogs handed in during 2010 were under two years of age.” Paula adds: “This illustrates how dangerous any fashion that involves dogs is. As the trend increases it encourages irresponsible breeding, then, when the trend wanes, sadly the level of abandonment rises. We’ve seen this with toy breeds across all 17 of Dogs Trust’s rehoming centres in the last year.” While there will always be concerns raised when it comes to pet trends, the most important thing is for owners to be equipped with the knowledge necessary to see their miniature mongrels through a happy life – and the best place to start is by having access to the necessary products to make this possible. As Gudi Stuttard concludes: “Mini dogs are certainly taking over the world. A surprising 40 per cent of the global dog population are mini, and Kennel Club figures show this trend is increasing in the UK. Owners are recognising just how special these little dogs with big personalities are.”



Miniature dog breeds

On the shelf

With smaller breeds of dogs proving popular with pet owners, we look at the companies catering for their needs


he Kennel Club reported how toy breeds of dogs have enjoyed a 20 per cent rise in popularity since 2005, with particularly strong demand for the Chihuahua, dachshund and pug. Explaining their appeal, Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko says: “Toy breeds were bred purely as companion dogs and so tend to need less exercise and are cheaper to own than larger working breeds, making them a better fit for some modern day lifestyles.” The increasing interest in small dogs has also been acknowledged by many pet product manufacturers and suppliers including James Wellbeloved, with the company adding a larger 7.5 kilogram bag to its Small Breed Dog Food range in response to high demand. Marketing manager Anne-Laure Jaouën says: “Small Breed Dog Food has taken off in a big way, and making all four variants available in a larger pack will enable our pet trade partners to capitalise even further on this very important sector of the market.” The company adds: “James Wellbeloved Small Breed Dog Food was the first naturally hypoallergenic complete dry food specifically formulated to fulfil the unique nutritional requirements of small dogs.” The range is energy-dense to provide the proportionately higher levels of energy smaller dogs need. The recipes also contain anti-bacterial green tea extracts to promote optimum oral health and contain cranberry extracts. Each variant uses only a single source of protein and fat, and the formulas are highly palatable to appeal to small breed


dogs that are renowned for being fussy eaters. The Small Breed Dog Food is available in Turkey & Rice; Lamb & Rice; Duck & Rice and Fish & Rice; and in 1.5 kilogram and 7.5 kilogram bags. As well as foods specially tailored for small dogs, companies are also offering a wide range of accessories for breeds such as Pomeranians and poodles. Collarways' Lupine range of collars is ideal for toy breeds and puppies. They are made from strong, woven nylon and are available in a wide range of patterns or in five classic, plain colours. All collars have an 'Even-If-Chewed' guarantee, a quick release buckle and come in three different sizes – the smallest is six to nine inches, which fits a Chihuahua puppy. To keep small dogs amused, Collarways also stocks two Zogoflex mini toys – the Hurley and the Zisc. Both are made from the patented Zogoflex material, which is non-toxic and as the company says, “creates virtually no waste during the manufacturing process.” The Zogoflex toys are dishwashersafe and any discarded or damaged dog toys can be returned to Collarways for recycling on site. The bone-shaped Hurley and frisbee-style Zisc are buoyant, pliable and durable and all Zogoflex toys have a one-time replacement guarantee. The smallest breed of dog in the world, the Chihuahua is described by the British Kennel Club as “cheeky, and with a saucy expression; he leaves you in no doubt that he thinks he is a big dog – and at heart he is.” For avid fans of this breed, PetLondon offers a range of products bearing its Kiki Chihuahua

Miniature dog breeds

Pet London

character, from melamine food bowls and soft teacup toy to a comfortable fleece blanket to keep pets warm. Company founder Melanie Lewis used her own Yorkshire terrier cross as the inspiration for PetLondon and today she distributes a range of products which “make [a] pet’s life more fun and exciting with a selection of fashionable pet apparel, chic carriers, exciting toys, yummy treats and amazing accessories.” Certain breeds of small dogs such as pugs and dachshunds are prone to weight gain, so owners need to be careful when feeding treats. Pet Munchies says that today’s consumers are demanding natural, healthy products for their pets and its range of treats are ideal to break off into smaller pieces and feed to toy breeds. They are naturally low in fat and carbohydrates and high in protein, and the company says they are packed with “natural textures, flavours and exceptional palatability dogs love.” They are available in four varieties: chicken breast fillet; chicken chips; chicken strips and duck breast fillet and all are made from 100 per cent meat and slow-roasted in their own natural juices. Many owners of small dogs like to pamper their petite pets and Hemmo and Co offers a range of products that are ideal for customers who take pride in their dog’s appearance. The co-ordinated Small Dog Harness and Lead Set is available in a wide range of colours including pink, purple, blue and a striking black star design. The harness is fully adjustable to accommodate chest and neck sizes from 10 to 16 inches. For owners wanting a bit more sparkle, Hemmo and Co stocks the three-row Diamante Collar and Lead Set, which it says is “perfect for the petite breeds” and is available in black and pink and fits an eight to 11 inch collar size. James Wellbeloved


Pet Munchies

Hemmo and Co

Supplier Listing Barker and Barker: Bell and Barker: Bern Pet Foods: Collarways: James Wellbeloved: Hemmo and Co: Natural Pet Products: PetLondon: Petcrazee: Roger Skinner: U-MARQ:



Pet travel

On the move With increasing numbers of owners travelling with their pets, Tim Berrisford, a partner of Easy Animal, looks at how they can keep their animals safe on journeys at home and abroad


et owners have become more upwardly mobile over the last decade, travelling more frequently with their pets than ever before. For this reason alone, the pet industry’s dog travel sector is growing and there is a demand from all pet owners to supply products that help to move their animals in a safe and effective manner. As a nation, Britain certainly seems to be becoming more pet friendly and the Kennel Club’s initiative to encourage hotels, guest houses and pubs to welcome pets has certainly helped. This trend may be partly driven by the difficult economic situation but the bottom line is that rather than leaving pets at home, many people are benefiting from spending more quality time with them. A recent report suggested that up to 82 per cent of us take our dogs on car journeys, so safety is a real issue for pet owners. While there isn’t currently any UK legislation requiring us to secure pets in cars during transit, the majority of people clearly understand how dangerous a loose dog can be in the event of a road accident, therefore dog guards, dog transit boxes and safety harnesses are essential equipment to help protect pets in the event of a crash. A major concern is that some of the pet travel products sold in the UK have not been independently crash tested and could easily fail during impact, so it is important to buy a well-established brand.

Pet owners who struggle to get their dog into a car can now choose from a wide range of ramps to help elderly or incapacitated animals to climb into the vehicles, and these ramps are recommended by many leading veterinarians. Irrespective of the type of vehicle owned, it is important that dogs don’t jump out of cars as the impact can lead to many joint-related problems. Ideally, all dogs should use a ramp from six months upwards and the great news is that recent developments in technology mean there are now some very light, stable dog ramps available in a wide range of lengths, to suit all cars, even higher 4 x 4s. For those who prefer two wheels, there are now some great dog travel products for cyclists where the dog can be attached to a bike to run alongside it; and for less energetic canines, there is a growing market for bicycle dog trailers. Some of these also morph into pet strollers for customers who want to walk with an incapacitated dog. Companion animals commonly taking day trips, weekend excursions and family holidays make up a fast growing segment of the travel industry and the new UK Pet Travel Scheme makes it far easier to travel with pets than ever before. There had always been restrictions on travelling internationally but new legislation makes it less taxing, as the rules have been relaxed so pet dogs and cats can enter the UK more easily. Gone are the lengthy quarantine provisions and now all that is required is the pet has to be fitted with a microchip; it has to

Pet travel

be vaccinated against rabies; have a current pet passport; and finally, have been treated by a vet for tapeworm. This is great news for pet owners and retailers, as we should see a real surge in people taking pets with them on holidays rather than leaving them in kennels. If any pet owners are travelling to a different country, it is advisable to carry a microchip scanner so that the pet’s chip can be easily located. This proves to border staff that the animal has been microchipped and avoids a lengthy quarantine stay and a ruined holiday. This new legislation is also great news for owners of pet-friendly

All images: Solvit Products

accommodation who actively encourage families to bring their pets. This is a large growth sector both at home and abroad, and the new pet travel scheme ultimately means more bookings. For pet owners thinking of travelling overseas, it is important to research the place they plan to visit, as some countries are more welcoming than others to dogs. It is also important to check the local climate to ensure the animal will be comfortable in the conditions. The new UK Pet Travel Scheme may also see growth in airline travel which, in turn, will significantly boost the sale of airlineapproved pet carriers. However, the travel industry has stringent rules regarding these products and customers would be advised to check which carriers the airlines accept before purchasing one. As an industry we want to encourage pet travel, as this is clearly good for owners and retailers alike. However, we need to actively encourage safe pet travel and be the catalyst to bring about new legislation to ensure that all pets are safely secured in transit. Easy Animal is a family-run business with extensive experience of handling and supplying a wide selection of quality products for dogs. Now one of the country’s leading pet websites, the company has expanded to include cat and small animal ranges that can be delivered quickly and efficiently direct to the door. Easy Animal recently became the UK distributor for American-based firm, Solvit Products. For further information please go to



Pet travel

On the shelf

Whether it’s a trip to the vets, a weekend away or a walk in the park to take advantage of the warmer weather, there are plenty of products to keep pets safe while travelling or out and about Solvit


ccording to one of the UK’s leading driving road-based safety associations, GEM Motoring Assist, “the safety of dogs in cars does not get the attention it deserves.” The organisation has stressed the dangers of travelling with a loose dog in a vehicle and says: “It may look sweet when you see man’s best friend sticking its head out of the window, [but] an unrestrained averagesized dog weighing about 50 pounds would be thrown forward with a force equivalent to almost nine 12-stone men, even when travelling just 30 miles an hour.” Companies supplying the pet sector have recognised the importance of travel safety and devised a range of products to secure animals while on the move. This includes the use of vehicle safety harnesses, which not only restrain the dog in transit but also reduce potential distractions for the driver. Solvit’s Pet Vehicle Safety Harness has been designed with both the pets’ safety and comfort in mind, with heavyduty straps attached to a fully-padded vest and a breathable inner layer for optimal comfort. Full metal connectors are used at all load-bearing points and the safety leash integrates with the vehicle’s seat belt tensioning device, providing a range of motion while travelling, but locking in case of a sudden stop. The design makes it easy to load and unload pets and it can be installed in all vehicles. The safety harness is available in four sizes: small, for pets from six to 25 pounds; medium, fits pets from 20 to 55 pounds; large, for pets from 45 to 85 pounds; and extra large, for pets from 60 to 120 pounds. Gor Pets says: “Car safety should be at the top of the list for any dog owner. In fact the rules under DEFRA and point 57 of the Highway Code mean that dog owners can be prosecuted if dogs are not suitably restrained

Gor Pets




and cause distraction or injury to themselves or passengers.” The company is now distributing the award-winning Patento Pet range – Patento is a German company specialising in the design and manufacture of pet training products which are easy to use, non-invasive and recommended by trainers and veterinarians. This includes Patento’s City Leash, a multi-functional short leash with an integrated car adapter, making it ideal for combined walks and car rides, without the need to fiddle with separate adapters. It comes in premium and basic, and both are made from weatherproof nylon with comfortable, padded handle. The premium model also features reflective stitching and a mini pocket and zipper in the adapter casing. For small dogs and cats that need to be taken to the vets, a large rigid carrier has always proved a popular option. EzyDog has devised an innovative and clever design addressing the problem of how to store the pet transporter when it is not in use. Made from high density neoprene-derived foam, the company says the pet transporter “can be folded and zipped up to a size no bigger than a decent handbag.” Although light and soft, it is strong enough for dogs and cats weighing up to seven kilograms and comes with a removable and washable liner, grab handle, a removable shoulder strap and is available in two colours – green and grey. Many pet owners face the problem of packing pockets with everything they need when they take their dog out, whether it’s treats and poop bags, mobile phones or house keys. Supplier and manufacturer of pet products, Bell and Barker, has found an innovative solution in the shape of the Leashpod, a clever carry-all solution that can be used on walks, or for travel and holidays. It features a bag dispenser and two water-resistant pockets – perfect for an Iphone, keys, money and more. It even has its own scented minibin to conceal a dog waste bag until the owner finds a suitable site for disposal. It is available in two sizes and three colours and the company is offering customers a trade starter pack with a free video display unit and demo pod.

Belle and Barker


Pet travel

Always on the look-out for innovative and original pet accessories, Bell and Barker also offers the Bowldog, a flexible and re-useable travel bowl. Compact and durable, it can be folded completely flat after use and put away in a pocket, bag or glove compartment. The company stresses the importance of keeping dogs hydrated while they are out and about, saying: “With Bowldog owners can give their dog a drink from any tap or bottle, eliminating the need to share communal bowls and so help prevent cross contamination from other dogs’ saliva.” The Bowldog comes in a mix of eight attractive designs and is available in an eye-catching, compact counter/shelf display box of 40 units or a handy clip strip pack of 12. Travelling by car can be very stressful for many pets but there is a range of remedies available to ease anxiety. Natural Dogs offers its Quiet Moments Range in tablets, liquid, soft chews, and sprays that can help support a dogs’ nervous system and reduce tension in cars, planes or boats. Containing chamomile, passion flower, ginger and L-Tryptophan to name but a few of the ingredients, they are available in a timerelease formula and can be used in all dogs over the age 12 weeks. Natural Dogs also offers At Ease, which is formulated with simulated pheromones to create a sense of wellbeing for cats in a room, vehicle or carrier. The company says: “The effect is constantly comforting residual air, effective for up to eight to 10 hours.” Travelling can be also be a traumatic experience if a pet suffers from travel sickness, but Hilton Herbs offers a variety of solutions to ease the common symptoms of vomiting, panting and salivating. Tranquility Gold, a liquid blend of calmative herbs added to food daily, is a long-term solution for pets who travel frequently. Travel homeopathic remedies such as petroleum or cocculus are also recommended, but owners are advised to seek specific advice from a homeopathic vet. Bach Flower remedies, which work on the emotional aspect of the problem, include Recovery (Rescue) and Mimulus and are easy to administer either in drinking water or directly in the pet’s mouth. Other suggestions include a few drops of

Bell and Barker

Natural Dogs

Hemmo and Co

Hilton Herbs


peppermint oil on a pet’s travel rug, and Thundershirt (a kind of canine ‘swaddling’ cloth) or a travel harness, both of which can promote a feeling of security in a pet while travelling. Adaptil and Feliway from Ceva are among some of the UK’s leading veterinary behaviour products. Adaptil helps support dogs in stressful situations such as kennel environments and travelling and is available in three presentations. Adaptil Spray can be used during car journeys and reduces travel fears while the Adaptil Collar is convenient for owners placing dogs in kennels. The company says: “It is proven to reduce kennel stress and is used by the Dogs Trust.” For owners leaving their pet with family or friends, or staying in a holiday home, the Adaptil Diffuser can help them settle in. Feliway prevents stress during transportation and while cats are in catteries. It is available as a plug-in diffuser – which is a convenient and cost-effective behavioural product for multi-cat households – and as a handy spray for local applications and when travelling in the car. The Dog Car Harness from Hemmo and Co prevents dogs and passengers from being hurt in the event of a collision by keeping the dog securely in place while giving freedom of movement to sit or lie down. The car harness can also have a calming effect on barking and excitable dogs while in the car. Made from strong nylon and with a padded chest piece for extra comfort and protection, it is fully adjustable and covers most dog sizes and shapes. Although owners may take every precaution to secure their pet while travelling, in the event of escape it is important the dog carries some form of identification. Both microchipping and tagging can easily re-unite pet and owner, and U-MARQ offers an extensive range of pet tags in various styles, colours, sizes and materials, from anodised aluminium and nickel-plate to stainless steel. The company says: “The pet tags are going from strength to strength for U-MARQ. We are probably now one of the largest suppliers, distributing to over 20 countries. This year we are expanding our choice even further, to one of the largest available.”

Supplier Listing Bell and Barker: Ceva: Easy Animal: Ezydog: Hemmo and Co: Hilton Herbs: Natural Dogs: U-MARQ:



Obesity and weight loss

A weighty issue This month, Ray O’Mahony MVB MRCVS CVH looks at the worrying rise of obesity in pets, the causes and the need for owners to ensure their animals adopt healthier lifestyles


onsidering the regular headlines on the ballooning size of the nation, it is no surprise to learn that our pets are going the same way. Various studies across the USA, Australia, the UK and Europe estimate that between 29 and 43 per cent of dogs and cats are overweight and about 15 to 20 per cent are obese. Why is this not surprising? Well, they share our homes, our feeding habits and our sedentary lifestyles, so now they share our bulging waistlines too. Vets and nutritionists classify an animal as overweight if it is 15 to 30 per cent above the recommended weight for the breed or body size, and obese if it is more that 30 per cent heavier that it should be. The disparity between an owner’s assessment of their pet’s condition and the vet’s assessment is one of the key problems in dealing with the growing issue of pet obesity. In a recent study 47 per cent of the dogs examined were classed as overweight by the attending vet, yet only 17 per cent of the owners agreed with this assessment. The easiest way of assessing an animal’s

condition is to run a hand over its ribs. Ideally, the pet owner should be able to feel the ribs just under the skin, but if they are pushing through inches of fat then, clearly, there is a problem. Assessing the animal from the side, the pet owner should look at its belly and if this hangs down, this generally means the animal is carrying a lot of abdominal fat. Viewing from above, the animal should have an appreciable waist from behind its ribs to where it widens at the pelvis. The health issues associated with obesity in pets are almost identical to those we hear from doctors regarding our own health. Being overweight puts more strain on the heart and causes overheating and exercise intolerance. It gives rise to skin problems, diabetes, asthma, collapsing trachea, arthritis and soft tissue injuries such as cruciate ruptures. It also reduces immunity and is associated with urinary tract disease such as urinary crystals and cystitis. Overweight animals are also more likely to have difficulty under general anaesthetic, which makes even routine operations like neutering much more of a risk.

Being overweight also significantly reduces lifespan. A study carried out by Purina over 14 years followed a group of labradors, with half allowed as much food as they wanted and the remaining dogs fed an amount equivalent to 75 per cent of that eaten by the original group. The second group lived on average two years longer. So, with such insurmountable evidence why do the numbers of overweight pets continue to climb? A Hills study in a large population of dogs and cats found that although 50 per cent were overweight, some 76 per cent of their owners thought their pets were healthy. Clearly, there appears to be a real problem in people’s perception of what is a healthy weight for their pets. In most cases the owner is the sole provider of food for their pet. Obesity occurs when the energy consumed outweighs the energy expended on a daily basis, so as long as owners continue to feed more than their pets need, the problem will continue. Pet food manufacturers also need to make feeding guidelines clearer, as these are usually for dogs taking a reasonable amount of exercise. Few manufacturers have guides

Obesity and weight loss

that show lower recommended intakes for less active pets. Considering one in four owners admit to never taking their dogs for a walk, that’s 25 per cent of the dog population eating too much already. This does not take into consideration the treats that are fed – many of which are full of fats and sugars – which add considerably to the daily calorific intake. Weight loss programmes for pets should, in theory, be very easy to implement. After all, pet owners provide the food, so by just reducing intake they should enjoy a reasonable level of success. However, keeping clients motivated and dedicated to the task at hand is very difficult. We run weight loss clinics at our practice and find the key is to advise weight loss from benefits it will impart, rather than just for the sake of losing weight. Regular weight checks are very important and exercise is a key factor in not only reducing weight, but in maintaining any loss. This can be difficult to encourage, especially in an owner who takes no exercise him or herself. We try to spell out the benefits of exercise for both

pet and owner and emphasise the health improvements and enjoyment even very short walks will provide. There are two licensed medicines, Slentrol and Yarvitan, available from vets that assist with weight loss in dogs. These work by reducing the absorption of fat from the intestine and by providing a sense of satiety. They are not quick fixes and should only be used as part of a well-constructed weight loss programme. Changing feeding habits is also useful. The food should be weighed and then divided into four meals a day, if possible. Putting a mark on the measuring cup means weighing need only be done once. Feeding smaller meals more regularly increases metabolism, thereby increasing weight loss. Advise pet owners not to feed late at night, so the animal has the chance to use up some of the energy from the last meal. All treats should be cut out, or kibble can be taken out of the daily ration and used as treats. Begging should never be rewarded with food – instead give the dog or cat a little attention, a short brushing or a little play activity. Begging behaviour may initially increase but they quickly learn to disassociate this behaviour with the food result, however any lapse and it will set the programme right back to the beginning. It is very important to advise owners of the need to reduce feeding once an animal has been neutered, as changes in metabolism, post surgery, will quickly result in weight gain, if food is not reduced appropriately.



Obesity and weight loss

Most manufacturers produce weight loss diets now, with some combining senior and light or weight loss. Diets for overweight cats and dogs should be high in protein and micronutrients and low in carbohydrates and fats. Not all overweight animals are simply overfed, as conditions such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease will cause weight gain. Ideally, any animal that is overweight should see a vet for a health check before embarking on a diet. Cats in particular should be examined before and during weight loss programmes, as they can become seriously ill due to hepatic lipidosis, a condition which can be fatal and occurs if overweight cats have their dietary intake reduced too dramatically. Pet owners should also not forget rabbits and guinea pigs, and they too should be fed on a well-balanced diet and encouraged to exercise, as this boosts circulation and metabolism and makes for far more interactive and playful pets. Being overweight is the most common preventable factor in ill health. Animals really do respond very quickly to any weight loss and owners are invariably amazed at how quickly their energy levels increase and at how much more interactive they become. Exercise and a diet suitable to the individual and its levels of activity are the key to a happy, healthy pet.

Supplier Listing Burns Pet Nutrition: Dorwest Herbs: Hilton Herbs: H.G Gladwell: Natural Pet Products: Phytoforce:


Blood donation

The gift of giving Wendy Barnett, head of clinical and professional services at Pet Blood Bank UK, explains more about dog blood donation and why pet owners should be encouraged to take part in this life-saving service


aving recently celebrated its fifth birthday, award-winning* Pet Blood Bank UK (PBBuk) has collected nearly 9,000 units of life-saving blood from over 3,000 dogs throughout the UK, literally saving thousands of dogs’ lives. As the demand for canine blood donations continues to rise, PBBuk has become a crucial service for vets and dog owners. PBBuk is the first service of its kind to collect, process, store and supply canine blood products for vets. This pioneering initiative was launched in 2007 with support from Vets Now, a leading provider of out-of-hours care for animals, after a change in legislation made it possible for vets to store pet blood. Blood transfusions are an essential, life-saving procedure in veterinary practice and every unit of blood donated can potentially save the lives of up to four dogs. Just like the human blood service, PBBuk relies entirely on donors and owners who want to help ill or injured dogs. The registered charity stores the blood products at its processing centre in Loughborough and couriers it across the country to vet surgeries and animal hospitals. This means that vets have blood products on hand when they need them most to provide transfusions, during surgery or to treat major traumas and disease. Before it was set up, vets had to carry out a transfusion at the same time as operating on another dog, so having a constant supply speeds up treatment.

Last year, 164 specially organised dog donor sessions were held at local vet practices throughout the UK, where owners were encouraged to bring along their dog to ‘donate a pint’. It takes between 10 and 15 minutes for a vet to collect 400 millilitres of blood and a typical heart operation would need three to four blood transfusions of this quality. Before donation, pet owners are asked some routine questions relating to their dog’s health and temperament. At the appointment, the PBBuk vet weighs the dog to make sure it is over 25 kilograms and then carries out a full check to ensure the dog is fit, healthy and suitable to donate. During the session, hair is clipped from the animal’s neck and a qualified phlebotomist takes the life-saving donation of blood. After this, the dog is given a drink of water and some biscuits (the equivalent of tea and a biscuit for humans) and a well-earned rest, after which, one of the veterinary team checks the donor is ready to go home. As a token of gratitude all donors are given a goodie bag, which includes a toy, treats and 'I’m a Lifesaver' bandana and tag to thank them. At the end of the collection session, the blood is taken to PBBuk’s processing centre where it is processed into packed red blood cells and plasma. Each donor is given a unique identification number, so that every unit of blood is traceable back to the relevant donor. Donors can give blood up to four times in 12 months and with each donation potentially saving up to four lives, that’s 16 dogs a year.

Blood donation

Case study

Did you know?

There is a higher demand for negative blood, as it can be given to any dog which has not had a blood transfusion. Apart from absolute emergencies, positive blood can only be used for another positivetyped dog. As 70 per cent of the canine donor population is positive, PBBuk is keen to increase its negative donor pool. The following breeds primarily have negative blood: • Airedales • American bulldogs • Boxers • Dobermans • English bull terriers • Flat-coated retrievers • German shepherds • Greyhounds • Lurchers • Mastiffs (various breeds) • Pointers (English) • Weimaraners

While visiting the vet for her flatcoated retrievers’ annual booster, Jennifer Moore was asked if she would allow her dogs, Polly and Meg, to be blood donors. She explains: “I immediately said that I would be happy for the girls to donate as I thought it was a wonderful idea.” At the time, she admits she didn’t know that PBBuk existed and had never given a thought to where the blood would come from, should one of her own dogs need it. She continues: “The vet explained the procedure and the rest is history. Polly and Meg have donated 11 times now and I am so proud of them. They have health checks at each donation and on one occasion, a minor problem showed up in Meg, which was rectified by a course of medication.” It has been established that Polly has positive blood, while Meg is negative and their many donations have helped save several lives with Meg’s blood used in the treatment of a Labrador which had been stabbed and a greyhound whose leg was amputated. Jennifer concludes: “The whole procedure is a happy one and Polly and Meg love all the fuss – they can’t wait for the treats at the end.” There are a number of ways that both you and your customers can support PBBuk, whether it is volunteering for the charity, making a monetary donation or just raising awareness about its valuable work. Visit to find out more or contact Pet Blood Bank UK, Unit 21 & 22 Loughborough Technology Centre, Epinal Way, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3GE.

A dog can be a lifesaver if it meets the following criteria: • Weighs more than 25 kilograms • Has never had a blood transfusion • Has a good temperament and isn’t nervous of people • Enjoys being around people • Is up-to-date with all vaccinations • Has never travelled abroad • Is aged between one and eight • Is fit and healthy

*Pet Blood Bank UK was recently crowned Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the Scottish Business Awards (February 2012)



Focus on

The Company of Animals

Focus on…

pet beds Naida Ally takes a closer look at pet beds and meets the owner of Danish Design, who reveals the inspiration behind some of her products


here are a multitude of pet beds on the market and as products develop and trends evolve, keeping up in the business of sleep is something designer Susanne Mortensen of Danish Design is more than familiar with, having been creating cat and dog beds since 1981. “My husband was a textile colourist and showed me a unique design of paw prints and at that time, noone was using such a design on pet beds. It then seemed an ideal opportunity to design a bed with a paw print on.” She explains: “A great deal of inspiration originates from time spent in Denmark. We have a small cottage located by a fjord in northern Jutland and time away from a busy office is a great way to focus on new ideas.” One may be forgiven for being rather sceptical about how creative or different a designer is able to be – after all, is there really much to a pet bed? “There are no limits as to how creative you can be, as long as the ideas are commercial and suitable for

pet use,” says Susanne. “All of our bedding is based around practical use. The bedding has to provide support and comfort. The filling that we use is thermal and will mould easily to the dog or cats’ posture. Cats, for example, love to feel protected and safe, often with a place to hide from the winter cold. The ‘My First Bed’ is a unique product that provides an all-important transition from the mother to a new home. The bed has various features for ease of washing and the Sherpa fleece cover is fully removable. The unique comfort ring gives an added feeling of security, and as the puppy grows larger, it can be removed to increase the bed area. The inner cushion base features a waterproof liner with a special pouch to take a heat pad for extra warmth. An attractively badged pocket on the side can be used to insert a ticking clock as a comforting aid or can be used simply for storing a favourite toy.” Along with the practical aspect of pet bed design, there are also other stylistic elements

to consider. “We always closely monitor fashion trends in terms of textile design and produce bedding items that are part of home furnishings. This can be from a print design to natural textures and fur fabrics. Current trends are always changing but there are always classics that repeat every year. Barcode stripes are very popular at the moment, along with suede and animal prints.” There are people who might think that dog and cat beds are not a necessity – with many pets preferring to sleep on the sofa (or the master bed!) “We are all different when it comes to whether the dog or cat sleeps with us,” says Susanne. “Having a pet in the home is a special and different situation for everyone. Some sleep on, or in the bed with the owners and many have their own bedding around the home. All cats and dogs have their own personalities and adapt to the home environment. Fortunately most cats and dogs have a bed of their own!” Here is a selection of pet beds currently on the market…

Focus on

Bell and Barker Already popular in the USA, Sasquatch is an ideal pet bed for cats and small dogs, and is now available in the UK. Bell and Barker Ltd has been appointed exclusive UK distributor for the funky range by Unique Beast. Available in a variety of colours, the lightweight base is made from EVA, which is a durable, cushioned material that doesn’t retain odours and wipes clean. It also helps to keep pets warm in winter and cool in summer making it suitable for all seasons. The cosy, fleece liner is colour co-ordinated with an embroidered Sasquatch logo, easily removed and fully washable. ‘Hole Poppers’ are individual letters to personalise your Sasquatch – a great add-on sale, which is sold separately. Information: 01325 240 560, or

Easy Animal “Stuff our stylish 100 per cent cotton dog bed duvet covers with blankets, pillows and your old clothes to make a great eco-friendly dog bed,” says Easy Animal. “These Molly Mutt dog beds create comfortable, stylish dog beds that are easy to maintain and wash.” Fully gusseted and zippered, Easy Animal’s dog bed duvets are a great way to create a “durable and fashionable” dog bed. Information: 0800 849 8844 or

Gor Pets Gor Pets has become renowned for its pet beds, but not many people may know that the company has its history in jacket design and manufacture and, in a previous life, used to supply the likes of Fosters, Harrods and JD Sports. The company says it’s this expertise that makes the real difference to its range of dog beds, with each fabric, filling and design selected and made by real textile experts who know how the fabrics will sit, stitch and wear. The dog beds are put through their paces by chief product tester Lucky (pictured here in a 30-inch Mulberry Capri bed). The Capri range came to life after Lucky snubbed his previous favourite Gor Pets Snuggle Bed in favour of a pre-production sample he found in the offices – it’s still his favourite to this day! Gor Pets offers both dog and cat beds with designs and sizes to suit most tastes and pockets.

Scruffs The Scruffs Wilton collection is produced using a quilted outer fabric, stitched in a diamond pattern. The bed’s sleep area is lined with fur, providing warmth and comfort. Each bed is finished with tan piping around the sleep area with a soft-feel Scruffs logo on the front of the bed. The Scruffs Wilton Sofa Bed with a quilted base and padded bumper-cushion provides a cosy resting place for pets. It has a non-slip base, is machine washable and is available in two sizes: small (65 by 70 by 12 centimetres) and large (90 by 70 by 12 centimetres) and is finished with a blue, black or chocolate quilted cover.

Information: 0121 580 4984 or

Information: 0161 702 5060 or

Hem and Boo “The Hem and Boo spring and summer bed range is suitable for dogs who need a cooler place to chill out in style,” says the company. They are made from yarndyed cool, natural cotton in a smart blue or brown check to suit any home. The mattresses are ideal for dogs that like to stretch out, giving them the ease of breathing, while the 12-centimetre depth gives them support for their joints and comfort from hard floors. Information: 0151 632 1125 or




The importance of education Michael Bellingham, chief executive of the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, looks at the importance of education and raising awareness of responsible pet ownership PFMA ambitions

When we celebrated our 40th anniversary in 2010, we set out our ambitions for the next 20 years, which included promoting responsible pet ownership to help ensure all pets are happy and healthy.

Collaboration of pet welfare organisations

At the time, we also spoke to some pet charities and welfare organisations and agreed that one way forward would be to improve education on animal welfare. By highlighting the importance of caring for pets, we would hope to improve responsible pet ownership.

The Education Alliance

Approximately 18 months ago, we hosted the first round table meeting attended by all of the key organisations keen to raise awareness of animal welfare in education (as detailed below). The organisations were all united by a belief that children and young people should be educated about caring for animals and the importance of providing for an animal’s five welfare needs. We started by looking at improving our combined educational offering and called the group the ‘Education Alliance.’ The organisations involved included: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home; Blue Cross; the British Veterinary Association; Cats Protection; Dogs Trust; Guide Dogs; National Office of Animal Health (NOAH); National Pet Month (NPM); the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA); the Pet Health Council (PHC); the Pet Care Trust (PCT); Raystede; the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA); the Society of Companion Animal Studies (SCAS); Wood Green; the Kennel Club; the Mayhew Animal Home; and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).


We all agreed that a helpful resource would be a website where teachers and anyone interested in education could access pet themed resources. So, we developed a signposting website, which launched at the

end of March this year. Not only does it make searching for pet information simpler, but it will uniquely give access to all of the excellent resources in one place. The website will be of value to anyone with an interest in pets and education and will help them find appropriate resources produced by all of the UK’s key pet charities. We also have an interactive map so that you can locate places to visit or pet experts willing to visit you! In summary, the website includes: • Easy links to free downloadable resources split into different categories; • An interactive map, which makes arranging an educational talk or visit to a pet establishment much easier; • A pet calendar so you can keep up to date with what’s happening in the animal world.

What the experts think

Launching, Dennis Baker OBE, CEO of Wood Green, and Rosemary Smart, chief executive of the Kennel Club, agreed: “We hope that by working together and creating this signposting website, those interested in educating young people will find a huge variety of pet themed resources and activities. By raising the profile of pets in education, we hope to improve animal welfare in general.” Sean Wensley, senior veterinary surgeon for communication and education at PDSA, adds: “PDSA is delighted to be part of this collaboration of pet charities and organisations. Between us, we provide a wealth of high quality information on pet health and welfare, ranging from educational leaflets and fact sheets, to curriculum-linked lesson plans for teachers and resources for after-school clubs. We hope that making all of these available from a single website will raise

awareness of the materials available and make credible, evidence-based information easy to locate and access. Since the passing of the Animal Welfare Act in 2006, all pet owners have a legal duty to meet their pets’ five welfare needs – the five things that all pets need to be healthy and happy. Education is key to ensuring that the next generation of pet owners understand what these needs are and how to meet them, and achieving this is a shared objective across all of the organisations involved.” Pet retailers should have a look at the website to see what is of interest in their area or to look for resources for customers.

About the PFMA The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association is the principal trade body representing the UK pet food industry; a key focus of activity is to promote animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. Its 60 members account for over 90 per cent of the market and produce a wide range of products for cats, dogs, rabbits and other pet animals. To find out more or download some useful information sheets for you and your customers, please visit:


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The best of British

British suppliers will be out in force at the Interzoo exhibition, and we take a look at the latest innovations the PetQuip-organised group will be unveiling to a worldwide market


round 38,000 trade visitors are expected to travel from over 100 countries to the 2012 Interzoo exhibition being held in Nuremberg in May this year. Among the exhibits they will see, will be the latest innovations from 48 British suppliers spanning most areas of the pet care sector. These British companies form part of the group organised by PetQuip, with many of the participants benefiting from UK government grants arranged by the association. This year’s exhibitors will be aiming to build upon the success of PetQuip groups at previous Interzoo shows, and with the introduction of an additional hall in 2012, Interzoo continues to consolidate its position as the world’s leading trade fair for the pet care industry. In addition to viewing the British products on show, overseas buyers can also gain wider knowledge of the UK’s pet care industry and benefit from a free pet product sourcing service by visiting the British information stand at the show, organised and manned by the PetQuip team. While some of the companies will not disclose their latest product launches until the opening day of the show, many have provided a taste of the exciting items that will attract buyers from around the globe: Food for thought The food and supplement sector is well-represented by a wide range of companies: • Barking Heads & Meowing Heads is unveiling its premium range of natural holistic pet foods, including two new products: ‘Smitten Kitten’ and ‘Kitten’. • Burgess Pet Care is exhibiting Excel, the vet-recommended food for rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas; Supadog complete food for dogs; the Supadog Sensitive hypoallergenic range and Supacat premium dental food for cats. • Cambrian Pet Foods aims to showcase two new super premium

brands of dog food in a full range of formats including dry complete, wet complete in a can, complementary cans and trays and treats. • Cranswick Pet Products will display its Nature’s Feast foods, treats, and accessories, small animal range and the Bucktons brand of pigeon and indoor and aviary bird food. • Fold Hill Foods will feature its own label cat and dog food products ranging from semi-moist to fresh meat inclusions and traditionally baked biscuits and marrowbone rolls. • The Fullolife range of sustainably-sourced nutritional oils and supplements includes a new range of (5 x) Fullolife Nutritional Oils, which are being launched for the European and other overseas markets • GWF Nutrition is adding Odour Aid for Dogs and Omega Aid for Dogs to its specialist animal feeds and supplements. • Lintbells is introducing a new range of digestive health products with a prebiotic/probiotic complex. • Natures Menu is adding a new cat pouch range, a new frozen range for cats and new natural baked biscuits to its pet food range. • Natural Dogs is adding two new supplements, a Senior Line range and Aller-911, created to treat dogs with allergies. • Pointer Pet Products is introducing baked biscuits and treats for either branded or private label customers. • Pooch and Mutt is extending its natural health supplements range with Slimmin’ Tonic, a weight loss supplement for dogs. • Symply Pet Foods is exhibiting its range of hypoallergenic dog and cat foods made with natural ingredients. • Thrive Pet Foods is introducing a range of super-premium quality small dog and cat foods. • Toplife Formula PetMilk’s new items are Sprinkles, a range of natural, goats’ milk-based cat treats, and dog and cat advent calendars. • Vitalin is showing ranges of nutritional pet foods for dogs and puppies The Snugglesafe heatpad

New bowls from Mason Cash

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Bedding down Many industry experts predict that the pet accessories sector will continue to expand over the coming years, with retailers and manufacturers continuing to develop innovative, convenient and eco-friendly ranges to meet consumer needs. A report by Global Industry Analysts states: “The growing demand for indulgent pet products, and emergence of specialised pet retail outlets are also expected to provide future growth opportunities for the pet accessories market.” Some of the key players in pet accessories will be capitalising on this trend at Interzoo: • Bronteglen will be revealing its latest ranges of dog beds. • Hemmo and Co is adding new beds to its range. • Houndhouse is showing a lightweight, collapsible and portable cat and dog kennel that is also hygienic and veterinary-approved. • Petlife International is introducing two new non-slip Vetbed designs – Baby Blue Polka Dot and Tartan – to its dog and cat bed range. • Prestige Pet Products’ latest addition is the Quiet Kennel, a sound-proof kennel that cuts out at least 85 per cent of any noise. • Baggee is showing a new Ghost Range of opaque Doggees flexible, hollow balls on a key ring that act as a container for dog refuse bags. • Beco is introducing a new toy range made from natural rubber and rice husks, and the new BecoPocket, an eco-friendly poo bag dispenser. • Best Friends Pet Products has four new items: a Quadro bone; Tasty Tug on a rope; Tasty Ball on a rope; and the new Trio Bones. • The Canny Company has a new range of accompanying dog leads for the highly popular Canny Collar. • Diamond Dogs has new colourful, plain leather collars and leads and new colours in the Crystal Collection, plus tailormade dog beds and loungers produced in collaboration with Italian interior design house, Artiggiando. • Dog Rocks is showing its natural rock product which, when placed in a dog’s water bowl, helps prevent burn patches on lawns and shrubs. • The Dog’s Apron is exhibiting a grooming aid that has gentle restraints which keep a dog in place during the grooming process. • The House of Paws is introducing new ranges of baked dog treats, grooming products, clothing, bedding, toys and eco-friendly products. • Litter Kwitter is showing its device to help cats use a human toilet. • Mason Cash is introducing a new Hedgehog Bowl and Puppy/Kitten Cane and Cream Lettered Bowl. • Ortiga Products is adding several new items to its ranges of Timberwolf Pet Products, Perrito, Zukes, Loopies and dog bag duffles • Rascal Dog Litter Box Company has two sizes of litter boxes for dogs. • Scruffs has a new self-cooling pad and additions to the Bunny Warren play-tunnels range for rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets. • Sureflap Ltd has a larger microchip pet door for large cats and small dogs. • Wicked or What’s CarPET hair remover has a label in German and French. • Wildlife World is showing its ‘Me & My Birds’ bird food making kits which won the Glee show’s Best New Home and Gift Award 2011. • Other exhibitors yet to disclose their new exhibits are Ancol Pet Products, Animology, Cool Dog-Club, Feelwell’s, Mutneys and My Pet. For further details about the event, please go to

HoundHouse dog kennels

Baggee’s refuse bag �

Beco Things Rupert Bowl

holders on keyrings

Wildlife World’s butterfly habitat/feeder

PetQuip information 

stand at Interzoo 2012

The Dog’s Apron �

grooming aid

PetQuip (the International Trade Association of Pet Equipment Suppliers) assists and promotes the development of international trade in the pet equipment sector.

Burgess food cubes


R eptile


New EU legislation could threaten the reptile trade New EU laws currently under consideration could pose a serious threat to the reptile trade. Chris Newman of the Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association (REPTA) warned: “It is the greatest threat our hobby has ever faced. The new laws have the potential to ruin every business associated with reptiles and there is even the possibility that reptile keepers could be forced to destroy their pets.” Measures being discussed include a ban on the import, export, trade and keeping of ‘alien’ species. Chris is calling upon the legislators to proceed with caution, suggsesting that a ‘black list’ of species “proven to be sufficiently hazardous to each native eco system” was far more preferable to a blanket ban that will affect trade. Once decided upon, the new laws will come into effect later in the year.

Grave costs of tortoise paperwork operation “Blackspots of heavy-handed enforcement during the Operation Ramp tortoise paperwork check of autumn 2010 triggered resentment that has since widely tainted relations between the trade and enforcers,” the Pet Care Trade Association (PCTA) has reported. Speaking at the annual Partners Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) conference in March, PCTA chief executive Janet Nunn explained how this had undermined respect for the law and needed addressing, starting with better communication between the regulators, trade bodies and traders. Ms Nunn said: “Strict liability legislation has made for lazy, Teflon enforcement. There is no comeback on the enforcers for poor communication of changes in paperwork, whereas the trade can be criminalised for any irregularity in their paperwork, even if the animals themselves are otherwise legally held and healthy.” A more supportive, less adversarial approach by AHVLA enforcers is needed and the PCTA is helping to achieve that.

Freshwater Chelonia Conference 2012 In March, an international gathering of freshwater chelonia experts and enthusiasts came together at the premises of Peregrine Livefoods in Ongar, Essex. The 6th annual conference of the Austrian-based organisation, Chelonia 2002, along with UK colleagues from the British Herpetological Society, brought together an international delegation drawn from eight countries. China, USA and a host of European countries were represented with more than 50 delegates to the two day event. This was the first time that a conference focusing solely on freshwater turtles has been held in the UK. Topics ranged from taxonomy and systematics, through to conservation. Members of this international organisation can proudly be associated with the breeding success of more than 120 different species, of which many are recorded as breeding in captivity for the first time. The freshwater turtles are among the most threatened animal group in the world and are suffering a huge and unsustainable exploitation by man in the Asian food markets in the Far East. Mark Hollowell (British The conference “marked an important Herpetological Society), Dr Harald watershed and put UK freshwater turtle Artner (Chelonia 2002), and Dave Perry (director of Peregrine Livefoods). breeding activity firmly on the map.”

Are circus snakes now a thing of the past? Wild animals will no longer be made to perform in travelling circuses under proposals being developed by Defra. The government will seek to introduce primary legislation at the earliest opportunity to achieve its much-stated desire to ban travelling circuses from using any performing wild animals. The number of wild animals in circuses fluctuates and is currently between 35 and 50, which includes tigers, camels, zebras and snakes. Animal Welfare Minister Lord Taylor said: “There is no place in today’s society for wild animals being used for our entertainment in travelling circuses. We are developing proposals to introduce a Bill as soon as Parliamentary time allows. In the meantime we are introducing a Circus Licensing Scheme to ensure decent conditions for wild animals in travelling circuses.” The licensing scheme will be enforced through inspections by a dedicated government-appointed inspector and paid for by the circuses. The consultation will close on 25 April 2012 and draft regulations will be brought before Parliament by the summer.

Image: Dr Harald Artner

Image: Dr Harald Artner




Taking stock


Vetark’s Bug Grub and Grub Grub are being replaced by a single product – Nutrogrub – developed after the results of two years work on feeding feeder insects. Nutrogrub is highly palatable for mealworms or hoppers and the company says it can increase their calcium levels by a factor of X 7 to X 10. Nutrogrub, like Calci-Dust, contains the same super-fine, super-absorbable calcium source used in Nutrobal. Information: 01962 844 316, or

 JMC Aquatics Ltd

As well as having bulk frozen reptile food, JMC Aquatics also offers a blister pack format to add to its ever-growing brand of frozen foods. The offering includes a 16 pack of 1.5 to two gram ‘pinkies’, a 12 pack of two to three gram ‘pinkies’ and a nine pack of four to five gram ‘fuzzys’ – attractively packaged in a size that allows for ease of display and storage alongside existing frozen fish foods. Each food item is stored in its own separate, airtight blister, providing optimum freshness and nutrition for every meal. Information: 01246 415 275 or

Natures Grub Norfolk-based company Natures Grub has recently added to its growing natural range with its new Complete Diet for turtles and terrapins. Available in four sizes, it consists of three types of food pellets: vegetable, algae and fish protein, plus a host of naturals including dried earthworms, dried shrimp, krill, fish and mealworms. In addition, there is also Snapper Snax and Snapper Diet for snapping turtles and large terrapins, Top Insect Frozen free-flow insects, live mealworms, wax worms, earthworms and frozen rodents and chicks. Information: 01485 517 177 or

Peregrine Livefoods Peregrine is delighted to launch the brand new ProRep Livefood Care Kit. This kit contains everything consumers will need to extend the life and nutrition of their crickets, locust or mealworms, providing an excellent add-on sale for retailers. The kits are available in two sizes to suit the needs of smaller and larger pet owners, and contain full instructions for use, and capacity details for each kit. “These items are already selling well, and have met with a great response from stockists,” says Peregrine. Information: 0800 919 631, or



The home stretch R eptile cage suppliers produce vivariums in all shapes and sizes out of glass, plastic, acrylic and wood. Reptile keepers can also now purchase a wide selection of plastic plants, branches, naturalistic hides and rocks to decorate their reptile’s environment. With the right selection and proper lighting, modern reptile vivariums can easily rival fish tanks as displays. So, with such a wide choice, where do you start? First of all, there are some basic considerations to take into account, such as, what species will be kept; the current size of the reptile; and how big and how fast it will grow. Then you need to plan for the husbandry requirements of heating, lighting and humidity. Lastly, you have to consider the buyer's budget.

Cage size and shape

Most reptiles – when correctly cared for – grow fast. A neonate boa constrictor will easily double or triple in size in its first year. The same is true with bearded dragons, geckos, corn snakes and other commonly kept reptile pets. So with this in mind, should you supply your customers with a large cage to accommodate future needs? The simple answer is no – a

Gone are the days when reptiles were kept in converted fish tanks and plastic storage boxes, says John R Berry. Today, the choice of specialist reptile enclosures or vivariums is almost as varied as the creatures they are designed for common husbandry mistake is buying a cage that is too big for small or young reptiles. Younger snakes in particular generally don’t do too well in cages that are too large. They feel insecure and often don’t feed (or can’t find the food). So it’s better to start them off in a smaller cage and move them up as they grow. Adult reptiles, on the other hand, do fine in a larger enclosure and will move around, climb branches and generally make use of all the room they are given. Of course, the larger the cage, the more heating it requires, so this also needs to be taken into account. Another important factor to determine is the shape of cage required. If it will house an arboreal species, then height for climbing branches is more vital than length or width. Species that require taller enclosures include most geckos, chameleons and arboreal snakes like green tree pythons and Amazon tree boas. Many reptiles like to climb, if given a choice, even though they are not truly arboreal. These would include carpet pythons, smaller boas and corn snakes. For these types of reptiles both ground area and height are important. When supplying a cage for terrestrial or ground-living

species, greater horizontal ground room is the main requirement. Some common ground-living species include leopard and African fat-tailed geckos, royal pythons, bearded dragons, sand and rosy boas.

Cage materials

Reptile enclosures can be made from glass, plastic, acrylic, screening or various types of woods. They all have their advantages, depending on the type of reptile to be kept. In general, glass terrariums work well for amphibians, most gecko species, chameleons and common snakes like corn snakes and other colubrids that don’t require very high temperatures. They make good displays as they allow easy viewing of the occupants. Most have convenient front opening doors that give access for maintenance, cleaning and feeding. Most glass vivariums have wire-screened lids allowing for easy fitting of ultraviolet lamps that are required by lizards. Wooden vivariums come in all shapes and sizes. Most have glass front sliding or hinged doors for viewing and cage entry. Their big advantage is they are normally cheaper priced than other types of vivariums. Wooden cages are also easier to


Monkfield wooden terranium

Herptek plastic cage

Herptek plastic cage Vivexotic wooden terranium

heat and maintain at higher temperatures, as they don’t experience the heat loss that is common in all glass vivariums. This makes them a good choice for desertdwelling species like bearded dragons, which require a hot spot of around 105 to 110˚F. Most wooden vivariums are also easy to stack as they are flat on top and underneath. Lastly, wooden cages are a big plus for remote and internet buyers as many can be supplied as flat packs, so shipping is easier. Aluminium screen cages are often used for chameleons and other climbing lizards. They are not too expensive and make a good choice where UV light is required from external lamps. However, the main disadvantage is they are not suitable unless used in a warm room or you live in a warm climate, as they let the heat straight out. Specialist plastic cages are very popular for larger pythons, boas and monitor lizards. They are more expensive than wooden vivariums but they have the added benefit of being easier to clean, lighter to handle and will last a lot longer. Some manufacturers make smaller plastic or acrylic units for arboreal species as well.




Most have sliding front access and side and rear vents. Most plastic cages, although flat and stackable, also have screen cut-out areas to attach heating lamps or external lighting. They are the preferred choice of many professional reptile breeders.

Rack system from LLP Racks

Space requirements

Depending on the amount of space the buyer has – and how many reptiles they intend to keep – a rack system might be an option. This is a type of metal rack with pull-out plastic containers in various sizes. They are heated by means of heat tape or heat mats controlled by a thermostat. The downside to a rack system is that you have to pull out the draws to see the reptiles and they are not as attractive as glass or plastic display cages. The plus side is that they allow you to keep a larger number of animals in a smaller space. Previously most rack systems were imported but several commercial manufacturers now produce specialist reptile rack systems in the UK and Europe.


All reptiles require heating and many require UV lamps. These are easy to add in a wooden or plastic vivarium, as they can be attached inside the cage under a lamp or light guard. This flexibility in attaching a variety of fittings, or fittings from a wide selection of manufacturers, is important to more advanced keepers.

Exo-Terra glass terranium

Supplier Listing John Berry Reptiles: Exo-Terra: Herptek: LP Racks: Monkfield Nutrition: Paragon Vivs: Peregrine Livefoods: Vivexotic:


Most reptiles are accomplished escape artists. Having a secure latch and a lock on a cage (especially if there are children in the house) is always an advantage. Not all reptile cages are lockable so it’s important to determine if a lock is required.

John Berry is a professional herpetoculturist and author of several best selling reptile books. He has worked with and cared for reptiles for over 35 years in South Africa, Germany, the USA and the UK. He is the founder of BerryZoo Distribution, a specialist supplier of reptile products to the pet trade, Big Reptile World and John Berry Reptiles. John is also a frequent speaker at reptile industry events and will be one of the main speakers at this year’s Federation of British Herpetologists annual conference. His latest book, Designer Morphs:Western Hognose Snakes, will be released in June.



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Voice on the highstreet

Voice on the highstreet Andy and Jane Cooper,

The Mutz Nutz, London

We last spoke to you back in 2010 – have there been any new developments at your store since then? Yes, we started a wholesale company We now wholesale some of our best-selling products. Our shampoo ranges have been extremely popular and we now sell to all the best grooming salons, including Absolutely Animals, Dogs Delight and Harrods. Our Earthbath range is totally natural, non-toxic, paraben-free, phthalate-free and phosphate-free. It is kind to animals and groomers’ hands, and helps to protect the blades. We are so pleased with the response.

What has been your favourite item that you’ve stocked since we last spoke? Our Scratch Lounges are very popular – cats just love them and there are some great videos on YouTube! The Christmas before last, a customer came in and said he wanted a present for his very elderly cat. He explained that the vets had said this would probably be her last Christmas so he wanted to get her something special. We sold him a Scratch Lounge. The following Christmas he came in again to tell us that the Scratch Lounge had given his cat a new lease of life. She liked it so much, he wanted to buy her a new one for this Christmas! It’s stories like that, that really light up your day!

What’s it like being situated in Notting Hill?

In our last interview, you highlighted the importance of small businesses setting themselves apart and staying unique. How has the Mutz Nutz maintained this over the years? We set out to be unique and I think we have continued to be. We are constantly on the look-out for new and innovative products; we focus on environmentally-friendly products and we have a great new range of Eco Beds that our customers love.

It’s great to be in the centre of a vibrant, multi-cultural and trend setting area. Notting Hill is very unique, which is why there are so many independent shops here. There is a great tourist trade, as well as very loyal, local business. Because of this there is also a lot of competition, and since we opened we have seen at least five new pet boutiques in the local area. However, I think you have to just be the best at what you do, and we are still doing well, so there must be room for everyone!

What is the best thing about running an independent pet shop?

Have you noticed any changes in the pet industry over the last year and a half?

If you could go back in time to change one thing from when you first opened back in July 2009, what would it be?

Yes, I think it has continued growing, even in our current economic climate.

We don’t really know anything different! But the fact that we can make all of our own decisions I’m sure counts for a lot!

Do you have any plans in the pipeline for The Mutz Nutz? At the moment we are just really concentrating on our wholesale company, Pet Revolution.

We would have probably opened four!

Pet Gazette April 2012  

Pet Gazette has views, analysis and advice from the top experts in the business. Whether discussing seasonal food for pond fish or the lates...