PET GAZETTE June 2012
Best in show
The dietary needs of show dogs
Ferreting around Discovering more about the domesticated polecat
The first in a series of articles looking at the work of Dogs Trust Aquatic Business A round up of the latest news and product innovations for the aquatics sector and a look at the popularity of nano tanks
Train of thought Advice on helping your customers to cope with a varied range of dog behavioural problems
June 2012 Contents Roundup
Three minute interview
The latest news from the industry Simon Wisson, owner, Simons Rodents Pastures new for professionals in the pet trade
Train of thought
Diets for show dogs
State of the nation
Getting the brush off
Focus on…training equipment
An introduction to OATA
Voice on the highstreet
An innovative and varied range of pet products
Veterinary consultant to PetSafe, David Chamberlain BVetMed MRCVS looks at the methods and products available to customers to help control their dogs Required to be in the peak of physical health, show dogs require special dietary care, as Naida Ally discovers Michael Bellingham, chief executive of the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association reveals the latest findings of a survey about the UK’s pet population and owners’ relationships with their pets Ray O’Mahony MVB MRCVS CVH looks at some of the more common skin complaints affecting pets and the range of treatments on offer
Grooming, training and healthcare company Mikki offers a five-point plan for keeping pets in tip-top condition, from regular health checks to nail trimming Dog owners have an obligation to ensure their pet is well trained and socialised and Naida Ally finds out how owners can work towards this goal In the first of a new monthly column, Dogs Trust will be revealing more about its work and the issues affecting the charity. In this issue Deana Selby offers an introduction to the organisation and the people who support it They may be small but there are big profits surrounding the sale of products and accessories for ferrets, from specialist foods and housing to toys for these lively and intelligent creatures
Keith Davenport, of the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association begins a series of new monthly columns The latest news for the aquatic trade A range of products for fish-keeping enthusiasts The rise in popularity of the nano tank – a miniature underwater eco-system of delicate reef invertebrates and corals
Eden Thom, Petmania, Orkney
his month’s issue features the results of a survey undertaken by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) to establish which pets are the most popular in the UK. Not surprisingly dogs and cats came out tops but appearing in third place – and ousting the rabbit – were both indoor and outdoor fish. It appears that the nation is embracing the fish keeping hobby, with the PFMA estimating that the UK fish population currently stands at around 40 million. In recognition of this growing influence in the pet sector we are pleased to welcome Keith Davenport to Pet Gazette, who will bring his expertise in the aquatics sector to a series of new monthly columns. Keith is the chief executive of the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA), the organisation which aims to represent the interests of ornamental fish importers, breeders, wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers. He too has recognised this burgeoning interest in fish-keeping, putting the current number of indoor fish in the UK closer to 65 million. There are many reasons for their rise in popularity, from premiership footballers installing vast aquariums in their luxury homes at one end of the spectrum to the increase in demand for smaller – or nano – tanks at the other, which have opened up the hobby to a whole new generation. Keith says his own organisation has seen first hand a big trend for indoor, tropical fish and this combined with the fact that they can be relatively easy to keep is making this a far more lucrative sector of the pet market. I hope you enjoy the new column and the rest of this month’s issue. Sam Guiry firstname.lastname@example.org
American private equity firm enters the UK pet food market
American private equity firm Swander Pace Capital has completed an investment in Cambrian Pet Foods Limited. The terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed. Established in 1982 by managing director David Davies, and with turnover of over £16 million, Cambrian has a strong heritage and is committed to using locally sourced fresh ingredients. The customer base is predominately UK-based and ranges from blue chip retailers to distributors and small independent pet food retailers. Cambrian manufactures branded products primarily under its own Gelert brand, as well as private label products for customers such as country stores, independent outlets, UK multiples and grocery outlets. David Davies said: “We have worked tirelessly to build Cambrian as a leading manufacturer in the pet food industry. It is our focus on excellent customer service, production flexibility and the use of high quality ingredients from local suppliers that have enabled us to achieve this.” “The investment by Swander Pace Capital will further support our ambition of being the UK’s foremost provider of specialist, holistic, dietetic and convalescent pet foods. We are very proud of our success and genuinely excited about the opportunities that Swander Pace Capital will help to deliver.”
Louise Hoffman email@example.com Editor
Sam Guiry firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Assistants
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01206 767 797 email@example.com Contributing writers
Michael Bellingham, David Chamberlain, Keith Davenport, Ray O’Mahony, Deana Selby Design
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PCTA recommends microchipping by pet specialists The Pet Care Trade Association (PCTA) welcomes Defra’s announcement that it will be consulting on “whether to microchip all dogs in England to help tackle the problem of irresponsible owners and ease the overwhelming number of strays that are put down as the owner cannot be identified.” The PCTA welcomes microchipping as an aid to responsible pet keeping – an issue to be tackled during National Pet Month, which celebrates responsible pet ownership. “Microchipping is an excellent method of permanently identifying a dog when done responsibly, by trained individuals. The new mini microchip is the smallest implanter available and minimises discomfort,” commented Meriel France, PCTA education and animal welfare manager. The PCTA offers microchip implantation training, which includes both theory and a two-hour practical session led by an expert. The next scheduled course takes place on Saturday 23 June at Scruffy Pups Grooming Training Centre in Darlington. Further dates and venues are available. “We welcome requests from breeders and other pet professionals to have the course run in their area,” said Meriel. Contact the PCTA on 01234 273 933 or visit www.petcare.org.uk to book your place or register your interest.
New site delivers tailormade feeding plans direct to dog owners’ doors A website that will provide its users with a bespoke, calorie-controlled diet for their dogs direct to their door has been launched. Pawtions serves up a new way to feed and care for dogs providing customers with a box containing dry dog food, flea and worming treatments, poo bags and treats every four weeks. The service calculates every dog’s recommended daily calorie intake based on details entered on the website. Each dog’s breed, weight, body condition and activity level are used to create the plan, approved by senior veterinary nurse Suzie Marshall. Steve Turton, founder of Pawtions and owner of two English cocker spaniels, said: “Bella and Bo both love their diets and we’ve had 100 per cent positive feedback on the food and the service from all of our customers.”
Short-nosed dog breeds may have undiagnosed breathing problems Owners of popular short-nosed dog breeds may be jeopardising their pets’ health by putting the signs of their animals’ breathing difficulties down to being ‘normal’ for their breed. Studies by the Royal Veterinary College have been published by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) in its Animal Welfare journal, stating that dog owners of short-nosed breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and Pekingese, aren’t seeking essential treatment because they are disregarding their pets’ tell-tale signs of breathing issues as normal. Brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs have a compressed upper jaw, which results in soft tissue being crammed within the skull. This can lead to brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which can stop a dog from enjoying the simple pleasures of its life – exercise, playing, eating and sleeping. Rowena Packer from the Royal Veterinary College said: “Our study clearly shows that owners of brachycephalic dogs often dismiss the signs of this potentially severe breathing disorder as normal, and are prepared to tolerate a high degree of respiratory compromise in their pets before seeking help.”
Nominations open for Celebrity Dog Owner Awards Park Bench, the online social media community for dog owners, has announced the advent of the Celebrity Dog Owner Awards. The awards are a chance for people to nominate their favourite responsible celebrity dog owner. The winning celebrity will receive £2,000 to donate to their favourite animal welfare charity, while anyone voting will get entered into a prize draw in which 25 people will receive a photo shoot experience worth £145. To be in with a chance of winning, the celebrity dog owners will have needed to have communicated the importance of responsible pet ownership through their involvement with dogs and the media. Once all the nominations are in, a panel of judges, including National Pet Month and Dr Scott Miller, will help to decide who will be crowned Celebrity Dog Owner of the year 2012. Phil Sketchley, chairman of National Pet Month, remarked: “We are delighted to support Park Bench’s campaign to find the UK’s favourite dog-owning celebrity. During National Pet Month we look to promote responsible pet care in addition to raising money for pet charities, and highlighting celebrity role models will help communicate all of our positive messages about pet ownership.”
Three minute interview
Simon Wisson, owner, Simon’s Rodents Describe yourself in three words Positive, friendly and energetic.
When you were at school, what did you want to be and why? I’ve always had aspirations of being a livestock breeder of some type due to my family connections of being traditional livestock farmers.
Which was the first music album you bought? Bryan Adams.
What was your first job? Farm labourer.
What is the best advice you have been given? My careers advisor said: “Don’t bother trying to start a business breeding hamsters Simon, it won’t work.” I chose to ignore him!
What is the most important thing that your job has taught you? Anything is achievable with perseverance, dedication and by keeping focused on the goal post at all times.
How did you get into the pet trade? Hobby.
Dates for your diary 6 – 8 July
The East of England Show, Peterborough www.eastofengland.org.uk
Pet Industry Awards Dinner Harrogate Yorkshire www.petcare.org.uk
29 July Suffolk Dog Day, Helmingham Hall, Suffolk www.suffolkdogday.co.uk
4 – 5 September PetEx, Dublin, Ireland www.petex.ie
16 – 17 September PATS Harrogate IC Yorkshire www.patshow.co.uk
Who has been the biggest inspiration to you in your professional life? My father.
What are you hoping to achieve at Simon’s Rodents? To build a company to be proud of that fills a very difficult niche market that future generations may want to expand and develop further.
Do you have any pets? One Patterdale terrier due to have puppies soon!
and briefly Winners announced for 2012 Ceva Awards for Animal Welfare Following a nationwide search to find inspirational individuals who are passionate about companion animal welfare, Ceva Animal Health UK has announced the winners of the Ceva Awards for Animal Welfare. The winners are: Richard Edwards of AlphaPet Veterinary Clinic, Bognor Regis who was Chris Laurence Vet of the Year; Welfare Nurse of the Year went to Rachel Wright of the Tree of Life for Animals, India/Peterborough; and the Pet Lovers Welfare Award was given to Carol Fowler from Wottonunder-Edge, Gloucestershire.
Charity to teach pet shop staff how to correctly ‘sex’ guinea pigs Following an increase in the number of unwanted guinea pigs, a Cambridgeshire charity has decided to teach pet shop workers how to correctly determine the gender of the animals. Wood Green animal shelter said it was “full to capacity” after a couple brought in 45 guinea pigs produced by their “same sex” pets in an eight month period. A spokesperson from the charity said: “Unneutered males are active from just three weeks and the mums can become pregnant again within an hour of giving birth. We are working with pet shops across the country to help teach staff how to sex guinea pigs so new owners don’t end up with unexpected litters.”
Keith Lemon puppy giveaway on TV sparks complaints ITV1 has received complaints after comedian Leigh Francis, aka Keith Lemon, gave away a puppy as a prize. Battersea Dogs and Cat home said: “We fear many children and their parents will be influenced by what they saw on the show and will have little understanding of the full responsibilities of pet ownership.” Ofcom reported it received 176 complaints after the animal was awarded to a child, and is assessing them to determine whether or not the show had broken any broadcasting codes.
Entrepreneur sells online retailer Mark Berriman, the entrepreneur who launched the online PetSupermarket brand, has announced he has sold the company behind the retailer to MedicAnimal Limited for an undisclosed fee. Viverdi, the company behind PetSupermarket, was set up by Berriman in 2003. Viverdi originally operated an online gifts company, before its founder saw a gap in the market for specialist pet supplies at affordable prices. From an annual turnover of £500,000 in its first 12 months, PetSupermarket grew 10-fold before its sale in October 2011. Viverdi was sold on a share purchase basis, with Berriman retaining intellectual property rights for the ‘back-end’ technology. The agreement also stipulated that he would remain in the business for six months and provide on-going support at the end of that period. Speaking about the success of his business, despite little or no investment, he said: “For the past seven years I put my life into launching and developing PetSupermarket, however I have recently had problems outside of work, which forced me to take stock of my life and I decided that the time was right to sell the business.” Ivan Retzignac of MedicAnimal Limited added: “Mark built a fabulous business with a very strong team. PetSupermarket’s focus on delivering an outstanding and personalised customer service and buying experience fit perfectly with MedicAnimal’s own objectives, and we look forward to taking the brand to the next level.”
Increasing demand for funeral and remembrance products Despite online searches for collars, toys and cleaning goods all decreasing year-on-year in the UK, Alibaba.com reports that the biggest emerging market in the world of pets is for coffins, caskets and urns, with a 467 per cent annual increase recorded. Molly Morgan, senior manager of international corporate affairs at Alibaba.com, commented: “While many like to accessorise their pets, it often goes beyond this with people viewing their pets as an extended member of the family. A major part of this is coping with them passing away, and there appears to be a strong desire to mark this event with an appropriate send-off. As a result we have seen a large number of products emerging to serve this purpose and demand is clearly at an all time high.”
Call to ban certain types of flea collars in the UK Following the ban on flea collars containing dimpylate in France, there have been calls to take similar action in the UK. The flea collars containing dimpylate, also known as diazinon, were recently removed from many French shops, as they were believed to pose a risk to the health of owners and their pets. Diazinon is an organophosphate which was originally developed for use as a nerve gas during World War Two. Veterinary director of Dogs Trust, Paula Boyden, believes that we should follow the French lead. She said: “Dog owners won’t be aware of this ban. We suggest they contact their vet if they have concerns. There are equally effective but safer products on the market. We don’t need to have these collars available.”
AD June 2012
New appointments Pastures new for professionals in the pet trade Hilton Herbs
Hilton Herbs has recently taken on two new members of staff. Tony Self, managing director, at Hilton Herbs said: “It’s been a brilliant year for Hilton Herbs; it’s great we are recruiting after the recent tough economic times. Amanda Shaw (right) is our new accounts manager and Abi Perry (left) is our new sales and marketing assistant. Both of them with their individual experience are a real asset to our team.” Future plans for the company include a new catalogue, re-branding of product names and exhibiting at more shows.
Natures Grub has announced two recent new appointments – Stuart Clarke (left) takes on a new role as production manager, after having been with the company for two years. Stuart has been involved in all aspects of manufacture and production as well as goods out. His new role will see him oversee all production of current Natures Grub range as well as its growing range of private label goods. Stuart has been involved in import and export, as well as warehouse management within the UK port network for several years. Eddie Jenkins (right) has recently joined Natures Grub after many years in the engineering and retail industry. His love for fishing over the past 20 years – twinned with his engineering background – has already led to developments within the Fathom Baits brand, part of the Natures Grub family. Eddie’s new appointment will let him oversee the day-to-day running of Fathom Baits and any new product developments.
Veterinary Thermal Imaging
Veterinary Thermal Imaging (VTI) is delighted to welcome Jon Searle as its thermographer for Gloucestershire. Jon has a passion for animal welfare and photography and VTI conveniently combines the two. His experience focuses around companion animals, such as dogs, horses and cats. He’s currently studying a postgraduate course in animal behaviour and has undergone extensive veterinary training on his way to become a VTI thermographer. In addition, Jon has recently returned from a training course with world leading experts in veterinary thermography who are based in Holland. “My interest in thermal imaging comes from my photographic background, being interested in technologies and imaging in general,” explained Jon. “We’re really excited to have Jon on board,” said Helen Morrell, managing director of Veterinary Thermal Imaging. “Jon’s knowledge when it comes to the technology behind the cameras is invaluable in establishing the correct controls to help eliminate anomalies and false readings. This, combined with his extensive veterinary training in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, disease and injury pathology, as well as his existing interest in animal behaviour and welfare, means that he is incredibly well suited to VTI.”
Allen & Page
Norfolk-based animal feed company Allen & Page is pleased to announce the appointment of Annie Hughes as the new area sales manager for the Essex, Suffolk and Kent region. Annie has been involved in the equine world on both a personal and professional level for many years, beginning her working life as a secretary and then attending agricultural college. She said: “My first equine job was as head girl for an international event rider in Surrey and I then worked as head girl for event rider Nigel Taylor, when he was based at the Milton Keynes Eventing Centre. Next stop was a year in Australia as a working rider for an eventing family. On my return I decided to keep eventing as a hobby and went back to office life to fund this expensive pursuit!” Annie has since travelled the world before embarking on a degree in Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, in 2010 with a first class honours degree, then worked as a research assistant to Dr Charlotte Nevison as part of the Equine Research Anglia Group (ERA). Has someone recently joined or moved to a new role within your company? You can send the details and a photo to email@example.com
Royal Canin Dermacomfort from Royal Canin is specially designed for dogs with minor skin issues. Using a combination of skin supportive nutrients, it has been proven in European trial to show a positive change in the skin and coat in just one month in 86 per cent of cases. Eighty seven per cent of owners saw a reduction in scratching in the same period, with benefits continuing into the second month and beyond. Dermacomfort is available for mini, medium and maxi-sized adult dogs. For more information, speak to your Royal Canin retail business manager, or contact the company using the details below. Information: 0845 300 5011 or www.royalcanin.co.uk
U-Marq U-Marq manufactures and supplies the GEM RX5, which is able to engrave all of your pet tags and engravable pet accessories. “U-Marq is one of the largest pet tag suppliers and manufacturers in Europe, with hundreds to choose from and more being added all the time,” says the company. For all the latest offerings, use the contact details below. Information: 01908 623 522 or www.u-marq.com
Group55 The exponential growth of the grooming product division of Group55 continues. Fresh from winning Grooming Product of the Year 2012, the Animology range of shampoos and sprays have grown to include four additional new products including its eagerly awaited Fox Poo shampoo. In addition to this, its grooming scissor range and exclusive distributor agreement with X-Power pet dryers has further enhanced the product range of this multi-award-winning company. Information: 01772 786 864 or www.animology.co.uk
James Wellbeloved On sale now, James Wellbeloved Light Cat and Dog Food is designed for overweight pets. The food features “reduced calories compared to standard adult or senior kibble, higher levels of dietary fibre than standard kibble to satisfy hunger, and higher protein levels to encourage weight loss from fatty tissue rather than muscle tissue.” Taurine is also added to support the heart, while glucosamine and chondroitin aid joint mobility. The new Dog Light ‘Full Bowl, Fewer Calories’ principle means more volume than standard kibble for the same weight of food – “a more satisfying experience for the dog,” says James Wellbeloved.
Barker and Barker Barker and Barker has expanded its manufacturing facilities and is now taking on new wholesalers. Its low fat, non-messy tablet treats are “ideal for repeat rewarding or general treating and are a firm favourite with dog trainers and dog owners alike,” explains Barker and Barker. Flavours include liver, garlic, cranberry, arctic fish, chicken and veg, which are available in small, medium and large sizes. Tasty Toppers conditioning and supplement powders are also available. “Only high quality European ingredients are used. Nothing artificial – just 100 per cent natural goodness. All products are manufactured by Barker and Barker in the UK,” it says.
Information: 0845 300 4890 or www.wellbeloved.com
Information: 0845 519 8803, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogtraininginfo.co.uk
Collarways In June, Collarways is offering a Fetch ‘n Float dog toy display to retailers. The display contains specially selected dog toys from Katie’s Bumpers, Tuffy and Zogoflex. All toys are “high quality, extra tough, machine washable and they float,” explains Collarways, and the display comes with an header sign to attract customers to these durable and versatile toys. Collarways recommends placing the toys in a prominent store location for a seasonal display. This toy selection can also be purchased without the stand, if retailers prefer to use their own merchandising solutions.
PetzCrazee PetzCrazee is the UK distributor for designer pet fashion brand Puppy Angel. This season sees the introduction of over 50 new lines including these colourful, yet practical Soft Denim Harnesses. Available in three stylish designs and four sizes for chihuahuas up to cocker spaniels, each one comes with a matching nylon leash. With pampered pets on the increase, harnesses are a great way for pet shops to tap into the designer pet market. To sign up for wholesale, register via the website or phone number below.
Information: 0844 736 5816 or www.petzcrazee.com
SmartBedz “SmartBedz is the most environmentally-friendly, economic and convenient litter solution for all pets,” explains the company. Available from wholesalers countrywide, Smartbedz is suitable for rabbits, chickens, ferrets, small pets, cats and reptiles banishing smells and keeping them dry. The pellets are made entirely from straw, while comprehensive dust extraction ensures reduced risk of respiratory problems to pets and people. SmartBedz also banishes litter smells naturally without the aid of chemicals, minerals or perfumes and it absorbs liquid so fast it stops the formation of pungent smells.” For more information contact the details below. Information: 01473 356 134, email@example.com orwww.smartbedz.co.uk
Arden Grange For dogs presenting with symptoms of adverse food reactions, Arden Grange Sensitive represents an ideal addition to your natural dog food offering. This is a complete, super premium pet food for adult dogs with particularly sensitive skin or digestion. The gentle recipe excludes grains and cereals and contains ocean white fish as an easily digestible source of protein. This naturally hypo-allergenic diet does not include any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives or potentially provocative ingredients such as wheat gluten, beef, soya or dairy products. This may further reduce the risk of dietary intolerances and allergies, which can cause digestive upset and skin complaints in sensitive dogs. Information: www.ardengrange.com
Denes Denes Deluxe Meals are complete, natural and palatable super premium dog foods. They are packaged in convenient breakoff trays with easy-peel lids and are ideal for small breeds. They have a high meat content (60 per cent plus) and are cooked in the tray for freshness. They are free from all artificial ingredients and wheat gluten. Deluxe Meals come in three recipes: Chicken with Parsley; Lamb with Carrots; and Rice and Beef with Potatoes and Rice. They are available in 300 gram packs (two packs of 150 grams). Information: 01273 229 084 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dorwest Herbs Dorwest Herbs, the “leading manufacturer of herbal medicines and supplements for dogs and cats,” is raising awareness of skin conditions. With many animals showing symptoms of irritable skin conditions in the spring and summer, it is the ideal time to ensure you benefit from sales in the increasing natural medicines sector. Dorwest’s focus is covering several products including two of its licensed herbal medicines; Garlic and Fenugreek Tablets, and Mixed Vegetable Tablets. Both products have over 20 anti-inflammatory compounds and 10 painkillers between them as well as having anti-bacterial, antiseptic and antihistamine properties. Dorwest is offering special trade discounts in June, along with new POS material for its skin condition focus. Information: 01308 897 272, email@example.com or www.dorwest.com
Pet Munchies Pet Munchies are natural, premium dog and cat treats made from real quality meat and fish. Today’s consumers are demanding natural, healthy products for their pets and these treats are naturally low in fat and packed with “natural textures, flavours and exceptional palatability that dogs love.” They are available in six varieties: chicken breast fillets; chicken chips; chicken strips; duck breast fillet; beef liver; and ocean white fish. All are made from 100 per cent meat and slow-roasted in their own natural juices. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.pet-munchies.com or www.facebook.com/petmunchies
Purina Kidney health is an important factor in maintaining cats’ long-term health and wellbeing and unfortunately, kidney disease is still common in cats. Kidney care is a key concern and an unanswered need for specialist shoppers – consequently there is a huge opportunity to unlock incremental sales value through effective communication. Purina vets and nutritionists have identified nutrients in food which can help maintain healthy kidneys. A special combination of ingredients has been shown to have an impact on cats’ kidney function including amino acids, essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants. This unique formulation of nutrients is called Optirenal and is only available in Pro Plan cat food. Optirenal is available in a range of Pro Plan products tailored to the specific requirements of adult, neutered, sensitive and indoor cats. Information: www.purina-proplan.co.uk
Vetark Professional Salmonella problems may be seen in wild birds, especially during January to March and later in the year, trichomonas protozoa become a problem from June to September. Most wild bird infections are spread mainly via contaminated water bowls and possibly longer lasting puddles. Vetark Professional provides help with several key products such as citrosan, a natural biocide, ideal for addition to the drinking/bathing water to reduce the spread of bacteria and trichomonas. Sprinkle Support provides pre- and pro-biotics to support the birds at any time, especially while raising youngsters in the nest. Information: 01962 844 316 or www.vetark.co.uk
Dog behavioural problems
Train of thought When it comes to the effective training of dogs, David Chamberlain BVetMed MRCVS, veterinary consultant to PetSafe, discovers that the deed is more important than the device
here has been much mystique built around the management of canine behavioural problems in recent years and many organisations have been established to manage problem behaviour in dogs. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) reminds its members that the great majority of vets are not experts in canine behaviour and, as such, these cases should be referred to someone who is. This approach is not unreasonable, especially when a behavioural problem involves aggression. Like many things in life, prevention is often easier than treatment. This is certainly true of canine behavioural issues. One of the most important preventative actions an owner can take is ‘in-breed selection’; as a dog’s breed is determined by both its physical and behavioural characteristics. Most dog owners have the skills to make their dog a good citizen without realising it. Of course, there are exceptions and I urge people not to believe the old adage ‘there are no bad dogs, just bad owners’, because this is not true. I have seen owners persist with dogs that were just unmanageable because they
believed the dog’s behaviour was their fault. Owners should not try to manage aggressive dogs and these dogs should without doubt be referred to experts. The most intelligent breed of dog is widely accepted to be the Border collie, although this assessment of intelligence is obviously from a human perspective. Just because the Border collie behaves like a remote control device for human commands – does that make it intelligent? The Border collie’s ability to learn and follow commands is a consequence of intensive selective breeding over the last 100 years, but in truth dogs have been selectively bred by humans for the last 14,000 years, so it is hardly a surprise that a working dog like the Border collie is smart. Last year, it was reported a Border collie called Chaser had learnt the names of over 1,000 objects. An average Border collie can recall around 200 words and has the intelligence of a two-year-old human. The purpose of the enhanced intelligence of Border collies is to enable them to understand the commands of a shepherd. They are bred to work and they love to work, but this strength is also their weakness. If
Dog behavioural problems
owners of Border collies do not utilise their intelligence, this is a breed that is prone to profound behavioural problems – as working dogs, they need to be kept occupied. It is not surprising that many of the strategies used by parents to manage their children’s behaviour are familiar to dog trainers and there are three very important principles that trainers – like parents – should to follow. They are advised to establish clear boundaries, to deliver a consistent message, and ensure that message is delivered in a timely manner. This will avoid confusion and result in quick, embedded learning. It is also important to consider the message that it is appropriate to deliver. In essence, there are two types of message that affect learning or a modification in behaviour: reward or punishment. Both humans and dogs understand the concept of reward and punishment because they are innately inquisitive and they continue with what rewards them and stop what harms them. The simplest type of reward for a dog is praise or a food-based treat. In recent years there have been numerous rewards-based techniques that have been developed and
promoted based on conditioned rewards. Whether it is training discs, or clickers, the dog learns to associate the sound of the discs or the click with the praise or treat reward, and eventually they are conditioned to accept the sound as a reward alone. Such techniques are based on the original work by Pavlov. Many training tools avoid hands-on punishment by owners and eliminate the problems of differences in strength of punishments delivered by individual owners. By disassociating the trainer from the punishment, it avoids conflict in the dog’s mind because the owner can remain a source of reward. Dog trainers who use a balanced approach to training using both rewards and punishment need access to a complete tool box of training aids. There are some campaigns to ban positive punishment training aids; even Barbara Woodhouse’s check chain is in the spotlight. That said, there is strong evidence that heavy handed use of check chains does result in physical injuries to dogs and the effect of the check chain is too closely associated with the force applied by the owner, which is variable. A check chain in one trainer’s hands is an effective, harmless tool, but in another’s, it may be a weapon. The role of the retailer is to provide some guidance on how these products should be used and the potential consequences of misuse. The Animal Welfare Act is a powerful piece of legislation, which will deal with individuals who cause animals unnecessary suffering. Despite this act there are still campaigns to ban products such as check chains and, unless retailers provide appropriate advice, the regulators may feel they are justified in banning these devices. If the pet trade wants to be able to continue to sell check chains, I would advise them to explain to owners how to use them. My counterposition to campaigns to ban training tools is that it is ‘the deed, not the device’ and if they are going to be regulated then use age restrictions and obligatory training of consumers. An example of positive punishment in dogs is also seen in the management of pursuit behaviour in dogs around livestock. Electronic training collars can control this problem, which costs the farming industry an estimated £1 million per year and results in some dogs being shot by farmers. Electronic collars have their aversive stimuli (things we would rather avoid) accurately dispensed remotely by the trainer and the punishment can be delivered in a timely manner not associated with the trainer. Many parents understandably avoid direct positive punishment of their children and prefer to use negative punishments. Typically, a parent will take a favourite toy away from a toddler or ground a teenager. Some particularly obsessive or ‘driven’ breeds of dogs, such as the Belgian shepherd dog (malinois) or Bichon Frise, become very attached to toys and denying them access to them can cause them more anxiety and distress than a positive punishment. The dog is released from this state of distress when their toy is returned to them. While negative punishments may be easier for our conscience to bear, they are still punishments and may cause more distress than a short, sharp, positive punishment. One particular area of concern is when trainers keep dogs hungry so they are more likely to comply with a command for a food-based treat, with the hunger effectively increasing the value of the treat. The trainers believe they are using a reward-based training system, but they have instead created a state of distress, which is only relieved by a treat. This is in fact negative punishment not positive reward. Thus, to avoid behavioural problems retailers must explain how training tools are used and the consequences of misuse or abuse. Here is some key advice for your customers: • Pick the right breed. • Set boundaries. • Be consistent. • Timely delivery. • Use both reward and punishment. • Don’t be scared of training tools; it is the deed not the device. • Negative punishment is not positive reward.
Dog behavioural problems
On the shelf Your customers can solve many dog behavioural problems with the wide range of products on the market, from training collars to herbal remedies to relax and reduce anxiety
t’s well recognised that diet can affect behaviour in children and this can also apply to pets. More and more people are now feeding natural foods containing no additives, colourings or preservatives, which they believe may improve many behavioural problems. Natural Pet Products says: “It’s important to follow this through with natural treats and supplements (if required) as failure to do this greatly reduces the benefits achieved with the food. There are now some excellent natural treats and supplements available. However it’s important to check the information details on the packaging, as we now see too many products which say natural on the front but in fact they are not.” Information: 01926 311 514 or www.naturalpetproductltd.com When it comes to training, the key is to help the dog understand the benefits in doing what the owner wants him to do. The new range from Patento Pet (distributed exclusively by Gor Pets) has been developed with a careful understanding of dog behaviour. The company says, “often behaviour is deemed as naughty, when in fact it’s just the dog displaying his natural instincts. In these instances your customer needs to offer a gentle lesson on what is unacceptable behaviour.” More than 30 per cent of dogs chew on their lead when bored or excited and the majority of puppies will think their lead is a toy. The Anti-Bite lead from Patento Pet has an interior strip with a chilli coating – as soon as the dog starts to chew on the lead he gets a taste of chilli and stops immediately. The Anti-Bite Leash is one of a complete range of training accessories from Patento Pet. Information: 0121 580 4984, email@example.com or www.gorpets.co.uk Herbal remedies have long been used to treat behavioural problems in both man and domestic animals. Some of the herbs Denes Natural Pet Care includes in Tranquil+ Powder were once used routinely by the veterinary profession. Notably, these included Skullcap, known in the past as Mad Dog Weed, a colloquial name derived from its use in controlling frenzied canine behaviour. Collectively, the herbs included in Tranquil+ Powder fall into the category which herbalists describe as nervines. Some of these are tonics, which strengthen the nervous system and are useful in situations where stress is evident. Some of the herbs have relaxing properties and will reduce levels of anxiety and excitability. Denes Tranquil+ Powder is recommended for a variety of problems including nervousness, shyness, over-excitement, fear, aggression, noise sensitivity and car sickness. Information: 01273 229 084, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.denes.com
KONG is renowned for strength and durability and is recommended by vets, canine trainers and behaviourists worldwide as their training aid of choice for common dog behavioural problems such as separation anxiety, excessive barking and destructive chewing. Superbouncy KONG Classic – made from red, natural rubber compound – and KONG Extreme – made from ultra-strong black rubber for strong, tenacious, chewers – both offer fun activity for dogs. “When stuffed, with healthy treats or food, KONGs really come into their own – mentally stimulating, rewarding and challenging, they can keep an animal happily occupied for hours.” KONGs are available to suit all breeds for every stage of their life. KONG’s rubber range also includes KONG Dental, with unique patented Denta Ridges to effectively reduce plaque, clean teeth and massage gums. The range includes: Stuff-a-Ball, Dental, Dental with Rope, Jump’N Jack and Dental stick. They can also be used as treat dispensers. Information: www.kongcompany.com Adaptil from Ceva is a natural canine-appeasing pheromone, which has been proven to help dogs in a range of stressful situations. The pheromone is released by the lactating bitch to comfort and reassure her offspring, it has been shown to help puppies settle into new homes and have a comforting influence on adult dogs helping them to be more resilient and cope with change, whether this is in kennels, while travelling or during re-homing. It has been used by behaviourists, veterinary experts and welfare charities for the past 10 years. Adaptil is odourless, non-sedative and can be used alongside all other types of medication and is available in three easy-to-use formulations – a diffuser, spray and collar. Information: www.adaptil.co.uk Clicker training is a method of communication used by dog owners and trainers to identify desirable behaviour in dogs. The dog’s good behaviour is marked with the sound of a short click exactly when the dog is doing the right thing and he’s then rewarded with a treat. The Premier Clik Stik from PetSafe is an all-in-one clicker and retractable target stick that frees up a trainer’s hands for ease of training. Developed by internationally-acclaimed dog trainer, Terry Ryan, the learning success rate has proved high. Information: 0800 046 1414 or www.petsafe.net There are a number of products on the market to deal with behavioural problems in dogs, from sprays and oils to tablets, however one of the most simple and effective says Hilton Herbs is the Canine Tranquility mix. A carefully selected blend of calmative herbs, it reduces anxiety or lessens hyper-activity without doping or sedating the dog. The company explains: “After a few weeks’ treatment with the Tranquility mix, owners report that their dogs are calmer, more responsive to training, and easier to handle.” Available in a dry, or liquid tincture form for fast absorption, Tranquility has been formulated by a medical herbalist, using humangrade ingredients and is a best-seller in the range of canine herbal feed supplements from Hilton Herbs. Information: 01460 270 701, email@example.com or www.hiltonherbs.com
Diets for show dogs
Simply the best
When it comes to appearing in the conformation ring, dogs have to be in the peak of physical condition. Naida Ally looks at the special nutritional requirements of show dogs and the foods which can improve condition and appearance
Image courtesy of Kennel Club Picture Library/Diane Pearce
s well as being extremely well-mannered and obedient, show dogs need to be in tip-top condition and able to withstand detailed examinations by judges on various aspects of their appearance, manner, skills and other breed specific traits. As the Westminster Kennel Club describes: “Each breed’s parent club creates a Standard, a written description of the ideal specimen of that breed, generally relating to form and function such as the original function that the dog was bred to perform. Most standards describe general appearance, movement, temperament and specific physical traits such as height and weight, coat, colours, eye colour and shape, ear shape and placement, feel, tail and more.” While a healthy diet cannot guarantee a Best in Show accolade, attention to nutrition can certainly assist in improving or enhancing some of the physical traits that judges look for. The many food types available all have their benefits, and ultimately whether feeding a wet, dry or raw diet, it is possible to maintain a healthy balance. All dogs need several different kinds of nutrients to survive; amino acids from proteins, fatty acids and carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. For show dogs in particular, a better understanding of how dogs use the various nutrients in food can lead to a firmer control over coat condition, health and general performance. High-quality proteins contain a balance of all of the essential amino acids, which assist to build hair, skin and nails. They also help build muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage, and play a crucial role in hormone production. A minor protein deficiency can cause a rough, dull coat, compromised function of the immune system and poor milk production in pregnant bitches. Dietary fats play a role in cell structure and function and serve as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins. Essential fatty acids are necessary to keep a dog’s skin and coat healthy. Puppies which are fed very low-fat diets can develop dry, coarse hair and skin lesions that potentially become vulnerable to infections. Deficiencies in the omega-3 family of essential fatty acids may be associated with impaired learning ability and vision problems. Minerals are also essential for the nutritional health of dogs. Calcium and phosphorus are vital for strong bones and teeth. Magnesium, potassium and sodium are required for nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and cell signalling. A deficiency of dietary calcium could lead to secondary hyperparathyroidism, a condition known to cause major bone loss, skeletal abnormalities and pathological fracturing. For a developing show dog, a condition such as this in early life could squander its
Diets for show dogs
chances of meeting the regular height and weight requirements for its breed, not to mention having a serious negative effect on its health and wellbeing. Balance is key, however, because an excess of calcium may equally cause skeletal abnormalities, more prevalent in large breed puppies. Vitamins take part in a wide range of metabolic activities and deficiencies are known to cause a variety of health problems. Clinical signs of vitamin A deficiency include vision and motor impairment, skin lesions, respiratory ailments, as well as an increased susceptibility to infections. A diet lacking in vitamin E can eventually lead to retinal degeneration and reproductive failure. Catherine O’Driscoll, founder of the organisation Canine Health Concern (CHC), has an interest in dog nutrition that is close to home. Catherine lost two golden retrievers unexpectedly, which led her to investigate the nutritional content of pet food. “I think that if a dog is attending Crufts and similar dog shows, it’s possible that the dog is also being considered for the breeding programme. A biologically-appropriate diet is vital, in my view – not only for the health of the dog being shown, but also for any of their offspring and future generations,” she explains. “Once you start to feed a dog his or her biologically appropriate diet, you can see a visible difference. It’s as though they sparkle. They have incredible energy, but the energy is balanced – neither too hyper nor too hypo, but appropriate for the occasion. “I believe that it is the duty of any breeder to study the science of nutrition so that their dogs have a better chance of producing healthy offspring. It’s very easy to feed naturally – 60 to 80 per cent of the diet is raw meaty bones, and the rest is good quality vegetables, offal, eggs, fish, and so on.” One couple who follow this kind of diet are Liz and Mick Jay, breeders of the Talraz Bearded Collies, who show a couple of times a month. Between them, the show team consisting of Beattie (Talraz Hot Favourite), her brown half-sister Honey (Talraz Honey Trap) and their brown veteran mum Ruby (Talraz Golden Earring) are rarely unplaced,
Image courtesy of Kennel Club Picture Library/Diane Pearce
with Beattie winning her class at Crufts both this year and last year. “We feed a simple, natural diet based on raw meat, bones and offal. Meat includes beef, lamb, chicken, rabbit, pork, ox heart, tripe, turkey, pheasant, venison – either minced with bone, fat and gristle included or on the bone. Once or twice a week they will have offal or organ meat, including a little liver. They also get oily fish such as salmon and pilchards, plain pro-biotic yoghurt, and a few raw eggs each week. I will sometimes add some plain biscuit mixer meal, table scraps such as leftover vegetables or cooked brown rice. They have a daily skin and coat oil supplement called Yumega, and in summer I make stewed nettles once or twice a week for them and pour it over their dinners as a treat. The benefits include no waste; great appetites; clean teeth; fresh breath; small, well-formed droppings; good body and coat condition; and relaxed contented dogs with energy when needed. My veterans of 10 and 11 have much the same diet with the inclusion of a pro-biotic supplement, and my very energetic herding dog has slightly larger portions. I have frequently been told they smell lovely, though when they have been rolling around I disagree!” This year’s Crufts saw the launch of a veterinary examination of the 15 high profile breeds, prior to being allowed their Best of Breed awards. Alison Skipper and Will Jeffels were the two vets who volunteered to undertake the vet checks. “Under this scheme, championship show
winners belonging to these breeds must be examined by an independent vet before their awards are confirmed and they can proceed to further competition,” they wrote in the Veterinary Record. Of the 15 this year, six dogs did not pass the checks. The vets were looking in particular at eye disease, respiratory problems, skin disease and mobility issues. While some of these symptoms could be a case of specific breeding implications, certainly skin and eye conditions can be improved greatly by an attention to nutrition, and even mobility issues can be positively enhanced by an adherence to appropriate levels of nutrients. Caroline Kisko of the Kennel Club comments: “Like any other dog, show dogs should be fit and healthy and this will undoubtedly be affected by their diet. However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer. There are 210 different breeds of pedigree dog, and their exercise and diet requirements can differ dramatically – not only this but the age of the dog will also affect the food most suitable for them. Many show dog owners will use ‘high performance’ type foods, as their dogs are given plenty of exercise to ensure they are fit when being assessed by the judge, but this is largely a matter of personal preference. Owners should speak to a dog’s breed club to see what they recommend or consult a dog nutrition expert such as one of the pet food manufacturers who attend dog shows and offer a range of different foods, or the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association to see what would best suit the dog.”
Supplier Listing Albion Meat Products: www.albionmeatproducts.co.uk BARF Pet Foods UK Ltd: www.barfpetfoods.co.uk Burns Pet Nutrition: www.burnspet.co.uk Dorwest Herbs: www.dorwest.com Hilton Herbs: www.hiltonherbs.com James Wellbeloved: www.wellbeloved.com Kong: www.kongcompany.com Leander Arden Grange: www.ardengrange.com Natural Pet Products: www.naturalpetproductsltd.com Nose2tail: www.nose-2-tail.co.uk Royal Canin: www.royalcanin.co.uk PET GAZETTE
Image courtesy of Liz Jay
State of the nation Michael Bellingham, chief
executive of the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, shares the findings of recent research*, which looked at the UK pet population, spending habits and our relationship with pets Pet population research
The PFMA collects regional pet population data annually and is able to provide accurate figures for all regions in the UK. The research is used to help trace trends in the pet world and the findings are of use to the charities, government and associations with whom the PFMA works closely. For more information see www.pfma.org.uk/statistics/ As illustrated in the graph below, 48 per cent of the UK owns a pet – up two per cent since 2011. Cats and dogs remain the most popular pets (excluding fish) with around eight million of each living in the UK. Numbers have grown steadily since 1965 when the dog population was around five million and the cat population around four million. Small furry pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice, are also very popular with a population of approximately three million. The huge UK fish population stands at around 40 million with over 20 million fish kept in tanks indoors and over 20 million outdoors in ponds
Pet food market growth
Reflecting the pet population growth, the pet food industry remains healthy in the recession with the value of pet food growing by one per cent, bringing it to £2.14 billion. The dog food and cat food markets are growing at similar pace with both up one per cent in value this year taking them to £1,071 million and £918 million respectively but the small animal market showed the strongest growth increasing its value two per cent to £67 million. Dry complete food
has maintained its dominance in the dog food market and in the cat food market we have seen the success of different packaging formats and food types offering convenience for owners with single serve foods outgrowing traditional multi-serve options. Cat treats have seen the most dramatic growth rising 24 per cent in 2011.
How pet owners are coping
We also asked pet owners how they were coping with new financial constraints and were interested to find that owners have not cut back on their pets. Pet owners have reduced their spending on luxuries first with 36 per cent of pet owners cutting back on eating out, 25 per cent on clothes shopping, 24 per cent on holidays and 20 per cent on entertainment. They are also cutting back on some essentials – 16 per cent cutting back on their food shopping plus 15 per cent on petrol and travel costs. In comparison, only six per cent of owners have cut back on treats for their pets, four per cent on their pets’ food and three per cent on their pets’ health and visits to the vet.
This comprehensive research has re-inforced that the UK is a nation of pet lovers and that our growing pet population will continue to be well cared for. However, there are some pet owners who will be struggling and pet retailers are well positioned to offer advice and assist customers in their pet food choice. In the first instance it’s well reported that obesity among pets is a big problem and retailers should check that owners are not buying too much food and overfeeding – which can lead to many other problems. Some retailers have found that launching loyalty or promoting offers where appropriate helps those who might be struggling financially. Retailers who help customers during tough times are always remembered when their situation improves. It is also a good idea to suggest consumers look at their preferred brands’ websites or contact carelines to see if they can sign up for newsletters or offers on their products. Retailers can speak to their pet food representatives too to see if they can help offer more incentives tailored to them and their 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: www.pfma.org.uk * Each year PFMA commissions new research into the UK pet population conducted by TNS using face to face interviews on a representative sample of the UK pet population. This research allows us to discover regional as well as national trends in pet ownership. Research collated in March 2012 with over 2, 000 UK adults.
Skin deep MVB MRCVS CVH tackles the subject of skin conditions, this month focusing his attention on infectious diseases such as mange, lice and scabies Ray O’Mahony
kin disease is one of the most common causes for presentation at veterinary clinics. It occurs in all of our domestic species to a greater or lesser extent and extends well beyond the itchy pet. It is such a huge subject that it is impossible to tackle in a single article, so I have decided to break it up into more useful sized pieces that will be published over the next few months. In this first piece we are going to look at some of the more common ectoparasites which cause disease in companion animals. The most common of these is of course the dreaded flea and so important is he, that he is having a full article to himself next month.
Demodex mites live deep in the hair follicles of cats and dogs and can only be seen when a deep skin scrape is examined under a microscope. These mites are present in small numbers in probably all animals but generally only cause disease in young dogs or those that are immunocompromised or suffering from underlying disease. The areas affected are usually the head and front feet, causing hair loss and skin thickening, often resulting in obvious ‘spectacles’ of thickened, hairless skin around the eyes. Affected dogs are often not itchy, which helps distinguish it from Atopy (Atopic Dermatitis, about which we will learn more in coming months), which can have a very similar presentation, although the two can occur together. However if Demodex lesions become secondarily infected, as they often do, then they can be itchy, which is why a thorough veterinary investigation of these dogs is so important. Demodectic mange is not contagious. Demodex mites also occur in cats – and people – but each species has its own slightly different mite. Clinical disease caused by this mite is very rare in cats, however, with signs usually restricted to the head and neck region.
Sarcoptes species of mites occur in many animal species, although as with Demodex they are species-specific. These mites burrow into the outer layer of the skin so are only visible in a skin scraping under a microscope. Unlike Demodex they cause intense puritus or itchiness. The disease they cause is referred to as Sarcoptic mange, but is also known as fox mange or scabies when it occurs in people. Affected dogs are usually very itchy, with hair loss and thickened skin on the head, limbs and underside and often with a distinctive, yeasty odour. Again, unlike Demodectic mange, Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious so affected and all in-contact dogs should be referred to a vet immediately for appropriate treatment. Prescription spot-on treatments such as Stronghold and Advocate are both licensed for treatment and prevention of this disease.
A small mite called Cheyletiella is the most common reason for itching and dandruff in rabbits and guinea pigs. It is barely visible to the naked eye and can result in thick layers of skin flakes often referred to as ‘walking dandruff’.’ It has been shown that stress plays an important role in these small herbivores’ susceptibility to ectoparasite infestation so good husbandry, housing and diet are essential in preventing re-infestation. Cheyletiella can also cause similar signs in cats and dogs and can even cause a transient rash in people. It is susceptible to many of the available prescription spot-on products, so treatment is straightforward but pet owners should keep in mind the husbandry issues mentioned above or re-occurrence is likely.
This is another little mite that is visible to the naked eye. They are also referred to as harvest mites or ‘Orange Tawnys’ due to their bright orange colour. Only the larval stages are infectious and
applied between the shoulder blades in the usual spot work very effectively. A pet owner must never put anything into an animal’s ear except under veterinary supervision. A vet will look into the ear and assess the canal, make a diagnosis and ensure the tympanic membrane is intact before deciding on the most appropriate treatment option.
these occur mainly from July to October. They generally cluster between the toes or foot pads, or in skin folds on the head, particularly around the ears. They can cause an intense itch in affected animals but are easily controlled with many topical spot-ons or Frontline spray to the affected area.
The most common mite found in cats and dogs is the ear mite. Unlike Demodex and Sarcoptes it is the same species, Otodectes cynotis, that affects cats, dogs, ferrets and a host of other small animals. It lives in the outer ear canal and in the skin around the ear. It feeds on ear wax and serum exuded from the inflamed ear canal. Affected animals show obvious discomfort in their ears, shaking their heads, scratching at, or flicking their ears. They will have a copious brown waxy discharge and if untreated the ears may become secondarily infected, becoming hot and sore with a fluid or purulent discharge. It is estimated that 85 per cent of otitis externa (inflammation of the ear) in cats is caused by this mite. In dogs, other factors such as Atopy, food allergies and anatomy (the shape and structure of the ears) are also commonly involved, but mites are still implicated in about 50 per cent of cases. Treatment is straightforward when mites alone are involved and products such as Stronghold and Advocate,
Lice are substantially larger than any of the above and are clearly visible to the naked eye. Probably the most common reason for puritus in horses, they are usually only found in small animals housed in dirty conditions or debilitated or poorly cared for individuals. There are a number of different species, some biting and some sucking with different feeding habits. They are susceptible to prescription topical treatments such as Advocate and Frontline Combo but the husbandry practices really need to be examined and hygiene needs to be improved to avoid re-occurrence.
Not a worm at all but a common skin fungus, it gets its name from the characteristic scaly, ringshaped lesion caused in people. Cats are affected more often than dogs and although affected dogs will always show signs, cats may not. Guinea pigs, rabbits and many other large and small animals can also be affected. Lesions are usually found on the head and front feet and may or may not be itchy. Because the lesions formed are so variable in appearance veterinary opinion should always be sought because the fungus does affect people, with up to 20 per cent of cases in people caught from cats. In all species it is usually young animals that are affected. It is often self-limiting but due to the highly infectious nature of the disease treatment should always be instituted as soon as possible. For localised infections, topical treatments are available but for more generalised infections – as are often seen in cats and horses – oral treatment is available. As with most of the above a vet’s opinion should be sought to distinguish the serious from the mundane and to ensure the continued health and welfare of both pets and family.
Supplier Listing Burgess Pet Care: www.burgesspetcare.co.uk Dorwest Herbs: www.dorwest.com Hilton Herbs: www.hiltonherbs.com James Wellbeloved: www.wellbeloved.com Kong: www.kongcompany.com Leander Arden Grange: www.ardengrange.com Natural Dogs: www.naturaldogs.co.uk Natural Pet Products: www.naturalpetproductsltd.com Nose2tail: www.nose-2-tail.co.uk Nurtured Pets: www.nurturedpets.co.uk Roger Skinner: www.skinnerspetfoods.co.uk Royal Canin: www.royalcanin.co.uk PET GAZETTE
Getting the brush off
With summer approaching, owners should be aware of the need to groom their dogs and cats and help prepare their coats for warmer weather. Grooming, training and healthcare company Mikki offers useful advice and tips on how to keep pets looking and feeling great June 2012â€‰
s with any task, the key to successful grooming is in the preparation – not least with having the right tools for the job. An owner’s choice of grooming products will be based on the pet’s coat type, but it is important to be mindful of the pet’s nature and age. For puppies and kittens, who may be unfamiliar with grooming, as well as for more nervous pets, grooming gloves are likely to be the best choice. Likewise the selection of shampoos and cleaning products will also be dependent upon coat and skin types. With all of the appropriate brushes and products to hand, then it is important that owners build trust with their pet, and approaching grooming in the same way each time will help to achieve this. Mikki recommends a simple five-step programme, which ensures that owners are able to enjoy a close relationship with their pets, secure in the knowledge they are caring for their pets’ wellbeing, as well as keeping their coats in peak condition.
Step one: Health check
A thorough check of the pet will help an owner to spot any skin problems, as well as looking for cuts, swelling and parasites on the skin. By checking ears, eyes, nose, mouth and teeth, as well as the coat at the start of the grooming process, owners will maintain an important oversight of their pet’s general health and wellbeing. By carrying out regular checks owners will be able to know what is normal, making it easier to spot when something is wrong.
Step two: Grooming
It is important to start off by removing any matted or knotted hair. Using matt breakers or de-matting combs will help prepare the pet’s coat for brushing. Isolating knots by brushing around the area and gently teasing out the matt, will mean the pet is less troubled by the de-knotting process. If the pet is prone to tangled hair, then using anti-tangle sprays will help to stop them re-forming in the future. Likewise the removal of any dead hair, caused by moulting, will ease the brushing process, as well as reduce the amount of hair loss around the home. When grooming, gentle strokes should be used. The brushing process itself should be a relaxing experience for both owner and pet, as well as helping the dog or cat to look its best. A range of gloves is available for cats and dogs, whatever their coat type. Soft bristle-based kitten and puppy grooming kits allow for a healthy coat from a young age, giving the best possible start. Should the cat or dog have particularly sensitive skin, ensure the grooming kit contains a brush designed specifically with this in mind.
Step three: Bathing
For dogs, bathing after brushing will help maintain the condition of their coats. However, many owners find bathing their dog tricky and so shy away from bath time. The idea of soapy struggles and a loose, wet dog running through the house looking for a favourite chair or cushion to shake off on is often one challenge too many to take on at the end of busy day. Bathtubs are the easiest places to wash a dog, as not only can he be kept in one place but all of the dog shampoos and brushes can be kept close to hand. When advising on shampoos, it is critical that the pet’s type of coat is taken into account, but importantly the owner should choose shampoos that they like the smell of. When the dog is clean and smelling fresh, then he should be dried using either a towel or a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting.
Step four: Cut and finish
Once owners have groomed and bathed their pets, then using scissors or stripping knives can tidy up his coat. This is also the time to use deodorising sprays and wipes, to keep the pet fresh and smelling great in between grooms.
Step five: Nails
Trimming nails and claws can often be a stressful task. Choosing a clipper with a guard or using a nail file will help to reduce the likelihood of cutting too close to the quick. The owner should hold the pet’s foot carefully and ensure that they are in complete control before starting to trim the nail. Cutting should be carried out in one smooth action. If the owner is at all unsure, they should only cut off a small amount at a time. It is important to remember that the owner’s behaviour will influence the pet’s response and so feeling and displaying confidence while cutting claws will reduce stress all round. Starting grooming early in a pet’s life ensures the pet is comfortable and familiar with the process. Generally speaking, shorter-coated pets require less grooming than those with longer or woollier coats. Regardless of hair type, owners should try to groom their pet as often as possible. Regular grooming will build the bond between owner and pet, benefit the shine on their coat, improve their overall wellbeing and provide a valuable way of reducing stress.
Mikki offers a wide choice of grooming products, which are available in stores throughout the country. Go to www.mikkipet.com for more detailed information on the full range. Practical help is also available online with videos designed to give owners a clear guide to looking after their pet, regardless of breed or size at www.youtube.com/user/themikkipet
Supplier Listing Group55: www.group55.co.uk Mikki: www.mikkipet.com
rom recent Britain’s Got Talent winner Pudsey the dog, to tougher legal guidelines for unruly dogs, the spotlight on training has extended beyond the world of pet owners to the wider public, instigating debate and interest. On the one hand, Pudsey, the all-dancing Border collie, bichon frise and Chinese crested cross, has inspired a nation and shot to fame, earning a reported £500,000 in the process. On the other, the Sentence Council announced tougher punishments for dog attacks – with the most serious offences attracting jail terms of 18 months – three times the current average. Despite these extreme examples, all dogs need some training. “Dog owners have an obligation to their dog and to their community to ensure that their pet is a
happy, socialised and well trained animal,” explains the Kennel Club. “Some may say that dog training isn’t for them, but dogs like routine and need to know where they stand in the family pack. Asking a dog to sit or lie down and not jump up is a social responsibility as a good owner, in addition to caring for and getting the best fun from a dog. A trained dog is a happy dog.” While most people will agree on the universal need for dog training, there are many different approaches, and the Kennel Club stresses that people “find the right approach for their dog.” The options are varied – from dog training classes, or puppy socialisation that will assist in naturalising canine interaction with both people and other dogs, to home training with the assistance of training aids and
equipment that we’ll be looking at later on in this article. A recent dog training survey by pet365.co.uk identified that 46.9 per cent of owners have taken their dogs to training lessons, with 14.4 per cent of those still in attendance. The Kennel Club says: “Whatever the dog needs, there’s a club out there that can help. Finding local training classes, finding out more about the breed, or getting involved in great canine hobbies like agility, heelwork to music or obedience has never been simpler.” Its ‘Find A Club’ service allows owners to search its database of over 3,000 clubs, which all must abide by strict codes of conduct and be well managed and in line with Kennel Club principles of fairness and integrity. Of course, the digital age means that ample dog training is potentially a click away, and a number of trainers and behaviourists can be found online. For example, psychology graduate Karen Wild, who is both a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and an Associate Member of the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers, offers behavioural consultations and training, while also offering online dog training advice. On starting a family Karen became aware of the importance of one-to-one dog training. She formed her company Pawprint for behavioural consultations and training, and Intellidogs, which specialises in online advice in this area. On the website, Karen advises early puppy soicalisation: “Everyone wants a dog they can take everywhere, meet other dogs without a woof, and greet visitors calmly and sensibly. The key to all these things, before even thinking about training, is to socialise the puppy. This is not an afterthought. It is absolutely fundamental to every dog that they get used to everyday life so that they can concentrate on the things that matter. Socialised dogs are far less likely to suffer behavioural problems in the future and there are many ways to make this part of the everyday routine!” For many dog owners, professional training may not be economically viable in the current climate. While the prospect of training at home may be unnerving, there are products on the market catering for specific aspects of training.
The Bottle Tracker from Katie’s Bumpers is a flat-pack toy with a velcro opening, and has the correct size to accommodate a small plastic drinks bottle turning it instantly into a floating toy with extra crunch. Stuffed with a plastic bottle, it creates sound stimulation to dogs without a squeak. Trainers can also use other stuffing, such as tennis balls or socks. Like all Katie’s Bumpers dog toys, it’s made from hard wearing American fire hose in four bright colours that dogs can easily see on land and water. Bottle Tracker can be used for retrieving, scent recognition, search and rescue training and also makes a fun, interactive toy. All Katie’s Bumpers are durable and machine washable, and are distributed in the UK by Collarways Limited.
A dog that pulls on its lead can make walking a chore and not a pleasure. It can also cause more serious problems for the owner if they are unable to get their dog under control. “There are a number of non-pull devices on the market, most relying on gaining control of the dog’s head or shoulders in order to have more control over his body movements,” says Gor Pets. “But what about the dog who is resistant and still determined to pull?” The DOG-e-walk and DOG-e-walk Premium use ultra-sonic signals to stop unwanted pulling. The signal is emitted when the dog pulls, the harder he pulls the louder it gets and the less he pulls the quieter it gets. “The signal is the core part of the non-pull training – but the owner should still reward the dog when he doesn’t pull. The DOG-e-walk is not about punishment for pulling or using brute force, it’s about showing the dog what behaviour is acceptable in a gentle way that will enhance the human-animal bond, and it works.” The DOG-e-walk premium has additional features that allow it to be used as a remote control trainer. The ultra-sonic signals can be controlled by hand to gain the dogs attention and teach him to react on the signal. Both the DOG-e-walk and DOG-e-walk premium have a feature that allows the signal strength to be adjusted to four levels, suitable for even the toughest pullers. A weeks training may be needed. The DOG-e-Walk and DOG-e-walk premium are both available now from Gor Pets.
Responding to customer demand, PetSafe has expanded its training lines and introduced a “traditional and practical method of training” with the Easy Walk range of headcollars and harness. The Easy Walk Harness is “perfect for dogs constantly pulling on the lead”. A unique front-chest lead attachment rests low on the dog’s breastbone and stops pulling by steering the dog to the side. Unlike traditional collars the harness doesn’t cause coughing, gagging or choking, and quick-snap buckles make it easy to put on and remove. It also comes with four adjustment points and is available in five sizes and two colours. The Easy Walk Headcollar provides another comfortable option to train and steer dogs to prevent annoying pulling, lunging or jumping. Based on a simple nose loop, the headcollar is made from soft nylon material and is lined with a comfortable felt pad. Usefully, it’s compatible with most leads and is available in three sizes and two colours. “Training has never been easier with PetSafe Easy Walk,” says PetSafe. The Canny Collar is a simple dog training collar designed to stop pulling on the lead and make walking a dog a pleasure. “Comfortable, kind, safe and effective, its revolutionary behind-the-head design makes it easy to fit and simple to use, transforming even the worst pullers into happy, well-behaved pets,” says the Canny Company. Voted Best New Product by the UK Pet Product Retail Association, the collar has been used by dog walkers worldwide since its launch. All products are designed by experts and backed by an experience of dog behavioural training and education. The Canny Company works with organisations such as the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the RSPCA to help train and re-home dogs, plus training groups such as the Association of Professional Dog Trainers to provide them with the tools they need to achieve the best results. It regularly donates to rescue shelters, dog charities and local training groups to help them continue their fantastic work.
“Variable length leads are perfect for training as they allow close work with the handler as well as easy socialisation with other animals by moving the lead to maximum extension,” explains EzyDog. Within the range are accessories that not only look great, but perform to the “highest standards” for the most demanding of handlers. The signature of the EzyDog range has always been the water-ski handled CUJO Lead. While this performs great for most dogs, EzyDog has recently introduced the VARIO 4 and VARIO 6, specifically aimed at handlers and trainers who love the flexibility that instantly variable length leads offer, that feel good in the hand but still look great, being available in a range of colours to match EzyDog harnesses and collars and having the intrinsic safety of retro-reflective stitching for safer dog walking in dim light. The VARIO 6 is made of double webbing nylon, is light to handle, and quick and easy to adjust in stages down to one metre from its maximum of two metres. It is available with traditional spring clips or in a Carabineer version for extra security. Clever use of the webbing allows walking of two dogs as well as hands-free walking with well-trained dogs. The even lighter weight VARIO 4 adjusts right down to 60 centimetres in three easy stages, again from its maximum extension of two metres. Collarways: www.collarways.com • Gor Pets: www.gorpets.co.uk • PetSafe: www.petsafe.net • Karen Wild: www.karenwild.co.uk The Canny Company: 01630 620 462 or firstname.lastname@example.org • EzyDog: 02392 474711 (Emma Comerford) or email@example.com
Canine lifelines In the first of a regular new column, we welcome Dogs Trust to the magazine. Over the coming months the charity will reveal more about its work, campaigns and the day-to-day issues affecting the animals in its care. This month, Deana Selby provides an introduction to the organisation and the people behind it
ach year the team of dedicated canine carers at Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, will care for over 16,000 unwanted dogs – feeding, walking, training, playing, grooming and cleaning all day, every day. However the team cannot care for the dogs without the help of the wonderful public who give up their time to volunteer, donate, foster or fundraise for the charity. If you’re dotty about dogs there are many, many ways that you can help out.
Temporary fostering offers dogs a chance to live in a real home until a new owner can be found. Dogs chosen to go on the scheme are often in need of a little extra love and attention because they may have an illness or kennel life does not suit them. Many of the puppies that are born at our Re-homing Centres are temporarily fostered so that they can become socialised in a home environment.
donations are welcome. The hungry hounds go dotty for pigs’ ears and hot dogs, but they’re not fussy, so any scrumptious treat is greatly appreciated!
Donation, Donation, Donation!
You can keep the doggy tails at Dogs Trust wagging by donating toys to help amuse the dogs while they wait for their new homes. The dogs are particularly partial to squeaky toys and tennis balls. A cold snap can make a dent in the charity’s supply of blankets, duvets and towels as canine carers need to use more to put in the dogs’ beds to keep them warm and dry after wet walks. To ensure the dogs’ training sessions are positive experiences, canine carers use tasty treats to reward their learning so any
Sponsor a dog as a gift for a loved one
Dogs Trust’s policy is not just to rescue dogs, but to give them the best possible quality of life too. We give them all the specialist care and training they need to give them the greatest chance of finding a new home of their own. A squeaky toy, a treat or a cosy bed can be all it takes to raise spirits and most of our dogs find homes within weeks. However other dogs need a bit more and this is why we often look for temporary foster carers.
Most of our dogs find loving new homes but those who need a little extra care are always safe with us because we will never destroy a healthy dog. These longer term residents can be sponsored for just £1 a week. Dogs Trust is reliant on the generosity of the public to help dogs in need and any sponsor will receive three updates a year from their canine chum and a sponsorship pack, including a special photo certificate of their new pal, a wallet-sized sponsor’s card, a window sticker and a fridge magnet.
CASE STUDY: Dogs Trust’s Little Helper Ellie Cooke from Shropshire is one of Dogs Trust’s youngest and most dedicated supporters. The young dog lover raised over £200 for hounds in April by taking part in an 11.5 mile sponsored walk from her home in Marton to the re-homing centre in Telford. Canine carers waved Ellie off as she began her long journey with her family and her gorgeous rescue dog, Daisy the Boxer, who inspired her to raise money for dogs in need. The Cooke clan walked through fields and roads to the finishing line at Dogs Trust Shrewsbury where Ellie was greeted with plenty of licks and wags from the centre’s grateful dogs! The money Ellie raised will help feed hungry mouths and provide toys and new blankets for the hundreds of dogs in the charity’s care. Dogs Trust Shrewsbury manager Louise Campbell says: “Ellie Cooke is a little star who is so very passionate about dog welfare. She trained for weeks before her sponsored walk; her dedication is truly inspiring – the dogs and I are extremely grateful.” For more information on getting involved with Dogs Trust please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk
Ferreting around Domesticated descendents of the wild polecat, many people are discovering that ferrets can make ideal pets
ccording to Ian Kearns, chief executive officer at the Ferret Education and Research Trust (FERT), there has been a rise in the number of people keeping domesticated ferrets. He says: “There was a wealth of media popularity, with celebrities taking ferrets as pets. Paris Hilton and Jonathan Ross were very public in putting across that they were owners. This appears to have led to an increase in ferret ownership.” He estimates there are between 800,000 and a million ferrets in the UK with many people keeping them in far greater numbers than cats and dogs. He adds: “It is not uncommon for ferrets to be kept in groups of five or more. People who take their ferrets to shows have been known to keep in excess of 30.” In 2009 FERT and pet food manufacturer James Wellbeloved undertook the first National Ferret Census to capture key information on the welfare, health care, feeding and overall owner demographic of the ferret community. It was the first project of its kind to help gain a better understanding of how ferrets are being kept and provided several key findings: • The most common ownership is two ferrets at 31 per cent; with 12 per cent keeping one ferret and 11 per cent owning four ferrets. The maximum number of ferrets owned by a respondent was 160. • Most respondents had kept ferrets for many years with only 16 per cent owning ferrets for less than 12 months. Forty-three per cent had kept them for between one and five years; 18 per cent between six and 10 years; and 23 per cent had owned ferrets for over 10 years. • The majority of owners use their ferrets as companions with only two in 10 owners using them for both working and as companions. • When asked where their ferrets were kept, 54 per cent housed them outside; 29 per cent of owners kept them inside; and 18 per cent of owners did both. • The overwhelming bedding option was a commercial-made washable fabric at 47 per cent, while 26 per cent choose straw and 24 per cent opt for paper. • Fifty per cent of ferret owners preferred a mixed feed with 41 per cent using entirely biscuit and only two per cent using entirely raw meat.
James Wellbeloved’s Ferret Complete was the first British dry ferret food specifically formulated to meet the needs of these active creatures. The company explains: “Ferrets have higher energy needs and a shorter digestive tract than cats or dogs and being carnivores their primary protein source must be meat.” The food was designed to provide a high energy diet with a high protein and fat content with 36 per cent turkey meat and 19 per cent turkey fat. The British Ferret Club stresses the fact that ferrets are obligate carnivores and as such should be given a special diet that is mostly meat based and contains between 32 and 38 per cent protein and between 15 and 20 per cent fat. The organisation recommends the BARF diet with raw foods such as turkey necks, rabbit, game birds or chicken wings. Raw bones are also good for cleaning their teeth and the calcium in the bones is good for them too. Ferrets can also be fed a little fruit such as melon in the summer to help them keep cool but should never be given salt, pork, chocolate or nuts. Feeding raw meat is not always practical for the pet owner and many customers will prefer the convenience of a dried food. In her article Rethinking the Ferret Diet, Susan Brown DVM says: “It is easier to pour little bits of food out of a bag than to go out and find whole prey items to feed.” She has questioned the nutritional value of diets that are packaged to appeal to human consumers rather than tailored to ferrets’ needs, but manufacturers such as James Wellbeloved have paved the way for a whole array of premium complete feeds to meet the dietary requirements of ferrets. The British Ferret Club recommends Alpha Ferret Feast for working, pet and show ferrets. It contains a high proportion of poultry meal and fish meal which are recognised as being among the best sources of meat protein. The organisation also stresses the importance of providing a good clean supply of fresh water in a sturdy bowl as ferrets are very strong and can easily tip them over. Alternatively, water can be provided in a large water bottle attached securely to the ferret’s enclosure. With the large majority of owners keeping ferrets outside, a good sturdy enclosure is required. Ferrets are highly sociable
creatures and should be kept in pairs or groups and they will also require a stimulating environment. The Heart of England Ferret Association says: “Two ferrets could be kept in a standard sized rabbit hutch with enclosed sleeping quarters and attached run. For larger groups, some owners choose to custom build their ferret sheds or modify aviaries. Any shed needs to have a sleeping area with solid walls where ferrets can shelter from the worst of the weather and a run constructed from strong mesh panels where they can run around, play and eat.” Ferrets are very inquisitive and highly intelligent creatures and will benefit from playing with a wide range of toys to keep boredom at bay. As ferrets have sharp teeth, foam and rubber toys are not suitable, but they can be given hard, durable toys plus tunnels and hammocks. Toys that interact or move such as balls, stimulate their hunting skills and many ferrets will prove themselves adept at solving puzzles. Although initially developed for dogs and cats, the Small Animal Kong can provide environmental enrichment for ferrets when stuffed with food or treats. Supreme’s Frankie Ferret Feeding Ball works on the same principle, as the ball dispenses food, increases the eating period and keeping the animal amused. According to the Andale Veterinary Centre in Cheshire, “one of the most common statements about ferrets is that they have a bad smell. Most of a ferret’s odour results from the influence of sex hormones on normal skin secretions.” As ferrets are related to skunks they do also have scent glands and can spray when fighting, mating or frightened. Neutering and spaying will dramatically reduce any unpleasant odours, as will the use of a good quality bedding, with the results of the national census showing that most ferret owners opt for commercial varieties. Sawdust, straw and woodshavings can also be used but whichever type your customer opts for, it is important to ensure that it is dust-free as ferrets have sensitive respiratory tracts and dust can cause damage to the lungs over a period of years. They are also susceptible to fumes emitted by their faeces and urine, so regular cleaning of the housing is required.
On the shelf
With the growth in popularity of keeping ferrets, specialist pet stores are likely to prove the first port of call for advice on their care. Here we feature some key products and accessories to get in stock… Ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means to remain healthy they need to eat meat. They also have a really fast metabolism and will wake up for some food every four hours. Owners should make sure that plenty of fresh food and water is always available for them (a good guide is that ferrets will drink three times the amount of water to the amount of pellets they’ve eaten). They also need quite a concentrated diet because they don’t eat much at once, so a ferret food should be high in protein and energy, but have a low fibre content. Their diet doesn’t need to be carbohydrate-rich as this can lead to the development of insulinoma (pancreatic cancer), but oil content is really important for healthy skin and a shiny coat, with calcium and phosphorous to ensure healthy gums and teeth. Burgess Supaferret is a high quality mono-kibble food – free from artifical colours, flavours or preservatives – which helps to prevent selective feeding. This chicken-based food also contains a natural pre-biotic to aid healthy digestion; natural antioxidants to support the immune system and taurine for coat condition and all-round health. Added linseed helps coat condition and it is also fortified with vitamins A, D3 and E for healthy skin, teeth and bones. Information: 01751 474 123 Ferret owners who want to banish litter smells with a dust-free environmentally-friendly bedding product can use Smartbedz Universal Bedding and Litter. The biodegradable straw pellets offer a more effective alternative to whole straw or wood shavings and can be used effectively by a wide range of pets including ferrets, hamsters, rabbits, chickens and cats. The pellets are completely bio-degradable and have strong absorbent qualities and odour-binding properties, which help to prevent any lingering smells. They are made from 100 per cent natural wheat straw and are heat-treated and dust-extracted with no chemical additives. Mark Stone, founder of SmartBedz, says: “This is an exceptional product and offers a real alternative to those wishing to have an entirely dry, natural and odour free environment for their pets and themselves. The people who have tried SmartBedz have been amazed at how effective it is at controlling odours and how long it lasts.” Information: 01473 356 134 or www.smartbedz.co.uk Small Animal KONGs are manufactured specifically for ferrets, rabbits and other small animals. Made from the same exclusive, red, natural rubber as the famous dog toy, they can be stuffed with food and treats for durable and long lasting ferret fun! Information: www.kongcompany.com
A specialist in species-specific foods for small animals, Supreme’s Selective Ferret has been designed to meet the nutritional requirements of these inquisitive and lively animals. The company explains: “Ferrets are extremely active and love lots of exercise. They need lots of protein in their diet and because they digest their food very quickly, they must be fed at regular intervals.” Selective is a nutritionally complete and balanced diet with chicken and turkey. It is highly palatable and contains 36 per cent protein, taurine and linseed, which is a good source of Omega 3 and 6 for a healthy skin and coat. It also promotes dental hygiene and contains no artificial colourants and no added sugars. Information: 0845 058 9697 or www.supremepetfoods.com Newagepet now has available in the UK a wide range of maintenance-free pet housing made from Eco Flex, a product which is manufactured from 100 per cent recycled plastics and wood fibres. The company says: “It oulasts wooden products by many years,” and is available as chicken coops, dog kennels, rabbit hutches and dog beds. Exclusively available from RJ Leigh Ltd, the pet homes are an insulated twin-walled construction to keep animals warm in winter and cool in summer. They are resistant to insects, rot, weather and moisture and will not warp or split. They are also hygienic and easy to clean – just hose down – and require no tools for assembly. Information: 01633 681 1440 or firstname.lastname@example.org Ferret Complete from James Wellbeloved is the first British dry ferret food formulated specifically for ferrets. It contains a high quality turkey meat meal, to give a higher protein level of 36 per cent and a high fat level of 19 per cent, derived mainly from turkey fat. Additional ingredients include ground linseed for soft, shiny coats and the company has also now added a natural source of MOS (Manno-Oligo-Saccharides). As the company explains, “this helps to stimulate the ferret’s immune system and balance the bacteria present in the large intestine, reducing the build-up of pathogens such as salmonella and E.coli and increasing the beneficial lactobacillus.” Information: 0845 300 4890 or www.wellbeloved.com Ferrets have continued to grow in popularity within the small pet sector with animals being kept in both the home and garden. Sky Pet Products has seen a growth in demand for housing and accessories for this interesting and friendly species in recent months. The company says: “The retailer should be more aware of the ferret as a pet and give the space to the comprehensive range of food accessories and housing because the demand is there and growing.” The Montana San Remo cage (pictured) is designed for mammals like ferrets, degus and chinchillas providing a safe and long lasting environment. Information: 01908 511 619 or email@example.com
D IRE C T OR Y AQUATIC LIVESTOCK
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Small Animal Livestock
A q uatic Business
Miniature marvels Sales of nano tanks soar
Fish numbers rise
One in 10 households has pet fish
An introduction to OATA This issue we welcome Keith Davenport as a contributor to the magazine. The chief executive of the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) explains more about the work of the organisation and how it can help retailers
hat’s the point of OATA?” and “What does OATA do?” are questions I have often been asked. The answer can be summarised quite simply in that we strive to provide a service that supports and promotes the UK ornamental aquatic industry, avoiding the loss of sales and looking to save our members cash. As a retailer you rely on your supplier to provide you with livestock, plants and products upon request – what we do is essentially protect these supply chains and ensure they are intact and as free as possible of unnecessary or disproportionate legislation, thereby allowing for your continued business success. By lobbying and influencing the decisions made by your local authority, Westminster, Brussels, or indeed globally, problems with pet shop licenses, restrictions on off-the-shelf medicines and coldwater/tropical fish imports have been addressed and avoided. Our work is extensive – as the industry relies on supplies from well over 50 countries across the globe – and we are always working to provide an environment in which members do what they do best, whether it be retailing, importing or manufacturing. All retailers, regardless of industry sector, are keeping a keen eye on their bottom line and it is in these times that customers demand more from their preferred retailer. This is no less the case in our sector. A recent survey conducted by OATA, highlighted that visitors to pet and aquatic shops placed the highest priority on the quality of livestock available and the knowledge of retail staff. From all of the responses received, fish keepers stated they rely heavily upon their retailers as a source of information. The fact that fish keepers continually engage with their retailers for information emphasises the importance of good quality staff training. Since its introduction nearly 15 years ago, OATA’s home-study courses have been extremely popular with both those employed in the trade and fish keepers. These are applicable to those new to the industry, or for those looking to enhance existing knowledge. David Burgess, owner of the Ark Pet Centres in the south west, is just one of the many retailers who believes that these additional skills and expertise will enhance the buying experience for customers and re-inforce commitment to staff. It also makes good commercial sense to realise that stringent water quality testing ensures the continued welfare of your livestock. The OATA Code of Conduct, which all OATA members abide by, stipulates that a range of water quality criteria must be adhered to. OATA has often been challenged to implement a water-testing ‘taskforce’ to maintain consistent standards across the industry, but since OATA is not a policing or regulatory body, it is not in a position to do so. However, through our on-going relationships with local
government, OATA’s water quality criteria has been included in pet shop licencing guidelines. OATA listens to the concerns of its members, and is currently addressing the thorny issue of unlicenced pet shops selling aquatic livestock, either from a physical site or via the internet. Recognising that pet shop licensing varies widely both in cost and quality of inspection from local authority to local authority, the ProPets Group, which OATA chairs, is looking to identify the current situation across the UK and assess how efficient the current licensing system is. Our aim is to see how it best meets the needs of our members and animal welfare, as it only takes a small number of traders, whether high-street or online, to sour the reputation of the industry. With a unique inside track on the issues that could affect its members’ livelihoods and businesses, an established respect across the UK, Brussels and beyond, reputable training courses and an invaluable sounding board for those members seeking expert advice and guidance, OATA continues to be a focal point in the aquatic industry.
About OATA OATA was established in 1991 and currently represents over 700 members from across the ornamental aquatic industry, from importers and wholesalers to suppliers and retailers. Its core mission is to protect and promote the ornamental aquatic industry and to ensure its longevity through pro-active and continuous lobbying and marketing activity at local, national and international levels. If you would like to find out more about its membership scheme, please visit www.ornamentalfish.org or call 0870 043 4013.
AQUAT I C
Getting Singapore’s show on the road
Retailer found selling illegal fish A retailer has been caught selling two species of illegal fish by inspectors for the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (CEFAS). The retailer is alleged to have had the Asian hi-fin shark (Myxocyprinus asiaticus) and the Orange crayfish (Cambarellus) on the shop premises, both of which have been banned from sale for some time. CEFAS aims to find the supplier of the fish and reminds shop owners of their responsibilities under the Import of Live Fish Act 1980 (ILFA).This prohibits the keeping of certain listed species without a licence with those found guilty are liable to prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500. Commenting on the retailers’ actions Keith Davenport, chief executive of the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA), said: “If they appear through ignorance, that is at best unfortunate. If they appear by design, then it is even more serious and should be seen as bringing the trade into disrepute, undermining businesses which honestly follow the law.”
Plans are already underway for Aquarama 2013 with both the dates and the venue now confirmed. The Suntec Centre in the heart of Singapore has been the home of this biennial event in 2007, 2009 and 2011 and it is again set to welcome both trade and public visitors in 2013. As one of the world’s top exporters of ornamental fish, Singapore is the ideal place to host one of the most important trade events in the aquatic industry. A spokesman for the show said: “Aquarama will bring together a global mix of knowledge, expertise and a whole new world of business opportunities amid a spectacular setting for the aquatics and pets industries, offering maximum mileage in one dynamic event.” Aquarama 2013 takes place on May 30 to June 2, further details are available at www.aquarama.com.sg
OATA welcomes new members to the association The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) has welcomed two new members to the organisation – Cheshire-based Mark Robinson of Ocean Life Aquatics and David Burgess, owner of stores across the south west. Trading for over 15 years, David has three specialist aquatic centres in Plymouth, Exeter and Torquay. He believes that in addition to giving his stores enhanced credibility, the future of his business and that of the aquatic industry is assured by the continuous work and support provided by OATA. Mark specialises in the design, installation and maintenance of interior tank displays and has seen a renewed interest in innovative and creative aquaria displays. He said: “I have known about OATA for a while and the work they do in supporting the industry. Not only does the OATA logo re-inforce my commitment to the industry, I feel that it also gives me enhanced credibility among both existing and potential customers.”
Fish proving to be just as popular as Fido The latest figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) have shown that the number of pet fish in the UK has grown from approximately 20 million in 2009 to 23 million recorded this year. The figures compiled as part of National Pet Month clearly show how fish are rapidly rising up the ranks to become one of the country’s most popular pets. The data showed that one in 10 households now own indoor fish, only beaten by dogs and cats, which still remain the most popular pets. Chris Ralph from the Association of Aquarists said: “They are relatively straightforward to keep. You have to put a bit of time into them, but the rewards are good – and you don’t need to take them for a walk.”
The importance of educating exotic pet owners The Oceanarium at Bournemouth has issued a plea to pet owners to thoroughly research any exotic pet before offering it a home. Over the years, the oceanarium has received countless calls from members of the public looking to re-home their exotic pets. It has taken in bearded dragons, red tailed catfish, terrapins, tortoises, a three-foot green iguana and even a black tip reef shark. Aquatic supervisor at the Oceanarium, Sarah Barker, said: “It is essential that people understand the species they want to buy as this will help to determine how big the pet will grow, what specific diet it needs and will ensure the pet is provided with everything it needs to live a happy and healthy life.”
JMC The JMC frozen food range has over 50 different products which are only available direct from JMC including Bloodworm, Artemia and Daphnia, together with some more unusual, specialist offerings such as ‘L’ number Plec food, Dillies, Bosmids, Turtle Special Food, Herbivore Diet, Crustacean Food, six varieties of specialist Discus foods, Octet (providing a variety of eight different fish foods on the same strip) and blister pack Pinkies and Fuzzies for the more squeamish customer. All at ‘market leading’ prices with bright attractive packaging. Each strip also has a slide on/off plastic cover to protect the fragile foil seals, ensuring maximum freshness of each cube. Information: 01246 291 832 or firstname.lastname@example.org
King British King British is excited to announce the re-launch of its popular Holiday Food Blocks and Weekend Feeders. Suitable for both coldwater and tropical fish, they are the “ideal way to provide as much nutrition as required for your fish while you are away from home,” explains the company. Both products are designed to slowly release small particles of food and are now available in new packaging with fun block designs. “So what better time with the holiday season fast approaching than to stock up and create an eye-catching display in-store! Encouraging impulse purchases at point of purchase is a great way to ensure that our fishy friends are still looked after during the holiday season.” Each holiday food block is suitable for feeding up to 15 fish for up to 14 days. Information: 01427 675 663 or www.kingbritish.co.uk
Natures Grub Norfolk-based Natures Grub has added a unique and innovative new product to its koi food range, Super Natural. The first “truly natural complete diet for koi,” this food is manufactured in the UK to closely replicate the koi’s natural diet of worms, crustaceans and micro-organisms, containing the high quality ingredients rich in essential amino acids and highly digestible proteins. Super Natural is a six millimetre floating staple pellet, containing no fishmeal, but over 45 per cent of natural insects and crustaceans, and is available in two kilogramme, five kilogramme and 10 kilogramme buckets. Information: 01485 517 177, email@example.com or www.naturesgrub.co.uk
Copdock Mill Copdock Mill’s very popular ultra-low density Carp Pond Sticks are available in two sizes: a five kilogramme bag for those customers wishing to buy a quality carp pond stick in bulk, and a 1.5 kilogramme tub, which can make an eye-catching in-store display. The company adds: “They are priced competitively to ensure your customer gets a high quality product, while you – the retailer – get a healthy margin.” Information: 01473 730 246
Mars Fishcare Mars Fishcare is currently running its biggest Aquarian promotion ever, ‘Going for Gold.’ This promotion has been – and will continue to be – a “massive investment into the pet and aquatic channel throughout 2012.” It gives consumers a chance to win anything from an iPad 3 and a Sony digital camera to Aquarian bean bags. The top three retailers with the best displays can also win a Best of British hamper and bean bag. All retailers are entitled to a POS pack (no purchase necessary) and deals on the Aquarian fish food range. POS packs include posters, isle flags, bunting, wobblers and tub stickers.
Information: 01932 784 366 (quote Going for Gold) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Eco Pond Eco Pond’s Extract of Barley Straw continues to grow in popularity as the protection of wildlife becomes ever more important to many customers. The company is also seeing strong growth in larger size containers of this, and other products. Once pond keepers are convinced that natural products are as effective as chemical-based alternatives, they are increasingly looking for good value. The company says its 2.5 litre and five litre containers offer a very cost effective option for large ponds. They also provide retailers with a high unit value and good margin.” Ecopond products are available from wholesaler ALF. Information: 01225 767 919 or www.ecopond.co.uk
Miniature marvels The popularity of nano tanks has grown in recent years, as has the technology associated with these mini-style aquariums. With the right equipment and the correct species, you can make fish keeping accessible to a wider range of your customers
atest figures show that one in 10 households in the UK now own fish, with their rise in popularity attributed to the relative ease of keeping them when compared to other animals such as cats and dogs. Estimates from the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) put the current number of indoor fish at 65 million and the organisation has seen a significant rise in imports of fish into the UK over the past 15 years. Chief executive of OATA, Keith Davenport, says: “Fish are Britain’s most populus pets, by a long way. There has been a big trend for indoor, tropical fish. Some of the aquariums you can get now are absolutely stunning. Having one beats having a television any day.” The fish keeping hobby has also become more accessible, with the arrival of the nano tank. A relatively new innovation to the market, it is essentially a small aquarium usually less than 20 gallons in volume. Ideal for homes where space is at a premium, it also provides many fish keeping enthusiasts with the challenge of constructing and
caring for a miniature underwater ecosystem of delicate reef invertebrates and corals. Nano tanks also do not require any bulky equipment, with many designs incorporating the life-supporting equipment – including filtration and lighting – into the aquarium or hood. Manufacturer of the biOrb aquarium, Reef One, was one of the first companies to spot the gap in the market for small aquariums. Product marketing executive Patrick Inwards at the company says: “The biOrb was born out of not being willing to accept what was already on offer. Before biOrb, aquariums were just sheets of glass stuck together with silicone sealer. They were about as inspiring as a shower cubicle. There was no reason why an aquarium couldn’t be engineered in the same way any other quality household product is engineered. It’s just that nobody had. So we did.” At the time the product was first introduced in 1999, inventor of the biOrb Matthew Stevenson explains that aquarium systems were either “very small and cruel” such as the standard goldfish bowl or “very
large and expensive.” The biOrb was neatly positioned between these two types of products with its convenient size and integral five-stage filtration system ensuring the welfare of the fish. Patrick believes that as people are living in more confined spaces, so are their pets. He adds: “The Nano tank is ideal for someone who wants to keep fish but doesn’t have the room for a large aquarium.” Today the biOrb has become one of the biggest brands in the aquatic sector and Reef One has expanded the range with the introduction of the biOrb 60, the Baby biOrb and the cylindrical biUbe. The latest addition to the innovative range is the biOrb Flow, which continues with the company’s philosophy of making the fish keeping hobby more accessible. The company remains at the heart of this growing trend as Patrick adds: “Our original concept is unchanged but like
any product manufacturer we continually look to make improvements. Probably the most noticeable in recent years is the move away from halogen lighting to LED lighting.” LEDs or light emitting diodes have been around for many years but it is only recently they have been manufactured to be bright and efficient enough to be used as a primary light source. Tropical Marine Centre (TMC) has been at the forefront of this development, recognising the many benefits of this technology. The company says: “LEDs are incredibly efficient and this efficiency is increased when applied over an aquarium – there is no need to use wasteful reactors to try to direct the light because nearly all of the light produced is already directed straight to where you need it, such as the bottom of the aquarium.” LED lighting is a key feature of TMC’s AquaGro aquariums, one of the
latest of the company’s brands. The AquaGro MicroHabitat 8 is ideal for small planted aquascapes and miniature ornamental freshwater shrimps such as bee shrimps and crystal shrimps. It has a built-in filtration system and integral pump with multidirectional outlet to ensure optimum water quality and minimal maintenance. TMC’s AquaHabitats MicroHabitat 15 also provides entry into the fascinating hobby of reef keeping. Suitable for small marine aquascapes, micro corals and miniature invertebrates it incorporates an AquaRay MicroLED light system, which uses high quality LG TopLEDs (Ocean White 9000k) for long-lasting light output. The AquaHabitats MicroHabitat 30 incorporates a high PAR AquaRay MiniLED 500 light system with four lensed 10,000K white Cree XP-E and one un-lensed blue
Cree XP-E PowerLEDs. The white LEDs can be switched off to give a moonlight mode. Rolf C Hagen has also seen great demand for its Fluval range of nano aquariums, which come fully equipped to create a unique environment for fish, shrimps or exotic plants. Powerful filtration systems ensure a clean and healthy environment and LED lighting promotes plant growth. The company – in conjunction with OATA – advises on stocking the Fluval tanks with recommended Nano-friendly species allowing a minimum of one centimetre of fish (excluding the tail) to every three litres of water. As nano aquariums have grown in popularity, more models have been introduced and OATA’s chief executive, Keith Davenport, has expressed some concern at the quality of some of these products. He says: “A number of extremely small aquariums have appeared on the market in recent months. It is very difficult to maintain the good water quality and a stable temperature required to ensure the welfare of any live animals kept in them.” He recommends that the absolute minimum volume of water in which fish of an appropriate small size should be kept for long periods is four litres. However, irrespective of size, water quality is of paramount importance and must be maintained for the welfare of the fish and other organisms being kept. Admittedly – as Reef One, TMC and Rolf C Hagen have proved – nano aquariums are becoming increasingly sophisticated with new technology making it easier to maintain the health of such a small and fragile ecosystem. Patrick Inwards at Reef One admits that a small volume of water will always be prone to large parameter swings making the conditions inside the aquarium less stable. He says: “As within all areas of the hobby, there are some species that are more difficult to keep than others. Customers should always follow the guidelines provided, seek advice or read up on the intended livestock
Recommended species for nano tanks Coldwater (17-25°C)
White cloud mountain minnow can survive in temperatures as low as 5°C. They are schooling fish which need to be kept in groups of five or more
Platy is a colourful fish which can be bred very easily. Include other fish in the same tank to prevent over-population
Endler’s Guppy is an active, schooling fish. Males are brightly coloured, often with black and orange markings. Easy to breed
Rainbow dace is also known as the Red Shiner
Zebra Danio is a good species for beginners. A hardy, omnivorous fish which needs to be kept in groups
Celestial Pearl Danio is a peaceful, docile fish. Provide hiding places with ornaments or plants Ember Tetra is tiny, ambercoloured and ideally suited to smaller tanks with other miniature species Dwarf Rasbora do best when kept in groups of five or more. Provide a wellplanted aquarium
Other suitable species for nano tanks include cherry shrimp, crystal red shrimp and Pinocchio shrimp for temperate/tropical conditions and green tiger snail, red spotted snail, yellow rabbit and zebra snails for tropical tanks.
to ensure suitability. The keeper must bear in mind that because of the nano tank’s small size they must be vigilant with their weekly water testing and basic husbandry.” As well as the tanks themselves, there is now greater demand for a whole range of equipment to support the nano tank. As the success of a nano aquarium relies on maintaining stable water parameters, any products or equipment that maintain these will prove invaluable to fish keepers. Keith Davenport says: “It is absolutely essential that the water conditions are maintained
to avoid putting at risk the welfare of the fish being kept. Water quality tests kits are an essential purchase, not an optional extra when fish or aquaria are purchased.” As for the future, Patrick Inwards definitely sees the demand for nano tanks continuing. He says: “I think there is a general trend away from larger aquaria and we’re part of that.” It also seems that more manufacturers and suppliers are recognising the sales potential of these products that have quite literally opened up a whole new world of possibilities for aquatic enthusiasts.
Supplier Listing Reef One: www.reef-one.com Rolf C Hagen: www.hagen.com Tropical Marine Centre: www.tropicalmarinecentre.co.uk
Voice on the highstreet
Voice on the highstreet Eden Thom,
Petmania, Orkney Petmania was Orkney’s first pet shop. How did opening the shop initially come about?
How has your degree in zoology assisted you in the running of Petmania?
When my father first came to Orkney, there was only one shop that kept a small amount of pet goods but no livestock. As a pet lover, trips south always meant buying pets to take home. It was the fish side that took over outhouses and got to the level where he decided to run an aquatic shop on a Saturday. The response from customers was astounding, so he decided to open a pet shop, which has gradually enlarged over 35 years. The ethos has never changed – to stock the most comprehensive variety of quality pet goods at reasonable prices – along with a broad range of pets backed up with expert knowledge.
I think it’s given me a much greater understanding of disease, behaviour and genetics, which is invaluable when it comes to advising customers about their pets. We breed most of our own small animals so having in-depth knowledge of genetics is really important.
The business has always been in the family. When did you take over the day-to-day running? After graduating and doing voluntary work with giant pandas in China; I returned home to save money to do a master’s degree. At first I just helped out with part-time hours, but soon took over when the full-time girl left. Gradually, I’ve been taking on more of the business decisions as the person most involved with the customers’ wants and needs.
All of the main staff at Petmania are City & Guilds Pet Store Management qualified. Was this a conscious choice, or just coincidental? It was a conscious choice. When my father started Petmania he felt it was important to expand his knowledge as a way to provide the best advice to customers. The only course available at the time was for zoo keepers, though he enrolled right away when the City & Guilds course started and passed with distinction. After our new staff gain some experience in the shop we give them the opportunity to enrol. I was still in school and only working Saturdays when I enrolled but I’d always planned to be a part of the family business; it made sense to enrol at the same time as one of our other members of staff.
What’s your favourite pet product that you currently stock? As far as food goes, Acana and Orijen for cats and dogs is definitely my favourite. It’s what I feed my own cats and everyone I recommend it to comes back for more. There are a few customers who really wish they’d known about it sooner, spending a fortune on vet bills, not realising their animals have grain allergies. As for my favourite pet goods, I’d have to say the Kong toys for cats and dogs are brilliant and they stand up to the most destructive pets. Calcium and cotton perches for birds are also great; they’re cheap and so much better for birds than just the standard wooden perches.
What’s it like running a business in Orkney? Is there much competition? It’s definitely a lot harder to run a business in Orkney than it is on the mainland. We incur extra haulage charges and – unlike shops near wholesalers who can replace items daily – we have to judge what customers will need for the next two weeks. There isn’t a massive amount of competition in regard to the range of items we keep, but there are quite a few shops and vets that take in a number of pet goods and food.
What advice would you give to anyone just starting in the industry? To make it as an independent pet shop you need to have a huge amount of knowledge, enthusiasm for animals and a lot of common sense. You also have to get the customer to trust that what you are recommending is correct and not just worthless sales patter. If you expect customers to stay loyal to you it’s important to take an interest and get to know them.
Are there any plans or developments in the pipeline for Petmania? In the next few years we hope to expand the shop further and take in a greater range of products. I have also done a large amount of in-depth research into the various pets we keep and will be writing up a comprehensive booklet for customers who are interested in fully understanding the needs and welfare of their pets.